It’s one up hill battle after another and for some it starts right at birth. For me, my troubles started at the tender age of three. That’s when my mom left my brothers and I. The law did not think our dad could raise us, so we ended up in a foster home until he could prove otherwise. When I came back to live with him a few years later I had received a label from the education system that would be the most difficult thing I would endure and overcome.
“They” told him that I was “slow” and that I could not learn like the other children. I did not have to do anything in school. It was like daycare for me and I was told it was the law, and that I had to go. Despite the fact that I loved to write stories, not one teacher noticed any talent, skill or ability in me. I always got an A for my stories and therefore I believed that I was spelling correctly. I learned to spell by the way words sounded and I received an A for doing so. I am missing the entire 12 years of the experience of what school was meant to be like. It has been a devastating loss. I was in fact raped of an education.
I missed having a mom but it was important for me to show society that I will not accept this.
I heard about a government program that paid you to go to school. I planned on doing this when I was older. My dad said to us that if we didn’t go to school we had to move out. I dropped out at 15 because I was just sleeping on my desk. I took him seriously. So I left town.
Not too much later, I got a job washing dishes. This is a great job that will help you to get in touch with reality. It made me think that this could be for the rest of my life. I was so scared. I would just die if this would be my fate! It was then that I decided I would one day become self-employed. I knew that with my education getting a better job was out of the question. I spent many hours, days, months and years thinking about what I could do. I had two requirements and they were:
1. 1. It would have to be something that would not go out of style and
2. 2. It had to be something that would help people.
The thinking had started… a few years later I moved back to my hometown and I enrolled in Adult Basic Education. I wanted to see first hand what academic schoolwork was all about. I needed to prove to myself that my brain did in fact work. I wanted to know what all the other kids knew. I felt like such an outsider. I had been cast aside and I wanted in. Getting my grade 12 was a start.
Not long after I started school I found it difficult to stay awake.
It was so bad that I had to see a doctor. I was late for school all the time. I was nineteen and I was being accused of partying by the teachers. Then I was accused of being depressed by the doctor. It was a great time for me as I was seeing this mystery work that I had longed to see. I was one of the highest paid students. I had to have Dr’s notes in order to stay in school, as it was a government sponsored program.
They kept threatening to kick me out.
This could not happen! It was my only chance to prove to myself and to everyone else that I could learn these mysterious academics. The only thing that kept me from getting kicked out was my grades. I was getting top grades despite sleeping in school and being late every other day. In the end I slept about 16 hrs a day. All I did was eat, study and go to school. It would take another 6 years of sleeping before I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Once the lump was removed I was given a thyroid hormone replacement and I have been able to stay awake since then. I did complete my grade 12.
I did it with cancer along with fighting the mental brainwashing of 13 years! It has been one of the most difficult things I have overcome. I did eventually go back to my Doctor and explain to him that I was not depressed and that I had cancer.
I am not sure if the lack of education is a greater loss than growing up without a mom. How do you measure loss? I often wonder what it would have been like to have someone tuck me into bed. I suffered many other kinds of abuse and it was topped with neglect as my dad was always away working. I am writing this story as; long before I decided to be self-employed. I decided that I would rise above my raising and dysfunctional situation that as a child I knew was bad. I was about 8 years old when I felt the low expectation that seem to loom over me like a black cloud threatening to break out into a storm.
I knew that I was going to grow up and show the world that anything is possible!
I was going to live a full life and do great things just to show that it doesn’t matter what you are born into or what comes your way. I knew when I was 8 that all I had to do was age! In order to age I had to stay alive. So when life got real hard and unbearable and I wanted to give up and die I knew that was not an option because staying alive was for the greater good of proving what can be accomplished.
Some people die for a great cause and I decided that I had to live for one.
In my youth I wished and longed for death plenty of times and then I would remember my mission. I have to age…I knew that when I was older things would be different. I don’t know how I knew but I did and it was an absolute knowing.
I did become self-employed at the age of 26. I had my own property management business and also a house cleaning service. I eventually gave up the house cleaning for sales and that was the end of my blue-collar world. I had been studying since the age of seventeen and each book shaped me into the kind of person that could be self-employed. Several years later I published my book How To Quit Smoking: Even If You Don’t Want To. I then turned it into an 8 hour workshop. I am currently planning a workshop for 100 people. I am truly blessed as I have been through a great deal and look young for my age. I feel like my life is just getting started.
I spent the first 25 years building a solid foundation.
It was extremely difficult and at times unbearable but worth it! It could be compared to giving birth but I don’t know; I never had any children. The end result is so rewarding. The best part is that I get to say, “Because I made it out of that mess anyone can.” The only difference between me and those who don’t is choice. I made a choice to do what ever it takes to get ahead and rise above it all.
I read and studied day and night only by choice. The best choice I made was to never give up! I cannot tell this story and not also mention that I also made a choice to forgive those who abused me. I found God at the foster home as they took me to church. I was five when I learned about forgiveness and that I was not alone. In fact, I have been through a great deal but I was never alone and my heart is clear.
Things always work out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out yet, it is not the end. So please hang in there!
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Quit smoking with the BMP Method by Barbara Miller.
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