Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cultivating Confidence-Annette's story

Growing up was not exactly easy for me, but I always tried to make the best of it. My parents divorced when I was nine years old. It was embarrassing for me as a child/teen mentioning that my parents were divorced because this meant we lived in an apartment, I didn’t have my own room and I may not be too much fun. I had many friends who had happily married parents, lived in a house, and even had a pet. I always wondered what it was like to grow up in a house with your own room. I took it for what it was and went with it, since it was all that I knew. I started to become insecure of who I was, because I was not too proud of what I had to offer to my friends. I always knew that making friends was not a problem, again, it was what I had that was. When I was in high school, we moved in with my grandmother, who lived in a green and yellow house with no air conditioning and I shared a room with my mom. I loved my mom greatly, but it was difficult not having much privacy when your friends were over. I was on the drill team, and drove a 1985 Mercury Zepher, again with no air conditioning. No matter where I went, my hair was flat, I was sweating before I had gotten to any destination, I had severe eczema due to the heat, and did not think that I was very pretty at all. I knew my parents were doing what they could for me, but it was hard to keep up with what all the other kids had in high school. This was difficult because it had taken a toll on my self-esteem, when high school was supposed to be some of the best years of my life. The motivation behind this insecurity was to graduate high school, become something of passion, and give myself all the things that I could never have and wanted.

Shortly after I graduated Graduate School, met my husband, married, we then had our first son, Jake. This was when my second insecurity hit me like a ton of bricks. It was being a mother and a wife. Who would of known that this was going to be an insecurity of mine? I surely didn’t! I had always envisioned what kind of mother and wife I wanted to be, “it shouldn’t be that hard, right?,” is what I would ask myself. Truthfully, being a parent and wife is one of the hardest jobs that I think I have ever had, even beyond my college years, which was pretty hard! I feel that it is hard knowing what your supposed to do as a wife and mother if you have never really seen a true picture of it. I had a mother, of course, but it was always stressful because we were always living in survival mode. It was rare to see that parenting was a joyous thing. And my parents divorced when I was so young that I didn’t get to see what being a wife was about in action either. It is a struggle, an inner battle, just to believe and hope that I am being the good mother and wife that I have always longed to be.

With these experiences and insecurities that I grew up with and still struggle with today, I have learned so much and would not take them back! It was hard and difficult and is still challenging to this day, but ultimately these experiences have made me become who I am. The Social Worker, Adoption Counselor, CPS Investigative Worker, Behavior Resource Specialist, and Special Ed Teacher, is what I have become and have experienced. I have a great love and passion for at-risk and Special Ed kids. I have a really big heart and would do just about anything to help these kids. I would buy them food, clothes, and hug them lots assuring them that they are loved and that they are special regardless what circumstance they were in. My experiences growing up motivated me to be the person that I passionately am. My best piece of advice is don’t let your insecurities get the best of you! Bottom line is, you are who you are because of your experiences and your life. Life is precious and you never know when it will be taken away. So teach those you love what life is all about, love them, and make time to teach them that what you have does not signify who you are. We tend to worry so much that living is actually very difficult for many of us who have these insecurities. Learn to be happy for no reason!

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