Tonight I want to get vulnerable with myself. I want to examine reality and determine what parts of it aren’t real.
And since it’s part of my story, I think it’s important to share it all with you. I consider myself a writer. It’s something that I feel proud of myself as. But I’m not just a writer. I am a sharer. I am a personal, stretch-the-limits kind of writer. I share the deepest, scariest, and most exposing feelings of my life and I think it’s why I always receive messages from people saying that my story helped them, or inspired them, or intrigued them.
So I won’t stop.
I can’t stop.
I have a story to tell and it’s important for me to share so that people like me know they aren’t alone.
Growing up, I lived about 30 miles from my mom. Just a short 25 minute cruise away. It wasn’t necessarily hard for me to search for her if I wanted to, and I think that made our separation feel deceiving. We weren’t really that far away from one another, yet we were living in completely different worlds.
In high school and even a short time in college, success was hard for me to feel appreciation for. I’d hit one milestone, feel the warmth of victory, but then put my nose right back down and focus on what was coming next. What was the next life trophy I can knock off the list?
The thing that made success the hardest for me was that every time I hit a moment of pride, I knew my name would be in the paper, or on the news, or on the radio.
And my mom was only 30 miles away.
Surely, she saw what I did?
Surely, she is proud of me?
With these wonderings, I quietly held onto the hope that only being 30 miles away gives you…
She probably knows where I’m playing basketball this week because she watched the news last night.
She might be at the next game.
She probably read my name in the newspaper for my good grades last week.
I bet she was proud when she saw my name.
30 miles. I mean, how is that all that separates my mom and me?
30 measly miles?
It was enraging and sanity-deteriorating because I drove myself crazy looking for her every time I left my house. I’d walk into Wal-Mart and stare at the backs of any blonde-haired woman, daring it to be her when she turned around. I’d run across the river for gas and look at every pump.
I scanned the bleachers of every game of every sport I ever played.
Because she was only 30 miles away.
It was damaging in so many ways because I didn’t know how to release the pressure that built up in me and I didn’t know how to live a life where I felt like I always had to search for her. But then I got old enough to roam the world when and how I wanted to, and suddenly the clouds parted, and I was no longer searching.
I was suddenly only 30 miles away if I wanted to be.
And that had nothing to do with where I lived.
I accepted what was and quit being infatuated with any short, blonde woman that had her back to me. I knew that if I ever did find myself in a room with her, I was finally in a place to remain in control of my emotions. And that was something I never felt throughout all my high school years.
30 miles apart and I had no idea if she was following my growth or completely oblivious to the person I had become. Earlier, I stated that success was hard to appreciate, but it was still something that I was dedicated to and worked very hard at.
I wanted her to feel bad about missing out on supporting me while I followed my dreams.
I didn’t want to give her the easy way back in because I was doing just fine without her.
I became educated.
I got stronger.
I chose to serve my country.
I grew independent and caring and gentle.
I rose above every situation that was designed to set me back.
I made it to the other side.
All while missing my mom
From 30 miles away