Tuesday, September 21, 2004

like a bowler who loves ballet

chuck used those words today and they touched a place in me of want and desire. i constantly feel like i'm on the inside looking out - observing, instead of participating. watching instead of doing. like a bowler who loves ballet.

i have realized that in my head i can dance and be graceful, but on the outside i'm uncoordinated, like a marionette in the hands of an unskilled puppeteer, my arms and legs don't move that way. there is little grace and flow.

i abhor bowling. i think it's great that other people love it, do it and find their needs met by bowling. to me it smacks of the great divide economically in the community in which i was raised. it was a form of the 'white trash country club' that i so wanted to distance myself from. it's returned in a retro chic that it never had in tourist town wisconsin growing up.

my friend's parents golfed and played tennis. graceful, outdoor games that spoke of skill and talent. my parents bowled, they were damn good at it, but it reminded me regularly of the shame of my low class heritage. i know it sounds ungrateful, bratty and even petulant. i'm not trying for that, only to get in touch with that place of shame that came from being a 'have not'.

i grew up with friends who's parents owned resorts, lived on lakes and had shiney cars and boats. i benefited from much of their wealth, but was always the outsider.

we drove the ugliest cars that american motors ever produced. the seafoam green rambler station wagon, the rust orange 4-door matador, the yellow gremlin and the baby blue pacer with woody sides. 'if it's good enough to put food on the table, it's good enough to drive' was the mantra my father reminded me of every time i slunk down in the back seat as we drove through town. ...like a bowler who loves ballet...

i have always been a large female too. even when i wasn't struggling with my weight, i was bigger than the other girls (and most of the boys too). i am 'solid' as my father used to say... he meant it as a compliment because i could play center and nobody could beat me under the boards. he said solid, i heard 'humongous'... like a bowler who loves ballet...

i am the shortest woman in my family. my sister, aunts and cousins all set me aside at 5'8" by inches. my size 10 1/2 feet are tiny compared to my mother's, sister's and cousin's size 12's. dad always said 'tall buildings need big foundations...' he always knew how to turn a phrase... ugh.

we come from large stock (poor pink...), and i married large stock. liam is 6'4' and i fit nicely into the bend of his arm. his size 15's dwarf my shoes lined up in the hallway, and his hands, oh his hands, when i place mine in his they look like children's hands. i adore his hands. he makes me feel more ballerina like, and less like the clumsy bowler.

breaking free of the shame i have imprisoned myself in is a huge part of my recovery. to find that woman, who might not be a ballerina, but can frolic and spin in her own way, to her own songs. i may never love bowling. but it is part of my heritage. it takes skill and talent. i may not appreciate it, but i can celebrate it in others. shame is a prison i must be free of. it's walls only stand because i allow them to.

jesus help me take them down brick by brick, bar by bar and break free from the chains that clasp around my ankles, so i might be able to jump and spin. i no longer need that prison to feel safe, i want to be outside, participating, not inside looking out anymore. please help me.

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