reframing the sheltered life

“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well.
For all serious daring starts from within.”

Eudora Welty

The world is a very strange place once you fly the nest.  It can only be hoped that you have learned enough to enjoy that solo walk in the rain.

Life is full of new beginnings.

One of my favorites was going away to music school. I enjoyed a relatively nice flight from the nest… mom, my bestfriends’ moms, friends and relatives were all power upping in the prayer circles sending good vibes to me.  I got cards in the mail, care packages, and words of encouragement when I decided to break loose and figure out how to become a grown up 3000 miles away.

I add also that my mom did not agree with my chosen adventure to move to Boston when I had a perfectly nice set-up in San Diego; family, good people,  and mentors.

Some beginnings take time for those close to you to accept.

I got on the plane – minus a hug from my mom.

I knew moving would upset her.  I had even refrained from letting her know I got accepted to music school til after I had secured an apartment in Boston.

Nonetheless, having so much encouragement and support fostered a sense of confidence and adventure. Mom eventually became part of my adventure.  I loved the care packages with familiar foods from home.  I mailed mom leaves from the east coast autumn as well as a copy of my budget to share with her how I was managing.

And there was one friend who played dark cloud to my ambitions; the guy I was dating. He felt that putting JNET in the city was like putting a baby kitten out in the wild. He even wrote me a “protective” letter in his Christmas card which I underlined and circled with red marker and posted back to him asking him where the love was in his card – telling him that I thought he didn’t really mean to write the things he did.

A life growing up at church in a world where R rated movies were not allowed, where saying words like “stupid” or “dummy” was not acceptable, where grades were discussed and jobs were not allowed (volunteer work acceptable) and most activities were chaperoned by a brother, a grandmother or a nun – qualified my “sheltered life”.

My life was criticized by peers growing up with different rules where swearing was normal, sardonic conversation considered clever and people of authority looked upon with disdain and distrust.  I have spent more time and energy in class and rehearsal than hanging out in malls, clubs and parties put together.   And I don’t feel like I’ve suffered much in not participating in certain social rituals.

XYZ:  “Don’t you think that you are missing out in certain experiences?”  A classmate once asked when she noticed that I wasn’t doing the dating drama rollercoaster.

JNET:  “Hardly, I don’t miss much when I’m having too much fun with the things I’m doing.  I’m performing and travelling.  I like rehearsals.  I like the people I meet.”

Moving 3000 miles to study was an exciting new beginning that trumped fear. I didn’t know how to use the subway and had never taken a bus. I only knew that I was being inspired forward and that those that loved and mentored me were with me in spirit…

My “sheltered life” taught me how to be professional, on time and en pointe before I left high school due to time spent with mentors. They had grown in me confidence.  I learned how to prepare and state my case before authority types.  I respected them and wanted to do well.

I had to learn how to articulate and communicate well to gain new ground and privileges that would take jnetsworld from mom’s nest to become my own invention. Those lessons came from pursuing auditions, performing and keeping my grades up.

I had to learn how to make a stand for myself intelligently and respectfully without emotional fireworks.  I was allowed to share my mind.  I was allowed my opinions.  I was listened to and I was always comforted. A great deal of energy was given by the grown ups in my life at a time when my peers were in rebellion.

I had my own rebellion but it was abstract. I did test my family’s comfort boundaries but in a spirit that wished for their trust. This kitten survived the city life without turning feral. This catholic child protested and visited other worlds and is enriched by many honest conversations by different angels along the path.

Now that I am grown up, I see many of my students are growing up in similar “sheltered” environments.  I think it is a good thing.  I see that these young people adore their families.  I see adults sensitive to them but not overly indulgent.

JNET is STILL growing up in a sheltered environment.

I feel shielded from the elements (negative people and their drama).

Because I grew up choosing people that make sense by the standard from which I came.  And the standard that I got from the “sheltered life” is living life full out, knowing you are not alone (people are a phone call, text, email away), that you have spiritual and emotional support encouraging you to be your best, your kindest, conscientious contributing self.

And the kind people that raised and protected you along the way want you to have all the opportunities possible to you, a better world, a big world that has hope and compassion that is worth exploring and making a mark in.

So that when you see unkindness you want and are moved to make a stand, so that when you see people made disposable or marginalized, it hurts poignantly and you see how many are made numb by having not been shielded as you have in growing up.  And you see how blind sighted fear and hate is and it GRIEVES your heart because that is THE response to have when you see compassion and love missing.

