Sunday, September 16, 2007

Autobiography part 2

When I was in grade school and jr. high, I was blessed with the news that I had sister on the way, and even though it was hard to have all of the attention shifted at first, both times I was pleasantly surprised. My sisters are the two greatest kids that you will ever meet. My brothers and I used to argue over who would baby-sit them years ago, but right from the start a bond was formed that most people never achieve with anyone throughout their entire life. Even though I’m not that much older than them, I can still teach them what I’ve learned so far in life, and they listen more intently to me than anyone I’ve ever met. If I get nothing else out of life except for teaching them what little knowledge I’ve gained so far, then it will all be worth it. I’m just glad that parents have never talked about my drug and alcohol problem around them, because it would rip my heart out if I knew that they found out about it. I always tried to avoid everyone in my family if I was drinking or using drugs, but I would never even think of being around my sisters if I had been using. I know that this paper keeps jumping back and forth between subjects quite a bit, but I’ve never been very good at organizing my thoughts and ideas, so you’ll have to bear with me.

I think that jr. high was the turning point where I started to have major problems both in school and life, and I barely scraped by both years, finishing out 8th grade in summer school. It wasn’t that I physically couldn’t do the work; it was just that I initially set such high standards for myself. This is where my all or nothing thinking (that still persists to this day) became my downfall. All of my tests were nearly perfect, but I kept missing one assignment after another, telling myself not to slop through any of them. I felt that I had to have every answer on every paper correct, and by the time I had 10 or 12 assignments to do, I decided that this wasn’t possible, and gave up. I goofed off in class, and scraped by with just enough to pass, and nothing more. I now had lower self-esteem than I’d ever had before, and was desperately searching to be popular and find my niche. It was the end of my 8th grade year when I first tried alcohol and marijuana, not because I was trying to fit in, but because I sought it out for the adventure and excitement that I wasn’t getting from school. I experimented a little bit more in high school, but most of the that time I filled up my days with extra-curricular activities to get that thrill.

It was the summer before 9th grade when I was first introduced to cross country running by my older brother, and to this day it is something that just seems to run in my blood. The first day of practice that I ever went to, I went from 1 mile being the farthest that I had ever run, up to that point, to 10 or 11 miles that first day. After practice I thought my legs would fall off and I would throw up my insides, but it was those extremes that I fell in love with. I was never as talented as a lot of the runners on the team, but every single practice I gave everything that I had, and I got a sense of accomplishment from it. I got a high from pushing myself to the limit that was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. I continued to run cross country and track all through high school, and ran 2 full marathons my senior year. I wrestled for 2 years in high school, also, and got the same kind of thrill from giving everything that I had in practices and meets. Even though there was always training going on for running or wrestling throughout most of the year, it still was not enough to keep me from being bored, so I joined choir, concert choir, ensemble, and participated in a musical (Bye, Bye, Birdie). I always felt that I had to be doing something to keep myself busy and entertained, and was always bored when I had nothing to do. I got off on the right foot when high school started, keeping fairly decent grades freshman and sophomore year. In the summers I would work out with the wrestling or cross country team, or try to hold down a job, but without the tight school schedule I got bored a few times and ended up drinking and smoking with friends. By the time junior and senior year rolled around I got behind in my schoolwork again and did the bare minimum to pass, repeating what I’d done in jr high because of my perfectionism for schoolwork. By the time senior year rolled around I stopped going to class almost completely, showing up only for practice after school. I soon was failing all my classes, but luckily I was able to attend independent study and finish up my last semester of high school. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to graduate with the rest of my class, but relieved to finally be done with high school.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Autobiography part 1

This is part one of an autobiography written as an assignment for a counseling session. More to come later.

It was early in the morning on Palm Sunday when I was born. I was a rambunctious baby from the day that I was born, and usually cried all night. I guess that you could say that I was a mama’s boy, crying mercilessly at all hours until I was held. Even as a child when my mom was working the graveyard shift at a telemarketing company, I would wait on our stairs until early in the morning when she would come home. I was fortunate enough to be watched by either my grandparents or my parents at all times, and my mom even gave up her career to stay at home and baby-sit, even though that meant very little income coming in. She made a little bit of money baby-sitting, but it was always important to my parents to spend time with their children, even if that meant working late, and giving up all but the necessities. I attribute the fact that my brothers and I were always ahead in subjects at school because of this, always having a parent or grandparent around to tutor us. Some of my earliest memories are with them, learning math from flashcards, learning how to read, write and spell, playing chess and checkers, and reading passages from the bible and praying together. No matter what happens to me to this day, I know that I will always have faith in the Lord because of my positive upbringing.

. I had a wonderful childhood, but that’s not to say that I didn’t have my problems. I knew from early on in grade school that I was different from the other children, somehow, becoming enraged when I didn’t perfect things to my liking. I always accomplished what I had set out to do, but in the process drove myself crazy from being so meticulous. I would beat myself up both mentally and physically (e.g. pounding my head on my desk or punching myself) if I didn’t achieve what I had set out to do. I always felt that I had to be the fastest, smartest, and best at everything that I did, and if I wasn’t then I felt like I had failed. I also obsessed over how I looked, making sure that I had the coolest outfits and shoes, and had to have everyone like me. It wasn’t until after I graduated from high school that I found out I was bipolar, and it was the all-or-nothing thinking associated with it that made me this way. I spent most of my time as a child playing with either my brothers, the neighborhood kids, or the kids that my mom baby-sat for. Grade school flew by without many problems for me, aside from the trouble that I got into trying to impress my friends and have fun. I always grew bored very easily, and the only reason I feel that I didn’t get into more trouble than I did was because I always had awesome teachers that I didn’t want to let down. That’s enough about my school life for right now, though.

When I was in the first grade, my parents purchased a fishing and hunting store, and owned it (or more like it owned them) for the next 11 years. For a kid that loved to fish and hunt, there was nothing greater! Sure, there were days that we would get up at 5 or 6 a.m. to open up shop that I didn’t want to wake up, (especially having had trouble sleeping all my life) but we would take blankets and pillows, fall asleep in the back room, and then get up and play nearly all day long. My brothers and I always managed to stay busy there, rollerblading, skating, and riding bikes in the archery range or outside, watching t.v. in the back room, tossing around paper footballs, and occasionally waiting on a customer or two by dishing them up bait from the tanks and ringing them up. Even if we grew tired of playing, there was always someone interesting around to listen and talk to. I could fill pages and pages with all the amazing people and experiences that we drew from that store on a daily basis.