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Conquering Mountains
by Karen Echo

I was raised in your basic dysfunctional functional family with a mentally and physically abusive father. The idea I was raised with was that nothing I did was good enough.

At 16 I moved out and worked three fast food jobs after graduating high school, making minimum wage and BARELY able to support myself.

Once out from the "influence" of my father, I realized very quickly that this is a do or die world. I didn't stop to wonder why I was able to advance myself, all I knew was I COULDN'T give up or I wasn't going to make it.

Eventually, I was able to quit the three fast food jobs and move into an entry level clerical position within the medical industry. I never once doubted if I could do the job - I knew if they gave me the chance to learn, I'd pick it up and run with it.

I later changed jobs and became a receptionist. With hard work and an employer that hired me with the idea that I needed "a lot of training", I was able to increase my position to Executive Secretary - and my salary along with it. When my employer offered me the money I needed to be able to go back to work after my twins were born, I realized that I had accomplished something.

I've since moved on and now work in a professional position working with US Customs and raising twins boys after a very difficult divorce from a cheating husband. Things are easier now than they ever were before, but sometimes I get a little lonely and a little down. I love my children with all my heart, but they take more than they give - that's the gift of children. I've learned to depend on inspiration I can find in books and on-line.

You know, the most important thing I've learned in the Hard Knox School of Life is this: If you don't give up, if you don't doubt that you can do it, if you don't see obstacles and ONLY see competitive challenges, if you just believe 100% that you can make it work NO MATTER WHAT the situation, if you look at yourself in the mirror and say: "I DO like myself JUST as I am", then you can go out and conquer the mountains upon mountains of challenges life sends your way - even if you are the one that tumbled 100 feet into a barricaded cave at the bottom of the deepest river. To be able to climb that mountain and look out on the wonder of the world and what you were able to do by faith in yourself... THAT is the MOST rewarding experience and gift you can ever have.

And that from a divorced mother of four-year-old twin boys that sometimes wonders if she's among the sane. If I can do it without a college degree and with no outside help from any other human being, then you can conquer that mountain too.

Karen Echo