Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Theme Thursday #4

The fourth thing on my list was "I'd write more letters to my adopted (released) daughter and her family..."

This one is really pretty self-explanatory. Some details: When I was 17 I had a baby. I knew I wasn't ready to take care of a child properly, so I decided the best option for her was to release her for adoption. It was 1987. Open adoption was a pretty revolutionary concept. The agency I worked through used a semi-open approach. That means no last names or addresses, no visitation, but scheduled letters and pictures from the adopted parents to the birth mother and open access to records when the child reaches 18.

I also had the option to write to her, and to her family. There was no schedule for me to follow. Really I was kind of a mess in my late teens and early 20's so I didn't write often and I fear what I did write sounded borderline crazy. Maybe I was.

I look back on it now, the HUNDREDS of letters I wrote but didn't send, and I just wish I had sent them. Maybe they were crazy, or sad, or lacked interesting content, but still... she and her family would have had a better understanding of who I was/am, what my struggles were, how much I loved her and them, and how hard and how long I grieved the loss of my beautiful baby girl. I absolutely do NOT regret the decision. I still believe with all my heart I made the right choice. It is, however, still a loss.

I'm rereading this post and I realize it has a far less personal feel to it than many of the others I've written. I think I've been negatively affected by some recent anti-adoption groups I stumbled upon. I am definitely pro-adoption. I think it's a loving, intelligent and selfless choice. I think it's a great option for girls too young, or just plain not ready to care for a child. And, most importantly, I think it is a kind, loving option for the babies involved. I don't understand the hatred toward birth mothers who chose or will choose this path. I don't understand the disdain for adoption agencies, the outright aggression specifically aimed toward Christian Crisis Pregnancy Centers. I don't understand the rage directed at those of us who think this is not only a viable option but a good one as well. I don't get the name calling and accusations of child abuse toward birth moms and adoption agencies. What I did was done to protect my baby from unnecessary hardship. I did it to try to give her a better and more stable start than I could have ever given her at 17. I don't get the childish name calling. Seriously. I. Don't. Get. It.

I don't get why I let it bother me. I don't know why I am always somehow hurt by people who carry opinions so rigid they promote hate, anger, and aggression toward those who don't agree with them. I believe everyone has a right to their opinions and beliefs. I believe you should have the right to express those opinions. I just wish people could be more compassionate to those whose beliefs differ from their own. I believe you change more minds and hearts with compassion and mercy than you ever will with rage and hatred.

Hmmm... seems I went off on quite a tangent.

I guess I'm playing this one close to the vest. Hope you don't mind.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Theme Thursday #3

So last weeks "Theme Thursday" post got a pretty neat response. If you're reading this you probably already know about the list and that several people encouraged me to write about each of my "do overs" individually. So I'm working on doing that.

Today we tackle #3 "I'd pass on that first cigarette..."

I suppose I should tell the story of how it all began...

Middle School sucks. We moved around alot and I switched schools in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Every year, new school, new form of torture to be had. 8th grade was probably the WORST school year ever. At some point I may tell the tortuous story of the bullying I endured that year, but not today. Let's just say it was horrendous and leave it at that.

I spent an inordinate amount of time in the girl's bathroom that year. Mostly I hid in a stall, hoping to avoid contact with the monsters other people called children. For the most part I was successful. One day while I was avoiding, oh, probably English class, I was in the girl's room, trying not to have a panic induced seizure. It was the middle of class, not a popular bathroom time, so I figured I was safe to come out of the stall. I don't remember exactly what I was doing, probably pacing, when the door flies open and in walks Carla Coggins.

Carla had quite a reputation. She was a "toughie". In other words, you didn't mess with her. She was known to be a fighter, a school skipper, a little bit mean, in general, NOT the girl to be on the wrong side of. She'd take on adults as quickly as her peers. She spent a lot of time suspended from school. You get the point. Carla was also a BIG girl. By big I mean obese. Severely obese. At any rate, I am immediately paralyzed with fear and trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to get passed the biggest, toughest girl in the 8th grade when she's blocking the only exit... of course I started to beat a path to the stall, the only safe haven I thought I might find.

