The Importance of Obstacles

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which (s)he has overcome.”

- Booker T. Washington

Make a list of the obstacles you have overcome in life. Choose one to write about in detail. Tell us about the obstacle and what you had to do to overcome it. Tell us the whole story, not just the headlines. Show us through your words, what an incredible challenge this was for you.

Comments

  1. Fran Stekoll says

    Finishing College was my biggest obstacle. After High School I attended
    Redlands University for a year and a half. I chose to marry at 19 and start my family. My husband wasn’t very supportive with the children as he was working full time, going to College and playing in a band on weekends. While raising 3 children, I worked part time and continued with my singing and writing poetry. When my youngest was in High School I decided to return to San Jose State. I was scared. Not sure how to study, and did not have the support of my family.I met with Gladys Rohe who was in charge of career planning and placement. Thank God she took me under her wing and encouraged me to continue. It took me four years . I was in my late 40′s. My parents and my family came to my graduation. I was able to get a great job
    and felt very proud of what I’d accomplished; however it took it’s toll on my marriage. My husband didn’t like the person I’d become. We divorced after
    46 years of marriage which brought up another obstacle- Being single after
    all those years. That’s another story.

    • Laura Davis says

      Fran, I’m so proud of what you did. Thank God for women’s re-entry programs and people like Gladys. You’re an inspiration. Younger women don’t always realize what a huge leap you took in going back to school.

    • Ilana says

      Fran- That’s amazing and very inspiring. I am feeling a bit trapped because if I ever want to go back to my pre-mom vocation I will need a doctorate. However, my children are still small and it seems like an impossibility. You make me feel like if I really want it I can make it work. Thank you! IM

  2. K.W. says

    The well meaning chatter…

    It makes me feel dismissed as a mother
    That my style of parenting my adult child is met with complete disapproval
    That I’m not doing it right
    Or that I don’t get it
    Or that I am being judged
    Criticized
    Clueless to the depth and gravity of the situation
    Or that I don’t know my own child well enough to see what’s going on

    But they have no clue as to the depths of my pain
    The emotional upheaval and sorrow I have been wading through for the past 5 years
    Knowing my child was dealing with depression
    And coping with it in unhealthy ways
    Even though I didn’t know exactly what all those ways were
    But I had a good idea
    And I was close
    They don’t know that every time the phone rings and I don’t recognize the number
    My heart hits the pit of my stomach and my chest gets tight
    And I won’t pick up
    Because I’m afraid of what I might hear
    So I wait
    And listen to the message
    When I feel secure

    They don’t understand that I needed to have my child’s story held with the greatest care and compassion
    Not to be shared or discussed with others
    Or even with each other
    So that when this part of the journey is finished
    Heads can be held high
    Shoulders can regain their squared off stance
    And the questioning of
    Where ya been
    Or
    Haven’t seen you for a while
    Will be more of a mild curiosity
    Then a critical
    Judging
    Oh ya I know about your shitty life

    That because they don’t believe anything that’s being told
    I can’t
    Rally them to revel with me in this week’s celebration of
    One year of sobriety
    Or chat about the hope of a new worth while opportunity being actively pursued
    Because
    They think it’s all a lie

    And maybe it is
    But
    Is that not my right as a parent
    To journey with my adult child
    Through the shit
    Hoping
    Dreaming
    Praying
    Recognizing
    That I have been there
    Everyday
    Accepting this grown child
    With kindness
    Compassion
    And curiosity
    With as little judgment as possible
    As I breathe to be in the moment
    Holding this tall blue eyed
    Capable Wounded Soul
    With warmth and compassion

    Trusting that
    Healing is around the bend

    • says

      KW, welcome to the Roadmap Blog and thanks for your honest portrayal of the challenges and judgements you’ve struggled with. No one knows what it’s really like unless they’ve been there–and your piece will help people understand what it means to go through hell with an adult child. Please come back and post often. I look forward to you becoming a vibrant part of this community!

    • Ilana says

      KW- I read this piece when you first posted it but was so affected I could not respond. I love the poetic way it’s written. You really drive your point home, hence my inability to respond until now. It takes a lot of strength to deal with that kind of pain and even more difficult to face judgments from others. Thank you for sharing your story and for doing it so beautifully. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      K.W. Upon reading your piece, I feel so much emotion stirred within me. I relate to it as the once troubled young adult who put a parent through hell–a parent, I might add, whom I never knew cared at all. I honour you for writing about all of that pain here and I’m happy you shared it with us. I honour your struggle and have great admiration for you. Welcome to you.

