Thursday, January 07, 2010

pouring my heart out.. again...

I wanted to write about something that is on my mind a lot. I'm in my mid 40s and grew up in the 60s and 70s. My college years were in the 80s. There was a message I got sometimes from other women. Not ever from my mother, mind you. She was different. But from other women. Some were teachers, some were my friends mothers. Some were from boys. Some were from television.
I remember my dad working with me at bedtime on my multiplication tables. Asking me over and over, "Whats Six times Six?" Whats Nine times Eight?" etc. etc.
I learned them inside and out. I was especially proud when I learned what 12x12 was because we were still working on 4s then!
And then I went to school one day, 4th grade I think, and our teacher Mrs.Lewis would hold up the Flash cards and I always wanted to be the first one to yell out the answer and i was many times. Mostly it was between me and this boy named Evan. Evan would turn red and his ears would turn cherry red when I would beat him on the answer. He would frown at me, and his brow would furrow and he would glare at me with his rabbit teeth that all kids get at that awkward age of 9 or 10 and look at me like I was the most Despicable person on the planet. When I asked Mrs. Lewis why Evan looked like a Cherry she told me "Boys dont like it when girls are smarter than them." WOW... that was like a slap in the face! I couldn't believe my ears. My dad was really proud of me when I knew the answers and he was a boy. I knew that my brother didn't like it when I beat him in arm wrestling, but he would always laugh and be a good sport about it. Since i was a full 364 days older than him I was supposed to beat him at that age, we both knew the day would come when he would be stronger than me. I never remember my brother ever hitting me. He was always nice to me. Except for an occasional blonde joke.

Then i really got into drawing. I loved to read Veronica and Betty and the Archie comic books. I loved it when my dad brought home the Sunday paper and I could read the "FUNNIES". I loved Nancy and Sluggo and how perfect they were drawn. Id admire the perfect shape of Charlie Browns head and could draw Snoopy almost identical!
One day in 4th grade, I drew a photo of Veronica and Betty. I was so proud of it. Then this tall heavy set girl named Gracie walked up to me and took a look at my drawing. She glared at me and said this." I don't like how you draw. Its Nasty." When I said "What do you mean?" She pointed to the Figure that Veronica and Betty had. I had drawn their tiny waists, hips and bustline the same way that the artist Don Markstein drew them. They were in fact teenagers and had figures, different than my 10 year old shape.
She looked down at me, her eyes narrowing, and said "Meet me after school behind the store, so I can beat you up!"
My heart stopped! I could not understand why anyone would want to hurt me.? For what? What had I done??
I was terrified! I had never hit anyone in my life. I had a brother and sister and we would play and wrestle but we never had hurt each other. Never had hit, I didn't know the first thing.
I admit, I was different. My mom took great pride in my appearance. She was a hair stylist and she always rolled my hair at night and I slept on pink sponge curlers. She did my hair every morning and sewed my beautiful dresses. I even wore matching jewelry. We didn't have much money but my mom always saw to it, that we looked nice.
This girl Gracie didn't look like she even combed her hair in the morning,or brushed her buck teeth and for some reason she hated me.
I ran home from school scared to death!

Fortunately my dad was home, he got home at 2:30 from his day job and he was working on a piece of jade he was making into a beautiful bowl. My dad loved to carve jade and won lots of trophies and honors. But he never bragged and would toss the trophies and ribbons into the trash saying, I don't need that. He was an accomplished jeweler too and always spent countless hours working on his creations.
I finally got the courage to tell my dad about Gracie, and I broke into tears telling him that she wanted to beat me up and that I was supposed to be meeting her right now.
He stood up, turned off his machine and said "Lets go!" My dad hates bullies. He was picked on a lot because he was small when he grew up. He lifted weights till he got really strong and so he could protect himself. Even at the age of 55 he had big arms and big stong chest and flat stomach. (He was 43 when i was 9.)

He whispered to me, to walk up to her, and then before she could hit me, draw back and slap her as hard as I could. He told me that she would not ever catch me because he would be on the other side of the store and he would make sure she didn't catch me.
I did as he said. Gracie seemed to be a full foot taller than me, and she was standing there behind the store as she had ordered me to do. She had her right hand clenched into a fist and said "I didn't think you would come." She bit her bottom lip and narrowed her eyes again, and in my pigtails and petticoat dress, i slapped her cheek and ran like crazy! (I was the fastest girl in my grade)
and I ran all the way home. I looked back once and saw my dad talking to her and a small crowd gathered around them. He came home and said "she wont be bothering you anymore."

I remember being terrified the next day to go to school. Her little brother came up to me at lunch and said "I'm Gracies brother. I heard you hit her really hard. Can I sit by you during lunch?" He then flashed a sheepish smile and I realized that most likely, this kid had been bullied by his big sister and wanted to eat lunch with someone who could hold her own with her.

I felt both happy and sad. Disappointed, confused... and not proud at all.
I thought that I should not draw anymore for fear of it stirring up anger in others. Thus started the idea that I cant be myself.

That I cant be proud of who I am. I will tell you I'm terrible at a lot of things. Time is one. Time just escapes me. I'm 10 minutes late to everything. I cant and wont balance my checkbook. Thank heavens my husband handles all that for me. I am forgetful about small things, but I remember the big things.
I make promises truly intending on following through, wanting to be all things to all people, and then forget about it and disappoint people.

I struggle with my weight and have gum disease too.
I have faults like everyone.

But I do have a few gifts. The gift of drawing. The gift of photography. The gift of decorating. And Im not a bad cook. I can walk into a house and see it in my mind, completely different, rearranged furniture, walls moved out, windows changed around, different flooring, different lighting, etc. etc. etc.
I have a good imagination.
And I think its sad that for some reason some people are intimidated by others. We all have gifts and we all have shortcomings. Lets be glad for others gifts.
Our son is naturally strong. Hes just been strong since birth. and hes suffered from it. Hes been called a "show off" or even been accused of brown nosing to get his position on the football team or power lifting. It breaks his heart. Why? When he was working out hard for 7 days a week and watching his protein and training like a dog all summer long, while others goofed off, slept and took it easy, he was there every morning sweating and working hard.
So here's my point.
And I do have one.

Lets not put others down for their accomplishments. I think its mostly children and young people who do this. Not many adults act that way, although I can think of a few. Although the internet is helping the haters to bully and write things they would never do face to face to another human being. My Friend Scarlett recently got a horrible post on her blog where someone told her mean spirited things, and shes the nicest person you would want to know!

This is a excerpt from a book that I read years ago. Its something I have printed out and hanging in my bedroom.
I love this by Marianne Williamson.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Marianne Williamson.
Let your light shine Ladies (and guys too.) Its okay. Happy New Year -D.D.
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