In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Rite of Passage

When I entered my sophomore year of high school, I anticipated the initiation into high school, as I had heard tall tales of this rite of passage from those who had already experienced the thrill. At that time, I lived in the middle of rural Minnesota…on a farm and surrounded by small rural communities…the town I lived closest to, had a population of 50, with a general store, a feed mill, a bar and 2 churches. What more do you need?

The country school was closed, so all of us in the area were bused to the surrounding towns for school. While I was shipped off to one school, in a much larger town, many of my friends went to another, which was the one I wanted to attend because it was smaller and more of my friends were there. I hung out in this town more often then in the one that I was forced to attend.

Even though I went to school in the one town, I continued hanging out with my friends in this other town and participated in the activities that took place at their school. One of the traditions at their school, was the initiation of sophomores into high school.

The initiation was this…all new sophomores were randomly kidnapped by seniors, in groups of 2 or 3, after dark, when they least expected it. They would be blindfolded, given an unknown drink that had to be guzzled and then put in the back of a truck or in the trunk of a car. Then they would be driven around long enough to confuse the hell out of them… down country roads, field roads and even through woods and fields, before they were dropped off in the middle of no where, to find their own way back to town. Now remember, this was a time before cell phones so it’s not like we could call someone, to come pick us up.

This rite of passage ritual took place each September. Of course this ritual was not condoned by the school but they didn’t stop it. Parents knew about it and much like with our drinking, turned their heads to it and thought of it as harmless fun. No one was ever hurt in the process of this initiation and for the record, as far as I know, no one that didn’t already drink alcohol, was forced to drink it. It’s just that pretty much everyone drank already.

Much like our “start of summer ritual“ of jumping off the bridges, naked, into the cold river, we anticipated this rite of passage with excitement yet with a little bit of fear. Like I said, I had heard many tall tales of previous “kidnappings” and thought it would be fun. We knew it was coming once school started. We just didn’t know when. It was always in the back of our minds to be prepared but they knew us well enough to catch us off guard. These seniors were our friends so how mean could they be? I was a tough farm chic, how bad could it really be? (At least, I thought I was a tough farm chic. I weighed like 90 lbs. LOL)

I learned very quickly, the night of my initiation, just how mean my friends could be. I was taken with 2 of my good friends on a Friday night, from the parking lot, during a football game and we were already on our way to being drunk. After we were blindfolded and put in the back of a stinky farm truck, we were driven around for an hour. They took our shoes from us before leaving us in the middle of a field. At the moment, I was just so thankful that they hadn’t taken our clothes, but that didn’t last long because walking in a cold field, barefoot, is not pleasant.

We had no idea whatsoever of where we were and it was so dark we could barely see each other, let alone where we were going. So there we were in pitch dark, starting to feel the cold, but laughing our asses off at the pure thrill of it all.

We started walking and after all they had given us to drink, of course we had to pee. Dropping our drawers was no problem for my one friend and I but for my other friend, she would not hear of it and said she was holding it until we made it back to town. We walked and we walked.

Believe me, we were no longer laughing once the reality of this night set in. In fact, my friend,(the one who was holding her pee) who was kind of prissy, who had a history of crying when she was drunk, started crying. This wasn’t new to us because this is how she was. She was the “good” girl. She did good in school, was a cheerleader, and was involved in her church . She was the girl that the teachers and parents thought was good and pure. In reality, not so much. I kept her secrets. I let her keep the persona of being the good girl. I took the blame for her often so that she could stay out of trouble. She loved to have a good time and then cry about it.

We walked until we found a little patch of woods and looked for wood to start a fire. We found a few pieces of wood but we were unsuccessful in starting a fire so moved on. By this point, my prissy friend, started yelling at our other friend and I, blaming us for not finding our way out of there. Can you see where this is going? Yep, she was the poop on our party. She would not stop complaining and whining. She was acting like such a piss ant that we started calling her Miss Piss Ant. With the potty mouth that I had at that time, she is lucky, I did not call her the names I wanted to call her that night. She is lucky that we did not run from her and leave her all to herself to find her own way, because believe me, she would still be there today. Don’t think we didn’t consider doing this but she was our friend.

My other friend, had a flask of cherry slow gin with her, so whenever Miss Piss Ant, got too unbearable, she took another chug, which only meant that she continued getting drunker than we already were and so she was of no help in finding our way. She was my friend that was known to drink until she threw up, but in the mean time did a lot of stupid stuff , the kind of stuff that usually pissed other people off. In fact, I think she pulled me down on the ground at least a dozen times. And of course she thought it was funny. Me, not so much. She could have cared less whether we found our way out or not. And she had no problem spouting off obscenities at Miss Piss Ant. Seriously, at one point I considered leaving both of them behind to fight it out on their own and find my own way back but the rule of the game is you have to return together.

