Holding my "before" favorite shirt after losing 125 pounds on my journey to better health.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I don't belong.

I read this post on FB from a young woman that I know and it spiraled me back into my past and also prompted a lot of thinking. "I don't belong."  I grew up in a small town that almost everyone was of the same faith.  My dad had chosen to not follow the teachings that he grew up with and so did not participate. My mom did what she could to encourage us to go to church and participate.  We knew that we were different. I struggled and longed to "belong." I was so lucky to have a friend I met at a very young age that also had those same struggles. We clung to each other.  I knew everybody and I felt I was very judged. I was told that I was not welcome at some of my friends home. I was accused of smoking and told I should be ashamed of myself. (my dad smoked and the odor would linger on our clothes.) Some of my group of teenage friends were not allowed to sleep over at my house when we had our "old maid" parties. (when we didn't have a date to the school dances.) It was always in the back of my mind, "I'm different, I don't belong."  I like to think it made me more open and accepting to others.  I think not belonging made me stronger and better.  I don't want to belong if it means leaving others out because they are "not like" me.  I also thought about this young woman. I have know her since she was a little girl. Not closely but have know of her and a few of the things she has be through  in her life.  When we reconnected I was so thrilled at what a sweet and amazing young woman she has become.  I have also had contact with another young woman who is struggling with her own, "I don't belong." I watch her trying so hard to please others and gain their acceptance and love. She so wants to belong. She has made some choices that have impacted a lot of lives. Not just her own. I hope that someday she realizes that she is wonderful just the way she is. We all go through times in our lives where we feel we don't belong. How we handle it can make a big impact on our lives and the lives of others.   I also thought of a friend that I met in rehab. (she has been on my mind a lot this week because my son bought her car from her and I have been driving it.)  She was a strong amazing women.  She struggled so much with belonging. She had lost so much with the choices she made but she was fighting back. I was able to spend quite a bit of time with her after we were both out. We would talk frequently and would go to lunch. She was happy.  One day she called me and we talked for several hours.  She told me that her life was finally what she had hoped for. She was in love and looking forward to moving and living her life. She was making a choice to live her life the way she wanted and not the way others had told her she should do to "belong."  The next day she took her own life. Perhaps the pressure of "belonging," was to much I will never know. 
       I have realized that the things I wanted to belong to when I was younger are not important. I really don't care if someone likes me or not anymore. If I am judged by someone, "that is their problem." I think that not belonging has made me tough. I wish I had know what I know now about "belonging." As I watch these young women and see them struggle I wish I could somehow let them know for themselves that they belong.  Choose the things that are important in life to belong to and let the rest go. We all belong.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Way Up High in a Cherry Tree!

One of the first jobs I ever had was picking Cherries.  I don't remember how old someone had to be to be able to pick but I was in my early teens.  I had watched my sister go and make summer money and I was anxious to start making my millions.(at least it seemed like she had made millions to me.) One year it happened! I was old enough. Now to begin. Early, early on a summer morning I woke up to a still dark sky. Got my lunch and went out to sit on the porch and wait for my ride. I had my lunch, hat, and jacket for my new adventure. There was always a cool canyon breeze and often the faint scent of a skunk in the air. Soon I could hear an old truck starting and stopping along the way as it stopped to pick up the neighborhood kids who were also going to work. Around the corner it came. In the back leaning against the tall wooden rack were kids of all sizes. Each with their own hat, jacket, and lunch. We knew to hold on tight with the frequent stops and starts. When all had been gathered up the canyon road to the bench we would go.  When we got there we were each given a bucket and a tree to work on. The buckets would be tied to our waists because it was a sad day when you dropped your almost full bucket to the ground. I loved to get up on the tall tripod ladder into the top of the trees. Each kind of cherry had to be picked a certain way.  The sweet cherries had to be picked with their stems intact. That would make your fingers sore after a while and seemed to take forever to fill that bucket. There was also a lot of sampling while picking and pit spitting contests. Ohhhh, the taste of a warm Bing cherry. We would work until it started to get warm. I am not sure how long. Maybe until noon. If it was a good tree and a good day that bucket had been filled and dumped several times. We would take them to the owner and he would weigh what we had picked and keep a tally of how we did each day. There was always activity going on in the orchard. Ladders being moved, kids climbing the trees(if you broke a limb you got a scolding)buckets being dumped gently, and a lot of pit spitting. I had a friend that would work along side me in the same tree or a neighboring tree. We would sit up in the tree picking and singing songs we made up about cherries.  I am sure we were so annoying now as I look back but we had a lot of fun. We would keep going until from the branches of another tree we would hear someone scream...."will you two shut up." To this day when I go into the store and see a nice big dark red cherry the song pops into my head. "Cherry, Cherry, Bing Cherry, Bing Cherry, Bing!!!!" I don't remember for sure what I made per pound for the cherries. I am thinking 25 cents a pound.  It was a short season. Maybe two weeks and then again later in the summer when the sour(pie) cherries came on. That was a lot of money to me. It did feel like a million bucks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A little nervous

