I used to be my grandpa’s princess. I truly believed he saw something special in me, and sure, it’s easy to say all grandparents see something magical in their grandchildren. But my grandpa was rough around the edges and not an easy man to love, yet I truly believe he saw something inside of me that destined me for greatness. I wanted to be great for so long that I forgot to enjoy the daily habit of life.
He died in 1998, and I was too young to garner any wisdom from him, but he embodied respect and unconditional love to me. He respected me because even though I was eleven, he knew I had big ideas and thoughts that needed to be expressed. I remember the night he died, taking a red pencil and a legal pad outside. I sat on a geode my grandma had in her front yard and as the adults gathered around in the garage, their eyes bloodshot and bleary, I wrote. I scribbled pages and pages worth of thoughts, but the thing that sticks out in my mind is how alone I felt after I lost my grandpa.
I’ve created a timeline of my life , and one of the major milestones of my life was losing my grandpa. Before he died, I was happy-go-lucky, sure, I wasn’t perfect, I was prone to losing my temper, but for the most part, I was told I had a million-dollar smile, and I was sweet, mild-mannered. After he died, my entire world felt as though it had been flipped upside down and rattled for spare change.
I no longer was a princess. I was the girl in rags begging for love. My diary took a drastic change from sweet, simple thoughts of what I had for lunch that day and what book I was reading, to what I thought the true meaning of love was, big what-if’s about my future. His death made me aware of the things I saw on the news: shootings, rape, war, murder, suicide. My million-dollar smile faded, flickered.
I never knew why I lost him so young, but I guess, like all things, it taught me a lesson, and the lesson is to respect and love those around you unconditionally. Sure, some people don’t deserve it, and don’t waste your time on them, but those who do, give them all you’ve got. And I do. I carry my grandpa’s legacy because the ones who deserve my love and respect, earn it and keep it, but those who don’t, I don’t give them a second thought.
Yesterday, I met with a former English teacher of mine. One of the few people who supported my writing, even when all my portfolio consisted of was crappy love stories and an entire novel of characters “jazzing around”. He brought me books on how to write and encouraged me to think outside of the box when I was in high school.
Talking with him again lit my passion for writing once more. Sure, not everything I write will be gold, but it’s a process, it’s learning to sift the gold from the dirt. It seems like I’m on the right track though; I feel like things are changing toward the positive, and sure, I still have my dark days, but I am making my way toward where I want to be. It feels like I am always my own worst critic, and I am going to fix that. I want to be my own cheerleader. Yesterday, I bought myself a necklace that says, “Be brave”, and as I explained to my fiancé, it’s a nice reminder to myself there are different degrees of being brave, and I should be proud of myself for each step of bravery, whether that be getting out of bed in the morning or making an empowered decision. Whatever the case may be, I just need to be brave consistently.