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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Show and Tell: What's in a Name?

I woke up with a slight headache today. Most likely from oversleeping. I can't help that I liked being warm and cozy under the covers and didn't want to get out of bed. But I got on with my day and attempted to be productive. I was out at the library and on my way home I got off a couple of stations earlier and decided to walk. Today has been brilliant. It's starting to feel (if only for a moment) like spring. The sky was bright and blue and the air crisp but warm. The sun's intensity warmed me to my core. I walked the 20 minutes without my jacket, attempting to ignore the pounding in my head (for which I hadn't taken anything for and was horribly painful). In that weird place between contentedness and pain, I walked and remembered. I don't know what set me off, but I was reflecting on how far I've come. How the years have gone by and despite Fates mysterious and sometimes cruel ways, I've done alright for myself.

If you read this post, you'll know that my childhood was far from ordinary. Having an older brother who fought (for years) and then died from cancer changes you profoundly. But things didn't end there. Life continued to throw my family and I curve balls we could never have seen coming. Out of respect and privacy for my family I won't go into details but suffice to say money (or lack of it) was an issue and a stress. My parents are incredible to me. They have managed to live through incredible situations and raise their children to be thriving, adaptable and caring individuals. A tough task for any parent. My brother and I are very lucky.

My own struggles include verbal bullying from Grade 5 to Grade 10. My brother died in Grade 5, so you can well imagine that I didn't possess the skills to cope with grief and bullies. I had an emotional breakdown in grade 8. We had been forced to move after my brother died (my Dad was in the army at the time). I felt like I was stuck in this place I didn't want to be, with people who were tormenting me and with grief as raw as the day D died. My breakdown was interesting to say the least and involved the school counsellor and my parents. I still have few words to explain what I felt in those days. Despair, for sure. Desperation, likely. But I couldn't seem to communicate anything significant to anyone, let alone those who cared about me. I rebelled in a a weird way, considering I was (to this day) never much of a rebel. Suffice to say that there is a part of me that is certain that if I had stayed in that rural place too much longer, my life would have turned out drastically different. I would have become like so many of the other teenagers that place created. I could easily see drugs, teen pregnancy, maybe even suicide as possibilities had things in my life not changed. Intense, I know, but that is just how it was.

But things did change and we came "home" back to the province where things, as crazy as they had been before and as they eventually became again, made sense. The verbal abuse by random classmates that continued even after the move baffled me, because I didn't understand then that they were just being teenagers, mean ones, but teenagers just the same. But I wasn't. I constantly felt like I was 10 years older than everyone and it came off acting a lot older. I still do and it still does. People have always guessed me as a lot older than I am, although in recent years, the difference isn't as great.

In Sr. High, I came into my own. The bullying ended and I participated in life to the fullest. I was in band and musical theatre. I was a part of the school Leadership group. I continued working part-time (out of necessity, not desire, trust me). I became a little (okay a lot) scatterbrained in the process of spreading myself too thin (just ask my friends who will gladly share a few interesting stories). But at the end of each day I could say that I lived life well. I had changed in the two years since we moved back and became the person I couldn't have back in the hell-days.
Jump forward to University, year two. A friend who I was in English classes with, was with me in the Used Book Store one day. I had shared a lot of the nitty-gritty details of my life with her. She came across this bumper sticker, handed it to me and said, "This is SOOO you." I took one look at it, agreed, and bought it with the biggest smile. This is it: (you can click on it to get a better look)

No Regrets

When I started my blog, the title was an obvious one. It is my life's motto, my ultimate goal (the joy of that woman is what I long for, strive for). That's why I'll never change the title of my blog. It will always fit.

My URL is another interesting story (and a little shorter).

