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A zebra's stripes

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

The history of how a person formulates their stripes can be simple or complicated.

The history of how a person formulates their stripes can be simple or complicated. Although I believe this statement, I also believe that as an adult we can modify our stripes as we evolve as a person. Some people come out of the womb playing basketball and go on to be professional NBA superstars, while others find themselves struggling professionally to find their way. Some would say genetics have a determining factor of the person we become. I think that in life we all form our beliefs, morals, drive and confidence from different life experiences and human interaction through feelings. Think about it. If you like the way something makes you feel, then you want to replicate the action repeatedly. On the contrary, bad emotions stop you in your tracks and you do not want to repeat it. This is true of a person at any age.

The Formation of my Stripes

I was born a military brat at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am a native Las Vegan that continues to maintain my roots. My father’s career kept him from spending the weekdays with his family as most of his career was spent deployed on top secret missions. I know I am one of only a few military children that can say that we never moved, hence the fact I am still in Las Vegas. Although my father was not present during the week he was on the weekends; and as I reached my high school years, he retired with 20 years under his belt and started his second civilian career as an electrician. Believe it or not, it took some getting used to having him around every day. My memories of my father growing up always have fun adventures associated with them as he wanted to make the best of our time we had together on the weekends. I was the closest thing to a boy that he was going to get. I took my role as the tomboy very seriously. I found more enjoyment from being outside with him, fixing up cars, mowing the grass, camping, shooting, playing sports, fishing and even stealing his Coors Light beers and drinking them to emulate his every action.

Just as my story started with my father, my mother was also absent from my life growing up. It will be very hard for her to read this as she may not be willing to admit or even be able to identify with the reasoning behind her actions. I just want her to know that it impacted my life in a good way. It may have been difficult at the time, but it also taught me many lessons in life that I am now teaching my child. My mother was a workaholic that put her employees and her career in front of her family. The ironic part is that she spent her entire career in Human Resources, which made her relate to the needs of others. Yet she could not see the needs of her children. I believed she thought of her employees as her family and her children as her employees. This statement comes from a child who cleaned the house, did the laundry, and made meals when her parents were absent. The children were not forgotten, just put on the backburner.

This created an environment for my sister and I that was argumentative, even hostile at times, as we would attempt to act in the capacity of the parents, or at the very least young adults in charge of our own destiny. I remember my sister acting out and being rebellious, yet my parents continually defended her actions. It took every morsel of my being to watch this play out, only to know that I would not repeat the pattern. My sister and I continue to have a strained relationship as adults.

For a child that was shown little to no emotion growing up it has made me love those around me more and tell them every day. My first real relationship as a young adult taught me to love unconditionally, or so I thought. It was the classic boy meets girl story. I was playing softball and he baseball. He was a senior and I a sophomore in high school. We were the relationship that would last a lifetime. We were engaged my senior year in high school, bought our first home and were married within months of graduating. Looking back on my young adult years, I was searching for love and to be loved. It was a gaping hole in my life that needed to be filled, or so I thought.

As a young adult I remember the first time my mom told me she loved me. It was like a ghost was in the room. I had never heard those words spoken from my mother as a child at least not that I could remember. It kept me frozen in time for that moment, not because she said it but because I had never heard those words before from her and I was unsure of how to react. Even to this day when she says the words I do not reply as I am on guard and wondering why she loves me now, but not as a child when I needed it most.

My ex-husband, like me, was raised with difficult circumstances to overcome. His unfortunately involved drugs and alcohol, making my issues minor in nature. Not until a few years into our marriage did I realize the impact of his upbringing would rear its ugly head as the alcoholism in his family become apparent in my life with him. My relationship ended with the one person in my life that had shown me unconditional love. Unfortunately, I was not strong enough to help him overcome alcoholism. I am not proud of walking away from my marriage, but I was too weak to try and make it work as the hurt was too deep for me to overcome. The ending of this relationship has defined every relationship I have had since. I am extremely guarded with my emotions and have remained unwilling to marry again.

As with all things in my life I do not let my upbringing or past relationships define me as a person. They only make me more resilient to anyone else that enters my path in the future. This leads me to my current relationship (notice I did not say husband). My belief is that you are to marry once in your life. A piece of paper does not define a marriage. Your love and commitment define the relationship. I have been with my current spouse for over 15 years and we have a beautiful son. Because like my mother, I tend to be addicted to work, we have elected to have my spouse stay at home to care for our family. Although it took some getting used to, the roles after numerous years are defined and we both appreciate the other for what they bring to the relationship. Many people say they feel sorry for my spouse due to him having to put up with me and my desires to achieve perfection. Little do they know that as a spouse and mother, although I do have high expectations, I allow myself the opportunity to put down the shield and enjoy my time with my family. I rarely make any decisions at home. Just like a chef that cooks for a living, the last thing they want to do when they get home is cook. Even Superwoman needs to take off her cape.

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