Tuesday, December 6, 2016

One Word.

#KeepCalmWRITEon Day 5!
(It’s only 10:55 pm---I’m actually writing before midnight!)

Today, I was asked to describe myself in one word.
My first thought--- “One word!? I’m a writer! That’s so hard!”
My second thought --- “There is a literal thesaurus flipping through my brain right now!”

Once the panic subsided, I decided on the word B R A V E.

I am starting to see how this word has described me all along, even though I didn't realize it.  And I'm beginning to see how we are all brave every day.
6th grade confidence booster

I had to be brave and try to make new friends every time my family landed back in Arizona or California after the harvest season ended and it was time to relocate (again).

I had to be brave when I could hear the kids laughing behind my back during 5th and 6th grade whenever I made any attempt at anything athletic during PE class.

I had to be brave and go to court when my parents were fighting for custody of my sister and I, and neither one of us really understood why.  (I just had to stay strong for my sister)

I had to be brave in 7th grade when I had to figure out the whole “switching classrooms every class period” thing, and explain it to my parents (dad---because mom was gone this year), and then explain why I suddenly was struggling with math and had my first “D” grade ever (Algebra was so hard).

Brave was when when my closest “friend” was so threatened by me (I still don't know what I did wrong) that she bullied and harassed me, made me scared to go to school, and effectively convinced several people to unfriend me (Shoutout to Tiffany and Deja, for helping me survive 8th grade).

I thought I'd be brave and take a chance and enroll at the newest, smallest, private high school in town and then try running on the cross-country team, after everyone said it was crazy, after knowing that I wasn't "built like a runner".

I was brave that whole running season, when I spent every step of every 5k race fighting back the negative voices in my head, I was brave when I traveled 3 hours one way, two nights a week for my basketball games (even though I was far from the best player on the team), and I was brave when I decided to do the unpopular thing and throw the shotput and discus, with only two other girls for support and nobody understood why we took it so seriously.

Brave was my middle name when I refused to sleep with any boys in high school, even though it gave me a reputation for being “stuck up”.

I was brave when the only place I took the car every week was to Sunday Mass (if the van wasn’t in the driveway by 11am, I took Daddy’s Dodge Ram—Mom sold it a couple years ago and I’m still not over it).

I put on the bravest face I could, the night I realized Dad probably wasn’t going to be coming out of the hospital (and I cried for a long time in the shower when I got home).

I was brave when I left on my choir tour that April, even though Grandma was upset that I was leaving town while Dad was sick (“The show must go on…”).

On May 5th while I was at my track meet 3 hours away from home, I had to be brave when Sister called me and said “He died”.

The next day was Friday, so I had to be brave and go to school anyway.

B R A V E filled the little church and accompanied us to the graveside and filled my mom’s voice while she sang for my dad one last time.

Age 7-ish and 5-ish
B R A V E filled that summer while Mom and I tried to figure out the rest of the “going off to college next year thing” and the “how are going to pay tuition for my last year of private high school thing” and the “what is everybody feeling thing”.

(we’re still working on that last part…)

I was brave when I got so mad and fed up with everyone’s attitudes and drama during my senior year and stopped feeding into it, but instead, started counting down til graduation.

I was brave the day I opened the letter from Bethany that came in the mail, instead of throwing it away like the first one (this one said “Track and Field Scholarship” on the front).

I wanted so badly to feel brave when I told my mom “I think I want to go to Kansas.”

I bravely got on a plane over spring break and visited campus, and took a deep breath before I made the  choice to sign my letter of intent and enroll for classes, all in the same day.

And then 5 months later, the B R A V E broke down while I sat in my childhood bedroom for the last time before getting in the van and beginning the 22-hour drive…and I hugged my mom and cried for a minute, while she spoke the only reassuring words I can remember her ever speaking to me:

“Time will go by fast.”

Fall 2015, starting to tell my stories...

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