Picture this…. a scrawny, shy and relatively insecure little county girl. That was me! I had friends, but not many, and not the kind that I felt comfortable sharing my many insecure thoughts with. Being 13, with only the smallest sign of breasts developing, no armpit hair and definitely no sign of a menstrual cycle, my insecurities were skyrocketing! I mean, EVERYONE else had ALL those things…right!? The chit chat in the gym change room confirmed my suspicions. I began to question if I was even a real girl. Now as a 46 year old women, who has been dealing with the above stated items for many years, (exact number unnecessary - this is not the time for hurtful mathematics!), I think it is hilarious that I was so anxious for them to arrive.
After worrying about my body’s ‘dysfunction’ for months and months, I finally put my brave face on and confessed to my mom that I was most certainly a malfunctioning model of a girl. Not much was said at the time (my mom being almost as shy as me to discuss these topics), but I knew my concern was heard because sooner than later, a children’s book showed up in my bedroom. This cute little story entitled Leo the Late Bloomer would end up having an impact on me for my whole life.
The protagonist of this story book is Leo the tiger. Poor little Leo was behind all his friends. They were all blooming, but Leo, he was not doing much of anything at all! His dad was worried that Leo would never learn to talk, much less read or write. Maybe, Leo’s dad though to himself, Leo is just not a bloomer.
Even though this book was meant for children much younger than me, my mom was wise in her quiet and subtle approach. The message got through and I had renewed hope that one day, just like Leo, I would bloom.
Leo the Late Bloomer had nothing to do with puberty, yet it provided me with hope in my current situation. It would also be the first of many lessons I would travel through in my life about blooming late. Having struggles with anxiety and self doubt at many different intervals of my life, I held back on pursuing things I had passions in my heart to do, but eventually….I DID them! So instead of getting down on myself, instead of looking back and feeling discouraged about wasted time or lost opportunities, I think about Leo and how he bloomed when the time was right for him. I think about how his joy was the most complete having waited, longed and anticipated his blooming. He will probably never take it for granted. I think he would use it to better his life and the life of those around him.
There are times when we are blooming, and we know it. Then there are the times when we feel dormant. In those times of apparent dormancy, let us remind ourselves that unseen things are happening. It is often after times of quiet and stillness that come forth the most beautiful and dynamic blooms of all!
Who is ted?
Well, for starters, my full name is Tobi Elizabeth Duckering - AKA -TED.