The Past: Accepting Who You Are and How You Got Here

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1950s day

Discovering Reasons Behind it All

The first day of junior high was petrifying.  And not just for me – for most kids.  Several elementary schools fed into my junior high, so of course, there would be new kids to meet and several teachers to figure out, instead of just one.  AND I would have a locker, while this made me feel grown up, it also worried me – I feared what if I forgot my locker combination and I couldn’t get to my books and PeeChee folders (very popular in 1970s California).  Trust me, this was a valid fear.  To this day, I sometimes dream that I am standing by my locker at Granada Jr. High School and I cannot for the life of me remember my combo.

Overcoming Fears

Then, there’s PE and the fact that you had to change clothes in front of all your friends.  We had all heard horror stories about Miss Neill, the girls’ PE teacher.   I was scared to death at having to mass shower with hundreds of other 7th grade girls; we believed the legend that Miss Neill would personally check each of us, to make sure we had showered.  She never did, of course.   It was a time of fear and a time of overcoming fears.  It was also a time to break away from parents and fight for a little independence.  I wanted so badly to be smart and cute and funny; I succeeded in being an incredible dork.  I was not alone in that achievement.

AND then there was the Intro to Algebra.  A white-haired, pursed-lipped Mr. Tout stood at the front of a classroom full of mostly boys.  I think there were only three other girls, besides me, in 1st period Pre-Algebra.  The homework was difficult and I worked hard just to get B’s.  The boys were constantly goofing off making the class tolerable and one young man actually conned me into doing his homework for him.  I thought, briefly, that it meant he liked me – it only meant he took advantage of me and I let him.  Incredible Dork.

When “Wants” Get in the Way

Wanting to be liked, wanting to be popular, wanting to be smarter – these wants often got in the way of just being me.  And those once-tucked away  thoughts and “wants” sometimes sneak in and try to take me back to that place.   Brushing them away like spider webs across my face during a night time walk. I gain instant insight:  I work hard now because I had to work hard then.  I have had to claw and fight my way to achieve every good thing in my life – nothing has come easy.   More insight to follow…

The Knowledge – The Reason

Thus, I appreciate so much what I have gained.  A wealth of knowledge, a livelihood, several passions that will drive future pursuits, and a lifetime of stories to tell.  And that is when I knew, the realization that it had all happened exactly as it was supposed to happen.  For if it had been easy for me, I would have nothing about which to write.   Nor would I have stories to tell my children and empathy for what they face.   There is reason behind it all – it is just a matter of acceptance and embracement.

I am who I am (acceptance) and I like me (embracement).   It’s all part of the continual discovery of “who you are”.  Whoa, for a moment, I thought there was going to be a lesson in there.


“Study the past if you would define the future.” – Confusius


by Rayanne Thorn




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