Lessons from childhood

Some of the lessons we learn from childhood are anchors that keep us from drifting out to sea, while other lessons cut off the roots of our ability to explore the world.  An anchor, as a boat anchor, needs to be able to come up to the ship so that we can be flexible at times in our lives.  If not, we live less than lives.

I had wonderful parents.  They made sure that I was well taken care of with food, housing, clothing and education.  They taught me that my choices have consequences, and that nobody but myself will either benefit or suffer from these.  They also made sure that I had a nuclear family, even though my grandparents were gone long before I was born.  I know they loved me, and more than anything wanted to protect me from harm.

One of the biggest lessons they taught me was about was work before fun.  Get your work done and the fun is even sweeter.  You do not have work and fear of not getting it done hanging over your head.  You can go and enjoy your fun knowing that the work is done and not clouding your mind and distracting you from the people and the activity you are engaging in.  Unfortunately, this seems to not be a lesson everyone gets.

Another lesson is that there are things you can not take back and do over.  You can not take back hurtful actions or words.  You can not take back anything you do for the first time to the place of before.  The memory of doing the thing will always be there, even if you never do it again.  Some of these actions will also totally change your reputation.  It only takes one time driving drunk and killing someone for you to earn a different view of yourself, and others to earn a different view of you.  You can pay your debt to society, and be forgiven by the families, but the stain of what you did will always be there.  Other firsts we can never totally take back are sex, recreational drug use, steps, teeth – some wonderful firsts that propel us into life, and others that have the potential to derail us.

Giving an anchor that does not move can stagnate our lives.  One anchor that my mother gave me was that people are dangerous and she even had me believing that there was a boogyman behind every bush, building corner, car just waiting to jump out and harm me.  As a child, there was a park not too far from our home in Florida.  To go to the small market and get my treat with my allowance, I had to walk by this park.  The bushes were a good ten to twenty yards back from the sidewalk, small, and easily to see through.  Yet my palms would sweat, my heart would beat faster, and I always ran by this even with my friends to get to the market.  I always tried to play it off as I was in a hurry to get there.  Halloween was the most terrifying holiday.  I tried to act brave, but was sure every costumed person was out to abduct me.  

Another place that I was terrified of was the wooded area and creek behind our apartment in Iowa when we first moved in.  The most terrifying thing ever was when I would have to go and get my brother to come in for the night from there.  I was sure not only he was dead, but I would never find him, and would either die on the way there or leaving.  A painful death.  And my body would never be found.

As a small child, this made me have nightmares almost every night.  I never knew what abducting would result in, but I knew it was not good, would hurt and separate me from my family.  As an older child, it made me fearful that I was going to be raped and murdered in such a way that would be gruesome, and I would bring shame on my family with a headline of “Girl Raped and Murdered Because She Walked By a Bush”.  

Irrational?  Absolutely.  The fears that my mother had also imprisoned her until the day she died.  In fact, they got worse as she aged.  In my life, because I have double and tripled questioned if people are good or toxic in my life, I have been held captive in relationships that were toxic to me, and let relationships slip by that would be wonderful.  Ahh, the power of an anchor firmly planted in the sea floor that you never exercise the use of the wench to bring it up and let the boat of life move a little.  Turn to see what is on the other side, or get close to land so that it can see something different.  Never to explore the rest of the ocean.  Just stay in port all the time.  Storms come, and you do not outrun them.  Nope, you just stay and are bombarded by the wind, waves and other ships that are off anchor and tossed as rubbish.

We give our children many great gifts in teaching limits.  We need to also give them the gift of how to explore and take care of themselves.  Sometimes, they need to lift the anchor, even if it is not like we would.  The world is ever changing.  The world has many wonderful people and places.  If we are afraid to go, then we are missing a lot, and worse than that, we are in harms way.

A bit of a rant today

I had a lovely day yesterday, that ended a bit bittersweet.  News from a friend that her husband at 62 was fired in such a way the company could make it look like retirement, thus he can not get unemployment as he looks for a new job – not easy at his age.  On top of this, his work has been in shipping and warehouse most of his career.  What irks me the most, is that it is a very well established and successful publishing company here in Tucson.  While I like to believe that those who are invested in printing material for educational (as this company does) and recreational reading are above the mediocre line of morality, sadly, I have been disappointed in this.  A man who is just 3 years shy of full retirement, is put out on a place where for the rest of his life he and his family may only have $725 a month that he can provide as income to his home.  A family that has worked hard, and never had more than working wage, thus little savings.  And this may now be gone in the blink of an eye, the modest home gone, and possibly the family torn apart.  

