Friday, September 20, 2013

24 harder life lessons

In my last post I shared happy/interesting things about myself. I have had some really neat experiences in my life but in this post I want to make it absolutely clear I had these opportunities because God-MY loving Heavenly Father knows exactly what I need. I have been going through my own "mid-life crisis" trying to figure out how to find purpose in my life everyday  Feeling like I will never measure up as a mom, wife, daughter, student, church members are some of the struggles that keep my up at night. To the article I recently read on putting an end to the notion of the perfect supermom I give you 24 hard experiences that have shaped and helped me become who I am today. I am a firm believer that when one door of opportunity closes God will always open another even better one.
One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis 

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

So, onto things that have knocked down walls and started building my palace.

1.Of students attending my elementary school 85-90% of them received free or reduced lunches. I was one of 3 white kids in my K-6th grade class. Now don't get me wrong I had the best childhood. My dad worked hard to provide for our family and had my mom in a home 2 years after getting married, but the sacrifice they made to keep my mom in the home meant we lived simply and I never took for granted things like school field trips or getting to do league sports.

2. I remember the first time my mom took me clothes shopping to a real store (Mervyns). It was before a soccer party and I got a handful of new outfits. I remember thanking my mom every 10 minutes literally the entire night. I felt so spoiled. (And to my parents reading this-I would not of picked a better childhood).

3. My little sister (the one on a LDS mission click here to read her blog) was in a pool accident when she was 2 (I was 6 or 7). She was not breathing when they pulled her out of the pool and it took about 10 minutes to get her breathing again. It was at my grandparents house and I will never forget my mom coming in from outside gathering me and my brother in a circle to say a prayer and then waiting to hear updates because her and my dad had to drive the 45 minutes to the Children's hospital. This forever changed my parents (my mom and kids around water will never be the same) but it made an impact on me on the importance of life and the power of prayer.

4. My brother 17 months younger than me ran away with my cousin while they were visiting my Uncle in LA area. I remember my dad telling me they couldn't find my brother and going to say a prayer in our toy/game closet. This was the first time I really remember saying a prayer on my own that he would be ok. He was found hours later with my cousin by a truck driver.

5. Remember state testing in elementary school? Well in 4th grade when the tests began you can imagine how big of a deal they made it my school. This was when my testing anxiety first began. Every year from then on (through high school) I got cold sores and would often throw up breakfast the week of testing. Seriously, I hate tests.

5. My 7th grade year of school I tried out for the girls soccer team. During try-outs several of the girls mentioned that they were for sure going to make the team because the coach was really good friends and coached their outside league. I was super discouraged and when I came out for a break my good friends mom asked me what was wrong. I told her I was nervous about not making the team because I didn't play on the outside league like everybody else and that some of the other girls said they for sure already made it.  That night apparently at the other soccer team practice she lit into the girls and told them they would not make the team because of the coach but because of their own merit and to stop being so cocky. or something to that effect. The next day at practice she made some of the girls come over and apologize. Now I knew this mom forever I played soccer with her younger son but I never expected that to happen. You can bet how I was treated after that. I made the team along with the 13 other girls that were on the outside league. My coach did start me and made me earn my position but you can bet my teammates rarely passed or talked to me. My "best friend" till that point who was in 5 of my 7 classes didn't talk to me for almost 6 months and I had to make new friends because everybody that I went to school with for years took her side. I got a "parent" involved so I was on the blacklist.

6.7th grade is rough and at the same time as this awesome social experience I was taking an Algebra Class. It was the smart class and the goal was to have you finish it in 7th grade so that in 8th grade you could do geometry and then be way ahead for high school. Well the teacher was a beast. She was using a new curriculum that made it so she only showed us how to do 1 example problem and that was it. After that if we asked questions she had us refer back to the 1 example problem and she never helped us with the next step. She would call students to the board and then degrade us (the words dumb and stupid were used). I got tired of everybody else getting torn down so I volunteered every day for the rest of the year. I didn't tell my mom this was happening til after the year was over and then we moved schools so I am not sure whatever happened to this teacher. Hopefully she retired.

7. More about 7th grade? I had mono but didn't get tested till 8th grade. I thought it was normal (my mom thought it was growth spurts) but I came home everyday after sports, ate, and did whatever homework I hadn't finished at school and then slept. Remember I didn't really have friends so I spent my lunches and breaks in the library or teachers classrooms doing homework. So I really did come home and sleep for hours each night.

9. So I find out I have mono (my mom realized how dependent I had become on the throat spray I carried in every sports bag and my backpack and that my nodules were huge). But they said because I never stopped to take a break like they require for people with Mono that I would have the lovely symptoms for the rest of my life whenever my body is under duress (aka stressed, fatigued, when I dont eat well). Oh and then they mentioned it was miracle I hadn't died because when you have mono your spleen is huge and if I had been hit hard it would of ruptured and I would of died. Trapping a soccer ball with my body? I had never been hit hard in the stomach before (sarcasm). I also I still carry throat spray just about everywhere.

10.Also 8th grade-my ankles were double and triple their size after every physical activity I do (volleyball, soccer, softball, and running).I would come home and do homework with my ankles in ice for hours. We went and got them checked out and after an MRI find out that my Achilles tendons are both stretched incredibly tight with minor tears that have healed over with a little scar tissue. I was told if I continued doing so many sports it was just a matter of time when I would tear them even with stretches. I needed to take time off. Well up till that point I was all athlete. I never realized how much I based who I was on my athletic ability.

