Your Environment Changes It All…. (long)

I want to post one other thing tonight.  I feel like it is essential to understand that before we can accomplish much of anything, we have to be in a safe & supportive environment. When I used to live with my mom (up until I was 21 and thrown out) I did not accomplish jack shit. Don’t get me wrong… I TRIED. As an example, I took and completed an entire CNA course. When it came to taking the state test though, I did not go. I “felt” like I would fail.  What I didn’t realize was that my environment was causing me to feel defeated. Because of this, EVERYTHING felt like a defeat. I personally felt like I was a failure at life because of the plate I had been handed.

For a time period I lived in Greenville, SC in an attempt to get out of my living situation with my mom. I slept on an air matress on my grandmothers floor. Though I slept in front of a TV, all she wanted me watching was the Hallmark channel. I loved (and still love her very much) HOWEVER, the living situation was not workable due to lack of space. Despite the situation, I started a college while living with her in Greenville to be a personal trainer. (I have been grasping at straws my entire life trying to figure out what to do.) I thought I was not good at anything, when in reality, my anxiety and depression were so intense that I could not think, much less have self confidence. My “chances’ were all used up by staying alive. How I did not somehow end up in a gang or overdose on drugs is beyond me. My aunt once told me I could have been a statistic. It is true. Anyway, I dropped out of college in Greenville. I was burned out, pretty homeless, and scared.

After the short stint in college in Greenville in 2008 I got into a community college in Chesapeake VA. I liked it because it was small. I was in a serious relationship and new I would have food every day. We struggled but I felt safe. I feel like this was a turning point for me. I took courses online and started to work towards finishing an Associate of Arts degree. I was dating someone though that never seemed to be able to understand why I could not make enough money. It felt to me as if he wanted me to work full time and go to school full time. He never pushed me to go into what I loved. Instead, he got excited when I mentioned careers that made money. WHY THIS WAS NOT A RED FLAG I DO NOT KNOW. I should have loved myself more…. instead  I said yes when he asked me to marry him.

While I was planning our wedding (my best friend and I literally had already gone cake testing) he backed out. I remember him saying these words “you can stay as long as you need” very shortly after he told me he was not ready. I crumpled on the floor next to the couch holding a blanket. I don’t think I have ever been the same since that day. Want to talk about feeling like nothing…..

I ended up “moving” back to SC. I had no where to live. My best friend literally bought me a matress off craigslist. She lived in a small apartment next to her parents house. She was going through a really rough time but instead of turning me away, she put a mattress in her room next to her bed and let me live there for the next few months. Since I was in school, this time I did not drop out. I remember literally falling asleep with books on top of me. I got a teaching assistant position at an early care and education center on James Island. My friend worked at another daycare facility. We struggled and made next to nothing. I forget what we ate but I can remember pasta and frozen meals. Also, that fruit in the plastic cups. She bought me coffee and jewelry when I came down. We also made cookies and her dad took a picture of us when they were done. Anyway…. this living situation felt hard. I literally didn’t know where I belonged and missed the person that had victimized me. So of course, I call him and beg for me to pay rent and come back and live with him. for a while Yeah, I was that fucked up.  He let me so I up and left my best friends apartment with very little warning at all. Looking back, I wish I had stayed. I really do.

Well, my x and I ended up getting back together. I finished my Associate of Science degree in Social Sciences. I really believe this was because I felt like I had a home and was safe. I nannied and worked for a daycare as an Assistant Teacher. I have no idea how I did that. Today, I am not all that fond of kids. I had no idea in these moments who I even was. I functioned as only a person can that has been through trauma. Almost two years into our marriage, my x told me on Christmas night AT MY IN LAWS HOUSE that he wanted a divorce.

That is another post all together…..

Between 2014-2015 I moved 4 times. To Jess’s , Katt’s, Rebecca’s, and Jeremies. I was exhausted from the Transitions. I went through having a Silverado, VW Cabrio, VW Jetta, and a Nissan Versa in this same time period. My hair started turning white even on my arms and eye brows. I cried all the time. With no money for shoes or an umbrella, I tried going to a very expensive private school with the idea that if I became a teacher, I could have good insurance and summers off. I knew I used to love kids After feeling like death trying to survive religion class (required) and taking health…oh and crying on the way home every day….. I realized either it was school or my job. One had to go or I was literally the second foot was going into the grave. I also realized while there that my major did not excite me. I no longer have a “passion” for kid. There was a time i was there …. 😦 . I have morphed into one of those “if they are my kids I would love them but everyone elses can stay back” people that I never understood. Once again, because I could not complete my major, I felt like a failure. I “dropped out” which felt to me as if I gave up. There were even moments where I regretted leaving school. I should not though. I made the right choice.

LESSON: Sometimes, choosing to walk away is a better option than completing a task.

And once again, my living situation SUCKED. I lived with a roommate that had a lock box over the AC (wish I had taken a picture) and who would not allow me to check the mail. She was also somehow always at work or always home. I drove a stick shift car too that I blew out two clutches on. I was miserable.

Fast forward another almost 2 years (after our divorce was finally finalized June 2015), I live with my sweet boyfriend who has aloud me to work and pay off my bills. I work for a veterinary office now and have realized that this is what I love doing.  I have made a few student loan payments while living here and have paid off my credit card. I sleep in and over all feel as if I am now making smarter decisions. I’m trying to learn how to save and my boyfriend is helping me with that.  I am going to start school again in August. My goal now is to become a Vet Tech.  It’s going to be a long road but I am about to start out on it. I still break down and cry from what I have been through. Some days, it all feels heavy and unfair. Jeremy will lay his head on me as I lie on my stomach and break down. Then, it all feels easier after.

My point to all of this is that your environment really does change it all. Nothing is cake but it should also not feel like walking over hot coals. I now feel that your FIRST priority should be your living situation. SECOND education. Some may disagree but I personally do not understand how one can complete courses and advance job wise when their home life is crappy. It’s  hard to know who you even are, what you want to go into, and what it is that will make you actually happy when you have so many other things preventing those answers. You don’t want to start something with the cards stacked against you. I went to a college without a desk, printer, etc. I had the motivation but not the equipment I needed. I wen to college when I slept on an air mattress. If I could have done it over I would have…..

#1. Stayed put. If he loved me, he could stay in my state (so I could get in state tuition) while I go my degree

#2 If at all possible, not worked full time. Working full time and school caused me to burn out big time. I had nothing left. The motors stopped before the semester was over. For those that have to work full time, I encourage going to school PART TIME. There is no shame in taking 1-2 classes. There is no rush, this is not a race.

#3. Not made a decision on my major when I was desperate.  All you can focus on when you are desperate is money and what will make your quality of life better. The word “happiness” did not come into play at all until I got in a safe environment.

#4 Saved instead of stress spent. Eating and spending money are two things I do when I am stressed . To this day I struggle to get a hold on both. Saving money has helped me pay off some big bills recently :).

If by chance you have the opportunity to have someone help support you, for goodness sakes, take the help. My pride was large when I moved in with my boyfriend. I was hell bent and determined to pay rent. He told me to put rent money towards things I owed or a new camera. My mind told me that this was too big of a gift.  At the end of the day though, I deserve a fucking break. He knows my story and that I have been through it. While letting him help me for a minute I have  had the opportunity to save and help myself.

Count your blessings. Appreciate them. And know that you are NEVER a mistake or a failure. This is a mindset often caused by our surroundings or how others make us feel.

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