A terrified, lost girl, made an impulsive and rash decision. A decision that would completely change the course of her life. Friends and family called her stubborn and silly…confused and bullheaded. Maybe I am stubborn, maybe I am bullheaded, but looking back on my life today, I wouldn’t change a thing.
You hear people say all the time, their struggles have made them into the people they are today. I can promise you, my scars are my story. My kids are my story. My family is my story. Nothing would be the same, had I not made the choice that day to pack up all of my belongings into a U Haul trailer behind my Chrysler Sebring. I moved by myself to St. Paul, Minnesota. I had nothing waiting for me there…just some empty promises from some people I hardly knew. My friends and family were right, I was too stubborn to turn around and go home. I couldn’t admit that I had made a mistake. I felt like I had no life in Texas anymore. I guess that isn’t completely accurate…I didn’t want the life I had in Texas anymore. I didn’t want to know that girl anymore. I just wanted to escape. So I ran. I ran to a place where no one knew me. No one knew my mom. No one knew my past. No one knew anything about me or my family. I could start over. I could be anyone. Or I could be no one. No one expected anything of me. No one cared if I did nothing, became nothing. No one cared if I didn’t show up. Or if I disappeared. No one cared if I didn’t go to church. No one cared if I looked sad. They didn’t know me well enough to realize that I seemed to be having an off day. It was wonderful, for about a month. Then the reality of the situation set in. I was alone. I truly was invisible. I thought that was what I wanted, until I was. Then all I wanted was to be seen again.
Loneliness does strange things to a person. Loneliness can make a person completely forget who they are, who they want to be, or where they come from. Loneliness can breed desperation…and desperation is never pretty. Never. I had never felt as ugly as I did in those first months I lived in Minnesota. So how does a young girl, lonely, desperate, and feeling ugly get over her loneliness? Probably in all of the worst ways…I know this young girl went looking for the wrong kinds of attention, in all of the wrong kinds of places, in the most embarrassing ways. I sought attention from everyone, at all times…I’m so humiliated even remembering those times now. Yes, I was young; but I think it was more about my extreme unhappiness with myself than my age. I craved that attention because somehow I felt like that would fill the void. I was miserable. I just wanted something, or someone to make me feel better. I wanted someone to like me enough for both of us.
The trouble with desperation, is that animals and losers can smell it like fear. When you are desperate, that is all you attract; animals and losers. I became a magnet for losers. I began to think that was all I deserved. I started to think that these were the only guys attracted to me. I never paused to consider the vibe I was giving off, or to look at my behavior. I never reflected on my part in the equation. I just let these guys slowly peck away at my self worth and eat away at everything I had ever stood for. I was becoming someone I didn’t even recognize anymore.
During this time, I am hearing my inner voice trying to guide me…feeling the Holy Spirit tug on my heart strings; but I’m fighting it. I continue choosing my own way. I guess I like the difficult road. One night, I break. I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t be this person anymore. I miss the old me. I want to know her again. I want to be someone that my mom would recognize. I want to be someone that I would recognize. I want to be someone that my mom would be proud of. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror again. I want to know the girl that I see in the mirror; right now, this shell of a person just scares me. I decided that the time was now or never to make some serious changes in my life. I packed my car, and drove to Michigan to visit my Dad for a few days. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while at this point. I even toured the local college, considering going back to school. I just knew that I needed to get back on track. I had no idea where to even begin. I was so lost, that I didn’t even know which way was up.
I went back to Minnesota, deciding that running away again was not the answer. I found an apartment, got a good job, and was somewhat settled. Life was alright. Minnesota was not Texas though. Think about it…no one sings about the North. Every good song is longing for something Southern. Southern charm, Southern nights, lightening bugs, creeks, magnolias, cicadas, sweet tea and blue bonnets are what the South is all about. People sing about the South for a reason, it’s worth singing about. I was so homesick, but I didn’t feel like there was still a place for me in Texas. My family had all scattered. My friends lives had all changed dramatically in the years since I had left. Some were married, some were still away at college, some had moved away…everyone’s lives had changed.
Eventually, life in Minnesota became my life, and I made some amazing friends. Friends that shaped and changed my life forever. These friends were with me during some of the biggest times of my life. They laughed and cried with me, they experienced every up and down that life dealt me. These are people that, to this day, still hold special places in my life.
A silly, spur of the moment decision to move 945 miles across the country, changed the map of my life. The direction my life would have gone, had I stayed here in Texas…who can say…
I do know that moving to Minnesota, brought me to my husband and gave me my kids. I most certainly would not have the family I do today had I not moved to Minnesota. You might have a different opinion about how God moves, or destiny, or whatever…but I know, that in my experience, I needed to be in Minnesota.
When the timing was right, God opened the door for us to move back to Texas. He brought me home. When the timing was right, my friends were here, their lives lining up with mine once again, we picked up right where we had left off. When the timing was right, my family returned to Texas also.
Funny how life has a way of twisting and turning. Sometimes I feel like the story of my life is like watching a balloon artist… you can’t figure out what they are doing, you can’t see how it is ever going to turn into anything, you seriously begin to doubt their credentials as an “artist”, then they pop a balloon seemingly on purpose, they just keep twisting and turning…and then out of nowhere, suddenly before your eyes, there is a majestic balloon creature, plain as day. Every twist and turn suddenly seems so obvious, once you know what the creature was meant to be. The road getting there might not have made sense to you, it might have seemed rather roundabout and senseless at times, but the end result is no less wonderful. My life now, my family, my story is that balloon animal. You don’t have to understand how I got here, you just have to know that I made it. Sure, I popped a few balloons along the way, and I’m still fragile; but there is no question that it took an artist to make me and form me into what you see today. Scars and all.
I believe that God used my unbelievably misguided decision making for His good. I believe that in my life, to quote Bob Ross “there have been no mistakes, only happy accidents.”