Saturday, November 03, 2007

Five Four Things I’ve Quit aka post number 100

Have you noticed how CV Rick is a great source of MeMe’s? Every Saturday Rick post a MeMe, today’s an interesting offering, one I’d never have thought up myself, but delicious in concept and content. I will now apologize for the length, because it is long. But there are only four.

I’ve always been taught not to be a quitter. Winners don’t quit. What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. Okay that last one is a great saying.

So here is my stab at Five Four Things I’ve Quit.

Girls Scouts. Anyone who reads my blog, with any regularity, knows I loved being in Girl Scouts. Scouting laid a foundation in my life to attain my goals. It didn’t hurt that my mother was the leader for a large portion of the time I was in scouting. I learned nature craft, good work ethics, self-reliance, and outdoor skills. I learned a love and stewardship of this planet and the universe.

I began in Brownies, I remember loving a comradery with the girls in my troop. Girls I went to school with from kindergarten through tenth grade, girls who often didn’t speak to me outside of meetings, camping trips, and cookie sales. My mother was our leader through Juniors and Cadets. In my ninth grade year I moved into Seniors, my mother didn’t move with me. Neither did any of the girls in my troop, really how many high school co-eds did you know in high school?

The girls in my new troop had been together since the beginning, had their hierarchies formed; cliques that didn’t have room for the new geek in the group. I was seemingly on the outside, did things different than they did. I’d been to Summer Camp nine years in a row, I’d been to Gam, hell I was a Mariner and they were into gossip. I had been the number one cookie seller two years running in our branch, had done regional advertising campaigns. I was not them. I was not popular. I was forever odd man out. And my attitude was resented.

I loved Scouting. Having never been popular in school, I had always savored the comradery that Scouting had given me, and now it was gone. I loved camp and had been looking forward to a summer as a CIT (councilor in training), quitting scouting meant no summer camp. Walking away from scouts, in some respects, was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, in others one of the easiest.

Dance. All my life I’d wanted to dance. I’d begun tap dancing at age four, ballet at five. When those classes ended at first grade, I still danced. Really how many little girls do you know who don’t dance to their own tune? We danced a lot in Scouting, summer camp had given me a love for folk dancing, the Horah, the Maya (my favorite), country dances, high country, and dances I can’t remember.

In school dancing was a definite part of our education. Beginning in fourth grade with square dancing. Fifth grade we began adding folk dances into our repertoire. And by sixth grade it was ethnic dance. I loved to dance.

Both Benton (my junior high school) and La Mirada (my high school) offered dance. La Mirada offered a dance troupe. So I took not only PE, but two dance classes a day. I dreamt of dancing as a living. It never occurred to me that girls, bordering on six feet tall were not made to dance, they were made for Basketball.

Side note: I hate basketball. I cannot shoot hoops. Have never been able to shoot hoops, unless it was playing horse, and I was standing with my back to the net over the Taylor’s garage door. That was the whole sum of my talent and ability.

When I moved to Oregon there was no dancing. No dance teachers. No dance classes in school. Sadly, the high school refused to accept my dance class credits and I had to take night school and full course to make up for the credits in order to graduate.

Side note: After taking night classes and full course, the school and state decided my dance classes did count, and I graduated with 4.5 extra credits.

So maybe I didn’t quit dance, maybe it quit me. I tried going back in my thirties, but the skill was pretty much gone.

My first marriage. I’m not sure it is fair to say I quit my first marriage, but I did. One day, in my senior year, I was sitting in the back of the bus with a bunch of girls, when I spied a blue 1953 Chevy Panel Wagon. I’ve always had a soft spot for panel wagons. I was looking at the car, while all the girls were looking at the bad boy behind the wheel. Oohing and Ahhing over Bad Boy.

Damn, he was hot. And I loudly proclaimed I was going to marry him. Sheesh, I’d never even met him. Fast forward a year or so later, summer after my senior year and I ran into Bad Boy at the Fourth of July fireworks show. He struck up a conversation and asked for my phone number. I didn’t hear from him again.

Well not for three months or so. Then one day he walked into the restaurant where I was working and sat at one of my tables. It wasn’t by design, of that I am certain, he’d forgotten me. So I walked up to the table and said, “Should I still keep waiting for that phone call?” Yeah, I know, stupid.