 

The owner of the company is one of the wealthiest businesses here in Tucson.  Known as a philanthropist, and a respected citizen of the community.  The old saying, “Charity begins at home” obviously was not something he learned or applied in his business model.  True, there is possibly something that the employee did to tick off the employer.  Possibly still is the move to save money by pushing out an older employee who has been with the company for many years to save money.  So I will say, that there is part of the story I do not know for 100 % certainty.  But I do know what my friend, his wife, has told me, and what I have heard from her for years about the treatment of her husband, especially as he aged.  

 

Maybe he did slow down.  Maybe he was not able to move as much weight, but look at the years he did this, years that were fledgling years for the company, that built the wealth and respect of this business.  Is not the labor of a man worth more than a 2 week notice that he is going to be retired?  No pension.  No party.  No reward except to now wait for his last paycheck?  The owner of this business will never have to worry if he has a home to live in, or have to make the choice of eating or having a roof over his head.  Yet, a loyal now former employee will spend his golden years living like this.  Sad that this still occurs.  

Forward into….life?

Sometimes we just have to grow up.  For good, or bad, this does not always look the same for everyone.  I guess for me, and for all of us, there is a part of us who never does.  And this is good.  It is that place we go to when we are looking for adventure.  The place we go to when we are looking forward in life.  That place, where at fifty eight years on the planet, I still can see, find and feel the girl of ten, or sixteen, reaching out to grab at life beyond my grasp.  That spirit in me that refuses to believe that even with my limitations, physical, emotional or psychological, I can go beyond them and still have life and experience more than I have up to now.

Today I woke really believing this.  Some days, in all honesty, over the last several years, I have awaken and wanted to just pull my blankets over my head and hide.  I want to hide from the pain.  Hide from my cowardness to face what lay on the plate of my life.  Hide from my loses.  Mostly, to hide from some hard truths, and my culpability in them.  But mostly, hide from the work I needed to do to get to the bottom of what put me in such a place, so dark, and without the child.  So adult.

The bottom line – well honestly, there are several.  I learned during my formative years to not trust my gut.  That I had to weigh and measure every choice I made to the point of taking anything fun to a place of work.  “Every choice has good and bad consequences, so chose well.” I took it to the extreme.  I lost the ability to do this on a level that still allowed me to enjoy life.  

The few times in my life that I did not weigh the thing to death, I have now as some of my most cherished memories.  Even if I held back on a couple of things in the process.  The night I decided and then ultimately followed through to come the the University of Arizona from Iowa.   The night that my then boyfriend and I with another couple went to a movie and the “swimming” afterward.  The time I took a chance and did the “What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.  The time when my debt was higher than a ten story building, and I took the plunge to go on a cruise with my pathetic little tax return.  My decision to become the religion I have always been called to be, and live my spiritual life more authentically.  The night I went on the beer run.  The time I went on a dare for an evening with a friend to places I would not usually go.  Letting myself admit to loving someone, even if it was too late, but then honoring them in ways that they would be proud.  

These are the glue that makes my life worth living.  The times I have done things and not regretted them, and not over thought them, and have been in ways the things that most people do not know about with me.  That have been done without me hurting myself or others.  The things that are the authentic me, the child in me reaching out beyond the hard and difficult times that life demands we just sit down and slog through.  We spend so much time slogging that sometimes we forget to remember the glue that always allows us the energy to slog away.  

 

I feel a glue moment calling me.  I am not sure what it will be, but I guarantee you, it will be a good one.

Wealth and Life

Interesting that another very wealthy person is caught behaving, or at least talking, badly.  Sadly, the cynic in me says, “Maybe this is contrived to create drama either by the man or his mistress.”  But that and the racial angle have been beaten to death.

So what do I see….two well educated, accomplished and beautiful women caught in the trap.  The man is a poor, misunderstood soul…well if you listen to him.  Likely how he gets all his mistresses.  Again, this is not the news.  This has been the ploy since man decided to try to emulate eagles and other animals that mate for life.  The sad part of humanity is that it is the female of the species that aspires to this most of the time.  Only when the relationship is not based on ulterior motives can the male buy into this. 

