There are a handful of times in my life that I can look back with fondness and feel good about the events that transpired. Each of my kids being born is an obvious one, my high school graduation, getting my first real paycheck. That whopping $3.80 an hour used to go a long way back in the day. Getting my motorcycle license, Graduating from Computer Tech School and becoming an engineer mostly round out the list.
There was one point in time of my life that always sticks out for me, and that’s the summer before my junior year of high school. Up until that point I was the outsider, the guy who talked funny, was overweight, had face full of ache, and zero self-esteem. After finishing up my sophomore year, something inside me snapped, and I had enough of everything!
I took it upon myself to do everything possible to change who and what I was and become the person I wanted to be. I took my life back!
I spent the entire summer eating healthier, being more active, working full time at my first job, hanging out with my friends, seeing a dermatologist, and growing my hair out into the words best ever, epic mullet! Don’t judge me, the 80’s were the time of awesome spiked mullets and mine was pretty darn impressive. 🙂
I also bought my first Bass and started learning to play. Since I had a musical background playing Trombone for years in the band, picking up the Bass and reading music came very naturally to me. Yes I was a band nerd.
I changed my attitude, the way I dressed, the way I carried myself, it was literally a total transformation and I did it all on my own. I went from the bullied kid who had zero self-esteem into someone who would spend the next two years doing everything I could to live life to its fullest. Even with my transformation though, I didn’t turn into a jerk and forget the handful of friends that had been with me before. I was just able to be one of the few that could hang with nearly all types of kids in my class. I wanted to stress that part because I am never someone who forgets who my friends are or where I came from.
I decided I had had enough of everything in my life that made me feel like hell every day and somehow, someway, I was going to take back the last 16 years and turn them into the best high school experience I could possibly imagine. I wanted to live the 80’s life!
I had what I thought was a cool job at a local buffet restaurant where several kids from my class also worked. I started out busing tables and worked my way into the kitchen to dishwasher, and then running the salad bar, and being a line cook. I loved that job! That’s where I found enjoyment in cooking still to this day.
I met all kinds of cool kids who went to other schools and made a lot of new friends. We went to parties after work, hung out on the weekends, and just did what teenagers usually do. I was having a blast! Even in school, although my grades weren’t exactly stellar, I was doing alright. Plus being in a private school, i enjoyed being a rebel and defying a rule or two within the confines of that old building.
That’s when I learned that I could fit in with other kids, I could have confidence, and be the person I always wanted to be. I honestly have no idea what snapped in me after that sophomore year and why in the world it couldn’t have snapped earlier. I could have avoided a few extra years of heartache if my brain would have taken control sooner. It is what it is though, our minds have a mind of their own, I like to say. They know what’s best for us and when to send us in the direction we should be going.
I’ve never been one to fit in with people, I was always on the outside looking in, so those two years were a whole new world for me. Could it be said that I compromised myself to fit in with other kids? I don’t really think so because the person I became then was the person I always wanted to be, I just wasn’t able to figure out how to do it for a long time.
Interestingly enough, I’m now learning to embrace being the outsider a bit. It’s not easy, bu it’s who I am. I’m OK with not fitting in, being different, having tattoos, listening to metal, and liking what I like regardless of what others think. I don’t like how others judge me, but I can’t control that. I am who I am, but I feel going through that phase of my life taught me where to really find myself and who I should be. Somewhere in the middle of kid who couldn’t fit in to the kid who did fit in more.
I remember those times fondly and with much happiness and pride. It’s been over 25 years since that amazing time of my life. Now I’m just hoping that going to therapy, and finally starting my healing journey from my abuse will someday yield a new opportunity that I can look back on and say that I took my life back. Or maybe I’m already starting to take it back and I just don’t realize it yet.
I encourage you to give me your thoughts in the comments.