“Welcome Home” Chapter Four- The Hardest Part

8 Jun

My parents eventually did find a house for us in North Georgia, and with the help of family and friends, we moved in the week before Christmas. Much to our amazement, God gave us a special homecoming surprise on Christmas Day that year. We woke up and looked out the window to find a cloudy day. The radio station had been calling for snow, but none of us quite dared to believe them. As South Georgians, we had only seen snow once or twice in our lives and were excited about a possible snowstorm. For once, the radio was correct. Right after Lane and I emptied our stockings on Christmas morning, a light snow shower began to fall. During the day, the flakes changed to pieces of falling snow as big as a quarter. It was awesome. In Georgia, snow on Christmas Day only happens in a nice, fiction story or a fluffy TV show. This was real.
Since they had helped us move, Gran, Granddaddy, and Uncle Dustin were already in the house. Uncle Dennis and Aunt Hayli came over and then the whole family had a traditional Christmas brunch, prepared by Mama. That was such a fun day. There is one specific part about that day that will remain in some of my fondest memories; as the snow was gently falling outside the dining room door, Uncle Dustin sat down at the piano bench and played “A Day without Rain” by Enya. The soft, smooth fall of the keys of that song will always remind me about this Christmas. Uncle Dustin seemed to play at the same rate that the snow was coming down. It was beautiful.
In the next few months, I began to talk to Uncle Dustin more. Even though he was fourteen years older than me, somehow I felt like we were at similar places in life. There he was, living in Valdosta without family with him or many good friends. He was just starting out in life and was going to college, but had no idea what he wanted to be. This was just like me. Here I was in a completely foreign place feeling lost, just a year away from high school, and having no idea where my life was going. Uncle Dustin helped me with his advice, humor, and even his music. Before I had left Leesburg, my piano teacher had told me that if I was ever upset, I should go to the piano and take my anger out in music. I did just that, but not with the pieces I had learned in class or with any classical arrangement. Uncle Dustin told me about a band called Coldplay. He owned some of the songs and had picked them out on the piano. I felt like those songs were written to me. They dealt a lot with confusion, heartache, frustration, mystery, hopes, and fears. Uncle Dustin taught me how to play “Clocks” that summer. Ever since then, when I am too happy to scream or too frustrated to think, I will sit down at the piano and pour my soul into that song. The mysterious melody and strong, steady beat allow for emotion and I always take advantage of that. To this day, Coldplay is one of my favorite bands, along with Keane, which is another band from Uncle Dustin’s collection.
So, even though perhaps he never knew it, Uncle Dustin was and still is a big part of my life. I feel like I can relate to him more than anyone else in the family and I have confided so many things to him. There will probably be more about him later in the book.
Another person I probably should have thanked is God, but back then, He was kind of this strict blob that I could talk to if I wanted to, but I did not want to obey Him. I know, that is as bad as going to a counselor, listening to him for your whole life, and then throwing away all of his advice. That is about what I did, though. Had I listened to God, I might have been spared the next two painful phases of my life. Oh well. Here we go.
So I told you in the last chapter that I just wanted to be friends with Jonathon now. My family and I went back to Albany in March to visit because Gran and Granddaddy still lived there. We all went to Cracker Barrel one Sunday and to my surprise, I met Jonathon walking around the country store. We talked for a while and he copied my new phone number. I felt like we were good friends again, but I had this deep intuitive feeling that it would be years or even forever before we saw each other again. I left Cracker Barrel that day with a smile on my face, happy to see my childhood friend and feeling that this chapter had ended on a good note.
But, by this time, for some stupid reason, I had a crush on pop star Justin Bieber. Now, I can just see people snorting at this book now. What’s the big deal? I was a child, for Pete’s sake. Well, ordinarily, there would have been nothing wrong with this arrangement. However, it caused strain in my relationship with God, and that is a serious problem. I just thank God today that I liked a celebrity, not someone else at that age. There is no telling what I would have done or how far I would have gone. I liked Justin Bieber for all the wrong reasons. When my conscience was pounded by things I did not even fully understand yet, I realized that I had made a big mistake. I got much closer to God in those moments and my problem was almost gone. I know. At this point, you are probably shaking your head, stating that I know nothing about real life if this is my idea of a “dilemma.” However, this stage of my life was a lot more difficult than I am letting on. As an author, I confess that I must be open and that can be tough at times. This was probably one of the most sensitive seasons of my life so far, though, and I really do not feel comfortable about sharing it at this point.
Now. Back to the story I am telling. Even after this, I still did not know what real love looked like. Sometime earlier in the fall time, I realized that I only had a crush on a few people and those were easily forgotten. Even Justin Bieber had been thrown to the dust quicker than I had expected. All of the hurt from moving from Leesburg was still on me. It had not budged one inch. My ideas about love and about home had now been skewed, so I was scarred for a time. When I have a problem, I often go to the opposite end of the spectrum to fix it. In other words, since I did not know the real meaning of love (and actually realized this pretty quickly), I decided not to love at all. My heart was already on its way to be hardened. It becomes tougher to keep hearts soft after they have been punched. I guess moving and now this dilemma was my last straw. Next thing I knew, I was a young preteen rebel, at least in my mind. With shaggy hair, ripped jeans, old t-shirts, a hate for traditional values, an anti-academic attitude, and a prideful independence that cost me more than I knew, I felt like I belonged to the new generation of career women that the world had welcomed in recent years. I told myself that I would devote myself entirely to a career, never get married, and certainly never have children. I felt that a regular family was one of the world’s evils. I hated sentimental feelings; some of them had cost me so much pain already. Knowing this, I resorted to a stubborn coldness. I was no longer a child, I told myself, so I did not let myself associate with Disney freaks, which were still abundant at my age. The color of pink was about enough to make me nauseous and all of the chick flicks my mother watched were pathetic. I could see how the world could benefit without such things. I remember one time I plainly told Mama that I did not care about little children or about anything they enjoyed, including and especially Disney. I remember both she and my father jumped on that. Trying to prove I was wrong, they told me about a young neighbor that they had met this year. I had heard his name before, but I had seen him personally once, if at all. They said that he was a fourteen year old boy named [blank]. All of the neighbors said good things about him and he often babysat his neighbors, who were four and six.
“[blank] is not too old for such things and he is older than you,” Mama said. “Why are you too good for people younger than you anyway?”
I forget what my response was, but I do remember the emotion I felt when that question was asked: hate. However, if I had have taken a moment to think, I might have questioned the origin of such hate. Why did Mama’s simple question ruffle my feathers so much? It is clear to me now that I was desperately trying to hide who I really was: a young girl who had not yet grown up, who needed to trust God instead of taking her life into her own hands, and who needed to be humble to people of younger ages rather than shunning them. Most of all, this girl did not need to deny all forms of feminism, she was not a boy and never would be. Ironically enough, it would take a boy and a drama troupe to show her this, but as in all of the great movies, they would come just in time.

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One Response to ““Welcome Home” Chapter Four- The Hardest Part”

  1. Sarah Spradlin June 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM #

    Well dang. There are feelings in this chapter. Lots of feelings. O__o Stupid introverts not sharing their problems until they’ve already happened. Kidding 😉 We spent a lot of time on the phone during the phase *nodding* Still loving this, Brooke! Keep writing! 😀

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