I remember the first time I was defeated. I was in the third grade and me, being the avid reader and writer that I was then, I was insanely competitive about spelling. I was the best speller in my class. I’d beat everyone in my class and in classes above me in order to reach the regional spelling bee.
It wasn’t like it is now. I see those kids (yes, I’m that big of a reading/writing nerd that I’ve watched them) spelling and studying for months before they go to a national spelling bee.
This was on a much smaller scale but it was huge for me. Anyway, it came down to just me and this boy. I was feeling pretty smug and I just knew I had it. I’d spelled words like chrysanthemum, allegiance, bouquet — words that kids (and adults) have trouble with now, myself included. It was a pivotal moment and the final word I was given was dentist.
“Dentist, D-E-N-D-I-S-T, Dentist.” As soon as I the letters tumbled out of my mouth, I knew I’d screwed it up. My Mom said my mouth dropped open and my eyes teared. It was over. My first defeat and one that hurt because I’d worked so hard.
I remember my first real kiss, the first time I fell in love (or what I thought that was), followed by my first heartbreak.
My first (starter) marriage, my first divorce (and one’s enough — for me, anyway).
My first time of being really alone — just me, with only me being responsible for myself. That first, although at the time it didn’t seem so, was my BEST first.
I got my first degree. Traveled. Got published. Did dangerous fun things that were totally out of character for me. The first time I realized that I would be okay if it was just me, was my turning point — a great “first.”
Then the world opened up and hubby walked in about nine years later and I experienced the real deal for the first time. It wasn’t so much falling hard, but a gradual, getting-to-know-another-soul-sweet-soothing-liquid-flowing-kind-of-thing.
You know, like when you’ve been parched for a long time after working so hard and the first time you let something cool slide down your throat. It’s not so much that you’re greedily drinking; you’re just so damned relieved that you’re not thirsty anymore.
Firsts are scary, painful, exhilarating, mind-blowing, agonizing, spiritual, awe-inspiring — all that stuff that is glorious because we’re alive.
Firsts can occur to anyone, great ones, no matter what you’ve been through or how old you are. “Firsts” are teachers and guide us — if we’re willing to be guided.
Another first, yesterday…
I’ve been back in my home for almost a week now after experiencing many “firsts.”
For the first time since that wicked, terrifying storm hit, I went to the beach.
I walked there with my pups and it wasn’t terrifying. It was calm, peaceful, beautiful. I watched the sunset and I knew that it didn’t matter if I was here or there, whatever happened would happen. A first for me, a knowing that I’d done all I could do to make things right and with or without me being somewhere else, everything would work out.
It always does. And, for the first time in a long time, I feel good, ready to laugh.
Here’s to firsts! I’ve got many planned this year. I’m sure some will be wonderful, others painful, but it’s all just the sweet messiness of life .
What are some of your firsts?
Happy First Monday of 2013.