Have you ever wanted something so bad you could taste it? Drive, ambition and struggle come hand in hand when we overcome obstacles in our lifetime. Change is a constant factor in everything we do, we see it in ourselves, in our careers, our finances, our friends and in our families. Change is how we grow and evolve mentally, spiritually and physically. Our reactions become an important factor in determining the outcome, never forget we have very little control over events or people’s perceptions, but we do have control over our emotions. What we say or do will have an affect on others and the possible outcome.
They say we change careers at least 8 times during our working life. I believe it, I’ve personally had multiples tries at different jobs. Thinking back to my career aspirations, my initial choice was to move to Waterloo and go to their University to become an architect. But, plans change and factors came into play when making my decisions. What if those factors where out of our control and not necessarily positive? Could we overcome and continue on our path, or would we surrender and give up?
My path was clear or so I thought, I had every intention of attending University of Ottawa to pursue my dream of teaching art. I remember planning, stressing over money, preparing for my interview for the Fine Arts Program. My art portfolio was immaculate, filled with drawings, sketches, paintings and portraits that I was proud to showcase to the panel of interviewers. I was going to be one in twenty applicants that would be accepted for their upcoming fall session. I had saved up enough money for the trip to Ottawa to attend my interview, I was very nervous sitting in the waiting room with other potential students. Once I walked in the room I was cool, calm and collected and presented my portfolio with confidence. It was exhilarating, and I was finally ready for my future to begin.
I had been patiently waiting for my acceptance letter in the following months. During that time my father had been changing, I had never really known anything about his mental health illness. I had been told he took medication to balance his emotions, but I had never witnessed him ill. During a trip to Ottawa to visit Joey, my mother, brother and father had went on a camping trip and his illness spiraled out of control. When I returned home I witnessed him change, he refused to sleep, he spoke to his dead mother, drew demons and was delirious. When I was home after school I would be by his side because I did not trust his driving skills and I would be the one to drive. He made me drive the to bank because he told me he had millions in his account, I tried to tell him it wasn’t true, but he refused to listen. He had not slept in a month, I was stressed, very scared, and my grades began to decline. I had even taken out my frustrations on my English teacher because she gave me a 50% on my essay. I had also isolated myself from my friends, I wanted to be alone. It got worse, while I was walking back home from school I witnessed my father yelling and becoming angry at a boy that was in my grade. I came between them and my father kept yelling that the boy was trying to kill him, I pulled my father inside the house and contacted the police. They eventually made it to our home and took my father to the hospital, my father took down two policemen and nurses. I watched in horror, tears streaming down my face as he was strapped down to ensure the safety of others and himself while we waited for a bed. The mental institution had finally a bed for my father and they explained to me he would be admitted and transported to North Bay. The policeman that had been guarding my father was so kind and understanding with me, I will never forget his compassion.
I left the hospital and drove straight to my best friends Tania’s place and just broke down, her mother and Tania were like family to me and they listened and helped me throughout the months ahead. I faced ridicule from that boy and his group of friends for weeks, it was so bad that I remember leaving the classroom crying and never wanting to return. But, one girl I knew followed me and calmed me down and spoke of her family struggling with mental health and that I was not alone, she was a godsend that day.
I would go visit my father often, and Tania had offered to come with me. That visit was special, I had great news to tell him, I had been accepted into the Fine Arts program! He cried, I cried and so did Tania. I remember telling my father I hope you can see me graduate. The day finally came and he made it to my highschool graduation, it was the best day of my life, graduating with my friends and all my family around me.
I was nervous about leaving for Ottawa, it was August and I was starting University in less then two weeks. I was going to be sharing a room with Joey, everything had been arranged when I had initially went to Ottawa for my interview back in April. But, my father reassured me that he was going to be alright and that this should not prevent me from following my dream. So, with his reassurance and blessing I made the move and prepared myself for the upcoming year. However, my perfect plan took a turn for the worst and I was asked to move out at the very last minute. Panic and fear settled in fast as I watched my future crumble in front of me, I had no place to go and no money to find another place at the same price. I had no one to turn to for help, I had no choice but to move back and find a place to stay back home. My instant reaction was to pack and leave as quickly as possible, I did not feel wanted there and I remember looking at Joey and saying “I can’t stay here, I have no place to go. I’m moving back, you can stay here if you want but I need to go now.” In that moment he cried for me and he said I will follow you anywhere. So we packed everything we had in five minutes and left Ottawa for good and never looked back. His parents took us in for a few months until we found an apartment, they honestly saved us. I could not move back home because I was eighteen and my fathers disability pension would deduct from his benefit cheque if I stayed with them.
That day I lost my trust in people and from that day forward I never depended on anyone. That event caused severe emotional damage that caused me to become very bitter and angry with the world. It has been a long road to recover and move on, but with Joey and my children by my side I finally realized it was not my path. Had I went on with that particular plan, I never would have had any children. I’ve learnt the hard way that we need to embrace change and not become angry or bitter, it will ruin your soul.
Trust in the Universe, there is a reason for everything. Letting go of control and fear will bring you exactly what is needed. For myself, a beautiful loving family and husband with a career that allows me to help others, which is my purpose and has always been my purpose, I am now slowly realizing this through my soulwork.