Thursday, July 16, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now - Part II

"The voice of the intellect is a soft one,
but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing."
Sigmund Freud

As I was writing these final words on a blog post last week: "fulfilling a deep need I have to have a voice and be heard" an internal light bulb flashed on. Just as quickly life and a flu bug grabbed my attention and I never got back to my epiphany. The thought kept returning, however, so here I am trying to make sense of it.

A little background...
This may be a story I've already told, if so, please forgive the duplication and bear with me.

One of my most vivid childhood memories comes from the year I was 12. I was in the sixth grade. I was taller than my classmates, skinny and shapeless. My head resembled that of a coconut, due in part to one of my first visits to a beauty parlor without adult accompaniment. Okay so I probably didn't know what to ask for, but the the fact is also true that the hairdresser was not yet skilled in the 1960's style made popular by Vidal Sassoon. I think it was supposed to evoke a wispy, windblown look - something light and airy. Instead my cut looked more like the work of a child who experimented with scissors on her own head. With clumps of hair missing and others standing at attention like a Marine recruit, my mom and I had similar reactions. Think Edvard Munch scream. To top it all off I added my own bit of burgeoning flair by sweeping what hair I did have off my forehead with one of those stretchy headbands that looked like the ribbing from an old T-shirt. It's easy to see why fifty years later I still have hair issues.

Since my last name began with an R and I was above average in height, I usually found myself assigned to a seat in the back of the classroom. Unaware of my myopia and astigmatism until I failed my first eye exam, I taught myself how to squint just right to see the blackboard over the tops of my classmates' heads. On that first day of sixth grade, however, I threw caution to the wind and plopped myself down in the number one seat of row number one, unabashedly eager to learn. I hadn't yet developed my fears success or failure. When the teacher asked questions I forgot about the lack of hair on my head and the abundance of hair on my unshaven legs. I was the first to raise my hand. Because I was one of five at home competing for parental time and attention I think I had developed a quick trigger. I was excited to be called on and pleased to know the right answers.

Throughout the year I aced spelling tests, wrote stories, learned long division and practiced cursive writing. I don't think I was aware that I may be a little bit (okay, a lot) nerdy or that my classmates must have groaned every time they saw my hand go up. I soaked up learning like a sponge. I trusted myself and my abilities. My efforts were validated by straight A report cards and resplendent reports from a teacher who was impressed by me. I glowed in her delighted limelight.

Like War and Peace this story is too long for one sitting. I've decided to break it up for your benefit and mine.
Merry ME

1 comment:

Sorrow said...

Oh, I remember you!
you were the gal with the mile wide smile!
and So smart, while i hid in the back behind some one else praying I wouldn't be called on, because I was NEVER paying attention. I was off in my castle in the air...
okay, waiting for part III