FROM GOING BACK TO SCHOOL, GRADE SCHOOL

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“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values –that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control”-MLK Jr

I’ve never been a sucker for those online daily deals. You know, the ones that consistently try to pop their way into your already overcrowded inbox or decorate your newsfeed when your loyal friends post the latest deal they just spent a fraction of their paycheck on. This morning, I saw a Groupon for a $299 Toe-nail fungus treatment package. I will say no more!

A few weeks ago, at 2 am, I mustered up the energy and the will to buy my very first Living Social deal for a one month gym membership for only $18. I couldn’t say no, like all the other times I said no to 75% off Brazilian bikini waxes or $3 all you can eat sushi.

I learned, after the fact that the membership was for the facilities at my old private school that i went to for more than half of my life.

I zig zagged my way onto campus, past the ongoing carpool line and  the screaming monsters pinching on to the edges of their moms yoga pants, begging her not to make them go into school today.

See, it doesn’t matter how long you have been gone from a place or how much you can no longer remember about it, because when you go—whenever it is that you go back—everything, the smells, the details of people’s faces, the stories that you were the main character in, will come rushing toward you and tackle you straight down to the very ground you once crawled on with your mini paws.

And so I tip-toed around campus, haunted by the sounds of teachers once telling me to tuck in my uniform shirt into my perfectly pressed khaki pants and by the stink of cafeteria food, that linger s on throughout the building, of fish sticks and kosher pizza bagels.

Of living for the hour in our day that we could go outside and chase each other, making loops around ancient banyan trees and stuck up mulch, for an afternoon game of tag. Of finally getting to be the pink power ranger in recess.

Of extended nap time in kindergarten. Of spelling bee’s in second grade. Of learning cursive in third. Of long division in fourth. Of making Origami in fifth.

Of passing notes, the distance of the Atlantic to the Pacific, across the room of science class written in milky pens. Of pretty little girls in pigtails snarling in my face when I asked to sit at their table during lunch.

Of Shakespeare festivals in the fields. Of failing to win an award in physical education because I couldn’t do a pull up. Of the way my lanky arms held still, held strong, to make ceramic bowls and candelabras during art class.

They will say, they as in people who  make that cold hard cash by defining the way you should live via clichés and self help advice that will run you in circles around a simple truth hiding under your pillow, that you should NEVER go back. Always keep on keeping on, they will say.

But I say go back, look back and back and back as many times as your pouty mouth and droopy eyes dare to wonder. Reveal in your past, do the cha-cha slide on top of the places and people you delicately forced yourself to box up and bubble wrap so you could store in the back corner of your mind.

Going back, almost on accident, reminded me of who I was. No no no. Who I am. Because let’s face it, my friends, people don’t really ever change. They don’t! We all just learn ways and tricks to put on bigger masks and do a box step around the ways we are programmed to be. Those who look like they have transformed in to bigger and better people just learned ways to master taking what they started with and grow on top of it, like bricks stacked up to make a solid pristine wall. And there is nothing wrong with that.

All we are is a product of who we are, the things that we have gone through, the things that we have learned from and the things that will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

My goal in life is not to be perfect, it is to be whole. And in order to be whole we must understand the halves that half us in half. That have made us, us.

Come on, you are still the nose picking, hate sharing toys during recess, Play-Doh eating self. You just either haven’t done those things in a while or learned not to do them in public, anymore.

And I am still the mis-matching cheeky blonde girl who deep down is painfully shy, who sneaks gummy snacks in her pockets, checks out whole sections of the library at a time and has a tendency to disregard silverware for speed eating with her chopstick like fingers.

I’m working on it!

I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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