We finally found a gravel road and just as we relaxed in knowing that this road would lead to another, which could lead us to town, we heard a loud growl in the silence of the night. We screamed out from being startled and started running. If you have ever walked on a gravel road barefoot, then you know that running on one is just as painful. But, when your running from a farm dog that wants to take a bite out of you, you don’t really feel the pain on your feet until the next day.

Now remember, Miss Piss Ant, the poop on our party friend, that wouldn’t pee outside? Either she peed in her pants when she was startled or while running down the road. Once we had gotten far enough away, we stopped and she told us that she had peed in her pants. We laughed our asses off, but her, not so much. It served her right for being such a piss ant.

We walked that night for many hours. Eventually, we found a main road and we knew where we were. I learned that night, that walking on cold tar is much better then walking on cold gravel. I am sure walking in cold wet pants was quite unpleasant for Miss Piss Ant…enough to make her learn her lesson about holding her pee and being too proud to drop her drawers when it was necessary. I think she toughen up a bit after that night.

My other friend, ended up throwing up along the side of the road and while I was holding her hair back, a car came along and gave us a ride to town. Thankfully, this wasn’t against the rules.
Once we got back to town, we realized how filthy dirty we were after walking and falling down in a field for hours. We looked at each other and laughed. Some how having survived this rite of passage together, we felt closer in spite of some of the drama that had taken place during that night. As we walked down the main street of town, we found our shoes hanging from a sign. After putting our shoes on our filthy feet, we stood in the middle of the street and hugged. We passed the test. We could now say we had done it. We could now tell our tall tales to those younger than us. You can be assured that when we became seniors we had our opportunity to initiate our sophomore friends as well.

For some reason, this story came back to me the other day. In thinking about it, it kind of reminds me of how I am feeling right now. In a lot of ways, I feel like I have been blindfolded and dropped off in the middle of no where, am lost and I am trying to find my way home. This place that I am at right now, feels foreign to me. I feel like someone has taken my clothes and left me naked in a land where no one knows my language. I feel like someone(me) has removed the blindfold from my eyes and I am seeing things I don’t want to see. I am seeing new things every day. Sometimes, I want to put the blindfold back on.

I am still smoke free. Isn’t it amazing that something as simple as removing smoking from my life, can reveal such a mess? Can cause me to act like such a mess? Of course it’s not just the “not smoking” anymore, that is the only issue…it’s all that was hidden underneath it. I question my sanity at choosing to do this when I was already in the middle of an insanity all of it's own, called menopause. I am a mess. I am not liking myself very much right now. I am taking baby steps in learning how to be gentle and good to myself though and if you know me, then you know this is big for me.

I am learning to breath through these moments…to stop holding my breathe. This is my rite of passage. I will find my way home. But, first, I should probably find my clothes.


The Incredible Woody said...

Your post brought back so many memories for me - of similar rites of passage. Thus was the life in a small town:)

I am so proud of you for staying smoke free. And for being strong enough to admit and face the mess beneath. You are one of the strongest women I have ever known.

I'm by your side, lost in the field too. I'm not sure if I'd rather be the puker or the pisser though!!

Jan said...

Oh, Lori - I know how you feel, quitting smoking while dealing with menopause. It is NO FUN.

But I am SO proud of you!

Bina said...

Wow. What an excellent post! I was rivited! You are so darn good and explaining your feelings and where you are in life. I wish I could do that.

But hey. You know what? Life is a journey, and you are finding your way!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Such a memory for you to share with us....I can't imagine that night. Geeze. I may have turned into the piss ant as well. :)
Congrats on quitting smoking. Yes, you are going through lots of stuff...but when are NOT????
Go find your clothes. Take care, suz

Sandi said...

That was a fantastic story and you told it so well I was on the edge of my seat. I love when the old comes around to teach us something new today. Memories are a double edge sword.

Anonymous said...

I am with you in the field and I will be the pisser because puking is my least favorite thing to do. At the end of this journey we will look at each other and laugh. I promise!

Congrats on the smokeless week.

SSG said...

I like this story, and I think you're going through an even bigger struggle now. I like you make jokes about finding your clothes, when I know it's really hard work what you are going through, you are such a postivie person! When I first heard of the menopause I didn't believe it could exist... I hope it is not too awful. Courage!

Jan said...

Miss Lori, ma'am, I've got something for you over on my site.

SciFi Dad said...

Holy crap. That is an amazing story. I can't believe nothing happened to you guys... that must have been quite the ordeal.

♥ Braja said...