And the big story is not about two women vying for a man who is not worthy of himself or them.  That is also an old and over done story.

What I see is the trap.  One we walk into by wanting too much and then more.  One that tells humans that their bank account and all the toys they can acquire define their worth.  The trap that tells someone that they are so valuable that they can defy the rules of society.  They have a right to see themselves as better, bigger and entitled.

The truth of entitlement.  It is not the poor person who worked for thirty plus years, then due to illness or injury, is forced to take disability.  Entitlement is, by definition, the idea that you are giving someone the right to do or receive something.  Period.  It is a  abused word.  One is not entitled, for instance, to receive Social Security.  This is a right to anyone who has paid into the system.  How much one receives should, in a just society, depend on what they paid in.  With the idea of entitlement, comes the idea that one due to their place in society, are able to take more than their fair share.  Royalty in the Middle Ages had the right to take a bride on her wedding night before her husband had sex with her.  THIS is entitlement.  And this is why the wealthy think, even in “enlightened” 2014, they can be racists, have mistresses, sire children and not have to help in any way to raise them.  Why they should be allowed to pay less tax than the poor working class person who may have a modest family of a wife, 2 children, and they can not afford the family dog. 

It is interesting to me, that statistically, the poor give more to charity than the wealthy.  That the person driving a fifteen year old car is more considerate in traffic than the person driving the newest BMW, or similar, auto.  Yet, who is “entitled” to the less expensive insurance rates? 

So who do we, or should we, give the right to do or receive the benefits in our society?  Should we not instead of judge this on their “bottom line” judge it on their moral line?  On their ability to by human to another?  We need to call our politicians on their misuse of the word entitlement.  If someone has paid into something, then they are entitled to the benefits of that product.  Especially when they are not allowed to chose to pay into something. 

Maybe, just maybe, then women would find their value from what they contribute to the world rather than from having made a sexual alliance with a wealthy man.  Maybe then all humans would behave better.  Ahh…..I am allowed to dream.

After….

After all this time, after all the events, after all the centuries, years, days, and still….it happens.  So sad.

 

The events in Overland Kansas were most likely well planned to a point.  The people killed were going about their day, when an undereducated man took their lives.  I still have to believe that if he had been better educated that his prejudice would have been less.  Pre judging is almost always done out of ignorance.  Out of superstition.  Out of fear that is misplaced.  And it is almost always acted out against innocent persons.  Like yesterday.  Want to bet he assumed (another pet peeve word for me) that he was killing only Jewish people?  Assume that anyone who goes to a JCC is Jewish, is like assuming anyone who goes to DES is poor (right?).

 

This was bad enough for one day.  Until I went to the local grocery store, and several young people – somewhere between 15 and 25 – were talking in line in front of me.  The conversation, which I just listened to due to not wanting to get into a fight, went like this.

 

“Dude, can you believe it?”

 

“What?”

 

“An old man shoot up those people today.”

 

“Wow.”

 

“Yeah, and he is a big shot.  Some new group called the KKK.”

 

“What does that stand for?”

 

“I guess it stands for Keep Killing Kids.”

 

“Wow dude.  Really.”

 

They left at this point and I just was in shock.  Is any history being taught to students in school.  The only good thing I can say is that maybe if they think that is what it means, they will stay away.  The scarey thing is that they are ripe, due to ignorance, to join a group like this and believe everything they are told, just because someone says something with a little authority, Says it based on a small incident with someone who is different than they are, and now start a group “against” that broadens the grievance to an entire population.  

 

That a KKK member, especially a past head of a group, would do something like this is not a big surprise.  It is disgusting, but not a surprise.  However, as much as we in the US believe that Germany has an obligation to teach about the Hitler era, we have the same obligation to teach about the era that breed the KKK.  And the things they really stand for.

 

As I checked out behind these kids, the lady at the register who was Black, looked at me and was shaking her head.  She is a regular, and we converse.  “Can you believe that?” she asked me.

 

“Unfortunately, yes, I can.  But I shouldn’t.”

 

No, absolutely.  We shouldn’t.  Not with all the afters in history.