And then something strange happened. Carla asked me what I was doing in the bathroom. She didn't sound mean, or like she was going to kill me so I said, "I, uh, I uhhhh..." Intelligent, I know.

She replies: "Oh, were you going to smoke a cigarette?"

Me: "Uh, yeah, but I just remembered I don't have any."

(Now let me tell you, I was not about to smoke a cigarette, I had NEVER smoked a cigarette, I didn't want anyone to smoke, period, because, well, "they" said it was bad for you and I believed them. What I wanted was for Carla not to join the leagues of bullies I already attracted and kick my butt right there in the bathroom!)

I started to beat it out of there: "I better get back to class..."

Carla: "Hey, I've got one you can have."

Me: Stunned silence...

Carla: "Come on back, we'll smoke one together."

I absolutely did not know what to do. I felt like this was some sort of trap. One wrong move and Carla and her legion of followers would descend on me... or maybe not. She sounded, well, nice. So I crammed into a tiny stall with Carla and lit my first cigarette.

As Carla watched me do the obvious newbie to smoking don't inhale thing, she said "Oh, you still don't inhale. Here do it like this: Take a drag off it and pretend your mom just walked in and do this: (here she makes a shocked inhalation noise)." So I do. And that was that. I was a smoker.

I wanted so badly to fit in. I wanted someone to like me. I had a couple of good friends but I wanted the protection of a group, a clique to fit into. I didn't even care who or what I had to do to get there. And here was Carla, big bad, Carla, being nice to me. I'd love to tell you that Carla and I became friends and that she wasn't mean at all just misunderstood, and maybe that last part is true, but we did not become friends. Not publicly anyway. We were sort of "secret friends". She lived a little ways away from me, but I'd see her sometimes when I was walking through her neighborhood to get to the library, or my church, or whatever. We'd always stop and have a cigarette together. Sometimes she'd smile at me as she passed me in the hallway. We never hung out. We just shared a little secret, and a cigarette now and then. You may think it's crazy, but if I saw Carla today, I'd hug her and tell her thank you for being nice to me.

Fast forward 30 years...

I'm sitting here today, as I write this, with a patch on my shoulder, and electronic cigarette in my purse, a bag of hard candies within easy reach, and 2 real cigarettes left in my pack, trying to quit AGAIN. I've failed at least twice this year already. I hate this habit. This addiction. I hate the expense, I hate the smell, I hate more than anything the hold it has on me. Hate isn't even a strong enough word, they don't make a word big enough for how I feel about this. And yet, I keep coming back. I'm struck by the word insidious...

I would love to have the chance to go back and when Carla offered me that first cigarette to just say "no thanks" and take the ass whooping if it was coming. It may have led to more trouble for me, and I do appreciate that secret friendship, but it would have been easier to get over than this addiction is.

I don't even know if I'll make it through today with this quitting thing. It's unbelievably hard for me. I'll keep trying. I have to, I don't want this having a hold on me forever.

Wish me luck. And if you find a "do over" lying around, have pity on me and pass it my way. I could really use one this time...

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To "Theme Thursday" #2

If you don't know, I'm attempting to write a series of posts about this list of "do overs" I'd like to be granted. It all started innocently enough, just another Theme Thursday post hosted by Jenn at Something Clever 2.0. But a funny thing happened, several people said they'd like to see me write about each of the things on my list. I was surprised by the interest, but thought, actually that might be a fun thing to do... my big concern was that the little snippets were far more interesting than the actual stories. I'm not a good judge of these things, it being my life and all, and my life seems pretty average to me, but I thought, what the heck! The worst that can happen is nobody is interested and since I only have like 9 people who read this thing, who cares, right?

So keeping that in mind, here is the second installment on my list: "I'd keep playing basketball the same year (6th grade, see this post) even though I ran the wrong way when I finally got the ball..."

Sixth grade was probably one of the most humiliating years of my life. Seriously. The year of peeing myself, the great rabbit sandwich incident, and basketball. Ugh. Basketball.

