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Gerber Daisy
Upon entering Poplar Bluff city limits I immediately have a mixed reaction: a combination of relief that I am away and fear that I am going to have far too much alone time with my thoughts. I also dread the automatic response I have to this place, condescension. I don't try for it, but it comes easily. I never want to become the person who looks down on those who stayed here forever, so I try to shift my cognition.
The town looks every bit how I remembered it and my drive home comes right back to me. Seeing my mom, still in our same house, makes me wince initially, but hugging her takes it away. First on the agenda for the evening is WalMart. Apparently it has been remodeled and my mom has not been brave enought to venture in alone. People here don't deal well with change. Walking through the aisles, I feel like I should be holding my mom's hand. She depends on me to lead her around and find the objects she is looking for. Irritabiity rises inside me, so I step outside myself and suppress it. I don't want to begin my break this way. Looking around, I find myself reveling in the simplicity of life here. Everyone knows everyone, and life revolves around the knowledge of other people. It is community in a very true sense. This is just what I needed. This isn't real life, so therefore real emotions don't apply here. I can just exist in this small town and not think. Later on, at my sister's favorite bar where she enjoys "VIP" status, I once again step outside myself and find that I am genuinely entertained by the southern accents and the discussions of drinking moonshine and killing critters. To be so naive and pure of heart must be divine. For the weekend, I will surround myself with these people and turn my brain off. Sometimes I think too much.

Conformity is the word here...Packs of Camel No.9 Menthols are tossed onto the table, each with the plastic peeled back just enough to slip a florescent colored lighter inside. My Camel lights are a stark contrast on the table. Perhaps this is in alignment with how I feel. The girls take long exaggerated drags of their cigarettes at precisely the same time and tilt their heads back to exhale a long stream of smoke above their heads. My chain smoking and quick puffs are no match for this visual display. "You need to smoke real cigarettes," my sister tells me. "Menthols kill you faster," I reply. End of conversation.

The bar fills up on Thursday night and I start to see familiar faces. I look different than everyone else, but surprisingly, I am not shunned. Old friends approach me and as the drinks flow, laughter follows. I am sought out by my first grade boyfriend who surprisingly engages me in thoughtful conversation that is far different than those held earlier in the night. I have found a deep soul, even amongst the simpletons, and I realize that I cannot underestimate anyone. I will shine light on those around me and seek out those who receive it with a flourish. My life will go on as I am not alone in this world. Another person I find in this country bar brings up Waking Life during a brief stint on the dance-floor and I am again thrown off. I am inspired by who I have discovered and I am excited about the conversations that will ensue.

My thoughts today have been collected and I realize that I encompass a basic love for other people. Instinctually and without thought I respond to people in a way that uses me up. I give fully and without restraint when I find a worthy recipient...and the only way to become whole is for someone receive my gift. Otherwise I am left half-empty. Giving love to a brick wall will only leave you bruised from the rebound, and it will also keep you an incomplete entity. If I am trying to save someone, inadvertently or purposefully, and they don't wish to be awakened, then I am drained with no sign of fulfillment.
And when I am blamed for another person's change of stance, then I am left wasted on the sidelines, looking for redemption.


Gerber Daisy

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April 2009
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