She never thought she would be here…

There was this little girl who grew up with the impression she wasn’t good enough, she could never be smart enough. Although she tried her best, she was compared to her straight A brother and told if she didn’t try harder, colleges wouldn’t want her. If nearly a 4.0 wasn’t good enough why try anymore? Along with that and the beginnings of scary thoughts she would later learn was mental illness, she decided to give up. Why try for something that would never happen? Instead of education she decided to have fun, probably smoking and drink far too much.

After a handful of years she thought perhaps she should grow up and embrace adulthood. Soon after she got pregnant, then she got married, then she went on to have more babies. As her babies began to reach school age, she got scared. What was she going to do when they all didn’t need her as much? What would she pour her life into when she became an empty nester? At that same time her marriage hit a pot hole. What if she was left in this world to take care of herself?

Because she had been a mom for so long, her skills had faded. All she felt good at was wiping butts and noses. She nervously registered for community college. Besides not feeling smart, she also had severe social anxiety. She told herself she would take one term of classes online. If she failed, she would just fall away into oblivion without people knowing who she was. She wouldn’t have to make a fool of herself in a classroom. She tried her best as she always did. When her grades came in she was in tears. She couldn’t believe how well she did. This gave her courage and she registered for in person classes.

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The girl who took those first classes is vastly different from the girl graduating. She decided to face her demons head on and use school to teach her the life skills she so greatly lacked. She has found her place in this world, more than a wife and a mother. The journey was full of twists and turns, tears of frustration and elation, the end result was nowhere near where she thought she would be. This girl went from living a life of fear to showing up everyday in confidence. She knew she was supposed to finish and not give up even when the plan greatly changed. She still doesn’t know the ending purpose of that expensive piece of paper, but she was faithful. She is confident for the first time that the whisper she heard many, many years ago of being chosen for greatness will happen. It is as if she has finally woken from a trance and her life is just beginning, never mind she is nearing the big 4.0.

While the journey started as a big middle finger to those who doubted her, along the way she realized there was nothing she could do to hear the words she waited her entire life to hear, “I’m proud of you.” Today, she is proud of herself and along the way she has realized that’s all that matters. Then she got a text with those coveted words from her amazing father in law. That little girl who all those years ago yearned to hear that sentence, beamed with a pride she didn’t know existed.

The journey proved to her what was there all along; courage, fortitude, and a big huge brain. She even graduated magna cum laude.

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