I've never been athletic. NEVER. Unless you count power reading. I could have taken a gold medal in that event. For some reason though, in sixth grade, I decided to play basketball. Maybe I just wanted to hang out with a friend, maybe it was because I really liked my sixth grade homeroom teacher and she was the coach, maybe my mother made me try it. Who knows? I tried out for the team though, and made it (probably because of that teacher/coach - it certainly was not my athletic ability that got me on the team).

So it was bad enough that I wasn't very good. Even in practice the other kids never gave me the ball, heck, they didn't even bother to cover me unless the coach yelled at them to do so. On occasion, I'd get passed the ball, but really very VERY rarely. I think I actually brought books to practice because I was not getting played even when it didn't count. Let's be honest, I sucked.

I wanted to do well, and when I did get the ball I did my best to get it to the basket and shoot. Oddly, I have pretty good aim so I managed to sink a few. Maybe that was why I was there. Looking back I remind myself of Chief from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" when Jack Nicholson tries to get him to play basketball. (Foul language warning, if you're so inclined to be sensitive to such things)

Maybe I was a little better than that.

Anyway, we finally get to the first game and everyone is pumped. We're all convinced we're going to play the best game of our lives, it's gonna be awesome, right? Well, I sit out most of the first half. Not surprising. I'm pretty sure we had a decent lead which is why I got put in to play. Unbelievably, almost instantly, one of my teammates throws me the ball... I look down the court and there is no one there! What luck! I take off running toward the basket, I might just have a shot at this, I'm thinking. The crowd is going nuts, they are screaming my name, my coach is yelling, my teammates are yelling... Yes, YES! I'm going to make it! I shoot and... Um, did you know that halfway through a basketball game you switch sides of the court?? 

'Nuff said.

I ran straight out the gym doors and never looked back.

I'm not saying I'd have ever been any good at this game, but in my list of do overs, I wish I'd gone back in. I wish I'd finished the game. I wish I would have been able to laugh it off and keep playing, keep trying. It isn't the biggest of big deals, but it is one of those things I would do over if I could. Shoot, if I'm going to do it over maybe I should just run the right way...

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Theme Thursday #1

So I wrote this post for a group blog thingy... I got a lot of good response to it along with multiple suggestions to expound upon the list of "do overs" I'd like to be granted. I think we all have those things we wish we could go back and do right, or at least different. My list, I thought, was nothing too remarkable. I don't really lament the huge mistakes in my life, they contribute to who we are and what we offer to the world and the people we love. I'll grant you it took me a long time to understand that, but now that I do, most things, the big character building events in life, I wouldn't change. Well, I wouldn't eliminate totally... It's the little things, the non-life altering things I'd most like to have an opportunity to rectify or repeat. So with all this in mind I'll be writing about my list. I hope the story is as interesting as the snippets were!

I'd really like to make this post funny, because really it's not. I'd like to say I gained some great wisdom, or character from what happened. I didn't. Well, I have an over developed sense of compassion for people who need to pee, as a nurse I suppose that's a good thing, but really that's about it. So here we go...

When I was 12 and in 6th grade, we moved to a new school. I was pegged as "smart" and given the AWESOME opportunity to take a crappy standardized multiple choice test to determine just how far above the bar I really was. Let me tell you, this backward little school hyped this test like it was your ticket to eternal life. Maybe if you spent your whole life there, it was. I have no clue. We were told future college placement and scholarships could be handed to us for high scores. We were told it was an honor and privilege to take this crappy piece of faulty analysis, in fact, it was all but our moral and civic duty as "smart kids" to take this test. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much.

I was the kid who was most often labeled as "teacher's pet". Hey, I was a good kid, what can I say? I was respectful, obedient, helpful. I was smart, I suppose, and I was always "mature for my age". Really, it all boiled down to I was nice and I did what I was told. I was not the kid who would disobey the teacher, cause a disruption, stand up against authority... in essence I was a smart little sheep.

I tell you all this only to prep you for the dilemma I faced when we finally took the dang assessment...

