"You deserve mean children" … "Your ornery and always will be" … "Your just like them"
As I reflect back in my early days. I still hear words that were spoken over me…not once…but for years. Why would I not believe them they loved me right? and they knew me better than anyone, even myself. Cause how I could I know who I was as a kid growing up – I was being told who I was before I had permission to deny the words that were coming at me.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not angry at the ones that spoke those words. I understand now they were trying to deal with their own mess in their journey …some of it just spilled out on my road and I stepped in the toxic waste. It stuck to my feet for many years because I did not know I could just wipe it off and be done with it. Instead…I carried it…into everything I did for the next 29 years.
I grew up in church where when someone asks for prayer it became the gossip of the church. Instead praying for guidance or healing of a situation it was judged. As I grew up I saw fewer people kneeling in public. It made me hold back from asking, not wanting to be the center of church attention. I just held it in – since those were church people and knew God – I sure did not want to ask God to help me because…well his opinion scared me.
I knew the bible had all the answers for my life and it said "You reap what you sow" and I had sowed some pretty bad seeds…so I figured I was getting what I deserved, and I needed to suck it up.
Living Life according to what I believed
At the tender age of 16 I knew it all. I got married and moved to another country….not another state. I lived in a duplex that had rats the size of cats that lived in the garage (I am not kidding)
I never felt like I fit in. I wanted to be more than broke, and broke is what I was. Since I had never bought groceries for myself much less a house hold – I had no idea how to look for bargains and make the best of having little. I was allowed to spent $80 on household and food every 2 weeks. Most of the time my refrigerator had crackers and peanut butter. I ate the left-overs at the day care center I was working for, I only worked 15 hours a week. The other 153 hours a week I got hungry often. I was thin, very thin.
At 18 – I lived in the south, in house that had cock-roaches, (I hate those things) around more strangers trying to find my way. They did not know me and I didn't either. Inside of me, I knew I wanted more – I just did not know what it was. I had mentioned once out loud that I wanted to work in business – I did not know what kind of business. I was driven in that direction but after being told to get a real job and not waste my time. I did. I was like them in the rat race. Stuffing my dream deeper in my pocket.
My Belief was showing up
At 20 I wanted children – but was told I was too young and what did I know about raising a kid – I could not take care of myself. The baby that I miscarried was never mentioned again – it was not talked about – I was not allowed to talk about it or to cry over it. It was over. Move on. Be tuff. Grow the hell up.
Sowing more seeds
At 21 1/2 years old – I was divorced after 6 years of whatever that was called, a marriage or a cage. I was angry at the world and it was not going to get in my way! I spewed whatever I wanted to whoever I wanted and could care less if it hurt your feeling. Grow the hell up and get over it.
I ran head first into another relationship that poured more acid on the toxic waste that was on my shoes. Walking down a path that brewed more anger.
This sums up my worldview at the time.
Full of spit and vinegar I was living out what people expected me to be. Mean, Ornery and like them. On the inside I knew I was not like them and that was not who I was. I had no idea how to change the pattern. I was right dead smack in the middle of a pit with no ladder – no hand held out to pull me up. Since I was so close to the ground I dropped to my knees and looked up. I said, "God – if you can hear me then I need you to help me this is not the life I want." – something twinge but I had no idea it was God. I walked on.
Ending another dead end relationship, jumping right into another one, this time it almost took my life. I fell head over heels in love with the devil himself. I knew with every part of my being I did not need to be around this man. He scared me – he excited me – but I could not leave. Everyone had already told me I was wrong again and I was going to get what I deserved – so I waited for it to show up. Family members stopped talking to me and would act like I was not in the room. Church felt like I was choking so I stopped going, my friends were his friends, my life was a freaking mess. Then it happened – he hid my one year old son from me for over 15 hours. I quickly understood how psychosis felt in my patients. I also understood how women who had shot their husbands did it with the blank mug shot face.
My son arrived home safe and I was scared and angry. I wanted out – but again felt I was in a pit that was deeper than before. This time I had been abandoned from all the males in my family. I called no one, I stayed until he hit me so hard in my left eye that he lifted me off the ground. I left shoe marks 5 feet up on the white wall in the hallway – I remember falling what seemed like forever, but I do not remember hitting the floor. I was floating in time. Everything stopped but yet it felt like it was in slow motion. I tried to get up and saw the huge puddle of blood on the white carpet of the brand new house. He rolled me over and our eyes met. There was hate – anger, actually I saw fire. I opened my mouth to scream and I don't know if anything came out. All sound was gone, I could hear nothing, but I felt the tears roll down my cheeks and I rose off the floor with such power that I swore someone picked me up. The rage that came out was that of 10 horses – I screamed and I made a promise that I have never gone back on. With the whole left side of my face swollen down to the middle of my neck – I had whip lash and blood pouring out my nose. I felt no pain, I felt no feelings, I had something pushing me out the door so fast I did not realize I had my son wrapped around my hips like he was super glued. No one touched me – no one said a word. They moved out of my way. My ass was out of there.
I got home, walked into my bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. My face was black and purple, my shirt covered in blood, my son looked as if he was so scared he would never speak again. I looked at that young girl straight in the eye. "You will never live like this again, you will not look back, I have no idea where you are going but it is not here." I dropped to my knees and said, "God I know you are here – and I need you and tonight I need you to show up. The peace that fell over me was like a cool breeze – I held my arms out and allowed him to love me in the mess I was in and the tears fell – buckets full.
