Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Even though I was 15 going on 16 at the time, I don't remember much about Maryland itself. For some reason my mind has blocked out most of the memories of that year and all I have are sketchy flashes of people and places.
My freshman and sophomore years had been in Bogotá, Colombia. I loved it there- the people, my school, the parties. I had lots of friends and had learned to love everything about the Colombian culture. Those were the golden years of my adolesence and I have an abundance of intricate, happy and detailed memories from those two years. Watching Bogotá get smaller and smaller out the airplane window as we flew away was one of the most painful experiences I can remember as a teen. I had left behind the life I thought I wanted to continue living forever.
Moving to Maryland was a culture shock, to put it mildly. Everything felt so completely different and I felt invisible in a sea of thousands of students. I felt there was no one at school I could relate to and as a result ate lunch alone every day in the library. I had labeled myself an outcast and a loser.
Now as a nurse and having learned about and having been exposed to patients with depression, I can see in retrospect that I was in deep depression. Even though I can't remember many of the physcial aspects of Maryland, I clearly remember many of the self-loathing and self-destructive thoughts I had and repeated to myself, like a broken record.
Also in retrospect, I can see that many of the circumstances that I believed were a reality were in fact exaggerated and exacerbated by my own selfishness and unwillingness to see or reach outside myself. My wallowing in self-pity turned to full-scale depression because I did nothing to help myself out of my dark hole. It was much easier to ride on the wave of self-pity than it was to try to make friends and get involved.
Eventually I allowed myself to slowly climb out of that dark hole. I remember my parents being worried sick about me and doing everything they could think of to try to help. I remember my brother, who didn't have it easy at school either, taking me under his wing and including me in everything that he did.
It's interesting how despite the vague, dark memories of those days, I learned so much about myself during that time.
I learned that I couldn't allow circumstances, no matter how bad I thought they were, to dictate my attitude.
I learned that a friendly face can sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Ironically, the "gothic" kids at school, with the black hair, black eyeliner and fingernail polish, piercings in unthinkable places and long trench coats were some of the kindest and least judgemental at school.
I learned that friends come and go (and in my case, this was very often) but that my family would always be there for me.
I began my slow journey of caring less what others thought of me and, and caring more what I thought of myself.
I learned the importance of turning to my church family for support. I made some amazing friends with some of the youth in our ward.
By my senior year, my family moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I had begun to open my shell a little, but still remained mostly detached. The reopening process has taken years.
I wish I could go back through time and talk to my 15 year old self. I would tell myself that these are times that will help define and mold me for the rest of me life. I wish I could tell myself how much I would regret my selfishness and experiences lost. I wish I could have told myself that people don't judge and think about you as much as you think they do. Most people are too worried about themselves and what others think of them. I wish I could have told myself to open my eyes to the people around me that love me and to just be present, instead of mourning the past.
As hard as it is to have those regrets, I'm glad they're there. There's a reason we were given a selectively vivid memory. My regrets about the past blaze brightly in my memory. But hopefully it's so that I will only make those mistakes once and that sharing them with my children will help deter them from making the same mistakes.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Luke ran beside me the last quarter of a mile. Please excuse my poor knock-kneed, pigeon-toed gait. I was tired.
Percy also came to cheer us on at the finish line.
I travelled to Utah the night before with the kids and we stayed at Julie's parents house in Morgan. Julie's mom graciously watched the kids for me while we ran and even brought them to the finish line with posters to cheer us on. Dennis wasn't able to come because he had a wood-cutting campout he had been committed to for almost a year and he didn't feel it would be right to back out of it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Last night I had one such experience. As many others throughout the world, I've been captivated by the story of the Chilean miners. Every time I saw a news story on it, I had to read it. I can't describe the intense thrill of happiness I felt as I saw the first one pulled from the mine and saw his young son, face wet with tears, run to embrace him. I thought to myself, "This is the Lord's hand, and I am privileged to be witnessing it on live TV."
The first time I saw the hand-written note returning up with the probe, telling the rescuers on the surface that all 33 miners were alive and well after 17 days of being presumed dead, I felt this story belonged to me as well as I recognized the familiar hand-writting, so typical of the Chilean people.
Then at approximately 1:25am this morning, my phone rang. It was a sweet lady that I used to work with at the hospital. When she heard my sleepy voice, she apologized for waking me up but then said she couldn't contain her excitement and had to call me. In Spanish, with her voice shaky and crying, she told me she had been watching the rescue on TV and had been thinking of me. She wanted me to know that she too had been praying for the miners and that the sight of seeing the children greet their parents after so many days of uncertainty and fear had left her so filled with joy that she had to share it with me. I thanked her and assured her that I was glad she called. She too had seen and felt what I had.
It's a complicated and wonderful thing to have split allegiances to the United States and to Chile. My mother is Chilean and my father from Idaho. We lived in Chile for 4 years growing up and we have returned many times since then to visit family. My feelings of patriotism are both for the American and Chilean flag. What a glorious way to highlight the beauty of the Chilean people.
My favorite picture that emerged after the earthquake in February
Here is a short slide-show I made for my parents earlier this year. It compares the Idaho and Chilean cultures, MY two cultures, side by side. What a swell of national pride!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As liberating as it is to blow off some steam and let the everyone know how overburdened I feel, it does me no good to yell into the wind. Besides, don't most mothers feel this way? As I said before, this is by no means a new human experience. Far too common, in fact.
I've been working lately on snipping those ties of expectations that have left me feeling like I'm in a posey restraint. Like how I think my relationship with my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends should play out in an ideal world. How I think I should be respected by my children. What I think my church community and neighbors expect of me. It's easy to get swallowed up and lose youreself in trying to play out the expectations others hold for you. The more expectations, the greater the disappointment that will inevitably come be it to you or to them.
Yes, I will probably tick some people off. A lot of them actually, and people and causes that I respect. But that's okay. I won't say "To hell with all of my responsibilities," but I know I'm at a point where I need to set some boundaries and reestablish some priorities. The greatest expectations that I hold for myself are to God, Dennis, and my children. The rest... well they may need to go find themselves a new camel.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
He also put in this gas fireplace (the logs for the inside and the front cover are on their way) while I was away for a girl's weekend with my mom and sisters in Park City. Our house is still in a bit of disaray (as you can see with the crowded furniture around the fireplace) while we're putting the finishing touches on everything but it's fun and exciting to see these new changes coming about. The living room is the coldest room in the house in the winter so I'm excited to have some warmth in there when the cold weather comes around!
He's amazing. Enough said.
In some other exciting news, Luke recently started preschool. He loves it. He is attending as a typical peer at a special preschool for children with a wide range of disabilities from mild to severe. A school bus even comes to pick him up at the front door! He is quite a social little bug. For the past few weeks since Camden started school, he has been wandering around the house like a little lost puppy without his best friend around to play with. I'm grateful for this opportunity to keep him busy!
Camden is attending a dual language school and is learning Spanish and English simultaneously. I love to hear him learning to speak Spanish. When he's doing his homework, it's fascinating to see his little mind switch from English to Spanish and then back again depending on what task he has to complete. It's surprising how much he understands. I've been to the school to volunteer and I'm amazed at how all of the English speaking children will jump up and follow the teacher's directions as she gives them in Spanish. It's remarkable how quickly they learn.