I am fairly new to this independence thing. As a mother of 5, I was an only child. I had a lot of people to turn to in my times of need. I was a straight A student. I enjoyed school so much I never missed a day. I was enthusiastic about the whole learning experience.
Then I became a teenager and peer pressure set in. I wanted to belong. I wanted to have friends. I wanted the boys to like me. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted. What I failed to realize was that in the midst of all this wanting, I wasn’t doing what I wanted but what everyone else wanted or thought I should do.
I dropped out of school in the 8th grade. I became a mother at the age of 15. By the time I was 17 I had 3 kids and no future. My self-esteem was so low I had just about given up on ever being truly happy. I turned to the streets and drugs. I became even more wrapped up in a downward spiral.
At the age of 19 I started my life of crime. I began going to jail, violating probation, and doing more drugs; turning into the proverbial revolving door. By the time I was 24, I was on my way to prison. I was blessed because while all this was going on I had a mother who loved me enough to make sure that my babies were safe.
I went to prison and gave them 5 years of my life that I could not afford to waste. While incarcerated I did take some college courses in an attempt to better myself. I was a Teacher’s Aide and that along with the college courses boosted my self esteem. Through it all I still had the ability to learn and to make a difference.
Now I went to prison 3 times in this 5 year span. I still had the disease of drug abuse and being stubborn as a mule ( I hated to have someone pulling my strings i.e. Parole Officers, Corrections Officers). The two times I was on the outside before completing my sentence, I found myself pregnant both times. That’s where the baby tally comes to 5.
Now I’m off parole, going to school, and have all my kids back in my custody. It’s a constant struggle keeping them fed, clothed and happy. I find myself frustrated more times than not. I stress about what I can’t give them. I worry that they don’t want or won’t want to stay with me. I worry that they resent me and don’t respect me. I have so many regrets that I can’t quite figure out what to do sometimes.
I feel so alone and literally that’s not the case. I have friends and family that support me. Everyone is routing for me to succeed because they still see the potential that I’m only recently tapping into. I am taking the steps toward bettering myself. As I stated earlier I am a student at Everest College. I am majoring in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding. I have also taken the initiative to start my own home based business.
When we get used to living a certain way it’s so easy to stay that way. What’s really hard is changing. Success, I believe comes from within and in order to reach it , you must first believe in yourself.