As 6th graders we never, I repeat NEVER, went to the 2nd floor of our school. I mean seriously that was the 8th grade hall. We had no business up there. I guess being smart, they thought they would treat us with taking our test on the restricted access 2nd level. Of course this means I don't know where anything is, including the bathroom. I decided I'd get to the test room, and ask to go to the bathroom then. You know, when someone could tell me where it was.

I get in the room, set down my stuff, a pencil and jacket I think, the tests were already laid out on the desks for us, we still had a minute or two before we started, and I asked the teacher who was proctoring the test if I could go to the bathroom before we started. Her response (please use your version of the haughty, condescending, teacher voice here...): "You don't have time to go to the bathroom now. We are about to start the test. How do I know you don't have materials to cheat in the bathroom?" Well, that's dumb, I thought. I've never even been on this floor of the building before and don't even know where the bathroom is so how am I going to hide something in there? And what would it be? But, I told myself, I don't want to be accused of cheating sooo... I sat back down. I couple of seconds later I got up and asked again. I told her I really needed to go. Her response: Well, you could go but you'll have to take a zero on the test, and there are no retakes.

A zero?? A ZERO?? No retakes?? My entire future apparently hinges on this test, so of course, I sit back down. The test starts. About 10 questions in, I realize I am not going to make it. I consider asking again. All I can think is "ZERO". Well, that and, "I'm not going to make it... how fast can I take this test??"

A few more questions in and I think, forget it, I'll take the zero... I go up to the desk and tell the teacher I really have to go and she tells me to SIT. BACK. DOWN. What???

I actually made it through the test, I was just about crying when I finished, and I knew if I moved I would wet myself right there in front of everyone. There was no way I could move, much less stand up, and get out of there dry. I waited until most of the other students left and yes, I peed my pants right there in the seat. I was crying and so embarrassed, there were still a couple of kids there. The teacher was so mad at me. She actually had the nerve to yell at me and tell me that if I had to go that bad I should have told her!

I went downstairs to my homeroom teacher, crying, and told her what happened. I had my jacket tied around my waist - humiliated. She was mad on my behalf. I don't really remember if she sent me to the office to call my mom or if she just called her for me while I waited in the bathroom but it wasn't long and my mother was there, dry clothes in her hands and murder in her eyes. I knew someone was going to "get it" I just hoped it wasn't me. (Side note, as a parent I now realize I was never in jeopardy of being punished by my mom, but at the time all I could think was "I'm 12 and I wet my pants. I'm in BIG trouble...")

I wasn't there when my mother "talked" to whoever she spoke with, but I heard about it. When she came back and found me again she told me "If you have to go to the bathroom, GO. You DO NOT have to sit there like that. You have my permission to get up and walk out of any test, any time, if this ever happens again." I believe I heard at some point, maybe in my mother telling the story to a friend or my homeroom teacher telling the story to someone else, I don't know, that my mother threatened to make that teacher sit there until she pissed all over herself to see how she liked it. That part may be my own imagination, a fault of  skewed childhood perception and many years gone by, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if she did say it. You don't mess with Momma Bear's babies. EVER.

So yes, even now, with 6th grade long, LONG past, I would still take a do over and walk out of that test without hesitation today. Or maybe I'd just pee on the teachers feet...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday: Do Over!

So the theme is, if you were given one "do over" what would you use it on?

One? Are you kidding me?? That's all I get? I need at least 12...
In no particular order they are:

I'd walk out of that test in 6th grade when the teacher made me sit there until I wet my pants...

I'd keep playing basketball the same year even though I ran the wrong way when I finally got the ball...

I'd pass on that first cigarette...

I'd write more letters to my adopted (released) daughter and her family...

I wouldn't quit theatre for over 15 years because of one bad audition...

I'd finish college my first go 'round...

I'd finish college my second go 'round...

I'd do more island hopping in Hawaii during the 3 years I lived on Oahu...

I'd stay in the army (I could have retired this year!)...

I would bring my dog to Hawaii instead of giving him to my ex sister in law...

I would go visit my Nan right after my first daughter was born so they could meet at least once...

I'd keep in better touch with my cousins...

