Everything I’ve Learned Has Been The Hard Way

This is a bit of a personal post, but I wanted to share it because I’ve seen a lot of women lately discounting their accomplishments because:

(A) They don’t have a traditional education or career
(B) They’ve made mistakes in their past

Or something else that is holding them back because they’re embarrassed.

Look.  Here’s the deal.

my-reading-and-writing-journey
My dad was an alcoholic, and I didn’t make it to school much, so I taught myself. Math. Science. English. History. Anything I wanted to know about.

I married an addict who kept me a prisoner for months. When I got away, I was homeless for six months.

Eventually I got my own place, and I knew I had to learn how not to be in that position again, so I taught myself. Relationships. Addiction. Budgeting. Anything I believed would help me live a safe, healthy life.

And I’ve been living that life–the life I want–for 20 years now.

For a long time I was embarrassed, though. Embarrassed of the things I might not know because I didn’t have a “standard” education. Embarrassed of how long it took me to achieve “milestones” like attending college, because I wasn’t some Lifetime movie heroine who skyrocketed from abject poverty and abuse into a successful career and a perfect life in four years. I was embarrassed of the things I had to do to survive in the trenches during my youth.

I realize now that what I’ve done for myself is an incredible accomplishment.

I want you to know that you are not your past.

No matter what you did or didn’t do, no matter what anyone says or thinks.

You can start over any time you want.

And when you do, you get to take your past with you–but not in the shitty way where you hold on to the heartache and refuse to see the joy or the lessons. You can always choose to see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, and what it took to get where you are.

My past has taught me that there’s no such thing as a “last chance” and I can turn any lousy circumstance to my advantage.

I see that every time I look through an old journal.

What has your past taught you the hard way?

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