In that same year of University, I took sociology, which as a side-note is a favourite subject of mine. After the final exam for the 2nd class I took, we all (Prof included) went to the campus pub for drinks and a little get-together. I had spoken of a couple deeply personal things that had happened in my life in this class. One of my classmates sat next to me and was asking questions about some of it. Always being a fairly open person, I answered as best I could. After our discussion she exclaimed, "Wow, you're pretty well-adjusted for someone who's been through all that!" I was stunned by the veracity of her statement, not having given much though to it in the past. Apparently, I'm well-adjusted. Hence my blog url. It too shall never change.

Mel posted a question in this post about whether you would change your blog title if you felt it no longer fit you or your life. As I've already said, I wouldn't. I will always be striving to live a full life with no regrets and I'll always be as well-adjusted as I can despite the circumstances. My blog subject of the moment may change but it will always be a reflection of who I am and where I've come. This growth is essential to my well being. I need to know that I can get past things and strive to take that next step. I'm driven by a twist of Fate I haven't quite figured out yet.

Maybe I never will. Maybe I don't need to.

Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this very long post (my apologies), but be sure to wander over here to see what other treasures the class is showing...

15 comments:

Cassandra said...

Seems like one reason that your blog title and URL will always fit is that instead of being mired in negative circumstances, you're striving to be your best.

The only reason I can think of to change your blog name would be when you do become an old woman. Then you can change it to "Destined to be an even older woman with no regrets". But you have a looong time before that's necessary. :)

areyoukiddingme said...

Great stories about the significance of your names!

I envy your walk in the spring-like weather. It was warm here today, but that just made the snow melt a little. I find walking to be my best time for introspection. I think it's wonderful that you recognize that the difficult times you've experienced have shaped the person that you have become in the best way possible. Apparently well adjusted is way better than bitter/depressed/angry.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I am so glad it was a long post--I wanted every part of the story. It is such a beautiful title for the blog made even more interesting now knowing all that went on behind it and the sticker.

Caroline said...

I found your blog entry so interesting.

I am impressed that you have found strength and meaning despite the many difficulties that life has thrown your way.

battynurse said...

I really like your blog title. Great stories about how the names came about.

Photogrl said...

The post was not too long!

Thank you for sharing the insight into your blog and URL names...they are such personal choices, and it's nice to know the story behind them.

Lori said...

I have always liked the title of your blog. I think living without regrets is a worthwhile goal.

Kristin said...

Fabulous stories. I think your blog title is wonderful!

Another Dreamer said...

What a story. And yes, the bumper sticker works well, as do your titles.

As for the well adjusted bit... I get that too. It's amazing how little people can tell about someone just by looking at the surface. We hide such pasts, and no one can even begin to guess most times...

Thought provoking, beautiful, post. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Beautiful Mess said...

I love that bumper sticker. That's great that it fits you so well. Good for you for overcoming things that could have made you life more difficult. I love a "real life" story where someone rises above circumstances that fate has tossed at them. Good for you! Thank you for sharing!

MrsSpock said...

I think your title could fit with any phase of your life. I never changed mine after I had a child, but I did add "motherhood" to the description.

Dora said...

Terrific post. All of it.

Ooh, no coat! So jealous.

Liv said...

I can relate to being in high school feeling 10 years older then everyone. I had the same experience. It takes a very remarkable person to receive such a complemnt about being an amazingly well-adjusted individual. Considering some of your circumstances it must be an amazing feat.

JamieD said...

Great blog names - thanks for the story.

And it was a great blog post, no worries about it being too long. Thanks for sharing!

I had some struggles with being so shy and timid and for some insane reason I joined the Drama Club in high school. I have never know a more wonderful group of people. My teacher did more good for me in that three years than she could have possibly imagined.

WiseGuy said...

I read through your post, twice... My internet explorer went bust the first time around .:)

Your blog name and url is so very appropriate. I am glad that you did meet people 'on the way' who were able to tell you positive things about you. Even though I am not aware of your whole story, barring what you have put on the blog, it looks like there has been a lot of learning that life has brought on! Rock, Girl!