Have you seen the Seinfeld episode when Jerry puts on a pair of cowboy boots only to realize he looks utterly ridiculous? Kramer of course tried to convince him that he looked spiffy and said “You look like a cowboy…” Jerry’s quick reply,“I don’t wanna be a Cowboy!”
What was wrong with the boots…absolutely nothing, they just weren’t right for Jerry. They weren’t a good fit.
I’m sure you remember the question, “…and what do you want to be when you grow up?” This question was hurled at all us one time or another during our life, probably during grade school. My fourth grade teacher posed this question and took it a step further by requiring each student to share their answer. I hated it…didn’t like being put on the spot then and still dislike it today. Nope, flying under the radar is just fine by me. However, that was not an option and I nervously waited until it was my turn. In my last blog I wrote about my desire, as a child, to be like Bugs Bunny. Dare I say it…in front of the whole class? Would I say it….should I…? Of course I didn’t. Far be it from to me to want to become the laughing stock of Clara Hearne Elementary School. I wisely chose my answer and said, “t…..t……te…..tea…teacher.” I knew my peers would never chance a laugh and risk stirring Mrs. Parker’s ire, since she herself was a teacher. An angry Mrs. Parker was not a pleasant entity to behold. She was quick to punish her wayward students by banishing them to the dreaded hallway where they would occupy a straight backed chair, on display for the entire school.
I didn’t really want to be a teacher but it was the safe answer. Today, I often catch myself continuing this pattern of trying to wear a pair of shoes or don a hat that’s just not right for me. So many times in my life I’ve chosen the expected rather than the “fit.” Every time I did I found my true self died a little and I detested the disappointment that always flooded my psyche. I’ve done it so many time in my life that if I were to type them all I’m sure it would fill the hard drive of this computer. Lest you think me a mouse all my life, just let me say, there have been a few times (of which I am proud of) I chose to stay true to myself. Instead of selecting security I went with my heart and chose what truly fit me as a person. I’m not going to waste our time plodding over the choices I should have made, rather let me disburse the energy by sharing my moments of triumph. Sad to say the tally of the list is not that numerous, but the ones that really stick in mind are listed below for your reading pleasure:
A Year Ago: Trained and successfully ran a half marathon. (Albeit slow as a turtle, but I’m still proud)
2009: Leaving rural NC (only place I’d ever lived) at the age of 44, traveled north 775 miles to live in New Hampshire.
April 2006: Against all odds, I married Corinne, the love of my life.
2006: Falling in love with a presumable straight woman (Corinne) and having the guts to tell her.
Mid Life: Opened the door and peeked out of the “closet.”
First Grade: Walloping John Howard for pulling my pig-tails.
Still First Grade/Later the Same Day: Being a brave, strong little tyke, I resisted the urge to cry when banished to my room. (Can’t remember what I had done to deserve such punishment…maybe that cry baby John Howard tattled…?) Desperately, I wanted to play with Todd and Keith, my cousins, who were outside in the yard laughing and pointing fingers as my sad sack face stared out the window. I didn’t cry…nooooo sireee…instead I pressed two lily-white butt cheeks against the cold windowpane, and thought, “that’ll teach’em to laugh!” (YIKES…never ever told a soul…until now!) (See how special my readers are to me)
Here’s hoping I take the same spunk of a six year old and use it and wear-it-out during the second half of my life. As Sara Bareilles sings, “…Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out, honestly…I want to see you be brave!”
“I don’t wanna be a Cowboy!”
PS-For your viewing pleasure I’ve added the Seinfeld video below.