Wow. That's So much there, much...there is a lot coming out of you and it's wonderful and healing. You're doing so well...


Tricia said...

What a great story, Lori, and I love the tie back to what you are experiencing now. You'll find your clothes, and your way, I'm sure of it.

bernthis said...

wow, I grew up in the suburbs and honestly, nothing like this ever happened to me not even close but I have to say if someone put me in the trunk of a car, you'd have been calling me much more than a piss ant.

Keep it up. You're doing great. It is worth it and i know you know that but I just wanted to reinforce this.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love the way your post comes full circle and ends up being about so much more and on so many levels.

Bravo Lori! So proud of your strong will.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Honey, you can have the shirt off my back any day. Hang in there. We all have your back. Big hugs.

Debbie said...

Your teen years scare the bejeezus out of me. I can't believe you live through all that.

Anonymous said...

This post sparked an idea for a post about one of my "rite of passage's".

Good job, girlfriend. Hang in there because we're all proud of you.


For Myself said...

Find the tar road. It's easier on your tender feet. Also, laugh with your friends about the absurdity of it all. Look for the passing pick-up with the sympathetic driver, and always remember that there is someone either throwing up or sitting in their own pee. You're alright!

Midlife Mama said...

I admire your ability to share the broken parts of you with us in this bloggy world. My 21 year old son just quit smoking and has been smoke free for almost 6 months now. I am so proud of him. I am proud of you, too, for all you have overcome in your life.

And I left you a present on my blog. :)

Dave said...

Wonderful, wonderful post that tells us much about where you are at, and where you were at.
The analogy is indeed thought provoking when we read your words "I feel like I have been blindfolded and dropped off in the middle of no where, am lost and I am trying to find my way home. This place that I am at right now, feels foreign to me."
You are at a place now it seems that many of us struggle to get to and to reason with.
Enjoy the thought process and embrace the change!
I am excited for you as you go through this!
Thanks for sharing this story, and conjuring up some memories from my past that have shaped my being today.



Beth said...

Yikes! I'm afraid I would have been a poop on your party, too. I'm a-scared of the dark. I want to be able to see the wild animals before they attack. I am so glad you survived!

As fo the not smoking thing, I'm proud of you!

gram said...

yes the memories too for me came flooding back, the good' ole slo gin!! ya puke red, believe me i know from my high school days.
what a story, that was a fun idea, unfortunatly in this day and age, you might get really kidnapped on your way home, how sad it it today to have to worry so.
i am glad to hear you are still smoke free, i'm real proud of you my friend. i have been since 2001. i quit on my worst job ever, a 32 day straight shut down, working 24/7 7 days a week. but i DID it and have been smoke free ever since! so keep up the good work.
thanks for sharing such a cute story, i wonder if your friend pee's in the woods today? i can't count the times i have! LOL
have a great sunday, enjoy the sun.

Bogey said...

Your post reminds me of the many sports related initiations I was involved in years ago. Yikes!

Anyways, I really stopped by to say thank you for your kind comments you left on my blog. It meant a lot to me. To me, pets are people too...or at least think they are. And thanks for reading some of the other stuff as well. Much appreciated. I will be back.

HeatherPride said...

I loved the story about high school! Wow. To have the future laid out before me like that again....

You're doing great with not smoking! I know you're at odds, but keep it up. Hugs.

Fragrant Liar said...

Wow, I'm SO glad we didn't have any hazing going on at our high school when I was there. I'd have been pissed!

Congrats on still being smoke free. That is awesome!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Wow, I have never heard of a rite like that! I think in this day and age, that would never be allowed since people are so eager to sue each other.
Looks like a lot of life lessons were taught that night, and you're succeeding in another one right now. Still very proud of you!

D'Arcy said...

Holy Shmoley! What a story. I had a VERY boring High School experience. I went to school with mostly LDS (mormon) people, so I never touched alcohol, was never offered drugs, and went around bowling and watching old movies. Very, very different from most people's High school experience.

But we all have rights of passage, that's true!

Anonymous said...

I laughed and laughed at your story because it's so similar to one I have about my first year in college. I also grew up in a one-stop-light town and we had an initiation for a girls "club" called Hags (yes that really is the name) and I think I need to blog about it someday. Those rites of passage are what make us who we are today. Survivors!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Lawdy be!!!

I had a whole other bunch of stuff to say, but accidentally deleted it and now don't feel like re-creating it all *laugh*

so I'll just say "LAWDY BE!" again *laughing*

I would have been the laughing my arse off girl, though not a whiny piss ant! :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

and proud of you about the non smoking still!

Life with Kaishon said...

I am so glad it happened to you with your friends. Can you even imagine if you were all alone and that happened? That would be nightmarish!