How does one start a book about their life? Do they simply introduce themselves? Does one come up with a witty one liner about how shitty life can be? Maybe they just start rambling? I guess I just begin with a super summary that will be detailed out later...
I was born on a snowy day in December, 1982. My parents have always lived in Minnesota, Saint Paul, and have always been middle class. They worked VERY hard their entire lives to provide for my older brother and I and my childhood was really quite fantastic.
I had a few road bumps here and there as a kid but nothing that I couldn’t ever get over or adjust to. My family was so stable we could have been the Cleavers. We had a gorgeous home that my parents had built right after I was born; it was on a nice yard in a great neighborhood with parks, forests and lake around. I seriously was born into the perfect scenario.
My parents have been married almost 40 years. They still love each other. I never saw them fighting as a kid, in fact it was the opposite, I would get incredibly embarrassed when they would kiss or gush about each other all the time.
My parents still live in the perfect house I grew up in. Now, it is way too big for them and they talk of moving, which breaks my heart. I have so many memories tied to that house, many which will flow through these pages. The house is yellow, my mom’s dream home. Yellow is a symbol of calm and comfort to me to this day.
Growing up both my brother and I were incredibly active kids. We did every activity possible, sports, scouts, camping, it was amazing. By our side as coach or leader was always my Dad. He was a trooper. He would work long hours, come home and haul us to our events. Not only that but he would be the one organizing everything. Sadly, my teams never won. In fact I think we must hold some sort of record for being the worst at every sport. Thankfully, my brother and his teams were always champions, so my dad didn’t get too depressed. It’s hilarious to look back at the old team photos and see how truly crazy ugly I was.
Yes, it was the 80s and 90s but man, I looked a mess continually. I had the worst mullet imaginable and mixed with my curly hair left me looking basically homeless. I refused to let my mom comb my hair as a kid and even refused to bathe for a little bit in there… I was a free spirit to say the least.
I remember I used to run the bath water and splash my arms around pretending I was bathing, but in reality I never got in. Somehow my dad caught on and thus began “the smell test.” I would fail and the whole process would repeat. I was weird.
In school I was really good at being social. My parents would always go to parent teacher conferences and come back with a glowing report on how well I was able to behave. They always complained about how I talked too much and was a bit of the class clown. The thing was, academically I was most definitely not the head of the class.
I remember vividly having to go to Mrs. Fairchild every day at lunch for reading help. I didn’t truly begin to read on my own until the end of 4th grade. I was a delayed learner to say the least. The thing I had going for me was my inability to give up and I could also memorize everything.
In 5th grade I became the librarian’s assistant during recess because I no longer needed the academic help. By 7th grade I was at grade level and in 8th grade I began Spanish class. Spanish was the first thing that my brain could really comprehend. I learned it FAST and with ease. I finally gained confidence in something school related and I flourished.
After my sophomore year in high school the public school offerings were not advanced enough for me and so my parents relocated me to a private school. It was a huge culture shock and took some time to adjust. I did and I graduated on time with my peers, I had continued to excel in Spanish and remember fondly of all my AP Spanish classmates. The teachers at Totino showed me who I was, and gave me insight into who I would later become.
Freshman year of college I went to a small state school 2 hours away from home. I was excited to move out into the world on my own. I had a ton of crazy encounters with crazy people that year and as a family we decided to move me back home.
I finished out my undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota near my parents’ house. I majored in Spanish studies and psychology, well I should say, Spanish Studies. I graduated in 3.5 years. I was proud. I had accomplished a huge task, and it will all make sense later, but getting that degree was huge for me.
I began teaching during my sophomore year of college as a part time job and volunteer gig. I learned I loved it. I loved the moment someone understood something new. When I graduated I decided I was going to teach Spanish because it was what had given me my identity academically so many years prior. I decided I would move to Memphis, TN and teach there because there were no teaching jobs available in Minnesota.
I moved. I spent over 3 years teaching in the craziest, wildest, most interesting place I had ever been. I found my dream house, bought it, got married, got divorced, sold it and then I moved back home to my parents.
I was heartbroken, unsure of what to do with my life, and looking for a sign from God as to where to go and what to do. I had thought teaching Spanish was my vocation and what God had planned for my life, but in 2009 I was left uncertain. I taught Kindergarten. One 5 year old is adorable, 30 is a migraine.
I always thought Minnesota’s education system would be so superior to that of the South, I was wrong. It is the same amount of administrative hierarchy and bad people in high places that plagues every school district. I quit teaching in 2011 feeling hopeless and as if our society was going to just simply circle its way down a drain.
So that’s my life in a giant summary. That’s my intro. There’s just one thing I left out. I am chronically ill. I am not talking about “ohh, I have the flu a few times a year” sick…I’m talking “oops, I lost consciousness again and I can’t stop bleeding” sick.
That’s why I am writing this book. I have overcome many obstacles and had ridiculous adventures for anyone, but, to accomplish and experience it all while deathly ill, has been a wild ride.