As a kid, I spent time in special ed for dysgraphia, in psychologist’s offices for trauma, and in programs for giftedness, which is in many ways def not a gift. In high school, I got into booze and drugs, scoring straight D’s and F’s on my report card. The school guidance counsellor told me that I was probably not college material. At that point, I was homeless, sleeping on couches and staying with an awesome family who’d taken me in- thank God. I didn’t care what happened to me.
Admitted twice to a psych hospital and rehab back then, one of the psychiatrists wrote on my report that people like me “fail to thrive” in adulthood. Shit, right? I was 18 or 19. Not a good start.
I moved to NYC and dreamed of going to The New School for Social Research. I applied, and got rejected. At that point, I was bartending and had a full-blown issue with alcohol, drugs and men. Education was my ticket out.
So, I enrolled in another college, studied my butt off while working until 4am at a nightclub, and reapplied to my dream school. I got in, and received a 50% merit based scholarship. From there, I went on to grad school, made Dean’s list most semesters, and kept my scholarship while working full-time.
There was one problem- well, four- alcohol, drugs, bad dudes, & depression. How would I quit those? So, I sought professional guidance and read dozens of self-help, spiritual & recovery books. At 31, I finally got sober, married my amazing hubby, & quit antidepressants.
A few years later, I was working as a freelance writer for Ogilvy and shared with some friends and colleagues that I wanted to become a bodybuilder. Understandably, there were snickers. In 2014, I became a national champion physique athlete.
My life used to be crap. I’ve always had lots of naysayers. Things got so bad that I’d tried to kill myself. But, I turned it around. Persistence, learning, prayer and asking for help saved me.
Cliche but true: if I can do it, you can do it. Never lose hope. Learn as much as you can about your goal, about the problems you’re trying to solve. Leave shame behind.
Onto the next ones- got some reading to do. Find your gifts & use them. The world could really use that. 😎💪🏼