happy | hap·py | \ˈha-pē\ (adj.)

Happy quoteThat easy right? Not so much! It’s not that I’m pessimistic, I guess I just consider myself more of a realist. I would also describe myself as a bit of a control freak, but before you begin thinking the worst, let me explain!

Growing up, I was incredibly blessed (still am!). My brother and I were raised in Fishers, Indiana with my parents, who were high school sweethearts. We went to some of the best schools in Hamilton County, and I can’t remember many times we weren’t able to get something we wanted. (We probably got things too much!) But my trajectory changed some when I found out I was pregnant at 16.

Let’s be honest, babies shouldn’t have babies. I firmly believe this. And yet, I found myself a mom before I was an adult. I would forever make the choice I made to have Science Kid Caiden, but don’t for a second think that my decision didn’t come with a long list of sacrifices. Outside of the tangible ways my life changed, the experience of having a child without his father involved left some series scars. That’s a pretty heavy situation to cope with at such a young age, and let’s be honest, I still had many setbacks coming my way and a tiny human I’d one day have to explain things to.

Going to college was a privilege, and I’m grateful for my parents who supported myself and my son through a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. But that doesn’t mean that it was easy! My mom would have to fact check me, but I believe I held at minimum 2 jobs during my entire collegiate experience. I also completed four internships, so I was constantly coming and going. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing anything right when you’re running between roles all day. And let’s be honest, my social life was nonexistent. Most people I know made their lifelong friendships in college, but as a single mom, the socialization aspect of my life was almost nonexistent. How could I make time for friends when I was running in between classes, jobs and doctor’s appointments with my preemie?

And there there’s dating. Oh, dating. I’ve had this unfortunate luck of always picking the wrong guy – because honestly ladies, aren’t most of them wrong?! I can remember one ex in particular whose hateful words really affected how I viewed myself. When that relationship ended, I can remember feeling free. I vowed to myself I wouldn’t enter into another relationship until I was sure I had reflected and learned everything I could from that situation. I couldn’t understand how I could let someone shape a canvas that wasn’t theirs.

And then something weird happened.

My preemie started growing into a smart, hilarious, compassionate little human. I finished my bachelor’s degree and not so long after followed that up with my master’s. I secured a job I love in the community I grew up in. I made a handful of truly amazing friends. I was able to purchase my first home and to add a bow-tie wearing rescue dog to our family. I’m even learning how to lighten up and laugh more thanks to my amazing friends. I wake up every day feeling happy, something I couldn’t have said about myself as recently as a couple of years ago, but I think that’s because I choose to be happy. Bigger than that, I deserve to be happy, and so do you.

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