Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A freedom vanguard

Before June 2005, I hadn't read anything by Sunni Maravillosa. My first exposure to her work was at Real ID Rebellion. Next, I checked out Sunni and the Conspirators.

I wandered over to Sunni's Salon, after reading about it at Kirsten's Enjoy Every Sandwich. That's what originally hooked me on her writing. Anyone who includes both Alice in Chains and Henry Mancini in the same music article--they're called Musical Maunderings in the Salon-- is a kind of kindred spirit. Her personal soundtrack isn't tailor made by mainstream media and sold, shrink wrapped, at WalMart. Neither is mine.

After reading a bunch of her work, I find Sunni's personal writing to be her best. It's not that her observations and understanding of current events aren't top-notch; it's some of the most informative on the web. She's a freedom vanguard. It's just that when Sunni gets personal, she lifts up her shades for a moment and lets you gaze into her eyes. The peep doesn't last long, but satiates like an ice-cold beer after a long day.

Her Friday, May 5th, entry, Learning to Make Decisions, is an example of what I'm talking about. This particular entry hit a chord with me. I understand what she's talking about. In this age of helicopter parenting and boomerang kids, it's very easy--almost standard-- to come inbetween your children and decision making. It's even easier to keep our kids insulated from facing what they've reaped. I've had to labor intensively at being a loving mom and one who allows her children to learn from their mistakes. Because it takes less effort to do it for my kids than to instruct them and then cut them loose, I have to be vigilant.

It's even harder to give them the green light to find out the answer on their own, solo. What if it isn't the right answer? That's what makes standing back so difficult. I must admit what I deem correct might not be the best answer for my kids. Also, if I don't give them the opportunity to scuff up their knees a bit, from falling down, how flabby will their characters be? If I'm going to live by the creed of freedom, that means giving everyone, even my kids, the same room to make their own decisions.

When I was growing up, my family was an odd combination of fending for yourself and forced dependence. For example, my dad didn't believe girls could do some things. I vividly remember what happened when I asked for some instruction on carving, because I wanted to make a totem pole for a school project. My dad took the wood, carved out the totem pole (while I watched, of course), painted it and even displayed it for years in the front flower bed, under the kitchen window. He'd beam when people inquired about it, but always answered that it was something I made "with some help." I'd feel ashamed, because it was a lie. I didn't do a damned thing but watch the production.

My mother taught my sister how to sew, and she taught me how to cook. It fit Mom's needs at each era of her life, as my sister is fifteen years older than me. My sister made most of my clothes when I was a toddler. When I was old enough to help out around the house, I hated yard work. We had a huge garden out back, and it was all sluggy 'n buggy. It totally grossed me out. We worked out a deal; Mom tended the garden and I fixed dinner. She gave me rudimentary instruction, then set me out on my own, to explore how to actually coordinate a meal.

I think part of the reason why Mom didn't instruct much was due to her low threshold of patience. Sometimes it would backfire on her, however, because I wouldn't understand her expectations and rather than show me what she meant, she'd ream me out. I admit I can be a slob, and at the time a wrinkled shirt didn't bother me (and it still doesn't give me too much grief). It did hurt when Mom screamed at me, "How have I failed you as a mother?" when I didn't line up the shoulder seams of Dad's dress shirts with the hanger and ugly creases formed.

If I hadn't grown up the environment I did, I wouldn't be the parent, or the person, I am now. I love my folks, and I forgive them of their transgressions. I know they love me and they're proud of the way I turned out. If I didn't have the opportunity to see Mom and Dad make mistakes on occasion, how would I be able to form the philosophy I've embraced today? By being at the other end of hurtful words, I've been given the gift of understanding the power words wield. How else would I have been able to gird my character? Working to overcome my fear of failure has given me a lifetime of emotional strength.

I hope my kids will appreciate the ways I've stepped back and let them take the lead in their lives, sometimes with minimal steering from me. It's been a conscious choice on my part, due to my upbringing. And the times I've been too clingy, too worried and too fearful for them, I sincerely hope they'll understand that it's part of the burden of my existance and that I've worked ever so diligently to leave it behind. In the end, it's my desire that my kids extend me the same slack I've extended to my folks, because I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. We'll have to wait and see if they're willing to be so generous.

Without Sunni's ability to share a piece of herself with her readers, I might not have taken the time to think about decisions and how I've approached this process myself. That's the mark of a provocative writer; she'll inspire you to look inward, to puzzle things out.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here. I'm sure that most of my readers are well acquainted with Sunni's work. If there are some of you that aren't, I encourage you to mosey on over to the Salon and have a look around. Read her essay, Where are the Sons of Boromir? This work is a classic example of the flipping of her shades onto top of her head, to stare straight at you for a few moments.

G.K. Chesterton wrote, "There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect." After spending time reading Sunni's work, I don't quite agree with his statement. There can be a road that starts at the eye, meanders through intellect and ends up at the heart. We just have to look for it. And she does just that, each time she picks up her pen and shares a bit about herself.


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous sunni said...

Wow. I'm ... nearly speechless ... Amazed and honored and humbled. Most of all, I'm thankful for the peek behind your shades. Sounds to me like we share more than a musical mindset.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

Sunni-- thank you for stopping by. The more I read your work, the more I enjoy it and experience those "Aha" moments. We just might share more than musical similarities. I think it is so cool when a writer is so willing to share so much with her readers.


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