On this day in 2014, I finally graduated college at the age of 28. I took the scenic route, to say the very least. I lost sight of my destination, so I stopped to explore as many parties, concerts, and intoxicants as I could.
For as long as I can remember, education was something that I always wrestled with. I was fighting some internal demons so learning the Pythagorean Theorem and the Periodic Table of the Elements seemed like a waste of time. I got expelled from high school in my junior year because I passed out in science class due to a dangerous mix of 5 bars of Xanax and copious amounts of weed. The school nurse had to revive me and carry me to her office. She found more drugs in my backpack, hence the expulsion. I had to attend an alternative education program where I finished my GED within months. In a brief moment of sobriety, I took advantage of being able to start college earlier than most of my friends.
I began courses at McLennan Community College. My plan was to study my first two years at MCC, then transfer to Baylor or the University of Texas to major in Journalism. At this same time, I began working as a hostess at a restaurant near Baylor. I was naturally drawn towards the party crowd and eventually went back to prioritizing partying over studying. This began a pattern of enrolling in a semester here and there, often dropping out. You barely graduated high school, what makes you think you can graduate college? You’re not smart enough for this. Put the book down and get high with your friends. So that’s just what I did.
I’m now able to deduce what was really going on: depression and anxiety. Choosing self-medication to numb my negative thoughts eventually numbed half of my life and I’ll never get it back.
At the age of 26, I was dating someone who was pursuing a Business degree. English was his second language, so I often helped him write papers. I learned that I really enjoyed both writing and helping someone else. You’re good at writing. You can do this. You are smart enough.
Around this time, I had started my own fitness brand, SexyFit. I taught Zumba for two years and I witnessed the shame and insecurity that most women brought into their work outs, so I created a space where I could empower women to feel sexy. I was teaching my fitness classes 4-5 times a week, selling my own SexyFit merchandise, and promoting healthy, sexy living. Going back to school to study Business seemed like the logical next step.
School was finally manageable because I had regained sight of my destination. Classes like Marketing, Communications, and International Business helped my self esteem and improved my grades…but it still wasn’t enough. I appeared happy at school, with my boyfriend, and when I was on stage teaching SexyFit, but I was miserable inside. You’re significantly older than your classmates. You’re too old for college. Why are you wasting your time? You’re barely passing accounting, how are you going to run your own business? The only way I knew how to quiet those voices was with drugs and alcohol.
After ten years of failing courses and dropping out, I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Tarleton State University. I’m actually glad I chose to study Business instead of Journalism. Though I no longer teach fitness classes and SexyFit is part of my past, I appreciate the knowledge that it gave me. I learned that I have intense passion for entrepreneurship, self-promotion, and helping people. Those passions are how I’m able to run this blog. I’m grateful for the scenic route. If I took any other path, I would be in a totally different place.