Passing Through a Tight Place
One of the messages that Edgar Cayce had to say about dreams is that they point out the difference between how my higher self sees me and how my ego self sees me. Dreams are always trying to get us to let go of ego and grow into our higher selves. Nightmares are often caused by this clash between these two parts in each of us.
The ego just doesn’t want to let go to that higher self and the results show in fear, anger or depression! Loss of identity dreams especially seem to be related to this issue of ego letting go.
When we worry too much about things like money, status, job opportunities and people loving us, “loss of identity” dreams often kick in, reminding us that there is more to us than our ego identity.
How we think of ourselves is something that seems to be very important in dreamtime. I say this because so many of my dreams and those of my friends, students and colleagues who have shared their dreams with me note the theme of personal identity, or the loss of it, showing up in dreams—especially when we come to recognize our unique symbols or the commonly occurring symbols for this event.
I have to admit it was a long time before I recognized the symbol for what it meant in my dreams, even though I had the dream repeatedly over many years. In the dream I would lose my purse or have it stolen, usually by a bunch of bratty kids. I was aware enough to realize these nightmares usually occurred when I was worried about finances so I just assumed that’s all there was to it. Having the dream repeat over a period of time should have clued me in that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the dream. Here is a typical dream:
I go through a tight place but make it through. I realize I don’t have my purse. I go back to the tight place and see a lot of women have left their purses here going through this tight place.
Going through a tight place evokes the feeling of going through the birth canal, the transition to a new level of being or awareness. At the time of this dream I was just about to undergo a major spiritual event, a kundalini awakening. After doing this, I would realize I don’t have my purse. At the time, I had just come into an inheritance so money wasn’t an issue. So what did the purse mean? Sandra A. Thomson in Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary notes that it is related to identity. The purse holds one’s identity in the form of ID cards such as a driver’s license or passport. Going through such a major transition would cause me to lose the way I look at myself, my identity—which indeed happened to an enormous degree. The kundalini awakening had me undergo such physical, emotional and spiritual changes that I no longer recognized my “old self” on any of these dimensions. However, eventually I was led to experience the fact that at the core I am a being of energy and light, able to receive and transmit healing energy. I was being transformed. What a new spiritual identity! The dream was telling me that it wasn’t just me but there are many other women who experience this loss of identity when undergoing major transitions. The many women could be other women or other parts of myself. As it turned out, I ended up making many changes which totally changed my waking life identity as well. I left my career in IT consulting, moved to Hawaii, and became a writer, educator and life coach.
Thanks to Tracy Holczer for including us on The Secret Hum of a Daisy Blog Tour!
Blog Tour Schedule
We have something a little different for you -- a guide to planning your own book club, literacy cafe, or party centered around her debut middle grade novel. I recently had the privilege of attending Tracy's launch party and her friend threw her a beautiful, daisy-filled one. Your own event might not be as star-studded (a ton of our friendly neighborhood YA and MG authors were there) but that doesn't mean it can't be just as fun! Read on for our ideas, info about the book and author, as well as a giveaway!
About The Secret Hum of a Daisy
After the sudden death of her mother, twelve-year-old Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met in a small town she's never heard of. A town Mama left years before--with Grace in her belly and a bus ticket in her pocket--and never looked back. It doesn't take long before Grace desperately wants to leave, too.
Until she finds the first crane.
A mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on, takes Grace on a journey to find home. And it might just be closer than she thinks.
The Literacy Cafe
My good friend Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy
and I are in an adult YA book club that meets every month. Sure, we get together because we love discussing books, but we also get together because we love to hang out with friends and eat delicious food. Usually we theme the menu
around the book we have read. You can do that with this book, too! You would be surprised how often food helps spark discussion and recall of what happened in the book. This is part of what makes a literacy cafe such an interesting event to host and to attend.
Alyson usually does literacy cafes at schools, and to help students engage with the books they are reading and discussing, they sometimes do a writing exercise or craft activity related to the book. This helps make it not just memorable, but also creative and fun. (Note: I was planning to have photos of all the examples I was going to give, but this week just got away from me! I will add them into the post when I can get around to it.)
