Sunday, June 16, 2013
My first attempt at blogging ever!!
So, having read through other people's blogs, I sort of wish I would have started journaling about my progress from the beginning - but then again, being "late to the party" has always been my M.O., so it is fitting that I'm nearly 2 months late.
A little about me - I am 46, married, no kids, 6 dogs, and rather successful in my work. But if I had to choose a single word that defines me it would be this...
I am disfigured as the result of an accident involving a dog when I was 2 yrs old. Even as a 2 yr old, I found dogs irresistible. One fateful day, I ventured out on my own to visit the neighbors dog. I traveled several houses down the street - let myself into the fenced in yard - and *BAM* - not sure if it was aggression, excitement, or what, but I was left with an eye injury that has resulted in one eye being blind. I have had dozens of surgeries to attempt to cosmetically correct the problem - but to no avail. My eyes do not line up. My blind eye turned in as a child, and now turns out as an adult. I hate it - and I have felt marginalized my entire life because of it. I often wonder what life would have been like for me if it had never happened.... I will never know.
I have also struggled with depression off and on for my whole life. I remember my first severe bout. I was 7, and in first grade, and I still sucked my thumb. My teacher - Mrs. Leonard - married to the school district superintendent - was on a mission to cure me of the habit. She tried all sorts of more conventional techniques - and when they failed, she resorted to humiliation. She would repeatedly state whenever she caught me sucking my thumb that "Only babies suck their thumbs!" and then award me with some baby item to wear for the remainder of the day - like a rattle or a bib. My classmates joined in - and I was taunted mercilessly.
I think of all this today because it was my FATHER who finally came to my defense when I had what my mother described as a 7y old's version of a nervous breakdown following being made to spend the school day in a playpen for sucking my thumb.
I remember him in a meeting with my teacher, the principal, the superintendent... I remember raised voices from the other side of the principal's door. I remember worrying about what Mrs. Leonard would do to me in retaliation.... Ugh.
My dad came out of that meeting and told me Mrs. Leonard was wrong for what she did. What?? An adult could be wrong??!? I was raised to never question an adult! My parents would always say that I probably deserved any punishment doled out by any authority figure... except this one time. This time, he stood up for me. And he told me I'd have a new teacher - and she would see that I was bright - and she would see beyond my eye, and my thumb-sucking, and my unpopularity. He said he believed in me and my new teacher believed in me, so I should believe in me too. He was my biggest cheerleader my entire life. More than once, he was my only cheerleader.
I lost my Dad on Sept 30, 2001 - one week after I passed my board certification exam, and the day before I started my first job as a professor at an Ivy League university. I miss him so much - but I am so grateful to him for standing up for me that day, and for always believing in me. I know he lived just long enough to see me accomplish what he knew I could do when I was only 7. I love you Dad.
Happy Father's Day.