In search of me – Day 6

by Carolyn on July 18, 2009

On the potter's wheel

On the potter's wheel

Wow, 6 days in already.  Only 24 to go!

Outside of family, who has had the biggest impact on your life?  What is it about them that has meant so much to you?  How have they changed you?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Frank July 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

You don’t have the bandwidth for me to answer this question. You just don’t.

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2 Tammy July 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I have been thinking about this all day and I have come to the conclusion that no single person has had the biggest impact on my life. Many things and people have shape my life over the years. The death of my father was huge for me and that definitely shaped me personally. My world was turn upside down and inside out.
As for people, when I think of school and why I love it so much, I think of my grade one teacher Ms. Bulat. She made me love everything about it. She is one of the most excentric people you could have ever met and still is. She loves to teach and still does. She made you want to learn and work hard because she made it that way by caring so much. She still remembers all of her students by name and I had her 30yrs ago.
Professionally I would have to say my last boss and the office manager. They allowed me to grow in both my skills and confidence. They both taught me so much by the passion they put into their work. I went from being a shy selfconscience person, to someone who felt like the world was my oyster. I could doanything. I am grateful to both of them for their trust and confidence in me.
I would have to say I am a melting pot of things/situations and people that have shaped me into who I am.

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3 Carolyn July 18, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Well, I have been thinking of this one all day as well. There are a handful of people I could write about here but I’m going to focus on just one. It’s one I haven’t reflected on much, which is why I decided to choose her:

I first met Stephanie while I was in College. She was certainly not my favorite professor. At least not at first. I considered her to be a little flighty, somewhat arrogant and entirely unapproachable. For she is a woman who is incredibly intelligent, academically minded, continually rushing, and always highly respected by her colleagues. Intimidating? You betcha.

But one day I had a problem with another teacher. And since Stephanie ran the program, I had to go to her. She sat and listened to me with her undivided attention. She believed me without question. And that made me feel important.

Another day I had an idea for a big project. Not just a school project, but an actual community program. One of my professors felt it was beyond me. But not Stephanie. She told me I could do it. She told me that she’d help me achieve it. And then she did. Whenever I would start to feel small. Like the weight of what I was trying to accomplish was becoming too much, I would tell her I wasn’t so sure of myself. Without taking a breath she would simply say ‘Aww *come* on! Of course you can! She believed I could do anything and I never wanted to disappoint her. She made me believe I could too.

After graduation she hired me. And she continued to be my mentor, now as a boss instead of teacher. We even shared an office for a while. Oh how I loved those days. I would work so hard because that’s what she was always doing. And every so often we would stop and chat for a while. She always talked to me like I was her equal even though I was no where close.

When she advanced in the ranks and became the Chair of Health Sciences, I had a difficult time adjusting to my new boss. For me, they could never fill the shoes she left behind. And a few years later I decided to leave. I hadn’t really talked to her since we shared our little office but as she was still my boss (actually my boss’s boss) I scheduled a meeting to give my notice. We sat there together. I had simply told her my end date; no gory details as to why I was quitting. And the most wonderful thing happened. We chatted just like we had so long ago. She asked me about my future plans. I tossed out what I had been considering (which by the way were very lofty ideas) and again she simply looked at me and told me I’d be great. She even confided in me that she was leaving too and told me about her future plans. This person so superior seeing me as her equal. Making me her equal. A moment I still think of fondly to this day.

It’s funny. I never even liked her when we met. But I grew to revere her so much. And not just revere her; but love her too. Oh the experiences I would have missed had she never seen whatever it was she saw in me. I will forever be thankful. She shaped the course of my life for the better. She was one of my biggest fans. I only hope she knows I am one of hers too.

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4 Frank July 19, 2009 at 2:21 am

People don’t just know things like this. Or at least it’s not fair to assume that they do. You should tell her. Send a short note. Or a long note. Even if she *did* know, how much would that note be worth to her?

Priceless.

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5 Tammy July 19, 2009 at 7:53 am

You should write her and tell her. She was my favourite teacher as well. I had issues with one teacher(the head of the program at the time) as well and both her and Sherri helped me. I was glad they were there because I had never had issues with teachers in the past. I was always quiet and never bothered anyone. But I guess not buying any of the textbooks and still getting A’s didn’t sit right with the other teacher.

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6 Urchin July 18, 2009 at 11:02 pm

Sit down, sit down. Do you have a nice cup of tea? Some munchies? Yes? Good. Get comfy…

There haven’t been many people who’ve had a HUGE impact on my life. At least not with a good connotation. Two to be exact. There have been others, yes. People who have come into (and out of) my life leaving their hand prints, finger prints, or shoe dust on me, all in a good way. There have been others who have hurt me beyond any hurt any human should have to endure. More than once. But since the way the question is phrased, I’m going on the presumption that you want a good impact versus a bad one… I return to my two.