  3. rosemary neidig says

    challenge: From that moment of decision; two weeks of living in a haze followed before the day of surgery. the possibility of breast cancer was too frightening to consider. each time that thought pushed through my best efforts to block, I shifted to “busy work” as mom defined her activity. for the first time, I understood her use of a coping skill to aviod fear-past or present. February 22, 1988, I was just regaining consciusness after biopsy surgery when Dr. Leonard approached. although my mind was still cloudy, a very clear message flashed like lightining bolts through the fog. I had breast cancer. there was a monster invading my body and its name was cancer.

    • says

      Hi Rosemary, welcome to the Roadmap Blog. Thanks for sharing the start of your journey with cancer–one many of us on this blog have experienced first-hand or in the role of support person. I remember the day I was diagnosed well–it was an hour before I was heading out on a train to go see a Broadway show with my young children. I will never forget that day! I hope we see you here often. I look forward to getting to know you and learn your story through your words.

      • Hazel says

        It’s the not knowing that has always been the hardest part for me as my mind will not leave it alone and conjures fear beyond belief. Once the monster is identified I can martial my arsenal and fight. I was complaining about all my scars one day to my daughter and she looked at me puzzled and said, “Mom, all warrior women have scars!” That gave me a whole new perspective on scars.

    • Ilana says

      Rosemary- This piece was very enticing. It left me wanting to hear the story of your triumph over that monster that had invaded your body. Although I have never had to fight breast cancer I was able to connect with the fear that something devastating is wrong with your body. After my emergency brain surgery I spent two weeks in the ICU with a 30% chance of having a stroke. Eight years later when I had testing done to see if there was a re occurrence, I did plenty of that busy work you describe so well. Nice job! Thanks for posting. IM

      • Diana says

        Rosemary,
        I would love to hear more of the story. You put me right in the moment when getting that life changing news.

    • Terry Gibson says

      I have never had breast cancer although I remember the strangeness of being told I had malignant cancer on the phone. Skin cancer. From listening to my sisters and friends, I am only now beginning to understand what breast cancer is all about and how it impacts womens’ lives. I know you have found a warm, caring community here to share more of your story as you are able or desire.

  4. A.R. says

    This is how it began.
    First, came the burning pain in my stomach, then those self- destructive thoughts that literally feel like someone is scrapping out your internal organs. I somehow became my own murder victim … and then those pathetic and hopeless tears that poured out of my eyes and nose like a tropical storm in Hawaii. Finally, came the rage that attacked and poisoned me with venom like a snake does his victim. And unlike poison, which is ingested or inhaled, venom is usually delivered directly into the lymphatic system, where it acts faster. And when the venom is delivered my symptoms felt similar to those of a venomous snake bite, including pain, swelling, convulsions, what felt like respiratory paralysis, kidney failure, coma and possibly death. Was I going to die? Somebody pinch me, please!

    And then I woke up! The hand reached mine and pulled me out of all of it. It is still something I work on everyday. But now, I am living a life without depression living it for me.

    • says

      Dear A.R. Welcome to the Roadmap Blog. Your description of depression was gripping–and the fact that you rescued yourself–that one part of you could help the other–that was heartening and inspirational. Thanks for sharing part of your journey with us. Please keep coming back!

    • Ilana says

      Wow! So well written. You had me on the edge of my seat and I think keeping me in the dark about what was happening to you, until the very end, really drove your point home. Bravo! IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      You held me in suspense as well. Depression does feel like that and is most deadly. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Hazel says

    Obstacles I have had to Overcome
    Scarlet Fever
    Rheumatic Fever (2 years in bed as teenager)
    Getting a Degree from College
    Leaving abusive husband
    Found a lump in my breast (not cancer – dodged that one)
    Becoming friends with my children again (1 out of 2)
    Surviving motorcycle accident
    (see my book, “The Accident and The Artist – on Amazon.com book and e-book for Kindle)

    But, the one thing I am not sure I will survive is shingles. Just when I think there is hope that they may subside for more than a couple of weeks they come back with a vengeance. It has been three years now and it is nearly as band as it was originally.

