In my pre-teen years, most of the boys in my neighborhood had dirt bikes. (Back in the day, we had neighborhoods, not housing developments.) I was sooo jealous. I wanted one sooo bad. My dad was a smart man, though – he knew what he was working with – he knew I’d kill myself on one.
Insight insert: At this time Evil Knievel was my hero.
I was already trying to imitate him by jumping my
So, I was forced to observe my “friends” rip and roar up and down the hills and trails of the large undeveloped area next to my neighborhood. (I’m pretty sure there’s a housing development there now.)
One afternoon I heard the familiar sounds of the two-stroke engines in the distance. I quickly found my bike, adorned myself with my Baltimore Colts football helmet (thanks cousin Tom – and the Colts were from Baltimore back in the day) and took off for the field, peddling as hard and fast as my skinny little legs would take me.
I showed up on the scene about the time several of the riders decided to take a break. They were sitting on their motorcycles talking as I peddled my two-wheeler into the midst of them to say “what’s up.” I’d like to be able to report that they welcomed me with open arms into their dirt bike posse – they did not. On the contrary…they laughed and made fun of me (imagine that). My banana-seat bike and Baltimore Colts helmet did not meet the standard of “cool” according to the posse.
The embarrassment smarted.
Not being accepted stung.
As I tucked my tail between my legs and peddled for home, I was hurt and rejected. Little did I know then, that the seed of a false formula had been planted within me. I sought refuge in my tree house. It was there in the solitude of self that I vowed to never – as long as I could help it – be made fun of again.
It was from this point that I began to rely on what other people thought of me to gauge my self-worth – a very unhealthy way to live. The manner in which I would act, perform and respond to life’s various situations, circumstances and people had now been perverted. The false formula had not only been planted, but was now alive and growing. It looked something like this (found in The Search for Significance):
Plus the opinions of others
Equals my self-worth.
What a high order and very unrealistic goal…especially with Jr. and Sr. High on the horizon.
…from the inside…ray-ray