Sometimes taking the high road is a pain in the ass.  Whatever happened to operating in a consequence-free environment?  Perhaps such a place doesn’t really exist at all.

Behaviorial curbing starts early.  Mrs. Bristol, a tall brunette with matte red lips and a lacquered beehive, stood over my shoulder in first grade and complimented my artistry with the crayons.  “Kimmy,” she said, her waxy red lips bouncing together like helium balloons, “you stay within the lines so perfectly.”  It was the first time she had singled me out; that she praised my self-imposed containment only reinforced my determination to stay on the straight and narrow.

It wasn’t hard to figure out how to manipulate adults.  As long as you do as you’re told, repress your natural instincts and defer to them in all things, they will leave you alone to your own devices.  Pretending to be good is just as acceptable as the real thing.  In fact, it’s probably better since you don’t have to surrender your soul.

This mummery can last indefinitely . . . and usually does, unless you start to question the value of social disconnection.  Staying hermetically sealed doesn’t really make for meaningful relationships.  However, opening up can be frightening, especially if you don’t recognize any of the people around you.   How did you manage to surround yourself with all these strangers?  Were you completely asleep at the wheel?

Once you realize how unwitting your involvement has been, then comes the tricky part:  Reconciling new understanding to the old model.  How will those around you react?  Will they find you as foreign? 

We’ve been told that change, however small, effects everyone.  Those affected by change have two choices, either to modify their own behavior, or to fall away.  It’s easy to become impatient with those balking at adjustment; they don’t see the need for it any better than the tiresome adults of our youth that never questioned rote learning. But we are no longer children; we don’t have the luxury of shutting down and walking away.

What is our moral responsibility to another who is stumbling to catch up?   Patient spoon-feeding at the expense of self?  Maybe it’s watchfulness, learning to stay fully present and alert to the signs which indicate a successful or failed transition.



  1. "Sister" Sara Says:

    No shit!
    Adults often have no idea how they program, set boundaries of identity and self worth for children who are still so new to the experience of living. Adults might as well say, “I’m uptight and repressed because of the grown ups that dumped their baggage on me as a child making me question my worth so I’ll just wipe it on you now since I’m older and have the power now…wha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Everything will be all right my dear, if you just do as I do, say as I say…now DANCE!” In an effort to find out who we really are, independent of this is to deprogram ourselves and to recapture our free spirited, artistic, fey hearts! For those who feel “unsettled” by the change in us as we go through the process of evolving, I would remind them that if they really cared about me, they perhaps ought to rejoice in the fact that I am emerging from an oh-so-tight cocoon on my way to becoming that which I was destined to be. If it doesn’t happen then it would be to the detriment of all to cheat the universe of a unique and splendid being. At this point, I don’t believe that someone else’s comfort level takes precedence. Just because we go through the process of our own adjustment and rediscovery doesn’t mean that we are threatening. What is threatening is the thought of squeezing back into that box, confining, and without light or air, constructed by so many others when we were vulnerable. Just thinking about how so many endeavored to “shape” me in their own image, as a child, and even now, instead of letting my own naturally unfold makes me want to scrub myself vigorously in a hot, hot shower!

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