When I was a little girl I had no idea that I would become the woman who I am today. I could not have told anyone that I would be a writer, homeschooling two of my children, and living against the grain. I thought that I would play the piano, act in stage plays, and eventually become some type of helper. I did not know what kind of helper I wanted to be but I knew that I liked to help others.
My first encounter with actually being a helper was when I was young. When I played with most of my friends, I had to be rough and tough. I am the youngest in my family by a few years. All of my friends that have siblings are close in age to their siblings. When I was around them, I had to be ready for anything. There were some friends that were not as rough that allowed me to show my softer side. I can remember attempting to mend the fallen birds on our block. Those that I could not help, I buried. I felt bad that they had to suffer. I didn’t want to watch those birds struggle to survive. I wanted to take away their pain and make their wings soar high into the sky. I had no idea how nasty it was to touch those birds. At that time, I did not care about health risks. All I was concerned with was helping. I helped as much as I could until I was teased more than praised. My desire to help was smothered by my desire to be accepted.
I can remember my first and last private lesson with the piano. I was young and intrigued by the sounds of the piano. I wanted to learn how to make those keys dance to the beat of my fingers. I wanted to pour myself into every note. I was on our block and I was reintroduced to a neighbor that could help me accomplish my pianist goals. We only had one lesson. After one encounter, my dreams were shattered. The teacher was more focused on the student than the lesson. I was only a child and he was an adult. He tried to take advantage of what I didn’t know. He sat behind me on the piano bench as if we were in an intimate relationship. I did not know where this was going but I knew that I was not interested. That was when I took flight down the stairs and left the house for the first and last time. I never told why I didn’t want to go back. I didn’t want to be looked at differently. I was more concerned with acceptance than truth.
The first time I knew that I wanted to be in a stage play was such a surreal moment. It was like it was setup for me. My family was at a stage play in the city and I was mesmerized. We went to plays as a group of 10 or more to see plays once or twice a year for a few years. There was a song that was sung during the play that inspired me. I felt like I could do the same thing. I felt like I could inspire people with my talent. I recall the moment as if I am sitting in those theater seats again. The play ended and the cast bowed. Then the announcer came on the loud-speaker. “If you are interested in acting or singing in a future production, please stay behind”. I was ecstatic! I thought to myself, THIS IS IT! I turned and shared my desires to stay with my mother. I was enthusiastic and I was confident. I thought for sure that my dream was going to come true. She quickly said no and moved on. I was crushed.
I remember when I began writing. I remember when I was first introduced to responsibility. I remember when things begin to shift. I was so distraught during adolescence. I was very different from everyone else. I was accepted and misunderstood. I stood out and I fit in. I struggled so much to learn who I was. I changed my mind and my focus so many times that I confused myself. I was just into my thirties, maybe 31 or 32, when I realized that my gift is also apart of my dream. I began to understand more of the lessons that I was taught earlier in life. I was not aware that things would go the way that they did. I was not prepared to deal with some of the devastation. Nonetheless, I am here. I am not destroyed nor defeated. I get discouraged at times but I cry and move on. I often look back at where I have been on my journey through life. I didn’t know I would be here, but I am glad that I made it.