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Rebel! Don’t Always Do What Your’re Told! by Sherri Rosen

Rebel! Don’t Always Do What You’re Told!!!

When I was a kid growing up in New England, I never thought of myself as a rebel! It absolutely was not witnessed in my biological family growing up.

It seemed strange to me that whenever my mum would give me presents for my birthday they would be gifts that she would like, not me. She didn’t just do it with me, she did it with my entire family. And if you ever said what you want she would never ever buy it for you. So as I proceeded to get older, and I am talking about this time in my 20’s, I mentioned to my mother and sister that my new husband had just bought me a necklace that was not for me! Was not my taste! And I remember my mum got on one side of me and my sister on the other side and they held me tight physically as I was saying, “I’m going to give my husband back his necklace and tell him to buy me something I like.” As I was saying it my mum and sister said to me, “Oh no, you never tell a man the truth if you don’t like what they have given you.” That may not seem like the beginning of rebellion to you but it was for me. Growing up in a family that always tried to do the right thing and show everything good on the outside.

Again, I was the first in the family to get a divorce. When I did the entire family stopped talking to me! You just didn’t do such things. You stayed even if it was horrible. I had been with my first husband for l2 years. He was hardly ever home, hardly did anything with our 2 children, and I began to see that our value system had completely changed. He went in one direction feeling as though integrity and honesty was not of great importance and I went the other way, and we both changed dramatically. I remember after I told him I wanted a divorce and he moved out, he began sending me child support checks that would bounce. I would call him up and he would say, “so sorry, I knew I had money in the account to cover it, I will send another check.” This went on for months. It’s very scary to be a single mum in NYC raising 2 boys and have your means of support crumble before you. Plus, I had not worked when raising the kids, so I was also busy looking for a job. Finally, after six months I went up to his office around 5pm and asked his receptionist for him to step outside, that I wanted to speak to him. When he came outside I grabbed him by his shirt collar and looked him straight in the eyes saying, “don’t f*ck with me with these child support checks bouncing.” I saw the look in his eyes of complete fear and his saying to me, “I’m going to call the cops.” I shot right back to him, “do it!” And stormed out of his office. Eventually I got a decent lawyer who managed to straighten everything out, and believe it or not, many years later my ex and I became friends. All of this you just didn’t do in my family or you kept it to yourself! Lots of secrets in my family and I was one of those people that just let it all hang out. I was tired of lies, deceit, secrets!!

Coming from a repressed background I didn’t monitor many of the things that I said, and that would get me in so much trouble. So what happened is I went from one extreme to another. I had to learn about boundaries and who to say what to. I remember at a birthday party I had as a kid, I must have been l0 years old, I got up at the party and instead of saying thank you to everyone for their gifts I said, “I love Joanne’s gift the best!” After I said it, it was too late. I looked at all of the kids’ faces at my party and then at my mum and I knew I had messed up.

I know that in order for children to rebel in a mindful way they have to be taught the consequences of their actions growing up and then take action. What happened to me is I went to extremes because of all the repression and I had to learn boundaries, who was and was not my friend, who I could trust, who was lying, and create by own BS detector. As an adult things got so bad for me making rebellious decisions that many years later I ended up in a Buddhist Retreat Center for 2 years. I stayed there and finally learned about boundaries, respect, valuing myself and others, not accepting all that I was told, and that I could rebel and was prepared to take the consequences of my actions. How lucky for children who grow up in families where they are encouraged to questions and not accept or do everything they are told.

