Monday, January 25, 2010

Like the Weather

"Do the thing you think you cannot do."

Eleanor Roosevelt

She was the Queen of Quotes. I have that quote magnet stuck to my refrigerator door along with her other quote: "Do one thing every day that scares you."

It has come to this: change or die. To not change would be to wither. My mantra for this year is "Have fun."

I do not want to go out in the rain. I've been holed up listening to the radio like it's the end of the world. I can't resist listening to WRXP even though the disc jockeys [all guys] don't have a clue. I listen like a thief stealing the good music and waiting out the duds because unfortunately there are too many duds.

Music: I've been listening to the FM radio since I was 12. As a sophomore in high school I listened to college radio. I listened to WSIA and WFMU when I was a teen though all the other girls would go dancing at the Park Villa on a Saturday night. I stayed home listening to the music. I loved the underground life because it was there I felt like I was accepted: a glorious misfit who did not have to pretend she was someone other than who she was.

Well: reflecting on then and now I don't feel like the odd girl out. I could be different and that doesn't matter to me after all these years because I don't covet other people's approval. It is lovely to have the option. Living your life left of the dial is as much an attitude as it is a lifestyle. You can live in the mainstream and still do your own thing. That is why I have this apartment: living solo I can listen to the radio and answer to no one. I answer only to God.

This irony: that by all outward appearances I fit in and OK I do value this because it has enabled me to branch out as a mental health activist. Were I still composed in garish theater makeup and dressed in odd clothes I could not do what I do because I would not be taken seriously. You join the world ultimately so that you can do your own thing. To be closed off to others is not healthy: isolating in your apartment or lying on the couch all day watching those Gilligan's Island re-runs. You reach out because you need other people in order to achieve your goals. You cannot go it alone for the rest of your life.

It is not a point of pride for me to feel I'm different. I put too fine a point on it talking all the time about my left of the dial philosophy. You must understand that you can live in the mainstream and at the same time live your life left of the dial. You couldn't really be a strange girl and be in other people's face about your weirdness. That's how I see it: I don't get off on being different.

It comes down to this: you and I must act as if we deserve respect in order to command a good kind of attention. You will not always be respected by everyone despite your best effort to model self-respect. That is not something to be concerned with. You just have to reject the stigma. You do that by joining the world. You act with courage to take risks to better yourself in your recovery. You do it for yourself and if accidentally others approve of you that is an unintended side effect.

Oh: in the other blog entry I touched on this: feelings of self-doubt that could creep up. The antidote is to be true to yourself so that you can attract other people into your life who will admire you for who you are. You don't have to be rich. You don't have to be the CEO of a corporation. You just have to be you.

So be true and be you.

Let the sun shine in your heart on this rainy day.

"A sunnier disposition has nothing to do with the weather" - to quote a Liz Claiborne print ad.


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