I picked up the phone and called the ones that had stopped talking to me. Within 6 hours the biggest U-haul I had ever seen showed up, my driveway filled with people I did not know. Women came in my kitchen and began loading boxes faster than I had ever seen anyone pack. Not one person mentioned my face – someone took my son because I could not remember when he had been fed or had a drink.
I drove out the driveway broken, crushed, and lost.
Somehow I knew what just happened was going to be used later in my life for the good…somehow.
I still had the passion for business in my gut. I ran into an old acquaintance and she had a bottle of product she was selling she told me how she was making money selling them to people. It was my first exposure to marketing a multi-leveling company. I was in! I had no clue how to make it work and neither did my friend, but I was drawn to it. I stayed with the company for several years – making MM's and gas money.
At 25 – I began working out in the gym – which lead me to a new group of people who needed my product. They all bought it. I began pumping iron and dispensing the anger inside onto the dumbbells all 30lbs as I curled them with each arm. One…two…three….four…. My body began taking on a new shape that brought a new confidence in myself. I went on to try out for the gladiators in Nashville – I was toned packed with muscles and full of attitude. I never once thought they could beat me. I smiled at my competitor who was twice my size and grinned. My mind was set – I would have one of those uniforms.
I pushed – I pulled – I darted – I jabbed. I made the 2nd string.
I could see myself on a stage and I just guessed it was the gladiators – I never got the chance to use my 2nd string position. I did not care – I made it.
My focus, drive and vision pushed me to the level I was able to compete. It was never about moving onto the next level. It was about filling the desire that was brewing inside. From there I focused on running a 10K Classic, I did not want to win it – I wanted to finish. Out of 1500 people I did – #84. Another goal met – I felt confidence rise again.
Strength was growing on the inside.
What I had learned from a very rocky path were the things that I focused on – I got. Even the rocky relationships – they were what I felt like I deserved at that time. I was filling my belief. It took lots of tears, a few more back slides, and determination to know I was designed for more and what I deserved was to be live wild and bold like my God had designed me to be. He gave me the courage to move forward and knock the dust off my feet from the journey that was behind me. It took 16 more years before I could see through the fogged life that I had lived. I am no longer angry; I actually have the courage to thank the people in my past for pushing me out of that life so I can be who I am.
At 16 – 18 – 20 – 25 and now 45
I had people who loved me and supported me my whole life – but I shut them out. As a brewing volcano I was not looking for the positive in my life. Today, I am blessed! I have two healthy children, a wonderful husband, a home filled with peace and love, a job, a business, I am a published author, and I am headed in the direction bigger than my minds- eye because I am focused with a business coach in place to lead me down a path she / and he has already paved. I am not walking in the dark but full on in the light that was provided.
As a business owner – learning how to generate my own leads, write my own copy, lead a team full of business minds, speaking into the lives of other nurses in a place I wanted out of, I know how you feel – as you can see – I was once there. I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone else – I was not good enough. I remember telling my best friend at the time "I am going to be a millionaire someday – even though I had no idea how I am going to do that". She laughed and so did I – except deep inside my gut I believed me.
I knew I had to change
I was drawn to the internet in 1996 – but not very many people were online yet. It was drawing me like a magnet.
After working with a few companies online, before I found one that I could relate to, the business journey began. I followed people who were leading with the business model to talk to more people and follow up on the phone. To be honest, I sucked at it. I made very little money.
I hired a coach, Sandi Krakowski, in 2011 for a full year and learned the skill of life/business coaching (to coach myself and others; to learn how to truly “listen” and connect with people, and to myself).
After my first six months with that coach I was clear on what my core values were; I was mindful of how to apply what I had learned in my own life; so I could attract the outcomes I sought.
Once again for 2012, I have hired two coaches Sandi and PJ McClure to continue growing personally and coaching my business.
It takes time, and I have lots to learn. I apply everything she teaches me – even when it makes no sense to me – the results show up. I apply it again. My business grows, so does my confidence. In 8 months I replaced half of my nursing income.
As I sit on my couch looking out the front windows I can look out across an open 17 acre field – in the distance the dogs are barking and the day is coming to a close. In the distance, is the world that is waiting for me, the same world that I despised at one time. The same one that I thought had nothing to offer for me.
As I reflect on my life I now know that with every painful wrong turn there is something to learn. Someone is out there waiting on me to grow .
My journey began 29 years ago
As I consider all the people touched by my decision to contribute rather than complain, I’m moved beyond measure by the potential I know is inside each and every one of you.
Everyone has value, and it can be expanded when you get in touch with your true self.
Everyone has a story to tell.
Everyone has life lessons to share.
Everyone has skills that can be repackaged to make a greater contribution; to make more money; but more importantly, to connect yourself with the world more closely.
Angela Brooks is a mental health nurse educator who spent the last 22 years working in a state funded mental hospital. In 'A Nurses Story', she shares not only what her patients have taught her over the years, but what we can all learn from those we consider 'at the margins of society'. But it's also a book about nursing, about nurses, and about how a nurse healed alongside her patients. Ultimately, "A Nurses Story" exposes a raw truth – that each of us, individually, can inspire self-worth and purpose in every life we touch, if only we choose to.