Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Portrait of the Artist as a Young, Young Woman ...

Once I get an idea in my head, it's hard for me to let it go. I'm remembering a picture from my childhood, and I can't find it. But my search has taken me to a box full of childhood papers that mom gave me years ago, and I just looked at my kindergarten "report card."

In my grade school, everyday grades were checks: a check was good, a check plus was better, a check minus was worse. Term grades were C, G, S, and NI (commendable, good, satisfactory, and needs improvement), but for kindergarten, checks sufficed.

I received one check plus in my second semester of kindergarten: contributes to discussion and planning. My perfectionist tendencies were already showing. I'm a big planner.

What disturbed me, though, was my lone check minus, first semester: meets new situations and challenges.

To be fair to myself, I started kindergarten when I was 4, and I'm not sure how many 4-year-olds are especially gregarious.

But I often feel as though I'm not meeting new situations and challenges, so maybe Mrs. Lang's assessment of me in 1974 wasn't altogether premature.

It's odd to look back at your life, 30 years wiser, and realize that nothing much has changed.

But it's a good life illuminiation.

I have a quote on my office wall from Sophocles: "Look and you will find it -- what is unsought will go undetected." I think that applies here, like someone overcoming an addiction: You have to admit you have a problem before you can fix it.

Time to begin turning this check minus into a check plus.

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