July 3, 2007

That's My Story, and I'm Sticking to it!

I believe that we each have a story that defines us. There is an instance or an event that defines who we are as a person and describes us. This story probably defines Aron Ralston and tells us a lot about his character. These stories and actions tell us what the person's character is like, what they are like on the inside, and help us understand them better.

I have a story that has defined the way I approach life.

From the time I was ten years old, I wanted to go hiking and camping. I am sure that many young boys have similar longings, but mine seemed an impossibility. I grew up without a father, and I lived in the inner-city. There isn't much camping in the inner-city (though "hunting" might take place).

By the time I was twelve I had nearly memorized several camping books and the Boy Scout Manual. Finally, my mom let me join the Boy Scouts of America. This was the chance I had been waiting for...I was going to go camping and hiking.

Our first trip was to John Bryan State Park outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio. We were going to hike several of the trails.

At first, everything was fine. It was a great day, and we were hiking in a beautiful gorge. We were able to climb on some of the rocks, and explore some "cave" areas. I have estimated that we hiked about 10-12 miles that day.

Pretty soon, however, I was exhausted and couldn't keep up. Remember, this is my first ever hiking trip, and I was an out-of-shape twelve-year-old. I kept falling behind. My feet hurt from having the wrong kind of boots. I had blisters from where the boots had rubbed my heals and the side of my pinky toe.

Eventually, my Assistant Scoutmaster picked me up, on his back, and carried me so that I would be able to keep up. At first this seemed like a good idea, but then I realized how embarrassing it really was. Everyone looking at me...teasing.

I remember thinking, "I will never be the last person on a hike ever again. And, I will never fall behind."

That event has defined me for many years. I never fell behind on a hike again. I was usually first, or, if watching out for others who had fallen behind, at the back helping them to keep up. But I was more than likely at the front. This has carried over into a determined, driven nature that won't settle or give up. Not bad, but not good in some instances.

What story has defined you? How does is demonstrate who you are and what you are like?


  1. Oy. You know how to push buttons don't ya? *G*


    When I was in 5th grade (I think I was 11 or 12 also) I landed my first solo in a choir concert and was excited beyond belief. I practiced and my mom and dad were all proud of me in the typical manner.

    My father being bipolar would flip off for no reason at times and I learned my entire life to walk on eggshells around him lest something set him off, and I'd get blamed for whatever set him off.

    The night of the concert comes and we are on our way to the school. My mom had sewn me a new dress and well this was a big deal as it was a concert that was a combination of schools in our district (which was a big, rich type district). I was nervous, and excited.

    Something happened (I seriously can't tell you what) and my dad flies off the handle and gets so angry he turns the car around and refuses to go to the school. I never show up for the concert, and my music teacher has no notice. Needless to say I'm never allowed to participate in anything after that because they don't know if I can be depended upon.

    After that, I'm so ashamed by all the chatter from my classmates that I didn't bother going back to soccer that year or choir. Nothing. I didn't participate in anything for years after that.

    Because of that, I have a real issue if people question my dedication or dependability. I make it a point to do what I say I'm going to do, but then at times those things come flooding back and I can't finish what I've started. Years of kids telling me I'll never do anything, never get to do what I love again haunt me.

    I'll never get to sing again. I'll never be useful to anyone. I'll never finish what I start.

    Unfortunately I've bought into the lies and they have become self fulfilling prophesy in my life.

    I'm working on changing that right now. Hard struggle but that moment changed me forever, and not in a good way.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ronni. I've got a few of those kind of stories too.