So here I am…23.5 years later finding myself, for the first time since leaving MSU, missing my days at MSU.  It’s the first time in 23.5 years that I find myself going back to a time in my life that is was just about me. The first time in the last 23 .5 years I can remember a time before “the time”.

I say, “the time” because in only one day something changed my life and I seemed to forget who I was in that moment.  My life would become unexpectedly, very different, from that point on, for the rest of my life.  I had no idea how much and how true this would prove to be!

23.5 years ago everything that I was and knew changed.  It changed the day I started feeling “too sick” and went to my Dr.  I will never forget that day, the days that lead up to it, and the days thereafter.  I will never forget hearing that I was pregnant and I was going to have a baby.

I was 21 years old, unmarried (although did have a boyfriend), and having the time of my life up at MSU.  From that day forward, from the day I sat in my Dr.s office “office” while he called my mom to tell her, my life came to a SCREECHING halt, and I have never ever been the same person since and I don’t just mean in the obvious of ways.

I won’t get into all the details of what the next 6 months (let alone 23.5 years) had in store for me, but I will tell you that everything I knew was gone.  My friendships changed, my relationship with my daughters dad changed, my youth was gone, my naiveness and freedom, my relationship with the world, my relationship with me, my relationship with my family, my relationship with money, E V E R Y T H I NG had changed in one second.

All I could do was try to get up every a.m., go to class to finish what I could that semester, keep bartending at night, and keep going until I didn’t know what.  I was in what I now recognize as “survival mode”. There was no more me, there was a situation.  (Looking back now, this “situation” is the greatest “situation” and gift I could have EVER received!  I have to tell you before going any further, my daughter changed the trajectory of where my life was going…and looking back it was not going in a good place!  I partied too much, was not focused at all, and had no goals of anything.  She was my true gift from God and a day does not go by where I do not tell her this).

Looking back on the past 23.5 years, I do not know how I did it.  From that day I went on to try create a beautiful family, married my daughters dad, played house, got a dog, had a son a few years later, had mom friends, dressed like a mom, gained weight, lost weight,  dressed the way people wanted me to dress, I could go on and on. Looking back at pictures I do not even look like “myself”, although that was who I had become so it was me.

I created what every “normal” family is.  In Laws, every family gathering at our house with both the families, PTA mom, marriage, working, not working to take care of the kids, money issues, marriage ups and downs, etc…I did it!  I had become what I thought everyone “wanted” me to be, normal. From extreme “emotional trauma” I rose out of the ashes and created what I thought was a perfectly imperfect looking life for everyone.  It had many ups, many downs, fun family vacations, much love, heartache, holidays, laughter, tears, teenagers, autism, you name it we were “NORMAL”, NORMAL FAMILY STUFF!

Looking back, I have no regrets and can not be more PROUD of what I created.  I started from nothing and now have 2 amazing kids, if I do say so myself. I’m an AWESOME MOM, although not perfect, and a pretty darn good ex wife, whether he knows it or not!  😉

Yes, ex.  After almost 20 years together, I needed to “find my truth” whatever the hell that meant.   I was “guided” to go in…and boy have I ever gone in, I’ve had my ass kicked and delivered to me over the past 5 years, in more ways than one.  It’s amazing the domino effect it had on EVERY area of my life. That’s one way to find your truth. lol  I do miss my “family” and what I created everyday, yet I know this is what finally needed to be for all.  😦

I do believe however that all that ass kicking has led me to this day of finally being able to see past the 23.5 years and go back to a time before my kids dad, before us, when it was just ME!  Maybe that was what my truth really was, remembering who I was and what it FELT like to be me before the 23.5 years and meeting my ex husband even before that.  (That might be another blog)

So, with all that going on, from the time I turned 21, I had no way of going back in time any further than that day.  I remember how I was, who I was, but NOT the feeling of who I was.  That person seemed so distant and almost like she did not exist anymore.  She was long gone.

All of my memories of who I was came from that day in my Dr.s office forward. I identified myself only as that girl who got pregnant, was unmarried, looked so young, became a wife and mom and daughter in law, his wife,…that’s it!  My role changed that day and I was no longer me I was another version of ME!  A strange one I did not know.

Going back to fall of 1986, I had all good intentions when I went away to school.  I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate from college (although looking back I had no idea what that meant), I could not WAIT to get out of my crazy house, the world was going to my oyster, and I finally could have been anything I wanted to be and go anywhere I wanted to go…even CA!  I was so happy to leave the city I grew up in, meet new people, make new friends, experience new things and be independent and FREE!!!  I was so over all of what I knew and so EXCITED for all the new possibilities and adventures that were coming!

