I read something today that made me think of things in a different light. In a more positive light that provided me with some real food for thought.
Success and failure are in the eye of the beholder. What one person perceives as a failure another may see as a resounding success and vice versa.
I believe there are labels or identifiers for these different people: optimists and pessimists. I am married to an optimist (thank goodness or by now we’d both probably be Goth hermits if it were left solely up to me). I often choose to label myself as a “realist” as opposed to a pessimist. I like to think I am not being intentionally negative but rather intentionally realistic. Whether the glass is half empty or half full basically means there is not as much in that cup as there should be, or could be. Why bother with semantics?
All that being said, being a realist (read: ‘undercover’ pessimist) isn’t doing me any favours. So let’s try something different, shall we?
I have decided to re-write my story.
I was a smart child. Sharp with a good memory and very conscientious. I was placed in a class for Gifted Children in Grade 4. I did not enjoy it but it was cool to be acknowledged in that regard. Or at least it was cool with other adults…my ‘peers’ as it were, were content to tease and also resent me because while I and the rest of the ‘prize pupils’ were working on whatever abstract shit or task it was, they were busy taking boards of notes from Ms. Maki in health class.
Also a plus because Ms. Maki did not care for me. I am quite certain I got under her skin without even trying to. I was not an athletic child and for as competitive as I am as an adult this did not translate into physical ability to do anything but be uncoordinated. I also would have rather been reading then playing tag, or, God forbid, skating, swimming, or doing anything physical.
Anyway, I was smart. I had a good home. Not an affluent one, but one that met my needs. My mom was the best. She cooked and baked like no other. She drew pictures for me to color (amazing works of art – the drawings, not my colouring, that I kept in a folder as a long time for a child to show to “somebody” when I got older because I was certain my mom should be a professional artist – I still am sure of that actually). My Dad and I weren’t close but I would not be who I am if not for him. I learned that hard work is important, how to pack within an inch of my life (I can organize a trunk, trailer, or what have you better than most), and a lot about camping. Fun memories of my dad (who maybe did not have the corner on the ‘fun dad’ market include pancake eating contests. I literally resembled one of those stick bugs as a child but could hammer back a considerable number of my mom’s home made pancakes and took great pride in eating as many as my dad did, or at least trying to, and combing his hair after a shower when I was little. He has naturally curly hair and I really enjoyed combing it…this makes me sound slightly more simple than gifted but hey, I’m a complex gal.
Music. Our home was filled with it. My momma can SANG. You have to say it with the ‘A’. We had music on all of the time and I loved to sing with my mom. Especially as a child because I still thought I could sing then! I cannot. I still do though – with fervor because I love to sing. I love music.
I had my first son when I was 16. I did not quit school. He was not malnourished or a drop out or drug addict or any of the other things children of teenaged mothers are supposed to be. He is 21 and successful in his own right in his own young life. He is independent, hard working, funny, a musician, and good.
I graduated from high school, on time, and on the high honour roll. I also won a bursary at Grad. I went to University and got my degree. I married my son’s father and together we had a beautiful baby girl too. We worked together on our respective degrees and did the best we could by those two amazing kids.
My daughter is 19. She does not have any children. I was 19 when she was born. She has been told by some very important people in her life, more than once, that she would likely become pregnant as a teenager because I had done so, and I was also born when my mom was only 18 years old. However, she did not become pregnant. She instead won a title to represent Saskatchewan in the Miss Teen Canada -World competition when she was 16. She worked tirelessly on her campaign to raise funds for Free the Children, the SMA foundation, all while going to school, maintaining honour roll grades, and working part-time.
I divorced my first husband because that was no longer a healthy relationship for him or I or our children. I do not regret that divorce. It was the right decision.
I re-married and had two more children. Our lives are not perfect but we don’t quit. I got fired. I got fired from a place that was sucking my soul out of my being (because I was letting it). I got fired because I stood up for what I believed in. I got fired because I cared too much. I got fired because a I chose what was maybe less than an appropriate avenue to address my concerns, but it was a well received one by many (just not the right many).
A year after I was fired I remember slowly re-awakening. It was then that I realized what had transpired and just how fucked up I was in a burned out sense at the time of the termination of my job…and then I forgave myself a little.
I worked at Superstore for awhile after that. I needed a job and they were hiring. It only lasted 2 1/2 months before I got a contract with a non-profit organization as a consultant. That 2 1/2 months was freeing and humbling. Freeing because when I left work I literally did not give it a second thought once I punched out. I worked the till, helped people with the photo machines, stocked and dusted shelves, and swept the floor. Humbling because this is a small town and there is nothing like seeing a former co-worker from your former professional job in one of the main grocery stores in town after you’ve been fired from that job and are standing there in a red vest, at their service. Huge reality check. Mostly I didn’t care because I was so much happier. I also didn’t care because my husband and children were so happy to have me back and not the stressed out lunatic they’d lived with for about two years before it all went down for real.
Today I am a 38 year old married mother of four. I have been married to my second husband for almost 14 years. I have a son in Toronto, a daughter in Calgary, and two boys still at home. They are all the best kids EVER. I might be biased but if there is one thing I do right (and actually there are several), it’s make fantastic children. Not only are they physically pretty good looking but more importantly they are all, all of these things: Intelligent, funny, ambitious, honest (mostly…oddly enough neither of my younger two sons leaves their dishes out – despite there being dishes in the living room. I guess it’s the dogs…), music lovers, competitors, and they have the best hearts.
I am these things too.
I am also blunt. A hard worker who gets shit done. I am a fighter. I am determined. I am strong.
I am success.