In the meantime, enjoy the responses I have made to other prompts.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Another response to a prompt - and a little about me

Destination Recovery

It was not the best of times; it was not the worst of times. It was college, for me, a time of tremendous growth and self-discovery. And none of it would have happened if a boss at a blue collar direct mail services facility hadn’t taken me into his family. Al Forrester, God rest his soul, saw in me what I could not – potential. After spending a summer being a big sister to his and his wife’s, Donna’s, five daughters and learning how a loving family operates, through Al’s insistence and his preacher brother’s connections, I began my freshman year at Tennessee Temple University at aged twenty-one.

As a freshman I was on probation. My recollection is it was because I never took the SAT’s, but it could have been I scored poorly on them. In either case, I needed to prove myself academically.  Reflecting back to my academic performance prior to college, excluding my senior year when I moved from Virginia to South Pasadena, California to meet my father for the first time (which is another story), I was never a good student. I was probably one of those students we teachers say has potential, but doesn’t live up to it. Unfortunately for me, my teachers never stopped to ask why.

But as a college student, I blossomed. I learned I was not as stupid as my mother and alcoholic step-father constantly told me. That has to be the greatest lesson I would take away from my year at Tennessee Temple, and my subsequent years at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, of which there were many, UCONN Law School and Central Connecticut State University where I earned my teacher certification (after spending twenty years as a tax accountant).

Yes, that is a lot of schooling, but as an undergraduate I never gave thought to college being a means to an end. I majored in English because I wanted to be a writer, but I never thought about job opportunities. I never talked to career counselors, although I expect the school had them. I took the courses my major required. I graduated magna cum laude and I ended up working at a blue collar direct mail services facility – with no connection to Al Forrester – when done.

Along my college journey I did not stop to think about my future because thinking tended to be painful if it were on a personal level. It was almost as if I were a student placed on a conveyor belt in a college assembly factory. I rode the belt until the end when I was taken off and given my diploma.  I had the brains to excel in my classes, but lacked the wherewithal to do anything with my education.

My upbringing – plagued by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse – left my mind in a dysfunctional state as a young adult. I cannot emphasize enough what the Forresters did to start my healing in motion. It’s kind of scary to think where I might have ended up had Al Forrester not crossed my path, but he did.  He turned the switch to move my life and mind onto a different track, with the first stop being college.

Undergraduate school taught me I could think. From there it was a long journey to adjusting other misconceptions about myself and humanity, but the trip eventually found me mentally strong enough to live a somewhat-normal life with a husband, three amazing daughters and, for the last fourteen years, a job as a middle school math teacher. Just as when I was a freshman at Tennessee Temple, I still want to be a published writer. However, the education I received while pursuing my bachelor’s degree was invaluable and not one I would trade for any job.

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