Posts tagged ‘overcoming obstacles’

February 9, 2015

The Story of My Success.


I started out in life thinking if I could just turn 18, I would be an ADULT and things would be amazing! I wouldn’t have to follow rules, do chores and listen to parents. I knew better. If I could only get my own place. If I only had a car, I wouldn’t have to ride my bike everywhere, even in the winter. If college applications didn’t go off the parent’s income even though I lived on my own, I wouldn’t have to wait to start when most people were finishing. If I didn’t have to work AND go to school, it would be so much easier to graduate.

Life is supposed to go a certain way, right? The idyllic childhood, the partying, yet scholarly trip through college. Which of course enables you to land a perfect job, IMMEDIATELY, because that is what college is for. To ensure that you, me, people in general, succeed in life. All that money paid out, all that higher learning is supposed to give you an edge. A step up.

From there it gets even better. It’s TRUE! You just have to meet the ONE. The right person you will spend your entire life with. (But do it in your 20’s or it will be too late!)
Once you find THAT person, it will be magical! There will be singing and dancing (at least in my version) and everyone is happy and life is easy. If you really want to achieve ‘The American Dream’ , then you get married AND buy a house! To add a completely blissful cherry on top, have children. Then your life is truly complete. And apparently there are no more goals to reach until you die.

That was how the version in my head went. I’m not sure exactly where I came to have those exact standards or ideals, but it turned out it was all kinda bullshit. I lived my life in sort of earnest, trying to become something. Someone important. Once I made it to California, I would be an actress. Once I had my invitation business, I gave myself 5 years, then I was going to be featured on Oprah. I wanted public acknowledgement that I was good at what I did. If only I had more money for advertising. If only I could get more exposure. If I just had unlimited resources and time…


I’ll say one thing for getting older, it’s like a fantastical discovery. There are no set rules, there is no “I’ve been through so much crap that I should be good and have it easy for the rest of my life’. Believe me, I wish that were true. If you are one of the few whose life has gone exactly according to plan, then kudos to you! For the rest of us, it’s about learning. Joel and I were just half-joking the other day, about how we felt like we were all filled up on Life’s massive learning experiences for awhile. Because you know, they are rather all-consuming and overall just plain exhausting.

For now though, success to me equals getting Arden to school on time, fed breakfast. Her lunch and backpack in hand along with finished homework. It’s helping her navigate all the drama of getting along and interacting with other kids. It’s getting Cam fed solids as he flops around in his Bumbo seat, then to sleep when he’s extremely irritable. It’s working on the orders I do have, while dreaming up new ideas. It’s getting the insurance to finally pay the claim that collectors have been calling on for almost a year. It’s jumping through all the hoops to file with the City for our flooded duplex. It’s getting another room in the new house repaired/organized/painted/cleaned/livable.

The secret of my success is never giving up. Forever and always, persistent, stubborn and determined. It’s appreciating what I do have and respecting how far I’ve come. It’s knowing that I’ll accomplish so much more, as long as I keep trying. It’s being thankful for the support I have from Joel, who’s always amazing. (and that there IS the singing and dancing that I’d always hoped for!) It’s excepting that while my life isn’t a made-up ideal, it is one heck of an adventure that I’m fortunate to be a part of.

October 8, 2013

Letting go of your past.

I had this step-mom that was mean. She heartily embodied everything that fairy tale step-mothers do. From the not-letting-me-eat, making-me-clean-non-stop, to keeping-me isolated-from-people-because-I-might-tell and of course, doing her very best to humiliate me and make me feel small.

I don’t know what this woman went through in her life to cause her to be so angry. But she was. She was tall and very aggressive and enjoyed nothing more than bullying me. Not a day went by that I didn’t get slapped or have my hair yanked. The mind-games and the mental and emotional abuse were the worst. At age 5, I’d lost my mom to illness. It was lengthy, filled with pain and in the end completely destroyed my family. My dad desperate to fill the large emotional void in his life, remarried hoping to find some flicker of happiness and a caring parent for me. He should have kept looking because this woman was damaged.

