My jobs in high school during the summer were as a babysitter and a lifeguard at our local pool. I would babysit and do miscellaneous things to raise extra money. The money I did earn was used for my school clothes, shoes, odds and ends things and of course I indulged in the local pizza shop too. I even had hand me downs or borrowed dresses for dances and such because I didn’t want to ask for money from my parents all the time. I didn’t want to bother them.
I grew up with several children in my house, not getting new stuff all the time was routine. Being independent was what I knew how to do. My dad was and is my hero, who I have looked up to the most in my life. He stuck it out with all of us kids, while my adopted mother left us all, no goodbye, no words at all…just…nothing. She…just…left.
I tried my best to help and defend and protect my siblings but it wasn’t easy. Yes, we fought, argued and got into some trouble at times, but we still Loved each other at the end of the day. We grew up rough and hard but we grew up with respect and morals (for the most part). I had a healthy fear of my Dad and respected him very much. I wanted to make sure my two sisters were safe and taken care of because they couldn’t defend themselves as much as I could defend them. I know I was aching and sad inside from our parents splitting up, so I know my sisters were too and I wish I was able to protect them from the evils of life and I tried to be there as much as I could. We all have different ways of showing our sadness or anger. And not letting it out in the proper way isn’t healthy so you learn throughout life how to cope or deal and manage these emotions. Sometimes I took it out on my siblings or my dad or even my friends, not knowing the damage I could have caused. I was young and broken.
During my junior year of high school my parents were separating. One week “mom” stayed at the house, the next week my dad did. I remember lots of things but the most memorable was “The Attic.” It seemed like a lot of nights my older brother, Bryan would have numerous people over and being loud above me in his room (a.k.a. the attic). I could literally hear every footstep and everyone yelling and playing games and such. They would knock on my door and run up the stairs, be loud and obnoxious and then beg me to make Mac n cheese sometimes. So it was always something growing up and NEVER A DULL MOMENT. I do miss the chaos sometimes.
I had to work hard in school because I was slower at learning than the other kids. I joined in on sports and excelled in them. I played soccer, cheerleading and did track. I enjoyed playing sports a lot!
Then, along cane track season! One of my favorites! Running let’s me clear my mind and allows me to process thing better. I was running the 400meter hurdles, 100meter hurdles, the 4×4 relay and the 1600meter relay this year and was doing really well in all events. My coach had trained me so hard for these moments since 6th grade when I tested up for Varsity. I trained so hard that I was presented with an opportunity to join a training team to possibly be in the Olympics some day!
It was a big meet. I was so focused on the 400meter hurdles. It was time for me to show that I can do it and deserve to be on the training team!…..The race started! “BANG” and I was off! I was doing so good! Every step was on point and my breathing was perfect! Until… I fell on the 7th hurdle when my trail leg caught the tip of my toe on the bar. I lost my balance, my spikes dug into my ankle and I rolled in my lane. I got up fast and saw everyone pass me. My eyes were glazed with tears and I kept running and finished even though I was a little hurt and…I finished last. No Olympic training for me…My dreams were shattered in that moment. I went and sat in the middle of the field all by myself for a long time with a shirt over my head. I cried and cried and cried. My buddy Ener was comforting me. She knew how bad I wanted this. And then I hugged her mom and cried again. It was a very hard day. I let my coach down, my dad, my aunt they were all there and my teammates. Failure… again not able to accomplish much and not getting anywhere in life because I didn’t pass this test. That’s how I felt. So… I just had to throw it over my shoulder in my “bag of shit that bothered me, but couldn’t talk about.” And I moved on.
I went on and started college at MCC in Rochester,NY. No soccer, no track…. I did cheerleading for a short period on college and then quit. Shortly after school started, I was finally able to sign the papers and I enlisted in the U.S. ARMY on October 1, 2004. I felt like I was doing something for myself and it made me feel proud. After my first year was done at college, I left for my basic training and AIT at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri in May of 2005. I was ready to start a new chapter of my life, but I was also scared inside too.