Thursday, July 31, 2008

Powerful words

is this your life jackie brown?
poorly educated and forced to live
on the poor side of town
is this your daughter jackie brown?
this pretty little girl
in the worn out clothes
that have been hand me down
is this your wife jackie brown?
sad blue eyes
walking on eggshells so that you don't see her frown
is this your family jackie brown?

dream of vacationing on a mountain stream
and giving the world more than it gave you
what ugly truths, freedom brings
and it hasn't been very kind to you
is this your life jackie brown?

is this your meal jackie brown?
barely enough
i've seen people throw more than this out
is this your home jackie brown?
this three room shack
with no running water
and the bathroom out back
is this your grave jackie brown?
this little piece of limestone
that says another desperate man
took himself out
is this your dream jackie brown?

going nowhere and nowhere fast
we shame ourselves to watch people like this live
but who gives a damn about jackie brown?
just another lazy man who couldn't take what was his

one hell of a life jackie brown
forever more jackie brown
well amen and amen jackie brown

Many thanks to John Mellencamp for writing so powerfully that it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. I never really considered myself a "political" person (although I do admit to having a suitcase full of opinions on just about everything under the sun) but this song really does make me think. Makes me wonder if maybe I could be doing more for my fellow man. I hate seeing people suffer, especially children. We are so lucky to have a healthy girl and to be able to provide for her. She'll never likely know the pain of going hungry or the fear of wondering where she'll sleep at night. I just hope we can raise her to be aware of the world around her and to ensure that she wants to leave this world a little better than she found it. I know I sure do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Full Circle

I had dinner with a long time friend on the weekend (and by long time, I mean 30 years now) and was speaking with another "older" friend earlier this week and it got me to wondering about where I am now and how I got here.

Growing up in a small town, I was a pretty stereotypical nerd. I was smart, wore glasses and had the social skills of an overly enthusiastic dog. I just wanted people to like me and to recognize that I was cool or special or SOMETHING. Like a lot of young people, I was awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin.

By the time I was ready to enter high school, I was determined to be someone else. A better, cooler, less gawky version of myself. The me I could see in my mind's eye, not the doofus from earlier years. It was easier, I thought, to make the change then, since I wouldn't be constantly surrounded by the people I'd grown up with to that point. The high school was fed by ALL the public schools in town, so I could make new friends, be someone else and NO ONE would know any different.

As with most of the best laid plans, this grand scheme only sort of worked. I re-acquainted myself with some old friends from earlier public school years and was accepted as a larger part of their group. We had a lot of fun in that group - going to theme parks, cottage weekends, parties etc. I felt like part of a group, an accepted member. Things were good.

As I can see now, looking back, being a part of that group made me feel good, but it seriously stymied my forming other friendships in the school. Oh sure, I met a bunch of other people and they were fun and interesting, but I never really opened up to them or became tight friends with them since I already had my own group.

Since most of the gang were older, they all graduated and moved on before I did. Things changed, as they always do. We drifted. Some friendships were finally revealed to be the toxic wastelands that they really were. Some people dropped off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again.

By the time I was ready for university, I was done with the small town and ready to re-invent myself, yet again. This time I would get it right. I would be someone else entirely. Someone who didn't make mistakes with boys or treat people badly. Someone who wouldn't let others dictate the course of my life or try and manipulate me into being or doing something that wasn't really me. I swore that nothing would bring me back to that little town or that old me.

Fast forward a number of years: I've got great friends from my short stint in university, a friendship with my ex-husband and his family, a new relationship and a child of my own. I live in another small-ish town, but I did manage stay true to my never-going-home creedo.

It's amazing how much clearer things become with time, distance and maturity. I realize now that I really didn't have to leave to become someone else and that the memories of my youth really did create the me that I am now. Sure, if I could go back in time to visit a younger version of me, there are TONS of life lessons that I'd be sure to impart. If I could do that, however, I really doubt I'd be sitting here now, writing this.

What I have learned, however, is this. I didn't have to leave everyone and everything from that small town behind. I can and have re-kindled old friendships and they are rich and satisfying in ways that I never believed they could be. While you may not ever really be able to go home, I think, sometimes, you can bring bits of home to you. And that is truly a great thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So.......what's new???

Where to even begin?

Things in this corner of the universe have been pretty much status quo for the past little while. Get up, feed kid, take kid to daycare, come home, work for a while, pick kid up, eat dinner, bathe kid, read books about bears who are capable of space travel, put kid to bed, try and catch up on: email, friends, family, pile of books beside the bed, latest magazines, crosswords and sudokos and see what my better half has been doing. Pretty standard life I guess. Doesn't sound really very exciting when you lay it all out like that though, does it?

I think everyone goes through phases like this. The whole, wondering where things are going, asking if you're doing what you were meant to with your life, questioning "is this really all there is?" My life, as a whole, is actually pretty good. I'm gainfully employed, my family is healthy (not accounting for the odd bouts of crazy, but that's pretty standard) we have food and shelter which we can afford and generally speaking, really bad things haven't happened to any of us. Still, there is a very little part of me that pipes up on occasion and reminds me that I had always thought that my life would be more, well, interesting. Shouldn't I be famous by now? Won a Nobel prize for something? Found a cure for cancer at the very least?

Bah. Don't mind me. I'm just wallowing in a pit of boredom currently. No doubt there will be another family health scare or several more inches of water in my basement to amuse me in the very near future. Pretty sad that the only thing I have to whine about is how good my life is. We should all be so lucky.

Next week my mom will be here visiting. Can't wait to see what sort of adventures we have. Trips to the mall? Outings to the park? Maybe even a night out with my hubby?? Stay tuned!