When I was young, my parents affectionately referred to me as "The Challenge Child". This is a title that I worked hard for, and you bet that I earned every letter of it.
Up to age 4, I was outgoing, enthusiastic and CUTE. I could get away with anything because of my smile and charm. Or, so I'm told. It was the years following that really presented the challenge. In 1st grade, I cut my deskmates bangs. I told her that to get rid of them, you don't grow them out, you cut them. I left a trail of hair from the bathroom to my desk. It wasn't hard for the teacher to find the culprit.
My kindergarten report card said "Kelly needs to understand that the world does not revolve around her."
At 6, I convinced my sister that our blanket was a magic carpet. I opened the 2nd story window, knocked out the screen and was ready to push her out. Dad caught on just in time.
My first detention was in 3rd grade. I took ticky tack and put it in my teacher's hair. It got tangled and stuck, and he had to have the school nurse get it out with peanut butter. They sent a note home, but I stuffed it under the bus seat.
Between the ages of 8-13 the majority of family dinners ended with me eating at the bottom of the basement stairs alone. My parents have pages and pages of "I will not talk back" written on them. There are permanent marker drawings on the walls of our house. I constantly instigated drama in school, whined and threw tantrums.
I ran away at least once a month. This started when I was 5. I grabbed all the hangers I could fit into my little 5 year old hands and told my Mom I was going to wait for a bus. Now, we lived in the country. It was rare for a car to drive by, let alone a bus. My neighbor convinced me to go home, but I would only return under 1 condition. I was no longer "Kelly" from then on I was known as "Jennifer". Everything was new, I met a new Dad, raved about how beautiful my new bedroom was and adored the big backyard. I kept this up for 2 weeks.
I changed my name to Ming in 2nd grade.
Looking back, I laugh. I think "Wow, I was one fun little kid!" There is always humor in the past, but not when it's the present. Recently, me and my sister were talking about how we were raised and how we came to be so different. She graduated valedictorian, never in trouble, is 21 and never had a drink. She informed me that as a child, she did the exact opposite of everything I did. So I guess, in a way I am responsible for her success?
High school years hit me hard. My Mom was diagnosed with cancer and I fell into the "bad" crowd. I was constantly sneaking out, stealing the family car without a license, and in suspension. I was arrested and almost put on PINS. I have a permanent cigarette burn to remind me of the true pain I felt during this time. All the while, my Mom struggling through chemo. We didn't find out until later, but my Dad was falling in love with another woman at the same time as well.
I am made of tough stuff. This comes from my Mother. I may have to learn everything from my own mistakes, but it has made me the person I am today and fueled me to become the best that I possibly can. My experiences have forced me to look at the world for what it really is, figure out what I need to do and get it done. I am finally graduated, with a great job and some great people behind me.
This past Friday, I lent a friend $500, because she couldn't make her rent. Today I found out she is going to CA on vacation in a few weeks. Uh Oh ... here comes another one of those "hard lessons" ... stay tuned.