    The thing is, I did everything right, except that is get a vaccine for shingles. I didn’t know there was one. I went to urgent care very early the morning I woke up with them, just like chicken pox; started on antiviral medication that morning, was told that would probably take care of them in a week or so – NOT! I tried all the drugs that are supposed to decrease the pain – it helps a little but the knife is always there, deftly peeling my skin off, or so it seems. Even got a Spinal Chord Stimulator to no avail, now I’m stuck with it and a battery pack in my ass.

    Tonight it is extremely bad. It is 2 a.m. I went to bed but cannot sleep even with sleeping pills as my shoulder and under my arm and breast are just too painful. The worst part is that most of the time there is noting on the skin to indicate anything might be wrong. There are no blisters, only an occasional slightly red bump. Sometimes like tonight when I feel like my skin is being peeled off, it is just too much to keep fighting and many times I have had to stop myself from getting up and taking an array of medications guaranteed to give a permanent solution.

    Will I overcome this obstacle, or succumb to relief? I will be here for a while yet because I have to finish writing my book – I always finish what I start!

    • says

      Hazel, I’ve heard that shingles are excruciating, but I’ve never had them. I’m so sorry to hear about your suffering and your pain–and how they are challenging your very existence. I hope you hang in there, despite the terrible pain. The world needs your words–and you!

    • Ilana says

      Hazel- My heart goes out to you. I struggled with three bouts of shingles one after another. (oddly, in the same area you described) I totally hear you in this line “The worst part is that most of the time there is noting on the skin to indicate anything might be wrong. There are no blisters” that was my situation exactly. Lidocane patches saved my life, in case that could be helpful to you. I was able to fight off those three bouts in a matter of months though. I can’t imagine how horrible it is to deal with it for as long as you have. All the best to you. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Hazel, I am also sorry you are suffering with shingles. It upsets me to think of you fighting this one. My brother got it several times; he taught me about the pain and discomfort. Sending you some good energy and healing thoughts. Take care of yourself.

      • Hazel says

        Thank you all for your words and encouragement. It helps to know that others hear. I hate to be a whiner but it really hurts. Lidocaine gel is the best thing I have found so far. If there was just a pause it would help.

        Thanks again.

  6. Ilana says

    The Importance of Obstacles

    I couldn’t breathe and the walls were closing in on me. They were all around me and there were so many of them. Other kids just like me, but different because they were going to ace this test; 1300s all around, I was sure of it. I had been studying for the GRE all summer almost 8 hours a day. It all came down to these two tests. ‘The fact is you’re not smart enough, Ilana. Deal with it.’ I looked at the clock. Twenty minutes left to go on this section. “Eyes back on the test. There’s no way you’re going to get through this if you don’t focus.” It was no use. As soon as I looked back at my paper, the numbers and letters began moving around on the page. I couldn’t see them clearly. Hurriedly, I filled in random bubbles and looked at the clock again. Eighteen minutes left and every answer wrong. It was too much for me. I jumped to my feet and fled the room.

    I ran down the hall and made it to the stairwell, not sure where I was planning to go next. Still dizzy and gasping for breath, I lost my footing and tumbled down the stairs to land sitting on the bottom step. The room was still spinning as I sat there trying to get a hold of myself. All was lost. This was the last chance I had to take the GRE and apply the scores to my applications for the 1997-1998 school year. My dreams went down the drain. All those plans, all that work, lost but worst of all Alex was going to be disappointed in me.

    Alex had been my boyfriend for a full year. It was the longest relationship I’d ever had and I’d given him my virginity. That meant I was going to marry him. He’d graduated four months ago, in May and we were in a long distance relationship. He was visiting for the weekend. He’d made me a healthy breakfast, given me a kiss for luck and sent me off to my test. We had plans to meet for lunch when I finished and then I was supposed to go on to the subject test. Alex didn’t like failures like this. I was going to have some heavy duty explaining to do. I got up and tried to steady myself. A walk outside, that was the place to start. Right now I had to calm down enough to breathe. That’s when I saw him. The explaining was going to have to start a lot sooner than I had planned. Alex had come early and was waiting for me. I studied his profile, clinging to the last second before my punishment began. Then he turned around.

