Friday, July 9, 2010

Independence and My Favorite Things

I've never been quite normal.

I think this is a good thing -- but I suppose the jury's still out on that one.

At the core of my being I have an aversion to situations or people I believe to be undemocratic. I can't stand being around them. I crave freedom. During the summer between fourth and fifth grade I used to sit on the back porch with my mom and dad and watch television. Our back porch had many tall windows that opened out and the cool breeze and scent of pine wafted into the room. It was just glorious, sitting out there with my folks in my pajamas on those summer evenings watching our favorite shows -- The Democratic National Convention (we were rooting for Udall but were wooed by the zany Carters and, most especially, Jimmy's sweet smile)and this wonderful made-for-television series about Thomas Jefferson that was on every single night for a whole week! While my mother and father and I soaked in the spirit of democracy through our rickety old television set that received only CBS and NBC, my five teenage siblings were off on dates and mischief, my brother, Tommy, two years older joined us on the porch sometimes but generally was more interested in reading comic books and playing his drum set in his room upstairs.

Probably most fifth graders' idea of bliss isn't watching politics and historical fiction shows about the founding of our democracy and the authorship of the United States Constitution. But like I said to begin with; I've just never been quite right.

I suppose I came out of the womb a little abnormal. I must have; because when I was just two-years-old I broke my own arm during a gloriously stubborn expression of independence.

I had to go potty. We had a colonial home with bathrooms upstairs and in the basement, not on the first floor. Being that I was only two-years-old, my mother wanted to hold my hand while I was going up the stairs to get to the toilet. She was afraid I might fall. That hand-holding arrangement was not satisfactory to me. I wanted to walk up the stairs MY WAY I wanted to do it MY SELF. I sat down in indignation while my mother was still holding my hand. My little radius bone broke. I had the little plaster cast to remind me of this incident for many years.
My mother, who always got a kick out of my independence streak saved that cast for me and gave it to me in a little bag with some kindergarten drawings and childhood poems when I left the house to go to college.

I wasn't able to go away to school until a year and a half after I graduated from high school (Because I didn't have the money and because, having been more interested in the social aspects of school than anything else, I graduated with a 1.97 grade point average. Seriously, I had been such an academic misfit in our little public school system that by the time I graduated I pretty much thought I was an idiot. But working as a waitress all through the winter in my northern-Michigan hometown proved intolerable. I pretty much begged my way into college with tears and the whole nine yards. And again, miraculously, I was the first in my family to get a bachelor's degree. It took me six or seven years, I suppose. But eventually, I did it.)

I guess my mother saved that silly little plaster cast for me because she wanted me to remember my roots, the sort of daughter she had raised (incidentally, there were no report cards or math papers in that little bag of items my mother saved for me but there was a wonderful crayon drawing of a policeman in pajamas that I created at the mere age of three!).

As I've grown older, I've become more and more willing to ask for help and delegate. But I still like doing it my way. Always have, always will. We have opportunity here in the United States; we really, really do. I've always been aware of that and felt sort of responsible to try to make the most of it -- to get the most freedom possible for myself and others.

That's why I am reporting to you that I am not exactly discouraged about the fact that the poor journalist sold only one measly little insurance policy this week despite her heroic efforts.

The Poor Journalist (aka ME!) learned some things! Actually, I learned quite a few things (psst, writer friends: I think that change in person worked, don't you? This is the sort of thing we can do now with blogs given that we have no editors... but I'm open to your opinions, of course!).

And I have decided that DESPITE the fact that I have only $57 left to my name, a $40 phone bill and a need to buy gas and a few little food items, I am not DISCOURAGED! Nope. I refuse to go there. I have made a commitment to this project. I have decided on Aflac Supplemental Health Insurance as a product because I genuinely believe in it. I know I will be able to sell it -- and pretty soon, too. I am coming along with regard to my product and sales knowledge. I'm growing. I'm listening. I am willing. I'm learning from my mistakes.

I will not give up. No kidding. If it means selling insurance from a homeless shelter or literally living in my car -- I will not give up. Don't be afraid. I don't think it will get that desperate; I really don't. But the fact is, I'm the sort of person who really loves to be self sufficient. So if I found I really couldn't pay my rent, it actually might be more amenable for me to live in a homeless shelter than it would be to free load off of somebody. I have crashed on a few couches for a week here or there since losing my job as a journalist in 2005. But to do something like that for a whole month would be unbearable -- well, that is unless it was done through an organization such as couch surfing. Honestly, I don't think I will get there. But after the week I have had, it is good to remind myself that I have so many options before I will get to a point where I am willing to give up on my goal.

No kidding, I live in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Seriously, our homeless shelter is like luxury quarters compared to what many people live in in other parts of the world. They feed you. They let you stay for ninety days and during that time they support you with finding other low-income housing and provide you with all sorts of social services. I don't think I will ever end up there, I really don't. The weather is actually great now in Michigan for one thing. I would probably camp out somewhere before I ever did something like that. No kidding, I would do that before I would give up on my goal. I would live in my car or at a homeless shelter. I actually had a friend who did that in college. He lived in the woods in a tarp under a tree because he couldn't afford to live in the dorms. Extremely smart guy. Way too smart for Central Michigan University but he had just gone there for a year to kill time after finishing up his bachelor's in biochemistry and physics at Alma College in three years. One of my very best friends in college, this guy. Seriously, I've always been attracted to oddballs with a stubborn streak and a vision. I guess I am one.

Which leads me to the decision that I have made!

I am super excited about it!!! Please jump on the happiness bandwagon and don't feel sad about it. I know some people feel sorry for me. Don't! I am so glad not to be tied to a $10 an hour secretarial job. No kidding. This is the better way! It's a little nutty sometimes but it is the better way!


The next right thing for me as a newbie saleswoman is to sell my stuff since I have no options for taking anymore personal loans. I could borrow more money from my 80-year-old father whose health is failing. But I am just not willing to do that again. Instead, I am cleaning house....

Tomorrow... Saturday... I am going to unveil a cyber opportunity for my friends and family and any other interested parties. I am extending to the dear humans on this earth (drumroll) an opportunity to become delightfully engaged with the ownership of some of my favorite things!

In other words -- I'm having a Cyber Garage Sale!!! Right here in my blog. ETA Noon with additional items to be added later in the day as they become priced and photographed.

Seriously, my stuff is some of THE BEST most WONDERFUL and MOST QUIRKY STUFF around. And I'm just not attached to it anymore. Not at all. I love it, don't get me wrong. But it will tickle me to death to allow others to own it now that I'm embarking upon this new chapter of my life. I'll be making lots of money in a year or so. And then I'll be taking lots of trips -- and I'll acquire different cool quirky stuff.


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