Thursday, August 15, 2013

THE HAPPY HERMIT

When I first moved from Maine to Northwest Florida, I suffered from severe culture shock. I’m not saying the South is a bad place to live or that the people whose heritage is so deeply rooted here are inferior in anyway. All I’m saying is that I felt like a fish out of water for the first few decades I lived here. At first, all it took was me opening my mouth to speak for me to become the center of attention and to be deemed a “Yankee“ and being a "Yankee" sealed my fate to always be viewed as different or odd. I can't begin to say how many times I probably should have said to people, "if you only knew how odd I really am!" But I have to admit it was much more fun letting people find out that juicy tidbit on their own. Yes, accents eventually fade and I stopped being so quickly branded as a Yankee. Now, I suppose I've been here long enough to have graduated to the "damn Yankee" or permanent transplant status.

I still call Maine home, but the South is where I went for refuge during the years when I so desperately needed a change. And what a change I got! During those years as I assimilated and adapted to my new environment, I truly learned about myself and others. I've seen many things here I instantly hated. Those things are things that I've never allowed to seep into my soul and take root. I've seen many things here that frustrated me because I knew they were things I couldn't single-handedly change. Those things are things I've never allowed to wear me down. Sometime during my early adulthood I came to realize although I had made many HUGE mistakes while growing up, I never once measured a person’s worth by the color of their skin, their religious beliefs or the amount of material objects they owned. I tended to rate a person’s worth more by their capacity to love unconditionally and their ability to accept and adapt to change especially when it was an unwelcome change. I learned more about a person's character not by how easily they handled winning, but how they handled themselves in defeat. I also learned in order to see the humor in most things, I had to first experience the pain.

I could easily ramble on about my years here, but I'm afraid I might end up offending someone. I'd rather just smile and know there are many things I can't and won't do in order to be 100% accepted by my community. Perhaps that in part has been the catalyst to my evolution into the *hermitude in which I now live.

*hermitude
a combination of the words 'hermit', and, 'attitude' indicating the suggestion of the 'hermetic vas' spoken of by Jung. In Jungian terminology, the Hermit is the archetypal "Wise Old Man".
The hermit, being "the primitive man who trusts the unconscious" (von Franz on Jung's 'Zofingia lectures')is one whose way of life is concerned with authenticity, the inner attitude to life, and developing one's inner and intuitive life, as opposed to playing a role in the external world of socio-politics.

6 comments:

  1. My boss is a Damned Yankee but has adjusted rather well to us in many respects in nine or so years of living here. In fact, he and I are quite chummy (probably because I'm not your typical southerner). But it is fun when we talk about the differences in outlook and mental make-up between northerners and southerners.

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    1. I have a few Southerners who I regard as friends and yes Doug, I believe you've hit the nail directly on its head...nothing about you is typical!

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  2. It will probably not change much. The people you know will get used to you, but if you move somewhere else in the south, it will start all over. My former boss lectured me about using "fancy language" at work, because people would think I was being "facetious." I refrained from telling him he meant "supercilious," but later told him how fanatical my parents (growing up in NY), my friends' parents, teachers, storekeepers and anyone else we met were about grammar and usage. I told him (only half-jokingly) that if my father had ever heard me say the word "ain't" I'd be long in my grave, or still bearing the scars. What you need to do is find that little island, or oasis, or whatever you want to call it, in your area, where other ex-pats and liberals can get together and commiserate. I joined a UU church here in TN and have never been happier. A bonus is finding native-born folks who share my sentiments.

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  3. Have missed hearing from you Mildred ol gal....you should write about the ol days in Bangor Maine :)

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