So off I went. I could NOT wait to get rid of my parents.  I could NOT wait to not see my little brothers everyday.  I could NOT wait to never see most of the people from my super cliquey high school again and I could NOT wait to get going already.

Little did I know what the next 4-5 years would bring.  Boy, did I have a lot of fun the first couple of years!  I met so many new people over the next few years, had great friends who I LOVED hanging out with, partied like a rock star, I even met the love of my life (at the time) before going to State, and yeah me, he went there too.  We had so much fun up until I had my heart broken by him, and so on and so on.

Then came my daughters dad…we dated for awhile and had a lot of fun (before the big news that was)… MSU was was big time fun time for me.  I am so glad I had it while I did. I had no idea that it would be over forever and so quickly.

Funny thing about going to college is that I didn’t realize I was there to go to school.  lol  lol DUHH!!!  I was there having the time of my life.  To this day my parents do not let me forget how much money “the time of my life” cost them either.

To make a long story short those years I remember, but I forgot how I FELT.  I forgot who I was before that day and I forgot what it felt like to be me.

Flash forward to present days, after a long, and very hard last 5 years after my husband and I got divorced (still a strange word to say), let alone the 23.5 years…I finally remember what it felt like to me, Lisa.  To be ME.  To be this young, beautiful, adventurous, little, fun loving, yet simple, free, and loving me.  It’s been a long 23.5 years of self discovery.  I can say that the first half of my life has been something I will never ever forget. I hope to say that about the second half, not because it was so hard. lol lol  Mama needs a break! hehe

I have used all the hard times as a reflection of myself to do my work, although sometimes soooo hard, I can honestly say sitting here today I am coming full circle to her.  To that girl I can offer a hug, security, wisdom, love, non judgement, a person to turn to when she had no one to turn to then, acceptance when she could not find it,  and most off unity of self…Unity with ME. Learning again who I was, always was, and still am, and always will be.

It’s a funny thing to be missing my MSU days all of a sudden…the days BEFORE the 23.5 year mark, and even the days before I met my ex-husband.  I forgot I had a life before that chapter. I can finally see the previous chapter called, “ME”, at least a little bit.  Before her dad, before my daughter, before the in laws, before my beautiful son, and the family we created … I can finally FEEL me.

This fall, as all the kids start their freshman year at college, I can’t help but pray they never forget who they are and if they do, I hope they know even if they forget, they will always be there waiting for themselves.  I know they have so much more to learn than what they will learn in class. College is meant for so much more.

So these days as I lovingly miss my MSU days, I know I miss them because I healed and I can go back, before “the emotional trauma” lol, and reminisce about the days I loved so much and what they represented for me; walking Grand River, eating at Peanut Barrel, Meridian Mall, the SBS, Jacobson’s, the new awesome friends I made in the dorms, the houses I hung out in on River St. and Gunson and lived in on Division street the summer before the “new” chapter started, the places I loved to shop, Joe and the boys that I loved, the partying that I did, and the times I forgot about.

I can now look back and see me, little tiny me in my ex small MSU pull over, overwhelmed at such a big campus yet full of adventure and so excited for what my life would be going forward, standing on the corner waiting for the campus bus the first day, feeling free, with the world as my oyster again.

So here I am…I made it…I finally graduated 23.5 years later while the kids get to go back to school, I graduate.  As I write this I have tears rolling down my face.  I know they are there because I found myself and I am proud of who I am!  This Phoenix has risen again…all thanks to the people who started this chapter for me, especially my daughter, the little soul who knew her mommy needed a kick in the ass to get her back on track “to find her truth”…thank you for helping me to graduate boo.  I love you and your gift to me is beyond what you will ever know.

Maybe now I will finally make it to CA!

For the record, after 5 years at MSU and 2.5 years of college, I finally graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1995 with a BA in PSychology and a Certificate in Developmental Psychology.  After 9 years, 2 kids, working part time, night time classes, my moms belief in me, my grandmas babysitting, my ex husband helping me pay for it, and the book, “The Little Engine That Could”.

Don’t ever underestimate the value of a team and the importance of a village.  See I really did have it all the whole time…i just never knew it!

Now I do!

I share this because for anymore who is lost, know that you will be found!