When I was 20, any semblance of balance in my life dissipated. My mother, my best friend, passed away; I had to sell my family home, which had been my rock and I moved from the Westcoast to NYC. I went to school and rehearsed in the Time Square Area, which was still filled with offers of “sex and smoke…”, the dance world was cut throat and not for the faint-of-heart, working sales and in the restaurant world to make ends meet, was not so much fun and NYC was still ripe with racial issues, that I had never overtly experienced. Even with all of this, I was hell-bent on pursuing my dream to become a dancer. Inherent in each of those steps mentioned, was a storehouse of negative stimuli. At some point I felt such an overload of negativity, that I placed a moratorium on my mainstream news watching and tear- jerking dramas. Instead, I beefed up (lol, do Vegans say vegged up?) my intake of comedy. For a period of time, my mantra was, “I don’t watch news…”. I had friends that were a little appalled; I was a bit appalled, but the message was loud and clear; “there are bad things in the world”. I didn’t want to live in the dark, but at the same time, every news show watched, seemed to present one valid piece of news and the remainder was negative crap to fill in the time. I used to complain that there should be a local newspaper of only good, hopeful news. I needed to store up on some good stuff. In Allan Loeb’s Things We Lost in the Fire- Benicio Del Toro’s character, Jerry, says to David Duchovny’s character Bri – “You know, you gotta accept the good, man…’cause they’re gonna make you accept the bad. You have everything any man would want. Accept the good, Bri. You have what I’ll never have.”
DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT THE GOOD
Ain’t it the truth? The negative gets shoved down our throats; somehow we can’t turn a blind eye to them. The negative we soak up automatically like kitty litter with does cat pee. We find it difficult to “accept the good”. When we are wishing help would come our way, assistance is a godsend, yet we are often so hesitant to accept it. Even the Bible, teaches us that it is “better to give than it is to receive”. Inherently we place shame in the act of receiving. Giving does not refer only to monetary assistance, though we often focus on this form, I guess since most of the world is lacking. The scope of giving reaches out to encompass far more than monetary assistance though. I wager to say that even in communities where money flows more ubiquitously, non-monetary assistance is much needed, a grandparent-like influence to spend time with one’s children regularly, or a friend who will come over and help us go through our moving boxes after a divorce. Unfortunately, many of us grow up with the understanding that these are things we should be able to handle ourselves; we should have a well-rooted extended family, unlimited time resources to shuttle our children around and still run a business and have our relationships in order with no need to bounce thoughts off of a friend.
WE ALL HAVE WORTH AND UNIQUE TALENTS
Everyone has different abilities. The ability to make money is highly revered, but we are individually capable of so much more. Howard Gardner created a theory which works on the premise that our culture and schools place far too much weight on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. Gardner lists eight plus areas in which people excel. As we heighten our awareness to the presence of these gifts, we can begin to imagine how much richer our world could be and how a larger part of our society could be utilized and would feel much more useful and recognized. We all have unique talents. Some people are financially astute, or have an amazing knack for decorating, some have the loving ability and patience to lend an unbiased ear or just to have a cleared away schedule to keep a friend company. For any one person to be amazing at everything, would be to be perfect. We already know this is impossible.
We are socialized to achieve that which is not possible, nor healthy though; we raise our children with the ultimate goal of producing self-sufficient, successful, healthy adults. The implication is that as children you need others in order to develop, but as adults, it is possible to exist independently. I think we need to take a closer look at how we marginalize perfectly useful, necessary members of our society. Let’s start coming up with more creative ways to utilize their talents. A healthier you = a healthier me!