Friday, January 20, 2012

Who I Was Is Part of Who I Am and Who I Will Become

I have a saying to get through the bad days and moments which was "It is what it is." And that's all well and good because it means I accept the circumstances for what they are and quit fighting. But that's not enough for me. I realized this week that I'm better off saying "It will become what it will become--I will become who I become."

Then I realized that the past, mine in particular, has uniquely shaped me for the career I want to claim. My writing career is largely shaped by what I've overcome, learned, and will continue to learn. I used to think if only I had not been sent on wild and crazy detours due to life, the circumstances I had to escape, and the education I had to delay.

Not anymore. I may not have an advanced university degree with all sorts of letters behind it, but I have something of equal or even greater value. I have a PhD in overcoming obstacles. Big ones for me, not so big for others.

And I'm so grateful for the lessons and emotions and experiences I've had because they shape the characters of my stories. And for kicks and giggles I've included my three favorite shots from eons ago. I feel they show all my sides and I just love the dress.

Here is a quick rundown:

*born in the Netherlands to two people who survived Japanese Concentration camps in the 1940s. Neither of them were equipped to parent but they did the best they could.
*Canadian National Science Fair 3rd Place at 13 with project about Pattern Recognition
*figure skater for 8 years, alto sax player/second chair
*grew up in Northern mining town & experienced daily bouts of bullying because I "used big words"
*semi-photographic memory, advanced reader, IQ high but never revealed to me by parents due their own feelings of inadequacy
*"bad girl" in high school long before I did anything "bad"
*smoker, back of the bleachers party girl, skipped school and forged my teachers' signatures on attendance sheets
*ran a mini-crime ring in forging teacher's names for other "bad" kids--got caught
*spent 10th grade English in VPs office due to arguing a test question with teacher and winning my point
*on my own at 16 due to difficult home life
*high school dropout
*worked in daycare, arena concession stand to make ends meet
*worked in diner
*waitress, gas jockey, maid
*drove without a license
*ice fished, snowmobiled, cross country skied
*got my GED, learned how to sign for deaf/blind people in hope of going to college for free as interpreter
*lived in Northern Manitoba, Winnipeg, Vancouver
Taken at the top of the Sears Tower in Vancouver. So serious. 
*dated dangerous men, nice men, French men, Russian men, firemen, policemen, concert promoters, musicians and poets
*wrote poetry, loads and loads of it
*once wanted to be a foreign journalist
*once wanted to marry the Man from Atlantis--wrote an entire series about it long before fan fiction existed on the Internet
*read John Steinback, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings when I was in the 4th grade, reread them all later
*read Ginsberg, Kerouac and wished I'd been born in time to be a Beatnik
*kissed a French boy along the banks of the Seine when I was 13
*kissed a Physicist along the banks of the Seine when I was 30
*married young, grew up with the Physicist, made a beautiful baby
*traveled to Europe, ridden the Fast Train, been weighed on a witch's scale and deemed not a witch
*the Teen and the Physicist believe I am strangely psychic--my dreams are often prophetic
*I fly in my dreams. I want to fly in reality.
*I'm terrified of fire, drowning, death
*I almost drowned on my first anniversary--the Physicist saved me
*I was threatened by a bully with a lighter in the 9th grade. She wanted to burn my hair off my head. She had accomplices. I kicked her and ran away. She grew up and had a terrible life. I grew up and have a great life. Bad Karma is a bitch.
*I almost died 3 times due to anaphylaxis
*I never wear a watch, but I have an uncanny awareness of time.
*the Physicist married me before I had a college degree. He didn't know I could cook, but I can and I do it well.
I love this shot. Very dreamy/
*I graduated with a 4.0 Summa Cum Laude Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education at the top of the Dean's list.
*I never taught.
*I've worked in radio and television
*I was a part-time model--I was the Sunshine Girl of West Vancouver
*I have camped in the Redwood forest and in the Dordogne
*when I make up my mind to do something, I just do it. If it becomes boring or routine I stop.
*writing is the only thing that doesn't bore me
*my paternal grandfather was a biologist for the World Health Organization as well as a practicing doctor
*I got an A in pre-med genetics. Only 2 people got As
*I have an uncanny ability to diagnose diseases and illnesses
*I'm more serious than people think I am
*I'm more playful than people think I am
*I don't trust easily, but I am very trustworthy. If you tell me to keep a secret, I will. There are secrets I will die keeping
*I believe in many truths. My main belief is do unto others as you would have done unto you. I have broken this rule as a young woman. And I've seen others break it now. I wait for karma to act.
*I know what it is like to lose someone you love
*I live here in the now, but I am not afraid to sift through the past for there is where real emotion, raw gritty emotion exists, the kind that can strengthen my stories and my characters
*I play to win. Failure is NOT an option.
I like how playful and free I look here. It's how I feel today.
*If someone tries to stop me from winning out of spite, I will draw back, coil in my den, and wait to strike
*never mistake my desire to be kind as a weakness--never
*I was once a dreamy, intellectual little girl who read big books and said big words because the mind was valued in our home
*I was almost drowned in snow banks for being that little intellectual girl. I know what it is like to feel cold snow melting on your skin while you're desperately gasping for air and there is no one, no one to help you.
*A boy in the second grade used to chase me and punch me in the stomach daily. I put my book underneath my jacket and he punched me and broke his hand.
*I learned to be a "dumb blonde"
*When I was in university, if you came up to me after a test, I could give you all the questions on the test verbatim as well as my answers.
*I worked as a night aide for a lady with Parkinsons disease. She told me her love story every time I came to sit with her. When I got engaged, she gave me her silver gravy boat which she had received for her wedding over 50 years earlier. I still have that gravy boat.
*I'm a dreamer, but I'm practical and serious. I believe in myself, but I also believe only hard work and tenacity will get me to where I want to go. But I WILL BECOME WHAT I WILL BECOME!!

