Friday, July 17, 2009

My True Calling

Disclaimer: This blog is long, so get comfy.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's getting to that time in my personal life where I feel the need to focus. At my core, I am an extremely free-spirited being and like adventure, spontaneity & the bohemian lifestyle. But, I also thrive on a regimen of sorts. I need to know that I have a purpose.

I've mentioned previously all my "dreams" of being something in my life.

I began my childhood completely infatuated with theatrics, drama, performance - acting & dancing were my passions, even at age 6. I was dead serious about a career in show business. I took classes, I was in every school play I could squeeze myself into. I spent all of my free time making up dance routines, writing plays/scripts & being "characters", while going about my daily business. I was kinda weird actually. Lol. It didn't hurt things that I looked a lot like a young (brunette) Drew Barrymore. That was recognized by many, many people.

I wrote this about myself, and my dreams of acting:

"I wanted to be an actress….not a silly, starlet floozy that paraded around in skimpy costumes and giggled and tossed her hair…but a real GRITTY, emotional, basket case of a thespian…like Meryl Streep, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford. I always had this knack for making everything larger than life, melodramatic and simply, more tragic than really necessary. I once got stung by a bee in my backyard and I screamed and carried on so much that my father ran outside and exclaimed it “sounded like I was being murdered!!”

At the tender age of 9, I decided, acting wasn't for me. I wanted to WRITE! After getting a bombardment of unexpected praise from my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Bryant, I began to take writing seriously (instead of just having to do it because it was a requirement in school.) I spent my evenings and weekends writing stories about haunted places and bizarre people. This went on way into my late teens, after I had been a teenage runaway on the streets of Hollywood (maybe one day I'll blog about all that.....uh, maybe. If you're at all curious to get a small taste of what life was like for me, check out this flick: "Where the Day Takes You" ) I became a "poet" - the tortured variety. Haha! But, surprisingly, I was GOOD! I sent off a few of my works to publishers and got an award, and offers to write lyrics. Probably a scam, but at 15, I was exhilarated!

After an unexpected (and traumatic, heart-breaking, difficult move to Boise, Idaho from Los Angeles), I entered a high school creative writing class as an escape. I needed something to focus on other than how unhappy I was after our move.
Once again, my teacher, Mr. Dempsey, praised me over & over for anything & everything I wrote - I still have the composition book with all his glowing comments & "A+"s on nearly every page. For someone who had struggled in nearly every school subject, this was sort of like a taste of revenge for me.

I had spent nearly my entire life in counseling. That is not an exaggeration either. I saw my 1st therapist at age 5 (I believe, my mom would know) for "sibling rivalry" when my brother was born. I went on to be diagnosed with having depression at age 6. (Big shocker: both sides of my family tree are riddled with it.) I went in again at 9 for some "behavioral issues" and had my IQ tested. It was pretty high. So, I wasn't stupid, I was just kinda crazy. LOL.

There came a turning point for me, around age 16. Fast-forward (through the running away era) and I was still in therapy - naturally. I needed it more than ever after that experience. I met a Psychologist named Christine (in Boise) who seemed, to me, to be the epitome of class, sophistication, brains and poise. She was incredibly sharp and able to put many of the broken pieces of my childhood & teens together, effortlessly. I finally became an advocate of therapy, after years of detesting it. Probably because I felt I'd been "dragged" to them my whole life because my parents thought something was wrong with me. Christine made me feel like a person; a flawed one...but a wonderful one nonetheless. There was a reason for my behavior all those years. I wasn't insane; I was just a victim of my circumstances. Phew, what a relief! :)

Around this time, I dropped out of high school (in the 10th grade). I just could not focus on academics when my personal life was in such disarray. Seriously, I doubt anyone could have if you knew what I was dealing with. I got my GED and called it good. Started working full-time, while the rest of my peers were going to Prom and sporting events and worrying about homework (for 2 more years). Even with only 2 years of high school under my belt (actually, more like 1 year, but somehow I squeaked by...) - I had high enough scores that Boise State Universty was ready to take me then. Silly me, I didn't pursue it. I wanted to make money! Haha - a whole $5 an hour at Pic N Save, mind you!

1999, I was 19 and tired of work. Already. I decided to give Boise State University a shot, with my parents financial help. Those who know me, know this: I am determined. I may not always follow through but my intentions are strong, unwavering and very rarely, change. I decided on my major before I had even finished my registration: Psychology. Apparently, it's a very popular one for many people. But, my reasons were different from others. I had personal experience with therapy & knew what it had done for me (and could do for others). I had a trememndous amount of respect for those who did this line of work. It caused me to realize what I truly wanted to be able to do too: help others.

It's now ten years later. I dropped out of college (twice *wince*), mainly because, well, life happened while I was busy making other plans. I have had numerous (dead-end) jobs, finanical strains, depression & mental episodes, an unplanned pregnancy &, now I am a Single mom. I have never stopped wanting to help others though. I always think back to how I felt as a "misunderstood" adolescent and how, sometimes, the only thing that got me through was looking forward to my therapy appointment so I could just talk. And someone could just listen. Sometimes it's the greatest gift you can give someone.

Social Work is the obvious answer for me. Now, it's my time. Time to actually finish something I started; many, many years ago. Wish me luck. I know it's going to be a rocky road still, but it's so going to be worth it :)

No comments: