Skip to content

Adventures with Jimmy Carter

I barely survived high school.

I barely passed either. Because of gym.

Somehow I convinced somebody to let me take college classes early. Then I got permission to just move to Washington DC in my senior year.  Along the way there were notes about how I would fail if I didn’t make up gym classes and stupid things like that. But I always figured out how to do whatever was necessary to meet the gym class requirement that stood between me and an exciting, independent life.

Because I was not a big fan of high school. But I had big dreams.

So I left Baltimore and moved to an all-girls dormitory on 2nd Street near Union Station. It was run by nuns and no men were allowed beyond the lobby. It added to the outrageous surrealness of the entire fact that I tricked everybody into letting me just leave home.

But I had moved to Washington DC. to be a Congressional Page. It was noble in purpose.

And I met kids from all over the country.  A lot of them had southern or midwestern or up north kind of accents.

Some of them had gone to boarding school. Some of them were connected.

Some were more like me, without any connections.

I had driven to my Congressman’s community Post Office visits every third Saturday of the month begging his staff to take me back to DC

with them.

Did I mention the whole thing was ridiculous?

I had arranged for an early release from my parent’s prison and I was going to be able to put it on my resume!

And that became my life hack.

Before the word ‘hack’ was a word.

Escape the torture of real life by doing something you can put on your resume.

Now I know that sounds kind of cold, but it’s good life advice.

And my theme, now that I have had really successful-so-far TMS, is “Get There Faster.”

If high school sucks, go to Washington DC where you can earn $600 a month (that was in 1980) and get lots of great job interviews in your future based on the fact that your resume starts out with something really interesting!

Because that gig got me a lot of great job interviews.

I attended the House Page School, located on the attic floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress for a few hours before heading to the floor of Congress! And Jimmy Carter hands me a certificate in a ceremony at the Whit House!

High school hacks don’t get better than that!

But there are really just two takeaways.

One is personal. It’s that I never realized how hard it must have been for my parents to go to the Carter White House for a graduation ceremony.

I literally just realized that. I need to apologize to them for that obliviousness on my part.

They probably have PTSD.

The second takeaway is Get There Faster.

Yesterday I wrote about how TMS is unlocking my brain, enabling me to say “Stop It” to unwanted thoughts.

I have been working with meditation and CBT and related practices now FOR YEARS, trying to unravel maladaptive thoughts patterns and harmful or destructive mental habits.

But it is TMS that is now allowing all of those tools to really work together and be effective.   So now I can see how the system is capable of working well if it has the right fuel or grease or whatever the metaphor will turn out to be.

Maybe for you it’s not TMS.

Maybe for you it IS the meditation,

Or the running. Or the diet, yoga, biking or climbing,

Or the meds. Or the greenery, Or mushroomery. Or microdosing or whatever.

For me it has been a combination of things including TMS.

And I am the new poster child for “Try Something Different” – because it might mix things up for you if nothing has worked in a while.

I wish I could go back and give a big hug to the girl who went to Washington, DC to be a Page.

She was already working overtime to keep her brain from exploding.

Luckily for her, she thought it was all really exciting, so she didn’t mind too much that sometimes the room got really dark and stayed really dark.

She had a lot of foreign films and 80s music ahead, so she was going to be alright for a while.

Thank you to Jimmy Carter. And thank you a few more times.


Happy Saturday. Hope your weekend is longer than it looks.

dee (and bella)

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. This resonated SO much with me. My 50th high school reunion is this year, and lately, folks on the committee organizing it have been finding me to get the correct contact information for when announcements go out. That inspired me to look back at the yearbook for my senior year. And THAT brought back a flood of memories–many are just horrid.

    You were grasping at straws but found the right one to get you out. You “dared greatly” and held on to that straw for dear life. You created your own way out. Now you can retell your story as one of triumph in the face of trauma.

    I am putting together the pieces so that I too will be able to see my story as a personal victory instead of a daily defeat.

    <3 Bob

  2. I really like the way you put it, Bob.

    It’s like reframing it or focusing on the wins instead of the darkness. I’m sick of the darkness now that I can see ways to get to the light. And I’m trying to get those cool memories back. So I can forget the dark memories.

    I guess I’m trying to curate my past so I can reap the most valuable and avoid the parts that take away strength. Maybe other people like us are doing that too at some point. 🤎

    1. John, I don’t think it was courage. I think it was desperation.

      I was looking for something that made my life make more sense. My life was so confusing.

      And I didn’t drink or smoke marijuana or take any other drugs so I had no escape from the confusion.

      I think I was just trying to find myself, for lack of a better way to say it. I didn’t have the courage to run away.

      But I had the creativity to find something legal to run to. : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top