94. For my 94th pound, I am thankful for every person in my life, past, present and future. I am thankful for every situation I've ever been in, am currently in and will be in anytime in the future.
Why, you ask? Well, I am a firm believer in "Everything happens for a reason".
Throughout my life, I've often felt like I didn't matter or didn't measure up to what people thought I should be. I wish I had an answer for why that was, but I don't. While my childhood was awesome thanks to my amazing parents, brother and sister, I didn't always have the best experiences in a social aspect. As I've said before, I've always struggled with my weight which, as some people will understand, translated into low self-esteem and self-confidence. Therefore, from the beginning, I struggled to make friends and meet new people. I think, at some point, that becomes a learned behavior. I mean, as a kid, I ran around the neighborhood and played with my friends, etc. But, when in situations, such as school, where I might have to talk to people I didn't know real well, I would struggle. From early on I would get uncomfortable if the teacher called on me in front of the class.
It was the same type of thing in high school but I was much more aware of how low my self-esteem was. I didn't really have a group of friends that I hung out with all the time. Don't get me wrong, I had friends, but it wasn't that "core" group of people that so many people grow up with and stay friends with for a very long time. I think that fueled some of my issues and I was probably depressed much earlier in my life than I realized. Of course, I would just try to put on a smile and a happy face and find my way through each day.
I enjoyed college but, I will say, those 4 years were not the "best years of my life". From the beginning, my roommate situation was horrible (I won't bore you with the details) and, to be completely honest, I'm not sure I was ready to leave home. But, I felt it was something I needed to try and my parents supported me in my decision. Of course, I don't like to go outside of my safety zone so I picked a school that was known for students going home on the weekends and was less than an hour from my parents house. Guess who went home almost every weekend? This girl. I just wasn't ready for most of the social stuff that college brought. I don't know why. I think a lot of my lack of self-confidence had followed me from high school to college and I wasn't motivated enough to try to find a place to fit in with a new group of people. I preferred my comfort zone. I eventually moved home for the last year of college because I just wasn't happy. But, know what? I think, in a weird way, it was the best decision I made up to that point.
Why? Well, I knew I would need a job if I was only going to school two days a week (classes ALL day), but worth it to only drive to Dayton twice a week. So, my sister had recently gotten hired at Kohl's and I decided to apply for a job there. I got hired pretty easily and they were willing to work with my availability and school schedule. I kinda kept to myself at first (not much of a surprise) but, over the next couple of months, I became friends with some of the other younger people that were working there. In fact, throughout that first year, we slowly became friends and started going out to BW3's after work and hanging out for hours on end. Sometimes we would go to a local bar and sing some karaoke. I started to come out of my shell and realized there were some really awesome people out there who liked me for me. I think it was one of the first times I realized that. That went on for 3 years, as I completed grad school, did an internship while working full time and made some amazing memories. Within a few months of working there, I was promoted to supervisor which definitely gave me a boost of confidence.
Finishing grad school in May 2004 (lord, I'm old!!) meant I had to look for a full time job. I was excited but scared at the same time. I would have to leave my comfort zone of Kohl's but I would finally get to do what I had been working towards since I graduated high school. Interviews definitely scared the crap out of me but, given my recent experience in retail, I was able to talk to the people and express my desire for the job in the best way I knew how to. I didn't get the first two interviews I went on, but I got a third one in mid-June with a different district. I walked in and immediately felt like, this is a place I could work. So, when my dad called the next day as I was getting off work to ask me if I had checked my voicemail, I could only think it was probably another rejection. I literally almost fell to the floor when he said they were offering me a job. What an unbelievable feeling!!!
My years at RHS were full of ups and downs but definitely more ups. I learned so much about myself, made some great friends and worked with so many amazing kids. Those years are a huge part of who I am today. When I changed jobs this past summer, I just felt like it was the right move. I needed to challenge myself and, once again, step out of my comfort zone. While hard, as I stated above, everything happens for a reason and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity that was given to me at Fairfield and I love how I am continuing to grow and change in so many ways.
So, you might ask, why on earth would she be thankful for(some of) this? Well, because it's all a part of who I am. Not everyone is going to be super bubbly, outgoing and make friends easily. If I hadn't gone through all of that, my life may be completely different. I believe that all of this happened to lead me in a direction in life where I can help people on a daily basis. It may not have made sense at the time, but, in some ways, it does now. And I guess that's all that really matters.
I love who I am. Wow, I wouldn't have said that a year ago! I love being around people and, although I still am not the best at being the center of attention, I'm getting much better! I'll talk to people, I'll get up in front of groups of people (at times), I speak up in meetings and so many other things I can't even begin to describe. Change is hard but so worth it. I'm thankful for everything I've changed this year. And everything I haven't changed. I'm still the same person, I just think I'm a better version of myself. And it's better than any feeling I could ever imagine.
"No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself."