It happened during the summer between third and fourth grade.
We moved from a fairly big city in Massachusetts to a very rural, affluent town in southern New Hampshire. It didn't matter that my father was a vice president of a bank, or that my mother had gone to Northeastern College and worked at a hospital. No one cared that we had bought a 4 bedroom house in a new development on a decent sized lot. We were "that family from Lawrence."
Not only was I the new girl from the poor city that was always getting a bad rap on the news, I had come from a private catholic school. Fourth grade was my first endeavor into public school, and it was awful. I had made friends with some of the kids who lived on my street over the summer, but once school started, they were more interested in their friends, who wanted nothing to do with the new girl. I lost any self confidence I had that year.
The next few years of my life were hell for a whole different reason, and by the time I got into high school not only was I a mess, but things at home were starting to fall apart as well. When I finished high school, I wanted to go to college and become a teacher. I didn't have the money, which I realize now shouldn't have mattered, and I didn't have anyone who supported me enough to help me follow that dream. To work with me through applying for financial aid and getting scholarships and encouraging me to pursue what I wanted to do with my life.
I wasn't strong enough to do it on my own. That's a lie. I have always been strong enough. I just didn't know I was at the time. I was hurt, and tired, and defeated and couldn't see that I was strong enough to do it on my own.
Henry Stanley Haskins said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
Life laid out a different path for me to follow than the one I wanted to travel, and 21 years later has brought me here.
I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been in my life. I am learning that in me is all that I need. I am OK with my failures and I am learning to recognize my shortcomings and working on making myself better. I still struggle with self confidence. I still crave to hear that I'm pretty or loved or needed. I know for sure though, how strong I am. I am a survivor, and a warrior, and a champion.
On Monday, I start my first class in perusing my Bachelor's degree in English/Creative Writing. It's never to late to start a new beginning.