Sometimes my rebelliousness is totally outrageous and bold and protects me. I remember one time, after my kids were grown and I had left my second marriage, I moved into NYC from downtown Brooklyn. The area I had been living in was full of families and now that I was single, I wanted to be in NYC where the action was. I looked in the papers for ads for roommates and saw this great apartment in a lovely area on the west side of Manhattan, which was in a very cool area. The apartment was on the first floor of a doorman building, had a back door where it would take you into a yard you could sit in, was local to all buses and trains, the apartment was beautiful and my room was a great size for me. The gal who I was to be sharing with was adorable. Blonde hair, blue eyes and was as sweet as sweet can be. We both hit it off, the room rent was reasonable and I moved in the following week. Then the fun began. Whenever I would have friends over, my door would be closed, and I could hear her walk back and forth muttering to herself and then go into the bathroom, turn on the bath water, thinking she was going to take a bath, but no, just let the water run, walked back and forth out in the hallway again and again, and then went into the bath and shut off the water. This went on for weeks. I could feel her near my door listening to conversations I would have with friends on the phone or who came to visit. So I decided to look for another apartment. I kept looking in The Village Voice and one day I saw my bedroom up for an apartment share. My roommate was showing my room without even telling me. So the following Saturday morning I hear her talking to a prospective roommate in the hallway to show her my room. I quickly got entirely naked, went to the door and opened it. My roommate took one look at me, began screaming and ran out of the building. The prospective roommate looked horrified and I said to her “I know you think I am crazy, but I just saved you from living with a crazy roommate.” I found out later from the doorman that the ambulance was constantly being called to take my roommate out in a straitjacket to some mental hospital nearby. It turns out her dad was a well-known NYC judge and he paid me whatever his daughter owed me especially so I wouldn’t go blabbing anything to the papers. I didn’t because I just wanted out of there.

Just recently I went to visit an Orthopedic Surgeon at a famous NYC Hospital. I had been interviewing surgeons for an upcoming knee replacement. This particular surgeon didn’t even examine me, told me what to expect and then left the examining room, but came back 5 minutes later. He said “you’ve seen a lot of surgeons here in this hospital haven’t you?” I said “yes, I am trying to find a surgeon that is not only skilled but is kind as well.” He just looked at me and walked away. Needless to say he was not my surgeon of choice. Me, interview surgeons, how dare I? You bet your ass I interview surgeons!! This is my body we are talking about!!

During this past winter in NYC on a very icy cold and snowy day, this woman with a cane and myself were waiting for the bus. I felt sorry for both of us having to wait in the frigid weather for our bus, and then this car drives up and pulls right into the bus stop. The bus is coming and I turn and yell at the guy “move your car!” and he did. The woman with the cane turned to me with a smile and we both got on the bus safely.

Out of my conscious choice I have bright red long hair and I dress in my own style you would call sophisticated funky. In our culture I am considered an “older woman” and I have been on many online dating sites to create a dating life for me. Most of the men I’ve been with have been much younger than myself and I would get flack from some family and friends about dating much younger men. They would say, “it’s not going to go anywhere, they just want you for sex, perhaps you should change the color of your hair and would attract another type of man.” I know that they were saying this to protect me, but they weren’t living my life and were safely living their own type of life. I had also realized that older men have been dating much younger women for years and no one says a word, and I just said I was going to do what I wanted to do and I have just done that. No one can live my life except me. I want no regrets!! I’ve made many mistakes, but that’s what happens when I am living my life – I make mistakes but also make some great choices.

After my last breakup, I had nudes taken of me by a photographer who is highly regarded and respected taking nudes of women. I put the nudes into a book and created text and quotes for each of the photos and put the photos out there for all to see. Again, I made a wise decision of where I was going to put the photos. I put them online in our wonderful Elephant Journal. I felt the comments person would protect me from harsh and mean comments that perhaps I would receive if I placed the article in other sites like The Huff Post and I was right. I wanted to show myself and others that we don’t have to take our anger and lash out at others if they hurt us, and we don’t have to conform to what society says we should look like, so I took the anger and created these gorgeous photos and text and wanted to also show older people they don’t have to buy the negative BS about growing older and the BS on how their body needs to look a certain way. It’s been so liberating and the feedback has been so positive and inspiring for many. If you have an opportunity checkout the article in EJ:
Ripe: Aging With Grace And Authenticity

So I must reiterate on rebelling. It’s important to rebel! But in many cases it must be done in a way that isn’t destructive to myself and others. Otherwise, why bother?
400-Sherri Rosen RED - rectangular photo, enlarged  (400x533)

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 10:10 am and is filed under Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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