I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth so everything I got in life has been because I’ve worked hard for it. Growing up in a single parent home the odds were stacked against me. If society had it’s way I would have been another statistic as a teenager; teenage mother, living off of government assistance, and quite possibly a high school dropout. My mother was not having that for me at all. I knew my father but he was not an active part of my life, so watching my mother work various jobs to always provide for me was the best example of hustle and heart.
We lived in the family house until I was four and starting head start. We moved across the street to Fort Bailey housing projects. Walking to the store for a bag of pink cookies and a cream Ritz soda was a treat, now I live for my crab legs and moscato…LOL! I was a project kid, with a key at the age of five letting myself into the house each day by myself then waiting for my mom to get home. Life was sweet in the 80s. Now it’s not that easy to leave kids home alone because too much can happen with predators lurking at every turn.
I grew up being very independent and doing a lot of things for myself because the fact is I spent a lot of time by myself. My mom worked and that was understandable, so throughout middle and high school, during my mom’s off time we spend time together, then when she was gone, I’d read a book or watch t.v. So by the time I graduated high school in 2000 having worked at Wendy’s and Shoney’s I could make a little money for myself but in the back of my mind I always wanted to just write.
I went off to college to the University of Florida and partied my life away. I was introduced to beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., met some amazing people but ultimately blew it. I joined the United States Air Force in 2001, lived in New Jersey my entire enlistment, got deployed to Bulgaria and Italy, got married, had my two sons, then separated from active duty status in 2007. My background had set the tone as I share my story because it was not easy being active duty, married, tending to babies, and pursuing my studies all at the same time. I was very overwhelmed and emotional a lot of times but I pushed through anyways.
By the time I relocated to middle Georgia, I had acquired 3 degrees and had multiple ideas of starting a women’s magazine, writing a book, short stories, or just something creative because I have always had the passion to write. By the time I began teaching in 2008, I was halfway through my Masters in Public Administration program and still had no idea what I was going to do next. But the yearning for more was peeking over my shoulder and in my subconscious. I kept digging until I outlined my first nonfiction title. In 2013 I said to myself that my book was going to be great and everyone would want to read it… Well that didn’t happen. See I wanted more but I didn’t have a plan. Now the plan is for me to TELL MY STORY, so people really get a true idea of who I am, what I represent, and what I’m all about. I defied the odds and I have a story to tell.
Achieving my advanced degree in 2016, my Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership was personal. It was a checkmark to be place of my list of life goals and accomplishments. There have been others that did it younger than me, but see at the age of 34 with two kids, a second marriage, six years of honorable military service and eight years of teaching, I was doing damn good for myself. So where is my POP?! When things got rocky and I thought I had a clear vision of what I want to have happen, a second divorce happened on 2017. I wasn’t devastated, but I was derailed so my goals for pursuing speaking and writing more took a backseat.
Now here I am 11 years into teaching, having taught roughly 2000 students, each year I wonder who will or who has been that one? I have highlighted some of my most memorable students in My Fourth Year, but beyond that when students come into my room to hug me midway through a lesson, or stop by my door during transition to class it has been too many to count or name. My colleagues are hit or miss, but some of them know where my heart is. I simply refuse to give up on my population of students, but good God some days it is hard.
When I look at my mixed career I have done a lot and take a stand for individuality. I’m often confused and people like to put other people in a box and you shouldn’t. Creativity is an extension of who a person is and you have to tap into your greatness better than anyone else can and tell your story.
Be vulnerable because someone needs to hear from you.