If I, a person who started with so little could come so far and find such joy and a wealth of opportunities, then I'm proof that anyone with a little luck, some tenacity and brains, can succeed.

Follow your hearts, mine your pasts, become who you will become.


Justine Dell said...

Wow--you've done a lot. Congrats on your accomplishments and here's to you for making your life what YOU wanted it to be! ;-)


Greetings from Judy! said...

What a life! I must say you have enough fodder for your writing! The great thing is you never have to stop living and dreaming and that list is only the beginning. I will say that the smartest thing on that list is that you DIDN'T teach. Good girl...keep writing.

Christine said...

Hi Justine: So good to see you on the veranda!! I hope you have a great 2012 and that you make it all that YOU want it to be, too.

Looking back is good for looking ahead. I'm excited about this year. I think it will be wonderful.


Ellen Brickley said...

Wow, that's an impressive list! It got me thinking about mine and how there is so much that we take for granted about ourselves, but when we lay it out for others, we can suddenly see how wonderful it really is.

You're an inspirational person and I cannot wait to read your books :)

Christine said...

Hi Judy: Thanks so much for the fabulous and kind words. You're so right about the future. There is so much MORE that is going to happen. I feel the universe just bursting with possibilities.

And you're right about the not teaching. Best decision ever. It's too rigid for me!

As you can tell by my list, I was a rebel and she still lives inside my heart. Deep down I still want to rock out with my retro rock bands, listen to local musicians, and dance the night and day away.

Christine said...

Hi Ellen: Thanks for being such a great friend to me. I can't wait to read all your books, either!! This is an abridged version of my life. But it pretty much encapsulates it.

I'm looking forward to 2012. I already have a lot to do because I gave myself a break. Good thing I did!! Now I have the energy to do it.

Have a wonderful day.


Wendy S. Marcus said...

What a beautiful post about a beautiful - inside and out - woman! A wonderful start to my day! Thank you!

Patricia Preston said...

You could write a book about your life!

Christine said...

Hi Wendy: So glad you enjoyed my post and that it made a good start to your day. Life is good when we realize how far we've come.


Christine said...

Hi Patricia: I think that all my fictional books have a bit of me in them, the characters spring from the well that is deep within. I plan to mine my heart for more of the same.


Anonymous said...

Don't have an emoticon to represent how much your blog made me grin so here is : =) =) =) =)!!!!!

Christine said...

Hi Anne: You are so awesome! Glad my blog post made you grin from ear to ear. I hope you have a wonderful day and a great weekend. May all YOUR dreams and wishes come true, too.


RedPeril said...

I didn't know you'd done modeling, but it doesn't surprise me at all! ^_^ You still turn heads when you walk into a room, and you carry your height with poise and command.

While I was reading your post, a favorite song came to mind.

There's a line in there I think fits you particularly well: 'Everybody dies, but not everyone lives.'

And you, my friend, have lived! ^_^ In fact, you've lived with the kind of gusto and determination that I always thought it would have to take, even as an angry young girl trying to ignore the call to write my little heart out. Crawling into the skin of your characters is no small feat, when done well, and life experience only helps bolster that capacity--brings it to life with the underpinnings of authenticity and tangible emotion.

