A few years ago I wrote my first book, The Elephant in the Room – How to Overcome the Psychological Barriers to Weight Loss Success. It’s about the mental blocks to weight loss. While it is available in print on Amazon I would like to GIFT my book to you for free in pdf form.
If you would like to read it, click HERE.
Instead of telling you about what is in the book. I’d like to share the story BEHIND THE BOOK with you here in my blog.
This is PART 4 of The Story Behind The Elephant in the Room, Mrs. Quarles, the Teacher I Dedicated My Book To…
It’s Part 4 of my story and I can’t wait to tell you about Mrs. Quarles.
I knew, when I was in 9th grade, that I would write a book one day.
By the end of 12th grade I knew that I would dedicate it to my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Quarles.
Freshman year of high school was not a breeze for me. As an only child with parents who were extremely unhappy and who worked a lot I spent most of my time alone and my home life was extremely toxic. I was lonely and the turmoil of my home life often got me pretty down. I fooled most of the world with my smile and cavalier attitude about all things but behind the facade I was making some dangerous choices and experimenting with any drug I could get my hands on. By the end of the 1st semester of 9th grade year I had a report card full of Ds and Fs.
No one noticed my slow destruction. No one seemed to notice that I was struggling. No one, that is, except Mrs. Quarles.
I remember the first time she asked me to meet her in the hallway in the middle of class. I was super scared that I was in big trouble, but, when we got out into the hall, and no one was around, she asked me, “Are you ok?”
“Yeah.” I told her with nonchalance and healthy dose of teenage attitude.
I don’t recall much of our conversation but I know she told me that she thought I was a very lonely young lady. She thought I could use a pet. She told me she was going to call my parents. I ‘whatevered’ the whole exchange and went about my day.
Mrs. Quarles did call my mother. She did tell her that I was extremely lonely. Shortly after, my parents let me get a pet, something I had been asking for for YEARS but had always been a hard “NO!” (I got Ogden, a small cockatiel who became my world for the next 16 years).
I’m not sure what magic spell was cast, if it was being SEEN by Mrs. Quarles, or the magic of having a companion in that little bird but I changed my life drastically from that day forth.
I quit drugs. I earned As and Bs on every report card and I started to make my own joy for my life.
Mrs. Quarles pulled me out of class occasionally to check on me that year.
At the end of my freshman year Mrs. Quarles retired and moved up north. I was heartbroken.
The following year, in 10th grade, I ran into Mrs. Quarles in the hallway at school one day. She said she was in town and popped in to school for a visit. She asked how I was. I don’t remember what I told her. We had a little chat and I went on my way.
In 11th grade I ran into Mrs. Quarles in the hallway at school once again. She said the same thing as the year before, that she was in town for a visit and popped in. She asked how I was again. I don’t remember what I told her that year either. We had a little chat and I went on my way.
In 12th grade I was in photography class and was walking around campus taking photos. The hallways were pretty empty as most students were in classes. I saw Mrs. Quarles and ran over to her to say hello. What happened next feels like a dream, I’m tearing up as I write this.
Mrs. Quarles said she was on her way to my photography class to find me.
Huh? My head was confused. Why would she want to find ME, on purpose?
She then told me that she knew it was my senior year and that she might not see me again (this is before the internet you guys). She told me that she had come back to check on me every year since she retired. She told me that she thought I was special. She asked me how things were going at home. I was still confused but I told her that things were so much better as my parents had gotten divorced and I was no longer living in a war zone. She told me how happy that made her.
We talked for a while but I couldn’t tell you what about. I wish I could remember more, but after this amazing woman revealed to me that she had been checking in on me I was in a state of shock.
All I know is that this woman cared about me. She SAW me. She NOTICED me. And the feelings that this awoke in me changed the trajectory of my life. Someone cared. And I mattered.
I knew that day that one day I would write a book and I would dedicate it to Mrs. Quarles.
I’ll see you in Part 5 to tell you about the day I found Mrs. Quarles after years of searching.
Want to catch up on the whole ‘Beyond the Book’ series? Here are the links: