Grandstanding: Dainty and Dexterous Displays of Principal Bareback Equitation

“Dear Jesus I pray for the ______ family. The mother passed away and it was right before ____’s sweet sixteen birthday. Be with their family Jesus. Amen.”

Sixth grade, Mr. Bosman’s class, my prayer said aloud. 

Mr. Bosman introduced the literature of CS Lewis to my world and helped form my songwriting skills as I attempted to write 100 hundred songs the summer after my year of “sincere prayers for others”. 

During this year, however, I began to grow an acute awareness of being “in” and being “out”. I tended and tilled to the observations and disparities between them and me. 

Prayers with phrases “sweet sixteen” and “dear Jesus” were not exactly extending their hands to the cool kids for friendship and acceptance.

Thus, I tapped into an intense craving within my soul to be located on the top tier of the Timothy Christian pyramid and until I was, life would seem terribly insecure. 

And it was. 

I would look, gawk, and become obsessed with the fittest of the pack and nightly put on imaginary dioramas of a life where I would be the nucleus of THEE group.

As these private peephole dreams  became part of my ritual to attain popularity, I also compromised, for the purpose of adapting, many sweet and endearingly honest things about myself.

My overly stimulated and multi-layered outfits from Marshall’s molted  into bland Stüssy shirts and stuffy sweaters from Abercrombie.

I tried Sketcher’s and got called a “poser” of the skaters.

I tried revealing some cleavage and got called a “poser” of the hot gals.

I tried being hilarious and got called a “blonde” or “clutz”.

Nevertheless I continued to mimic and configure my image into what would be revered as ‘oh so desireable and enviable’ by my class.

Slowly I cast away genuine expressions and sentiments about loving literature, God, and people…and, sadly I flippantly tossed aside wearing floral body suits that provided me with eye-popping wedgies as my baggy jeans hid it all.

These are the beautiful things that I gave up.

Yet.

Yet I still absolutely loved my live-in aunt who had Downs Syndrome and art that dangerously befriended  me and writing music which unearthed the secrets of “me”. Those facets were nearly inextricable from my personhood and unworthy of any type of degradation.

These pockets of tense-filled dilemmas of either abandoning self for the sake of being herded into a safe arena or choosing self with the ensuing emotions of emptiness and loneliness are inevitable and pivotal.

Walking into a crowded room with no one to call your name or being singled out with something shameful to bear or not being deemed as beautiful by those that somehow were given the ultimate criteria are painfully quiet moments that ring with reverberating dissonances of poorly used synthesizers and erratic cymbals, clashing.

The internal circus nightmare.

To silence the lion tamer and the ludicrous trapeze artists we must disown self for the preservation of normalcy, seeming solitude.

But it is not enough. We are haunted by our undealt with pasts.

Remember because,

there is mercy and great reasoning for what we have allowed ourselves to lose. There is strength to gain as we see how desperately willing we were to lose those parts of us, because now we can truly hope to become fuller–brave and unabashed by the quirks and glories of you and me.  Though, one has to recognize the other.

We cannot forget from whence we came.

No, we remember with kindness and understanding and from there we are emboldened, free, and unhindered by the stories that once asked us our lives.

Sometimes I still feel developmentally arrested in those middle school years. I can even hear my bra being snapped and feeling slightly disgusted, but more importantly happy that some nitwit went for my  double-hooked brassiere instead. 

Slowly, though, I realize the cost. At various moments that cost remains more than worth it and I cling to the cost like my identity was the cost and then, a disarmament of sorts invokes within me a puddle of adolescent tears, grieving loss.

And, I remember what was and what is and what could be–not just being “in” somewhere with some people, but being “near” to self and others, others and self and there we experience life abundantly.

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Filed under Anger, beauty, memento vivere, redemption, Uncategorized

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