[Without further ado, here is PART I of “my life”. I’m just ad-libbing as I go, so bare with the rambling. Hope you enjoy!]
The most defining circumstance that has made me who I am is the fact I grew up in a single-parent home. I grew up in Garland, TX, in the same house until I moved to college. Homestead Place, it was. Across the street was a huge city park with little league fields, pool, rec center, etc. I have 3 half-siblings who were grown up out of the house by the time I remember anything. The oldest is my sister, followed by two brothers. They each have 2 kids each, ranging from 18 to 10. My sister informs me when I was a baby, she would take me to cheerleading practice to pick up guys who thought it was cute she had a baby.
My parents divorced when I was three (I think it was). For a time, I had regular visitation to my dad’s, like one weekday a week and every other weekend. Looking back, my mom was a trooper. I can see now–however ungrateful I might have been about it as a child–how incredibly much she loves her family. They are everything to her. And there were tough times, just like almost everyone experiences. She’ll openly admit to not always making the right choices, but she always made sure we had what we needed.
I lived around the corner from my elementary school, Ethridge. Before that, even, I went to a daycare called Holly Hill, until I was old enough to walk home from school. I never was the popular kid or very bold or outgoing. I had a couple of friends. In fact, my best friends in elementary school were named Dustin and Josh. I remember many a recess we would run out to the field behind the playground and pretend to be Ghostbusters or Ninja Turtles. We played two characters each. I was Donatello (the smart turtle, of course) and Master Splinter.
I mentioned tough times and I think that is what led to my mom going to church. We went to Calvary Baptist Church. I was in 2nd grade when we joined. You know how it is: a 2nd grader going down front with their parent who is joining. I didn’t have a real grasp with what I was doing. I honestly don’t think that was the moment where I was truly saved by Jesus Christ, but don’t worry, we’ll get to when I was. I remember being in kid’s choir; got a lot of leading roles. Same for school. In fact, in third grade I had the lead role and had to wear this awful glittery superhero outfit. I could make Christmas cards come alive and then refreeze them. A story about that: when it was time to re-freeze a card, I would have to do this big swirling motion with my arms and chant “whoa whoa whoa…” until the actors got back to their places. Well, I got it in my head that I wasn’t allowed to take a breath while doing this and would be running on “fumes” and my voice would break while I tried to finish the line. I also remember a time when I didn’t have my lines memorized because I was confused by the instructions and the director took me to the 5th grade area to call my mom, rather than to the office. She wanted to humiliate me and it worked! Ha…I just remembered I was in a city-wide play too. I had one line, but I wore this itchy pajama costume and sat there the whole time scratching all over. I also nearly tripped over a giant doll, flailing my arms to many a gasp from the crowd. But don’t worry, I steadied myself and kept right on going. So yeah, I was into singing and acting during elementary school.
I was also active in Cub Scouts. (Dangit, I can’t remember my Pack number.) It was important to my mom that I be around some good, positive male influences. So I did the whole camping, pinewood derby, pack meetings, etc thing. I seem to remember my mom being a cub leader for a time, and I think I hated it. LOL. She would be polite to the other boys and let them go first on activities, which would make me mad. Anyway, I got through that and earned the rank of Webelos (WE BE LOyal Scouts…creative, huh?) and the coveted Arrow of Light. Oooooo!
Middle school came around. I went to Bussey Middle School. And this is when things began to get really tough for me.
To Be Continued…