Monday, September 19, 2011

Photo Memories - Growing up

Seriously, how cute am I? That's me with my lawn mower, no I didn't sleep with it, it stayed outside, it was a lawn mower after all. I loved to pretend to mow the yard, I loved our yard. There was always so much to do. That patch of concrete was so random, there was the concrete path I am on that lead from the patio out to a square of concrete that you can see at the end of the path. We always assumed that the previous owners had a table or something out there, it was the middle of the yard and just never really made sense. Behind me there was a pipe in the ground where dad said there used to be a grill. It was so weird, but it fed into our imagination so much. We used it as home base in games, we used it as a garage for our bikes, a meeting place, and so many other things that I'm forgetting now as an adult. It was there for years and years until we finally removed it when we put the family room onto the back of the house and had to take it out.

The side you can see our sand box aka sand tractor tire. Throughout the years that things moved location several times depending on where dad put it to keep it out of the way of the mower. I loved the sand tire, my match box cars would be loaded with sand by the end of the summer and who knows what was all burried in it. Dad said it was a treasure hunt everytime he emptied it to move it. In the background is the swing set. We had a total of two swing sets, this one and the one that came when my sister came. We beat the ever loving crap out of that swing set. We would get the teater totter so high and eventually broke it off, the two seater swing on the left side we broke eventually too from rocking that thing so hard it finally sheared off the bolts. Oh we spent so many hours on that thing.

The thing that struck me the most as I found this picture was the activity going on around me. Kids playing games behind me, adults all over the place, and was typical for me, pushing around my mower and just playing off by myself. I got along with other kids, but I often didn't feel included in anything so I often just removed myself and did my own thing. Even being very young I didn't want someone to include me because they had to, or because they felt bad for me so at those times I would just wonder off, not to be missed and went and played by myself off to the side.

When I started to think about it I realized just how often this happened. It happened all through my childhood, even when I was a part of team sports. I never got into team sports because it never felt like a team, I always felt like it was them and then me. I played soccer for a year, I tried and tried and was an o.k. player but the other kids would hardly know my name, or wouldn't kick to me, or even look in my direction even though I was open and had a good kick. At breaks everyone would go get water or huddle together without me, I was always two steps behind and eventually I gave up. I stopped trying to catch up to them and stopped caring about it and at that point the sport would end for me.

I even joined baseball, once again I wasn't the best but I tried and I tried hard. I listened to the coaches and any advice anyone would give me, I wanted to be good. Eventually I would hear comments from the other kids while I was batting or when I was in the dug out, I would get excluded from huddles, they would never throw the ball to me even though I was really good at catching and would end up in right field only if they had a strong first baseman. I was the fat kid people kept pushing around to non needed positions so I could feel like I was a part of the team without them needing me. At the end of the game if we won everyone would be together and celebrating and I would try to join in and would be pushed out of the group or into the back of the line so no one would have to associate with me, and eventually I gave up on that too.

I did have a year in minor league that I enjoyed for the most part. It was like a field team for little league. I had a great coach who saw how hard I was trying and spent time with me to teach me things to improve my game. I really thrived that year. I remember one of my last games I knocked the ball all the way to the fence in the outfield, just about a foot short of an automatic homerun and everyone was stunned. The coach was cheering me one and I ran, I ran as fast as I could to get around those bases, but I was a heavier child and I remember as I was nearly to third base hearing my team mates yelling at me to run faster, I got to third and the coach told me to stop because the ball was already back to the pitcher and if I tried for home they would have gotten me out. I remember trying to catch my breath waiting for the next batter and I was beaming, the coach was patting me on the back telling me what a great job I did and I heard my team mates complaining in the back ground that if I wasn't so fat I could have had a home run. I finished the last game or two and never went back.

Most of my life I've felt alone and it has run through into adult life. I have problem engaging in a crowd, I have a really hard time even considering team sports or teams or groups of any kind. They rarely ever go well for me, I always feel like the outsider. I felt like I was always just outside of everything watching everyone else live in the moment, support each other and be there for one another, while I would sit outside of the radar, by myself.

Even today I have a hard time asking anyone for help, for anything really. I don't ask people to help me with much of anything, I have this belief, based on years of experience, that no one will help anyway. I don't belong to groups because I'm never a part of them, I don't plan group activities because people don't show up. I keep trying to convince myself each time will be different, that it was years ago and I was just a kid, but those feelings are just so powerful. I try to not get emotionally attached when I am part of a group because I just know how it ends. It's the basis of some serious trust issues, confidence issues, and the reasoning behind not understanding group settings.

The pain of it all is that I long to be involved, I long to belong, I am envious of strong groups and want so badly to be a social butterfly. I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe by singling out these feelings and starting to break down where these things stem from I can deal with it, understand it and move on, but I just don't know how.

Most of my life, I have dealt with it like this:

OH yeah, alone with my chocolate bunny at grandmas. It's funny, when I see myself sitting on that couch, still thin, I just want to take me aside and work with me on separating food from emotions because this was just the beginning of the slippery slope I found myself on since. I wonder what my life could have been like, how might have things been different, but at the same time I know I may not have ever known the people that I love so much and might have not had the same experiences that I've had and I may not appreciate life as much now if I had not gone through all those things. I just wish there were better tools for kids to learn how to deal with life and the things that life throws at you.

I love my life, I love the people in it now, I just sometimes wish that all those years would not have created such a build up of scar tissue on my heart because these people that I love so much could have had an easier time reaching me.