Friday, May 1, 2009


The name, "Tracey" means "Fighter." I'm talking about the ACTUAL name Tracey, not Teresa (which means "Harvester") from which it's derived. Nope, I mean the real deal "Tracey."

And, I've looked back on my life lately and realized that my name pretty much fits. Obviously, I haven't had to fight for necessities like food and water or shelter or basic human needs. I haven't been beaten on a regular basis and was never the victim of bullying. For all of these things I'm completely grateful and thankful.

I was a scrappy kid though. If someone was being bullied, I was usually in the middle of the fray on the side of the underdog. I don't think I lost one tooth "normally" for a few years there. Almost all of them were knocked or punched out of my head.

When my Mom married my stepfather, I became a different sort of "Fighter". And I guess that's one skill set I learned-"How to Know Your Enemy to Fight Effectively." My way of fighting for survival back then was to make sure that appearances were kept perfect. My brother (well, and Mother) bore the brunt of my stepfather's abuse, and when my brother was about eleven he started getting a few pimples. He is a sensitive and self-conscious guy, even now. Back then, with the added insult and abuse, he struggled. Every morning I would get up, lay out his clothes for him, and cover his pimples with some concealer and powder so people wouldn't notice them and his feelings wouldn't be further exploited. I couldn't physically stand up to a 300 lb man, so I would make life as normal for my brother and I as I could (my sister had moved out as soon as she could), once outside the confines of our home. I went to school on 3-4 hours sleep and tried to present the perfect picture of normalcy. I knew that my Mom wouldn't, or couldn't, stand up for us or fight for us. She was waging her own war. I knew that it would have to be me standing up for myself and for my brother.

I wouldn't say that confrontational attitude is all nurture though. I've always been the person who battles things head on, squarely. If there is a hard way to learn something or a more difficult route, that's the one I'll take. And that's not to say that is the right way or the only way. We all have our own personalities and our own ways of dealing with things. Right or wrong, it's about surviving and moving forward. I just think I came into this world a scrapper, and it's probably the way I'll go out as well.

While I am the Captain of my own Fate, I feel like I've been forced into situations throughout my lifetime that were orchestrated by the selfish needs and demands of others around me. Their agendas. I've felt like I've been standing on my own in many a tough time. When the others around me are concerned for themselves and their issues or needs, and they aren't looking out for me or others, I feel like it's my job to stand up again, for that underdog. And for myself. I guess I learned the lesson young that the only person I could trust was myself. The only person going to protect me was me. The only person I could rely on was me. The only person who was going to make good decisions for me was me. All me.

As a Mom, I've vowed to never let my children feel like that. I don't want them to feel like no one has their back and that they are standing alone. My girls know that if they need someone to fight for them, I will. If they need someone to stand up for them, I will. They won't be shadowboxing in a dark ring all by themselves. Ever. When all is said and done, I can't protect them from the world, but I can let them know that when life tries to batter you down, you always have someone in your corner.

But being a "Fighter" for a lifetime is tiring. Sometime, it'd be nice to know that someone out there is looking out not just for themselves, but for me. That someone is willing to stand up and fight for me. It's been a long haul, and I'd like to put the gloves down and just watch from the sidelines for awhile.

Let's call this match and dim the lights on the ring. This Fighter wants to retire and nurse her wounds. Someone else take up the call for awhile.

And if we go by the meaning of names and their role in our destiny, then maybe my fighting days for my girls will be sparse. My eldest daughter's name means "a vision or dream" and my youngest daughter's means "pure." Hopefully THEIR lives are reflective of the meanings behind THEIR monikers. It's partly why I chose them. I want their lives to be a little easier. A little less dramatic. A little less of a fight.

But if it's not, I'll rally. They deserve nothing less.

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