Yes – I am a work in progress. But aren’t we all? Some of us are working on it harder than others. Some can hide it. Some can not. Some seem to be getting better. Some seem to be getting worse. I have been working diligently for years on my so-called progress. Quite often I wonder to myself how I am not further along in it than I am. But then, seemingly out of no where, I get a reality check, a faint scent in the air, an object, or even a shade of a certain color will send me into a long forgotten flashback of a memory. And yes, it does indeed happen in a flash.
I am out and about doing my thing, running errands, and I see a flimsy lock on a door. And bam! – there I am standing in my old awesome and cozy bedroom when I was in high school. My door is closed and locked. The tiny rectangular piece of gold metal on a hinge – lift it up slightly and flip it over the edge of my closed door. Instant security. That’s better! Because something had been bugging me that day my junior year in high school. Something was out of place in the kitchen. I didn’t do it. And my brother had moved out, my mother had moved out, and it took a little while to solve the mystery, but, I had realized that I had not seen my father in a few days. He had not been home. Something was different in the kitchen. If I didn’t move it, then who the heck did? I know that I did not move it. So, I felt better being in my room with the door locked. I hung out a bit, listened to music, The Eagles, Carol King and David Bowie, and decided to go to my next door neighbors to visit with my best friend. With my door still locked, I exited my bedroom through my open window. I had taken the screen off a long time ago and I found I sometimes felt more secure if I entered and left my home through my window. When I’d arrive home, if my dad’s car was not in the drive way, I’d enter my home through my bedroom window. I didn’t do it all the time, but, when I did, it simply made me feel better. A sence of security that I brought to myself. A choice I made. The thing is, it was a beautiful home on an amazing street with sidewalks fit for roller skating and bike riding and huge trees in front of every lovely house. It was a safe neighborhood and I knew every person who lived in every house on my block. But I never ever told my best friend next door, or my mom, or my dad, or even my boyfriend that when I was at home alone for a few days or a couple of weeks at a time, I felt lonely, afraid, insecure, worried and anxious and I woke up a lot in the middle of the night. Thank goodness I had my cat. She was by my side and in and out my window as well. I made a decision to deal with my feelings by locking my bedroom door and using my window to leave my home when I was home alone.
That was something I had to get over. We all have something we are making efforts to get over. I am an adult in this world who tried for years to get by on decisions I made to survive as a child. Bad idea. Coming up with a new way of survival takes time. At least for me it does. A lot of my new and old ideas seem to over lap for a while. During the over lap period different people have different survival kits. Some people have a shopping list and credit cards in their kit. Others, a stack of restaurant menus. For some, an adult film or two. As for me, I had the ever reliable six-pack of beer, or bottle of white wine, on ice. (Ok, maybe a little tequilla too.) The thing is, it does not matter what it is. For a while we don’t have a choice as to what it is. I believe that most of the time, this “it”, it finds us when we are floundering and lost. It is just that powerful. First we want it. And then we love it. Then we realize we should not do it so often. Stop it. Or, simply, get over it! But as I am finding my way, I just don’t like feeling lost.
I am mindful of the insightful sweet and clever movie “Big” with Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins, made in 1988. It is the story of a 12 year old boy who wishes to be big as he is standing at a magic wish machine. He wakes up the next morning and he finds himself in an adult body literally over night. In an endearing scene, Elizabeth Perkins character, who smokes cigarettes and has not been too happy with some choices in her life, spends the night at Tom Hanks character’s apartment (she does not know inside, he is only 12) as they are saying good night in his bunk beds, Tom Hanks, who is in the top bunk, lowers both his arms for her to see above her and holds his two hands closed in fists. She looks a little confused as to just what he is doing.
He quietly says to her, “Pick one.” He then opens the hand she picked.
He then says to her ever so kindly and gently, “It’s for you. It is a glow in the dark compass ring, so you won’t get lost.”
With a slight smile, she lets out a soft long sigh as she puts it on her finger. . . .
I did lose my direction for a while. But even when I am doubtful, I must remind myself that I have put new healthy items in my survival kit. I do have a compass and I have followed it for a long time and I have come a long way. Also, I no longer climb out of the window when I leave my home, I have reserved that for only in case of a fire.