This post is a part of "Theme Thursday" hosted by Jenn at Something Clever 2.0. You can check out other posts or join in the fray by clicking here:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Theme Thursday - Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation. Ahh, the memories. Seems to me that although I was very excited for school to be out, it was never truly summer vacation until we went to Kentucky. We went a lot. My grandmother was born in Kentucky. When she got married she migrated north to Michigan, but all her extended family was still down south. So a lot of summers, almost every summer it seems to me, we'd load up and head to the fast paced, exciting world of Breckinridge County Kentucky. (That's sarcasm... sort of.) This is Breckinridge County on a map:

It's very rural. You would think that would be "Boresville", but it wasn't. There were all these family members with funny slow accents who kept insisting I talked too fast and had, well, a funny accent. There were woods or fields everywhere and we could run around and explore everything. There is also the Rough River where we fished and swam and hung out quite a bit. It was always SO STINKING HOT but it seemed everyone had a covered porch and a porch swing (which we managed to break or fall off of nearly every summer... Who? Us? Swinging too high? Never!) and shade trees, and "cold dranks" (That's how my Yankee ears heard it) and fans you could sit in front of and make "WaaWaaWaa" noises while you cooled down.

Kentucky was where I learned about chiggers and ticks. Eww...ticks... It was where I learned about dentures, and moonshine, and outhouses. I learned how to break beans and shell peas. I learned what honeysuckle smells and tastes like. I learned what hard work looks like. I learned about being content with what you have. It's where I got my foundation for what beautiful looks like and what peace feels like.

I was that kid who usually sat quietly, listening to every word the grown ups said. I tried to become invisible when they started talking low, so I wouldn't be told to go play and miss something "good". I was always puzzling out who was kin to whom, which branch of which family had a scandal, or a tragedy, or a miracle in their midst.

I learned about family. I learned about respect for my elders and my heritage. I learned about loyalty and the ties that bind. I learned that adults could laugh so hard telling old stories you thought they might wet their pants one minute and the next minute be teared up remembering someone they loved but was now gone. I learned the importance of the tradition of storytelling. I learned about fierce family love. I learned that even through rough times, family fights, poverty, illness, and death: love triumphs. Love prevails. Mostly. I learned that no family is perfect but that doesn't mean it's not full of good people just doing the best they can with what they've got. I learned that there are two sides to every story and each one has validity in the telling of the whole tale.

I'm 43 now. Last spring, the "Kentucky Cousins" came up here for a visit. My Granny was sick and most, if not all, of us realized this might be the last chance we had to be all together with her. It was a sweet and sad kind of visit. They've visited frequently in recent years and as always, as we sit around in my mother's yard telling stories and catching up, eating together and sipping a "cold drank", I'm somehow transported back to Kentucky. I'm flooded with memories. I can almost smell the honeysuckle. I'm amazed at these marvelous people that I love, and that love me so much.

This is most of the clan. This is in Kentucky 1980-something. 

This is one of the more recent "Kentucky Cousin" visits at my mom's house.
I hope my family knows how much they've taught me, and how much they mean to me. And yes, it all happened over summer vacations.

This post is part of Theme Thursday hosted by Jenn at Something Clever 2.0. Join in the fun by clicking here: 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I don't want to write about Boston. So I won't. Kind of.

"What happened to innocence? I liked NOT being terrified of every public event. I like thinking that something terrible wouldn't or really couldn't happen. I hate having my country being compared to terrorized Middle Eastern countries. I miss the childhood innocence I once felt about the world. My prayers go out to those hurt and injured in the Boston Mass Marathon Bombing. And, this may seem out of place, but my prayers go even stronger out to those who committed this terrible crime. I pray for healing of everyone involved. Mental, physical, and emotional healing for all." 
- Cayla (my 18 year old daughter's Facebook status last night.)

What happened to innocence? My answer couldn't be any better than this my baby... We are leaving Eden. I too, want to walk toward hope, not hopelessness.

There is hope. Read your own words my beautiful daughter. You didn't even know you needed to be afraid, terrified even. You were walking in the innocent belief that you were safe. I'm so sorry that it turns out you're not. 

