Monday, June 7, 2010
Posted by LeAnn Stephenson
Hello everyone - It is good to be back after a couple weeks off. I feel all revived and junk and have lots to share with you in this coming week. But before I get started on all of that, I need us to go to a salad bar and talk about our feelings. Have I lost you? Let me explain . . . .
My little sister, Pauli, and I used to call each other up when we where in college and say, "I need a salad bar." This was little-sister-big-sister-code for I have a crisis and I need to talk about it over a salad (her) and a pizza and a beer or twelve (me).
A "Salad Bar" didn't always have to indicate trauma, sometimes it just meant our psyches were searching for truths, authenticity, or meaning. We would use this time to talk about dreams and goals or regrets and dissatisfaction with our lives as college students and young adults who were kinda-sorta out on our own making our way in the world.
All this introspective junk is probably the result of one of three things. The first being that I celebrated my 45th birthday yesterday, secondly that I have stopped taking my "happy pills," which, I'm sure, is glaringly apparent to you already and thirdly, I have made some new friends - Peri and his little sister, Mena . . . . Last name Pause. Without going into detail, this past year has been as wonderful and uplifting as it has been awful and stressful. Most people emerge from stressful times wiser and full of appreciation for what they have. I, unfortunately, have emerged pretty much just pissed-off and looking for someone to blame.
I, of course, am the only one responsible, which has lead me to make a survey of my life. Through all the "woulda-coulda-shouldas" I realized that maybe I'm not alone in the feeling, as though I've missed the mark somehow or have failed to do something I am so sure I was supposed to have done. So, on my birthday, I found myself asking, "Where did I go wrong?" "What is this life I find myself living - and why is so different from what I thought it would be?" And ultimately - "What can I do to make it more like the life I imagined as a child and a young adult?"
Please, don't get me wrong, I have a life that has been and is filled with so many riches and so much grace. I just can't help but feel that while I have dutifully served my life's routines, I have also suppressed a lot of what makes me, me. What I'm trying to convey, and probably not very successfully, is that I feel very one-sided, if you know what I mean. Frankly, I think a lot of these thoughts have come about because I'm writing a memoir about a few years in my childhood called Juanita Steve. Through this process of writing I have discovered how whole and full of potential I was as a child. Unfortunately, through the years of maturation, I have become so fractured and have developed quite an ego. Just yesterday I found a comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes that I had clipped from the newspaper years ago that I kept on my desk at work to remind me to keep an eye on just such a development. The first frame is the school bully telling Calvin that was going to pound him in gym class. The second frame is Calvin bowing up and yelling out to the long gone bully that, "Oh yeah?? I'd like to see you try it!!" The third frame is Calvin looking all wide-eyed and slapping his hands over his mouth. The final frame shows Calvin with is eyes closed tightly and fists clenched to his side thinking to himself - "My brain wishes my ego had call-waiting." All I can say is, "I feel ya' Calvin, been there got the t-shirt!"
So, I'm fairly sure I lost most of you back at "Hello" but, just in case I wanted to pose some questions to you that I have given myself the task of answering in a weekly Monday post called "If Life is a Salad Bar, Am I Anywhere Near The Croutons?" It will be a journal entry of sorts - kind of like an open invitation to "The Land of Too Much Information" mixed in with a lot of "so that happened and that's why I am the way I am." So, over the next several weeks I will attempt to answer the following questions for myself and if you are up for it maybe you could even share a crouton or two.
So, here are the questions I'll be addressing:
• What title would I give my life story?
• Have I had crossroads or turning points in my life?
• Have I had major disappointments and or losses in my life?
• Have I been a good friend?
• Is there balance in my attention to others and myself?
• What talents or abilities have I squandered?
See ya tomorrow with some marvelous goodies I discovered during my time off!
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