I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’m gonna try to look around for something I’d written on the subject before. But the long and the short of it is that in my life for the longest time there was nothing but darkness and then there was Dale. The Dale Thing, like the tattoo, actually has very little to do with Dale Earnhardt . Most people think it did, including myself at times. But Oprah would call the Dale Thing my lightbulb moment, hence the comment about the darkness and the light.
I can vaguely remember what life was like before Dale, and can vividly remember what it was like afterward.
Before Dale I was useless, worthless, fat, ugly and no one was ever going to love me. That’s what I would hear more days than not.
After Dale I was brave, outgoing, I was a writer, an artist, a publisher, an entrepreneur. After Dale it was “anything could happen day”. I was, of course, always all of those things and more, but after a while even the best attributes of the best person can be beaten out of you – sometimes literally.
And then he was gone and for a while he might as well have taken me with him. It was my first experience with real grief. And if you haven’t been there or done that, it sucks like hell.
I realize now that it all went away because I didn’t need it anymore, but for a while, and sometimes still, it feels like trying to learn to walk again. It also made me feel mortal and for an Arien that is the hardest of all things to accept. There are days when I really don’t think I can make it anymore, that I need to turn in my Warrior Princess Power Bands, but then Dale will appear on a soda machine, on a poster, on TV, wherever. And I have to say, I know, I know.