Where I am from, is a poor white family doing they best they could to get by in life. Working hard to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and two pennies to rub together in our pockets. We related to hunger. Baths and cleanliness we knew as a type of luxury. At times we were nomadic, a modern gypsie-like family looking for a place to rest our heads for the night. Trading tools for cash in sales like fashion. We called the highway home for a few years. When we settled, it was on a piece of land with no ties. No running water, electricity or flushing toilets. Working from sun up, to sun down, in the middle of nowhere. The weather at times was not a friend, on a long dirt road, down a backwoods path.
I did not know I was poor. My early education came from drug addicts shooting at us, an alcoholic “friend” attempting to ride a horse and my mama punching a guy in the face who was carrying a loaded shotgun. The sheriff dropping my dad off at odd hours of the day and night drunk. Shivering in a bed, huddled together with two of my sisters. We all shared one room. Fighting, hand me downs and neglected holidays. Tight spaces, rough people and tough times. I did not know it was not normal, the life we led.
My young adult life was not any easier. My first career stole my health, my first husband broke my heart and shattered my dreams. A broken marriage ended in divorce. Followed by becoming an orphan at the age of 33. Flinging me into midlife crises way too young. Then I almost lost myself, flat-lining in the VA hospital due to untreated disabilities and too much stress.
Now, I look back and know I was blessed. My early years taught me to be grateful for what I have, to keep those I care about close to my heart, to buy only things I love, to invest in what is important to me and to know anything worth having can be a struggle to acquire. I learned the value of hard work and to never lose sight of appreciating the little things. My past gave me strength and a sense of spirit I might not have otherwise known.
Life was tough and through it, I learned that so am I.
Today, I am blessed. I have a beautiful home in the amazing state of Colorado and a decent job. I am married to a man I love and we have a good, healthy relationship. I own my own car outright and I have little debt compared to most Americans. I have taken on the challenge of becoming a Clinical Mental Health Counselor because I want to help others realize that they too can turn their life around. Taking negatives and turning them into positives. I am passionate about helping others reach a brighter tomorrow.
Life is not always about where you are from, but rather…where you are going.