Deborah’s Story

“I am currently learning to take care of my needs before others. I can only help people if I am doing OK. I am also learning that I also need to be treated with respect, and that I am worthy of so much more than the minimum effort.”

–Deborah

When you were younger, what did you think your life would look like?

As a kid I always wanted to be a doctor. My mom says that when they asked me why, I responded with, “I want to help out people and kids.” As time went by, I moved away from wanting to become a doctor. Family life was not always easy. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, my aunt was going through a divorce and she came to live with us in our small two-bedroom home. We were three adults—my dad, mom, and aunt—and my two older cousins both close to my age, myself, my younger brother (at the time 4 years old), and my younger cousin (also 3-4 years old).

My aunt, my cousins and myself (almost every night) all slept on one bed.

One of my older cousins would always get into trouble. She had a bad habit of stealing. Because of that, the rule was, confess or we all get in trouble. Many times we had to endure the pain of some old-school discipline, sometimes that went out of hand. It was because of that, that I began to say, “I don’t want kids. I don’t want to turn out like our parents and have a broken home and discipline my kids too harsh.”

My grandma ended up moving in as well, and let’s just say she wasn’t very nice. Now my cousin and I laugh at what we went through with her but back then, we hated our grandma (now I have a strong dislike for her). I’ve learned that for me to have a good relationship with her, it’s by not having one with her at all.

Because of my grandma I always said, “When I grow up, my parents are never living with me and my family when I’m married. I don’t want to deal with that.” I didn’t take into account that just because my grandma was one way, it doesn’t mean that my parents would be the same.

I always pictured myself getting married, owning a home with a large yard and being able to host family whenever they came over. Not until recently have I begun to think about having children.

How did your dreams for the future change?

When I went off to college, I began to see the different ways that people interacted with their families or how they see the world. It isn’t just black and white, yes or no, but lots of grey! My vision of a healthy family changed (thanks to my college roommate who is very touchy feely and I grew up completely opposite!).

I started a degree in history/political science and now work for a California State Senator in Orange County as a scheduler. And let me tell you, I LOVE IT!

I love my job and co-workers. I love what I do. I sit at a desk and schedule away, go to information meetings with different cities the Senator represents and help constituents out with issues they may have. My dream of helping people as a doctor has changed but I still get to help people in a different way. Now the Senator needs to get re-elected so the whole staff is going into campaign mode!

What were the kinds of pivotal moments that led you to where you are today?

My dad always taught me let your yes be yes and your no be no. And I think that made me into the strong willed person that I am. Sometimes a little too strong.

Also my family is mostly women. With that being said, I grew up thinking I don’t need a man! I can do it all! But I needed to learn that yes, you can do it all but you shouldn’t need to!!! Know when to step down and accept some help!

What are you learning right now?

I am currently learning to take care of my needs before others. I can only help people if I am doing OK. I am also learning that I also need to be treated with respect, and that I am worthy of so much more than the minimum effort.

What do you love about your life in this moment?

At the moment I’m learning to love my life again. I am getting back into my hobbies, hanging out with my friends and family, and exercising!

What brings you joy/fills your soul?

My friends and family! And serving at church! Though at times I don’t want to wake up early or interact with people 🤦🏽‍♀️ (introvert in me). I have found a great pastor who mentors me and a ministry that is right up my ally.

If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

Love your family! You never know how long you have them for!

Go to school! Get an education. Not only for the degree but for the lifelong friends that you make and the exposure to different ways of thinking.

Find a mentor!!! Someone who can tell you when you are wrong yet tell you how to fix it!

Go to church! This is a great place to find friends, serve (for me this is a must) find a ministry you like. But mostly the church is a place where you should be able to let out your frustrations and have fellowship with other people who can give you a healthy godly insight to how to manage your problems/life. Love the church you go to! Love serving God! It brings such satisfaction. Don’t do it for the people, do it for God and you’ll be less likely to be disappointed.

What do you wish everyone knew about health and fitness, and government?

Ugh! Health! Such a struggle with me! Mentally and physically. I have to tell myself MAKE THE TIME! I just started going back to the gym with my mom and let me tell you … waking up at 5:00 am is a struggle! Especially since it’s to go to the gym.

Make the time to exercise. Make the time to meal prep. But also don’t feel bad if you had some tacos or went out to eat with friends. But learn to do it in moderation!! Also when you feel like you’re slipping off the health wagon, find a partner to keep you accountable! At least for me that helps.

As for mental health, if a person or thing is making you anxious or you feel bad about yourself, CUT THAT PERSON OUT! (I know this is easier said than done.) It takes time to be able to cut off something or someone you have committed time/energy to.

As for government, be involved!!!!! Help out in a local/state/congressional/presidential race, but please make sure the candidate you help out is going to represent you well! Don’t just vote or help a candidate because they are the popular option. Look at their voting record, look at their background! Are they looking out for your future?!

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