I remember it clearly: singing in the back of our dented up country squire station wagon. There are no seat belts and besides, I am not sitting in a seat. I am leaning back against the tire covers in what we called "the way back" above the spare tire, legs stretched out as I watch the world from the rear view window.
“Bye, bye ’71, come on ’72…” I was crafting lyrics and tune simultaneously as if there was no one else in the car. I don’t know what it means to be self-conscious, I just knew what it felt like to enjoy myself. I was singing and pondering, pondering and singing.
It is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I don’t have anything to concern me. I am in the fourth grade, the height of my childhood mountain. I am at the top of the heap of the school social hierarchy. I am in the smart kids group at school - we are called “Group A” and we take that naming seriously. Our elementary school ends at fourth grade, so this is it. Our year, my year THE year for all good things.
On the last day before Christmas vacation as they gave out greeting cards from the big box made especially for that purpose, my name was called more often than any other. So many more times the teacher couldn’t mask her incredulity.
I was the star of the class play Mrs. Santa's Christmas Gift. I played Mrs. Santa. I sang a solo in "Do You Hear What I Hear." I rang the bells in “Silver Bells.”
I have one more month of the Single Digits, one more month before I turn ten-years-old.
Life is a divine mystery and it is clear to me I do and will and will always have if not the answers I have the path to discover the answers.
This is the “before” shot, when my genius is secure in her standing.
She is confident - and that confidence is proven, consistently through successful endeavors and adventures.
She is capable - she is chosen for all the important elementary stuff. Even though she isn’t athletically gifted, she is consistently chosen even in the sports teams for her level of charisma if nothing else.
She is courageous - she sticks up for the underdog and risks her social standing to help the less fortunate kids have a chance to be valued. (This may be why she gets so many Christmas cards and Valentine cards. The in-crowd appreciates her and the out-crowd appreciates her even more.
This is before fifth grade when she is dumped by all her in-crowd friends for the first time, leaving her to fall in social stature right as puberty, braces, glasses and acne careen into her existence all at once.
For this moment, her genius shines, unperturbed and glistening.
This is the before.
The value of her genius is best inherited in the moments, days, weeks and months after. Her expression, her countenance shifted into serious focus as she climbs out of the rubble once the worst of the aftershocks have stopped.
So what is relevant about this now?
Look at it this way: this nine-year-old, completely comfortable with herself me IS still me. I just forget to access her brilliance sometimes. In my current project, my confidence, my capable nature and my courage will serve not only my project but it will serve to further my progress.
Confidence means I believe in the significance of my life work. If there is an earthquake and rocks fall into my path, I know I am capable to take a deep breath and clear them. Courage serves in boldness and tenacity, forthright action and the ability to move forward even in the dark.
This post was born from the inspiration from Dare to Excel, a mid-year application of what we've learned into our "what's next" from the folks at Tracking Wonder.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in Summer, 2015 and beyond.
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