Despite my dad’s best efforts, adjusting to this new reality was far from ideal. A year later, after receiving clearance from Child Protective Services, he bravely moved us out of our aunt’s home. During a short period that felt like an unusual camping adventure, we lived in his vehicle. I, oblivious to the truth at the time, only later realized the stark reality of our situation.
Our lives became a constant shuffle from one school to another—I experienced life in Wisconsin, then Tennessee, as my dad, an entrepreneurial spirit like the rest of my family, sought opportunities to make things work.
Establishing lasting friendships proved challenging. Knowing we might move again, I hesitated to form close connections. When I did make a friend, it was often someone with a less-than-ideal influence, but they provided the attention I craved.
At 16, we returned to Wisconsin, yet I chose not to follow my dad and brother back to Tennessee. Instead, I stayed with my aunt, and it was during this time that I crossed paths with my now ex-husband. I made a conscious decision—I was done with the constant upheaval.
Over the next 17 years, my ex-husband and I built a life together, and I became a stay-at-home mom. The journey was demanding, marked by self-imposed isolation and neglect of self-care. Exhaustion became a constant companion, as I found myself caught in a cycle of chores and responsibilities that left little room for personal desires.
My father, always a source of unwavering support, had early on prophesied that I would become a star or grace the television screen. I shared these aspirations with my friends, dreaming of a future as a model, a TV personality, perhaps even a move to California. Amidst the laughter of skeptics, someone eventually shattered my dreams with discouraging words, leading me to discard my aspirations without proper guidance.
A turning point came in the form of a part-time job at a school, allowing me a modest income for small luxuries, like treating myself to coffee. Then, the year 2020 unfolded—COVID-19 struck, and life as we knew it came to a standstill. I lost my job, but in the midst of adversity, I discovered a new path through social media marketing and brand deals on Instagram.
A chance encounter with a woman teaching these subjects opened a door of opportunity. Despite my financial constraints, she generously offered a payment plan and a discount for her courses. Soon, with fewer than 300 followers on Instagram, I found myself engaging in various brand deals, receiving free products that brought genuine happiness to my life.