Saturday, February 1, 2014

{the evolution of me: a teenager}

Adolescents are not monsters.  They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.  ~Virginia Satir, The New Peoplemaking, 1988

In 7th grade, Fall of 1996, my world was once again rocked.
We moved from what I knew as home (Keller) to a town so completely different (Haltom City) that I actually experienced culture shock. Keller was slowly growing from a sleepy little town into  cookie-cutter-houses-slightly-upper-middle-class-suburbia (it would go on to be named "one of the best places to live in America") and HC was...well, full of already-old-lower-middle-class homes and businesses. This was in those fabled days before everyone had the internet and facebook. I wouldn't personally know anyone that had a computer with internet for about 3 more years. We had a phone though, and as best I could, for as long as I could, I stayed connected to my 2 best friends, Shannon and Leesa. Leesa and I grew apart soon after, and Shannon's family was uprooted and moved to Louisiana. I'll admit, I was a terrible penpal. Shannon, if you are reading this, I apologize for not holding up my end of us. I met and made some new friends, sure, and a few have endured to this day, but inside, I was miserable. I felt lost. I felt unnecessary...and combined with a family that I didn't like or understand...well let's just say I was sad. Very sad. I hid it well though. 
One sunny day in May of '97, I sat alone in my room. Per usual, my radio was on and I was sitting crosslegged beside my bed. The family dog snoring somewhere nearby. 
I had a bottle of aspirin next to me and a sharp knife, just in case.
As I mustered up the courage, trying to give myself a sort of suicide peptalk, an unfamiliar tune weaved it's way through my sadness and tears and my hungry heart listened.
"You have so many relationships in this life,
only one or two will last.
You go through all the pain and strife, 
then you turn your back and it's gone so fast."
"So hold on to the ones who really care,
'cuz in the end, they'll be the only ones there..."
My breath caught, I started shaking. There was a tiny flicker of hope and even happiness in my heart. I had ones that cared. I had aunts and uncles and cousins that I adored. Hell, the love I had from my granny alone would have been enough. I had a baby niece that might need her Aunt Amy some day. So, I latched onto that song. I threw the bottle of pills at my closed bedroom door. I cried. A good, raw cry, the kind that cleanses. The kind that heals. I then carried the pills and knife out to the kitchen. I went back and sat by my radio. waiting and waiting for that beautiful melody to come through the speakers again. Blank tape at the ready, and when it did, I hit record. 
A month or so later, I was spending summer break with my granny in her tiny little trailer on Lake Tawakoni. She didn't have a CD player, but she had a cassette player. So, seeing my love for that song (and probably just wanting hear something ELSE from that old boombox, she took me to walmart and bought me the full album on cassette. If you haven't figured out what the song is- it's "Mmmbop" by Hanson.  You read that right. That "annoying" song from the  summer of '97 is the very thing that saved my life. Scoff if you wish, but it did. 
To say that I wore that cassette out would be an understatement. It was eventually replaced with a CD version and looped 24/7 from my tiny corner of this great big world.
That little song and a love for the band of brothers singing it led to new friendships. It bonded us. We were a sisterhood. Life looked good again.
High school came and went. Laughter was heard, tears were wiped, hearts were broken and mended. Memories were definitely made. 
I met my 2 best girlfriends in the world, Ashlie and Heather within the classrooms and hallways of that school.
On the first day of 9th grade, I walked into my English class rocking some pretty awesome red Doc Martens. As I sat in my seat, the girl next to me exclaimed "Zac Hanson has those! Only in yellow!" I turned with a grin and showed that I was also rocking a Hanson shirt. We would go through the next 4 years so close, that we were often mistaken for sisters. I even introduced her to her husband when we were just 16!
Heather and I didn't really meet or become friends until sophomore year. I like to believe that our friendship is the reason that my family had moved to Haltom City. She only lived a few blocks away and we would walk between our 2 houses daily. Eventually, we would drive. Today, she is my sister. Married to my brother and mother of one of the most perfect little boys to ever grace this earth. She is my soul's true mate.
I met the boy who completely held my heart for 6 whole was completely unrequited love, but eventually we would grow very close. I also met the boy who would eventually introduce me to my husband in that school...driving past Haltom High School still brings such a smile to my soul.  
During the summer  before my senior year (and then a week before my 18th birthday) I lost my grandpas. One's hand I was holding as he took his last breath, surrounded by his loved ones; the other went alone, sitting in his front yard. A perfect illustration of how their lives had been lived. Heather, Becca, Brian, Kevin, Ben, Chris and will never truly know how you all carried me through that heartache, but I say thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love these people and these memories dearly and can not even imagine going through this life without them. 
To think, I could have missed out on some pretty amazing years, and some of the greatest people, had I given in to the sadness of a lonely childhood.

Stay tuned to hear about my roaring 20s.

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