I’m not writing out of malice. Nor out of anger, hurt, or resentment. I am writing from a place of healing and trying to make sense of some of this hurt I have been carrying around for so long. I have chosen to share this all because I know how much reading others’ experiences and journeys has helped me understand and see things from a different perspective. If anything, I am grateful for what I lived through and what it taught me.
It taught me money won’t buy happiness.
It taught me how to be tough.
It taught me how important it is to value what you have instead of always wanting more.
It taught me that good enough is never good enough.
It taught me how important the little things are.
It taught me all about being selfless and generous.
It taught me independence.
It taught me gratitude.
It gave me role models for everything I don’t want to be.
It taught me about unconditional love.
It taught me to be self sufficient.
It taught me to expect nothing less than perfect.
It taught me that it’s better to work hard than to cheat the system.
It taught me to stand up for myself.
It taught me it’s better to be alone than in bad company and miserable.
It taught me I deserve more.
It taught me the value of sincerity.
It taught me how important honesty is.
It made me who I am and the values I hold.
It gave me a thousand reasons to stand tall when it felt like the world was against me.
It gave me the courage to follow my heart.
It taught me it’s OK to admit you’re wrong.
It taught me how important “I’m sorry” can be.
It taught me that sometimes all you can do is laugh.
It taught me about priorities and what’s really important.
By flying back and forth 3-4 times a year, often with just my sisters, I got to learn just how big and how small the world can feel at the same time.
From the age of 5, I have missed at least one significant person in my immediate family at any given time. I was an only child with two (later three) sisters, and don’t have a single memory with both my parents. But I learned that it’s possible to be really far away, and maybe even fall out of touch with people, but you can still just pick up the phone and call them like you’re just down the street and nothing has changed.
I have now had more addresses than I can count – last count was 17 or 18, but there have been a few more since. I know how hard it is to start over, and to readjust – sometimes in a big way and sometimes not. I’ve learned how annoying it is to pack everything when it feels like you barely unpacked. But I have also learned how to adapt. I’ve learned that there are some things that are really important to me – people, places, etc. – and some things that are just temporary. I’ve learned to protect the stuff that matters – whether that means moving it with me, or finding ways to recreate the space/experience/whatever in a new place, or staying connected to people that matter – and to let go of the rest.
I was bullied – badly – for as long as I can remember. I was always the odd one – too smart, too little, too pale, too blonde, the new kid, the ‘special case,’ you name it. I used to hate it and work so hard to ‘be normal.’ But I learned to own my weird and to be happy just being me. I prefer sitting on the floor to chairs. I don’t like my birthday, but think half-birthdays are really fun. I’m terrible at a lot of things, but I have fun doing them anyways. I don’t conform well to protocol and “just because that’s the way it’s done” – I grew up really fast and learned early that most of that is BS. I love thunderstorms and snowstorms, but I don’t believe in winter. I never had the ‘cool clothes’ or followed trends – I wear what I like and that’s that – though an excuse to get dressed up is a lot of fun. I’m happy to be alone, and sometimes forget that that’s a little weird – I don’t dislike being social, I just forget sometimes.
I never really got to be a kid when it came to emotions and the like. I’m sure I could have, but that was never my default reaction – I was always more concerned with keeping the peace because it was easier to deal with. It has helped me learn that I don’t react to a lot of stuff, but the things that do bother me deserve to be recognized because they’re far from trivial. I’m pretty patient, and can bend and flow with most things – it’s not that I don’t care, though I understand how it can seem like that sometimes.
Moving all the time made it difficult to keep friends, and frustrating to make new ones when there was a good chance I’d be losing them, too. I got good at being happy alone. While it does get lonely, sometimes in a sad way, sometimes not, I’m really grateful for it because I know that I won’t settle with someone who doesn’t make my life better by having them in it.
Right now, I am learning to heal.