How did it happen and where did it start? When did this little seed gently become planted then watered, nurtured, and loved? How did it begin....
I've been asking myself these questions as I've jumped full force back into writing. I started writing articles for Associated Content (if this works out okay I will let you know more about it. I am going to give it a few months before raving about it or ditch it), here on this blog, and sometimes on my food blog.
I thought about my 4th grade teacher Mr. Campos (r.i.p) who would read us Where the Red Fern Grows and I would listen intently while other rambunctious students bounced off of the walls. I would become enraptured. I thought about my outstanding english teachers at Mountain View High School in Tucson, AZ. Mrs. Morrill, Mr. Morrill, and Mr. Holt (r.i.p). I remember their encouragement and how my grades on papers tended to fairly higher than my fellow classmates. I realized that they had noticed I had planted this little seed and they were there to help me grow despite how futile and helpess I felt.
When I was fifteen I wrote a poem about Mr. Campos in Mr. Holts class. The poem described Mr. Campos and how caring and tender he was and how all he wanted to do was teach us crazy kids, but no one would ever listen. And he would just look at us with those nurturing big brown eyes that were set on his full face. Slumped in the chair trying to read to us, his belly so large that sometimes we would get a peek at his under belly because his shirts flared away. At nine-years-old as my other classmates played with reckless abandon my little heart ached for this man.
Every now and then I run across the poem and sit, my heart aches like it did when I was nine, and then it aches again because I think of these two great men. Two men who were selfless and helped me in ways I could never ever explain to them. Two men who both died prematurely of heart attacks.
I smile when I see what Mr. Holt wrote:
This is wonderful! Type this up exactly the way
you have it here. Then let me see it again, if you will!
I wonder if he wrote that simply because of my tender age or because it was how he really felt. Either way it didn't matter. It didn't matter to me because what he gave me was confidence and encouragement. Its a simple formula to help someone grow.
He saw a helpless little fire in me that needed shielding. It needed someone to hover over it and protect it from the obstacles that inhibit it from turning into a fury of flames, an untameable fire.
All of this made me think about my nineteer-year-old cousin.
My beautiful cousin Mariana. If you saw her you would think she was beautiful because she is. You would see her straight teeth and radiant smile. Her long brown hair. Her athletic figure that people would kill for. You would see someone confident and who giggled contagiously. You might wish you had as many admirers as she, or were as invited to so many social gatherings.
But what you wouldn't see is her anxiety, her insecurities. You would never know that she grew up with an abusive step father who was an alcoholic and terrorized the family. A step father that despite knowing her since she was in diapers never considered her his own. You wouldn't know that her real father abandoned her before she was even born only to walk into her life eighteen years later, then walk out again. You wouldn't know that her own mother and grandmother were on and off lunatics.
There is one thing you would see though, that would cause curiousity and speculation. Her finger tips are chewed raw and are bright red from the knuckle up from her bouts of anxiety. But, there would be a good chance you might miss it because she hides her hands rather well.
She is someone who I share similarities with and saw so much of myself in her.
She doesn't believe in herself and she is consumed by her insecurities spawned from an unstable environment.
But despite all of the adversity she is facing, she has planted her itty bitty seed.
And I will be there for her to nurture it and watch it grow.