For resources, I have linked to websites I think might be helpful in case you want to find out more, or actually want to make my suggestion happen for yourself. If I wrote out all of the info here, this would be a very long post!
There are lots of foods mentioned in The Secret Hum of a Daisy
. Part of Grace's search for home involves some basic needs: food and shelter. (This would be a great lead-in to a discussion of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
.) Here are just a few:
- Soup (p. 119) - The Spoons Souperie is the diner in the town where Grace's mother grew up. Grace meets and gets to know various people here. Their menu has the usual: corn chowder, matzo ball, and split pea, but you can serve your favorite soup. Mine is beef and cabbage, with lots of pepper! You could also make it a potluck and have everyone bring their own soup to share. Just make sure someone brings some fresh-baked, crusty bread for dipping.
- Brownies (p. 146) Grace and her neighbor Jo have to bake brownies in the book, but they're not allowed to eat any! You can, though. Here is a basic recipe for brownies, but you can make them how you like: out of the box, with nuts or without, cakelike or fudgy. Blondies instead? I'm an edges kind of girl, myself. Once you know why they bake brownies in the book, you can talk about the choices Grace makes and how they lead up to brownies!
- Chocolate Toast (p. 210) I know the other one already has chocolate, but someone makes this for Grace. It has something chocolatey (Nutella? Cookie Butter Swirl? It's up to you to choose) and slices of banana on top. This is definitely a "Live to Eat" moment rather than an "Eat to Live" one. While you eat it, you might want to discuss what your favorite comfort food is. Does it remind you of a certain place where you are from, or where you felt at home? Does it remind you of a person who used to make it for you?
Poetry and writing
figure quite centrally in the story. There are lots of different things you can do depending on the interests your students/guests/group members have.
- Snippets Guessing Game - Have everyone bring in snippets of their favorite poetry to read out loud, and see if anyone else recognizes the poem or poet.
- Unsent Letters - Not everyone might want to share this with the group, and that's ok. Bring pens or pencils, paper, and envelopes to the event and have everyone write a short letter to someone else that they have wanted to write, but couldn't write before now. They can choose to share the letter, or keep it to themselves. They can choose to send the letter -- though it won't be unsent anymore!
- Answer Jars - Late in the story, someone shows Grace their answer jars -- Mason or canning jars filled with bits of words and phrases. When they can't decide on something, they reach into the jars for some answers. You can recycle jars or containers and use magazines or small pieces of paper to add your own answers.
Art and sculpture also are pivotal to the story. You don't need a lot of fancy equipment, just found objects, scratch paper, and the usual materials (scissors, Mod Podge or Gorilla glue depending on what you're working on, writing/painting utensils).
- Origami Cranes - The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a story about grief, but it is also about hope. Grace sees origami cranes as clues in a scavenger hunt like the ones her mom used to put together for her. You can learn to fold origami cranes with some patience and some perfectly square paper. While you're folding, discuss: where do you hope your cranes would lead you? (link to instructions)
- Found Objects - Grace's mom sculpts birds out of odds and ends. Maybe birds are not your thing, but what is? What's your power animal? Collect some bits and pieces, odds and ends, things that look interesting but maybe incomplete on their own. Get some Gorilla Glue if you're gluing smooth objects like plastic or metal and sculpt your penguin, bear, meerkat, or whatever you come up with.
- Self-Portrait - Grace isn't just searching for home, she's searching for her identity. She's trying to define the people around her, and trying to define herself now that her mother is gone. There are some great self-portrait ideas in the book. Try composing a shadow box: what would you put inside?
- Another Self-Portrait - Alternatively, start with a sturdy cardboard or masonite surface, then draw an outline or silhouette of your head. Now brainstorm some words that describe you... write, letter, or paste them onto the back half of your head (um, the illustration of it, not your actual head). Now go back to your stash of found objects and compose your face out of items that might fit. Glue them on, then stand back and admire your handiwork. It doesn't have to be perfect, but hopefully it's thoughtful and expressive, which is sometimes the most we can get out of life :)
I hope you enjoyed my ideas for hosting a literacy cafe or book club meeting with The Secret Hum of a Daisy. If you've read the book and would like to share more ideas, please leave a comment. Don't post any spoilers, please! I left out some of my ideas since they might give away some later plot points in the story that are better discovered by the reader on their own.
