I learned cursive in 3rd grade, like everyone else born pre- laptops and i phones. However, for the past 30 years, I have chosen a different sort of penmanship, a unique blend of print, created cursive and imagined letters. I never embraced my learned cursive. I rejected it, perhaps because I didn’t want to follow someone else’s rules. It was a lesson to me, I knew how each letter was made and should look , but It never felt fluid to me, and I didn’t really like how It looked when I followed the rules of cursive. I never continued to use it after elementary school. It was easier and faster to write my own way.
I am pleased to say that was yesterday. Today I turned over a new leaf. I wrote my entire journal entry in the most beautiful cursive I have ever done. This might not seem like a big deal, but for the past 20 years I average 1500 words a day, and never used proper cursive to write a journal entry. I really don’t know what got into me. It was like riding a bike, it all came back. But instead of the letters being big, loopy and uncertain, they were smooth, neat and very teacher like. I started making each individual letter with tender care. Starting at the bottom, I slowly connected each one with the next. I was so impressed with my artwork. I always felt as if perfect cursive, ironically, was too “childish”. Figuring it just isn’t for people who write as much as I do, I thought it unnecessary, elementary. I do that with writing, I keep myself in an inactive, un-progressive state, so I never move forward.
I seem to avoid the ‘great write’, the piece of literature, I know I have growing inside, but I never let it live and breathe. I stay in the middle age, a safe distance from both new life and death. But this piece, this great write is getting big, and I’m fearful it will soon die if it doesn’t emerge.
Today, the writing as a whole was favorably progressive and quite artistic. It was the cursive that moved me along. While focusing on my beautiful handwriting, the preliminary questions slipped out and the answers with them. I asked great questions with my graceful letters and flowing words, like, ” what’s holding me back from the great write” and “who would my audience be if i embarked on the great write” “why should they care about the things I have to say” and “how can I make them care?” Finally I’m really getting somewhere! I couldn’t help but wonder if somehow this cursive fling I was having was responsible for moving me forward.
We go our own way because we think it’s somehow creates independence. We want desperately to separate our mature self from our child self. We make erroneous conclusions about what is childish and what is grown up, and then we get stuck. However, we need what we learned as children to get us to and through some of the adult moments. For example, as children we learned how to use the toilet and how to read. It doesn’t mean we have to read , Dick and Jane, for the remainder of our lives or abandon reading altogether, neither do we expect our parents to continue wiping our bottoms, or else go on the floor to prove we no longer need them. It is rather healthy and right, that we can build on what we have learned to make something new and to move us into our future. I learned two things today:
1. I must accept and utilize what I learned in the past. Stop labeling myself and judging my abilities. I don’t have to be little to use what I learned when I was little. I need to let go of what I don’t think I can do, in order to take hold of what I’m really good at.
2. I must recognize that others are an important part of my success and my journey. I can learn from them and still keep “me”. There will be times I need insight, advice, knowledge or a skill set someone else has, to help me move forward.
These are all the stupid little things I think about, things that I get excited about, or draw life lessons from. such as : I got gifts and talents and purpose inside of me that I haven’t used or seen yet, and so do you. We have stuff inside that we haven’t tapped into or dusted off in a while because of judgments, fear and laziness. But as small and insignificant as they might seem, when we practice those things , we take one small step forward. That’s called progress. We have amazing capacities, we just have to take risks. Think of the risks men like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took when embarking on ideas and skills they had brewing inside.
If we insist on only doing what we learn from ourselves we miss out on our potential. If we only do what we learn from others we miss out on originality, but when we take what we learn from others and build upon it with our own talents- we progress.