the first person to ever tell me i had leadership potential was mr. muldoon. he was my history teacher in high school -- maybe my junior year? he looked like colonel sanders with a jolly face and wide-brimmed glasses and the sweetest grandpa-like demeanor. i don't think i got an A in his class because, well, history is really detailed and i was more of a big-vision-person in high school. but i liked him so much and i looked forward to every class i had with him, particularly when he would hand back our tests or papers. no matter my grade, he would always write the same thing: "keep trying :)" shortly before the end of the year i was staying after class to work on revising a test i had failed (WHAT THE HELL, HISTORY, Y U SO COMPLICATED) and mr. muldoon was full of grace and kindness and jokes. he didn't make me feel stupid for not knowing the answers, but asked me good questions and helped me along the way to those answers. he did not judge or reject; he just listened and helped. i used to wonder if he wished i was smarter at history or paid more attention in class, but on this particular day i was feeling extra sensitive -- so i made some flippant comment about how dumb i was. then he dropped this bomb on me:
"Rachel - never lose your zest or zeal for life. it is contagious and you will lead people with it. maybe history isn't your thing because you're filled to the brim with zest and zeal; that's not a bad thing."
i held onto that promise for like, ever. i repeat it in my head sometimes and i'd be lying if i said i've never written it on my bathroom mirror. zest and zeal. lead people.
i've never had hatred like i've experienced in the last few months. for people who have wronged me, for people who think they did the right thing, for people who love me so much but messed up so badly and hurt me so deeply. i harbor such bitterness for the malicious acts of strangers who didn't listen to my story, for the support people who turned their backs, for the people along the way who reached out once just to get the juicy gossip and then never called me again. i'm filled with hatred, with anger, with bitterness.
and i am so sick of it.
i don't know if it's my new job or this article i read or the sweet little tomato that sprouted in my garden this week, but something feels different. maybe i realized that the more hatred and bitterness i have within me, the less room i have for zest and zeal. maybe i realized that 2015 is far from over, and i can't quite write it off yet. maybe i realized there is just so much left for me to create in the world, so many more stories to tell, so many more people to love.
so i'm done. at least i'm going to try to be done. i'm done wasting energy and tears on people who don't even think twice about me. sometimes the bad guys win -- that's just the way the world works, whether we want to admit it or not. all i can control is myself, and it's about time i start to do me again.
so maybe it's just that i'm having a good day or i was around creative souls last night or my medicine is working overtime, or i truly just can't quit the idea of making mr. muldoon proud -- but this is my new refrain, my fight song, my reprise.
now if you'll excuse me, i have some tomatoes to harvest.*
(*alternate ending: no time for haterz, got too many tomaterz.)