I was unruly and willful. I had gone from bubbly to anti-social. With my mother’s sickness, I had missed most of kindergarten and was passed back and forth between grandparents trying to help care for me and my mom simultaneously, while my dad drove an hour each way to work. I wanted attention and didn’t understand what was going on. Then one night it all came to a screeching halt when my dad tearfully picked me up from the babysitter’s at 1 a.m. and couldn’t stop crying.

It didn’t happen right away. Initially, there were constant battles between her and my dad on how to parent her son and I. We were only 6 months apart in age and this new set-up of them moving into our house and suddenly expecting to ‘be a family’ when our previous wounds had barely scabbed over was too much. They kept taking sides, each believing their own child when something was missing or broken. She finally pulled ‘the mom’ card, claiming she was better at parenting because she was a mother and insisted my dad back off. Doubting himself, he did, thus totally ushering in her free reign to terrorize.

Some of her most cutting comments were:

1.) That she would make sure that I needed to visit a psychiatrist by the time she was done with me.
2.) That I should never have children, because I would be a horrible mother.
3.) That she always knew when I was telling the truth, but would punish me anyway.

It took me YEARS to get past everything she put me through. I continued to have dreams of flying to get away. I was always, just barely out of her grasp. I was lonely, angry and felt like the world owed me.

Except one day I finally realized that everybody experiences some sort of pain and loss in their lives. It varies in devastation and form, but it’s there.

My point in sharing this with you is this: There comes a time when you can’t blame anyone else for your life anymore. You are an adult. You can think, feel and do for yourself. If you don’t want to be unhappy or be the victim then you have to do something about it. You can make things change. Sit down, make a list of your goals. Research. Write down all the necessary, attainable steps to achieve them. Work on it. Break the cycle. Believe in yourself.

Arden and I saw this lovely clip last night and we were completely captivated by it. It’s so inspiring.

Poster Survive copy

September 10, 2013

Today is our 2nd wedding Anniversary

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert on relationships. Over the course of my life thus far, with 2 dissolutions in my back pocket, I can give you plenty of examples of what NOT to do. My childhood did a number on me and left me reeling, not at all prepared to take on the world. Due to that, I held on to a lot of anger and would lash out at people who tried to be close to me. I wanted to be loved and I tried to force it. It took a considerable amount of time to work through all that. I couldn’t have a healthy relationship with anyone until I did. As I plainly tell Arden, “I made bad choices.” It’s not rocket science. I rushed into marriage with the wrong people for the wrong reasons. They weren’t bad people, they just weren’t right for me.

But I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

By the time I met Joel at the census, (we both needed extra money) I was convinced I wouldn’t get married again. Despite our 7 year age difference, (My grandma referred to him as “Your Boy Toy”. Yeah, I about died.) we just clicked. As in by day 2 of our 8 hour-a-day training, it was overheard that “They look so good together! and “They make such a cute couple!” Except we weren’t a couple, we both had other situations going on. Joel was persistent though. I tried my best to deter him with tales of my baggage and of having a child. You know how animals and children sense if someone is good or a threat? Well, Arden took to him immediately. She was only a little over a year and a half when we met. She started calling him by name from day 1. For never having a child himself, Joel jumped into his step-dad roll with both feet, before it was even an option.

We have only been married 2 years (together a total of 3 ½) and we are just as crazy about each other as when we met. I know this will be much more impressive when it’s been 20 or 50 years, but still having butterflies when we see each other is pretty awesome. It’s nice always being on the same page and working towards our goals together. We have accomplished so much in such a short time and have great plans for our future.

And I could not be more thankful that:

All the doors that I had to close

All the things, I knew, but I didn’t know

Thank God for all I missed

‘Cause it led me here to this 




DSC_0125 cropped (‘This’ by Darius Rucker: The song that was playing at the Courthouse when we got our marriage license.)