Friday, December 30, 2011

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have embarked on yet another course in life. I have left a marriage and I have started a new life with my children. It is hard. It is sad. I believe in what I’ve done and felt like I had to do.

With that being said, this new direction I’m headed in is uncharted territory for me. I am realizing in these turbulent days that the women I’ve admired and that have spoken to my soul my entire life – Katherine Hepburn, most notably – speak to me because in many ways they are like me. I identify with them. I read their stories and they speak to me. I find myself saying “I would have done that” or “That sounds like me”. These are women I would be proud to ever be identified with. They are also women who embody class, feminism, independence, and the inability to lay down and let life hand them scraps when they know they deserve filet mignon. I haven’t embodied any of those things…..but they’re in me.

My high school math teacher at Biggersville High School, Scott Parvin, introduced me to the real Katherine Hepburn. I was admitted to the hospital because of a severe asthma attack (Surely smoking wouldn’t hurt me! I had tried it a few days before being admitted even though I knew I had the lungs of a waif – “want another?,” the doctor asked while I was there). I had quite a crush on Mr. P and being that I have always been a bold adventurer everyone knew it, including him. But he suffered my girlish ways and loved me like a mentor loves their student. “Read this while you’re here,” he said. “She reminds me of you.” I read “ME – Stories of My Life” in a day. He was right – her story reminded me of my own spirit.

Mr. P will probably never realize how I’ve come to understand him as a father figure in my life. I don’t know my father, not even sure yet who he is, and Mr. P stood in and continues to stand in for at least a small part of that vacancy. Truly, he is the only man that has ever looked me in the eyes and said “What in the hell are you doing? You are so much smarter than this!” He saw potential far beyond my “stupid girl” actions, loud mouth, and tough exterior. He believed in me and I believed because he did.

I have spent 35 years on a “stupid girl” course. That’s not really who I am and it’s exciting that I’m learning this right now….while I still have time to DO something about it. I am alone….and I am utterly content. It’s exciting that I am becoming the person that I knew was in here all along. I was just too afraid of rejection. Too afraid it was true what everyone else told me I was or wasn’t. I didn’t realize how much I was swallowing words meant to hurt me and “keep me in line”. The truth is, I’m none of those things I swallowed into my gut. They couldn’t know who I am, because frankly I have never known myself. I’ve done really stupid, idiotic things all the while hearing a voice in my head saying “What the hell are you doing? You’re smarter than this” – but I did them anyway. Truthfully, I don’t know myself now. I know that something about this time is completely different than any other time before. I also know that whatever Mr. P saw in me, I want to find it.

I know that no one deserves to be put down, trampled on, or abused. I know that every person deserves respect and their own place in humanity. I don't care if you make license plates or run Fortune 500 ARE valuable in the sight of God who created you and knew every mistake you would ever make. If you allow someone to take that away from you, you have ended your life adventure. The sad thing is, I've never met anyone who would treat another person as less than God intended, who was WORTH giving up your own adventure for! If they can't have their adventure along side you having your's, let em' go - POST HASTE.
Here’s to any and every girl that has picked herself up by the bootstraps and decided to step out of the “stupid girl” mold that we allowed ourselves to be in. Here’s to every girl that has laid down her very soul to become a doormat for someone who never loved her the way a man loves a woman in the first place -- AND THEN FOUND THE IMMENSE COURAGE IT TAKES TO STAND BACK UP. Here’s to every teacher that ever went beyond the call of duty and reached out to a student. Mr. P may never realize that HE is the voice inside my head anytime I have ever felt beaten or scarred beyond healing. You’re right Mr. P….I am so much smarter than this. Let’s find out just how far I can go….and when I get there…..if you are still around….I will send you a note from the top of whatever mountain upon which I’ve staked my claim…..

Anyone is invited to change that thing in your life right now that you know isn't good for you and even detrimental to you. It won't be easy but it will be so worth it. Let's be Hepburns in this Hilton world of Snooky(s) and Lohans. Class and self respect, never EVER go out of style.....


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall, Reflection, and Billy Joel

The Fall is my most favorite time of year, even though it always leads to a longing reflection of what I'd do over if I could. I figure most of us have those instances, decisions, those things we'd do differently if we could......

I'm looking out the front windows of our office, pining quietly to actually to be out in such wonderful weather, and listening to Billy Joel. Specifically, "Keeping the Faith". Lyrics are posted below, specifically those that are helping me remember that I am only what my experiences have made me. We've had a good bit of family tradgedy/drama/blessing lately and I think it's appropriate that it has happened on the eve of this particular season. There is nothing like failing and having to pick yourself up (I lost a lot of fights but they taught me how to lose okay)........nothing like having someone throw every bad decision you've ever made in your face in an attempt to drive you into a shameful abyss, not realizing you made peace with your past a long time ago (If you think I'm feeling older and missing my younger days, Oh, then you should have known me much better, Cause my past is something that never got in my way)........nothing like living your life in front of your children, who in their own maze of self-discovery berate the things you do or have done inevitably only to repeat some of the same mistakes.......Today, on the eve of this 2011 Fall, Billy Joel is helping me keep it all in perspective....and I wanted to share a little of that here.

I am glad, even thankful, at moments even proud, of all the crooked paths I've taken. I never would've become who I am today without them. And while you may not like who I've become, personally I just don't care, because I'm okay with me........

May your paths be crooked so that God can show you Himself in the turns you take in darkness,

Lyrics to "Keeping the Faith"

If it seems like I've been lost in let's remember

If you think I'm feeling older and missing my younger days
Oh, then you should have known me much better
Cause my past is something that never got in my way
Oh no

Still I would not be here now if I never had the hunger
And I'm not ashamed to say the wild boys were my friends
Oh, 'Cause I never felt the desire 'til their music set me on fire
And then I was saved, yeah

That's why I'm keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith

We wore matador boots [read flat white keds]
Only Flagg Brothers had them with the Cuban heel
Iridescent socks with the same color shirt
And a tight pair of chinos [rolled up, of course]
Oh, I put on my shark skin jacket
You know the kind with the velvet collar
And ditty-bop shades, oh yeah

I took a fresh pack of Luckies and a mint called Sen-Sen
My old man's Trojans and his Old Spice after shave
Oh, I combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the rest of the Romeos wore a permanent wave, yeah
We were keeping the faith

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith

You can get just so much from a good thing
You can linger too long in your dreams
Say goodbye to the "Oldies But Goodies"
Cause the good ole days weren't always good [ain't that the truth]
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems [thank goodness]

Learned stickball as a formal education [kickball]
Lost a lot of fights but it taught me how to lose O.K.
Oh, I heard about sex but not enough
I found you could dance and still look tough anyway, oh yes I did
I found out a man ain't just being macho
Ate an awful lot of late night drive-in food
Drank a lot of take-home pay
I thought I was the Duke of Earl
When I made it with a red-haired girl in the Chevrolet

Oh yeah, we were keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith

You know the good ole days weren't always good
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

Now I told you my reasons for the whole revival
Now I'm going outside to have an ice cold beer in the shade
Oh, I'm going to listen to my 45's
Ain't it wonderful to be alive
When the rock 'n' roll plays, yeah
When the memory stays, yeah

I'm keeping the faith
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, keeping the faith

I'm keeping the faith, yes I am
You know I'm keeping the faith, oh yes I am

You know I'm keeping the faith, oh you are
(FADE: You know I'm keeping the faith, oh yeah...)