Monday, November 07, 2011

Guest Author: Dawn Morgan

Very rarely do you meet someone whose blog title so aptly defines who they are. My friend Dawn Morgan is truly a Tampa Do-Gooder, and for my money she is THE Tampa Do-Gooder.
I'm not kidding. All the stuff we're supposed to be (socially conscious, politically active, sincerely concerned with the welfare of others) and do (be nice to people, think beyond the spehere of one's own existence, recycle) she actually is and does!
She makes me sick.
I console myself with the knowledge that she isn't perfect, though (I've heard her cuss).
You can check out her do-goodings around Tampa at her site, Tampa Do-Gooder.

Sweet November

Am I the only sap who liked that movie? That & Thanksgiving make me a very appreciative person for all I have, even though I readily admit I ain't got much. 

Currently what I own is stowed in six neat boxes, the most expensive item being the iPhone in my pocket, which I bought to entertain myself & my dedicated blog readers.

No matter, traveling light is the best way to go. And this weekend at my friend Jenn's wedding I was as light as could be. 

One aspect of my life I have always been unsatisfied with is that I've always lacked friendships with deep roots. This began when I was a kid in a military family, moving every two years for my first 10 years. I was so shy that by the time I opened up, it was time to move again.

We ended up outside of Ft. Dix, NJ, and instead of moving in the early 90's as anticipated, my dad retired and I got to spend six years in one place, until my parents split my senior year of high school. 

Ugh. My love of flannel and prior Pearl Jam obsession came in handy as a primer. To avoid both parental units, I moved in with my grandparents and spent that year at Cocoa High in Brevard County, Florida.

Up to that point, I had had no life whatsoever. I was a heavily sheltered and despondent youth who *tried* to be stimulated. But nothing worked: not cross country or lacrosse, musical theatre or even stepping. The latter definitely did not suit me, and other than my Mcjob (which this future Supersize Me fan hated even then), I didn't stick with anything.

After I moved to Florida, I had way *too* much life. I quickly found a circle of friends made of the most creative people I had ever met. Musicians, actors, artists and writers; every one of us a drama queen of galactic proportions. 99% of us came from broken homes but we were mostly good kids, despite the boys with long hair & girls who couldn't or wouldn't say no. We lived all over the county, from Titusville to Palm Bay, and traveled to each other for live music, parties, and the godforsaken live weekly sing-along’s to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

My young adulthood continued to be full of missteps (heh) and ill-fitting choices. I moved a lot after senior year, briefly relocating back to Brevard County out of desperation a few times until my early 20's when I finally seemed free of Florida. 

I came back to the state in 2005, this time to Tampa, and was distraught to be here because of what Florida represented to me: Fake lawns, friends and cold air and overpriced, manufactured happiness. Still at least it wasn't Brevard.

Tampa was by far a better fit than even Seattle had been for me. It was a place I could get my arms around, not too overwhelming like larger cities, with lots of like-minded folks.

I'd occasionally drive over to Brevard to see family and friends, and I came to appreciate the place, especially its beaches, definitely among my favorite in the country.

Yet I skipped my 10 year reunion a few years ago; the trauma of that one year of high school still hadn't left me. Also I felt I hadn't connected well enough with my classmates to make it worth going.

This past weekend at a wedding in Cocoa though, that all changed. There were a lot of former friends and frenemies from that old circle. We're still musicians and artists and writers despite the hardships of reality & making rent, and all grown up. I’m exponentially nicer, if only because of improved self esteem. I even re-bonded with the one guy in our group who ran off to get his MBA and went on to work for a big corporate bank. Opening one’s mind is so lovely. You can’t be much of a do-gooder unless you do.

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