Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Expression of Gratitude

Sometimes we are reminded that someone actually HAS played an important part in our life, though we hadn’t realized it. We suddenly discover the purpose behind their coming into our lives. As though we’ve put on a new pair of glasses and we have a new, crisper and clearer vision; we can see this person for who they REALLY are and why they have been a part of our life.

When I was 15, my boyfriend brought a shot gun to school hidden under his jacket. We had dated for 6 months and were coming to a rough end to the relationship. Rumors, of course, said he planned to use the gun on me, or he was going to shoot us both and others said there was no plan, he just wanted to scare me.

This situation of course caused a lot of drama at school between me and several others. Everyone wanted to blame me for the trouble that he was now in and a lot of people “hated” me. (Never mind that he was a young adult with a mind of his own!) People hated me; especially the girlfriend of one of his “groupies”. She would push me into the lockers every time that she passed me in the hallways, of course call me names and generally try to make my life hell. One morning she found me alone in the smoking pit at our school and grabbed me by my wrists and began pushing me around the area saying nasty things to me. That was probably one of my first “serious” or physical confrontations with somebody, and I was unprepared with how to handle it. I was scared. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, another group of people came out. 1 girl didn’t think of what anyone else would say or do; she came right over and told her to let go and leave me alone.

This girl and I knew OF each other, though at that point we likely only knew the other’s name and not much else. Over the next 2 years that we were in high school our circles touched occasionally; we would casually have a cigarette together at school or meet up at a party. I have always remembered her as one of the girls that was usually quite happy, always friendly, funny and fun to be around; but we were by no means close or spent any real time together. Almost 15 years later we came across each other on Facebook and added each other as friends. We have commented on the others page a few times, but nothing in depth. I discovered she had a blog around the same time as mom was urging me to start my own; I was very intrigued and inspired by it. She has a beautiful family, a lot of friends, she takes amazing photos and just appears to be at a really great place in her life. I was overcome with feelings of happiness for her; which is strange considering our lack of closeness. In the end, I would honestly say that it was because of my visits to her blog, getting a glimpse into her world, I decided to give it a try. I can’t fully explain why, but it compelled me go ahead in a way that my mom had not succeeded.

She popped into my head last night as I was getting ready for bed; seeming to come up like one of those unexplainable things that need further exploration or acknowledgement. It struck me that this person, despite how little we actually know about each other, has played an important role in the chain of events of my life TWICE. I always refer to my believing that every person is/has been in our life for a reason, no matter how big or small. I can only say that she was there when I “needed” her. Once, to show me I was not alone, to blame or deserving in the situation that I faced as a kid, and again too guide me back/towards expressing myself the way I always have and always wanted to do. She has seemed to bring a candle to dark hallways that had left me feeling paralyzed by fear or lost in a faceless crowd. While I may not have realized it in the moments, she has been sent to me exactly when I needed her to be there.

While these things may seem insignificant to another, I realized last night that they were monumental for me. I can see and have a fuller appreciation for the fact that she taught me a lot; I wasn’t alone, I didn’t deserve to be a scapegoat, I could have strength, I had a voice, I could be myself and not be afraid of being accepted. While of course I realize that, most likely, she has no idea the role she played for me or the teacher that she was for me. I feel the need to in some small way express my gratitude for this woman and her place in my life. Thank you.
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