Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I was one of the 3 Kings.

I was one of the 3 Kings.

6th grade. St. Alphonsus Elementary. Ocean Springs, Mississippi. 
I'm guessing probably late November.   We sturdy 5- 6th graders were vying for roles of a lifetime in the Christmas Pageant.  I was knee-deep in that “Maybe-I-Can-Be-An-Actress!” phase of girlhood.  I was probably riding that wave of popularity that came from winning the Speech Contest the year prior, and thought only I would dazzle the audience as Mary, Mother of Jesus.  I guess I thought no one else could sell that role.  I probably thought people would see me up there on that little stage and stand up and say, “Why, she’s JUST. LIKE . MARY!!!  The other girls were CRAP compared to Sarah!!!!”  That role was gonna be mine.

Except it wasn’t.  (It went to Juliana Skelton, I think, who actually did a great job. )

The audition process for roles in the Christmas Pageant went like this:  Sister Rochelle* wrote the name of the character on the board.  Anyone who wanted to play the role raised their hand.  She wrote the names down.  We closed our eyes.  Sister Rochelle spoke the names of the nominees and we raised our hands to vote for who should play the role. When we opened our eyes we saw the name of the person who had the most votes and BLAM!  You’re a star!

There were 3 roles for girls.  Mary, Mother of Jesus, and 2 angels (one a speaking role, I think.) So the role of Mary went to Juliana.  I was crushed.  I saw her name on the board and thought anything from sabotage, to favoritism, to “knows-someone”, and ultimately realized she was just like me, wanting to “make it!”  So I let it go quickly.  Besides, there were 2 other roles.

Aaaaaannnd strike 2.

Aaaaannnnd strike 3.


My little dreams of accepting Academy Awards were dashed.  Just ripped to pieces by rabid little Yuletide dogs with sharp little teeth.  God did not want me to play Mary or his little angels.  God didn’t think I was good enough.  Or at least that's how it felt.

 The girls sighed, knowing their chances were up.  Only boys roles from here on out.  Behind my disappointed eyes I started to shut out the world while I tried to recover from a broken heart and broken dreams.   And then, I got mad. 

I don’t like needless restrictions.  Even as a little girl!  If it didn’t make sense to me I probably said something.  I still do!  If the emperor has no clothes I’m gonna point to his doodle and say, “HEY! I can see your doodle! (your majesty,  haha.)”   THAT is who I am.  If something doesn’t make sense I will point it out.  Who says that the 3 Kings HAVE to be played by boys? Where is that written in stone? Huh?  SHOW ME!  This role is just for boys?  Boys who can’t read well, and freeze onstage, and have the emotional range of peas?   Would YOU want to see your kings that way?  I don’t want to see my kings that way!  I want my king to stand up there regally!  With purpose!  This is a KING who travelled over the desert to give presents of gold, frankincense, or myrrh to a baby he thought was the physical embodiment of his GOD.  You want to trust THAT kind of responsibility to a kid who throws pennies at girls then picks his nose AND eats it? REALLY? 

Not ME! 

When I was little, I didn’t want to be a princess - helpless, dependent, useless.  I wanted to be Robin Hood, Bruce Lee, Mr Spock, Dr Who (Actually, I wanted to date Dr Who.)  Those were the roles of a boy, not a girl.  I wanted to fight injustice.  Sarah!  Fighting for the little things, the oppressed, the forgotten, the Misfit Toys.  Little Sarah.  

I thought, “WHY did this have to be a boy’s role?  They can’t handle this.  I mean, LOOK at them for God’s sake!

And I made up my mind, right there.  I was NOT going to be the kind of girl who let some institution dictate my future to me.  I was not going to sit quietly and watch boys who knew less than me and acted immaturely walk away with everything they didn’t deserve because they were boys and I was a girl.  It wasn’t fair.  It was injustice!   I wanted that role more than ever now.  I wanted to be a KING.
I raised my hand.

AND was selected.

AND played the role well.**

AND I was the first girl to do so.  I WAS.  Since then I have heard that other girls had played the role.  Gender restrictions have been lifting in the halls of St. Alphonsus due to my “Stands-With-A-Fist” attitude toward women’s rights in the Catholic elementary educational arena.    