If you do host one, please take photos and share them! I'm sure Tracy would love to see them, too.
About The Author
lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, and two rather fluffy dogs named Buster and Molly. She has a deep love for the mountains where she grew up so she writes them into her stories.
A 2014 ABA Indies Introduce New Voices pick, her debut middle grade, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, was written in praise of both nature and family, and all that can be found if you're willing to hunt for treasure. It will be also be published by Konigskinder/Carlsen in Germany, fall 2015.
Find out more:
Buy the book:
Autographed copies (note request on the order or they won't know it needs to be autographed!) available at Once Upon a Time
in Montrose, CA
US only, ends May 20a Rafflecopter giveaway
Yesterday (September 24, 2012), Elizabeth Warren responded to Scott Brown's attack on her heritage by putting out an ad in which she rhetorically asks "What kid would?" ask her parents for documentation of her Native heritage.
Ms. Warren? Here's my answer. A Native kid who is part of her Nation would, that's who!
From her childhood, my kid knew what it meant to be Native, not in a "family lore" way like Elizabeth Warren, but in a day-in-and-day-out way where being a member or citizen of Nambe carries a responsibility to the Native community.
Several hundred years ago, our ancestors fought for our rights as nations. They prevailed in the face of enormous onslaughts of military might, but, they prevailed.
Our responsibility is to continue that fight.
Will you join us in that fight? Right now, your statements undermine our sovereignty.
And, by the way, since you have no idea what it means to be a citizen of a Native Nation, your outrage at Scott Brown's staff for their war whoops and tomahawk chops is superficial.
I'm a Democrat who makes phone calls and knocks on doors. I supported you until I learned of your claims. No more, Ms. Warren. My strongest allegiance is to my ancestors and the status of Native Nations. There are things you could do to regain my support and maybe the support of other Native people who have questioned what you are doing. And you know what sucks (pardon my use of that word)? Democrats need you to win your race so that things we care about are more attainable.
Scott Brown? You're as ignorant and racist as they come. You don't know what Native Americans look like.
3 Stars My Name is Rebecca Romm, Named after My Mother’s Mom Rachel Levy Lesser No. Pages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8 …………… …………………. Back Cover: Rebecca Elizabeth Romm was named after her late grandmother Rebecca. She is annoyed when everyone compares her to her mother’s mom, because all she wants is a name of [...]
By James Ker-Lindsay
There has rarely been a more interesting time to study secession. It is not just that the number of separatist movements appears to be growing, particularly in Europe, it is the fact that the international debate on the rights of people to determine their future, and pursue independence, seems to be on the verge of a many change. The calm debate over Scotland’s future, which builds on Canada’s approach towards Quebec, is a testament to the fact that a peaceful and democratic debate over separatism is possible. It may yet be the case that other European governments choose to adopt a similar approach; the most obvious cases being Spain and Belgium towards Catalonia and Flanders.
However, for the meanwhile, the British and Canadian examples remain very much the exception rather than the rule. In most cases, states still do everything possible to prevent parts of their territory from breaking away, often using force if necessary.
It is hardly surprising that most states have a deep aversion to secession. In part, this is driven by a sense of geographical and symbolic identity. A state has an image of itself, and the geographic boundaries of the state are seared onto the consciousness of the citizenry. For example, from an early age school pupils draw maps of their country. But the quest to preserve the borders of a country is rooted in a range of other factors. In some cases, the territory seeking to break away may hold mineral wealth, or historical and cultural riches. Sometimes secession is opposed because of fears that if one area is allowed to go its own way, other will follow.
For the most part, states are aided in their campaign to tackle separatism by international law and norms of international politics. While much has been made of the right to self-determination, the reality is that its application is extremely limited. Outside the context of decolonisation, this idea has almost always taken a backseat to the principle of the territorial integrity of states. This gives a country fighting a secessionist movement a massive advantage. Other countries rarely want to be seen to break ranks and recognise a state that has unilaterally seceded.
