It's dark in here. Cold. Damp. I feel lost. Where am I? Where is the light? I can't really see. I feel claustrophobic. Am I alone? I feel alone. I don't want to be alone. If I call for help, will someone answer? Someone, please answer. I want to be found. I want so badly to be found.
That was my brain not all that long ago. Five years ago, maybe? My brain was calling out to me and I wasn't listening to it. I told myself I was great. But I wasn't.
I was lost.
Happiness is hard for me. It has been for a long time. And it isn't that I wanted to be unhappy. Because who wants that? There were reasons I was unhappy. Some of those reasons I didn't even know about. Or understand.
I didn't love myself. I didn't even like myself. I hid some of the best parts of me.
I let people take advantage of because I didn't have the strength within me to stand up for myself.
And I blamed myself for things that weren't my fault. Things that could never be my fault.
I didn't want to let anyone down. And what I didn't realize was that I was only letting myself down. I was failing at life. I was barely surviving.
The turning point didn't come in one moment. Or a few moments. It came slowly over a long period of time. Years, in fact. And while the journey here has been tough, it's been amazing. I sometimes take a step back and see how far I've come. How I've embraced who I am. How I love the weirdest things and that's okay because it's what makes me me.
My name is April. I was born in June. I am a nerd. I love science, math, and science-fiction. I will tell you with a straight face that I am half Vulcan. Aliens are my thing. I love video games. I'm a Gryffindor. My favorite color is orange. I am a tomboy and love all sports. I have a great big sensitive heart. And that's not a bad thing. I love to read and I love art and I love to play at writing. Animals are my love and yes, I would totally put a giraffe in my back yard if I could. (And a stargate.)
The new me embraces all of those things. Even if I sometimes contradict myself on these things.
I love this new me. And life is good. And I am happy.
I met Kelci when she was 4 weeks old. I went to her breeder's house and saw 8 black German Shepherd pups covering the green of the yard. The breeder had given me pick of the litter but said, "I already know which one you'll choose."
I sat in the grass in front of the smallest pup. She was so different than the others. Not only was she the runt but also, she had a silver fur collar and was lighter than the her brothers and sisters. I made certain that I spoke to each of the pups, but when I picked her up, looked her in the face, and smelled her puppy breath, I was hers.
"This is the one I want," I said.
The breeder replied, "I know."
I named her Kelci.
A few weeks later, the breeder drove to my apartment to deliver my pup. Kelci was a tiny 6 pounds and scared to death. I took her into my arms, kissed her nose, and told her we were going to have so much fun. Afterall, she had a new sister, Bayleigh to play with.
As I walked the three flights to the apartment I lived in at that time, I clearly hadn't taken my cocker spaniel's feelings into consideration. I thought, this will be great! Who doesn't love a new puppy?!
Bayleigh, that's who.
I walked into my living room all excited and set Kelci in front of Bayleigh. Bayleigh looked at me and said, "What the hell is this thing?! Get it away from me!" Uh-oh. Not a good sign.
But I was determined. We all three played for the rest of the evening. At bedtime, I went through my routine, and put Bayleigh into her crate (Bayleigh + Eating Mum's Books = Bayleigh Sleeps In Crate Until She Could Be Trusted). I fixed another crate for Kelci, filled it with stuffed animals and a clock, tucked her in, and turned off the lights. And exactly three minutes later, Kelci started whining. And whining. And whining. And whining.
Okay, what was I going to do now? I KNOW, I thought. I'll put her and Bayleigh together! That is a fantastic idea! So, I put them in the crate together, turned the light off, and waited. All was quiet! This was going to work!
Twenty minutes later, I turned on the light. Kelci was snuggled at Bayleigh's feet, fast asleep. (I think she was smiling even.) Bayleigh was sitting straight up, staring at me with a look that clearly said, "I hate you."
Kelci slept with me from then on.
Moral to the story: Just put the pup in the bed with you. The "I hate you" look is not worth it.
I walked into our high school's gym on my first day of basketball practice knowing that this was going to be a great season. All I wanted was to be captain. I was the only returning senior, my teammates all seemed to like and look up to me, so it was in the bag, right?
By the end of our second practice of the day, two juniors were named co-captains and my world was crushed. Looking back at it now, I'm not sure why that was so important to me but it was and all I knew in that moment was that I didn't make it. (Of course, me being me, I felt like I had failed.)
