This is a continuing series that began on dailykos. The previous entries can be read here:
Notes In The Margins Part 10
Let me say a bit more about people pleasers. I have told you previously that I am not a counselor, a therapist, a psychologist, etc. All that I tell you is from my view point of how things affected me as I remember them, with insights gained over a lifetime of learned wisdom. And that might also be something to keep in mind:These are my memories of how I experienced things. . .surely the actual truth of things lies somewhere in the middle ground. These are merely the truth of my reactions.
I am also not a parent and I have no expertise in raising children. But it would be a strong suggestion of mine that as young as you can possibly start, allow and encourage your children to be who they are, even when who they are may change from moment to moment. When you have a strong sense of self you understand and learn how to be a decent person, but it is important you never feel you must do things that others want you to do just so you can feel accepted. I was fortunate. I never did anything really terribly wrong, but there were a few too close for comfort calls. I also had terrible judgment in whom I chose for relationships. Children will love being themselves if you encourage that in them. And what could anyone better choose to grow up with than knowing it is not only good to be who they are but it is worthy of love and acceptance even if it seems a bit at odds with what others may think. Yes, encourage the best qualities, but being different, in all the ways one can be different is really a wonderful thing.
Geri and I going to school and both of us working a varied number of part time jobs were often ships passing in the night. We never actually broke up or had conversations about so many things we should have had conversations about. It was just there and we became gradually less directly tied to each other, although we both held some idea that we were still together.
At the beginning of my Junior year, I switched my major and minor. Major now Psychology/ Secondary Education, minor Physical Education. There was a very thoughtful and serious reason for this. Basically, nothing really changed except a greater focus on Psych courses. By now I had become painfully aware that I did not want to teach PE. Not because there was anything wrong with that or that I wasn’t capable of teaching it, but because I loved sports so much I could not imagine myself at some Jr high or high school trying to teach young ladies to put real effort into a sport when their major concern was it would mess up their hair or makeup. I felt that would literally break my heart. And actually, I was very good at teaching the techniques of skills even if I was not very good at some of them myself. Seems a little strange, but I can still teach how to properly serve a tennis ball although I am terrible at executing it myself. Rules and strategies could be taught by any informed anyone, in my opinion. The other heavily considered thing was that I had an enormous need to feed my intellectual mind to a greater extent. I was hungry for more mental stimulation.
Being at University was absolutely me being in my element. A world of wonder and unending knowledge to encompass and discover was a world I loved beyond anything else. My elective classes were all over the map, music, art, sculpture, history, Japanese language, criminal justice, philosophy, law, meteorology, archeology, ancient libraries, Fortran programming. . .well, you get the picture. So many classes, so little time. It was always challenging to squeeze in required classes each semester. Indeed, I have spent all of my life going to school in one form or other. Much to my delight and much to a lot of disdain from others. I wish I had understood much earlier on that their opinion of me was none of my business. People pleasing made a lot of my life more difficult for me. Unnecessisarily so. There was a long learning curve on that one.
About this same time I did seek out some counseling sessions about why my life seemed so damn confusing and was being a lesbian really not a sickness or was I just in denial, and would I ever learn to get along with my parents, and, and, and. . .all the usual stuff of growing up and learning how to make it through this life. Although the counselor, Dr Malouf, was highly recommended and had an outstanding reputation as head of Psycho-Therapy at the University, he was absolutely the wrong choice for me. Of course miss smarty pants psych major knew about various therapy techniques, so I was greatly disappointed in our sessions when I found that he used non-directive therapy. As he practiced this discipline, it was, “How are things going? What do you want to talk about today?” followed by total silence. For an entire 55 minutes, absolute fucking uncomfortable silence. If I didn’t say anything, neither did he. I didn’t know how to talk about what I felt I needed to talk about. He didn’t draw me out, and I was still too shy to find my way into conversation with this intimidating and strange man.
Too many sessions passed with nothing of substance being said. I did manage to get a few things out. My concerns about my parents was answered and not discussed with, “At your parents ages they are not going to change. Quit trying to get them to see it from your point of view.” A mention of lesbians and mental health, “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. Some people are, some are not. Don’t worry about it.” I stopped going to these sessions wondering why I had wasted my time. It would take a few more years for the American Association of Psychiatry to remove homosexuality as a disorder or mental illness on its list, but I never ran into a psychologist ever that thought it was a disorder even then, at least not in private. Some hypocrisy going on there, eh?
Ten years a head of my time. Sigh. In ten years there would be Title 9 and sports scholarships for women and real inter-collegette competition. It would have been great. By those standards, I would have lettered in 5 sports. Perhaps I would not have been working odd hours washing test tubes in the cancer research lab, assisting at registration at the Registrar’s office, helping at intermittent times at the Library, teaching swimming, part time secretarial work, and after qualifying as a Regionally sanctioned Official in Volley Ball, Basketball and Softball, officiating county recreation and Mormon Church league women’s sports contests. Refereeing paid pretty well in those days, all things considered. On the other hand, schools would have been able to offer scholarships to so many talented women athletes that maybe I would not have been able to qualify for any of the teams. Who knows. The women’s sports teams did have the weirdly named “Sports Play Days.” We would rent a bus, buy our own uniforms, pay our own expenses and travel to different Universities for multi University competitions. The University did generously allow us to use some of the sports equipment. Beyond that, nothing.