When a decision is taken to recognise unilateral declarations of independence, it is usually done by a state with close ethnic, political or strategic ties to the breakaway territory.Turkey’s recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are obvious examples. Even when other factors shape the decision, as happened in the case of Kosovo, which has been recognised by the United States and most of the European Union, considerable effort has been made by recognising states to present this as a unique case that should be seen as sitting outside of the accepted boundaries of established practice.
However, states facing a secessionist challenge cannot afford to be complacent. While there is a deep aversion to secession, there is always the danger that the passage of time will lead to the gradual acceptance of the situation on the ground. It is therefore important to wage a concerted campaign to reinforce a claim to sovereignty over the territory and prevent countries from recognising – or merely even unofficially engaging with – the breakaway territory.
At the same time, international organisations are also crucial battlegrounds. Membership of the United Nations, for example, has come to be seen as the ultimate proof that a state has been accepted by the wider international community. To a lesser extent, participation in other international and regional bodies, and even in sporting and cultural activities, can send the same message concerning international acceptance.
The British government’s decision to accept a referendum over Scotland’s future is still a rather unusual approach to the question of secession. Governments rarely accept the democratic right of a group of people living within its borders to pursue the creation of a new state. In most cases, the central authority seeks to keep the state together; and in doing so choosing to fight what can often be a prolonged campaign to prevent recognition or legitimisation by the wider international community.
James Ker-Lindsay is Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of The Foreign Policy of Counter Secession: Preventing the Recognition of Contested States (2012) and The Cyprus Problem: What Everyone Needs to Know (2011), and a number of other books on conflict, peace and security in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean.
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Face. is an international design agency with a global perspective and a focus on branding. Founded in 2006, Face. has already created some impressive designs that showcase their modernist flair. Although many of their pieces are done in a straightforward style, they keep it fresh with fun color palettes and intriguing typography. Having already created multiple offices across North America in their short life span, keep an eye on Face. for their next move.
Also worth viewing:
Laura Cattaneo aka Half Past Twelve
Sanna Annukka Shop
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Very sharp, intelligent identity work from Swedish-Australian-Parisian art director Hampus Jageland. It’s delightful to see work that combines striking minimalism with smart thinking. It’s one of those skills that is easy to identify but difficult to imitate.
Jageland’s work is witty and entertaining. I love the ease in which he communicates the essence of a concept — there’s a distinct visual payoff you receive when the mark does register.
Via Justin and FFFFOUND.
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Last night I went to a meeting of a book club which I have been invited to join. I have known some of its members, but not all. In being introduced, I learned that there is another woman in the group whose name is Alice. My head bobbed back a bit in surprise. Alice! Nobody I know, or have ever known, has been named Alice.
The lady I met was as shocked as I to meet another Alice. Well of course there are others: Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, Alice B. Toklas, member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early twentieth century, or Alice Paul, associated with furthering the suffrage movement for women, to name a few. The one thing we have in common is that we all are of a certain age and older.
It makes one realize that names are fashions of an era, just like the clothes we wear, the music to which we listen, the art we admire, the way we raise our kids, the values we hold, and the list goes on.
In my day girls had names like Nancy, Barbara, Elaine, Patricia, or Anne. Fast forward a couple of decades and you get names like Linda, Laura, Bonnie, Sue, or Kathy. Fast forward again to the names of today’s kids and you get Ashley, Laura, Bridget, and Emma.
As you probably read in Becoming Alice, I actually chose the name of Alice for myself. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. I chose it because my brother was dating a girl named Alys. In today’s world that name would be Allison. I don’t fit that name.
Most people don’t ever veer from choosing the names of the time for their babies. That’s why I have so much admiration for the young couple I know who had the courage to name their son Oscar.
Filed under: Becoming Alice
, Dating oneself
Sometimes I wonder if there is a connection between self-image and reality. When I reflect back to my childhood, there was a very strong connection between my self-image and the child that I was in reality. I thought I was not like other children and I wasn’t. I was this scared, funny-looking European kid going to school with a lot of happy American kids. I wrote about that in my memoir, Becoming Alice. Imagine how aweful these poor kids have it who suffer from anorexia when what they see in the mirror, a perfectly normal child, is percieved as a fat kid.
