So I wasn't very successful with last week's Monday List. So I'm trying again.
This is a confessional list of 10 things that most people don't know about me (a.k.a over-sharing.) You're dying to know more, right?
Well here are some juicy facts for you to feast on, my friends! No but really.
1. When I was 12, my sister died at the age of 13 from a very rare and fatal heart defect; hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Essentially she was born with only half a heart. Back in 1977, when she was born, they didn't have the kind of advanced interventions they do now. She was brought home from the hospital expected to die as an infant. But she didn't die. Besides the exhaustion that came from her significantly reduced oxygen flow, she lived a pretty normal life. She eventually died of heart failure related to a surgical procedure for a pacemaker. She never recovered from the surgery.
I would like to get involved with CHD awareness and fund raising, but I always find the excuse that I'm busy. HLHS is devastating to children and their families -- other people affected include a friend of mine who lost her newborn son to HLHS a few years ago.
2. I went to middle school and high school in Olympia, WA. I hated middle school (who doesn't, right? unless you're one of those crazy people who liked such things) and was bullied mercilessly in 8th grade by a group of former friends. It was awful and I don't recommend being the victim of bullying to anyone. It SUCKS. I've forgiven and moved on and am Facebook friends with a few of them. I'm really not one to hold grudges because we've all done mean things at one point or another (I remember being mean to a few girls as well), but you know what? One of the girls I will never forgive. She was just too nasty of a person, and I'm determined that her nastiness has spilled over into her adulthood. High school was a bit more bearable, but I still hated it. Hated it. I was shy and terribly insecure. I had friends but not a lot of them. However, the friends I had were really good friends... so I guess that's all that matters, right?
3. Now this. I was an Evangelical Christian growing up. By the time I was 12, my parents had left the ultra-conservative church -- but I chose to stay with the church until my early adulthood. I think a part of me felt that I would betray my sister's memory if I left the church, as she was very religious (although I feel that she would have left the church eventually -- she was too much of a rebel.) By the time I was 18, I had too many issues with the guilt-mongering and the over-the-top conservative politics. Why couldn't women have control over their own bodies? Why was it a bad thing to care about the environment? Why did I have to feel like shit just for saying a swear word? Why couldn't I get laid before marriage? What was wrong with living my life guilt free? Nothing. I left the church but went back briefly after having my first born -- I was in a dead-end marriage and didn't quite know how to deal with that. I thought Jesus was the answer. No offense to Jesus -- he said some very wise things -- but the dude is not some almighty being. I believe in the universe and the people who love me. I believe in myself.
4. I left Olympia, WA three days after graduation, moved to Arroyo Grande, CA, had really bad taste in men, and dropped out of community college twice. I started a relationship with a guy that consisted of non-stop partying, and got pregnant. I chose not to have an abortion. I chose to keep the baby because -- hey -- I was 21 and soooooo fucking ready to be a mom. How hard could it be, right?
5. I married my baby daddy even though I knew deep down it was a VERY bad idea. It was an unhealthy relationship. I hold no ill feelings toward him though -- I only wish the best for him.
6. I had another baby knowing I was married to the wrong man.
Maybe this list should be called, Worlds Worst Decisions.
7. In 2005 with a 4 year old and 3 month old, I knew my marriage was over. I left him and became a single mother to two small children. Not only that, but I had no college degree and a very sporadic work history as I had been a stay-at-home mom for a few years. I was basically screwed. I cried into my pillow every night. But my family was so amazing and patient and loving. I get tears in my eyes just thinking of all the love and support they gave me during that time.
8. Not long after I left my husband, my Dad offered to let me and the kids live with him -- in Maryland. This kind of threw a wrench into things as I was in California at the time. My Dad and Step-Mom offered me a free roof over my head if I went to school full time. I didn't even have to work. Just go to school. Man, I'm so fucking lucky. My ex-husband agreed to let me leave the state with the kids in exchange for reduced child-support. Now some people would think that it was awful of me for taking my kids away from their Daddy -- and it wasn't easy -- but it is a bit more complicated... and though I'm being very transparent right now, there are some things that should be kept under wraps, I suppose.
9. I had a garage sale and sold almost everything I had -- furniture, clothes, toys -- you name it. For 700 dollars. I sold almost all of my material possessions for a measly 700 buckeroos. All evidence of my previous life -- gone. All except for my precious babies. When the time came I threw some bags in the back of my mini-van, strapped my kids into their carseats (Ryan 4, Kiera 6 months), drove up to Olympia, picked up my brothers, and we all drove across the country to Maryland.
10. I started school and was eventually accepted into the nursing program, met a guy named Ernesto, fell in love, graduated, got pregnant (but this time with the best man in the world), passed nursing boards, got married, had a baby, got a job, and now I'm an RN.
I've made a lot of stupid decisions. And living in the D.C. area with all the Type A personalities -- I sometimes feel just a wee bit inadequate. But I have to kick those feelings in the ass and just appreciate my life. Life is good.
And tonight, as I was reading a copy of Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement by Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, I came across this great quote by feminist Wilda Chase:
It is a characteristic of life that it pays no higher a price than you ask of it. Don't learn too late that you have priced yourself lower than life was prepared to pay.
Now if I could just find a way to send that quote back to my 18 year old self.
Bet you can't wait for my next list.