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I was a Highschool Dropout

I framed my GED years ago because it is something that I wanted to make sure and have upfront and showcase on my wall that reminded me each and every day of how far I've come, how strong I am and how capable I am of succeeding at absolutely ANYTHING.

May 21st, 1999 is the date that I was awarded my Grade 12 Equivalency Diploma.

In May of 1999, I was a two-time high school dropout, going through a divorce, had 3 babies under the age of 5, was working two jobs while on welfare, and living in low-income housing...

WOW, that is a mouthful and I often look back and wonder how the hell I did it on my own with my family, (mom, dad, brother, and sister), all living in BC.

They moved from Saskatoon when I first got pregnant in 1994 as they needed a better life. I was too selfish at the time to go with them and wanted to be with my friends and stay with the new relationship that I had just started with my baby daddy. We got pregnant immediately after we starting dating in 1994, barely knew each other, but I was determined to have these babies and figure it out as best I could, help or not.

In the early '90s, drugs and alcohol were a common thing in my life and I often think of where I'd be if I didn't get pregnant with my twins. Probably in a ditch. I was headed absolutely nowhere, had no ambition at the time except to be around boys, party and live one day to the next... I was only 20 when I had them and their father was 18, so yup, that was a recipe for great things there!

I did, however, quit smoking, didn't touch an ounce of alcohol or a singe drug during the entire pregnancy, which was a huge positive in light of everything else. Keagan and Alexandria were born, a boy and girl, 4 1/2 hours apart I might add, Keagan being natural at 8:30 am and Ally, true to form, born c-section at 12:50 pm. Nothing I do, I do easy and neither do they.

They were due Christmas day and because I was so uncomfortable due to them going to term, I was able to get induced 2 weeks before. We had a Charlie Brown Christmas that year with a dying little spruce tree stuck in a 5 gallon home depot bucket full of rocks decorated with a few lights. My mom and dad sent a box full of snacks and gifts with a Safeway gift card so that we could have a Christmas that year and it was one that I'll never forget. I have a picture of that tree and it too reminds me of how far I've come. Sometimes it's necessary to remember those moments in light of things that you think you're struggling through now.

3 months after our babies were born, we got the news that we were pregnant again. Mackenzie was born with her little Fraggle rock head of hair in January of 1996.

Life did not get easier, their father and I married in July of 1996 and among the many break-ups, job changes and moves, one including a short 3 month move to BC with just myself and all three kids packed up in the back of my little pink Cavalier, their dad and I finally went our separate ways in 1999.

Although I wasn't completely determined to get my act together quite yet, I did start to buckle down and decide that I needed to do some-thing with my life. I needed a good job, a better job and something that could help the kids and I go from welfare to more stability. That could not have happened without my Grade 12.

I'm proud that over the course of the early 90's to early 2000's I was able to realize that I was not a victim of what my early circumstances were, I wasn't going to let my past define me and I was going to do more with my life. Writing that GED wasn't easy as I didn't ever apply myself in school, I had zero interest to learn about history or geography and math was always my hardest subject, but I did it anyway. I put my head down and did my best, and when that was accomplished I set my sights on another goal, and another goal and not that I didn't have set back, not that I didn't go through periods of failure and bad times... but that's for another day and another story.

Today I wanted to share my story on a little glimpse into what I've gone through, some of what I've overcome. I understand that life, work, relationships can be hard, raising kids can be hard, going to get food stamps can be hard, (been there too), but like I've said over and over again, one step in front of the other, one hour after the other, one day after the other.

I love and appreciate the fact that each and every one of you is here, reading my posts, supporting my vulnerability and allowing me to help in any way that I can.

I hope that you know that you always have a world of support our there if you need it, who doesn't ❤️

My reason for writing is and always has been to let others know that I see you and I hear you, you are so not alone!

As always,

☕︎ ~Joelle

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