Thursday, February 26, 2015

Great Expectations

Back in grammar school my family used to spend our summer days swimming and lounging at the Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club in the Bronx, or Kelton’s as we all called it, because the Kelton family owned it. The experience of growing up there was brilliant. I will quote myself here from (click if you want to read the whole thing)
“Every summer my family would join this amazing pool club right there in the Bronx on Broadway around 236th street, The Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club. The high falutin’ name was not a great indicator of the pool club experience. The pool was indeed fantastic and there were clay tennis courts, but the club was populated by predominantly Irish, Jewish, and Italian working class families from the north Bronx area, chilling out, smoking, drinking, cursing, swimming, having a ball.

At a certain time in the day the air took on the dreamy smell of cookies baking from the Stella D’Oro factory next door. I cherish those summers spent swimming all day, running around free like a wild animal, tanned and chlorined, eating french fries and ice cream and playing pinball till 9pm when the sun finally set and the workers threw us out. We could have stayed all night as well.”

My family joined the pool club when I was in first grade and continued till I was in fifth or sixth. I was a little girl there and became an adolescent, interested in guys. I was in that pool when I heard that Elvis had died. I spend the prime summers of childhood, girlhood rather, when my life was being molded, in that space with those folk.

The story I want to tell is that there was a man who had some stock in the business, he was either the manager or a partner. We’ll call him Mr. Shoeman. Mr. Shoeman had two daughters who I saw as very different from me and my working class family. I experienced them as having a lot compared to my having very little.

One year the pool club had a plywood wall put up for some reason and hosted an art contest for kids to decorate the unsightly wall. The wall was divided into sections that were numbered and you could sign up for a numbered space and draw or paint something to be entered into the contest. There would be several “winners,” depending on type of art and age group.

I read the rules very carefully, and signed up for my age group and category of art, which was abstract. I did a psychedelic design that had depth and color. I was very proud of it. I feel like I was in 3rd or 4th grade, not sure exactly. As we got past the deadline for the entries and closer to the announcement of the winner, I noticed that I was the only person in my category, meaning that I was a sure winner. I was thrilled to be a winner and felt my work to be brilliant. 

A day or two before the winners were announced a board was nailed over my drawing. I was thrown by that but accepted that it was part of some construction and still looked forward to my name being called as a winner.

Finally, the day had come to announce the winners and we all gathered around the pool while someone spoke over the pa system. The older Shoeman girl won in her category. And then they announced my category, the one that I was the only person entered and they called the younger Shoeman girl’s name as the winner.

A moment before I could taste the winning acknowledgement and then there I was, in a blink of an eye, left in devastation. My home life was a mess and I was prone to self-blame and I spiraled in shame, pain, despair, you name it. I had no one to talk to and no one stood up for me. No one went to the judges. No one held my hand. No one talked to me about life. The adults in my life did not belief in a kind compassionate safe universe where abundance flowed from an unlimited source. They did not know how to right a wrong or even empathize with the victim of a wrong. They might have believed that I was a fool for thinking that I might win. I know I thought that, and I wonder where that thought originated.

Anyway, it’s all better now.  My blog is named after my life. All transformation is possible. My core beliefs have evolved beyond that working class ghetto life. My cells have realigned. I am safe and happy and allowed and manifesting. I only write this because I was thinking about the Oscars and competition and contests and winners and it reminded me of this: that even when you think something is a guarantee, a shoe-in, it might not be. ** AND ** The opposite is true too. Even when you think it is your one and only chance, or that you’ll never have the chance again, or that you are too old or it is impossible, or you can’t or wont- you are wrong. I try to practice cultivating desire and detachment and allowing for miracles again and again. All Transformation is possible.

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