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Daily Reflection: When You Put Yourself Last….So Will Everyone Else

In Mental Bliss on April 16, 2011 at 2:50 am

When I was in pre-school and kindergarten, I went to a Montessori school taught by a former socialite named Mrs. Ringwood. Mrs. Ringwood was tall and graceful– she had been a ballet dancer in her younger years. However, she was no shrinking violet– she ruled with an iron fist– I was actually pretty scared of her. The golden rule prevailed in our classroom located in her huge white house. There was no hitting, fighting, or disrespect allowed. Name-calling would land you a time-out and we said grace before snack time (“God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food aaaaamen”). Her golden retriever Toby was our recess companion and I decided I would have my own Toby one day. Our classroom was a rainbow of diversity and I never registered that I was different. Mrs. Ringwood demanded that we treat each other well and we obeyed to avoid her wrath– thus order (for the most part) prevailed and we all got through the day unscathed. I always felt safe in Ringwood territory.  As an aside– she also used to dress beautifully, and to this day, she remains a classic style icon in my mind.

Two years later, I found myself in public school. This was a totally different ball game– it was like going from high tea to a frat party. The rules of etiquette no longer applied– if you looked different, dressed different, and did not fall into lock-step, punishment by peers prevailed. In my first week, a little girl let me know what she thought of my non-white complexion and my five-year old brain obtained a new wrinkle in regards to who I was. There was no Mrs. Ringwood to keep the peace– thus I spent the greater part of my secondary school years in a confused haze. I was abnormally tall, had really awful hair, and coke bottle glasses– naturally I was a walking target by adolescent standards.  I had a tendency to lay low and just take the punishment of my peers because I never really learned how to fight. I had been protected by Ringwood law and I was an only child– I never needed to.  Also with my Catholic/Sesame Street saturated upbringing, I always felt that  not turning the other cheek or contributing to the suffering of others would land me straight into the fiery depths of hell and earn me the disapproval of Big Bird. Ultimately, I developed a hard shell and became suspicious. I assumed that most people I met would treat me poorly and they always seemed to meet my low expectations.

Fifteen years after high school, I have come to realize that there are truly no devils and angels in this world. If you do not project that you are OK with yourself– others will not be OK with you either. If you do not give people the impression you have a handle on things– they will think you are incapable. If you think you are ugly– nobody will make you feel beautiful nor will any kind of cream, injection, surgery, or diet. If you do not value what you know– either will others. If you assume someone is bad– everything they do will be seen in that light. There are no Mrs. Ringwood regulators in the real world, and you cannot take for granted that others have been indoctrinated in Ringwood law. There are people who will probably step on your face no matter what you project– don’t take it personally– they just do not know any better. Pick your battles, protect your rights, and use your words. Overall, there are very few saints in this world– I do not care where you look. Most people are good, but people in general will treat you how you let them.  As a pseudo-adult, I think I have finally learned that I am my own best advocate and it is unreasonable to expect anyone else to be.

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  1. I miss you, and work was quiet, so found myself on your blog. This was an AWESOME post. I missed it the first time around what with being in the hospital and all the baby-craziness after.

    You need to blog more often. And you must have soooo much more material now! 🙂

    • Awww Narm– I miss you too– I was in Toronto around this time last year! Neelan is getting huge and cuter by the day! I need to start up again– I do have some things on my mind 😉

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