High School Supreme Court

Who judges your work?  Who judges MY work?

Here’s the mistake we make in high school:
We let anyone, just anyone, judge our work (and by extension, judge us.)
Muffy, the airheaded but long-legged girl in English class gets the right to judge our appearance, and Poindexter, the bitter former-poet English teacher gets the power to tell us if we’re good at writing.
And on and on.
The cheerleaders are deputized as the Supreme Court of social popularity, and the PE teacher forever has dibs on whether or not we’re macho enough to make it in the world. These are patterns we sign up for, and they last forever (or until we tell them to go away).
In high school, some people learn to do work that matters and most of all, they learn to ignore the critics they can never possibly please. The ability to choose who judges your work–the people who will make it better, use it and reward you–is the key building block in becoming an artist in whatever you do.

I wish I could take credit for these words, but alas, I cannot.  It’s a bit “paraphrased” from Seth Godin, but it’s his idea, his “aha” thought. Thanks Seth.

I’ve spent 15 years letting what other people think, or what they might think, or how they will judge me – determine what I do or don’t do.  More specifically, what I write or don’t write.  For 15 years I’ve been editing my life – trying to make sure this person isn’t offended or the church won’t look down their religious noses at me or my family won’t be embarrassed.

Trying to sugarcoat my truth, my life, as I remember it, has been tough.  I’m not a good liar.

And I’m not in high school anymore – no need to impress anyone.   Nothing to be ashamed of.

My life, my memories, my truth.  The way I remember it.

And the older I get, the worse my memory!  Which is why I’ve got to get busy and get this book finished before I forget everything!!

You decide.  You get to be the judge and the jury.  Either way, it’s gonna be alright…


I am thrilled at the response of my loyal friends after I posted Chapter 1, but alas, I cannot post chapter 2 because my agent (my daughter) won’t let me.  She said I could post “snipits” but nothing else.  I don’t want to tease you, but there are chapters about who shot JR, and my nightmare that Bobby was killed.  (Oops, that’s the Dallas script!)

What I can say is that exploring these memories and opening my past has been emotional.  I’ve gone from crying to outrage to laughter to fury.  These memories have been buried so long that I don’t think I was ready to face them – none the less, facing them is what I’m doing.  What I am so very, very thankful for is a parent who was stable – my dad, Darold Ritchie, and my bonus mom, Ruby.  Her family embraced me and treated me like one of their own.  If I had not had them in my life, I have no doubt my life would have ended quite differently.

These next few chapters involve the very sick, twisted boyfriend/future step dad of my mother as well as the innocent feelings I experienced as a young girl.  I had no one to talk to, no one to tell me that what I was experiencing was not normal.  I lied to my dad and Ruby so that I could spend time with my mother once she reappeared in my life.  I wish I had listened to their wisdom.

Hang it there friends – it may be a bumpy and uncomfortable ride, but I need your support to heal.

Kiss me, I’m Irish

In a little over 3 hours I will hopefully be in La La land, oblivious to the scalpels being sharpened and the drills being charged as these screws are finally being removed from my elbow.  More importantly, I want to be completely anesthetized so that I don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of my naked body being exposed to a room full of medical personnel who are the same age as my children.  Those poor kids are going to be scarred for life after seeing what I’ve been hiding under my Spanx.

Anyway, I won’t be celebrating my Irish ancestry.  At least, not the typical St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  Although I do plan to spend the majority of the day heavily sedated, which I guess, in a way, is a lot like being drunk.  Woohoo for me.

The funny thing is that I didn’t even know I was Irish until I fell down the stairs in 2008.  After a couple of surgeries to repair my elbow that took the brunt of my fall, I developed a condition call Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that one can only have if one is…Irish.

Upon hearing this fascinating news, I called my dad and asked him what we were.  Who are our people?

He said, and I quote, we’re American.

That’s right, American…from the former history teacher himself, my father, my hero, my American dad…

So today, this blog is for my dad.

Kiss him, he’s Irish too.