Saturday, March 15, 2008

My First "MEME"

The other day when I was catching up on some of the blogs that I've become addicted to, I read something so poetic and inspiring that I thought I'd try it myself, though I wasn't personally challenged to do it by the incredible woman who wrote it. It's a little thing just written about who she is, where's she's from, and the parts of her life that really shaped her and made her who she is.

So I thought I'd give it a try.

Where I'm from ...

I'm still a little girl from a small town, a place that was growing even then in leaps and bounds; a place that I can still find my way around and where I can still feel at home nearly a decade later. A place that had quaint little streets that seemed busy to me back then, and storefronts that were brick with windows you could actually see into, because people weren't quite so afraid back then in my town.

I'm a woman who grew up as a disillusioned little girl. I wanted to hit the law books as a kid, learn everything I could learn, and argue Perry Mason right out of the courtroom. Fight for what was right, and help those in need of someone who could fight for them. Some of this was just because I had an unjust childhood, but some was because my best friend had that childhood in a way worse than me and I wanted to protect other kids from suffering what she had. In my town as a child, a courthouse that may seem small to anyone from a bigger city was a monument to me - a symbol of all that was right and just. But now I know why courthouses get ever bigger ... to fit inside them the egos and wallets of people who aren't there to help anymore.

I'm a woman from a childhood that left me scared to death of even the idea of an alligator, because growing up close to the rivers and swamps of Central Florida, they were a very real predator. I'm from dreams as a kid, where the 'gators would come up the boat ramp by my grandmother's house and chase me. I knew to run zig-zags because although they are fast, they're also stupid and can't figure out that they could catch you if they run straight while you run crooked. But somehow as a child, they'd always catch me anyway, and they'd just eat my feet before leaving me there. I still dream that sometimes to this day.

I'm from little things like Barbie dolls on a rainy day when my cousins and I were allowed to play inside instead of hearing, "You're kids and it's nice out. Get out and play." Even when it was 90 degrees outside.

I'm from riding bikes with my big brother, and being allowed to follow him around when he went to hang out with his friends. I remember one time when this boy was chasing me with his bike, and he literally almost ran me over. I've grown into a woman from the little girl in the pricker-bush I had to jump into at the last second. And it hurt. But it was worth it because my brother took that boy between the apartment buildings later that day and beat him bloody. Too bad he wasn't the same by the time Ex-Husband threatened to shoot me and take my daughter from me while I lay there bleeding. Or when Ex-Husband went into my brother's workplace with a truckload of guys, looking for me. All he did then was call me and tell me to go home and lock the door. Alone.

It's a shame my memories of him are so tainted, otherwise little things like playing "laughs" (where one of us would think of something funny to get going, and then we'd just laugh histerically over basically nothing just for the joy of laughing), or him playing Farmer In The Dell at the bus-stop with my friends and I (even though he was seven years older) would still be special.

Speaking of the bus, I come from a town where little girls play Farmer In The Dell so long at the bus stop that they miss the bus ... and have to go chasing after it.

On second thought ... we were actually at the bus stop most of the time. Maybe I'm partly from a driver who was just a hateful twit who liked to make us run so we wouldn't get in trouble at home.

And somewhat like Isabelle said, I'm from Fields and Lewis; from Richardson and Neely; from Jeanne and ... someone, she won't tell us who. From Eva and Elmer, from Gary and Jane.

I'm from a home where I learned about the world too early, and in today's world it turned out to be just the right time. I'm from a place where books were a safety net, someplace to go when I wanted to fly in a plane or a hang-glider ... someplace to hide when I overheard family members talk about my health problems as if they were my own fault, some tricks I pulled for attention.

I'm from a home where my cousins and I got told regularly how "heavy" we were ... although we begged to be allowed to walk to school, around the block, to the store or the movies - anything more active than sitting in the yard - and were denied.

In the end, I don't have cheerful memories that aren't tainted. I don't have blissful nights spent watching movies with my single mom ... and I don't have concerts and exciting outings with my dad. But I come from life lessons that have toughened me up, ones that have given me skin thick enough to at least get me home before the tears fall, and ones that taught everything about how to be ... and how NOT to be as a parent to my four year old.

I'm from betrayals and emotional hurts at the hands of my father, verbal abuse, angry rants and psychotic musings at the hands of my mother. I'm from physical and emotional abuse in the hands of my step-parents. I'm from a family of secrets no one will tell me, and a few that I've dug up on my own; from a life of cheating men, drug users and liars. I'm from hurt and fear; embarrassment and betrayal; pain and hard, hard lessons.

But I'm from lessons learned, and lessons that made me a better person, stronger in who I am. I believe what I believe to the fullest, I love who I love with all my heart, I'm damn proud to say I'm a good mom to my daughter, and I've achieved my most important purpose on this earth: I've found my God, I've found Jesus, and through my faith I've found the way home when the testing is over.