Prompt: Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)
If you have known me for any length of time, along the way I have likely found opportunity to insert into a conversation or two the fact that I am 1/16th Cherokee Indian. You have also probably been part of what invariably comes next – I get roundly mocked for being so proud of a minuscule part of my makeup. A couple of weeks ago, during some variation on this theme, Tony said, “So, I wonder what the other 15/16ths of you are?” I think Joe started working on a pie chart right then and things like “cheese” and “soap” were tossed around as ideas.
I’m not sure this is evident from any of my reverb10 posts this month, but at least a couple of pieces of that pie are most certainly reserved for the concept of fairness. There is a lot about me that hasn’t changed in my life, but if I really stop to think about it, a central preoccupation with equity is the thing that has stood the test of these last 32 years without wavering a bit. Some examples to prove my point:
1. One summer, when I was about seven or so, my brother and I were having a water fight with our two best friends from down the street, Kelsi and Scott. It was every man for himself in that fight and as Scott rounded the corner of the garage, I called him over and asked if he wanted to help me “get Kelsi.” His three or four year-old self lit up at the prospect of teaming up against his big sister and he was wholly unprepared for the bucket of water I dumped on his head. I genuinely could not fathom why *everyone* present – parents and all the other kids included – was disgusted with me. It was a water fight, people! No matter that Scott was the youngest of the bunch and I – the oldest – had ambushed him. It wasn’t fair that I got in trouble.
2. A few years later, my brother Jeff and I made a bet about the lyrics to a Crash Test Dummies song that we were obsessed with at the time. He thought they were one thing, I thought they were something else and when I was proven right, Jeff started crying and refused to pay up. I was livid. I wouldn’t let it go and that was the moment when (after watching this type of scenario play out one too many times) my mom made the pronouncement that, “There will be no more betting in this family!” So not fair.
3. This is how birthday cakes work in my family (mostly because of me): Everyone gets a piece of cake when it’s first served. It is left to the birthday person’s discretion whether or not to allow seconds. The rest of the cake is the sole property of the birthday person unless he or she decides (of his/her own free will) to share. It’s the fair way to do things.
4. Lest you think that my thing about fairness is solely about me making sure I get mine, there’s also what happened at the spelling bee I competed in last week. Yes, as an adult, I competed in a spelling bee – that’s not the point. The point is that I came in second, losing fair and square when I got tripped up by “daguerreotype.” At the end of the night, when it was just me and a few other people left at the bar, the host of the spelling bee came over and presented me with a certificate, “This certifies that Jenny Robinson is the CHAMPION SPELLER.” I probably seemed really ungrateful when I looked at it, then up at him and said, “But I’m not! I’m not the champion! I didn’t win!” He knew that, but the winner had left before he could give it to her, I was still there and he had the certificate, so… Subtext: “Jeez, lady, it’s just a spelling bee in a bar. Chill out!” But I didn’t win and it wasn’t fair of me to walk out with a piece of paper implying that I did.
Has this painted a sufficiently unflattering – yet totally fair – portrait of my true nature yet? I could go on with the examples, but I think this is probably enough. I don’t know if I love that this is my central story, but I’m pretty sure it is. I just want things to be right. And fair. I want everything to be divided equally, for good stuff to happen to good people and yes, for bad stuff to happen to bad people. I truly relish other people’s good news – I am the best person to tell when you get engaged, pregnant or land that awesome new job because I go totally apeshit and mean every bit of it. I *love* stuff like that.
Boy do I wish I could stop there and leave you thinking I’m some sort of Pollyanna reincarnate. But… I’m really really not. Because life just isn’t always fair and people get away with all kinds of shit and man, does that make me angry. In those moments, schadenfreude is all I see and hope for.
So now, at the end of this month of reflecting on the last year and trying to manifest what’s next, what is next? Let me be very clear here, I have a terrific life. There is much about it that doesn’t need to change, but maybe a few things that do. Am I actually capable of stepping away from the scales and not worrying so much if they balance? Can I really stop caring about whether or not stupid jerks get what they deserve? God, I hope so. In the end, I’ll probably always draw a little from Column A and a little from Column B. I guess, given who I really, truly am, that’s only fair.