you said, then walked in.
not knowing what that meant,
watched you take a seat.
You hardly spoke
as you waited
for a roommate.
assumed too much,
noticed too little.
Hardly speaking didn’t mean
never knew what those words would mean
I went to my room for a textbook,
somehow an invitation
was stunned when you were suddenly
Your silent presence
shoved me on my bed, my back
shouted “Stop!” at the hands
You laughed, I still hear it,
while rolling me over
began to cry my no’s when I knew
what he was about to do
My clothes pulled off,
a carnal sacrifice offered just
a virgin, destroyed by what was done
You stood there tucking in your shirt,
watching me cry in devastation.
I was nothing.
“This wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t so pretty,” you said
I stood in scalding hot water,
washing you off of me.
went down the drain.
went down the drown.
Nothing but the water mattered
it has been years since and
your words don’t own me.
there is no you to me.
there is just me
Even though people will either annoy or terrify me depending on the day, I readily admit I am fascinated by how we work. I don’t necessarily mean the biological mechanics of our bodies because most of that is filed under the “gross” category, but I mean the psychological and sociological ways we interact with not only each other but ourselves. In reality, we really are all living Lincoln Logs trying to fit and get along with each other just so we can build a cabin in and not be eaten by wolves. Obviously this is why applying social identity theory to Napoleon Dynamite makes total sense to me.
Like any movie, Napoleon Dynamite has its share of lovers and haters. However, it seems as if when I find myself in conversations about my favorite wolverine hunter, the movie becomes a heated topic. What is it about this film that causes such an emotional response I have actually seen high school friends delete other people from Facebook because over it? If we can’t even have civilized conversations over whether or not it’s okay for some people to laugh over Napoleon needing Chapstick, then what can we talk about?
I had to understand this mystery so of course I went to my understanding of social identity theory and its hypothesis regarding of in-group/out-group dynamics. Simply defined, social identity theory is an individual’s sense of Self based on his or her group membership because this membership provides a feeling of self-worth and esteem. This is what gives us a feeling of identity, or belonging, to the world. In order to enhance our self-image, we then begin to add achievement badges to the group we belong to by enhancing it (“My team is better than that team. My school is better.”) or by making comparisons (“Republicans are heartless rich jerks. Kids today are lazy.”).
Cognitively, we naturally sort things because our brains are designed to do categorize. Social identity theory basically states that the in-group (Us) will discriminate against the out-group (Them) in order to enhance their status, thereby improving each individual’s sense of belonging to the world.
At this point, I was nerd-gasming all over the place because I wondered if this was what it was like to solve math problems on the first attempt.
There had to be something in common with all the people who loved Napoleon Dynamite and those who hated it since it appeared, to me, there were not many who fell in the middle. Who are these people? The people who were popular in high school and those who were not. Before I get hate mail, let me remind people: 1) Don’t rain on my Nerd Parade, and 2) Obviously, I speak in generalities. “GOSH!”
My observation, then, is that three types of people who hate this movie:
The “popular kids” in high school and think they still are — We know these people. I don’t even have to go into detail because we know them that well. But these are the people who live in fear that they will wake up one morning and see what we see, the glory days are long since over. The Popular Kids watch Napoleon Dynamite and don’t understand why anyone would love this movie because the Nerd is the main character and therefore the hero. Their brain explodes.
The “popular kids” in high school who feel remorse – These poor souls watch the film and don’t recognize the emotion they feel is not from disliking the movie, it’s from voting for Summer all year long and realizing it was poor choice. But their kids are the cool kids now, so that’s awesome.
The “nerdy kids” in high school who can’t let it go – Guys, can you please ignore the whole movie and just learn from Uncle Rico?
Of course, those who love this movie?
The egalitarian kids in high school – The people who might have been popular but didn’t really care or notice because they were too busy being friends with everyone. They watch this movie with the ability to identify with everyone and are able to laugh because of it.
The “nerdy kids” in high school who have moved on – The people who lived an awkward stage, maybe they’re still in it, and just don’t even care. Life is too short to be practicing football outside a van.
The “popular kids” in high school who have moved on – They graduated from those halls, went on and have lived their lives. They can now watch this movie and laugh at themselves.
So who is the in-group trying to maintain its status while discriminating against the out-group? In this particular situation it would depend on who is participating in the conversation, though to me it makes it easier to understand why some people are so viciously invested in oppressing Napoleon. Especially since I knew them in high school and they took that popularity stuff as seriously as someone trying to be their own pharaoh in a pyramid scheme.
I just want to watch the flippin’ movie.
I’m not sure when it began exactly, but I remember our ritual beginning when my little girl was still a babe in arms. I would hold her in my arms while I opened the drapes in the family room and sang a made up song,Good morning house, time to start the day! Good morning house, time to run and play!
