One of the most difficult things to do in life is recognize and believe that where you are today isn’t where you want to be, and where you are tomorrow is a choice. There is a quality of life that we want for ourselves and our family and with hope we can achieve our goals. Many people have struggled emotionally and physically in life and with the current economy are struggling financially. Every once in awhile, you hear of a story of someone that has passed all odds and made it through to the other side. It motivates us, it inspires us, and the story makes us want to do better for ourselves. With this story of how I started out in life and where I am today is hopefully an inspiration to everyone looking to make a change in their life. If I can do it, I KNOW you can, too.
I was born in Germany and started my struggle at the age of five. At least, that is the first memory I have of how I came to live in the first orphanage. My father was an alcoholic and was the textbook example of abuse. He tormented my mother physically and emotionally to what seemed to be a daily way of life. My mother escaped the clutches of abuse and divorced my father. Vulnerable and alone, my mother fell in love with a man that she married very soon after her divorce. Unconceivable to most minds, my step father and I did not see eye to eye on anything, even though I was only 5 years old. He posed the ultimatum to my mother: she was to put me up for adoption and send me to an orphanage immediately. Feeling like, what I can only believe now, was a feeling of being trapped, she dropped me off and promised to come back for me as soon as possible. It was only temporary. It was only for awhile. She never returned.
European orphanages were not recognized as a meaningful resource to spend any sort of funds or educational standards. Movies like Oliver Twist won academy awards for an interpretation of the horrible life of young orphans which was a glorified fairytale of what really goes on. I dressed in rags, barely enough to eat and was forced to cope with my fears alone. With bars on the windows and the feeling of being held captive it was the only way to deter any rebellion or will to run away at night. Thieves and gangs preyed on the young orphaned victims to become doers of their ill will with the promise of belonging to something….anything.
By the age of eighteen, I survived the torments of my young mind, alcoholism, drugs, relocation to several different orphanages for suicide attempts, gang affiliation and the ability to leave those perilous people. I was a survivor after 3 stays in Intensive Care for suicide attempts and 3 other occasions for drug and alcohol poisoning. It was finally time to obtain my ability to leave the clutches of the system and be free to start a new life in society. I was in a relationship and soon after we were pregnant. We were married and with the will and desire to give my family all of the love and benefits I never had, I had to leave the memories behind every building and stone wall around me and make a fresh start. We decided to makethe move to America. With my English barely in place, two bags, my guitar and only a few dollars in my pocket we left with every bit of excitement of what the future might have in store for us.
We lived in Michigan and soon had another child. I kept thinking about my past and the thought of not knowing whatever became of my brother and sisters and the thought was tormenting me. Did they know I was OK? Did they know I was even alive? I decided to try and find them. With what seemed to be a never ending search I found my oldest sister. She was so happy to hear from me and my brother, whom I remembered the most, was at her home when I called. I wanted to talk to him but he was in a hurry and on his way out and said he would call me the next day. He said he was so excited to talk to me and couldn’t wait for the call tomorrow. He was killed that night leaving my sisters in a motorcycle accident. I will always regret not trying harder to find him sooner, not having the chance to talk to him and his loss is a burden I will always carry. There is a truth to treating each day like it is your last, make the call or you might not be given the same luxury tomorrow. Today is your choice.
Over 90% of the children I grew up with were killed, overdosed on drugs, committed suicide or in jail. I needed to make a change in my life and I needed to do something for no one else but me. I had done some modeling and appeared in a few movies although I decided I wanted to make a drastic change in my physical being. I began working out and learning about nutrition. My boys were fighting in Iraq and it was the only distraction that kept me sane while the boys were away with sometimes no word for several months. With fitness and fitness modeling, I found myself feeling better than I ever did in my twenties. It was my way of turning back the clock and giving myself another chance. Another shot at life. A choice. I have appeared on many fitness and training websites and have reached my goal weights. This time around I am putting my story out there as an inspiration to others that anything is possible and everything you see around you was once just someone’s dream. Whether your goals are to improve yourself physically, emotionally or financially it all starts with the same first step…today. With my boys safely returned and a new day to fulfill my dreams, I feel blessed.
I wish you the best of luck! Hope Springs Eternal.