There is innocence in your public prayer for the victims of this crime, it's even more evident in your prayers for those who committed this atrocity. That you can choose to act in love and show compassion for those least deserving of it, is in the true spirit of Jesus. Jesus never advocated hatred. He never advocated violence. He spoke of love and mercy and redemption. Your heart, in the midst of what has made the nation so angry, reflects him. I am so proud of you. Keep loving baby, even when it hurts, even when it's "out of place" even when it makes no sense and angers those around you. The innocence you seek is inside your own self. It's in your ability to be merciful and kind when it is undeserved.

Today I learned a lesson in compassion and mercy from my daughter. Along with all those people who rushed TOWARD the explosion, TOWARD the danger, to help their fellow humans, my kid gave me a little hope for humanity today.

My kids blow my mind on a daily basis. Today was Cayla's turn.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Little Broller

Today is one of my favorite people's birthday's! My brother Jon. I wanted to do a super snazzy all emotional post about how much I love him and how cool he is, but I got stuff to do today and these posts are time consuming! So I'm sharing our story in 5 pictures. That's right 5 pictures- whole story. Ready??

This is my baby brother. I love him alot. He's cute and soft and he smells like baby lotion.

This is my little brother and I with our Nan. He's still pretty ok. He's about 4 and I'm about 6.

Here we are again. I'm about 8 or 9 which makes him 6 or 7. He's getting annoying. We look like we like each other because it's Christmas.
This is us again, with our new little brother. We both think he's pretty awesome. We do not get along very well right now although we look sweet. He's irritating. He's 10. Maybe 11. He has cooties.
We're all grown up now. We like each other again.

I love you Jon! Have a happy birthday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Working Out The Quirks

So a couple of posts ago I mentioned changing the name of my blog. You can read that post here. It isn't all that exciting, mostly it's goofy, but I really did/do want to change the name.

I'm not sure how interested I am in getting a huge following going but the advice received was overwhelmingly to keep it simple. Huh. Easier said than done. There is almost NOTHING simple about me except my jeans and t-shirt sense of "non-style".

I played with very complex names, very obscure references, goofy self depreciating phrases, I stalked dozens of blogs coveting their creativity and originality, you know the usual obsessive perfectionist approach to something fairly mundane. I mean really, I don't think enough people read this to even CARE what the name is, much less spend over a week mulling it around in my head.

I got a lot of good suggestions, mostly from Menopausal Mother who, by the way is a fantastic mentor and cheerleader if you're looking to take this blogging thing to the next level. She's super sweet, totally genuine and funny to boot... I think you should read her blog... just sayin... But also from others who just dropped by here to check it out, and some real life "skin on" friends.

Like I said there is nothing simple about me. I think I like complicated on some deep-seated subconscious level that I may never understand the root of. I'm just like that. I like plays on words, I like obscurity and when people get my weird references and jokes it thrills me.

I like being transparent. I'm not good at playing the hide-who-I-am-so-I-won't-be-hurt game. I think I'm too stupid to figure out the rules. They're pretty complicated. Someone will always find a way to hurt you if that's the kind of person they are. Anyway, I've survived a lot. I've made every mistake I can think of. I've been hurt and I've hurt other people. I'm not proud, just human. I think it's important to just share my experiences because as bad as it was, I made it. I came out ok. I'm grown and I'm sane and I have peeps that love me that aren't even related to me! It's a pretty good life. All I ever want to do is encourage others who are hurting, or in the process of healing, or whatever. I like to encourage people. I like to make them feel good about themselves. I like to tell them they are loved. I like to spread hope. I've been told I'm a Pollyanna. I've been told I'm too nice, too compassionate, weird, creative, an encourager, an enigma... It goes on and on.

I've learned to embrace my own quirkiness over the last 4 plus decades. I'm still working it out.

So with all this in mind, I think I've finally landed on a name, that while I'm not sure I love it, it suits me and what I do here better than the original name.

Welcome to "Working Out The Quirks".

Monday, April 1, 2013

Letter to me, from me


So this may be a bit difficult to understand, but just go with it... it's me (you) writing to you (me) from the future which is actually the present. I hope you get this in a timely fashion because as bad as you are at procrastinating, it never really gets any better for you in that department. And as bad as 15 was, the rest doesn't get much better for a really long time. So try to pay attention, ok?