As time went on, my self-image and the person I was in real life became closer. I became an American adult. And the feelings of inferiority and lack of self-confidence went away. I was pretty much the person that I thought I was. It would be up to somebody else to tell me otherwise.
But now a chunk of years have gone by and I think that misconnect between self-image and reality is creeping up again. I still think of myself as a pretty average, normal, American adult. But now I often am reminded that I fall into another category. This incident made me become aware of that fact: I am sitting around at my athletic club having coffee with a group of girls/women (why is it that the older you get, the more likely it is that older women are called girls?) talking about this and that, nothing of great significance. I did notice, however, that most of these ladies with whom I play tennis are much younger than I am. I looked at one of them and was reminded that she wrote me a very nice note telling me how much she enjoyed reading Becoming Alice and that she figured I must be her mother’s age. Okay. And then the cute young thing sitting next to me remarked that she thinks it wonderful that I still play tennis … and she hopes she will be able to do the same thing when she is older.
There it is. There is that word older that doesn’t fit with my self-image. I don’t know what to do. What behaviors should I undertake to fit into that category of old. There is a glitch between my self-image and what other people think of me. I know what I must do. I think I shall just ignore them and keep my self-image as an average American adult.
Filed under: Becoming Alice
, self confidence
It's that time of year again--Cybils time! I'm a little late getting this plug in (you know--life and stuff interfering with my writing) but I wanted to mention it all the same. This will be my fourth year with the Cybils. After a year as a Round Two judge, I am back as a Round One panelist, which means a whole lot of reading and hopefully lots of great recommendations for this blog. I am
At The Kenyon Review website, Hilary Plum has been doing some excellent blogging about questions of empire, writing, canonicity, etc. I left a comment on one post that was mostly just me giving a short version of my canonical nationalism schtick, not because I thought the post was bad, but because the article Plum used as a basis for her thoughts annoyed me. (I wish I had made my gratitude for her own thinking clearer, but I was in a hurry, and it's internet, so...)
Most recently, she wrote a post titled "Writing American Empire" that collects a nice range of ideas about U.S. novelists and the lands the U.S. has been occupying, invading, bombing, etc. recently. Trying to summarize the different points of view would likely distort them, so I'll just exhort you to head over to the KR blog to see what it's all about. If you've ever felt either excited or queasy about the phrase "cultural appropriation", this is a discussion you should read.
Those who “choose to be gay” offer the disturbing possibility that attachments and affiliations can be chosen outside of state-sanctioned norms. That there are ways of living not envisioned in school textbooks. That how we choose to live matters just as much, if not more, than how we are supposed to live.
To choose what one “likes” over one’s “duty.”
By Eric Anderson
Sexual taboos are falling in Western cultures. Largely due to the Internet, today’s youth take a much more sex-positive view to what comes naturally. They have shed the fear and misconception of masturbation. They enjoy a hook-up culture, where sex is easier to come by; there is less of a double standard for women who also enjoying these freedoms. Pornography is commonplace, with most boys seeking it out around 11. It has withered from moralistic Victorian ideals of heterosexual, missionary ‘sex’ to LGBT pornography, which youth today view, demystifying what their parents so feared. This has even opened the development of heterosexual men receiving anal pleasuring.
Despite all of this social-sexual progress, our pornified culture has yet to erode the sexual taboo of engaging in — or even admitting to desperately wanting — sex with someone other than one’s monogamous partner. Monogamy is so esteemed it remains virtually compulsory in our relationships.
But despite its cultural esteem, there are faults with the practice; problems covered by a culture unwilling to ask critical questions about it. Monogamy’s regard is maintained through multiple, robust cultural myths in the forms of both a carrot and a stick.
Young men entering into romantic/sexual relationships are misled into thinking that monogamy is capable of providing them with a lifetime of sexual fulfilment and that if they truly loved their partners they would not desire others. This, we are told, is because monogamy is healthy, proper, moral, and natural. Anyone deviating from or challenging this script is stigmatized.
