Walls

Laura Kaeppler, Miss America 2012

This past Saturday night, I wrote a post about the excessive cringing I’ve been doing in my life lately. It’s the visceral response that I have when I think back on all the idiotic and in some cases, dangerous things I’ve done. We’re talking careless, reckless behavior. I alternate between feeling intense embarrassment, then shame…sometimes I feel both simultaneously. That’s enough to get to me think a bit about pulling a Lupe Velez…not that I ever could OR would do that. But I will admit, I am still appalled at my own  behavior.   Immobilized by my own audacity. 

Well, a post about all of that somehow degraded to  the subject of  Miss Texas, Kendall Morris making it to the Top Ten of the last Saturday night’s 2012 Miss America pageant, but not going beyond the top ten,  despite demonstrating what I thought to be the most talent of the nine other young women.   She was/is tall, young, and pretty. Beyond that she was/is this wonderfully fit specimen of womanhood. As handsome as she was/is, I suppose the woman who went all the way to be crowned and  then subsequently crooned by a CD of the late Bert Parks singing to her that as Miss America, she’s everyone’s ‘ideal”, was even prettier, talented and more fit.

Her name is Laura Kaeppeler.

For her talent, she sang opera, which I remember and to be honest, the performance made me cringe as much as reflecting back on that one particular Saturday night I spent drinking a lot of tequila in Nuevo Laredo. You can imagine the rollicking, frolicking evening I had. If you can, then please tell me. I don’t remember a thing. And something tells me I’m better off NOT remembering anything.

Anyway, see the pic above.  Pretty, right?

In the defining Q&A portion of the pageant, in which a question is selected randomly, she was queried via a slip of paper about the relevance whether ,  “a beauty queen should declare her political viewpoints or not’ . To that she answered…

 “Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well. And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all.”

Not bad. ‘Twas a nice demonstration of thinking on her feet in a calm, cool and intelligible way.

Hardly this ridiculous mental prolapse:

The platform she’ll support for her one-year reign is supporting and mentoring children of incarcerated parents. She should know–her father served 18 months in prison for mail fraud. In fact, her dad was sentenced when she was 18, just as she was graduating from high school. That was five years ago and her views about having a jail-bird for a pappy are very reasoned and obviously, honed through experience. In her words,, “I know there are many of you out there and I was one of you, but it doesn’t have to define you.”

We are the products of so many things; genetic coding, environment, religion, birth order, gender,  social status  and of course, choices. The one we make and the ones others make that affect us.

I like what I think Laura Kaeppler stands for, though I don’t know her from Adam. And it’s because I didn’t know her that for a few moments Saturday night after donning that rhinestone crown, I thought her only problem in life was getting a zit. Being lovely, pretty and publicly “showing well” were her only concerns. While in  her line of work as a pageant contestant, that understandably, would be the case– having a father serve time in prison for a felony outweighs an acne outbreak anytime.

Laura Kaeppler is a bright, shining example of the Big Get Even that sometimes life bestows on us. No one has it all. I don’t care who you are. If you’re pretty and smart and decent, you’ve got a father who bent the rules to get ahead fiscally and was sentenced to prison for it. The family shame. If you’re smart and funny, invariably you’re built like a Rubik’s cube and that physical limitation only exacerbates your rampant carb addiction and lack of willpower. If you’re pretty and smart, you have the personality of a Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil eraser. If you’re a man who’s handsome and rich, you’re a self-centered rectal fissure.

Now, this isn’t to say that there are some who actually defy this and have it all, but these are rare finds, indeed. The truth is, no one experiences pure joy, elation and balance all the time. By our very nature as fallible mortals, we must endure the yin and yang of existence. The ups and downs; the highs and lows. Nature…God…the Universe (insert your belief system here), I swear, puts governors on our lives.   Whenever things are going well, something has to happen to temper it.  As if a law of nature.  George Harrison once warbled, “all things must pass”.   Joy comes as goes as fast as the violent thunderstorm.   

We’re given enough, never too much.

We are born free, but bound.

A million years ago, I grew up in a small South Texas town with small people who defined me by where I lived and the family I was born into. As I child and teen, I’d always heard others thought me lucky.   My family lived and played in what I suppose could be construed as small town opulence,  but lucky because of that????   Why is luck to some, defined by what one has? The people who thought I was lucky couldn’t have been more wrong. The home I grew up in had six bedrooms. It was big and that’s what people first noticed. Eventually, that would become all that they could see; just the outside walls and their dimensions. 

To me, that always exemplified perceptions and how different they can be depending on the eyes that’s doing the looking— the have nots vs. the reality of those who have, whether real or imagined.

In a way, that was the only thing I saw in Laura Kaeppler on  Saturday night. What she looked like..the fleshy walls that show the world a very lovely face and body.   I know she’s pretty, but that’s all I know.    I don’t know what her hurts are; what her needs are….her wants.   I don’t know what makes her cry…or cringe…in the privacy of a darkened room at 3:26 AM on any given Tuesday.

I don’t know her.    I just know what I see, which allows me to see her as one who has…so I can grieve as one who has not.

All of this is just fine, really.   This common distortion means the walls are doing their job.

They’re made to keep the roof on and the elements out.

Walls also help keep secrets hidden.

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4 comments on “Walls

  1. Ed says:

    I loved the ending. It really brought your piece to full circle. I appreciate your writing. It’s very good.

  2. Boo says:

    That IS so true about what you wrote about people only seeing what’s on the outside…..
    I love this post! I always love reading your post, Laur.

  3. Sometimes, if you look carefully, you can see people’s pain loud and clear. It’s not always important to know the origins of that pain. (Were they beaten, scorned, picked on at school?) Look at a beauty-pageant winner and you can sometimes see her face muscles straining as she forces out a smile.

  4. MzLoveViewz says:

    Very perceptive , everyone has some inadequacies shaped from parts of their lives . The mask we carry around are not who we really are. You have that keen perception because it’s ingrained in you and you know what it looks like . If you was to meet me I would probably look like you because our stories mirror. Hello sister .

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