I laid in bed thinking about Father's Day gift ideas, and thought of making a memory book of my father and I. From when I was a toddler to today, expressing all that he has taught me thru our experiences we shared. I imagine collecting photographs depicting our story and compiling it in a picture, journal format.
I then started thinking about my life as a whole and how crazy it's been! I think typically when you are older, you don't share your life stories as much until you are really old with grandkids or something. When you meet new people, it's usually how are you today, what do you do? When you get a little closer, it's the daily questions, never what have you done? Who are you? What has made you YOU!
I kept thinking of everything that has made me ME, and how I just couldn't get rest until I wrote about it:
I was born in Grand Rapids, MI, at the time I had 2 brothers and a stay at home mom. I lived there until I was about 3 and have vivid memories of the home I grew up in. I have described it to my parents along with stories and they seem to be on point. This is the start of my strong memory!
We moved to NJ when I was 3 and I remember the car ride, eating those orange crackers with peanut butter in them. I remember being in a car seat. I have memories of hating taking naps, and being fascinated by clouds covering the sun in my bedroom windows making it appear darker then lighter in the room. I was always fond of TV and made my own mini tv guides so I knew what was on next. We all had tv's in our rooms, so I spent a lot of time there.
I remember being in my first car accident with my neighbor, mom and brothers. We went to visit a horse ranch, and stopped to get ice cream. A large van crashed into us, and we spent the evening at a chiropractors office listening to Elton John. I was a gymnast, and was pretty successful at it. I was a girl scout and always looked forward to crafts. I had a classmate that was the class artist and I was jealous of his constant attention and recognition. I played soccer from 5th grade on until today. I was pretty insecure and not really close to my brothers. I spent my weekends with my dad going to hardware stores and soccer games. I had a couple of close friends, but never was the type to be invited to a lot of parties. I never really had my own.
I had a "sick" childhood, from being diagnosed with a brain tumor-which later turned into water on my brain. To mitral valve prolapse, gastritis, epstein barr virus, esophagitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, hiatal hernia... and the list goes on. I feel like I was sick at the time, but all of these diseases have not plagued me into my adulthood--or since I started college except for hypoglycemia. I feel that a lot of my sicknesses were put into my head, and that kinda freaks me out.
I have an adopted brother from Korea who we adopted when I was 12. I ended babysitting him a lot and it gave me a wake-up call to raising children. I bonded with him and think he was an important addition to my family. He is now 15 and we aren't as close. He's a typical teenager I guess.
I never was motivated to go to college, no one in my family went. I worked hard, but was never the straight A student. I always enjoyed art though. Junior high was the worst time for me, I had a low self-esteem, got picked-on a lot, and lost close friends that I had from my childhood. I went to high school and felt comfortable with the older kids than I did with my own age. I had lots of crushes on guys, some would say I was boy crazy. I think that I like the challenge, and I felt pretty if I got their attention. I was never a bad girl, just innocent crushes.
I was in a horrible car accident when I was learning to drive. My father and I went over the edge of a parking lot when he was teaching me to drive and we went 30 feet straight into the ground. He broke ribs, I hurt my knee and jaw. I was scared to drive for awhile, and it was a big reality check. I got my license a little later than most.
In high school I was determined to be recognized as an artist. I painted murals, designed billboards, entered contests. I wanted to beat that boy in reputation of being the best artist. Senior year, we were both voted class artist. But I got Best in the Visual Arts of our class. I felt that was one of my biggest accomplishments.
I decided to study Graphic Design in college. I was never the best, and did not invest what I should have in college. I enjoyed the social aspect, still never had drank or smoked. I just liked the party atmosphere and studying people. To this day, I enjoy being around strangers, interacting with strangers. I am trying to figure out why. I get anxiety in talking with people I know, maybe out of fear that they will judge me. Strangers are a clean slate, any conversation is ok, and people are more likely to open up in my experiences. When we talk to our friends on a daily basis, it's more of the day to day talk...I can talk about the most random stuff with a stranger. My sophomore year I accomplished my life's dream. I always appreciated Walt Disney and had the opportunity to do an internship there. I met a guy the week before leaving and he asked my dream in life. Cheesiest line I ever heard! I told him to work for Walt Disney Animation. Just so happens, his uncle was the director of animation. He gave me his uncle's contact info, never saw him again. I went to Disney, worked days interning and learning about animation, and worked nights on an attraction called Alien Encounter. It was the dream come true.
I went thru a hardcore religious phase. I started going to a Baptist church and went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I hated having to evangelize to people about how wrong Catholicism was (when i was raised Catholic), but working with the people of that country, hearing their stories, partaking in their daily lives was a life changing experience.
I started dating my husband at the end of college. We were good friends for 3 years and often pondered the idea of dating him. I would be jealous if he was dating another girl, but was too scared to tell him. I finally decided I had nothing to lose as were to go our separate ways when we graduated. It was one of the best things to ever happen to me. After college I got a wonderful job at a company called Decipher. I was a production asst. and made playing cards and promotional items for Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, etc. What a great job that i loved. I worked with people that were fun and easy to talk to. But Templeton had gotten a job touring with skateboarders (a dream come true) and then moved to Los Angeles. I knew to make the relationship work, I'd have to go out there too. I moved out there and struggled the most I ever have. I couldn't get a job for 3 months. I first lived in a house with at least 8 vegans pursuing a job in acting. I finally moved in with my roommate from DisneyWorld and got a job as a gopher for a production company. I got up at 5am, drove to Venice, got coffees and bagels for the staff. I was at their beck and call. During my free time that day, I talked to the animators that were currently working on Barbie commercials and told them that was my thing. I was an artist, not meant to be a gopher!! They called me the next day and for 4 months I was an artist for Mattel Barbie commercials. This was LA!! The job was winding down and I needed to get something more stable. I applied and got a job as a head art teacher and manager of an art school out there in Northridge, CA. After 8 weeks of art, managerial and observing, and I lead an art school for a year. I discovered my passion.
After much frustration with California, and the desire to settle down with my then-boyfriend. We moved back to Virginia. I got a job as the art manager of a screenprinting company and hated every minute of it. I had never been surrounded by such mean, corruptive people, and had to leave after 6 months or so. I decided to return to college and get my masters in education because that was my true passion. During that time, I married the most wonderful man in the world. I have taught at private art studios and now am looking for that public school position to open up.
I am proud of who I am and what I have done. I wish I had a closer relationship to my family, but we are all too independent for that I think. I have my insecurities like having fears of disappointing people, calling people to hang out. I think I fear letting people get to close to me. I have big dreams for my future, and have many shared dreams with my husband. I am goal oriented, and when I say I will do something, I will. I have a cat that I adore, and he relaxes me. I had a great, picturesque wedding day, and great home. This is my story....try it some time, it's hard!