There was a time when I didn’t know a lot about anything. When I was growing up, me and my siblings were removed from my mothers care at an early age. I was about 12 and was the oldest of three siblings. We were split up and eventually dispersed into different cities into foster homes or group homes. We moved around so much growing up both in my mothers care as well as in the system, that school was a challenge. Not only in making new friends but the curriculum was different in each place so there was a lot skipped over for me. Math was especially difficult.
I don’t remember getting to see my siblings very often and I did not end up returning to my mother until I was 17-18. Shortly after I found my way back to her she ended up in prison. My biological father was also in prison but he had been in and out since I was three and I never got a chance to develop a relationship with him.
After aging out of the system and becoming an adult I realized that I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing. I did not know how to clean properly, how to look for housing, did not know how to cook at all, did not know anything about financials or politics, how to vote, how to open a bank account, how to find a job, how to do laundry, how to set boundaries, what a healthy relationship was, or even how to love myself. By that time, I had suffered so much trauma and experienced such a “lack in direction” that I began hanging out with the wrong group of people who I though were all my friends. This led to an even more difficult life path which I struggled with for quite some time. This went on for about 5-6 years.
By 2008 I gave birth to my son which set me on the path to a new life. I broke ties with everything and anyone who was not enhancing my life in some way (which was everyone). I got my first apartment and had someone help me to apply to college. I was lucky enough to not have to pay a single penny for my degree because I qualified for a Pell-grant for being the first one in my family to ever attend college. I ended up graduating with honors and my last foster home parents Paul & Sharon were there for my ceremony.
It was just what I needed to boost my confidence and realize that I did not have to be a statistic. That I did not have to be a product of my environment and that the only way I would be, is if I chose to do so. The choice was mine and although I had heard many times from so many people throughout my life that the “odds” were stacked against me, I decided to not let that detour me and I made up my mind that I would prove them all wrong.
So that is what I set out to do. I found a way somehow to harness all that resentment and anger about how I had to grow up and re-directed it towards becoming the best version of me. I have to say, the internet was a blessing for me during this time. I utilized it to learn, learn, and learn some more. I began to develop a heavy thirst for learning about anything and everything. I remember a time when I thought a good meal was pouring a box of hamburger helper into a pot and making some powdered mashed potatoes on the side by adding water and heating them up. lol. Woah, I’ve come so far!
At times, I wished I had a family member or a friend to call and ask about stuff but I know now that I was supposed to learn all these things on my own and that it just made me a stronger more independent woman. Hard times put a sort of “drive” in you that motivate you like nothing else. I had little ones that were counting on me and I made a promise to myself that they would never be raised the way I was. Yes, I would make it my priority to prepare them for everything I could in the big bad world while keeping their quality of life in tact. The best and easiest way for me to do this was to raise them the “opposite” from the way I was raised.
Fast forward to 2015 about 7 years later and I had finally become established. I began operating my own business, worked on getting my credit up, bought a brand new car, was able to move into a nice area of town, learned how to garden and grow my own food, saved up money, and had finally figured out how to balance my life. There were so many opportunities for me to take the “easy way” out throughout my journey. But, I actually found myself up for the challenges! I wanted to do the things that were hard because that’s where most of my growth happened. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
The skill of learning to see the good in a not so good situation is what has kept me afloat this whole time. You can look at the cloudy gloomy sky and wet soggy ground on a cold day and think, I’ll just stay inside today. Or you can plan a last minute trip and get out in it anyway! You always have a choice.
What has helped me navigate through life is remembering this one thing…
“There is more than one solution to every problem” –Megan CrispSimple but so true
Today, I have gone back to the most basic and sort of primitive lifestyle which is not an easy way of living at all but most certainly a rewarding one! I am homeschooling my three kids, working remotely, living in a tent and traveling to the most beautiful places with my best friend and love. I hand wash my own clothes, heat up water for baths, use wood for heat, a solar panel for free electricity, I do my own taxes, clean effectively, and cook healthy meals (not out of the box) which consist of meat, fresh veggies, and fruit.
We’ve been in the most extreme weather from super dry to constant rain, snow, dust, high winds, freezing temperatures and everything in between. I know my story is not over yet, not by far.
What I want you to take away from this is that, you can be and become whatever or whoever it is that you want to be no matter your circumstances. All you have to have is the “want to” the willingness to put in the work. Take it hour by hour, then day by day, then week by week. Watch your life unfold the way you want it to. Because you are the one that is in control and you have all the power to manifest yourself a whole new life all on your own at any given time. So start today!