channeled message received from Oliver on 9/16/17 at 2:40 a.m. ET US.
Open the lid and let me out!
That’s how I felt when I first saw the Defur Voran building standing strong against the sunset skies of Muncie, Indiana from my 6th floor suite at the Courtyard Marriott hotel on 9/7/17. My first crack at being a paralegal was at this firm by means of a required internship in the spring of 1982, at Ball State University, to graduate in my field, with a degree in Legal Administration. I was being taught how to run a law practice from the business side up – easily garnering “A”s for my skills at color coding file folders and writing business letters. Brother! Did I ever want more! What I wanted… was to be a paralegal.
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DeFur Voran taught me how to navigate the politic of a law firm environment. It also showed me how to impress, with the quality of my work, my attitude, and the way I presented myself in the physical. I was smart – very smart, and I knew it. I also had the suit, the starched white blouse, the conservative hair cut, along with the soft yet sexy make-up and high heels to top off the law firm “look;” female division (…or should I say diversion). And I “looked” good! Now all I had to do was plug-in to my intellectual talents and I was as good as graduated.
The internship was of great support. I discovered how best to serve lawyers in their practice areas in a way that made me invaluable. Wearing the uniform and fitting the role of the character played in the law firm game was, as I learned early on, a huge piece of the success puzzle. Being accepted was step one. If you couldn’t get the whole appearance thing right, fit in with the rest of the drones in desire, determination, and dress, then it didn’t matter how smart you were or how hard you worked, you were slotted for failure. Sporting “the look” was a huge part of the game. Too big if you ask me. But I wanted in. I wanted to win, and win I would! Even if it meant I had to act my way into earning a seat at the big boy’s table, and I could parlay that training into a position anywhere in the world I wanted to go. So, I kept my eyes open and my other senses sharp, seeking the knowledge of the legal universe one step down the judicial catwalk at a time.
It was a lovely memory in all honesty. It just reminded me of how I always felt locked in to being a certain “type” of person in order to “be all I could be,” as the US Army recruiting slogan use to go. I hated being judged – especially for something that I felt had nothing to do with what made me good at my job.
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It brought back memories of a poem I wrote about three years later while living in Oak Park, IL, just east of the City of Chicago; one keyed out for personal pleasure and to release the pressure of working at the corporate headquarter’s of The Traveler’s Insurance company, in the REID (real estate investment division) as an assistant investment analyst. What that “grade system” job title really signified was that I was a paralegal acting as record keeper and liaison between our local counsel in 15 US states and parts of southern Canada with those execs in our legal and business departments. Sounds important, right? It was and it wasn’t. The point is… The trend of having to “fit” with the other cogs in the sparkling legal machine in order to climb the corporate ladder wore on me. I wanted to be me instead of a fictional character created to mix with the masses.
One way I achieve status as “me” was to do anything creative. I took photos (even then), walked the streets of the civically blended community of Oak Park, viewed the Frank Lloyd Wright homes and studio, frequented the specialty shops along the main drag by the El-train station, and the mansions along N. Ridgeland Avenue. I listened to music – all sorts of music, and I wrote.
I wrote short stories, poetry, and even detailed chapter outlines for novels “to be written” one day – outlines I retain to this day, banker boxed in the webbed comfort of the basement.
The Musician, specifically, took the angst of the day and inked it out on sheets of fiber white paper. I won an award for this piece – having submitted it during a creative writing workshop attended at BSU that summer, and being doted over by the instructor for my cleverness and talent – or so he said. LOL. It stuck with me because he pointed out the phrase “capped jar” to the entire class as being one of vision! Again, LOL.
Then, on September 7th, peering out the 6th floor window of my suite at the Courtyard Marriott, having returned to Muncie for a high school class reunion 40 years after the fact, and 32 years after writing The Musician, the feelings of yesteryear returned. (I won’t mention the surprise I felt when I looked out the bedroom window of the suite and saw the Muncie Music Center, rebuilt and finished just months prior with the completion of the Muncie revitalization and beautification project. That’s where my mom worked from the time my dad died at 65 in 1981 until the mid-2000’s. Music was themed in the experience, and music was welcome! From Defur Voran to The Musician, to the Muncie Music Center, to the tracks tuning loudly from my mobil phone’s playlist the wheel of life was turning right in front of me. Visible. Visceral. Viral. Of value in its emotional evocation.
What I felt at that moment in my hotel room turned the lid and uncapped my jar, releasing all that came before that no longer served me. Sure, I could costume the uniform again, anytime, and it would no longer hold the disdain once had. I’d moved on. I could wear anything. Be anyone. Face any challenge and I could now do it free, open lidded, alive in the knowing I was me – in all formats, conditions and types. Still me. Always me. Because I was not the character locked under a secure roof of probability. I was a frequency-based energy signature having a human experience, free in every way. Open to all possibility. A creator. An explorer. Alive in every form and fashion. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. Dressed to the nines. Expressed through the tines of T-shirts and jeans. Shoed or shoeless. Make-up and hair – options to be RSVP’d. I was me. Am me. And, I am alive in my individuality ready to join in the collectivity of the whole. Accepted as is, so as to simply be. Be happy. Be healthy. Be me.
And, if I ever get the hankerin’ for another jar – let it be one of colored glass, sketched steal, and air… lots and lots of air.
click on any thumbnail, or use the left/right arrows to navigate through the eight photos of the sculpture at Minnetrista in Muncie, IN . To stop the automatic display feature, hover your mouse over the photo you wish to pause. For full sized view of any image, right click on it once it appears in the center box and open it in a new window.
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Note: Banner / Blog page placeholder image is of the entrance to the Minnetrista center near the old Ball Mansion in Muncie, Indiana; original home of Ball canning jars. Photo taken on 9/7/17. To view full sized version click here. To view the full sized banner version click here.