The Dream That Never Was
Ever since 2011, I wanted to start my own blog so I could feel like I had a voice. I had a rough childhood, including having my house burn down, becoming homeless, a father who was in and out of jail for domestic violence, my mom who was falsely imprisoned for ‘shoplifting,’ and being bullied throughout my childhood for being poor. In 2009, I went through a really difficult time in my life and I needed help, but I didn’t know where to turn. I think if I had asked for help back then, my life could have been much different. However, I wouldn’t change it for the world because it allowed me to look at life much differently.
Surviving Domestic Violence While Attending College
From 2009-2013, I was living through domestic violence and I was afraid to ask for help. I remember wanting to end my life because it felt easier than continuing on. I suffered the most while away for college, and I nearly dropped out because I wasn’t able to sleep at night in fear that something would happen to me. My dream of moving onto medical school ended because I wasn’t able to make it to my classes on time and unable to keep my grades up. Few knew what I was going through at the time, and I didn’t want to worry my mom. I drove 140 miles home and 140 miles back to school most days my last quarter during college because I didn’t feel safe, and I had nowhere to live. I slept in my car in between classes and that was pretty much my life. Somehow I managed to do enough to graduate with my Bachelor of Science degree because I couldn’t allow someone to have that much control over my future.
Sexual Harassment and Workplace Bullying
When I started my job in the Insurance and Financial Industry, I was sexually harassed and treated unfairly daily. I was young at the time and I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I just felt extremely uncomfortable and I didn’t feel safe. I feared being retaliated against because I was a female in a room full of men, therefore, I resigned.
My career was filled with hardships, and there were owners who took advantage of my hard work ethic, overworking me past most people’s breaking point. When I gave my 2 weeks, two of them were angry, and the same two employers were willing to fabricate lies so I couldn’t leave them to work for new employers. My experiences are some that I would never wish upon others because it affected me so deeply, to the point where I didn’t feel safe working for anyone else anymore.
Mom’s Cancer Diagnosis and Homelessness
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, my world fell apart. I had to give up everything to be there for her through her chemo and driving her to all her doctor appointments. I was commuting 4 hours back and forth from my mom to my job in the Bay Area, living in a van because rent in the Bay Area is astronomical. Being a caretaker is hard work, and emotionally draining.
I remember sitting next to her hospital bed thinking how much of a failure I was as a daughter. I didn’t give her the life she deserved. I thought to myself, she won’t even live to see me open a business or anything like she was hoping. Then one night, I put on The Greatest Showman, and little by little, sparks of hope appeared. I was able to build enough courage to start researching, and later that night I opened a Shopify account and started building my own E-Commerce store. That was the beginning of me rebuilding my life..
Checking Things Off One by One
1. Own that same e-commerce store:
2. Have grown from this tiny office in 2018:
4. To this in 2020:
5. I write college curriculums for community colleges
6. I serve on the committee for California’s DCA
7. I trade and help others rebuild their lives
8. I’m a caretaker for my mom and brother
9. I help make fishing products for my grandpa.
10. Now, I finally have the courage to follow my dream of writing a blog in hopes of helping anyone who have been in my shoes.
My old employer once said to me “Anna, you need to get on my level. You’ll always be at the bottom because I’m the big fish in this small pond.” Well, I’ve gone and created my own little pond, and I’ll just keep swimming along.
I hope I can inspire just one person to rebuild their life. If you get the courage to face your fears, you can make anything happen. Thank you for joining me on my journey.