So, I was on the varsity Basketball team, Volleyball team, Softball team, Field Hockey team and Track and Field team, all 4 years. I was overly mediocre in tennis, golf, badminton, competitive swimming and gymnastics. Those trips were the greatest fun ever. One of the best was a trip to Greely Colorado for a 6 University Field Hockey championship.
Field Hockey was not a sport taught in the Utah school systems at that time. We were a very inexperienced and wet behind the ears team. For most of us our University experience was the first time we had ever held a hockey stick or knew anything about the game. We had two women on the team that were from the East coast. One was very skilled at stick work and strategy. A star player. One was an average player. That was the total of our experience beyond our classes and practices. But we were the “Running Utes”, a descriptor used for a long time to define our men’s basketball team and their great success in executing the fast break.
We took to the sport with gusto and very few of us developed the real skill of excellent stick techniques, but we were enthusiastic and found that what we lacked in real skill, we could make up for by running our opponents into the ground. It was not a strategy that anyone else was employing. So we went through this double round robin of games over a three day event in Colorado surprised and flying high. The team from University of Colorado – Boulder was the reigning champ in the Western Region of the US. We were nobody.
It was one of those divinely “on fire” stretches of time. As we played team after team, we kept wining. I played goalie and I had the perfect protection for our goal: our two defensive full backs. I threatened them within an inch of their lives if they let anyone get by them from the opposing team. No team was able to get more than two shots on goal in any of the games we played. Gee, they were great defensive backs. Those few shots on goal I was able to save, and if you have ever seen a field hockey goal cage, imagine my 6′ tall frame covered in heavily padded protective gear and my wing span that allowed me to reach from side to side fingertips of each heavily gloved hand at the side edges of the cage. I ruled by size. Looking at the goal pretty much all you could see was me. A psychological advantage to be sure. Tee hee, a further intimidating by me was I did the warm up running laps of the field in full gear, which I never saw any other goalie do. . .it was definitely challenging to do, but worth it. I was not that great of a goalie, but we were only scored on once in the whole tournament. Great defense! And yes, the rag tag “Runnin Utes” took the championship undefeated. We sure as hell could run that 100 yard field.
The rest of the teams were shocked. Nobody was able to keep up with the running game we had. But we had a rowdy good time! In softball we were awesome. . .totally demolished the field at the University of New Mexico competition. And for some damn reason we could never defeat Utah State University in basketball. That would be because they had some really great players with great skills. Great times they were.
I detested every creative writing class I ever took. God! what a waste of time. But I kept taking the damn things hoping to learn something. I always knew how I was going to write, my style was me and I resented attempts to force me into speaking with a different voice or style. They tried. They were not successful. How these classes could be made so overwhelmingly boring was just mind boggling to me. The most part of my dissatisfaction with writing classes were the tight restraints on topics I could write on. At least “Critical Analysis of Poetry” had great poetry going for it.
Analyzing poetry is not exactly fun though. My view of poetry as a writer of such was that it speaks from the depths of the poet and to the heart and soul of the reader. . .or not. What any given person gets out of any particular poem is very, very subjective. It is also very subject to a wide variety of opinion or analysis.
I have a really strong guess that were anyone to read my poems 50 or 100 years after my death they might be very far off in knowing exactly where I was coming from, what was influencing me and in what ways. To look at the symbolism I use at varying times, I would be amazed if any could figure out why I chose any specific one and what it’s actual impact was meant to be. Pure speculation in my estimation. If they have the poet’s own documented description of what was meant by anything contained in a poem, I would likely take another view.
Analyzing structure, form and rhythm is technical stuff that hardly anyone cares about. Least of all me. But it is always good to understand the rules so that you can better decide if or how to break them. Very successful at that. And yes, I wear it as a badge of pride and honor. Here! watch me break the rules. That didn’t hurt much, now did it? Freedom is wonderful!!
Rebellious student? Well, yes. . .A disturbing element in the Universe, that’s my job here.
*What could possibly be coming next in this story? . . .Stints as: a New York Nanny, a Women’s prison guard, The US Army, A Medical Transcriptionist, An accounting clerk, a law student, a student of archetecture, a casino worker, a writing school representative, an employment agency consultant, An office manager, training and ordination as a Christian minister, Co-founder of an ecumenical church, Living in a tent in the high mountains for 4 months, a Union Officer and advocate, way too many years trying to kill my emotional pains with alcohol misuse, And some wonderful relationships with beautiful and interesting women. . . .more on my brother Kent, and an introduction to my younger brother, Ron. Yeah, I think there’s more you might find interesting if you care to continue. Wonder if we can figure out what I was searching for. . . . . . .