Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Obstruction ~ Round Robin

In memory's telephoto lens, far objects are magnified.
John Updike

The Round Robin Challenge for today is "Obstructions."

I have yet to ponder what it says about me that I immediately had the general idea of what I was going to shoot for this challenge. That may just be a tad bit TOO much introspection for me...and for my readers. First my "Fourth Estate" post and now this one, I think I'm treading the thin line.

But with as strong as the impulse came to me when I read the subject of this challenge, I pretty much knew that this was how it was going to turn out. Not the particulars, those came later, but the main idea.

When I think of "Obstruction" it translates automatically to "in my way." Now as a Taurean, things in my way are not something that I normally tolerate. When I am headed somewhere, be it in my daily travels or my life plan, detours and road construction are a frequent occurrence and normally a challenge I take head on. One of the reasons I own both a 4 wheel drive and a motorcycle is to add one more level of assurance that I will be able to best those obstacles.

There are many different obstructions that I - that we all - face ... traffic, finances, other people, gates...whatever. I am not known as a "diplomatic" problem solver in most cases (though in my job I have Made myself learn that tactic) but left to my own nature, I will push aside the boulder in the road, climb over wall, cut down the fence and pick the person up and set them aside.

The only problem with that is, the main Obstruction in my life - is me. Or, to be more specific, my past. Now yes, I get in my own way in the present too, stumbling over my own efforts and own insecurities, but when I look closely at those, they all have their roots in my past. And a fairly definable timeperiod of my past.

I spent most of my childhood shy and awkward around the majority of people, preferring my own company or that of the horses to the yapping girls that occupied adjacent seats at school. I was also an incurable tomboy - the only Barbie dolls I had were given to me by unknowing relatives and were quickly used as prisoners of war - and imminently EXPENDABLE p.o.w.'s at that - for the G.I. Joe battles my brother and I staged.

I was taller than most guys my brother's age (18 months older) were were for a number of years, until that age hit them where they shot up. By 16 I had reached what was to be my "figure" for the next 14 years. 5'9", 135, curves but oh so in-shape.

I rode horses, worked on the ranch, was on the swim team, the softball team, was a member of the ski patrol, and by the time I was in my 20's I had started riding motorcycles and had found out through aching muscles and a few close calls that I needed strength to ride, so I also became a gym-rat.

At 17, through a strange quirk of fate and an unlikely friend, I became a "model". Now I'm not some great beauty. In fact I always thought I was goofy looking, but my height had a lot to do with it I guess. It wasn't anything fairy-tale like. No diamonds and furs and stuff.....just modeling for a few Seattle shows, J.C. Penny’s catalogs....that kind of thing. But it helped me break from my self-imposed isolation a bit. I always knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my did so not fit my personality but it was fun and a confidence booster.

With a suddenness that still staggers me, my life ran into a brick wall the year I turned 30. It was September. I was living in Reno with my boyfriend of 7 years. I had spent the last 3 years putting him through college and he had just graduated. I had just bought a 75 Firebird (with the 455 under the hood!) to go with my Suzuki 1000 and was working a good job, loving life.

One night, after leaving a friends house, I pulled away from a stop sign and was struck in the driver's door by a Chevy 1-ton going 57 mph in a 25 mph zone. The next 4 weeks are gone from my memory, but the record goes something like this - - - I was dead when they cut me out of the car. The driver’s door was sitting at the stick shift and they had to cut me out of the passenger footwell - my spleen had ruptured. They kick-started me back up, tossed me in the ambulance, where I promptly flatlined again. Once again the paramedics did their magic. After 4 weeks in the hospital, a scar from breastbone to pelvic bone and a complete blood transfusion, I was sent home in a wheelchair and told I would never walk again without crutches (My hip had been crushed).

I arrived home to find the man I loved - bereft of my company (and my income) - had up and moved in with another woman. Needless to say this was a rather ...difficult ...time in my life. A physical therapist that walked on water showed me I could prove the doctors wrong, but it was a time of pain and frustration and loneliness.

Into this void walked a hero...a knight in shining armor...a lifesaver. There for everything I could possibly want need or desire - for 4 months...Then I made the mistake of disagreeing with him on something. After I regained consciousness - 3 years of terror, blood and broken bones followed. Long story short, with some help from high places, after 3 1/2 years I was able to walk away from hell (make that crawl).

Now, 7 years later, I have put myself through college...again...I have made a life for myself, found a wonderful job, and paradise to live in, and promise of brightness laid out before me.

And yet...and yet.....Every day, I look in that mirror, and see what is behind me. I see the hurt and pain, and it stops me from taking risks to get what I want. I see the mistakes, and it makes me doubt myself. I see the difference between what I was then and how I am now and I beat myself up worse than he ever did...

his words his voice... "you're ugly, you're worthless, you're nothing" replay as I stare behind me in that mirror and see the added years, the added pounds the added lines and the diminished "spirit"......and it stops me dead in my tracks. Nope, cant go on that date...he might hit me...nope, cant speak in front of that group, I don’t look good enough, nope cant play on that team, I still limp. The litany is endless, the mirror ever-present and the tick tock tick of time past, opportunities wasted and mistakes chosen grow almost deafening - crashing together to form a barricade, an obstacle, an obstruction to the future I have only now again begun to dream of.

The rest of the Round Robiners - Check um out, there are some great photos and great entries!
Nancy - Nancy Luvs Pics Posted!
Karen - Outpost Mâvarin Posted!
Carly - Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly Posted!
Dorn - Through The Eyes Of The Beholder
Julie - Julie's Web Journal Posted!
Sara - Animated Seasons
T.J. - Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story
Tammy- My Life As A Warrior
Steven - (sometimes)photoblog


Anonymous tess said...

The image you present has the intrigue. The story you relay has the reasons. Both have the foundation for the future.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Karen Funk Blocher said...

Oh, wow, Jessica. This is an extraordinary entry. You know what you need to do, right? You have to refuse to let those negative thoughts hold any more power over you. You know you're better than that. Heck, I know you're better than that, and I've only been reading your blog for two days!


11:48 PM  
Blogger Carly said...

Hi Jessica

It clearly took a profound amount of courage to share an entry such as this one with all of us...your friends. I hope you understand when I say I am VERY impressed and quite proud of you for allowing an awe inspiring amount honesty out. Feeling such as you describe are one we never quite loose, and we sometimes put them aside, rather then share them with the world.

I say "we" because, as you said a while back, you and I do share a lot from our childhoods...and a few moments from our adulthoods as well. I know what it means to write an entry like this. I want you to makes me feel so much less alone. On many levels. Excellent interpretation of the subject. :)

Love, Carly

3:50 AM  
Anonymous julie said...

This is a very inspiring entry. Brava!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I'm in awe of your honesty and bravery. I only wish I could share where I have been. Our past is a huge obstruction to our future. You are a survivor!

Thank you.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Great take on the theme! Some folks climb real mountains and some climb inner mountains. The paths are always steep, jagged and rough for both.

Taurus, huh :-)

11:50 PM  

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