The first time I realized I wanted to write was during a contest hosted by a local organization. The subject was “What do you wish for, during this Holiday season?” I was in 8th grade and my response flowed out of me like water out of a fountain. Easy.
I had just spent time at a local Christmas tree lighting and while I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, there were 5 of us after all, I always had what I needed and then some. But what I saw that night and, recall clearly, the sting of the cold air on my nose as it was one of those early December days that was unusually, but yet seasonally cold, was that there was a difference amongst us. Not everyone I realized, in that crowd, was going to have a merry Christmas. Christmas, in the Christian sense, yes, but not in the Santa Claus sense.
I decided to write about how I wanted more for the unfortunate and though simple and without a solution, that is the gist of what I wrote. When I asked my uncle, with whom I shared my love of writing, his thoughts, his response was, make it authentic, not what they want to hear. I guess that marked a moment in which I knew I was different. That WAS what I meant. It WAS from the heart. Why was that wrong?
Tonight I went to a friends restaurant, met a few friends for dinner and ran into the most unusual smattering of people from various points in my life. Someone I looked up to in my first days at a consulting firm, whom to me, had a brilliant mind and who gave me a first compliment in my 20s that powered my confidence to survive the at times barbaric environment of corporate life, far beyond his intent.
I also saw my massage therapist, who was the first person I called after leaving the hospital after my 2nd child was born- get me that healing touch I said. No silly light pressure massage – the REAL deal! He was with his wife, they live out of town and they were out celebrating their first post-baby dinner. It was so amazing to see them as I knew them before they even were married.
No one reading this could fully understand the context of why tonight made me feel complete. Was it the fact I have a house all to myself tonight while my kids enjoy a baseball game with their dad, a few states away? Was it dining with a friend who represents periods of my life high school thru leaving a job where we met, and one of my biggest cheerleaders urging me on to find the life I loved to lead, only to be then diagnosed with cancer? Was it seeing my friend find peace in creating food for her guests and caring in a way that could only mean that part of her husband was living on, in her, thru the food and her love of what he had created?
I don’t know. And, maybe it is too deep for some of you reading it but this is what goes thru my mind, makes me cry, makes me laugh and most of all makes me happy. I’ve always chosen to run against the wind I guess.
PS- for those of you wondering, I didn’t rewrite my essay. I had written in pen with no extra copy of the entry. And, I won. BAM!