I thought about trying to steer you away from your future ex-husbands but both of them have contributed to who you are today. One of them gives you two beautiful daughters and they are the start of regaining your sanity. So hold on. You won't feel crazy forever, just for a couple decades. You survive though, so that's good, although knowing you, you'll flatly disagree with that statement.

Graciously, God will see fit to delete a lot of this year, and last year from your memory. There is good and bad to that. Spoiler alert!! You are about to move in WITH YOUR FATHER. I know right?? No way, no how! But yes, you will. Do me a favor, do us a favor, don't be afraid of him. He's not as scary as we thought. Turns out, he was as afraid of you as you are of him. And he loves you, A LOT, he just doesn't know how to tell you and if you don't do what I'm asking, you won't find this out until he dies, and you just won't believe how bad that's going to hurt. Seriously, if you don't hear another thing I say, hear that. Ok?

You are about to do a lot of really stupid shit. Really stupid. I'd like to warn you away from that cute guy in study hall with the beautiful blue eyes, but I'm not going to. That choice is going to hurt for a really long time, like almost 18 years, but you seriously show your stuff out of a huge mistake and you give 2 people who are really deserving a very selfless gift. So, if you decide to turn on your brain between now and the time you meet him, so be it, but if not, really, it works out ok in the end. I promise. You're going to survive that too.

HOWEVER, please, don't start with the whole drug experimentation thing. It's not worth it. Sober people have fun too. And quit smoking you freaking idiot! PLEASE. Here we are almost 30 years later and you're, uhhh, I'm fighting like crazy to quit and I'm failing again. It doesn't make you cool, it makes you a junkie. Seriously, it's pathetic so just stop already.

Ok, this part is really important too. I know why you feel the way you do, but it's ok to say "no" to the boys and then the men who come into your life. There really is someone who will love you for you whether you have sex with him or not. His name is David. He's stubborn as hell, he has mediocre table manners at best, and he bastardizes the pronunciation of words pretty frequently, but you learn to laugh about it. Sometimes. Occasionally. Ok, he laughs about it... Anyway, try to be nicer to him in the beginning. He doesn't deserve your rage. Honestly, if you just keep your pants on, and stop measuring your worth by the man in your bed you probably won't HAVE so much rage.

Be kind to yourself. Stand up for what you believe in. Don't compromise your faith or your comfort level to please another person. You are worth far more than you realize.

Theatre. Seriously, you NEED to do this. Turns out you have talent. Don't quit going to auditions because you bomb that one your Senior year. One bad audition and you quit going?? Ugh. Just do it. You're good at it. Don't resent that you're a poet instead of a musician. Write to your brother more when he goes away. You aren't as ugly or as fat as you think you are, but if you're going to cry about it all the time do something about it. Put on a little blush and go for a walk now and then... but really, it's not as bad as you think. Go to college. Go to church. Don't make that first cut. Embrace your inner nerd. Forgive yourself. It's ok to be alone. Visit your Granny more. Start voting earlier. Laugh more. Don't let your pain or your past define you. Be a little more patient with your kids.

You've got a long way to go. You're going to make it through. You're tougher and smarter than you realize. Don't quit on yourself.

See you sooner than you think.

I'm actually 17 here, but it was the closest to the right age I had on the computer.

Theme Thursday

So I stumbled on this fun new blog, well, new to me anyway... It's called Something Clever 2.0. She has these great writing prompts she calls "Theme Thursday". I'm digging it. This past Thursday was "Write a letter to your 16 year old self". I loved the idea right away.

Actually I wanted to jump on the bandwagon last week, but I'm that kid who never tells you I want to play with you because I'm pretty sure you'll set me up to be the brunt of your joke or tell me I'm just not cool enough to hang out with you. But whatever. I'm 43 years old and I am most definitely telling my 16 year old self to stop acting like that. Anyway, Jenn at Something Clever 2.0 I'm not sure I'm doing this whole crediting you thing the right way, but I'm trying.

By the way, this isn't the letter. This is just the explanation for the next post.