Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Look Back

Bubba asked me what kind of birthday cake I wanted.  I was very confused for a minute and then realized that my birthday is tomorrow.  Tomorrow!  It snuck up on me this year!  Most years, I start publicizing that it's almost my birthday mid-April so that everyone has ample time to plan and plot to celebrate the miracle that is me.  Not this year!  And then, my heart stopped for an instant because I thought "this is 30!"  but whew - it's 29.  I'm still a 20-something... Uncomfortably close to thirty, but still 20s.  And according to a drunk 19 year old girl at a bar last year "30 is the new 20!"  So I've got that going for me.

I've heard that our internal images of ourselves stops at about 20.  When we think of ourselves, we always revert back to that picture of who we are.  For me, I think my image is maybe 24 or 25 when I actually started feeling like me after a pretty desperate battle with the "who am I?" crisis through my teens and early 20s.  Part of the reason for this may be the fact that I had very limited experiences, and part of it is maybe because I have always had a wicked bad inferiority complex.

I was raised very devoutly Catholic, for which I am neither ashamed nor sorry at all.  But you know how older people in the Catholic Church have the potential to be really amazingly removed from reality - namely the realities of youth?  Especially in a small town community?  This was my experience.  I dressed like my mother.  I went to daily Mass.  I was very comfortable with the old ladies in the church.  But I had absolutely no idea whatsoever how to relate to my peers.  That made high school pretty awkward to say the least.

I ended up dropping out of school my junior year because I was so miserable.  Add to that the thought that God had failed me by not preparing me for these awful experiences.  I was lost.

I finally came to know myself years later when I was in grad school, living alone, waiting tables, writing my thesis, getting over the initial grief of my dad's death, getting over the guilt and grief of an awful relationship situation that I ended.  Looking back then on a string of not-so-decent decisions that I had made, I started some soul searching.  And that is when I decided to give myself and God another chance.  I decided to move forward and do better and be a better person.  

When I think of my life, it starts at about 24.  Because that is when I became me.  

1 comment:

Manda said...

Birthdays do that to us, huh? Hope you have a happy one!!