Last week I posted a story that mentioned my sixth grade classroom experience, and the poor girl, C, who picked her nose in front of us. I don’t know what happened to the rest of her life, but I do know she was institutionalized at some point, unable to socialize well.
I had a dream about C last night. The main action: I’m waiting in front of a college building and C comes downstairs. We link eyes, and she walks away, but returns to speak to me.
Our exchange showed me she developed some social skills.
But what does successful socialization mean?
My dream made me pause and consider my character. I can act like a bitch, and don’t even know it. I was not C’s sixth grade defender, didn’t go out of my way to be respectful. I’m not trying to be a saint, just a bit more compassionate.
Another situation confirms this. I found a 1973 audio tape of a shift from my morning talk radio show, The Tom and Prudence show in Eugene, Oregon, which was on the air for a year, morning banter between songs. The show was a ‘cutting edge’ concept in the radio world, male/female voices.
I sound young, and witty, sure, but also there’s a flippant and shallow edge. Forty years later, it’s a trip to listen to the young me.
I wasn’t socializing well during those radio days, grieving for my dead brother and father, smoking marijuana and drinking at night. I sound like I’m normal, but I was NOT.
My outside didn’t match how I felt inside. It’s took forty years to see how disconnected I was.
Like C, I tried to fit in. Certainly I had more social skills than C did, I didn’t pick my nose in public. There’s more to it
Meeting C again reminded me to be kinder, and I’m taking it to heart;
I don’t want to act a bitch anymore.
I was mean to a girl who was new at school at about the same age; didn’t do anything too aggressive, but said negative things about her to my friend who I knew would agree with me. The last laugh has been on me who called the new girl stupid, possibly retarded, as she went on to be a very successful lawyer.
It’s not so great to remember when we could have been nicer. Thank you for sharing about your experience, it makes me feel less lonely.