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Wrangling Demons…

Written By: teamcharliebear - Mar• 09•14


I have this particularly bad habit of creating projects to keep myself busy. Usually just busy enough to avoid dealing with whatever other thing I’m finding overwhelming right then.
- there’s an IEP coming up for Charlie.
- there’s a wedding to plan.
- I have to pack and move in three months!
- I need to find and tour schools (while still in session)for the kids to go to next year.
It might be an emotional thing or another project itself. Either way, what inevitably ends up happening is I get overwhelmed by all of it. The emotions I was avoiding by doing them catch me, and then I lose my motivation to finish all (if any) of these well meaning distractions.image
I’m not sure exactly what I was avoiding by creating all the projects I have about painting a town/towns blue and what have you. What I do know is that in that process, and one other random circumstance.. I was hit with a moment of painful reality. First, allow me to say that I was going through old photos trying to find the one I had in my mind of Bill Jones. I found it and there he is. Look at that Pimp! Every once in a while I will see an old truck like that and my heart stops for just a second and I hold my breath as it goes by. It’s not as if I think he’s driving the thing. Lord, I should hope not! That just wouldn’t be good for lots of reasons…

imageI didn’t just find that photo however. I came across the photo (one of two really) from my childhood that has always haunted me. It was everything that was “wrong” with me then and how I still see myself now. This gawky, goofy looking girl who never seemed to fit in with any group. I wasn’t smart enough to be a geek. I’d say I was more of a dork. I wasn’t athletic enough to be a jock or popular/pretty enough for the cheerleaders. Frequently ridiculed for outlandish, ridiculous things. As an adult I can see it wouldn’t have mattered. Kids will find something to pick on. We were poor, but I don’t really remember ever feeling ashamed of what we did or didn’t have. I do remember getting my feelings hurt by kids who made fun of the best my parents could do for me. Or when I chose to wear something that didn’t agree with their idea of cool. Our clothes came from bags of cousin hand me downs and fresh from the yard sales. That is, until I got a little older and we went big time. Then we got our school threads at Walmart!
imageI kept my head down in the halls by high school, usually aiming for invisibility. I had become accustomed to being a well rounded outcast at that point. A band geek and a drama freak. In an odd way, I’d found my place. I never dated but my schedule was packed and structured. Which I thrived on. I worked, did marching and concert bands, and plays as well as drama tournaments. Rehearsal times took the place of homework times but I was acing band and drama. It’s not as if I thought I’d need to be a lawyer, teacher, therapist or anything like that. I just needed to learn how to act, right?
With a kid like Charlie I’ve had a crash course in all of those things the past couple years. Still, to walk into a high school, or any school and talk to these kids like I have any idea what I’m doing? Can I do that? Can the tortured child in this photo do that?
imageLet me tell you something about this picture that’s torn and stained. You know what else I see when I look at it? I mean, besides that awful FemmeMullet. I see the dress my Aunt Pat made for me with her own two hands. I remember the sewing machine at Papa and Mumsie’s old house where it looked out the window. I remember her measuring me and her giving me a choice in two fabrics. I was so proud to wear it for school picture day. We shared the same birthday, my aunt and I. I was due the 25th but she told my mother to wait a day and have me on her birthday. She always had a way of getting what she wanted, and I’ve been late for everything ever since!
Something about revisiting places that once made you feel so voiceless is terrifying to me.
What the heck am I doing? Sometimes I don’t even know myself, but I think I might just pull this off. I certainly hope I do. I am pretty sure that I’ve come a long way since my days of sleeping through Mayor Howard Bradley’s class. Terribly sorry, Sir.
These past years have taught me that I am resourceful if nothing else. I’m proud of where I am now. I got pretty lucky since I didn’t exactly chose every turn it took to get here. I am not now, nor will I ever be ashamed of where I was. Perhaps most importantly, I like where I’m headed.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to face the speaking engagements I have coming up. Lucky for me I turned the page of the photo album I was flipping through, and saw this… image

Sam, the eleven pound catfish I caught. They told me not to name it or I wouldn’t eat it. I told them he needed a name for an occasion like this when I was talking years later and was all like “you remember Sam?” …by the way, Sam was delicious.

I like this picture. It serves as a nice reminder at these self doubt times proof positive of what a badass I am. See that rope? Yep, wrangled him like a wild steer, I did! Straight up lassoed him! Never saw me coming poor thing.
I think I can handle some high school kids and Girl Scouts. Shoot, I’ve walked over bigger people than them to get to a fight! I so got this!

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One Comment

  1. Kim Swieder says:

    It’s funny how we never see ourselves as others see us when we are children. I remember you in High School very differently than you remember yourself. I thought you seemed so fun and confident. You didn’t seem to be afraid of anything, where I was afraid of everything. I remember thinking you looked like a model but acted like everybody’s favorite girl next door. I remember thinking how much fun it must be to be your friend, but being the socially awkward child I was, not really being sure how to accomplish that friendship. I do agree whole heartedly, though, that you are an awe inspiring Mother and Friend now. If you ever need a hand while wrangling those nasty demons, dear heart, never doubt you can call on me.

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