Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Temporarily detached, it's a good thing

Don't say yes if yes isn't the answer.  When the three friends with whom I went to Girl Scout camp raised their hands for the "wilderness experience" I know why I raised mine.  I would have been even more lost without them than I was, what seemed like miles away from all normal activities, through chaparral hiked every day, on the "roughing it" adventure that had me writing pleading letters home.  The main lodge, sadly, burned down in the middle of one night, all the girls from the main camp waking us up as they trudged the fire road to our location.  Everyone regrouped and waited for rescue.  My parents accused me of starting the fire.  It was not the end of my volunteering.  Not volunteer work, a worthy endeavor, but being somehow drawn into, let us say, situations.
Celluloid image of hapless volunteer.
Whatever inclination I once had for joining, for group activities with their blatant or more subtle pressures, has waned, evaporated.  We learn essential lessons among our fellows, whether family or school or voluntary groupings.  Unless things are dysfunctional beyond repair, we learn sharing and compromise, listening and even democratic process.  We learn to take turns.  If we continue to join, sign up, agree to too many tasks not of our choosing, we burn out.  Or, as with Scout camp, freak out.

It is taking me a lifetime to know myself, to realize that when a person or circumstance is a poor fit, there may be no fault.  That I do have strong friendships and enjoy company of my choosing may keep me from being a true loner or it may not.  I was comfortable and happy teaching rubber stamping techniques.  I enjoyed traveling about and the people I met were grand - store owners and students.  The same is true for store demonstrations where thinking on my feet, spontaneity, improvisation and doing more than one thing at a time was required.  The hidden portion of the iceberg that is prep time was what eventually wore me down.  Showing up was the easier, more fun part.  If a crowd gathered outside my door in the next ten minutes wanting to be shown color pencil shading, I could do that and enjoy it.  I would decline an invitation to teach anywhere at some future time, knowing the stress of sample-making, kit compiling and organizing materials would grind me to a nervous nub.

What opened the creaking door to these thoughts was Monday's brief post about the rain and my realization that one of the things I loved about that weather, when I didn't need to be out in it, was how is placed me in a small circle of self with everything else separate and beyond the rain.  While I lead what can only be called a very quiet life, there are further degrees of stillness, the rain's gift.  One March (that could have been February) afternoon was enough.  It brought restoration of a sort that ordinary contemplation doesn't offer.  While the storm could not end California's drought,  it gave me needed disengagement, it filled my well. 


RachelVB said...

Marylinn, we received the same rain as you. Well, much less of it, but the desert hadn't seen rain for 70 days and I'm glad to know we shared similar circumstances with the same storm. Because it's so sunny here all the time (I'm not complaining), I feel compelled to get out and be in the world, feel the warmth before it gets unbearably hot. When it's such a beautiful day outside it's hard to justify staying in. The rain last weekend forced it and it was exactly what I needed. Here's to more showers. xoxo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - I have enjoyed our mild, even warm winter, knowing it came with a price. And I've missed what I knew of winter in other years, especially childhood. We can hope seriously for spring rains and more excusable hiding out. I'll be thinking of you when the clouds return. xo

Kass said...

Lovely realizations. Rain can be so comforting. "...a small circle of self with everything else separate and beyond the rain." So nice.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. To me it is so comforting, so calming. Negative ions, they say, the health benefits of water. xo

Radish King said...

Oh this is exactly how I feel about the poetry/writing community. It does not exist for me. I have met it we did not get along I started fires everywhere and now I know I simply don't need it DO NOT. In spite of what FaceBook and almost every other writer on earth tells me.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Connections which once might have been, but were likely not ever, a good fit change. And that we have a way to identify with a group, a collective, does not make it a part of us or the reverse. Sometimes we take the best care of ourselves when we decline. And people tell us all sorts of things, doesn't make them true. xo