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When I “fail”, I learn just how strong I am!

As I sat lying on my cot in the Riverside Homeless Shelter, I knew I had hit rock bottom!  I was working a part-time job but, not making enough money to pay anyone  a rent payment.  All I kept thinking was, “No, you can’t end it, not yet! Your kids would have to live with that legacy and you have disappointed them enough already.”  In the next moment, I remembered why I had left Ohio twenty years earlier and moved to California.  Once there was a brave young lady who was going to make movies with Harrison Ford and live happily ever after.  Where did she go?  How did my aspirations get so off track?

Fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of failure.  Fear of returning home empty-handed.  Fear of success!  I had eaten every FEAR dish that could be found on the Menu of Life.  I was so full of fear these days that I really needed a good purge.  I had to make a tough decision.  I decided to return home empty-handed and to re-group.  The fight was on…fear was making her way to the next exit!  It was time to go back to the beginning…

In the second grade, I was assigned the label: Gifted and Talented.  As a Major Work student, I was taught structure, asked to challenge myself every day, and naturally I was a rule follower.  I hadn’t learned the pitfalls of being a perfectionist just yet…but, I soon would.  I hated to fail so much!  I would knock myself down over and over again with every mistake I made.  Take risks, not me.  New situations or tasks that I had no prior knowledge of intimidated me. No one knew. Behind my reservations, I would emerge bold and outspoken.  I knew how to fake it until I could make it.   As a born actress, my false personas shielded me for a while.

In Ohio, I found a full-time job with benefits.  Two months into that job, my mother had a debilitating stroke and never recovered. I kept acting like everything would work out.  My siblings and I became estranged. I was awarded an Outstanding Service honor. Life’s adventures come with unavoidable positive and negative occurrences that offer us balance. Believe it or not, I am learning from my setbacks and becoming a stronger person the more I am forced to practice.

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