First grade jarred me from my innocence. That’s when I learned society had expectations. It required me to measure up. I knew about the measuring tape and the door post. I knew my mom was five feet two inches tall and she was tall enough to reach the top of the refrigerator. This was big. Elementary School opened my grey-blue eyes another concept.
What did you get for Christmas? Where did you go for Summer vacation? These were the questions my teacher asked when we were in school. The fun camping trip or the week you spent with grandma became part of competition. Level up.
In second grade one child shouted she went to Disneyworld for summer vacation. My summer paled in my eyes even though it had been filled with staying up late with best friends and playing hide and seek with my cousins. I wasn’t enough. As you can see, my belief in scarcity started young.
Know your currency
My family owned two thriving businesses in our small town of 3000 or so people. None of that mattered to a first grader when it’s story time, though. I reached for a quick currency. The going rate of exchange for school kids was a story. It was how we were proving our worth at that moment. If I’d only seen a bear while camping, gosh darn it!
Fitting in isn’t quite as easy as picking a pair of shoes. You don’t point to a style and say yeah, I’ll take that in size 8. There are methods. But it’s not so simple when you’re six or even twelve. Maybe not when you’re 20. If you’re the queen, you know where to sit. You wear the crown, and people bow to you. There are rules. Royalty. You do what you do because – well, hell, you are you.
Collinsville thrived on its small town charm. Parades filled Main Street on cold holiday mornings with marching bands and paper flowers covered cars with trailing streamers. Friday nights meant a competitive football game or a movie in the theater. We had our regular early morning coffee drinkers at the restaurant. And those who liked to stay late at the bar down the street.
I might not have been tall like my brothers, but I could reach the cereal box on top of the refrigerator by dragging and standing on a nearby chair. It was this new type of measure that was difficult. So, I learned a new trick. I learned to tell my story. But now I know it’s much more than telling a good tale. It’s listening without worrying if your present was better than mine.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” John Rohn