Two weeks later we were living together. A year later we were married and preggers. Two years later we were in Germany, and it was suddenly evident he was an alcoholic. How I didn’t see it before was beyond me, because the evidence had always been there, I just had refused to see it. But now it was worse. He was suspicious when he didn’t need to be. He was abusive. And I’m pretty damn certain he had a girl friend named Denise on the side.

But marriage is a life long commitment, and stupid me loved him. We had a beautiful daughter together. He was in the Army, I was working for the CPO and finally had friends, but something was wrong. The first big indicator came when I woke up one night and he was sitting on my chest, choking me. He swore he’d never do it again, and I believed him. Don’t they all?

Life was better for maybe a month or two. One Sunday afternoon, watching tv, I asked him to chew with his mouth closed. God please chew with your mouth closed. It continued, and I hit him upside the head with a bowl of cornflakes. Out of the blue, no sign it was going to happen, no preconceived though process involved, suddenly my cornflakes and milk were running down the side of his head, into his ear and under his collar. He was understandably livid. I was mortified, I mean how shrewish? I was appalled. And then I started laughing, but he didn’t.

Side note: I now realize this was the first PMS episode someone in my life suffered through, but by far not the last. And that is not an excuse; it was an unforgivable action. Funny, but unforgivable.

It wasn’t much later that he asked for a divorce. I cried for a whole weekend, devastated that my marriage was apparently over. Which of my cousins was I going to turn into? What in the hell was I going to do? How the hell did this happen.

Then he said he was wrong (a theme in my life apparently) and wanted to try again. He could have said this three days earlier and saved me a weekend of crying, but I have now come to realize that for some men, me in tears is an aphrodisiac. Less than a week later I realized making up and trying again was a bad move and I decided to leave.

Me leaving him was not an option. Or at least he wasn’t going to make it easy. For three months he took every dollar of my paycheck, made my life living hell. But he was true to his word and bought both Psam’s and my plane tickets home. The night before our flight was to take off, he came home and pounded my head into our cement floor until I faked passing out.

Hair Dressing. Yes, I went to Beauty College. At the age of twenty-nine I went to Beauty College. Wow, twenty years ago. I had to drive 125 miles each day to school for over thirteen months, and never missed a day, and hour, a minute. I was the first in the school’s history to do this. I passed my boards and license exams with the highest scores to date for 1987 in the state.

Having a perfect record, the highest scores, and ability does not a hairdresser make. I lasted five years. Five years of people telling me things I considered myself better off for not knowing. I was divorced, again. I was working three jobs to make ends meet and fund our gym memberships. Raising a daughter by myself, again. And I was always exhausted. I didn’t enjoy the clientele. I did not enjoy the pressure. But I can give you a damn good haircut. In fact I cut my own hair.

I went full time into radio, and haven’t looked back.

What are your top quits? And do you regret them?


wry catcher said...

Wow. Those are some very good quits - particularly that marriage. Nice post, Cele. :-)

An Enlightened Fairy said...

WOW. You made light of the abuse, but I can only imagine how terrifying it was. God, I would want to do more than just hit him upside the head with a bowl of cornflakes. My husband does less than that and I find myself wanting to throw things at him.
I will have to post my "quits". This is a tough one...
Great post, babe!

Sideon said...

There's a site that is all about meme ideas - not sure if I have it bookmarked or not, but I'll try and find it. Regardless, I usually do meme's that others are doing or have done. Baaaah. I'm a sheep in that regard, except the last one, which was my own deal (the dream challenge), or unless I saw it somewhere and don't realize it's hardly an original idea.

Love your answers, Calista. The Beauty School thing... wow. All of your answers, actually. Pure wow.

Cele said...

Wry- thank you, I think you have to find a positive in every situation, from marriage number one I found strenght.

Faery - the sad part is I didn't want to hit him with the corn flakes, I just did. My PMS got extremely worse in marriage number two and turned me into a shrew before I went and had it diagnosed. I thought I was going insane. Wow, that is a blog in itself.

Sid - yep Beauty College. What the hell was I thinking? I do use the knowledge thought, I cut my own hair, Duckys, Burps, my parents, and my grandma's. Plus whoever else is needful. I give good hair.