We must hold monogamy, not only cheating, to a critical light. We must expose the myths supporting monogamy, especially for young men who have grown up with easier access to sex, a panoply of pornography, and a greater number of sexual partners before finding love. Let us examine the stages of a monogamous relationship:
(1) Young men enter into romantic relationships believing in the myths of monogamy. Many men have come from families broken by cheating, and they don’t want to be ‘that guy.’ They believe that if they love their partners, they will be sexually satisfied with them in perpetuity.
(2) Despite this belief, sexual habituation sets in quickly. Attempts to spice-up one’s sex life normally occur about the time a couple enters into the emotional storming stage of a relationship: three months. But despite these attempts, the veracity and frequency of sex declines within a few months.
(3) The relentless urge to have sex with someone else grows stronger as the emotional strength of the relationship develops. Young men who fail to love their girlfriends or boyfriends aren’t compelled to stay with their partners. Instead, they are culturally free to leave their partners. But men don’t leave their partners because of waning sexual desires alone; they love their partners and do not wish to leave them. They simply want sex with someone else to fulfill their somatic desires while keeping their emotional relationships intact.
(4) Men begin to resent their partners. When every cell in their body is craving sex with someone else, monogamy begins to feel like sexual incarceration. Men want to escape, and, to some extent, their inability to do so is taken out on their partner, who is viewed as keeping them sexually incarcerated.
(5) Men must decide. Do they break up with their partners so they can have sex elsewhere? Tell their partners that they desire a sexually-open relationship? Discuss their sexual desires with their partners but not ask for an open-relation
New packaging and identity for Nuts.com (formerly “Nuts Online”) …designed by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut… [with a] logo and type based on his own hand-drawn alphabet, digitized by Jeremy Mickel. The identity is complemented with nut character illustrations by Christoph Niemann. (via Brand New: Nuts.fun)
Wanting something is entirely different from knowing what you are good at. I know a girl who admitted to cooking up blood pressure readings rather than admit she did not know how to, while she was volunteering at a doctor's office. She is doctor today. Someone with such an abhorrent paucity of integrity is a doctor only because her other sisters are. Its a public joke in our circle that we should avoid hospitals when any of these sisters are on duty. The point I am trying to make is this- its the 'being doctor' she wanted, not actually practicing the craft.I give her five years before she goes into depression or, God forbid, hurt a patient. Meeting that girl again made me more than slightly annoyed. Why do people do things for appearances? is that why they think they were born- to be what someone thinks is the right person to be? I know it takes a lot of emotional maturity and moral integrity to look for you within yourself. I did talk about this in my earlier blogs. Aim for something you want to do, not something you want to be. You want to play with fabric and cuts, be a designer. Do not do it for the bow at the runway. Join a political party because you want to work for the upliftment of the country, not solely to be a senator.
But this is about more than just a case of choosing an occupation solely for image. It is about our ability to recognize ourselves, and respect our own selves enough to follow our heart's dictates. And this brings me to something I have been trying to understand, or maybe just trying to put into a coherent thought. Who are we? Not as a community but as individuals. Each one of us is ONE person. It is not as facile as it sounds. Not us qua what our occupation or relationships define, but us in the raw; us with all extraneous layers are peeled off. The real person we are when we are alone.
I believe that if we can be exactly that same person when we are with others, it leaves a lot of tranquility and space in your mind and heart to discover other things in life. It leaves enough energy within yourself to learn new thing and grow as a human being.
How many of us behave differently in different crowds? Our reactions change when the recipient of those reactions changes. Of course, we act differently with a old friend than we would with someone we have just met, or treat a child differently from the elderly. But when our very style of interacting is dependent on who we are interacting with; when the tone, style and content dictated by the other person-then something is really missing within our own compass. It is not a simple question of civility, for genuine civility is independent of place, time and person (idea paraphrased from Rasha's essay :))
Everyone needs approval. It is a natural human need for approbation from family , friends and society. Everyone would like to be famous, but some do drastically crazy things to get attention. It is the same craziness whether Paris Hilton lifts her dress up enough to leave nothing to imagination, and assures her photo in a magazine, or whether I agonize if I should wear the same outfit to a lunch only because someone else might recognize a repeat.
