If you asked me when I was young what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a reporter. I loved to write stories. I would investigate (spy, really) on the neighbors and then make up elaborate tales full of intrigue and injustice. I would write them out on a piece of paper made to look like the Press Enterprise and distribute them to the boys that lived at the end of the street.
My biggest story involved our elderly German neighbor Mrs. Barnette. I was certain she was holding her husband against his will. We never saw him so I decided there must be foul play involved and it was my duty to expose the truth. I investigated her for a week straight. Everyday after school, I had a stake out from my bedroom window. I took pages and pages of notes and searched the neighborhood for hard evidence. What a great story it was going to make to find Mr. Barnette, help him escape and then turn Mrs. Barnette in. I wrote article after article reporting on the search and eventual rescue of Mr. Barnette and the certain demise of Mrs. Barnette.
A reporter. I had it all planned out. First, go to college to get a journalism degree. After graduation, settle in a small town and work on the local paper. That was it. I knew what I wanted to be. I just needed to grow up. So I waited and continued to write stories and plays and the occasional murder mystery involving our quiet little cul de sac.
When I was fifteen, I decided it was time to share my story. I was going into the eleventh grade and in a few years I would be going to college and then off to start my career. No one knew my plan so I figured I should probably start talking about it. Though it appears that I was very confident and sure of myself and of my future, I was just the opposite. I knew what occupation I wanted to pursue but I was anything but secure. You know my Sr. Una story and how damaging words can be. Shame, doubt and fear came to visit that year and they liked it so much they decided to stay.
My decision to share my desire for my life was really more a cry for attention and acknowledgment. I wanted affirmation. I desperately needed someone to tell me I could do it because I was not sure I could. So for the first time in my life I opened up and shared my dream. I was expecting, well … hoping for, reassurance and encouragement. I wanted someone to be proud of me and supportive of my decision. Instead I was told “Get off your high horse” and then without any time to recover from the first blow I heard, “Who do you think you are”? Yep, I was told that I thought too highly of myself and that I must think I was really special to have such lofty ideas. I walked away and never wrote another story. I left my dream sitting on the table in that room on that day twenty-six years ago.
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