Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Pond of Debbie Downer
Arriving on this planet, spit from the other place, I was comprised of a physical body, an active questioning mind and a joyful spirit. I didn't pop out of the birth canal depressed. At five, I ran giggling madly through my grandmother's garden, grabbing heads of hydrangea flowers. Wonderment oodled from my pores watching her humongous gold fish lumber through the abalone shell encrusted pond. At six, something awful happened and even then I didn't believe in joy-less living. Life moved from kaleidoscope to beige in minuscule droplets. Teaching moments I can now see in a rapid fire memory view finder, clattering past on a backward moving train.
"We don't do things that way Debbie."
"Good girls shouldn't talk of those things."
"God don't like ugly, so don't be ugly."
"This is right and that is wrong."
The lessons of life were passed down from generation to generation to generation, while I questioned and wondered until that was taken from me in slaps and pinches. I didn't come to this party depressed. I was taught that life is a soul sucking, demeaning struggle of endurance. Only those who had been taught the rules of the road would have the ability to drag themselves across the finish line. Those rugged individuals would then be granted access through the pearly gates to heaven.
"Do this the right way."
"Be a good girl."
"We know best."
I saw people who were hideously unhappy, put a smile on their face in public. These life concierges groaned through daily life, while passing the misery baton into bright little minds. New to planet Earth, I accepted their dictums, adding them to the trauma backpack. Up to that point, my depression muddied the waters, but not enough to overwhelm my pool of joy. Wonder beads still sparkled in the sun at infrequent intervals, during acting class, smoking pot with my best friend, making love in my first loving relationship. After childhood graduation, heading into the big world to care for myself, it became more difficult for light rays to hit joy drops. I ended up working in restaurants out of convenience not passion, paying the electric bill mostly on time, but groaning under the weight of the task backpack.
By the time I welcomed two small joy filled humans I was in full blown depression, ready to begin the baton hand off. I had mastered the to do list because I was a good girl.
"This is right and this is wrong."
Fortunately when my little pods of love hit five, I remembered who I really am.
What the fuck am I doing?
I looked at the backpack, opened it up and set it on fire.
I'm gonna live.
The intervening 15 years have been full of heartache, controversy and joy droplets. Today the pool sparkles on any given day, while I splash with lumbering gold fish and hydrangea blossoms.