    What followed was a long and painful struggle. I was right about the punishment. Alex immediately broke up with me and demanded I convince him to change his mind. With much groveling and apologizing for my inadequacies, I succeeded. He reinstated our relationship. Step one complete. Next I got a hold of the people who ran the tests and had my scores canceled. My parents helped me with that and then began the day long drive to campus to take care of me. I was a mess. The anxiety attacks hit me constantly. A body can’t sustain that level of arousal for more than twenty minutes at a time so I got a few minutes rest between attacks.

    My parents finally arrived. The first thing they did was take me to the hospital for an emergency appointment with a Dr. Max. He and my father cornered me in the room and insisted I go on medication. In the end it was what I needed but to this day I disagree with their using intimidation to get me to do it. He put me on a regiment SSRIs and Ativan, a very potent anti-anxiety drug, three times a day until the first medication reached a therapeutic level. I was sick. I was stupid and I was never going to get into graduate school.

    With the help of the medication and a few friends who were more concerned with my wellbeing than Alex, I learned to sit through lectures without falling apart. Before my next exam, chemistry it was, I got registered with the ADA, Americans with Disabilities. I took the exam all alone, with a private proctor and twice the time normally given. My score was a 52% but I made it through the test and that’s what was important. Slowly, painfully, I settled down to a life of being inadequate, of being sick and needing medication. A life of having secrets that I was deeply ashamed of…

    I finished my course work and graduated with honors. I took the GRE again, with special accommodations and got an 1140. It was too late, though. I had to take a year off between college and graduate school; an offense that Alex considered barely forgivable. He insisted we keep the shameful secret of my disability, my sickness, from his parents. I had to tell them I took a year off simply because I wanted to and endure their harsh judgments of my decision.

    Then one day I finally broke free. I told Alex he no longer had a place in my life, that I was not going to marry him after all. I kicked him to the curb, so to speak, and applied to graduate school as a newly single woman. Guess what? I GOT IN! Then after overcoming another insurmountable obstacle, that’s a story for another time, I graduated. I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology. I DID IT!

    That was more than ten years ago. I only worked in my field for a year before I became a mother. I traded my business cards, with that beautiful MA after my name, for dirty diapers and breast feeding. I was thrilled at the promotion but still dream of going back. And you know what? One day I will. That’s the importance of the obstacles. Once I have overcome them I am even more certain that I can do anything I put my mind to.

      • Diana says

        Ilana,
        You presented a vivid portrait of the external obstacle of Alex and the internal obstacle of your health issues. Wonderfully expressed. I enjoyed the piece very much.

    • Polly says

      Maybe one day in the not too distant future, I will be brave enough to quit my job and go back to school, and go after the things I truly want. You inspired me once again. Thanks for sharing this part of your life.

    • Ilana says

      Thank you all for your responses. I am honored. That was a long time ago but it is helpful to look back and finally recognize my own strength. I’ve still got it and it’s going to get me through the traumas that haunt me today. Thank you again, IM

    • Eve says

      I am so glad that I looked back at this prompt. What a powerful & triumphant woman you are. Thank you for sharing another piece of who you are, and what you have overcome. This is such an amazing way to get to know people. I remember the day at the Medicine Buddha when you were talking about Laura’s blog. You were so right about this wonderful space. I also remember that you had already completed your book. I would love to have a conversation one day about what it took to get there.

  7. Diana says

    Escape Velocity
    I reached escape velocity at 65 mph driving a Red VW Beetle, heading west on Interstate 10. Both windows down, the wind whipped my hair and dried the sweat running down my back. In my rearview was everything I had ever known; friends, family and now ex-boyfriend Kurt. As the hot August sun settled on the horizon, I reflected on the events of the summer.
    Kurt and I had parked his baby blue 280ZX, which I found extravagant, exotic and romantic on the back side of a cotton field. As we listened to Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me”, we reveled in being young, in-love and alone.
    We reclined on the cool steal hood of the car, my head nestled in the crock of his arm. I fingered the diamond solitaire necklace that rested in the notch of my neck. His lips brushed the top of my head, “You know in the Fall, I can trade that in towards an engagement ring. We can get married before you go to college.”
    I froze in silence. He had made a statement, not asked a question. My response seemed unrequired.
    “After college we can have a baby.”
    I felt my chest tighten and my throat close. He held me tight and folded his fingers through mine.
    We left the cotton field to make my curfew. I had not uttered a word and Kurt had not noticed.
    As the summer unfurled, I felt Kurt’s dreams and plans tightening around me like a boa constrictor; enveloping me, squeezing the life and very breath out of me and threatening to swallow me whole.
    Now, as I-10 West stretched out ahead, I careened toward my own hopes, plans and dreams.

