The first step

People do things for a number of reasons in life; yet the reasoning, or inspiration behind them goes unknown. In order to get to where you want to go you have to take the first step; I wanted to share my journey with others so that, if they don’t have the inspiration I have to take the first step(s), then maybe my story will be that inspiration.

My name is JaShawndra; I am the youngest of my mothers three children, and the middle child of my fathers three children. I was raised by my mother, with very little involvement from my father; however my grandmother basically took the place of my father, ensuring that my mother would never have to do it alone if she didn’t want to. I am currently twenty-six years old and a single mother of four kids whom are fathered by three different men. I know what you’re thinking, how can she inspire me when clearly she doesn’t have things going to great for herself. I graduated high school at the age of 17. I had dreams and goals, but I also had a ten year plan; needless to say, life generally doesn’t go according to plan. After graduating high school in May of 2008, I took the first steps of my ten year plan by enrolling into college at Barton County Community College, majoring in diagnostic sonographing and minoring in psychology.

The first failure I had known in my “adult” life, was not being able to withstand the pressure of being 17, being free and trying to balance having a social life with trying to one day be the person I saw in my dreams. The second part of plan one failing, would had been the shocking discovery that my grandmother (Nana) had been diagnosed with stage 4, terminal, lung cancer. My entire world came crashing down around me. I dropped out of school, and moved back home to assist in the care my grandmother would need. My mother had quit her job, my brother put a hold on his professional wrestling career, and I left school – together we ensured my grandmother had the most comfortable care for the remainder of her life.

In August of 2009, my nana went home to the Lord; it was literally the hardest thing (to this day)  that I’ve gone through. I tried my best to be strong for my family, but my flight instinct took over and I just had to get away; away from all the hurt, the pain, and the memories, and so I did. By October of 2009, my mind was no longer on school or anything other than the fact that the world had betrayed me by taking my nana away, and so I bought a plane ticket, and moved to Louisiana with nothing but $500 and hopes that my relationship would be my salvation from the constant ache in my heart. Once again, life reared it’s ugly head and me – things went from bad to worse as my engagement ended. I was now thirteen hours away from all of my family and friends, in a place where I had maybe three friends and was living with my ex-fiancé. I was working at a place called Startek Inc. but had decided to do some graphic design jobs on the side for extra income so I would be able to move back home; in doing so I met my first husband who later became the father of my first child and failure number three. We moved back to the town I grew up in and then my marriage had failed just as quickly as it had begun, and now I was a single mother. In my mind I thought there was no room for school, I had to be on my stuff in the workforce so that my daughter would never want for anything. I started working at a mental health facility near the town I lived in, working anywhere from 40-60 hours per week. I had gone through so much in such a little time that I, not only lost myself but, lost my mind. I started partying with my best friend during my weekends off and slowly turned into a stage one alcoholic. If I wasn’t at work, or sleep then I’d be at my best friends house and once my first child drifted off to sleep, my best friends mom would watch her so that we could party. It was in all the partying that I met the father of my second and third children. At the age of twenty one, Nine months after giving birth to my first child, I was pregnant again and this time with twins. I could go on and on about the failures in my life – but lets fast forward this a bit shall we. Eventually after months and months of abuse, I left the twins father and continued on my way working anywhere from fifty to eighty hours a week with three children; Through a friend of mine I met my fourth child, and only sons, father. He was gone as soon as my son was born.

When my son was born, I decided that no matter what my kids futures would be better than the life I had been living. At some point in time I had been sitting down with my daughters discussing school and how after high school they would go to college. My oldest child protested any parts of college; She’s six so she doesn’t actually fully understand college yet, but I refused to allow her to feel that way about a higher education period. After arguing for what seemed like hours, she had finally stumped me when she asked this question: “Mom, why do I have to go to college if you’re not going to college?” I was mentally prepared for that question, or so I had thought because as much as I wanted to retort with “I’ve already gone to college,” the truth of the matter was, I had gone to college but did not finish what I had set out to do. At this point I had to question myself: Am I wanting them to go and not get through college? No, of course not, I want them to be able to complete anything they set their minds to.

This was a very important epiphany for myself; Be the person you needed when you were a child. If the only reason my daughter (or other children for that matter)  felt she needed to go to college was because her mother did it, then I would set the bar higher and give her a reason to not only go to college but to go to college and get through it as well. After having this conversation with my children about college, it was decided that I would be going back to college, but this time I would achieve the educational goals I had set forth for myself. The only question was, what exactly would I be going to school for this time? My mind was no longer set, or even thinking about becoming a sonographer – I want to be my own boss or, if I must compromise with life, be a ceo of a megacorporation. That’s it! I’ll go back to school for business. Once I told my daughters what I’d be going back to school for, they were ecstatic. “Mom will have to go to school to but she’ll be in college!” “Mom is gonna have to dress like a fancy lady.” They were proud that I had began my journey and with their help, I am now enrolled as a Business Management major.


“The hardest part of achieving your goals, is taking the first step and continuing on no matter how hard the journey may be.”