|Magic by J. Binford-Bell|
Facing my 49th high school reunion. And not joyfully. As I have written in this blog before high school was painful. If I had to pick a theme for those years it would be Bill Cosby's words of God in his skit Noah: "How long can you tread water?"
Leaving aside the "events" of high school, which would have been rough at any age, there was just me and who I wasn't. I felt so not ready to be there. And I was so not there in so many ways because my focus had to be on home and taking care of my family. But I was also so painfully shy, full of fear and 16 going on 80. A told a counselor decades later that I felt as if I lived behind a plexiglass shield about three inches thick.
Mother said I was a late bloomer. I replied that by the time I bloomed the rest of the garden would be under a foot of snow.
College saved my life. College and being a military brat. I learned what a force march was way back in the second grade from my father the Lt.Col. You just keep putting one foot in front of another until . . . well until you arrive. The question is recognizing you have arrived. And sometimes that is only seen in the rear view mirror as you move on to the next destination.
I was not sure what it was about college that changed everything for me. No, I was not the star on campus, though I was way more popular than I had been in high school and didn't care about that like I thought I would. I was a great student though I was also like a pig in a truffle shop. I gobbled up knowledge without regard for my major and drove my advisers nuts. Mother would say I bloomed. I think I just came into my own. Like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz I finally realized I did have courage. And I learned to play!
I called college my second childhood though in reality I don't know that I had a first. I am not sure I have peaked yet but I know I am never going to entirely grow up. What artist does? I am secure in who I am most of the time but I am enamored of the quest be it for knowledge or perfection in my art or some new way of expressing what is inside of me. I am a seeker.
And my 49th high school reunion, the first I will have attended, will be about healing the wounds of those years. I used to say I wasn't going to one until I was a best selling author. But success is not a Mercedes, or being too thin and too rich. Success is in being me.