As a wee babe, my little girl would smile and laugh, kick her little legs out while I sang as we opened up each room. First we began in her bedroom, then the family and living rooms, last we would open up my bedroom where we would end our tour of the home in the rocking chair. The spontaneity of our daily routine has made it even more precious to me, more than the planned traditions of certain holidays or birthdays. I treasure these too, but it is different when there is a sudden burst of ritual — like a falling star that signals the start of a new creation.
Even now, three years later we open the house with “Good morning house, time to start the day!” along with giggles and hugs, running from drape to drape. “Good morning house, time to run and play!” and she’ll clap her hands, hopping from one foot to another, asking me “Where are we going today, Mama?” We’ve opened the house through sunshine, rain and snow, countless days and the song remains the same.
Strangely, we’ve never come up with a “Good night house” version. It might be because by the end of the day my brain is too tired to think up new songs after a whole day of creating new songs. As we go around and close the house up each day, though, I think the true reason is because we know our house is never truly closed. It’s always open to us and to the excitement we have for life. Which might explain why my sweet girl is constantly running and playing. I wish I had thought of that before.
This might not be the most profound of all rituals. I happen to actually have profound thoughts on how I do my laundry and sweep my floors; I have certain habits I continue only because of who taught me the skill in the first place makes them important to me. I might write about these things another time. At the moment though, I have a little girl jumping on the couch and we need to close up the house. And I need to consider a Good Night House song.
I’ve been hung up on moving forward with Reverb ever since this particular prompt popped up in my email. I appreciate the spirit in which these types of “things” are given, the sort of inspiration they are supposed to light, but… well, I find them a bit too Oprah with a pinch of Hallmark. They’re just not me.
I was caught in the crosshairs of a Reverb dilemma — Fulfill the whole Reverb quest of authenticating myself and write the prompt, layering on the warmth and fuzziness and mushy-gushy love I could probably find deep inside of myself if I authenticated hard enough? Or just toss of a fluff piece, filled with Redi-whip delight, fake airy sugar that dots all the i’s with hearts.
Eh, no thanks.
I don’t write like this. I don’t write forced emotions and I’m not Redi-whip. Why on earth would I ever write a letter to myself forgiving myself? That makes no sense to me. That’s why I keep a journal — to record not only my life’s events, my responses to them, how I’ve grown from them and what I still need to work on. I’m terrible at checking the mail that the real post office delivers me. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if I wrote something to myself.
I get itchy with these types of questions, not because I am ungrateful or I am ungiving, but because I feel uncomfortable with feeling on the spot. I feel as if it is suddenly my turn with the candle and it’s time for me to list all that ways I have given to others, all my charitable achievements in the last year, and then light the candle of the person next to me.
That’s when the itching begins. My old self-consciousness seems to take over and I just want to keep such things to myself. I’m perfectly content letting everyone think I’m the neighborhood curmudgeon while I make dinner for other people, thank you very much. My heart is almost too full for generosity — I have found myself in so many pickles due to quietly paying for other people’s bills that I haven’t been able to pay my own this year — but I also believe that these things don’t matter. What matters most is that I have been given much and because of this, I feel I must give much more.
Therefore, I will hijack this writing prompt for my own selfish purposes.
I taught an incredible young lady many years ago, Makinsie, who completed her first Ironman in 2014 at only 21 years old. Instead of stopping at one Ironman and, in fact, her one goal of one Ironman, Makinsie has decided to do it once more. This time, she will be completing the Ironman 2015 in Arizona. I am so proud of this amazing woman who not only is continuing in her goals but is now doing it to help over 20 children who suffers from cleft lip and palate. Makinsie’s Ironman 2015 is her way of paying it forward and she signed up to raise money for an organization called Smile Train. Makinsie says, “I have learned that kids with cleft palate and cleft lip are seen as outcasts, in many countries, these kids cannot make friends, cannot live as normal people would, and cannot get a job which means isolation, starvation, and poverty. I want to help make a difference in the world.”
This is where my hijacked post comes in. One 45 minute surgery will fix a cleft palate and cost $250. In perspective, this 45 minute surgery has the ability to prevent one from being abandoned or even killed. Here is what I would love to see happen within the Reverb community and the hijacking of this post:
I’d like to challenge everyone to a friendly game of holiday tag I call “Give One, Plus One”.
The holiday season is a time to give and express gratitude. We have many opportunities to donate to countless well-deserving charities. In no way should one charity be overlooked while another one reaps the bounty of generosity. All we need to do is to give to one and then one more. Meaning, please continue to donate to your favorite charity but will you please add Makinsie’s Ironman fund to your list — even if it is only $5? If you do so, I will happily donate to the charity of your choice as well.
Want extra warm fuzzy points? Share the link for Makinsie‘s great cause with Smile Train Athletics and play a round of Give One, Plus One. It’s the holidays and “Tag! You’re it!”