I quit school when I was 17 and spent two years trying to get the GED. I failed the math and writing multiple times, and after a while I quit again. I went back to try a final time, at which point my teacher told me I could do a high school completion course. After a year and a half, I graduated as a member of the Nation Adult Education Honor Society.
Lesson one: Believe in yourself.
My son attends a magnificent school with wonderful teachers. I just found out today that he is being bullied, and he is afraid to tell the bus driver. The boys who are picking on him used to be his friends, and now that my son turned over a new leaf, they don’t like him. I asked him what he plans to do, almost afraid that he would say that he would go back to his less than desirable ways. He told me that if they can’t accept that he wants to be good, then they don’t need to be his friends.
Lesson two: Be true to yourself.
I had a rough relationship, the guy got into my head and made me think things about myself that I didn’t like. He made me feel crazy, used, and that nobody would love me but him. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, I didn’t want to eat. I went from looking healthy to being harped on by doctors because I looked anorexic. I still struggle with the thoughts of being fat. There were times he made me feel that the people in my life would be better off without me. He paid me for sex, telling me that this is what people do when they are in love. He lied.
Lesson three: If someone truly loves you, they will not hurt you on a daily basis.
I separated myself from dating and sex and spent time getting to know myself. I now know that I like my coffee with a lot of creamer, I look best with nude color eye shadows, I like hearing people talk (even if I don’t catch what they said), I can be a good friend to someone, I can make my son smile with just one hug or high five, and that it really feels good to laugh.
Lesson four: It’s okay to be alone.
A man came into my life when I was 19. I was fresh out of a relationship, but not ready for the emotions he made me feel. After a few months of trying to be normal with him, I walked away. I couldn’t settle down. I was in and out of relationships more than I’d like to admit. Each and every time, my mind went back to him. When things got rough, I’d leave. I knew deep down the others weren’t who I was meant for, but I could never admit that he was what I longed for. It took me four years, a few unpleasant conversations, and one apology before we finally got it right. If I would have listened to myself the first time, I could have avoided a lot of unnecessary heartache on both parts.
Lesson five: You deserve forgiveness, and you deserve to forgive.
Life is full of lessons, and I’m ready to learn them all.