Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"I'm So Tired of Being Good!"

If you don't recognize the title, it's from "Crybaby."
It's also something I realized this morning.
I'm not tired of trying to be respectful, or treating people well (TRYING being the operative word here), but of being such a freakin' goody-goody.  Trying to figure out The Rules and then follow Them.  Of behaving.
It's not like I want to go out and knock over a liquor store or anything.  I just want to challenge things.  Shake 'em up a bit.  Ask questions.  Maybe cause other people ask questions.

I was watching a biopic about Stephen Hawking when I realized this.  HE didn't behave, or accept the status quo, or act like a good little boy.  Hell, he didn't even listen to his doctors and die, like he was supposed to!
I don't pretend to understand physics, but I've been fascinated with astronomy and space (and the possibility of time travel, natch) since I was little.  Not that I understand that well, either.  Although I used to.  Einstein's Theory of Relativity used to be so obvious to me, but I've lost that.  Seriously, I just GOT it.  What happened to that part of my brain? (Actually, I think I still understand it, but I have to think about it a bit first.)
Einstein was another fellow who questioned.
Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Galileo, Rosa Parks, even my own grandmother, who was the only female lawyer in D.C. in the late 1940's.  And the only person who would speak to the African-American elevator operator in her building, as well.  Of course, very few of her colleagues spoke to HER unless it was necessary...

I believe there are a lot of similarities between art and science. And that people who are passionate change the world. They don't behave.  They don't sit quietly. Me?  I'm scared at the prospect of demanding my daughter stay in her current school, even though the law says I have that right!
Because I'm so damn.GOOD.

I wasn't ALWAYS like this.  When I was a kid I tore around the neighborhood on my bike (or skateboard) without fear. I tore holes in my hours-old shoes.  I chased after squirrels and tried to pet them (poor things). And then I LEARNED.  That it was BAD.  Don't want to get singled out, or punished, or yelled at, or held after school.  G-d forbid anyone get mad at me or *gasp* DISAGREE with something I've said!
But then came the post-college years, the years when the people who'd hired me encouraged "misbehaving."  Questioning, arguing, and not always having the answers but being willing to look for them, and to listen. To know that I was interesting and beautiful, just by being who I am  And helping our students do and know the same.
Then came grad school, and I turned back into the Good Girl.  In. L.A., well, by now you all know what happened there.  And then I became a mom, and threw everything into taking care of my kids.  Then the diagnoses, and I tried to be The Perfect Mom.

I want to find the old feeling again.  One night, during a solstice celebration 19 years ago, a group of us, just for the fun of it, danced around to an impromptu drumbeat and howled at the moon, surrounded by candles.  And it WAS fun! I want to experience that again.  I want the feeling of racing down the hill on my Big Wheels, or hopping around on my Hoppity Horse (Best. Toy. Ever!), or cartwheeling everywhere I go instead of merely walking.  Or simply pitching myself off the top of a hill and rolling all the way down, landing in a giggling heap at the bottom. Or perhaps the best, impromptu mattress surfing down a hill with other so-called adults, getting even more people to join in after they've come outside to tell us to pipe down. (Including the bit where I did a running, flying leap, performed a perfect mid-air arch, and missed the mattress by 3 feet, doing a face plant into the grass.)

I'm tired of being afraid.  Of worrying.  Of creating nightmare scenarios that, let's be honest, rarely come true (thankfully, lol!).  Of having great adventures in my head but not in my life, like some kind of anxiety-riddled Walter Mitty.

When I watch people create, I want to do the same.  When I see them be brave and take risks, I want to do the same.  Life isn't about being quiet, unless that is what you want.  It's not about creating a six-pack or having a body or a face everyone envies.  Not for me.  It's not about beating everyone else at some kind of "game," or having a mansion, or lording my success over my friends.  Because the people who give a rip about that stuff AREN'T friends!
My friends do things like show up at my dad's memorial, even though we live on different coasts and haven't been in the same room in 14 years. Or with whom I can fall back into conversation, even online conversation, as if the 17 years apart never happened.  They know if they need me I'll be there, in whatever way I can.
When I hear people say they are "just friends," I think it must be a fairly shallow relationship.  Because friendship, true, real friendship, is a profound, deep connection.  It may not be sexual or romantic, but there is true love. I mean, sure, we have the friends who we go shopping with, or have a beer with, or just call when we want to hang out. But then there are the friends who've been there for years.

OK.  Well.  As often happens, I started on one subject and rolled into another.  Which is cool.  It is, after all, a blog, not the Great American Novel.
So, I think I'll finish here.
Gotta go to work.


P.S., If you have a chance to see a movie called "Third Star," do!  (I watched it on YouTube.) Just make sure you watch it through the end, an have some tissues handy.

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