Friday, December 2, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

We are in a process of having to regroup.  The group of kids that has DJ feeling so alienated are likely to be in at least half of all her classes because they too are in the advanced placement classes.  We're in a small town with a relatively small high school, and the advanced placement kids are an even smaller group, which makes it very likely that DJ will have many of them in her academic classes.  We're going to have scramble to get her through the rest of this semester and then come up with a game plan for next semester.

We're learning how difficult many social situations actually are for DJ.  She has painted a pretty, if inaccurate, picture of what her school days have been like, up until now.  Now we know that in reality, roughly half of every day is a struggle as she is forced to face a group of kids who, for the most part, ignore her.  I can imagine some folks would say we should force her to face them, because she's going to have to get used to it.  Bull$- - -, is my response.  She's vulnerable as hell right now.  We'll make her get back in the saddle but not while she's still injured.  Once she's healed, we'll hoist her up onto the back of the horse that threw her, but not yet.

I'm reading The Social Animal by David Brooks.  The chapter I am currently in talks about "culture."  American culture is markedly different from  Asian cultures, or Mexican cultures.  In some ways better and in others, worse.  One hallmark of American culture is INDEPENDENCE-a valuable trait, certainly.    But true independence is practically non-existant in this world.  Almost nothing of importance is accomplished truly by oneself.  We have elevated independence to a ridiculous pedestal so that a person is looked on as weak if they need help or must take a step backward to regroup.

INTERDEPENDENCE- a much better word and one that is considerably more accurate in describing the reality of most people's lives, the reality of successful business ventures, the reality of any important accomplishment that has ever taken place in human reality, in my opinion.  In fact, I recall a conversation between my Uncle, who we'll call Boatman and his daughter, my cousin, where she stated that she didn't want to marry because she didn't want to be "dependent" on her spouse.  Uncle Boatman explained that a good marriage doesn't foster dependence but rather interdependence so that each partner enhances the other, and supports the spouse when needed, without robbing the other person of his or her autonomy.

The truth is we need each other because this world is a brutal place.  Physical survival is not the same challenge in many parts of the world as it was 10,000 years ago, but social and emotional survival will continue to be a challenge for all of us.  Whatever helps DJ get past this hurdle is what we will do. We will not discourage her from taking a step backward to get her bearings again. We will not make her feel weak because she needs some help.  We will applaud her courage in asking for help.

She's cacoon-ing right now.  She needs to be in the shelter of home. DJ has plenty of school assignments to keep her busy and as always, she's composing music.  We will encourage her to take steps forward in braving the outside world again, and soon.  Sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back; other days, we manage to take two steps forward and only step back.  Either way, we get there. Bulldog and I love our girl.  Right now, all we care about is that she knows she's safe at home.  We'll worry about the rest of the world next week.