A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called My Reverse Bucket List. I got the idea from Angela, and it was a lot of fun to reminisce on some of the “bucket list” type things that I have already accomplished in my life. Without intending to, though, I felt that it kind of sounded like bragging or building myself up. Like I’m so good, look at what I’ve done.
I think it is quite common for those of us who write about our lives to focus on the good stuff. There are a couples reasons for this, generally quite innocent. In my case, I feel like the purpose of my blog is to project the positive benefits of fitness and a healthy, cruelty free lifestyle. I also feel the need to protect the privacy of the other people in my life, the ones who don’t choose to share it all on the internet.
But life has its downs as well as its ups, so to get a full picture of me, the runner, athlete, vegan, dog mom (to quote from my About Me page), you should see how that person evolved. Since it’s easier to talk one on one, let’s sit down for a cup of iced coffee. These are things I want to tell you.
I was bullied as a teenager. When I was in high school, there was a guy who picked on me. Everyone pretty much thought of him as a jerk anyway so I didn’t even realize I was being bullied. The worse thing that happened was once after a heavy rainfall, he picked me up and dumped me in a puddle of water. It is strange looking back on it with adult eyes, but at the time, I was the one who was embarrassed. I was already quite a loner, the shy girl who stayed in her shell, and that really sealed it. We moved the next year, but I still sometimes wonder if he is still a jerk, or if he reached some level of maturity in adulthood and now realizes that it was he who should have been embarrassed.
I smoked cigarettes for about 20 years. Yep, I was that teenager sneaking smokes in the bathroom in high school (probably in a misguided effort to be part of the popular crowd). I was smart enough to quit through my two pregnancies, but the addiction was so strong I was soon back at it shortly after childbirth. At my worst, I smoked two packs a day! In a strange way, though, cigarettes led me to the life I lead now. After I finally quit (which was almost 25 years ago), I started to gain weight. That led me to learn about exercise and eating right, which eventually led me to where I am today.
It took me a few tries before I got this marriage thing right. You may have figured this out already, since I speak frequently about my husband Alan and our wedding, which was in 1999, and also mention my two 30-something sons. I was married for the first time when I was 17. No, I wasn’t pregnant. Looking back, as an adult and mother, I wonder what the heck my parents were thinking. Maybe they thought I needed to learn from my own mistakes? Apparently I didn’t because after I divorced my oldest son’s father, I made another bad choice. Yet I have two wonderful sons out of it all, so I do believe it was all worth it. Plus I finally learned what I wanted and deserved in a husband.
During an especially tough part of my life, my oldest son lived with my mom for several years. This is still difficult for me to talk about. As mothers, we are supposed to be there for our children, not abandon them to our own parents, whatever the reason. As my finger hovers over the delete key, let me just tell you quickly. I was in a bad place, both literally and figuratively. My mother was there, as she always was, to help me out. Even though it was long ago and my son and I have worked through it all, to the point where he understands and forgives me, I still have a hard time forgiving myself.
That’s about all the soul-baring I can take in one sitting. As I was writing this, I realized that another one of the reasons I write mostly about the good stuff, is because I am a positive person. I always see the glass half full. I realize that everything that happened to me before in this life is responsible for the person I am today. And I believe that I am a better person because I was able to survive and overcome all the bad stuff.
How about you? Glass half full or half empty?