|Me and my best childhood friend|
When I was 16, there was some stuff going on at home I was not okay with, and I moved in with my dad in a bigger town, closer to Des Moines. Immediately I was happier. I found a crowd immediately. I had friends, things to do, opportunities, and teachers who recognized my potential rather than just my differences. I was able to set my own path. I could have done anything. But I didn't. After high school I wanted to take a year off, then pursue art college. But during that year off, I fell back into the state from the environment in which I had been raised. No motivation. I hopped from dead-end job to dead-end job. I had a couple failed relationships. My friends fell away into their own lives. And I stagnated.
I ended up going back to my mom's at age 20, and back to my hometown at 21. And I've been here ever since, with several more attempts at leaving. I got married to the wrong man. I had babies. He and I tried to move to North Carolina, just to get set up and basically robbed by the landlord we had agreed to rent from. I had to have my mom send me money so we could make it back home. I tried not only once, but twice to live near my newly-found biological father in Arkansas. But he was worse news than the place where I grew up. Drug addicted and abusive to his family. So right back home.
I got a divorce. I lost friends and even a boyfriend to accidents and health issues. I had a few small, short-lived jobs. I had several failed relationships, including a second failed marriage. Thankfully, I never fell into any addictions, but after all that I had been through I had severe social anxiety, clinical depression, I was unhealthy and overweight, and had such a low self-esteem and self-worth that I considered suicide often. I felt like my kids would be better off without my influence. I couldn't keep a job due to my mental issues. I was poor and on welfare. I had fallen into the hole I never should have fallen into. I was better than that. I'm more intelligent than that.
Then, though for the wrong reasons, I was inspired to change. I started seeing a therapist often. I started telling her all of my fears and anxieties, all of my negative thoughts and self-worth issues. She helped me change my self-talk into more positive things. She helped me realize that though some of my fears were rational, they were improbable and that I needed to focus on more positive things in my life. I got a very small, part-time kennel cleaning job on weekends at a vet clinic, working alone (no co-workers). That job, over time, turned into working with the Veterinarian on Saturdays only, which then turned into a little more and a little more. Until finally though gradual comfort with my environment and intense therapy, I was able to keep a full-time job. That boosted my self-esteem, which enabled me to start a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. And everything has been uphill from there.
|Weight Loss SUCCESS!|
|Pensacola, Florida - our trip to the ocean|
If I had left all of the times I'd had the opportunity, if I'd gone to North Carolina and stayed, or Arkansas and stayed, or Florida and stayed. Or even if I'd just stayed closer to Des Moines.... I wouldn't have what I have now.
Today, I am married to the man of my dreams. Today, I have 3 amazing sons, and 3 amazing step-daughters, who I love very much. And we are planning to have more babies soon! Today, I am working full-time (more or less) and helping to support this family. My husband and I together have financial stability. Today, my health is great, my weight is stable, I no longer need therapy, and I'm certainly not suicidal. Sure, I have my bad days where I still struggle with the fact that I'm still in this damn town. But honestly, when it comes right down to the bottom of it all, I am thankful that I am still here. If I hadn't stayed here, I would have nothing that I have today. And maybe someday, once the kids are grown, my husband and I can move somewhere else together. Because I'd never want to go anywhere without him. But as much as I have hated this town, it IS my home. It has taken me over 30 years to accept that, but there it is. Newton, Iowa is my home. It is the home to my mom, my family, and my currently very happy life. And for that, finally, I am grateful.