Remember when you were a kid and you were into things like dinosaurs or cartoons or all things cats or unicorns or sports?
It was your life. One you got to create for the first time- on your own!
You became part of a tribe outside of the one you were born into. You became a celebrated explorer in your new community. It was your first taste of independence. You were learning a new language, secret codes, and in some cases clothing and new toys were involved.
With me it was astronomy.
I made it my mission to learn all about planets and and gravity, how stars were formed and the spectacular way they died. I hadn’t told anyone yet but I had made up my mind to be an astronaut.
I was about 10 years old.
At that time my Dad’s family were seeing a lot of each other and we were having dinner at our house.
I was carrying around my beat up copy of my favorite book about the constellations and my Dad called me over and said something like, ” ask her anything about astronomy”
So people did.
I answered a few questions and someone said. ” You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”
I felt very, very ashamed of myself. Which I’m sure was the idea.
” You know Anita, ” my Dad said ” you should learn to keep your mouth shut even if you know what the answer is.”
I remember going into my room.
I remember gathering up all of my books about astronomy
I don’t remember how I felt when I threw them out that night.
There were a couple if unfortunate results of what my Dad did that day.
The worst was that I would spend most of my life treating my intellect like the bastard child who shows up at the family reunion which is being held over the Christmas Holidays.
I played dumb, I wouldn’t participate in class or group discussions. If I had an opinion I might express it but I made sure I did it in such a way you’d never ask me for one again.
The second was, I let my drive to learn and write and my passion for reading be marginalized by what everyone else in my life was doing. I mean, why not. What was I doing that was so important?
Having a bad day?
Let me put this amazing book down to help you out of it.
Need someone to talk to?
Let me shut off this great piece of music so I can listen to you bitch about the jerks you live with and the fool who screwed your perfect day up at the grocery store.
Oh. You want me to stop writing so I can go shopping with you at the mall? Why the heck not?
Just like the way the tides are affected by the sun and the moon I let everyone else affect my writing or the time I set aside to catch up on my “science time”
The people in my life don’t know this is happening- just like the Moon or the Sun have no idea that they have an affect on the Earth’s oceans and bays. But I’m aware of it and it was up to me in the end to do something about it.
A few years ago I had to make some changes in the way I looked at my life because my depression had impacted and damaged it to the point that there was very little of “me” left.
I started to make it a point to care about how I spent my time and who I spent it with. I started to read and study again- and with that my writing developed in leaps and bounds. I even began to write Poetry- which to be honest is something I thought I would never do.
Now when I participate in conversations and relationships I really want to be there- as opposed to feeling like I washed up on someone’s curb after a hard rain.
None of that happened over night.
But it’s a start and I’m still hard at it.
And I’m making progress.
Daily Prompt: Tide