• Off the rocker and into a basket case full of loose screws and nuts

    by Carolyn Wyler

    Firefly lanterns, bubble baths, ice-cream trucks, rolling down freshly mowed hills, snow forts, sitting on my mom’s lap in a rocker as she read bedtime stories, daddy’s hugs, learning to ride a bike, night time games of “no bears are out to night,” singing on long car rides with the family and a brand new puppy.

    Childhood brings back a slew of emotional feelings and memories of people, places and events that now seem a whole another lifetime ago. There were many great memories of fun, happy times. Unfortunately there are some not so great memories as well and it’s often the more difficult memories that drag us down.

    A child’s eyes see mostly in black and white. There are rarely any shades of gray, certainly not fifty. It was a time when one plus one would always equal two. A time when a child looked at a parent or teacher and dreamed of being just like them. A time when adults had all the right answers and everything in their life was perfectly in place. It was a time of hope, love, belief and trust and beds full of roses.

    And then that child climbs off the rocker carrying a bag full of childhood emotions and steps foot into the adult world a bit disillusioned. As a young adult, she now sees the younger years from a different perspective. Some of the adults she trusted and admired as a child were not always quite as amazing as she once believed. They did not always know all the answers or have all their fecal matter compacted. In fact, occasionally they were simply full of shit and it stunk.

    And the beds full of roses had thorns and those thorns could hurt.

    She begins the journey of sorting through and reconciling those good and not so good childhood memories. She looks for a mentor, a hero, someone or something to set him on the pathway to a normal, well-functioning life. She meets many wonderful fascinating and impressive people.

    At first glance, these people really appear to have it all together: educated, financially-stable, successful, happy well-rounded appearing individuals. The perfect people with the perfect life.

    Upon closer examination however, they are not as well balanced as they may first appear. They too are lugging around baggage. Some people carry small bags, while others are dragging around cases so large that if taken on any trip, would certainly cost a bit more time, energy and money to get through any type of emotional security.

    She ends up picking up a few more loose screws and nuts as she interacts with some of those people and when she adds them to her already full luggage, it really weighs her down. The conundrum is that most of the time she really needs, wants and loves being around people, even though they also drive her nuts. The idea of taking a trip way around the bend, out of left field, past the funny farm where all the ducks are in a row, where all the marbles are sitting right on the kitchen table where they can easily be found and there are no monsters hidden in any closets – it all sounds very appealing, but such a place, she realizes doesn’t exist.

    She comes to the conclusion that everyone is a bit crazy and there is no normal nor does everyone else have it all figured out. Normal is certainly not quite as definitive as it SEEMED to be 30 years ago and comes in thousands of different shades, colors and sizes. What’s normal to some might be crazy to others. Perhaps the book of norms needs to be rewritten.

    And just because everyone is a tad bit off their rocker doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate them for who they are. It’s the imperfections that make us human and real, and it’s the nuts and loose screws that tightens us together and gives us empathy and understanding.



    • The bell shaped curve in my mind should be based on the degree of dysfunction not on the so called norm. Then everyone would fit in their place of crazy. Great article.


        • Carolyn

        • September 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm
        • Reply

        Agreed, levels of dysfunction, not norm. Thanks.



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