11. I choose to attend a music emphasis high school that had no sports team.   I had done well in school so I qualified for the school and I had played flute since 4th grade but I get to the school and these people have been taking private lessons since they were 2. One of our violin players traveled every other weekend by train to spend the weekend getting lessons from some famous teacher. His hands would bleed they were worked so hard. You can bet none of these people were impressed that I could play sports. And for PE It wasn't even required to dress out.

12. Mr Afifi's Pre-calculus class. When they called going to be the board being crucified you know it wasn't good. I am pretty sure I got 10 ulcers just from this class and was grateful I never got told a monkey was smarter than I was. (You see why I dont like Math?)

13. I mentioned in the previous post the class load I took-Algebra II, Physics, Latin, English, Music theory, and some other fun stuff. Now because this was a charter school I had friends that commuted 45 minutes to and hour every day to come and you can bet we were almost all Valedictorians or considered pretty "smart." Well I also had never had to work so hard in my life and for the first time I wasn't a teachers favorite. 4 out of 5 days a week I got in the car and bawled because I wasn't smart enough. My mom told me years later that she had transfer papers ready and wanted to pull me out almost every day. This went on for the entire year. By the end of freshman year I was crying only 3 of the 5 days but I would reassure my mom this is what I wanted to do and for her not to pull me out.

14. Now I found myself at UHS. High school stinks for so many reasons but the reasons that were good I capitalized and found out a lot about myself. I still hated tests and refused to tell anybody my test scores ever. I even gave a teacher (Mr Canfield) a paper cut as I was trying to grab my test back so quickly so others in the class couldn't see it. While I learned a ton it was never really reflected on my tests.
luckily it was such a small school and every few months the teachers would get together and talk about us students individually. All of my teachers were aware I was a bad test taker and they went above and beyond helping to equalize the playing ground to help me succeed. I had an English teacher give me tests orally instead of on paper. I got to take tests at different times or if I struggled with understanding a question I would leave it blank and then ask her/him to rephrase it after class and then I would write down my answer.

15. That being said I took 7 AP classes in 2 years and only passed 1 of the AP tests. The practice tests I would do fine with 3 or 4's but I never could calm myself down enough during the actual test.  Hopefully no one from my high school is reading this because I am still ashamed of it and you can bet I emailed every single one of my teachers begging for their forgiveness for not doing better to reflect what I had learned. I still wont tell Chris what I got on the SAT or ACT.

16. In my decision to go to a church school you have to meet with ecclesiastical leaders. Meeting with my stake president he looked over my file and asked me where I was wanting to go to school. I told him BYU Idaho because that was the plan and he said that was good because my GPA and ACT weren't going to get me into BYU Provo. Not going to lie that one hurt. I still applied to BYU Provo and it was a good thing I did because I got in and was able to date and marry my best friend. :) God's hand is in everything.

17. At BYU I came to know myself even better. The school's motto is "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve" Well I had a lot of rough lessons coming to know and be honest with myself.

18. I didnt finish serving as Vice President in student learship for the last 3 months because of failing grades. Most people thought it was because I was "doing too much" but I had handled way more in high school taking just as hard of classes. After I left was when I realized just how hard school was for me and how blessed I had been till that point at having teachers willing to work with me. A friend told me about the accessibility center on campus and how I could be tested" (oh the irony) for testing/school anxiety. I took $5000.00 worth of testing (only $25 for me) to confirm what I had know for years. After this was when things slowly got better. It did not happen over night but my last semester at BYU (2 kids later I might add) was my best.

19. Oh at the same time/right before I left BYUSA I also had a cancer scare. I have a growth attached on my thyroid and I had to have several ultrasounds as well as a needle guided biopsy to see if it was cancerous. I am supposed to go in every year to have it checked and they are waiting for the day when they have to remove my thyroid.  Also humbling to contemplate life :)  so young, and also helped the decision to have kids sooner than later.

20. Two miscarriages. Luckily I was never far enough along to need a procedure but hard nonetheless. Something I don't wish upon anyone.

21. Summer of Misery. I had a crash and burn summer. I did not work or go to school. A very low point for me. I was in my first trimester with David but more than just pregnancy induced that low point. I would go a week without leaving the house and it was a very dark time. But after that I have never questioned Chris' love for me. I knew he would love me if  I was doing everything or nothing. And more than just Chris I learned I didn't have to base who I was by what I accomplished. I wish I wouldn't of had to learn it so dramatically but I am grateful I learned to be ok with myself whatever form that takes. And that form varies day to day.

22. I have an irrational fear of driving. Like I hate it. If I want to go to the grocery store I give myself a full day to prepare to go out.  Even after living in Provo for 5 years I still got butterflies driving on  University Avenue. I don't know what it is about cars but I guess I am terrified of getting in an accident. We are in giant metals moving objects that upon collision can
A. Be crushed
B. Do flips
C. Combust
D. Cause Death or Injury
E. All of the above
I think it terrifies me most because I am not in control. If other drivers are careless it could change my life forever and I don't like giving that power to someone else. I will take full responsibility for my children but if they are hurt in any way because I was not able to protect them I would never forgive myself. And yes I do not look forward to years ahead because I know kids are going to be mean and they are going to go through hard experiences just like I did.

23. This post is long enough. and props anyone who actually read this whole thing. 

24. The last one is my dirty little secret. :) Anybody that really knows me knows there is a lot more than meets the eye. I am a pretty open person but like everyone else there are some things that hit to close to home and while I am affected everyday by it. It is something I just don't throw out there.
Which is why I am posting this article. Click here 
I wish we could all wear a sign around our necks to remind us that we are all real people experiencing hard things in life. I want to judge less and be more understanding but sometimes I find ill thoughts creeping in. So really-be a little kinder to yourself and those around you.

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