I still have friends and family sending the good vibes and care packages nowadays are prepared dinners to take home from a students family if I cannot join them at the table or fresh baked cookies and I still get cards and letters and texts and emails of encouragement.

The sheltered life does not end when you step off the nest.  The  caring evolves and makes a life of its own.  It forgives missing hugs.  It provides strength and connectedness during solitude.  It makes space to draw out the better out of people.

My mom is my biggest fan and loves her strange bird a lot. And the boyfriend that wrote that card, flew in from San Francisco while I was visiting during break and apologized. He is one of my dearest friends to this day and he will most likely during his family visit to San Diego from San Francisco make time to have a bevvy and laugh.

There is a sentiment that those that live sheltered lives grow up insular and are either dangerous or very vulnerable once they leave the nest.   Not everyone goes nuts, not everyone embraces becoming irresponsible and reckless especially when there are too many people watching your life and have vested a good deal of energy believing in you -guiding you to where you are.

I decided that the “sheltered life” needed some reframing and dimension explained.

Sheltered is NOT living the perpetual kiddie gated life.  Let’s try another word; shielded, growing up with a sense that someone is there to listen and encourage, to catch you, protect you, stand for you and raise hell on your behalf should the occasion arise.

When people feel loved and valued, conversations about meeting and overcoming challenges are normal table topics, drama is a hiccup to iron out and there is an openness that buffers people from allowing egos to define situations.

I am grateful for those that have been a shield to me.  Those guiding people that made sure I learned kindness because the world needs mindful and thoughtful people.  I am grateful for the curfews and going out with body guards teaching me about respect and boundaries.  I am grateful for the amount of patience it took to grow me (from others and from myself).

To grow sheltered is to grow strong.  And a sheltered life can be daring, for all serious daring begins within.

May you enjoy a sheltered life; shielded by the love of dear people.  And may you always be daring.  You have the love of so many people rooting on your behalf.

JNET

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~ by jnetsworld on November 4, 2010.

6 Responses to “reframing the sheltered life”

  1. Love your world and I concur..(piano player performer) and thanks to you, I can now define myself in all the diversity and unique(ness) that I possess as a person…as a woman.

    Just saying Hello and wanted to share that..nothing more. I enjoy the substance of your blogs.

    destiny

  2. Jnet, I love the way you write…such beauty l
    And eloquence and your topic is so revealing. I too like so many had the misconception of a sheltered life as limiting or lacking, but now because of the light you shared on this subject, I am a little more awaken to the rewards and benefits of having and living a sheltered or shall I say shielded life!?

    I may have to rethink of how I raise my children based on this new insight. Thank you dear JNET for sharing your loving wisdom…

    All the best,
    James P. : )

    • Thank you James.

      I would love to know how this adds some color to your parenting 🙂 So happy you were able to glean something valuable from my writing. What was the highlight insight?

      Looking forward to hearing how the insight has benefited you.

      JNET

  3. Hey paper stealer! you took my words! just kidding, sis.
    Well-done. I saw mom’s post so I decided to this thing they call the Internet and see what you young’ns are writing these days…. yeah, like I’m that old by “talking” this way.

    Again, well-written… Only if more people kept a focus while still venturing out and enjoying life in a … nice way. Not sure if I’m expressing my thoughts well right now… the kiddies have me distracted.

  4. @ Destiny. Thank you for your compliment 🙂 Glad to have people of substance enjoying and gaining value from my writing.

    @ James & Reb Hey bros. You’re awesome dads. Your children will grow up adventurous and happy. Keep up the good work 🙂 Its too much to worry about the world at large. You have a world right there in front of you to grow. In being the best humans beings you can possibly be… showing strength and goodness that inspires and transforms those that know and live with you will teach your children where true power and daring comes… from within.

    So glad that the world has so many rugged angels.

    JNET 🙂

  5. I think this is my 2nd time to read this, but I didn’t leave a comment before, so now I am. I felt a twinge when I read …minus a hug from mom. I realized that what I did then was a defense mechanism in my part, so I won’t cry and miss you so much. You’re making me cry while writing now. But, not putting myself in your shoes, as to how you felt at that moment, was my mistake that I realized while attending the Forum. I told you how sorry I am for what I have said or not said and what I have or not have done. I love you honey, you’re my one and only daughter. Keep writing!!!

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