First: Maureen Daly. Mo. The director of the Rocky Mount Playhouse (now Theatre at the Imperial Center where she no longer directs shows, but rather has moved up and is now the Cultural Arts Administrator for the whole thing.) She was the first person to see through my walls. As if they were glass. The outer fortress walls, the inner gallery walls, the fortress itself. All as if it weren’t there.

She had faith in me that I didn’t have in myself. Her first show in Rocky Mount (we’d just lost out long-term director Jerry Sipp to another theatre and had a “filler” director for Inherit the Wind the previous show) was Blithe Spirit. I do and audition, as I always do, not expecting to be cast. Cast list goes up.

Elvira – Anna Niece (that’s me, when I’m not being Urchin)

Elvira? Really? I was so used to being background. Small cast, I figured I’d be doing tech of some sort. Nope. When I went to talk to her, she looked at me as I explained that I thought she’d made a mistake. That I wasn’t lead material.

“Urchin,” the first time she called me that, and the beginning of everything, “You are. You will. Take a deep breath. You’re going to surprise a lot of people. Including yourself.”

She was right. As days turned into weeks, then months, then years, Mo was working on me. Little by little showing me I could be more than the girl in the shell who glared at people and shoved them away with harsh and snarky words. More than the “girl in black” at school. She showed, as I’ve said, the faith in me that I didn’t have in myself. That no one else had in me.

I had to “glide” not something this marching girl did. At the end of the show’s run a guy came up to me from NY, one of the other actors friends and asked how long I’d been training in ballet. I laughed and shook my head. “I’m not. I did for a bout a week when I was five, but that’s it.” He was shocked, and Maureen laughed.

Over the years she kept pushing me to new heights. Stretching me when I didn’t think I could stretch any further. She kept on believing in me. Kept on showing me that I could, and WOULD do things. When I moved out of my parents house, and Rocky Mount, last year (January) she gave me a key to the house. Her house. The “little house” as we called it. I’d been house sitting for her over the years, but it’s MY key. With a note on the key chain telling me to “come home” when I need to. She’s helped me grow in ways I’m not sure I would have otherwise. She opened me up to new possibilities and showed me it was OK to believe in myself. Though I’ve slipped back down into my fortress more recently. I’ll get back to being the confident girl I was. I think I just need a visit “home”.

2) Conan Dunham. (He’s not family yet, so he counts! Bwahaha, semantics!) This is still a work in progress, but he’s changing me too. Impacting me in a way I didn’t think I could ever be impacted. I was “above” falling in love. “Above” all that nonsense. I didn’t need it. Didn’t want it. Didn’t even DREAM about it happening one day.

Then there I was, at Dragon*Con last year (2008) bouncing along in my pirate garb with my friend Heather on my arm and out of the corner of my eye I see the guy. In tails, top hat, gorgeous and ACCURATE Victorian clothing. He just drew my eyes. When I turned to look at him (after skidding to a stop) He smiled. Fangs. The man had fangs. I turned around and asked for a picture.

Wouldn’t you know, my camera wouldn’t work?

I had to ask myself, how real was the situation? Anyway, Conan and I got to talking. I was still convinced that nothing was going on. Up until he told me he loved me. I broke then and just started crying. He didn’t go away, instead he wrapped me in his arms and told me that he wasn’t afraid of me crying. That it was okay, not the response he’d wanted, but it was okay for me to cry. He understood.

So now I’m living with him. Being challenged in the same ways Mo challenged me, but on a much more personal level. I’m having to face some things about my history head on, and work on treating myself the same way I treat the people I like.

He’s pushing me into loving myself, not just believing. But he’s helping me there too. Helping me find myself again after everything. And new things that I’m having to face again. Not repressed memories, just… things I don’t want to remember. Don’t want to face. But as I do, he’s there. No matter what happens between he and I, he’ll have impacted me in such a way that I’m changed because of it. For the better.

I wonder if I’ve impacted him. He say’s I have. His friend say’s I have. That first night, he and his friend both, tell me that he called her with “You know that impossible list of requirements we were talking about? I think I found her.” After 45 minutes of knowing me. 45 minutes. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve impacted him just as much as he’s impacted me.

So there you have it. Tea and treats gone? Unwind your legs, stretch, get the blood flowing again.

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7 Urchin July 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Whoops. I meant to add these two pseudo-haiku in with my answer.

This was written before I met Conan. When I was first learning to express myself through words.

If I could see myself
as you see me
then I’d hate myself too.

And after I met Conan, but before I admitted to myself what I was feeling:

If I could see myself
as you see me
then I’d love myself too.

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