This is one of those life-changing moments I had with my dad. I say life-changing because what my dad said to me that day is how and why I got into blogging, and am still going at year 5!
Yes, that is like 50 years in interwebs time, I know.
I was having one of those wading in the pity pool days sparked by an upcoming high school reunion. Ah yes, there's nothing like a high school reunion to give you a benchmark point of how far you have or have NOT gotten since high school.
On that day of wallowing, I was depressed about where my life had NOT gone.
In my case, at that time, I had no husband or kids (never married), no house (still a renter), no hot body (packed an extra 20lbs), and no wild success story to brag share. I had been a millionaire during the Dot Boom days, but then lost it all like many.
That day, I was also feeling depressed about things in my past, the bad stuff I wish I could erase.
And let's be honest, I'm not saying it's right, just saying what is, there's some part of us, no matter how petty, that wants to go back to a high school reunion and brag about something. It's the nature of high school energy that polarizes us yet we can't seem to rise above it even years later. It is totally moronic. High school is that stigmatizing!
Now mind you, this was me on one of those primo sad-R.E.M-feeling-sorry-for-myself-everybody-hurts moments. I was emo on steroids. No way was I gonna see anything to be grateful for with my woe-is-me goggles on.
But it's okay right? We all have those days! And if we are blessed, we have someone who loves enough to kick us in the ass, and rip those woe-is-me goggles off our face. For me, luckily I had dad.
We're at my parent's house sitting in the living room pretending to watch TV, and dad asks me what's wrong.
I proceed to whine share all that was weighing me down hoping to get some sympathy and some dad sugar like, "Oh you're wonderful honey, don't worry. Let's go get some ice cream and make it all better, k!"
Um no! I got the complete opposite.
Here's a little background on dad's perspective. Dad was a career military guy, 23 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. Military people are pretty black & white thinkers. There is no grey with my dad.
Back to the couch.
After unleashing my bleeding heart, and expecting a bucketful of parental sympathy, my dad looks at me sternly and says:
"Okay you have two choices."
"Your first choice is to continue to wade in the pity pool and be depressed about all those bad things that happened to you and be sad about what you didn't get or have. Doing that only keeps you in the victim role, and you seem to be pretty good at wallowing. How's that working for you?" (Yes, dad got Dr. Phil on me.)
"Your second choice is to take all those bad things that happened to you, and use those stories to help other people. By doing that, you get to be in the driver's seat, and you get to control what role the past has over you versus letting the past dictate your present or future."
"So the choice is simple. Do you want to be a driver or a victim? Pick a side!"
I'm staring at my dad completely silenced with my mouth practically hanging open. I say to him:
"But dad, it's not that simple. You can't just...."
Dad cuts me off mid-sentence and repeats, "Oh no, no, no, the choice is that simple. You are the one making it complicated. Pick a side and be there."
I was speechless which is rare. Me Miss talker always has something to say. But my dad was right.
"Well, when you put things like that dad, of course, I am going to pick the driver's seat because yeah, the pity pool is not working for me. I'm tired of feeling sick and tired."
I continue on, "But I don't know what to do. So I sit in the driver's seat, and then what?"
Dad gives me that look like he's Yoda talking to young Jedi Skywalker, "Well then you figure it out. You're smart. You always now how to figure things out."
Dad is now appealing to my ego which loves hearing how smart people think I am.
My brain and soul was abuzz constantly thinking about what dad said. I deeply wanted to figure this out. How could I take all those things that have happened to me in my past and use that to help other people?
A couple weeks go by after this conversation with dad, and I discover blogging. I come across this guy who is making six figures, blogging about things he's passionate about, and I thought how cool is that!
And little did I know, how perfect blogging would be as a platform for me to share my stories and experiences to help others, and that millions of people over the years would come read what I had to say.
With blogging, I have been able to sit in the driver's seat of my life and share my experiences the way I want to. Dad was right, sharing my voice online has helped give me the power over my past instead of letting the past dictate my now and future.
And in the process, I have helped inspire so many people in so many ways, I will probably never know how much...and that's okay. My intention with blogging is and has always been to help others feel less alone and stigmatized by things that are tied with shame and guilt. I feel like I'm walking in my life's work.
I love you dad! Thank you for kicking me in the ass that day.
But still, can we go get some ice cream? This is when the Rocky Road tastes mighty good :-)