Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not Written In Stone

When I wrote this post I copied the pages of word lists the author had supplied, cut out each word, and put all 208 of them in a jar. Today I reached in an pulled one out. I've said for nearly 30 years that give me a topic and I can write on it. That might be the only remnant of my journalism training.

Our professor would give us something to write about and it didn't matter if we knew anything about it or not, the assignment still had to be handed in. He was not above giving it back either, and telling us to do the whole thing over again, if it didn't come up to snuff. One time I did an interview which involved taking a bus to the outer skirts of the city only to find the man who I needed to interview very uncooperative. That assignment was handed back to me to redo. The man refused when I showed up the second time.

At any rate my word phrase today is locked doors. When I unfolded the piece of paper and saw those words an image flashed through my mind. I was six years old and had broken my arm. I was wearing a short sleeved knit red shirt. Funny what we remember. I was sent to my room to change shirts before I went to the hospital. No one helped me. My arm was broken up near my shoulder and I felt a little sick to my stomach as I tried to figure out how to get my arm out of one shirt and into another. I felt so alone and confused to be alone. I didn't know I could ask for help and no one offered. It took me 40 more years to learn it's okay to ask for help. Childhood messages are not written in stone. They can be rewritten.

At the hospital a nurse with a kind face gave me a gown and put me in a change room. She had blonde hair and a beautiful smile. She was the first one who I felt some sympathy from. Somehow I got locked in that little cubicle. Somehow she got me out. She put me in a wheel chair and took me to the x ray room. If I shut my eyes I can see myself laying on that cold steel table with just a gown on. The room seemed so big and I felt so small.

They were unable to cast my arm because of where the break was so I came home with my arm in a sling. The next day one of my classmates couldn't stop laughing when I told him I'd fallen off a three foot fence and broken my arm. I was sure my grade one teacher would excuse me from penmanship that day. No such luck.

For the last 40+ years whenever I find myself in a little cubicle I momentarily panic that I'm going to get locked in with no way out. Then I remember that I have a voice and can ask for help if I need it.

Photo Credit


the Mom said...

"I didn't know I could ask for help and no one offered. It took me 40 more years to learn it's okay to ask for help."

It's like you pulled that right out of my head today. Thanks for this post!

Peter said...


Daisy said...

Can't imagine leaving a little 6 year old with a broken wing to fend for herself like that. Poor little one.

Looking forward to what else you might pull outa that jar!


annie said...

What a powerful post, Hope! Thank you so much for sharing.