This is an essay about a crisis and how I dealt with it.
|John F. Kennedy once said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”* In my situation, even before I came out of my stupor and actually recognized the danger, fortunately, for me, an opportunity arose. My fairy godfather appeared. From his intervention stemmed my success in college, followed by my constant self-reflection which ultimately led to a crisis averted.
An alcoholic, abusive-in-every-way-imaginable step-father, and a self-absorbed mother did not make for very nurturing parents. By the time I freed myself from their venomous input, I was a mess - filled with self-pity and sorely lacking in self-confidence, to name just a few of the dysfunctional childhood side effects. Then enter my fairy godfather, Albert Forrester, my boss, father of five daughters, staunch Baptist and loving husband. Through him I learned what a family could be. Through all of their hugs and encouragement I learned I did have enough intelligence to attend college. At this point though, around the age of twenty, I still lived in a fog of self-pity. I more subsisted than lived, but with Albert’s and his preacher brother’s help, I was accepted into Tennessee Temple University.
Although it is true that the college they helped me to attend - a Baptist college - was a bit too heavy on restrictions (dress codes, curfews, church attendance, etc.) for my taste, it was a start. And I was successful. I made the honor roll. As shy as I was in any other setting, in the classroom I was one of those annoying students who constantly raised her hand and more often than not had the right answer. And I continued to excel when I transferred to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. That is, I succeeded academically. Socially, self-pity featured in most of my conversations and drove any potential friends away. I think it was by my junior year, now even more fortified with the confidence from my classes, I began looking inward.
It was then I started hearing my whiny self and realized I needed to change my self-destructive behaviors such as bulimia, self-hatred and suicidal thoughts. It was as if someone showed me a mirror and for the first time, I actually looked into it. I definitely did not like what I saw. And when I listened to myself, I did not like what I heard. So, over time, a process that still continues today some thirty-five-plus years later, I worked on changing the script, to reprogram my thinking, to try to salvage what nature might have intended for me had it not been for the anti-nurturing of my upbringing.
Without Albert’s help I shudder to think where I might be. I don’t know that I would have had it in me to kill myself, but I certainly would not be a happily married woman with three successful daughters. Admittedly I struggled to find the right career and my family accused me of being a professional student. A BA in English, a CPA, a JD and teacher certification in English and math might seem a bit much. However, I consider it more a factor of me having no direction to start versus an addiction to schooling. But thanks to Albert and thanks to me, a crisis was averted.