Changes along the way

August Writing Prompt #5 says “Tell me about the 5 women who have changed your life.”

Interesting.  This is not the type of thing I think about very often.  And when I did think about it, I thought that it was interesting that a lot of the people who I think have changed my life were not women.

I’ve decided to go with 5 people who I actually know — no celebrities or anything like that.  Because for me, it would be really hard to say that someone I don’t know has really changed my life.  They might inspire me, or something like that, but they haven’t changed my life, really.

So, in no particular order:

  1. My grade 7 teacher, Mrs. Willis.  Mr. Willis looked like a man.  She pretty much dressed like a man also.  She was a great teacher.  One time, during a spelling test, she was using the word “absence” in a sentence, and she said “Absence makes the fart grow stronger,” when she meant to say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  We all cracked up over that one.  Her too.  Anyway, that wasn’t the life changing she did for me, although it was pretty damn funny.  No, Mrs. Willis changed my life by suggesting that maybe I should try out for the basketball team in high school.  Until she suggested that, not once in my life had I ever considered myself athletic, and certainly not athletic enough to play sports on a high school team.  But her suggestion encouraged me and gave me the courage to try out for the team.  It turned out she was right — I was a pretty kick ass basketball player.  MVP of the team one year.  We finished second (losing by one point) in our areas divisional championship the first year I played.  In my final year of high school, our team went to the city championships.  Where we played against a school apparently populated by Amazon women who forced me to foul out of the game.  But we won’t talk about that.
  2. My naturopath, Katherine.  She opened me up to an experience of people who were non judgmental, who were trying to heal their own shit while helping others heal too.  She saw things in me that I thought I saw myself but was afraid to admit.  I’m bummed that she retired, but know it’s the best thing for her.
  3. My daughter.  That probably sounds cliche since I suppose motherhood changes everyone.  But my daughter has changed me in very specific ways.  She’s changed the way I think about and view myself because suddenly it was just so heartbreakingly horrible to think that my beautiful girl would ever talk to herself or view herself the way I have viewed and talked to myself.  So I had to change that.  I’ve also watched this kid who I was told would be “very limited in what she could do” after an autism diagnosis at 3 years old come all the way through grade 7 pretty much just like everyone else, and in French immersion on top of it.  She is different and (for the most part) doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks (she is 13 so sometimes she does give a damn and yells and cries about it for a few hours.  Then she gets her period and things get better).  I have learned some valuable things there.
  4. My BFF, Cindy.  The fate that had her moving to the same town and the same school as me changed the direction of my life — I’m sure of it.
  5. My grade 9 basketball coach/gym teacher.  She was the first person who really brought home for me that weight was just as important as, or maybe even more important than ability, performance or perseverance.  I’ll be writing more about that later since there’s a writing prompt that will cover that off.  You can read about the details here though.  I am still recovering from the way that woman made me feel and think about myself.  Is it odd that I included her?  I don’t think so.  It’s about people who changed my life, not about people who inspired me, or made my life better.  Sometimes change is bad.  I count myself lucky that only one of the 5 women I’m listing here changed things for the worse.

Phew, no pictures of me required this time.

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