Have you ever done something that sucked so hard, that made you want to scream, to get closer to your dreams? Have you done things you aren’t proud of, but have made you a stronger person for it?
Let me paint you a word picture.
A dilapidated couch sitting on an overgrown lawn with beer cans strewn about. Peeling paint cracks off as the bass reverberates off the side of the house in the sketchy part of town. Inside, three cats wander around the top floor, mewling and ripping up the carpets. Crowds of people laugh loudly and glasses clink, liquor flows freely. Downstairs, I’m lying in bed, angry and ready to go upstairs and punch any one of them in the face. It’s 11 PM on a Tuesday night, and I have to wake up at 4 AM for work.
A neighbour parked in front of our house again, so the roommate who lives under the stairs slashed his tires. He felt bad, and let the guy move into our house. But we don’t have room for a 13th! I tried to reason with him. The new guy took out my wet laundry from the washer and put it on the floor. I stomped upstairs and told him to fuck off, and do his laundry at the fucking laundromat.
I scrubbed the weird goo growing on the walls in our basement kitchen until I started hearing colors. The goo didn’t come off.
One of the cats from upstairs sprayed on our futon while we were out of town. The owner of said asshole cat didn’t clean it. We threw out the futon and started sitting on the floor.
We all went for $0.05 wings on Wednesdays at the pub down the street. I snuck large plastic bags in my purse so I could fill them full of cheap wings to feed myself for the rest of the week. We bought 2L bottles of Vex coolers with our collective pocket change and wandered back home down the alleyway.
I took two trains and a bus each way to work everyday to make minimum wage. By the time I got home from work, it was whiskey’o’clock for all the upstairs roommates.
My roommates in the bedroom next to me would scream so loud during sex, I would bang on their doors to tell them to shut it while I was trying to study.
Our mattress on the floor in our room with no windows was right underneath the livingroom upstairs, so I started sleeping with earplugs, and would end up waking up late most days, brushing my teeth on the way out the door.
We would hide our toilet paper so our roommates wouldn’t steal it. We always bought the good toilet paper.
That was my life when I first left home. I was determined to successfully live on my own, and make something of myself. I wanted to show the world I was strong. I could do anything. My then boyfriend (now husband) was one of my roommates, and we made it work. We ate a lot of ramen noodles, dealt with a lot of roommate bullshit, and worked a lot of shitty jobs. The two of us survived on one minimum wage job while I went to school. Then, when I finished school, we traded. We had big dreams, and we weren’t going to let anyone stand in the way of them.
Now, we live in a big, beautiful house with a large yard surrounded by trees that a doctor used to live in (a motherfucking doctor!). We are debt free (besides the mortgage), own three vehicles, and a hot tub in the backyard. We have a wild and spunky son who keeps us laughing, and on our toes. We have badass friends who we throw parties often, and our marriage is stronger than ever. We both have great jobs, and I am able to follow my dream of helping other women build their confidence, and be damn proud of who they are.
We should all be damn proud of who we are, and go after what we want.
If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen. You just have to decide what is most important to you. Living in squalor for a few years was rough, but it was also an adventure, and so worth it. I have learned so much about myself, and I have grown because of it. Priorities. Dreams. What are yours?