My experiences are a bit more limited, but I was trying to think of how I've been shaped by what life life hit me with, and what I chose to live... You've compelled me to form a miniature list of my own, thank you. ^_^

~Angela Blount

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow, that's so inspiring, Christine! :-) You look so beautiful in those photos in the clouds!

Lexi said...

Christine, you are AMAZING!!!! I am so proud and blessed to know you. Thanks for sharing your story with us. You are a remarkable person and I'm so happy you're in my life!

Christine said...

Hi Angela: Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out and listen to the song. I've definitely lived :-)

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a well to draw from in their writing or other endeavors.


Christine said...

Hi Melanie: Thanks for the kind words--I really do love those pictures. They're so free and brave and wonderful. I wish I could find a dress that color and fabric, too. I loved that dress.


Christine said...

Hi Lexi: I didn't get through all of the stuff alone. I firmly believe I had a lot of help from God. That's my personal value system. I can't tell you how many bone-headed decisions I made when I was a lot younger. I think my guardian angels had to be rotated!! But I am so grateful that my stubborn and willful soul's bad decisions and mistakes didn't lead to terrible consequences. I'm so grateful to be here despite all of the really stupid things I did. I'm blessed.

I'm blessed by your friendship and can't wait to see you on the 28th :-)

Robin Bielman said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing *so* much of yourself. I can't tell you how much I admire the way you open yourself up. And I'm truly in awe of all that you've accomplished. You really are a special person and I'm so glad I know you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Christine said...

Hi Robin: You are equally as special and amazing. I'm so excited about your novella debut and about hosting you on the Veranda when we celebrate. I hope wonderful and joyous things for you in all you do.


Joan Leacott said...

A fellow Canuck! Where are you at now? I'm downtown Toronto. The north can be as brutal as it is beautiful. You go way beyond survival and into celebration. Have a wonderful 2012 and Skidoo careful.

Katherine Bone said...

Wow! You are a beautiful model!

Christine we have a lot more in common then I knew.

I wanted to marry the Man From Atlantis. (Oh, Patrick Duffy!) And then he became Bobby Ewing in Dallas!!! Yes!

I almost drowned on my honeymoon! Me, a buggieboard and an overweight woman. Good times!

I always wanted to be a model. ;)

I played flute and tend to trust too easily. LOL!

Was teased relentlessly about my last name, big feet, big butt and nose growing up.

I'm so impressed by all that you've done in your lifetime, so far. Very exciting to think of all the wonderful things still to come your way!

Christine said...

Hi Joan: I am in Northern Alabama now. The Physicist married me and brought me to the USA. Seriously crazy life. Toronto is awesome, but cold brrrr

I like your comment "the north can be as beautiful as it is brutal."

I loved the Northern Lights, the ribbons of pink, green, yellow, white swirling through clear dark skies with stars so easy to read the horizon was a book.

Stay warm!!


Christine said...

Hi Kathy: You are a beautiful, strong woman with so much to offer as a writer and friend. I am glad you are my friend and that your writing world is growing bigger and bigger.

May ALL good things happen this year. This is it, girl!!!


Louisa Cornell said...

A truly amazing life, Christine. And the best part is you have learned from it - breathed it in, processed and seen it all - good and bad - for what it is. The Journey. A journey tests you, creates you and shows you. A destination means you don't travel any more. Here's to a long life of travel with no destination in sight!

Christine said...

Hi Louisa: I love the idea of a long life of travel with no destination in sight. That's a beautiful thought and I'm going to write it down for my wall of quotes.

May your journey and traveling be long as well. Long and wonderful and joyous and filled with many successes along the way.


Chris Bailey said...

What a story! I love that you've compiled this list. It's wonderful.

Christine said...

Hi Chris: Thanks--it's "abridged" for sure. The Physicist and I were joking about my poor guardian angels. I seriously needed rotating ones during the teen years. So much to celebrate in life. It's only just beginning.


Gwen Hernandez said...

What a fascinating list, Christine! I know what you mean about being ridiculed for using big words. I think it's the avid reader's fate if they don't have reader friends/classmates.

And, yes, karma is a bitch. ;-)

Christine said...

Hi Gwen: Thanks for popping in and saying hello on the Veranda. We writer/scholars need to stick together. All the best to you in your writing endeavors. Good girls do finish first :-)


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I really enjoyed learning more about you Christine. Your list got me to thinking about my life and y'know what? I'm not as boring as I thought I was. LOL!

Christine said...

Hi Carol: I am so tickled you got new ideas about your own life. I bet it was very interesting and cool. I would LOVE to read about it!!