This I Believe

Dorothy - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I Believe

I will turn thirty-five next month and graduated with my baccalaureate degree last month. It was a goal I had set shortly after entering into my career as a radiation therapist not because I needed it for my career but because I knew it was something that would be good for my soul. I believe in having goals. It is how I accomplished nearly everything in my life. For instance, I had the goal to own a home by the time I was twenty-five and although it was a few months after my twenty-fifth birthday, I still managed to attain that goal. These goals may seem insignificant or standard but I have overcome a few obstacles with the help of these goals.

I am the youngest of five girls who came from a very poor and very abusive background. My biological father was an alcoholic and tended to take his anger out on my mother and elder sisters. Unfortunately, that also included sexual abuse. I guess you could say I was the lucky one because I was the youngest and never had to experience that trauma. However, my sisters’ invisible scars seemed obvious to those of us in the family. My mother divorced my father shortly before I was born but you see, in those times, there were not the resources that are available today. In fact, communities, even churches, often ostracized divorced women. My mother also had no means to support her four children because she had been a high school drop out who ran away from abusive parents herself to get married at seventeen. It was only a brief period before she remarried my father and then I was born. She finally divorced him for good five years later and supported us with a secretary’s wage before meeting and marrying my kind, gentle, quiet, and hard-working stepfather.

Education was never pushed on us so if we were going to survive we had to have our own goals. All of us did graduate high school and received various addition forms of education: hair stylist, biologist, engineer, nurse, and radiation therapist. Unfortunately, the eldest is a hypochondriac as is my mother; the next has been in and out of therapy her whole life and has attempted suicide as well as being an alcoholic and prescription drug abuser. The middle sister is a very angry woman whose only solace is the love she has for her children. The next sister does not use her nursing degree; instead, she works the system for welfare, insurance claims, and unfounded disability benefits.

I fortunately also have Mark who has loved and encouraged me over the past ten years. I continue to work to accomplish my goals one-by-one. I just started classes to pursue my master’s degree with that goal leading us to someday owning our own business. Goals truly make it possible to overcome obstacles and I am glad I taught myself that early on and pursue them diligently.