This past weekend I visited the museum where I worked for about a year and a half when I was first out of high school. It’s made me pretty nostalgic the last several days. I don’t like to dwell on regrets, but there are certainly a lot of things I wish I’d known when I was younger.
5. Words Hurt; Hurtful words from those we care about hurt the most. I have been struck by the story of the school bus monitor who was teased to the point of tears by some very nasty children this past week. When I was in elementary school I had a male teacher who I really liked. Not “like, like” but I really enjoyed his class. I thought he devoted some extra attention to me too that year. But one day I wrote a very hateful poem questioning his “sexual orientation.” He was noticeably effeminate. It got a lot of laughs as it was passed around the room. But he didn’t laugh when it made its way into his hands. I will never, ever forget that look on his face. I really wish I had known how much my little prank would hurt him.
4. I am not mathematically stupid. I don’t know when I decided that I was mathematically stupid. I couldn’t figure numbers in my head (actually, sometimes I still can’t.) I actually like math. Geometry and algebra are fun to me – if only those pesky calculations would come naturally off the top of my head. But they don’t and so I just thought I was dumb. And because of this, I chose not to pursue science in college. Now that is dumb. I always found geology fascinating and if I could just have whispered in that “younger me’s” ear and told her how “un-dumb” she was in math, maybe I’d be in some sort of geology field today… or not. But maybe finding a reason to believe more in myself would have encouraged me to be a writer even sooner.
3. Beautiful is “being”. I have always been a big girl. In high school especially, I had lots of extra pounds. These days I’m actually more active and keep myself trimmer and healthier, but in school I was teased and called “Fats” by a group of guys in some of my classes, The teasing always “tickled” in the back of my mind and kept me from feeling pretty. The older I get, whether I put on a few extra pounds or take a few off, I have learned that “being” beautiful, makes me beautiful. If I feel it, then I am it. And that’s a great thing indeed.
2. Don’t be afraid to love. I learned this lesson in 1998 when my eighteen year old sister died suddenly. There’s not a conversation I have with a family member since that day that does not end in I love you. I remember after Cori died that I tried to recall if I had said it enough. She and I were entirely too much alike and we found ferociously – we loved the same way. Her heart was beautiful and perfect and I miss so much how she used to cling and touch and hug me to the point that I would want to shove her away. So love! Love more, love bigger, love stronger, love always.
1. Writing is a part of my soul. Until about a year and a half ago I had stopped writing. It was almost a 10 year hiatus. Now that I’m doing it again, it seems like a part of me has sparked back to life. When I go a few days away from my WIP I feel needy, lost, in a fog. It’s a part of me that cannot be excised. It has empowered me, made me feel stronger, more independent. I just feel MORE of me now.
So, although there are lots of things (many more than I’ve put here) that I wish I had known, the truth is the journey has and continues to make me strong. I can’t complain. I’ve been very lucky and the bumps on the road behind me have toughened me up for the bigger ones that are likely ahead of me.
Find Olivia's books:
Witch Way Bends is Available at Amazon
Bitten Shame is Available at Amazon ~~ Barnes & Noble ~~~ Smashwords
You can also get autographed paperbacks of both books from Olivia’s blog.Olivia Hardin realized early on how strange she was to have complete movie-like character dreams as a child. Eventually she began putting those vivid dreams to paper and was rarely without her spiral notebooks full of those mental ramblings. Her forgotten vision of becoming an author was realized when she connected with a group of amazingly talented and fabulous writers who gave her lots of direction and encouragement. With a little extra push from family and friends, she hunkered down to get lost in the words. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and is sometimes accused of being artistic, though she's generally too much of a perfectionist to appreciate her own work. A nativeTexasgirl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband Danny and their puppy Bonnie.
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