Stories—the small personal ones that bring us close as well as those of the larger world—foster compassion. In the telling of our personal lives, we’re reminded of our basic, human qualities—our vulnerabilities and strengths, foolishness and wisdom, who we are…, through the exchange of stories, [you] help heal each other’s spirits.
–Patrice Vecchione, Writing and the Spiritual Life
Growing up, I was a shy child. As the years went on, I came out of my shyness a little, but as I grew older and started getting serious about life the shyness reappeared in certain situations.
I think we all go through an awkward phase as a child, I’d say I hit mine around the sixth-grade or seventh-grade. The summer I turned twelve years old, I shot up over six inches in height. Mom thought she was purchasing stylish glasses for me, when truth be told, they were the ugliest glasses I had ever seen.
Anyone with an opportunity and a mean streak took it upon themselves to let me know how gawky and goofy I looked in those glasses. As I got taller, I was the second tallest girl in my class and the first girl to develop in all the right places. I was taller than everyone in the class. That just added to the fire.
Another thing that added to my “nerdy” status is that I developed allergies as a child. I grew up when they didn’t know how to treat allergies. I was always sick, had a lot of food allergies and did a ton of throwing up after meals. Not so easy to make friends when you are literally the snotty girl, always scratching and have the ability to vomit at the drop of a hat. Kids can be so mean. I was sick so much, mom thought I needed to see a doctor daily. The ironic thing about mom running me to the doctor constantly, was that the brain tumor I have has been there since I was a child. I was sick, but not for any of the reasons she was taking me to the doctor.
All of these, should have been good things, but the kids I grew up with saw a vulnerable girl they could hurl their latest ammunition at. It was like some bully kept a book and said “let’s pick on her today.”
One stupid new girl decided she would target me on her own. I became her pet project at her new school. She took particular dislike to my glasses. I was called “Four-Eyes” so many times in the eighth-grade that I decided to let her foolishness stop bothering me and decided to kill her with kindness. Sometime in the night-grade, the bullying stopped. The new girl, never turned nice through four-years of high school, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t let her get to me.
I took my classes, did my school work and survived high school. Most of us do. What you have to remember about bullies, is that they are just jealous or sometimes it could be as boy or girl who is sweet on you and doesn’t know how to handle their own feelings. Be patient growing up, God will get up through it! I went to college away from everyone I had known for years.
After graduating high school, the shy girl came flying out of me again. Nursing school put me into situations I didn’t know how to handle, so I did my best. If I was uncomfortable in a situation, I worked my way through it. After I was married the first time, I ran into people here and there. What I noticed the most, was they acted like we were life long friends. God says to forgive and I have forgiven.
Doctors are not kind to new nurses or old ones at that. My first nursing job, opened my eyes to how crude the medical profession can be. You would not believe, what goes on behind the scenes, at some hospitals here in Georgia. In all my life, I did not realize how ugly people can be to one another. I grew-up quickly.
After my first husband and I divorced, one of my first jobs as a single woman was at the local jail in my hometown. The saddest part of that job, was seeing more people I went to high school with in jail than on the streets of town. A few were hard to believe, but others I had seen in trouble for years. I dated a deputy for a while, and he got a bit stalkerish. Someone in jail, that I had known for years, stood up for me. He did the right thing and said something when the time was right. I never got the chance to say thank you! Thank you, Joe! I know he’ll never see this, but at least I have said it.
I went through many jobs, that finally lead me to the career I was meant to have. I stayed with that career until I was forced into retirement by a nasty brain tumor called a gangliocytoma. I would later discover the tumor was just a symptom of a genetic disorder called Cowden Syndrome. Sine that diagnosis, I have survived Thyroid Cancer and I am dealing with breast cancer. Every month, I am in some doctor’s office being probed, prodded or x-rayed.
Note to all doctor’s that do lumpectomies, tell your patient’s about the fluid build-up possibility and the possibility of acting like a leaky pipe under your arm. It would make life after lumpectomy less stressful.
I’m getting tired, but I refuse to let this mess get the best of me. God has a plan for my life, otherwise I wouldn’t still be around. It is not my place to question that plan. I have tolerated this breast cancer episode better than things in the past. Either I am tired of fighting, or learning how to give it to God finally. I’ve prayed about the subject. It must be sinking in.