Month: October 2015

31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 3

I may have started my adventure, at least geographically.  I was wide-eyed and had the whole world ahead of me.

As the end of my teaching experience drew near, I considered staying another year.  But with now with a taste of “something new,” I had to find my next fix.  This time with a bit more of my comfort zone.  Joining a friend in Ohio, I started working for a church while pursuing my seminary degree.

I was with friends.  I could speak the language.  I spent my days with college students, leading Bible studies, serving as the local women’s university basketball team chaplain and playing flag football.  I don’t think a job could get better than this!

I was still naïve yet thought I knew everything.  I didn’t know heartache.  This was the season for my first love and first break-up, with others to soon follow.  Each one more mind-boggling than the previous, assuming “It wasn’t me.  It’s their loss.”  As if I had nothing to learn.

“Guard my heart,” they told me.  It was more like a stone wall and moat.  No one could get too close.  If they did, I had my perfect image and my hidden controlling nature to ensure everything went according to plan.  This way, I wouldn’t get hurt.

As part of this, I vowed never to move for a man. Yet this one…I thought I would marry. It was his dream to move to LA and begin a brilliant career in film. So instead of following him, I left first. I’d start my life in California, then he would join me.

But as the moving date neared, I began to wonder if I was being foolish. I was leaving behind friends and a promising career. A few days before I hit the road, he and I had an in-depth conversation. I wanted some things to change before we took this next step. I wanted to be certain, once again.

The conversation revealed that we did not see eye to eye, and the day before my departure, we ended our relationship. My logical self kicked in, with a need to prove to others and to myself that there was no turning back. I could do this.  I headed west.

31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 2

Though I often never veered too far from the “logical next step,” I always saw myself as someone who stood out from the crowd.  Maybe that was influenced by my towering height, starting in kindergarten!

In college, I majored in education because it would lead to a “good job.” I went the extra mile, adding another major, minor and certifications just to ensure that I would be particularly marketable. My priority has always been “the next accomplishment.”  Yet as graduation drew near, I knew I wanted more.  I was dying to have an adventure, my own adventure.  I decided to go to China for a year.

While my friends had stable jobs and solid incomes lined up, I packed my one suitcase and traveled across the world.  I didn’t know anyone.  It was my first year teaching which ended up being more like an annual-long game of charades.  I didn’t know the language.  My mom feared I might meet my future husband and never come home.

That year resulted in my craziest experiences to date.  Let’s take my diet that year which included: chicken feet, blood clot (apparently a “must-have” for teachers who might inhale chalk dust), monkey brain and rabbit head.  Yes, I remember that day vividly when I thought I was sitting down to a nice, end-of-the-year picnic which included a bag of fried chicken.  Yet to my dismay, I open the bag to find a bunch of rabbit heads.   It was the year I tried breaking and entering for the first time when we were locked out of the girls’ junior high dorm we were all living in.  Yes, for one year as a college grad, I lived on the same floor with a class of sixth grade girls.  And I also learned that year that karaoke is illegal within a certain vicinity of universities.  So I found myself hiding from the police while simply singing the Titanic theme song.

I had no idea what the future held but this was my first leap.  Yet this was my adventure.  I was a six foot blonde in China–my year as a celebrity.

Little did I realize, it was the beginning to my life as Shebraham…fifteen years ago.

31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 1

Everyone has a story.  This is mine–my Shebraham adventure.

I grew up in a small suburb outside of Chicago.  What I’ve known is comfort and stability.  Though this did not mean peace and quiet, in a household with six children.  Those moments were more likely discovered sneaking under my bed or reading in the treehouse that Dad built.  I’ve been very grateful for my life as I know it.  I was never in want–except for the occasional real Barbie doll or Cabbage Patch Kid or even something that wasn’t a hand-me-down.

Though one thing I do know as the youngest, I struggled to find my own way.  I was prone to look to my older siblings for my path and decision-making.  By my teen years, I feared veering too much from the comfort and stability that I had always known.  Which led to taking the easy path, falling into decisions that seemed like the “obvious next choice”.  This influenced my desire for perfectionism with everything laid out for me before taking the next step and my need for control.

Yet, during my high school years, I wanted to explore the world, experience an adventure, live a life outside of the comfort I had grown used to.  But I didn’t apply that yearning in my Spanish classes, rather spent that time chatting with friends, thinking “When will I ever use this?!?”

Little did I realize, that fifteen years later, I would desperately need it–not only Spanish, but also the ability to take the road less traveled, to move out of my comfort zone and to learn to let go of perfectionism.

So here I am, on Day 1 of this writing journey.  My first attempt at practicing the daily discipline of writing and sharing it with the world.  Funny how that same perfectionism of earlier years is creeping up, telling me, “You can’t share.  You have no website.  You’re not ready.”

Let the adventure begin!