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« Transmitting Hope (part two) | Main | As Time Goes By »

Transmitting Hope (part one)

My youth peaks somewhere in the 20th century. It’s obvious, though the date be imprecise.  It’s measurable in height. When I’m 5’9”. I’m now 5’ 7 1/2,” called by gerontologists as early elderly and I’m sitting in a chair listening to my endocrinologist say, “You’ve attention deficit hyper disorder, undiagnosed in your childhood, since it was first classified in the 1990’s. It’s clear from how you speak, with velocity, as if you’re meeting a deadline, which inhibits any listener from completely understanding you. Nor does it afford any opportunity to interrupt. Then you intermingle hard-to-follow tangents. It’s your enunciation that saves you from being totally misunderstood. All the while, you also appear as if you're not breathing which could mean an underlying bi-polar condition.”

I say, “Great. I sound interesting.  I’ll take me.” Yet the doctor continues. “I’m not offering you despair. I’m transmitting hope. I have in my hand a pill. This will eradicate your entire condition.”   

“I don’t want it. I’m leaving my obstacles intact. They inform me who I am. Everything around me bears interest. It's innate. I daydream. Allow emotions to rule. See intiuition as a path to be followed. Listen to the universe for its messages. Mystical creatures fascinate. We’re all related.  Can't you see? Leonardo da Vinci had similar tendencies. His persona bloomed. Run by rampant curiosity, finishing few projects, retaining what seemed to be information overload, it was his way of annhilating boredom. I get it.”

Then I shut up. Failing to mention two on-going projects; yet to be completed.          

The first, my wanting to learn Spanish. That enters my psyche December, 2012, in the Havana airport.  Cloaked in a tie-dyed purple, yellow, and green jacket, adorned with a peace sign on the back made from silver nail heads, blue, orange, and burgundy pants, silver Doc Martins boots and a hat festooned with yellow, red and gold ribbons, I’m stopped by a man in a dark blue uniform.  I’m alone. The rest of my travel group’s disembarking, not that any of them would have come to my rescue. I’m a stranger to them; stranger still by my attire , exhibiting and utilizing the color spectrum  

Meanwhile, the officer wants my pasaporte, a word close enough to the English equivalent. I oblige. As he’s leafing through mine, he’s talking intermittently, gazing up at me waiting for my response.  I offer nada, nothing in Spanish, summing up simultaneously my fluency. He grows agitated. “I speak English” he claims. To whom, I silently ruminate. Not to me. I know.

Yet I intuit the import of our exchange. I must learn Spanish. To close the communication chasm between us. I live in New York City. I could practice daily. Motivation enough to register at the Instituto Cervantes on East 49th Street, chosen because it’s lodged inside landmarked buildings. I’m a tour guide and a preservationist, soon learning neither traits would stop me from quitting, right in the middle of mastering the past tense.I owe it all to my behavior.  

I practice with no one.  Learning in a vacuum. Requiring no further pursuit. Only to continue to chastise myself for years for indulging in such sloth.  All the way up to getting my aforementioned diagnosis. Since it's my hardwiring, I forgive myself. I'll blame my parents.    

Leading me to offer my second desire, fraught with the same start-stop-start-pattern. I want to write and perform a sixty-minute solo show. Believe me, I’ve tried, since July 2001, when I take my first solo performance workshop, and go on to take ten more. The idea to begin such a thing arrives after I finish two playwrighting courses, where I learn I’m excellent at dialogue and deficient in plot. This gets me to conclude,  what I need to do next is write an autobiographical solo show. That'll fix it.  My life has to have some sort of through-line.

Though, I do go on to produce ten to twelve-minute vignettes. Like sketches. Hinting at depth. And I perform them at “Works in Progress” festivals.Feeling anxious and thrilled when they are over. Not good. At all. Then when I learn it's due to inheritance, I see it as a gene pool issue. I begin to relax.     

With this mindset, I enter my local Duane Reade. It’s April 3, 2017. 5:15 PM. I walk to the back. I feel a hand on my shoulder. Turn. Look Up. See a man, about 6’ 2”, the same person I had just passed in the store’s entry. He says,” I had to follow you. Your energy. It’s astounding. The air moved. You have to know you vibrate on a different plane than most. Others see your heightened state of consciousness and get scared. That's the real reason why most people don’t get you. Even when you slow down, they can’t keep up. It’s your brain. On fire with stimulation. Driving you forward. And why you’re lonely. It would be good for you to meet someone to have an on-going narrative. Here’s a Buffalo head nickel. A reminder. You’re an artist.  Look at your outfit. I’m a photographer. My name’s Mitchell. May I take photos.  I’m attracted to you but I’ve just began a relationship with Virginia. Otherwise, I’d ask for your number.  Know this. Time’s fleeting for all of us. Especially for you. There’s two things you want to do. I can feel it. Go ahead. Do them. Change the way you see yourself.” 

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Reader Comments (10)

Jane - take the nickel and be proud !

Thanks for your transparency. Have your ever seen La cage - the song I think about a lot in my mid life is - I am who I am.

Have a blessed season of peace.

December 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBC in MN

Loved this! Interesting when a stranger sees inside you . . . here in touristland that would be creepy! Wishing you the very best Christmas season and a great 2018. Hope we get up there soon.

December 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCathie Fowler

Your blog is wonderful, Exciting. Your energy flows into it and from it. I don't remember your being hyperactive in high school, but we were all so young and still figuring ourselves out, not paying attention to others. Also, I was a total, stand-in-the-corner introvert that I may not have noticed anyone else.
Si de veras quieres practicar el español, te invito a practicar conmigo. Escribeme una carta o un text (301 310.5550), y te contestaré. Como maestra de español, te aconsejo leer periodicos o revistas, textos autenticos. Si me escribes, puedes comentar sobre un articulo si quieres.

December 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnita (Hollander) Kulman

I have known you since the first time I saw you in suglasses (indoors). You are one of the few people that I can really understand!

December 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRandall Marx

Did the pill he offered original come from a bull?Tip

December 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTip Biggs

Great blog, always enjoy hearing about your life. Jane you do light up a room when you enter and your energy is captivating. Enjoy who you are and follow your passions

December 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjudyl

Happy to see the new blogs. Love the bookending of the two diagnoses. One from your doctor the other from a stranger. And your own. All you and more. Much more. Thank you.

December 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Koslow

Dear Jane,
I'ts me, Pauline Smith Jensen (Ruth Silver's youngest sibling) I loved what you shared here. I am dyslexic and it has given me amazing talents, while at the same time serious challenges. I was given a book written by Gladwell, I believe. His first chapter is about David and Goliath, from the Bible.

He evaluates the story and points out that sometimes what often appears to be negative, (a small David/Big Goliath,) is often a blessing in disguise. Each chapter is a different subject. The chapter that changed my life was about Dyslexia. At the end of the chapter he asks the question, "Would you wish Dyslexia on your child'? It gave me serious food for thought. I don't do math or numbers well, and ofter transpose letters when writing a word, but I have other gifts and talents that are directly related to this condition.

I'm with you. I like who I am and what I can share' and offer to the world. The real beauty of life is that each and every one of us has gifts and talents that are different. Viva La Difference....because by sharing who we are, we bless each others lives.

December 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPauline S Jensen

Bless you for being who you are and celebrate!

December 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJean Doty

Glad you're writing again.
Glad to be a witness to your life.

December 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

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