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In The Blink Of An Eye, I Was in Junior High.

As I sit here and start to type I realize, the title came to me, but I have no idea where to start. The first time I started doing creative things, was in junior high. It make sense looking back in time. I recently lost my oldest brother to Leukemia, he was 15, and I was that awkward age of 11. I remember being the helper, the fixer, the comforter and through it all my emotions were left bottled up. In Mrs. Jackson’s class she gave us an assignment to write poetry. That was when I discovered writing bought me a sense of relief.

I wrote poetry about my feelings, my brother and life. The poems about life at this point should have been very short, right?  Unfortunately, I had a book before I was done with the assignment. I could go on about the specific topics of my poems, however, those stories are kept between me and a few people with whom I shared my darkest days. Every child has an awkward junior high experience whether it is due to braces, clothes that don’t fit, or maybe you have glasses, braces, AND your clothes don’t fit. I believe I met all those criteria, except for the braces. Admit it, you look back at your school pictures and cringe. Girls spent so much time picking out the right clothes and the perfect hairstyle for picture day. When the pictures came back, it seemed everyone was disappointed. Perhaps, it was the little black combs they gave you prior to getting your picture taken  that didn’t work or the lighting was not quite right. The lighting was so bad, in my picture reflections of images could be identified in my glasses. It was a nightmare. Anyhow, I look back at mine, and I was wearing the worst thing of all; a fake smile.

A fake smile is the worst. My daughter, Gabby is a the QUEEN of fake smiles. It drives me insane. My fake smile was not because I didn’t have a nice smile or want to smile, I didn’t have anything to smile about. I literally thought of “cheese”when my picture was taken. I couldn’t find anything to smile about. Sure, I had a few good friends, a nice place to live, things I needed and wanted, but, I felt I was the only kid in the entire school who had a dead brother. The only time I forgot about feeling sad, was when I was writing poems, coloring images and decorating the pages of the book. I felt at peace. I still have this book. Boy, I’ve come along way in the artistic department!

After I turned in the assignment, Mrs. Jackson entered me into a contest where my work was going to be displayed. EEK!  What?! I was petrified, mostly because we didn’t talk about these things in my family. All these emotions I threw up on these pages were going to be read by everyone, and my family would know how I felt. I shared my fears with my teacher. She reassured me my work was beautiful and there was nothing to be afraid of. Many years after finding this book of poems (which is literally what I titled this bad boy), did I understand this book was my first therapy session. I was able to share anything I wanted on those blank sheets of paper and they had nothing to say back to me. When a tear would drop while writing, no one felt sorry for me. When I was done writing, I could put that book away, and my heart would feel lighter as I  walked down the hallway.

I never did win an award for My Book of Poems, not even an orange participation ribbon. I wasn’t disappointed. I felt better, my feelings were no longer bottled up inside me, and I was able to share thoughts I never would have shared. For those reasons, I won first place. This book of poems sparked my interest in helping others heal. Yes, that book helped me in my healing process. It also led me to my current career path in social services.

I’m so happy all I can recall from those days is this book of poems. If you would get a chance to see the glasses I wore, this blog would be nothing more than a blog about making fun of my huge, plastic, round, orange and bug face spectacles.

Maybe that can be the topic of my next blog. Until next time, try to write a page in a diary. I promise you, it will make you see things differently.

“CHEESE!”

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