That first day of practice was just the beginning of a season of hell for me. I had to do every sprint drill at least twice because I always finished last. I was yelled at, told in front of the whole team that I had no athletic ability, and made fun of for being so clumsy. All by my coach.
Yet, I was always the first on the court and the last one to leave. I loved it. I loved the game. I loved watching the game and breaking it down in my head. I loved getting the chance to get in the game. I loved my team.
Those were some of the best moments in high school for me. I looked forward to every practice and every game because these girls were my friends. They were, for me, my sisters. My senior year, I became the big sister, and maybe that's why I wanted to be captain. I wanted everyone to know I was the big sister.
What I didn't know was I didn't need to be captain for every one to know that.
The last home game of the season was senior night. Out of the kindness of her blackened heart, my coach decided to let me start. Before the game, I was to walk while holding my parents' hands to center court. I was at the end of our bench talking with my parents when all of a sudden I realized that the whole gym was chanting.
I got chills on my arms when I realized that they were chanting my name.
My teammates (and all of the cheerleaders) had lined up in two lines on each side of me. It took me ten minutes to get through those lines because I hugged and/or high fived all of them. When I hugged the last person, I looked up and every single person in the gym was standing and clapping. For me.
They gave the clumsy, slow, no talent, short, sometimes playing point guard a standing ovation.
That had to be the greatest night of my basketball career. (OK, no. I'm lying. The best night of my basketball career was a rec club game. I scored twelve points in a championship game, and my varsity coach asked my rec club coach how did he get me to play so well. His answer was, "I don't yell at her.")
I think about that night now and I always smile. I can close my eyes and replay ever single step I took. I see their faces and just how proud they all were of me. And it also makes me wonder why it's so damn hard for me to just be proud of myself.
I'm really going to work on that. If a couple hundred people could be proud of me for simply showing up to represent my school mostly by riding the bench, then certainly I can be proud of myself more.
Yep. I really think I can. No wait! I really think I am.
Yeah, that's better.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't drawing or painting. Every single notebook from every single class in school is filled with silly little sketches. Sketches helped me focus on what the teachers were saying. I took a few art classes in junior high school, but most of my art comes from seeing something in my head and putting it onto paper or canvas. I used to love watching Bob Ross paint. I always would think, I can do that!
I remember vividly the day I discovered the awesomeness that is soft pastels. One day I was walking down the art supply aisle in Michaels' and on a whim bought a set and a new sketch pad. When I sat down to sketch with them, magic just happened. I fell in love. I knew I could make great things with this medium. I was lost in my own little world. I had to be reminded that I needed to do things like... eat. It was amazing.
I had this itch to create art all the time. I wanted to do something with my art. I started painting again. (I take painting by spells.) Someone I worked with convinced me I should do a show and have it at her house. The thought of creating art, like, all the time was scary but exciting to me. Maybe my co-worker was right and I could do this.
That show never happened. My whole world changed and I became lost in a world where I wasn't happy. Life was hard and scary and instead of using my art as an escape, I almost abandoned it. I still would sketch on scrap paper because that's how I think, but I would only paint in tiny moments of sort of happiness or if someone asked me to paint/draw something for them. I convinced myself that my art sucked. I was so painfully unhappy that I couldn't see how special I was or how special my gift was.
Slowly, as I worked my way out of the dark cloud that surrounded me, I found that I enjoyed painting again. Yet, I still hadn't rediscovered the itch to create. I used my art as the place I escaped to when I felt life trying to pull me back into that dark cloud. It was my happy place and for a few years now, that's been just fine with me.
Today, I was in the shower thinking thinking thinking and something hit me. I have the itch to create art again. Not as an escape, but because I have a gift. Why am I hiding my gift? Why don't I create more? I should create more. I want to create more. I will create more. And for the first time in a really long time, I'm excited about it. I'm really starting to feel like me. Hello, me!
- bad day
- bad jokes
- dreams are weird
- embarassing moments and stuff
- foul things
- good beer
- i love animals
- just write
- mother's day
- my life at thirty
- nc zoo
- random stuff
- shrinking jeans
- table topic tuesdays
- the pets
- virginia tech
- visting friends
- walking with dinosaurs
- winter 2010
- you capture
- I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)
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