I was thinking about that memory and that part of my personality the last few days.  I was one of the three kings.  I suppose that was a kind of a little turning point for me.  It was a cosmic "go".   Pushing the boundary and not being satisfied with the status quo.  

*Sister Rochelle needs to take a bow.  She ALLOWED me to play a King.  SHE took as big a chance as I did, in a nun’s habit, during the male-chauvinistic 70’s, in a Catholic school.   THAT takes guts.  She believed in me and I will never forget her .

**The story of the actual play was pretty funny, actually.  Baby Jesus was a baby doll Juliana brought with her to school.  But Baby Jesus was, well…. well-loved, obviously, and showed some wear and tear.  During the pivotal performance, when we kings gathered around to pay our respects, Joseph or Mary was so nervous, (or seeking comic relief) that they rocked the manger  (a toy crib) so violently that Baby Jesus head came off.  No one cold see this from the audience, just us poor actors.  We stifled hoarse laughs and bowed our heads convulsing with laughter while the audience probably marveled at how emotional we all were.  Bravo, Mrs Porche!  Bravo!

***I know that millions of women have faced FAR more serious battles every day.  Some places, like here in the States, we women are lucky enough to have the freedom to do almost anything we think of, and if we don’t, we have the freedom to challenge that, like I did.  The rest of the world needs to catch up.  Women’s equality is as crucial as clean water to make a society progress. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hiking in the Rain

Last week I went for a hike in the rain.  It was cool, around 40 something degrees, and the rain was light when I started at he Portuguese Bend trail head.  As I got to my halfway point, the wind and rain got stronger.  I am no stranger to doing stuff in the rain, and I was wearing my issue CW Parka (thank you, Army), so I was happy, mudskipper Sarah.  The air was clear and cool and clean.  Heavenly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

scorrice's photostream


Today's hike at Portuguese Bend. Got there with great fog and walked out in sunshine. Took the Ishibashi trail, Rim trail, and main trail. Saw a scorpion and gave water to a thirsty lizard.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

15 Month Me is the Same as 42 Year Old Me!

My mother sent me a package of AWESOME yesterday.

In it was a folder with pictures of my son that survived Katrina and 2 yellow hand-written pages describing me as a baby at 15 months and 17 months.  

Some things have changed, like my absolute love for a hot bath, but a few folks who know me well know I still climb things.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

True Stories, Traveling and Noticing

Just downloaded True Stories by the Talking Heads.  It's been one of my favorite movies for several years now.   In one of the last sentences of the movie, David Byrne talks about how he likes to travel to places so that he can "forget".  That, in another place, he notices the color of paper, how people walk....   I understand that feeling completely.  I do the exact same thing.  I watch the clouds.  I notice the neon signs.  I hyper-focus on the accents.  Each trip is a sensory overload until I can attenuate.

I think my "noticing" is enhanced by my being a military brat as a child.  In order to move through an environment with as little friction as possible, it helps to assimilate into the culture quickly. Doing that means noticing everything.  One behavioral psychologist called it the "unwritten curriculum".  Learning it meant fitting in or being conspicuously different.

When I moved here in Southern California, I noticed several things right away.  People don't tend their own lawns - someone is paid to do this.  Teens wear black in the middle of scorching summers.  Folks drive recklessly fast on certain freeways.  There is an unwritten 2-cars-can-turn-left-on-a-red-light rule during peak traffic hours and no one will honk at you.  Small things like this make up the sum total of a place's personality.

I will be traveling to Washington in a few days.  I used to live there.  The last time I visited after I moved away, I was flooded with memories.  The feeling was a swimmy, blurry, and sweet feeling.  The second time I went back I felt like I never left and just picked up where I left off.  I am wondering if this next trip will bring a more "home again" feeling.  We'll see.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frog Man Travelling

My son just flew from LA to NYC and grabbed a connecting flight all by himself.  I am so impressed.

When did he get that old?

Friday, June 24, 2011

In the drink.

I just spent the last 3-4 days in Pensacola, FL getting dunked in the BIG DRINK for training.  I enjoyed it immensely.  My body is tired beyond belief and I still feel the motion of the waves when I look down at my keyboard for any amount of time.  I have had 3 hours sleep in the last 48 hours.  Thankfully I have a 3 day weekend to recover.

I drove home from work today and was amused at the way we reservists have to do amazing things one day and resume a normal life the next.

Sunday, April 24, 2011