 I had something happen to me that has reminded me of a lot of the things I was taught early in my life about personal safety.  I was doing a lot of errands around town and realized that I was being followed.  I was in one store and a man seemed to be interested in some of the same stuff I was looking at ( I didn't realize this until later)  I didn't think much of it and left the store. As I was driving to the next store and was looking left to make my turn I noticed the same man in the lane next to me watching me. I still didn't think much of it and as I continued on he quickly changed lanes and followed me into the store parking lot.  I parked between two cars close to the store because I was getting that feeling that this was a little strange. I usually park way out as far as I can to get some steps in but this time I was as close to the door as I could get.  As I got out of my car and began walking he quickly circled the cars and pulled up next to me. Playing music loudly and bouncing like he was dancing to the music. (he was probably in his 50's) I just glanced at him and his car because I didn't want to encourage anything but also wanted to make sure I could cross the area into the store without getting hit. There were several people coming out of the store or I would not have gotten out of my car.  I went into the store and all the "alerts" in my body were going off.  I stayed in there for quite a while and called my husband to see if he would meet me. We were going to meet at the bank. I left the store while on the phone and could see him parked in the parking lot of another store but watching me.  I was not going home until I knew he was not following.  As I drove off he stayed and did not follow.  Maybe seeing me on the phone discourage him.  Maybe when I did not look at him and acknowledge his music he got the message. Who knows?  It reminded me of some of the safety everyone should follow. Always, always be aware of your surroundings. I don't know how long he had been following me.  I had been to several places before the stores.  Drive to a police station or some other public area if being followed.  Ask for help in the store. Do not go home if being followed because then they know where you live. Lock your car doors. Check your car before getting in. Everyone should do these things.  Men and women of any age.  Listen to the "alerts" your body gives you. I feel we are all given something in us that can tell us of danger. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe it was something. 
       This brought to mind another experience I had many years ago. My husband and I had been out of town and coming home late at night. I was driving and he was slumped down in the passenger seat asleep. I was driving down State Street in Salt Lake City and realized I was being followed closely. I continued on past our apartment and the car followed me for a long time. I was making a lot of turns and the car stayed right there. I woke up my husband and told him what was going on. My  husband sat up and the other car sped off. Again, I don't know what really was going on. This was in the 70's and it shook me up pretty badly. Teddy Bundy(of course we did not know that was who it was at the time) had taken several girls from the area. I fit the type of girl that he was taking. Slim with long, straight, dark hair. There were many news reports of how to stay safe if being followed.  I have always wondered about that. It felt really scary to me and I have always been very careful of my surroundings.  Keep yourself safe.  It only takes a moment for something to change your life. I will probably be on "high alert" for a while as I travel around town.