I come from the earth. The places I have called home do not define me rather they add to what I am. Plains, rivers, cities, mountains, I have lived in many places, but I am not from any of them. A compilation of every force of nature; mountain meadows where the first wildflower has budded, sandy shores where waves repeatedly crash, towering trees so tall you realize how insignificant you are in this world, that is where I am from. The first land I laid eyes upon was Oklahoma.

A small town in the Midwest was the first instrument used to shape me. My life here was peaceful, I was filled with joy, as all children should feel. Although the town was isolating my family and I from the rest of the world, and I had no idea. It was serving as a veil that kept me naïve. Within the small cities confines I felt superior. At school I felt well liked and smart, at swim team I shined, and at home I was loved. My self-esteem was high and no one could tear me down. Here I learned that family; love, empathy, and true friendships could exist. Take away this town from my youth and these ideals would not be rooted in me, nowhere else I have lived really showed me that all those things exist.

My foundation was built in Oklahoma but my walls and what filled them were torn down and rebuilt in Utah. Moving to Park City, Utah right before I started sixth grade was horrible. The confidence and self-esteem I had in myself had blown away, back to the prairies where it started. Almost every child here came from a wealthy family. They were exposed to fine things and fancy gadgets; I had been exposed to people just barely getting by. The kids had the nicest clothes, beautiful shiny hair, and were basically up to date on everything. I on the other hand knew gap and old navy, and struggled to do anything cute with my hair. These peers were a whole new monster and one that I was not prepared to tame. Two faced would be the best way to describe the other students in the middle school. Everyone would act friendly and accepting, while at the same time using relational aggression to make you feel like an outsider. This social rejection left me constantly grasping for acceptance.

The authoritarian parenting style was predominately what my parents used, but their lack of communication with each other sometimes made their parenting more permissive. Since we had moved their marriage had progressively worsened. As my mother and fathers relationship declined, I was left to shape myself. I began to stray away from the more idyllic path and towards friends who in most people’s eyes were considered “bad” kids. Since I struggled with finding my own personal identity, I took theirs on and attempted to make it my own. Peer pressure got the best of me and I began drinking amongst other things.

Now the real learning began. My father decided to explore what other women were out there besides his wife, and he moved out for a while. If my dad had stayed I wouldn’t have learned to always trust my gut instinct, I would not have as many guards up, and I wouldn’t know that blood does not make someone family. With each passing year I made more difficult decisions and my path continued to diverge.

My eighteenth birthday landed me on what was supposed to be my first day of senior year. I didn’t go. I had already decided to stop going. Instead I was moving all of my things into my twenty-year-old boyfriend’s bedroom, in the house he rented with some of his friends. Living at home now that my mom had decided to give it another shot with my dad was not going to work for me. I built my own life and my own family unit formed within my roommates. I worked my ass off to make it, but the friends I had along with the never wavering love of my mother, gave me the support I craved. If I hadn’t left home, I would not know the great feeling of building myself out of nothing, I wouldn’t know how to be spontaneous, and I would not be as tough and strong of a person.

Young love almost always ends in heartbreak. My boyfriend was my world. I lived and breathed for him. Everything I did was for us. My decisions were all based upon my future with him, and I took more of the things he wanted out of life into account, rather than the things I wanted. Effectively I had cut myself off from the rest of the world, my only friends were his friends as well and I was only active in aspects of our community that he participated in. I choose to leave the person who had taken me in when I needed him most. After putting three years of your life into a relationship it is hard to walk away, but I wanted a different future. If I hadn’t of made this choice, I wouldn’t know the importance of making yourself happy first, or how sometimes two people who love each other aren’t meant to be together.

My ex boyfriend helped build me into a strong woman; amongst other things he taught me how to fend for myself. I would be lying if I said I was fine after leaving him. For a while I tried to be a rock, I wouldn’t and couldn’t think about him. I delved myself into my job and tried to pretend he didn’t exist. This all came crashing down around me. The rock cracked and everything contained under the hard shell broke out. My life had become a floundering mess with no direction. Instead of figuring myself out I constantly began worrying that I had left love for nothing.        

The river of tears ran dry. It was time for me to stop worrying about such trivial matters. It was time for me to go back to the mountain meadows where the first wildflower has budded, sandy shores where waves repeatedly crash, and towering trees so tall you realize how insignificant you are in this world. It was time for me to go back to where I came from.

I needed a change, I needed out of Park City. When I began to nanny for a family in Salt Lake I started to see different aspects of the world. The two boys I care for are a constant reminder of how those in your life make you who you are. They make me strive to want to be a positive influence and a good role model in their life.   In turn they give me more strength than they could ever imagine. No longer do I live and breathe for a man, but for myself. Some days I still struggle and feel lost in the world, but I now know that each struggle is just making me more of who I am.

Recently I was accepted to Westminster College with an academic scholarship. When I dropped out of high school at eighteen I thought that I was leaving behind all hope of ever continuing my education. Even though I went back and obtained my high school diploma through Park City School Districts adult education program, I still thought a four-year university education was out of my reach. With this new opportunity I hope to become a beacon of light in someone’s dark days. I do not want an education just for myself; I want one for the world. I want to show others the power that nature holds in healing our minds and bodies. I want to be the voice of the people. I want to show all the diversities and struggles that humans try to pretend don’t exist. Salt Lake’s communities, America’s communities, and the World’s communities all need help. I want to be united with those communities and help them through their battles.

Letting the sun penetrate the layers of my skin, letting the breeze blow away the unnecessary wants circulating around me, this is what saved me. The earth brought me back. Each morning I now set out to make what I do that day matter. I try to make my mom’s day a little brighter, I try to spend time outside in nature, I smile as much as I can, and I make laughter a priority.  


Reflection:


This Family and Humans Studies course is based on lifespan and development, so I wanted my signature assignment to reflect my personal lifespan thus far and the developments that I have made.  Where I came from, what helped me develop, and why I am in the place I am today are all shown through my signature assignment choice.  The final project for this class was to write a paper about you.  Background information and critical events were to be highlighted and then related back to the topics we learned during the semester.  My project shows the reader a tiny window, which by looking through they can see a piece of me.  A part of me that I don't often share was put into this assignment and by writing it I was able to realize more about myself.  Writing about the events in my life that have helped create has made it easier for me to understand the course materials.  This course has taught me that every event in your life good or bad has a lesson that will shape and create you.

 































 
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