The most exciting news of recent is that I have had my very first book published. It has been many years in the making but yes it is finally here. Am I a real author now? Who knows but I wanted to share my success with my readers. The book is entitled “Ordinary Beginnings Extraordinary Destinations“. It is a collection of stories about the lives of many remarkable women who have experienced hardships but turned these into life lessons and in essence became the fabulous women they are today. With the help of my esteemed co-editor, Lori, we were able to collect numerous inspiring stories to share with our readers. Below you will find an excerpt from the book. It is my chapter about becoming myself. I thought this would be a good way for you to get to know me…
When Your Life Hits a Brick Wall
I was the perfect little blonde girl. I felt I grew up in an absolutely “normal’ family. I hardly ever got in trouble. I got spanked only once that I remember. Of course I had the occasional fights with my brother, but that was to be expected. I went to a good school, was loved by my family, had a lot of friends, got good grades, and was a star athlete. My parents loved and supported both my brother and I and were exceptional role models. They still snuggle on the couch and hold hands to this day. There were few if any arguments in the family home. Yes, you could say I lived the life of a golden child.
I never remember spending a lot of time with my dad when I was younger. It was always girls with the girls and boys with the boys. Therefore, any special attention I got from my dad was treasured. I remember he brought me a treasured Holly Hobby purse home from Chicago. I am surprised I still don’t have it to this day. I used to pretend I liked scary movies so I could watch them with my dad because it was just the two of us. My brother was always too scared and cowered in the bedroom. I really didn’t like the movies but it was my chance to be with my dad (horror movies are not my first choice to this day). He coached my baseball team which have to be some of my absolute best memories. He believed our team could do anything even though every year we were the worst team in the league. Once he gave us a speech and had us so fired up we won an impossible game and finished in second place that year. He believed in us like no other coach I have ever had. He talks about me now as a young baseball player and I swear he gets a sparkle in his eye.
My mom and I were inseparable at this time. There was really no one I would rather be with when I was younger; that is at least until I was a teenager. I hated when she left us to go to work. I had what I called that “end of the world feeling” in my stomach. I think now it would be correctly labeled as anxiety. I really never liked to stay overnight at a friend’s because I got anxiety being away from her. One time I was at a friend’s house for a sleep over and I called her and made her come get me. She wondered why but I never really remember having the words to explain how I felt. She was my shopping buddy, my confidante, my teacher, and honestly my best friend.
I do not recall having emotional feelings as I was growing up or at least never being able to verbalize them. I never remember anyone talking about feelings in my family. I remember thinking it was bad to have anxiety or be sad about things. At my grandmother’s funeral I was asked why my eyes were red? Was I not supposed to cry? We lived in the glass house. I never witnessed my parents fighting and never a raised voice between them. If the girls got crabby the boys blamed it on PMS and took off in the fishing boat. My mom screamed on very rare occasions usually at my brother for not cleaning up his room. Of course there were the few teenage disturbances between children and their parents but for the most part everyone was pretty much agreeable. I had the ingrained Catholic conscience that would never permit lying to your parents. I kid you not there were nights when I crept down to their bedroom to confess before I could go to sleep in peace.
But that was growing up and somewhere in between there and here my life hit the brick wall (or so I like to say). I took the well-travelled road of a college graduate, got married and ended up in the most mentally devastating predicament I could ever have imagined. As a result of knowing only my safe haven as a child, I arrived with ineffective coping skills and inept at battling against an emotionally abusive husband. Who knew what boundaries were, how to protect yourself, and when to take a stand against a bully? These were things I never had to do growing up. As a result, I crawled into a deep dark place to protect myself and withdrew from the world around me. Through many years of counseling and the love of my family I managed to recover from the trenches of the battlefield I like to refer to as my marriage.
I used to wonder, “Where will I end up?” I don’t know that I will ever really have that answer. Just when you think you know where you are going, you hit a bump in the road. It is baffling to me, even to this day, to think I have it all under control and then still get thrown off my well- planned course. I often wonder how many times I have to learn the same lesson over and over before I get it right. But as the wise teachers say, “Repeat, repeat, repeat and it is only then that you will really learn.”
I continue to make “mistakes” in my newfound world. I still, at times, think they are catastrophic, but I now know there are people around me supporting me and helping me to see it is not about the “mistake” but the bigger lessons we learn during these times. It would be impossible never to blunder. It is impossible to expect yourself to be perfect since life’s paths ahead of you are new and you don’t get to practice before trying them. You just do the best you can with what you have at the time. I have learned there is no longer any punishment— only love and support coming from women who are just like me surrounding me everyday.
Over the years of struggle and triumph what have I learned? Here it goes. There is no way to predict what will happen in the future and therefore no need to let mistakes break you down when you fail to live life perfectly. Your mistakes do not define you and just maybe they are not really mistakes. As you get some experience under your belt you learn to accept them for what they are— lessons learned. They will no longer take you down your old slippery slope. I think these were the tools I was lacking before— the insight and the ability to reflect and take away the bigger picture. The true value in living one’s life comes from taking these lessons and storing them away in your knowledge bank of wisdom.
People often say they are thankful for the rocky road they have been led down because it allowed them to be the person they have become. As I sit here today, I can honestly say it has been one hell of a ride but not one I would have changed. Okay, maybe I would have changed a few things. It was so hard at times I honestly thought I would have rather been dead. Somehow I managed to walk away from a place of darkness and towards a brighter future. Maybe it has been more like a crawl, but nonetheless not all at once and certainly still a work in progress. Now I look back at that brick wall as my opportunity to find my own path and in essence maybe I have finally become myself.
If you want to learn more about the book visit amazon.com to preview it. I hope you will want to read on …