Ever since that first anthropology class with Professor something or other in freshman year, I dreamed of living in remote African villages or in an igloo with the Netsilik Eskimos. Sleeping in a grass hut with a dirt floor or helping Eskimo children create a better future ignited the first fire in my belly. I could teach them to build enterprises like ice hotels, or develop the first ice bowling alley. Producing a line of skin care products with whale blubber set me totally ablaze. It would spread like wildfire.
I saw myself as fat, even at a size 5, so Eskimos were the obvious choice. Fat was highly esteemed in their culture. Blubber warmed and fed you. Anything in high supply that will meet a society's basic needs, while having real potential for value added product development was worth further examination. Plus, the Norwegian in me loved to fish, and most of all, I relished the idea of those big parkas with a fur lined hood. Vanity closed the deal. It accentuated my blue eyes while covering the fat I didn't yet have.
But I would.
(I know how to manifest a vision)
When I didn't end up at the North Pole or in Africa, the dying towns of the American West seemed a close second. Denial is a gift sometimes. It's highly unfortunate I didn't translate all those workshops I taught on setting boundaries to my work in communities, however. I was a big picture type who always set her sights on the big vision, letting the details work themselves out in the process.
In this case, my vision was to work with rural communities in a meaningful, productive, and authentic way. In other words, with results. I wanted to rebuild local economies, create sustainable communities, teach new decision making - I wanted to make a difference.
Make a difference was the slogan of our time - and it became my creed.
Turning vision into reality always came easy to me. It wasn't a big leap to picture what authentic, meaningful, and productive looked like either.
Unintended consequences are a bitch though. A karmic sinkhole in fact. When I ended up in the American West instead of the North Pole, it beats me why it never crossed my mind to simply work side by side with them like a normal person.
I wanted the real thing in this gritty new culture. I wanted to belong - really belong. Yet I still don't know how I let it go so far. Marrying one of them was definitely not on the vision board. (lesson learned: details matter.)
Well, two of them actually. Kind of. For ten years each. At least I worked myself up. First, an alcoholic cowboy with a truckload of border collies and crushed, empty beer cans that tumbled out along with him; and then, an emotionally unavailable, workaholic rancher who dealt with his rage towards his abusive father by never stopping long enough to feel.
I may not have the degree in hand, but my dream of being an anthropologist was realized. I studied this culture first hand. When I do something, I go all out.