    • Ilana says

      Diane- This is exquisitely written. You beautifully employed a delicate balance between tenderness and control to express the multidimensional experience of the relationship. He loved you, he honored you but at the same time he disregarded your right to make your own choices. Well done! It made the end so much sweeter. I enjoyed the read! IM

      • Hazel says

        Diane –
        What Ilana said! You were wise to keep driving, I didn’t.
        Thank you for such a well written piece. WOW!
        Good read.

    • Beverly Boyd says

      Diana,
      I’m glad you were aware enough to take that action you did. I’m sure your life has been much better for it.
      I dodged a similar bullet and thank God! It was hard because I really cared for him. It was even harder when he threatened suicide, but then I really knew he would stop at nothing to keep me tethered to him. As far as I know he had a good long life. If he had acted on his threat I would have found out.
      I didn’t think of him as a subject for this prompt because he turned out to be the obstacle that wasn’t!

    • Terry Gibson says

      Diana, I’m also happy you made the choice you did. I escaped one of those situations too, immediately after running away from home. He was probably okay but I had just escaped one prison, certainly didn’t want to move to another. Sometimes I regretted that decision. However, when his voice was of utmost importance–in the rape case that followed after we split–he didn’t stand up for me. That said everything. Achieving goals, reaching for dreams, and finding people who notice when we don’t respond, is worth it all. Thanks.

    • Polly says

      Just getting one more comment in here before tomorrow’s prompt goes up. Diana, this story demonstrates so much strength and courage. It’s admirable. Your writing is so descriptive. Very well done!

      • Diana says

        Thank you all for you comments. I am honored that you read and commented on the piece. I am glad it struck a common cord. I am amazed by the depth and talent of the posters to this blog. I am humbled.

  8. Polly says

    “You’re fat! You are ugly, and stupid, and you don’t deserve to live,” my inner voice was filled with hate as I rinsed the vomit off my fingers, (an old habit at this point), wiped down the toilet seat, and proceeded to run a bath. I was 16, maybe 17.

    Candles were lit, “Angel Standing By” by Jewel was playing on my stereo on repeat, as I wanted that to be my final message to my family, my suicide note (the fourth or fifth of that year) lay on the side of the tub, razor in hand.

    The razor blade stung each time it penetrated my skin. I thought about the relief I would experience, and the sense of relief my family might gain once the initial pain of their loss subsided. I cut and drew blood until I heard the front door of my house open. “5:30, Mom and [my niece] must be home. They – they can’t find me like this.” I gently rinsed the blood off my wrist, drained the tub, applied pressure as well as a few small band-aids.

    The cuts were relatively shallow every time I cut, the wounds superficial; and it occurred to me later that I likely didn’t really want to die. The eating disorder lasted from about the ages of 15 to 18.

    I eventually overcame it by gradually seeing the inherent good in myself. That I was worth loving, and could love myself. Ultimately it happened when I came out. All of a sudden, I was okay, beautiful even.

    To be honest though, I will admit that with some of the challenges that have recently presented themselves in my life since I realized that I am a survivor, I find myself starting to revert to some of the old ways: using food as somewhat of a drug that allows me not to feel for brief moments, and hating myself because of that and various other shame-inducing thoughts and feelings. I do know that I have a choice, and I am working to continue to see my value. I might peek through that old doorway on occasion, but I will not take that path again. I refuse.

    • Laura Davis says

      Holly, I was so moved by your account, and cheerleading that girl who found her way out of hell. I understand the desire to cycle back to past destructive behaviors. That’s why I especially love this line, ” I might peek through that old doorway on occasion, but I will not take that path again. I refuse.”

      • Polly says

        Thanks Laura. You’re so good at making me (and I think everyone) feel validated and like we have something worthwhile to offer through our writing. It has certainly been an interesting journey. I have a lot left to do!

    • Terry Gibson says

      Polly, Your story took me back. Both of those methods of coping are very familiar to me. I used both for a long, long time. Always tweaking my new coping strategies but it is so hard sometimes. I love your last two words lines ending with “I refuse.” Thanks.

      • Polly says

        Terry, wow, thank you. There’s something incredibly powerful (while truly sad) in hearing that someone gets that, firsthand. I appreciate it. Good luck to you.

