Candy Coated History, Middle Age Cowardice, and Don’t Call Me by My Name

I don’t remember seeing anything remotely like this anywhere in Marion, but then this postcard likely was from the early 20th century.  There were some most beautiful parks and avenues there back in the day, but by the time I was capable of conscious thought the decline was well underway. 

Perhaps I am as guilty as anyone else of viewing the past through a rose-colored lens.  There were definitely aspects of my past that completely sucked and I am the first to admit it.  Even so, I can’t help but to think there is something wired into our brains to make us see the past with a more positive slant that it deserves. 

The grass was greener/ The light was brighter/ With friends surrounded/The nights of wonder” – Pink Floyd- “High Hopes”

I don’t think the grass or the light have been doing the changing.  I am the one who has changed.  My vision is dimming.  I don’t get to see the friends who were so much a part of my world, and as far as “nights of wonder” go, suffice to say that it’s been a very long time.  Way too long, even though I know that love is an illusion.  The moment was sweet, but the requiem is long and bitter and loaded with longing and regret. 

The suckiest thing about middle age is that it’s so easy to become blase and jaded.  I have to admit that’s partially my own fault, because I do tend to be guarded.  The drawback of safety is that it’s not all that much fun, but when you’ve been wounded in the ways I’ve been, stepping out and taking chances beyond the cycle of daily routine is terrifying.  I’ve seen more than enough rejection and failure in my lifetime, and that fear makes me wary.

Anything worth doing is worth sacrificing everything for.  I could only pray that I could get to the point where I could love without fear and where I could garner the courage to stand and not be tempted to run back to the ivory tower at every hint of a threat.  I am not even remotely close to that goal.

I’m a coward.  I admit it.  I’m afraid to fail.  I’m afraid to face up to my own inadequacies.  I’m afraid to stand up to those who would control me.  I put up with a lot of crap I shouldn’t because I’m afraid to stand my ground even when I know I’m right. 

I don’t have an easy answer.  In fact, I don’t have an answer at all. 

At one time I used to believe that if only I had enough money I could solve all my problems.  I think that’s the biggest lie that society attempts to drill into people’s heads.  Although I would have a lot less stress if I were in a better financial situation, money only buys one the misery one likes the best.  I see all these celebrities in the news and they are more screwed up than I am- in spite of their money, influence and power.  I don’t think I would refuse money if I would ever have the good fortune to come into it (it would be nice to go on a Cougar Cruise, it would be lovely to have all my superfluous body hair removed, as well as it would be nice to have an indoor pool) but I will still be the same unlovely, awkward, geeky kid that no one likes and everyone makes fun of.   I may not do much for the betterment of society, although if you stick around long enough, I may expand your vocabulary.

On the brighter side, I’m not much of a social butterfly to begin with.

One thing that does bother me about kids is they don’t show much respect toward their elders.  Granted, a lot of elders don’t deserve a whole lot of respect, but it’s the principle.  I can’t remember ever referring to adults by their first names when I was a kid.  So-and-so’s mother was always “Mrs. Johnson,” never “Gladys,” or whatever her first name was, even if you knew her first name.  Kids simply did not address adults by their first names.  Steve-o’s friends generally just referred to me as, “Hey, You,” or if they were feeling really formal, “Hey, Stephan’s Mom.”  I can only remember one of them referring to me as “Mrs. Price,” and I think that was only because he was in front of his mother. 

In some ways I can see where it would be confusing for kids because most of them don’t have the same last name as the parental units they are currently habitating with. They can’t assume that because Jeremy’s last name is Wilson that his Mom’s last name is Wilson.  Her last name could be Fartknocker, or Sanchez, or Wang,  for all the poor kids know, and she might be on Jeremy’s Step Dad #4.  I guess one can’t expect the kids to keep the other kids’ parents’ last names straight.  There are days when I’m lucky to remember my own name, but I have the advantage of being able to use my advanced age as an excuse for memory loss.

I guess I don’t care what the kids call me (one of Steve-o’s friends refers to me simply as “The Cougar”) as long as they pretty much abide by my rules and stay civil in my house.  Empty your ashtrays,  dispose of your Mountain Dew bottles and used prophylactics in the proper manner, and I’ll have no real problems with you whether you can remember my name or not.  I’ve never liked my first name, and being called Mrs. anything  just reminds me a.) that I’m old, and b.) to remind myself that I’m not my mother-in-law. 

It’s easier to say it than to live by it, but when all is said and done, the greater part of humanity is cordially invited to kiss my behind.  I know it’s human nature to seek approval, but it’s my nature to be selective regarding whose approval I care about seeking.

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