The point I am trying to make is this: What you do must be only what you want or need to do, not what will make you appear 'cool or 'fun' or 'smart' or 'rich' or whatever else an empty soul might conjure up. Lets face it- your bag and shoes will garner a comment of admiration, or maybe derision, but you are the one who wears them-so you should be the one who is comfortable with them.
Your identity is two-fold. It is a perfect state when both parts are in synchrony. One part is what you know of yourself, and the second is what is perceived of you. If you do not know the first enough to be true to yourself, or if you do not accept the persona you are, the second part- the identity you present to others- is going to be an ineffective artifice. The identity is ideal only if the person you project is
Blog: Some Novel Ideas
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, Rob Lowe
, Teachers Challenge
, Teachers Challenge Activity #4
, The Columbus Academy
, The Outsiders
, Add a tag
By: Stacy Nockowitz,
The hideous attempt at a PicassoHead of myself is at left. In the past, my students have absolutely loved this kooky web tool, so when it was suggested to make an avatar using it, I thought I'd have fun. Well, sure, it's fun when you want to make something weird and wild, but making an avatar for oneself? More like humiliating. Just to clarify, I don't look like that.
But in creating this (Teacher Challenge Activity #4), I started thinking about how I identify myself on the web. Sometimes, my avatar is a stack of books. Other times, I use the shield of my school. And then there are the times when I use a picture of all the cute guys from "The Outsiders" movie. Oh, and on Tweetdeck, I use an actual picture of myself (a terrible mistake that I addressed in an earlier post). That error in judgement aside, I can say that I generally identify myself as a book lover, a proud member of The Columbus Academy community (even more proud if we have a snow day tomorrow), and someone who has been kind of obsessed with The Outsiders for about 20 years.
Now, I'm not going to say that those three things tell you everything about me, not even close. I am also a great mom, a fabulous wife, a cancer survivor, an art aficionado, a writer, and a teacher. But those three things- books, the CA shield, and The Outsiders, are a good place to start if you're trying to understand me. My avatars are a metaphor for my identity. I am not just one thing, but an amalgamation of lots of things. Some days, I am that book lover, and I feel that being a librarian is the complete embodiment of who I am. Sometimes, I am my school. It is my home, a place of love and true joy for me. And then there are the times when I am just a nostalgic 80s girl. One who still, yes, still has a chance to nab Rob Lowe.
So, pay no attention to the picture at top left. That's not my avatar. That's not how I would ever identify myself. Instead, I present myself to you as:
My little granddaughter is twelve years old right now and entering her teenage years. She already has a group of girl friends that mean the world to her. I remember raising my own girls and learning that when in the full bloom of adolescence, their friends meant more to them than their parents.
I got to thinking about the fact that most people want to be liked … throughout their lifetime. But the intensity of that desire seems to change in a bell-shaped curve during a person’s life span.
Think about kids in nursery school who relate to one another in terms of playing with a toy or fighting over the possession of a toy. They ususally want to have things going their way … at all costs without worrying about how the other might feel about them. Forget about being liked.
As the years pass, they begin to start wanting to be both liked and respected. They want their classmates to think of them as “nice” or “smart” or “good athletes” or “good at the trombone,” etc. etc. In adolescence being liked is linked to being “cute,” “beautiful,” “a hunk,” “popular,” and “part of the in-group.” Being respected has not yet become a big deal. The most brilliant kid in the class could be a “nerd.”
Then in adulthood, being respected is as important as being liked. It involves ones success in whatever career they may have, as a breadwinner or homemaker/stay-at-home-mom. One alone is not enough to achieve happiness. The most brilliant, respected doctor who is disliked by his patients isn’t going to get very far. And the “nicest” guy in the neighborhood who can’t keep a job to support his family also has a problem.
Then there is old age. Of course, if you haven’t enough money to retire and take care of yourself, you aren’t in very good shape, no matter how “nice” you are. But if you are are okay financially, you probably don’t give a hoot if people like you or not. Take a look at all the “grumpy old men” out there who are forgiven their behavior because of their age. Or, the “old biddies” who are accepted as they are.
I guess the lesson learned is that if you are lucky enough to make it into old age, it doesn’t really matter if others like you or not. Hope I get there someday!
Filed under: Identity
, self confidence
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