Who Am I? Tell me about yourself… How many times have you entered a situation where you are asked to “provide a brief introduction of yourself to share with the rest of the people here, so we know a little bit about as we are going to be working together today, blah blah blah…” Everybody smiles, and looks around at the circle or the group of people in the room, but you know what we are all thinking, ‘not this again…’
To be honest with you, when I hear those words, I can feel myself curl up inside. I am not ashamed of who I am, and in fact, more often than not, I enjoy working and sharing with a group of strangers or less than familiars. The anonymity that is created by sitting down with a group that knows nothing about me is quite liberating. What I feel a sense of unease from is that moment of, “have I said too much?” Or, “did I not say enough?” Or the one that I fear the most, “Oh my God. Did THAT just come out of my mouth? Allison, STOP talking!”
That being said, I also know that that lack of knowledge leads to potential misconceptions or misunderstandings when you don’t know people well. So, if you are here by chance, reading my blog, allow me to introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Allison. I live in the North Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. I’m a 43 year old woman
with a truly awesome relationship with a fantastic man, (Shad) a really cool dog, (Winston) and I have a great job. ( I’m a resource teacher and alternate programs course advisor to teens and adults looking to graduate/ finish high school.) I work with an incredible team, and I get to meet really interesting people everyday, hear their stories and share in their journeys. We live in a beautiful part of the world, and I feel blessed everyday to wake up where I am.
I think a significant piece of the gratitude I feel comes from some of the past experiences I have had; some great, some not so great, and some downright awful. I have a family that loves me, I have extended family that welcomes me and loves me as their own, and I derive true pleasure from doing what I do every day. Over the years, there have been experiences that have left me doubting myself, my value, my purpose, and those were some very dark moments. From those challenges, when I didn’t feel that I could rise above, I had a very dear friend that reminded me of the importance of surrounding yourself with people that uplift you, not those that will bring you down. I kept repeating those words over and over to myself for a long time, writing them down on scrap pieces of paper, or inside notebooks, post-its on my computer screen as constant reminders to myself of the importance of “rising above,” so to speak. Well, I am proud to say, it worked! Along the way, I made some poor decisions, and yes, I know I didn’t handle many situations in the best fashion, but at the time, I did the best I could. I was in survival mode. Years beyond that now, I am at peace with myself over that time in my life. (Enough about that, we’ll save that for another post some day!)
As previously mentioned, there have also been some awful experiences. Last year was perhaps the most painful time in my life, and I am still slowly learning to put the pieces back together. I lost my only sister, my little sister to suicide. She was barely 40.
She had so much life to live, but she was lost. This crushed me. My family was desperate to bring her back. Heather had anorexia. She developed it later in life, and that was so hard on our parents. They couldn’t understand where this had come from. As her illness progressed, and the depression deepened, I learned small pieces over time, coming together to create a mosaic of tiles; slowly giving me an image of what she was experiencing everyday. I am forever changed. I have always wanted to work with, support and uplift other people, and now, that focus has been galvanized even more. She is my motivation to be a better person, to never stop learning, to be a mentor, protector and remind me most of all; of the importance of family, friendship and being a big sister. I will never have the opportunity to be a big sister again, but I can keep her in my heart, and share my love for her with others by talking about our shared experiences, and what I learned from my life with her as my treasured younger sibling.
I guess that’s enough about me for now. There will be more to share. There always is.
Bye for now…