Monday, April 26, 2010

Don’t Tell Me What To Do – Memories of Me Monday

TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “Talk about an embarrassing experience from high school.”

It’s my blog and my rules so I’m going to take liberties with this one and write about an embarrassing experience from elementary school.  For one thing, it’s too hard to come up with just one embarrassing experience from high school (or junior high, for that matter!) and, for another thing, there’s a particular incident that happened during second grade that I’ve never forgotten.

At that time I was attending Hermosa View Elementary School in Hermosa Beach, California.  Reading was one of my favorite subjects and, as I’ve mentioned before, I loved the school library.

One day, early in the school year, my teacher announced that the library was having a contest.  It was a drawing contest.  Each contestant was to draw and color a picture to “celebrate our school library.”  It could be any scene we wanted as long as it had something to do with libraries, books, or reading. 

The winner’s drawing would hang in the library all year.

Well, I loved to draw, too.  I loved art in nearly any form; drawing, painting, clay, fabric, paper, whatever the medium, I enjoyed any creative process.

So I was excited about the contest.  I thought I had a good chance of winning.  I fancied myself a great artist (fueled, no doubt, by the parental encouragement I received at home) and I couldn’t wait to show off my skills.  I could already visualize my drawing, with my name on it, hanging in the library for all to see.

That afternoon, during free time, as I was gathering up the supplies I would need to draw my picture, the teacher made another announcement about the contest.

It was not optional, she told the class, every student was to draw a picture whether or not they wanted to enter it in the contest.

I froze.

Ok, now this will sound crazy to anyone but me, and I don’t pretend that I had the slightest inkling of why I reacted the way I did at the time, but I’ve learned in the many (many!) years since, that this is just the way I am.

Now that the contest was an assignment, I totally lost my motivation -POOF! - just like that.

Suddenly, I didn’t want to draw a picture anymore.  Not if I had to draw one.  Not if everyone in the class had to draw one, and not just those who were interested in art and books, like I was.  The contest lost all its lustre when it became a chore instead of a way to celebrate some of my favorite things.

I’m just rebellious that way.

I squirmed and struggled and fought against what was now, to me, an unpleasant task but finally, knowing I had to do it, I started to draw.

But I no longer cared if I won the contest.  In fact, I didn’t even want to win anymore.  I decided to draw such a bad picture that it would be sure NOT to win.

With a brown crayon I dashed off three lines the length of the paper.  Shelves.  Then with several different colors, I quickly drew some very  haphazard-looking books on the shelves, and colored them in.  With a pencil I drew some squiggles on the spines of the so-called books, not even bothering to write legible titles.

Done.  I wrote my name at the bottom and turned in my paper.

Are you remembering that I started out to write about an embarrassing experience?

Well, here’s that part:

ALL the pictures were hung in the library!

Yep, not just the winner, but ALL the pictures.  Including mine, that horrible, scrawling mess that looked like it could have been drawn by my baby sister, Denise, who was still in diapers at that time.

Worst of all?  My picture was just below and to the right of the winner, which drew everyone’s attention because it was so nicely done, so no one missed mine either!  With my name on it.

Like I said, I’ve never forgotten that incident, and probably never will!  I’m still rebellious – the harder someone tries to convince me to do something the harder I dig in my heels – but I did learn a very valuable lesson that to this day I follow:

If you’re going to do something at all, do it the best you can!

FOR NEXT WEEK: “Describe a favorite outfit.”


Elizabeth Peterson said...

Wow Deb you are one rebelious kid! :0)

I teach the beehives at church and next week my lesson is on journal keeping. I want to make them a memory question jar. Do you have a print out of the questions you use? I am sure if I look I can find stuff online but I really like your questions and would love to include them if I could. Just let me know. thanks cuz!!

Emily Robertson said...

Hey Deb! I'm so glad I get to see your blog now, thanks to Elizabeth =)
You are too funny! I totally lose motivation when I HAVE to do something! Thanks for letting me get a peek into your life!