DINK #142 Living Life In Juxtaposition!

Posted on : 11-08-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized



According to Dictionary.com: Juxtaposition: n act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.

Juxtaposition sounds so much better than ADD, ADHD or just plain crazy when describing the many examples of my values and actions seeming like the complete opposite of each other. For instance, when I as fifteen after what I’m sure was many teeth gnashing nights and phone conversations between my parents it was decided that the best place for me would be a boarding school. Now in fairness to my parents, on my Dad’s side of the family there was a long history of all the children attending boarding school. My Dad and Uncle attended Cate School (for boys in their time) where their step-grandfather, Curtis Cate, was the Founder and Headmaster. My Aunt went to a private school for girls (sorry Aunt Sue, can’t remember the name!) That history, coupled with the fact that there was a well-regarded boarding school (at least as far as education goes) right in my backyard was how the decision was made for me to go to San Marcos Academy. What I was told was that going to a place like this would put me on the same playing field with the rest of my peers. It was also good that my mother lived in Texas as well. I’m pretty sure the real reason was neither one of my parents knew what the hell to do with me short of sending me off in a boat to a far away shore!

I had grown up in an upper middle class family with at least a small dangling thread to English Royalty on my Dad’s side. After all, the Queen of England and Prince Phillip used to stay at our grandparent’s ranch in Wyoming. I’d been baptized an Episcopalian and up until my parents divorce we had been very active in our church community. Both my parents are educated, intelligent and curious so there was always the opportunity for a lively discussion to ensue around how life began, what were we all doing here and what was after this? So when I learned that I would be going to a military (for the guys/optional for the girls) Baptist boarding school I pretty much judged it to be as close to being put into a living hell as was possible.

Three years later, I had many friends and memories. Not much of a grade point average because I totally majored in doing as little as possible and getting away with as much as I could at no fault of the school. Even so, I felt like quite an odd girl out at SMA. For one thing there was the whole way of looking at God from a very different religious viewpoint than I had ever been exposed to and for another, I had no idea that I was an independent/liberal in the making. At the time, my father was a Defense Attache for the USAF in Belgium and I was quite proud of him and all he stood for so I had no idea that at that tender age I was already putting off shoots in an entirely different direction from most of my peers and the faculty.

Fast forward, shall we say, many years later and today I am the Secretary/Treasurer on the SMA Alumni Council. There are two special administrators that helped push me over the edge to accept and one is Bobby Dupree, VP of Development (who was the Principal during my time at SMA) and Madeline DeLong, Director of Alumni Relations (who was hired by SMA long after I had graduated). I have tremendous respect for Bobby Dupree because of how he has always treated me from student through adult hood and all the fine work he has done on behalf of SMA through the years. I also have great respect for Madeline and all the work that she does behind the scenes on behalf of the Alumni that not very many people may be aware of…but she keeps on doing the good work nevertheless.

The Juxtaposition is that, if you know me, you wouldn’t picture who I am today fitting in with an environment like SMA yet I am very happy to have been offered the opportunity to give back. SMA offers an excellent academic program to its students so I figure I can make up for lost time now by helping our Alumni community to help students afford a good education.

I think that I may have always been a person who had several examples of my values and actions being in juxtaposition to each other but when I was younger I didn’t know myself well enough to understand this and so everything felt like one big huge conflict.

It’s a might nice feeling to be able to embrace all that I am even though it doesn’t fit into a nice neat package that you can tie up in a bow. Guess this is why although I’ve been sober for 20 years, the long-time group of friends who my husband and I have enjoyed many wonderful scuba diving trips with — and who play as hard as they work — seem to just fit right into the fun loving side of who I am. My friend Janet is constantly looking up and saying that she keeps forgetting that I don’t drink when we’re in the middle of a huge laughing extravaganza.

I’m wondering if my being comfortable with the various instances of juxtaposition in my life is evidence of my willingness to see perspectives, beliefs, angles from as many sides as possible. I want to be the kind of person who although is strong in what I believe, is generous in my empathy to other ways of living. Maybe this is one way towards the acceptance of others.

Dare to be yourself. It’s okay to have many parts and parcels. Embrace the juxtaposition of the many sides of you.

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