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February 10, 2006

I'm a Lucky Woman

Growing up, I never had a strong woman role model. I was shy, introverted with very low self-esteem. Along with that, we moved all the time. It looked something like this:

Kindergarten, 1st grade and part of 2nd - Okinawa Japan

Part of 2nd Grade - Augusta GA

The end of 2nd Grade - another new school in Augusta GA

3rd Grade - a new school in Augusta GA

4th Grade - another new school in Augusta GA

Part of 5th Grade - again, a different school in Augusta GA

Rest of 5th Grade - Rolla MO

6th Grade - Jacksonville NC

Part of 7th Grade - Rolla MO

Rest of 7th Grade - Camp Lejeune NC

8th Grade - Sterling VA

9th, 10th and part of 11th - Camp Lejeune NC

Rest of 11th and 12th - Twentynine Palms CA

Yep, 13 schools.

So, back to the story...

Once I hit about 13, I started looking for these women I would look to. I found a couple here and there that I observed in how they carried themselves or how they handled things. I was very lucky.

But there were a certain few that made a huge unimaginable difference in my life....and they still do.

One is obviously my stepmom whom I spoke of here.

Another was my English teacher in 11th grade, Beth. She kept me on the right path, got me out of a bad situation at home, cared enough to call CPS and get calls from my mother afterward. She has been there for me since. I visit her often and am like a big sister to her kids. She's taught me how to be happy with me and what I do and everything else will be gravy. She's taught me how to be humble and vulnerable and how to learn from those times. She always told me I knew how to read people, that was my gift. She was the one that inspired me to be a teacher. And she was the first one to teach me about unconditional love. She helped me decide to move to my dad's and explained how his love for me was unconditional. As was hers too.

When I lived on my own in Southern California, I was 19 and broke; working two jobs and trying to go to schools. Kim took me in as her surrogate daughter. She already had 4 kids; 10, 4, 3, and 2. I slept on their couch for a month while trying to get on my feet. She was there for one of my first terrible break-ups; she helped me move up in the company I was in. And I'm sure it didn't hurt that she had a free babysitter whenever she wanted :-) She was just there....nothing in particular...she was just there when I needed someone...unconditionally.

I moved to Yuma when I was 20 and started with the company I am with now. After 6 months of being there, I was promoted to assistant manager by the person who is currently my boss. She saw something in me, even at the age of 21, that I was capable of doing something good for that store and the company. She was a great model in the business I am and how a woman can be successful. A lot of my management traits I learned from her. She's also the one that had faith enough to move me back out here to manage two of her stores. She's gone to bat for me and trusted me. Again, another good model for me.

Then, at the age of 22, I moved out to North Carolina for another position with my company. Beth again helped in the move out there, giving me a place to stay until I found a home.

A year after being there, I received a phone call from someone at our corporate office asking why I hadn't submitted my resume for the training position that was recently posted. My reply was every excuse in the book from no prior experience, to not wanting to leave my team to being loyal to my current boss at the time. She somehow talked me into it saying this opportunity didn't come around that often.

So then I had to prepare for an interview and presentation. I was 22 years old...I was intimidated as hell!! I stressed and went through several ideas. I knew the whole time it was a mistake. I was going to embarrass myself and be known as the fool of the company.

After a stressful interview, presentation and 2 day training, all in front of her (another story for later), I found out I got the job. I thought she was nuts. I am so self-conscious, I didn't know how I was going to train others...I'd be too worried about what others were thinking of me.

If it wasn't for her, I have a feeling I would very possibly be jobless or in a dead-end job as my previous position was eliminated.

Since then, I have learned countless things from her as a career woman and a mentor. She helped me find traits and confidence in myself that I never even thought to look for.

And due to that opportunity Morrigan gave me, I found two more great women in my life...Morrigan and Napster.

These ladies have no idea how important they are in my life right now. In a new stage where I am preparing more for my future, dealing with relationships, trying to make a life of my own on my own....these girls are there through it all. They know just when to listen to me babble and know when to lay down the advice. They never judge which allows me to be 100% honest...something I was never capable of doing.

They are great models of strong women and friends for me. They share their own life's lessons with me to help me through my own. They answer late drunken calls of tears when I run into an ex and they call the next day to check on me. They listen to all my crazy ideas and support me unconditionally once I made a decision.

I could go on about any of these women. I am just that lucky. I look back on some of the paths I could have chosen, especially without the help of one or all of these women, and I am just so thankful.

So my biggest goal in life is to be the same to others. I want to pass it down...keep it rollin'.

I just can't believe how lucky I am!

Posted by Sissy at February 10, 2006 01:38 PM | TrackBack

Aw, sweetie - it's so easy being friends with you because you are such a wonderful person! You are so smart, funny, caring, loyal, sweet, and beautiful! It's the pass it on game when it comes to strong, confident women - Morrigan saved me in so many ways and it has been my goal in life to be there for my friends unconditionally! You are the best and the greatest thing is you have so much more to experience in life and you aren't afraid to do it! You know we have your back all the way and we are the lucky ones because we have you as our friend ;)

Posted by: Napster at February 10, 2006 01:53 PM

It's not often I'm speechless...even for a moment. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I'm honored to be your mentor especially alongside such important influential people. In the words of my strongest female influence (Mom),"It's your journey and I'm happy to be a part of it."
You too have been there for many a personal crisis and a big thank you for that. We will keep on listening, caring and being there for each other.
So, I raise my frosty adult beverage to many more years of friendship with my beautiful friends, Sissy and Napster.

Posted by: Morrigan at February 10, 2006 04:12 PM

*wipes at eyes*

...must be a little dusty in here... :-)

Posted by: Harvey at February 13, 2006 05:53 PM