Friday, January 16, 2009

2/52 "What Defines Me"

Well, I know I wasn't the only one struggling with this weeks photography theme. I'm not sure anyone can be defined in the contents of just one photograph. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's impossible.

I imagined if I were to die tomorrow, what would they say?

There would probably be mention of my passion with art. How I could spend hours with a paintbrush and that the smell of a fresh blank canvas was enough to make me numb with bliss.

That I had the ability to hear a song, and if given a few minutes in front of the piano could reproduce the very same melody...give or take a few notes. Or how I would play the guitar for hours on end until I was just sure my fingertips would spontaneously bleed or out-right fall off.

They would surely mention my new found obsession with photography, and how I no longer viewed the world through my own eyes but that of a viewfinder.

More then a few from the audience would recall how I loved to experiment with desserts and that I could whip up something tasty with shoe polish and pickles, if they were my only options.

Then the speaker would shift to things of greater importance. They would try, but surely come up short to find the words to describe the love I possessed for my daughter, only to do the same when it came to my husband. But as passionately as I loved, I was equally as stubborn. It would take an armada of persuasion to convince me to believe otherwise. And even then, your chances were slim.

I'm not anticipating an untimely death, nor am I anxiously awaiting a eulogy. Quite possibly you are wondering where on Earth I'm going with this. My point is, I can't narrow down what defines me into one photograph. So I decided to go a different direction with this theme. I focused more on a defining moment. A time in my life when everything just kinda came together. When it all started to make sense.

I joined the Army when I was 17. More specifically, 4 days after my 17th birthday. I wanted a challenge, and a challenge I got. I was stripped of my identity, then built back up. I was pushed harder than I had ever been pushed before. I learned to look defeat in the eye and not falter, but dig a little bit deeper and endure.

And that was just during my 3 months in Boot Camp.

I loved the challenge so much I went on Active duty from 2002-2005. My job title was 91W, a Combat Medic. Most of my time was spent in the Emergency Department. In total, I dedicated 6 years of my life to the military. And in that time I learned many, MANY things.

1) We are NOT invincible. No matter how much we would like to think we are.

2) Life can not be gauged by fairness. No matter how unfair it is, all the CPR and defibrillators in the world can't bring back the life of a 3 month old who was left to drowned in a bathtub, or a 5 year old girl whose parents tried to fake her death by hanging her with the cord from a window blind.

3) You don't have to back-stab and step on people to get to where you want to be, despite the growing trend. Sometimes a little good ole fashion determination does the trick.

4) Age is just a number. Don't EVER feel restricted by it.

5) If you don't ask, the answer is always no. And sometimes you need to ask more than a few times.

6) Don't EVER let somebody tell you that you have limits.

"The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough."
- Randy Pausch

7) Sometimes people are put in our lives for a reason. Whether you believe it by chance or by fate, accept that this is so. Learn from them. Grow from them. Appreciate them.

I could go on and on about my times in the Army and what I took from it, but I won't. In fact, if you've made it this far I'm impressed. I'm not a fan of lengthy writing, even I get bored.

If anything, I'm doing this for myself. I think we all lose sight of who we are from time to time. Nothing wrong with a little reflection.


Anonymous said...

what a great post Terri! I love reading everything you type. You are such a great writer and I love your twist on what defines you!

stephgallipeau said...

Wow, thats really all I can say.. wow. You write so beautifully. I think you did an awesome job on this weeks subject!

doreen said...

Wow. Seriously, I have chills going down me (maybe b/c it's so freakin cold, but I don't think so, lol!). You are one amazing woman. And to think you're only 25 makes it even more remarkable. Wow. Isn't there anything you can't do?

On a sidenote, my nephew can play any song he's heard on his guitar. Astounding. I've never known anyone to be able to do that, now I know 2. You are one talented girl, that's for sure!

Anonymous said...

Wow is right!
And you're only 25??!!
Btw. Greg joined the Army when he was only 17, too..... and that was before you were even born!! OMG, OK, now I feel old :-P

dalia said...

love that brick wall quote!! it is so hard to define oneself in 1 photograph.
you are quite impressive.

Terri Young said...

Awww ladies, y'all are the bestest!!! Thank you so much for your kind words (hugs)

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful post. And it should be for you. And for your daughter to know these parts of you and have a record of these parts of you and your life.

You are so full of talent and intelligence! And now I know about your determination too! you continue to amaze!

Anonymous said...

Well again Terri you blew me out of the water with your post and photos. Well done girl!

jilltan said...

Wow Terri! How amazing -- your experiences, your writing and your photography

cheryl said...

Wow is are very impressive.... Loved reading all of this

Howard M. said...

That's too cool of the best things I've read in quite a while.
Wow, you are only 25?!?

Ljsmom33 said...

Great post! I also love the brick wall quote. Thanks!

Sarah said...

OMG Terri your image and blog post are just beautiful to read. So touching.

Thank you for sharing.