Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Dawn! (the one wearing a hairnet) Who are You?

No, this is not my Halloween costume nor the result of a sibling prank played by my younger brother or sister while gathering blackmail material for later in life. This is me at eleven, the me that had the confidence to wear a hairnet as well as pj's while posing for a photo. Can you believe I was actually posing wearing a hairnet? I can't. I look at her and wonder, 'Who on earth was this girl?'

She was the same eleven year old who upon receiving a wood burning kit for Christmas promptly burned her name Prometheus-like on a 3" X 12" piece of wood. She not only wrote her name but followed it with an exclamation point and hung the pronouncement on her bedroom door.

A few years ago, my sister upon helping my mother clean things out at home, brought me the sign. Even then I wondered who was this girl who not only wrote her name, but added the exclamation mark. I hung it over the door to my writing room and promptly forgot it. Last week, I took it from the door where it's ignored and began to ponder it and her.

The day after doing this, Lily and her mother, my friend, Alicia, walked down to visit. Actually I should write Lily! for Lily has no problem with owning who she is and stating what she needs to have happen in her life. In some cases Lily! doesn't state a thing, she just does it like happened this summer when she learned to ride her bike without assistance of the human or training wheel type. She wanted to learn so she did. My eleven year old and Lily! would have gotten along quite fine.

The day Lily came to visit, she wore her Halloween costume, a pink cheer leading outfit complete with pink pom poms. Someone earlier that day commented to Lily's mom that it would be great if we each had a cheerleader to encourage us throughout the day. This idea stayed with me long after Lily in her outfit and flip flops rode her older sister's mountain bike down the street. (Yes, she's now learning to ride an even bigger bike.)

I continued to think of having my own personal cheerleader as well as the girl who burned: Dawn! into the piece of wood that hung on her bedroom door throughout the days and nights of her childhood. I can list the many things that stole her fire, but I also know when, like Lily, I do what I know to do without concern for what others think, I feel that fire again. I feel her most when I lean into my fear and embrace adventure, whether it's in France as happened this summer or in my own home as I sit to write.

I could use a cheerleader to boost my resilience in the simplest of things. Last night as I sat
trying to determine how to use an external hard drive purchased for my computer nearly a year ago, her first cheer would have gone something like: Hit it. Hit it. Harder. Harder. (as in the computer screen) followed by:Break it. (clap, clap) Break it. (clap, clap). Once she realized I was not humored or supported, she would have cheered: You're alright. You're okay. Tomorrow is a brand new day followed by: Ask for help. (Clap 5 times.) Ask for help. (Clap 5 times.) You might have to be a sports fan to get the rhythm of the cheers.

Obviously I didn't break my computer although I didn't figure out hard drives. I did resolve to: Ask for help and either clap five times or click my heels together.

In the meantime, even when it's not Halloween, I will put on the costume of confidence, and wear it daily. I will go to sleep with it at night so I remember who I really am each morning. For I am Dawn!

Who are you! and what cheers do you want to hear from your Inner Cheerleader?

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