Friday, August 16, 2013

On "pep"

Up & down summer. Struggling at times. I'll be brief. And offer the pep-talk I found.

My life involves a lot of initials. Acronyms. (Which would be a great name for a racehorse.) Closest to home: PTSD. I haven't heard any pep talks for fifty-year old single-parent amputees with PTSD who struggle with mobility, money, and the Oxford comma. Especially one with a G.E.D.

See, I quit high school twice. (I like to be thorough.) Hey, if it's worth doing, it might be worth doing twice, especially if you don't get it right the first time. I quit in December of my senior year. My high school career was dying a slow, painful death, smothered in depression, frustrated creativity, and despair. (Yes, I debate about those commas. Another difficult decision in the life.) The nail in the coffin was the reaction of my guidance counselor (who knew me only as a name bouncing from course to course trailing incompletes) when I asked whether I could graduate a semester early. This is actually a long story I will abbreviate by just noting that those pesky gym credits are what graduation REALLY depends on--even if you've been excused from gym for years.

The counselor didn't realize I was twirling a combination-lock of courses trying to set myself free in the easiest way possible. I quit that December. Then another guidance counselor who prided himself on Connecting With Teens rode his motorcycle to my house  to Save Me, apparently from myself. (Another long story I will expand on later. Suffice to say I still don't have a clue what the HELL he meant when he said he'd encourage me, push me, and spank me if I needed it. WTF?)

So I went back. Lasted a couple months. Then I quit again. Felt much better for it. Got myself on track: took the G.E.D. that summer & sailed through it. This was in 1980. 

On to England in September, where I battled for my BHSAI. (British Horse Society Assistant  Instructor.) A very happy day, much celebrating that night (December 5) at the pub.

I've been nettled a few times about being a Dropout. But I've worked through it. I look at it as a useful skill: knowing how to Get Out of a Tight Place, as Winnie-the-Pooh might say (if he quit school). Did Aron Ralston "drop out" when he cut his arm off to escape death in that  canyon? No, dammit! I do what I have to. And I'm Still Here. And I pride myself on being a Closet Intellectual, as a friend called me once. (I treasure that!) 

So flash forward to 2013 & the seemingly never-ending struggle. And the ad on my favorite radio station: pep talks for folks who are considering...getting their...G.E.D.'s...

Yeah, I know. I've got one. But pep talks? A dearth. I'm running short. I mean DRY.

So what the hell. Tonight I logged on. I'd heard a tiny clip of the one I knew I needed to hear: "...You can do this. I know you can..."  (The British accent didn't hurt.) Yeah, there was a dearth of parental pep-talk vehemence about human matters when I was growing up. The G.E.D. site has a sliding bar so you can find your level of...intensity. Mine was level 10 (wait for it) "Intense."  =  Alfred Molina.

I wept.

Played it three, four, maybe five times. I can do this. And I am just as deserving of a pep talk as anyone. I put it on my Favorites Bar, in easy reach.

So in this time of endurance and hanging-in-there, I invite you to snag your own pep talk for any task you may face.  GED Pep Talk: Alfred Molina

We're in this together. And we can do this. I know we can. We get by with a little help from our friends.