To understand late, I had to look at early. Early on in my life, many seeds were planted. Some survived and some didn’t. Some never developed roots and others run deep and stable. Weeds sprung up too. Pardon the farm analogy for a moment, but shovels full of life’s manure ended up being some pretty effective fertilizer for the late bloomer within me.
Left to my own devices as a child, emotionally neglected due to sheer family size, my thoughts and feelings developed a faulty root system that almost destroyed my young life. There were times when something was clearly wrong in my family, but I was told everything was okay. Yet, I didn’t feel okay. I don’t think I even knew what that felt like.
So I concluded the obvious—there must be something wrong with me then.
I started to fill in the blanks others weren’t helping me fill; and I filled them with fears and inadequacies. With no clear filter or direction provided by the adults around me, my own thinking took me down a dark alley. Who am I? Not good enough. What am I? Not good enough.
When alcohol was added to the already unhealthy mix when I was 14, the defective thinking and unhealthy emotions were compounded and out of control at times. In most respects, clarity escaped me. Except for two parts of my life that early on became the taproots: relief as a writer and outlet as an athlete.