I have issues with authority. It started in kindergarten in Mrs. Boblitt’s class in 1979. My mom had made me the neatest crocheted plastic egg slip cover (see photo). I was so enamored with it that I took it to class to show my friends how cool I was to possess such a wonderful toy. I was quite proud of it and I absolutely refused to let go of it for anything. Inside the slipcover was a plastic egg in my favorite color, green, and if I am not mistaken there were jelly beans inside the plastic egg.
As the class started, my teacher politely asked me to put my prized possession in my cubby hole. The horror, I know. But, being the sneaky INTJ Mastermind that I am, I nonchalantly walked over to my cubby, bent down next to it and then casually slipped the toy into my shirt sleeve. It was a brilliant move, I know. Hold the applause.
So with my egg tucked securely in my sleeve, I headed back to my seat for another round of coloring “The Letter People.” Now I love art, so coloring was a pretty intense activity for me. I was so into coloring “Mr. P’s” patches when suddenly the egg slipped out of my sleeve and bounced across the table, disrupting the entire class. Mrs. Bobblitt looked up from her desk with a frown and sternly asked me to put the toy back in my cubby hole. She was one of those scary teachers that you shouldn’t really push too far, so I got up and walked over to my cubby again. This time, I stuffed the egg up my other sleeve. I was a pretty smart kindergartner.
I don’t really remember how I got busted the second time around. It was probably so traumatic that I have blocked it from my memory forever. The only other recollection I have of that day is that I ended up in the principal’s office over it. I didn’t get spanked or anything (at least not there – I’m sure my parents took care of that at home) and in retrospect I actually thought it was something special to get to make that little trip down the hall. Although being dragged by the ear wasn’t so fun. Yes, kindergarten was kind of harsh in 1979.
So began my journey of defying authority. In my school career alone, I saw the inside of the principal’s office more times than I can count, spent many long afternoons in detention and I even got kicked out of detention once because I annoyed the sub who was filling in at the time by flicking rubber bands at an empty soda can. In high school I frequently got in trouble for having other books propped up inside of my text books and refusing to be “part of the group” when the subject didn’t interest me. In college, I got kicked out my dorms for setting off firecrackers and breaking and entering into my RA’s room. I also got kicked out of a college class for disagreeing with the professor. Rules? I never read them.
I have this subliminal goal to start a girl revolution that will rock this world. I’m still planning it. I am pretty sure I eat, sleep and breathe it. Why do I defy authority? Am I some thrill-seeking rebel? Should you fear me? Will I get YOU in trouble? Am I a bad influence? I think not.
I don’t defy authority because I am bored and looking for something to do. I am not some troubled kid who needs discipline and good role models. I defy authority because I question everything. I am not the type of person to take someone at their word. I need proof. If you can’t prove it to me then I must prove it to myself. I analyze everything around me and I am driven to know how things work.
I am also not one to just blindly follow leadership. My personality is a leader by nature, but I like to lead from the background. My introverted side prevents me from being center stage, but I will not hesitate to take over a situation or “defy authority” if I disagree with the leadership. Leadership has to earn my trust. I can be extremely loyal, but I have standards. And I do not hold anyone to standards that I myself do not already maintain.
Before you label me as a bad influence and run away to the safer side of society, let me explain my position. I view everything as a challenge. While my kindergarten experience really had no purpose other than my own selfish desire to hang on to my toy, my future run-ins with school teachers and college professors only fueled my desire to know and understand things. I learned to never take things at face value, but to study, question and challenge what I was being taught. This didn’t always please the powers that be and usually landed me in places I would rather not be and getting plenty of unwanted attention for my actions. I was an introvert and not exactly looking to be the life of the party. The popularity pendulum seemed to swing both ways. Those who viewed me as a rebel thought my daring classroom rants were cool. Others shied as far away from me as possible, afraid that they, too, would wind up in an hour of boredom after school or worse – a free pass to the school office.
The point of this blog is not to set off some classroom revolt against educators (some of my best friends are teachers). Yes, I do want to start a girl revolution, but we need to have some preliminary development. First, let me point out that I was never disrespectful. Insubordinate? Yes. Sassy? Sometimes. Disrespectful? I don’t think so. I simply asked questions. It is ok to ask questions. My problem was that I never stopped with just one question. And typically what happened is that I would poke enough holes into a logical argument to frustrate the teacher and the next thing I knew I was being dismissed from the class with instructions on how to find the professor’s office for my afternoon “appointment”.
Through all of my “troubles” in school and repeated trips to see the principal or the teacher after school, I never did learn to just accept things as they were handed to me. In college, I did have one professor (who ironically had the same unusual first name as me) catch me in the hallway one day and apologize for kicking me out. She told me she respected my position and after pondering our “discussion” was actually persuaded by my questions to rethink her position on the issue. She also said that many other students had challenged her on the same topic but none of them ever went about it in as respectful and polite of a way as I did. Take notice of that. I did. She who shows respect earns respect.
So if we are going to start a revolution, ladies, we need to first be respectful. No shouting, no cussing and no name-calling. We must use logical thinking and wisdom to make our points. No arguments can be justified without logic and proof. My “Girls Can’t WHAT? Revolution” will be non-violent and relatively quiet. Carefully calculated and planned. The male world will not know what hit them until we arrive.
Stay tuned…I have a LOT more to share on what I learned from my rebellious youth. There is much wisdom to be gained. The revolution is near. We must be prepared. Who’s with me?