    • Ilana says

      Polly- Wow. Um, wow! This is so well written. You took me right there. It was so filled with pain and yet such triumph as well. Congratulations not only on surviving it but on telling your story so well. I too, loved the last two sentences. “I might peek through that old doorway on occasion, but I will not take that path again. I refuse.” It was so empowering for me to read. Thank you for posting! IM

      • Polly says

        Ilana, thank you. That means a lot coming from someone who writes with the skill that you do. I really appreciate your feedback.

  9. Hazel says

    Food, our world functions around it. We must have it to live. Our days are arranged around it. Traditions are fulfilled with it. It is a part of civility and hospitality. But, it also is THE thing that some of us fight over all of our lives. I have never been suicidal over it but have struggled with it in terms of weight all of my considerable years. I really like that you have made the promise to yourself, ” I might peek through that old doorway on occasion, but I will not take that path again. I refuse.” I support you in your choice of action.

  10. Eve says

    I have overcome the party girl behavior that I have exhibited for nearly 20 years. I will always be party girl at heart, but I no longer need tequila & drugs to be her.

    I have realized the toll that the tequila was having on my body, mind & spirit.
    I was never a daily drinker, but I binge drank every other weekend when I was off of work. I didn’t realize how much anger was being released in these toxic moments.

    Once I stepped out of my drinking life for a minute, I could see that I was living a perpetual hangover. I would get drunk for the one day, but the whole next week I would be binge eating. Once my serotonin would build back up a little over the second week, it would be time for the next drunken adventure.

    I was on a roller-coaster heading for my own destruction. It took my best friend almost drowning in my pool on April 2nd, 2011 for me to wake up. Though she did not die, our friendship did. I am thankful for what happened because I am now awake & alive.

    I miss her, but through this I have discovered more of me. I can still be party girl without the binge drinking. I feel like I have more fun now because I can actually be present to the fun I am having.

    The drugs had already been been removed from my life since April 1st, 2006, but that is a whole other story…

    • says

      Eve, thanks for sharing your journey and your sobriety with us. I especially loved this line, “Once I stepped out of my drinking life for a minute, I could see that I was living a perpetual hangover.”

    • Eve says

      Funny how the very next day after writing this, God decided to bring my medicinal cannabis use into the light. Too bad that it has to take these spiritual spankings for me to wake up. I pray that one day I can be proactive in my transformation…

      • Beverly Boyd says

        Eve
        Please reread your post on this prompt! You have been free of drugs (one day at a time) since April 2006. You’ve learned to be a party girl without binge drinking and you are having more fun because you are “actually present for the fun I am having.”
        There may still be more problem behaviors and attitudes. The ones you have successfully changed makes you stronger for the others.
        So give yourself credit for already being proactive in your transformation.

      • Beverly Boyd says

        Eve
        Please reread your post on this prompt! You have been free of drugs (one day at a time) since April 2006. You’ve learned to be a party girl without binge drinking and you are having more fun because you are “actually present for the fun I am having.”
        There may still be more problem behaviors and attitudes. The ones you have successfully changed makes you stronger for the others.
        So give yourself credit for already being proactive in your transformation.

  11. Terry Gibson says

    What Beverly said. It’s inspirational to hear this story, Eve. I did the same too. I never used illegal drugs although a date–after I specifically said ‘No’–gave it to me on the sly. I did drink ALOT. I stopped about 16 years ago and really have more fun laughing and enjoying lively conversation with people. You’ve come a long way and I applaud you. Psst…at this moment, I’m patting myself on the back too. :)

  12. Terry Gibson says

    Life always gives me plenty of obstacles. At this moment, I don’t mind that. I always knew what to avoid but that wasn’t an easy job.

    One of my biggest obstacles in life has been my brain. I have a fine mind but I wrestle with it as if with a live wire dangling from overhead and almost touching a car I’m in. Ninety per cent of my life now, I’m ecstatic. I love learning, meeting new people and friends, working out, digging for my buried dreams, even if I only have a fork to remove the topsoil.

    While chasing down those goals fails somehow, I experience a small shock to my system. I can be fatalistic, sarcastic, angry, self-pitying, and desperate. I’m not proud of this but it’s a part of me which I have to acknowledge and deal with. I also become aware that I’ve been overtherapized, don’t know how to ‘be’ with people comfortably sometimes, and I believe that jumping off this planet is all I want.

