My tongue is in my hand…

I’m impressionable…and maybe a little weird

Posted on: July 3, 2008

Excerpts from my “How to get lost”

I watched you cut your teeth on daydreams,

intangibly full to the top,

believer set on fire, set apart

Your altars, your sanctuaries, your fields-

you were never able replace, and in the meantime…

beautiful child, who fed you so much apprehension?

you walked easy, confident

the collective mind rolled from your certainty,

never tainted you this way before

it looks like you have run out of reserves

and you’re hard recognize looking so unsure

While reading The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eustace Conway talks about his calling to be a Man of Destiny and it made me think of how we all have a calling, it’s just I don’t think we are often tuned in enough to realize it. At the risk of sounding weird I had this feeling when I was younger that I was in possession of something trans formative, that I had this bigger purpose, that it was going to change things. And then I lost that. And now I think that we all have the ability within our depths to do amazing, trans formative things. But first – belief, conviction, clarity.

So I’m reading this book and stopping every few pages to “gaze” as one of my friends calls it and I’m thinking about my convictions and the way I have ingested a toxic amount of pollution in my late teen/young adult years in the name of being “normal” or “realistic”. I wrote in my personal journal recently that I don’t understand how to live in this world, that it doesn’t make sense to me and I feel like I am constantly failing at it. And it made me think of a Bible verse “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it’s own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of this world. ” John 15:18-19

I find endless comfort in the written (or sung) word.

And I am extremely impressionable (or absorbent).

I studied Kate Chopin’s The Awakening for my 11th grade English project in which the main character realizes that she has more within her than just living up to the expectations of others and the society she is part of. I subsequently broke up with my boyfriend and quit AP Honors 3 years into a 4 year program. Not like I hadn’t already considered doing both, it just gave me that final push.

And in elementary school I LOVED the Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin and I would try to make my outfits emulate the ones I read about that Claudia, Stacy, or Dawn were wearing (because they were the cool ones). My best friend Carol and I tried to form our own babysitting club which was completely futile as we lived in a rural area and were way too young to take care of people’s kids other than her brothers and my cousins for a couple of hours at a time (and for free).

And I’ve got to say that a good deal of my life philosophies as a child came from song lyrics, usually Country or Christian (and I have a very 1990’s fuzzy blue quote book that I actually still add to as evidence of this).

Oh, this has got to be one of the funniest impressionable moments…After reading one of the books from the Anne of Green Gables series I remember standing outside in the snow at night repeating this phrase about how romantic it all was because Anne had done that. Oh my.

Looking back, I’m really surprised my parents didn’t think there was maybe something a little off about me, because I also remember wearing these “vintage dresses” aka dresses my mom wore in the 70’s just around the house for no good reason. And I had my mom make me bell bottoms to wear in 5th grade which I wore with a tie dye shirt, earning myself the nickname “hippie”. I have no idea what possessed me to do that, but quite possibly a book. And I worried about sounding weird in the first part of this blog. Ha.

Oh, and after reading Harriet the Spy I sat at the library “spying” on people around me, trying to record their conversations and details of their appearance and the surroundings. It was a short lived detective experiment, but fun (and probably kind of funny) all the same.

And whenever I was playing outside by myself I think I pretty much thought I was a combination of Fern from Charlotte’s Web, Laura from the Little House on the Prairie series, Mary from The Secret Garden, Pocahontas (who I read a book about and did a project on in 5th or 6th grade), and the boy from The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.

Now that I think of it, I’m not sure what book it was, maybe a Goosebumps or Sleepover Friends book but after reading it Carol and I attempted to make a ouija board out of a Lisa Frank(hello 1990’s girlhood again) writing tray and cut up pieces of paper. That’s just a funny combination.

One of the arguments you hear regarding what people read, watch, and listen to is based on the idea that we absorb the things we expose ourselves to and in turn this affects us in a variety of ways. Just recently a friend was telling me about seeing all these grown women dressed up like people from Sex and the City going to see the movie and stating that they spent absurd amounts of money on the night, emulating the characters.

I think the responsibility for our lives ultimately lies within us, but that includes the responsibility of being our own personal filter, and even our own censor in terms of limiting exposure to pollution. It’s not that hard to take in one too many and cross the line from fun to foggy (or just freakin’ weird).

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