    The thing is that I have hope. It wavers sometimes but I work hard to keep myself up. At least light-hearted. Able to enjoy reading, writing, people, live theatre, long walks, comedy, dancing and shaking that booty, travel, and hopefully being able to encourage or maybe inspire others.

    So what do I do to cope? I go to the gym, race away on Spinner bikes, climb stairs, cycle, and run down other poor cyclists on the highway who cross my path, swim and then crash in the sauna and/or steam room. I revisit wonderful things that happened to me, I cloak myself in the warmth of those I love, and remember all that I am grateful for.

  13. Cheri Coleman says

    The list of things I can hold on to is best described below:

    On my own…
    Means I can make choices that are
    Best for me
    On my own…
    Means living life on my terms
    Inviting people into my life
    That will treat me with kindness and love
    And challenge me to be stronger
    On my own…
    Allows me to create my own happiness
    With myself and someone special
    On my own…
    Means I am trusting my intuition
    Making a difference
    And taking chances
    On my own…

    The list of things I can’t hold on to is best described as follows:

    I thought I wanted you back…
    I walked away for a reason
    Years of tears and angry words no more
    I thought I wanted you back…
    I lost who I was when I was with you
    No longer full of life, always sad and lost
    I thought I knew what love was
    Soul mates forever, or so I thought
    I thought I wanted you back…
    With you I have learned what love is NOT
    Love is NOT anger, Love is NOT control, Love is NOT jealous
    I thought I wanted you back…
    In the process of finding myself
    I have learned what love is
    Love IS kind, Love IS patient, Love IS Hopeful
    And most of all, TRUE Love endures forever
    I DESERVE to be happy, I DESERVE to be ME, and I DESERVE to be loved the way God intended
    I thought I wanted you back…
    Through this journey called life, I am accepting myself exactly where I am
    God is by my side pushing me forward
    I now accept my new found freedom
    I NO longer want you back…

    • says

      Hi Cheri,

      Welcome to the Roadmap Blog and congratulations on making your first post. It’s wonderful to have your strong, determined voice joining the chorus here. I hope to see your work here often in the coming weeks and months.

    • Bobbie Anne says

      Thank you Cheri for your insights. I Identified with your piece the ‘years of tears and angry words’. That hit home. And not in a good way for me. I went to a wake yesterday as a friends father died. While I was offering my condolence to others, it dawned on me that I was ‘no longer full of life, always sad and lonely’.
      I’m in a difficult relationship and that if it ends, I might not want that person back.

  14. Bobbie Anne says

    The obstacles I had to overcome when I went back to school to get my Master’s degree were many. It was difficult to work and go to school. I did not have the support of my spouse. Instead, I was abused. It took me longer to get the my degree because I had to go part-time. I wasn’t offered any support. In fact, I was told it didn’t matter. There were many fights. One time, after a violent struggle, my purse and keys were taken from me. I went to class anyway.

    When I came home, we had another argument. It was a nightmare. I was in an accident, and I had to have an operation. I still went to school after my recovery.

    Guess what? I managed to do well in school. I wrote for the college newspaper and the literary magazine. And I graduated! My spouse and my in-laws came to my graduation. So did my brother. So, I know first hand that it is possible to overcome obstacles.

    • says

      Bobbie Anne, you have so much to be proud of. Your strength, tenacity, determination, backbone. Thanks for sharing your triumphs with us here. (You probably won’t get many responses–most people only read the current week’s prompts).

      • Bobbie Anne says

        Laura, Thank you so much for this special place you created for sharing with wonderful women. I like sharing and responding to others. And I loved your response!

  15. Sangeeta S. says

    The obstacle I have to overcome the most right now is myself. I get in my own way sometimes, and I don’t believe that the world will give me what I now know I deserve. I always get to a certian point and then stop–I can never get past it. (I’m at the finish line and still can’t cross it). I’m still frustrated as hell and I’m letting people from my past dictate my present actions and my self-sabotage. I still kind of hate the world and the systems that run it. I keep wanting to make change, but in a way that will simply destroy the ne’er do wells, rather than uplift the lonely. I know that I can make it better for a few and I think I am still going to try–but perhaps I need to start with me.

    I’m going to go shopping and buy something pretty.

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