Hi, and welcome to TheGirlNinja website! So excited to have you here to visit. As a heads up, this page really is about me. I want you to know what I have to offer to you and why I feel my experiences are worth sharing. If you are looking for more information about TheGirlNinja you can find that detail here http://thegirlninja/aboutthegirlninja.com
So, here it goes, a brief summary of my life and why it’s worth sharing with you.
I grew up with many disadvantages, two of them being extreme poverty and having been through the foster care system. I learned that less than 3% of the children that go through the foster care system in New York state go on to achieve a 4 year college degree. I’m part of that less than 3%. Today I am a scientist in the Biopharm industry with a Bachelors in Neuroscience, a Master’s degree in Physiology, and am considered a middle class citizen. I financially support myself and help financially support my family. I created this blog to help others. I want to share what I’ve learned from every part of my life to help others. As mentioned above, I get into more detail about this blog and its purpose on the About TheGirlNinja page.
Here, I want to tell you more about myself, specifically where I came from and who I am today. The where I came from part of this post isn’t the most up beat piece I’ve written, and to tell you the truth I was and am very nervous about putting it out there for the world to read. I am putting it on my about me page because it is where I came from, and it is because of those challenges that I have the perspective I have today. I also know that I am not the only individual that has had to endure the challenges I endured, so I hope that through my shared experiences more and more individuals will see that we can do better than 3%. Please know this is not some sob story, but a story I am sharing so you know you’re not alone, I’ve been there, I’ve had to overcome countless challenges, and if I can do it, so can you.
To begin, I come from a family with a single mom with mental disabilities that depended on state aid to provide for myself and my 4 sisters, and yes that is not a typo, my mother has 5 daughters. To be clear we all have the same mother and father, for some reason when I tell people that I am one of 5 daughters they assume some of them are step siblings. For insight into my childhood I will try to describe it in a sentence. Here it goes. I grew up duct taping my shoes together to make them last a little longer, having a family collection of oil lamps so when we couldn’t afford to pay our electricity bill we had light that also provided a little warmth, and always being in the company of a sibling until I went off to college.
Throughout my childhood my mother worked very hard to manage her mental illnesses, as a result I spent years of my childhood in and out of the foster care system, never really feeling like I had a home. My home was my family, when all of my sisters and my mom and I were together, that was home. When I was young I thought the way we lived was how everyone lived, but as I got older it became clear that we were different. We were poor and the way we lived differed from most everyone else, and others who were not poor or did not intimately know someone with a mental illness judged us, with that recognition my life became a secret I tried to hide out of shame.
The shame came from the way others looked at me when I spoke about my life. Whenever anyone asked what we did for holidays, weekends, birthdays, meals, clothes, or any other detail I lied. I thought about what they would have done or what others had told me or what I had seen in movies, and that is what I told them. Then I didn’t get that look, they would just respond with a smile, nod, and say that’s nice.
As I got older I became determined to help my mother, and not have to live a life I was ashamed to tell others about. I decided I would go to school to understand illnesses and help find treatments. Throughout middle and high school it became clear to me that not many expected me to go onto college, other than my mother who had blind faith in me, I was often questioned about becoming pregnant or working at minimum wage jobs. As the realization settled into me that even those who helped me and my family expected me to follow a pattern all too often seen from those in poverty, a determination settled inside of me to prove them all wrong.
If it was the last thing I did I was going to get a college degree, have a home that I owned, and help my mother. As stated earlier I did end up attending college and earning a Master’s degree, despite all the doubt which honestly still creates havoc in my life periodically. I do wish we could all get over ourselves and stop assuming individuals fit into boxes. If someone believed in every child the way my mother and myself believed in me, maybe more children would go on to be higher educated members contributing to their communities.
I think that is enough about where I came from, let’s move on to who I am today. Today, I am a modern woman. I am an introvert, a scientist, have a husband who is a stay at home dad, have a non-biological son, am the main breadwinner for my family, support my extended family, lead diversity & inclusion efforts at my place of work, and am a scout leader. In my spare time I love to hike and do crafts, everything from making cards, baking, to refinishing furniture. I tend to be one that is engaged by juggling seven projects at once, and find myself anxious when I only have 1 thing to do.
Seriously, watching a movie or television show with me is a huge challenge. It drives my family nuts that I can’t sit still and have to have a light on during movies so I can keep my hands busy, sometimes crocheting other times budgeting, whatever the moment calls for.
No matter what I am doing, if It’s outside of work I try to prioritize time with family and friends. I truly love my family and feel that memories together are the best gift you can give each other. As a family we spend more time outside together than anything else, in particular walking, whether it’s through our neighborhood or a hike. When we’re home my boys love their movies and video games, but family time at home is spent playing board games together and doing science experiments.
When I get time alone, which isn’t often, but when I do get time alone I write. The writing that I do ranges, but I love to write everything from to do lists to dreaming of completing a novel. Writing is a hobby I have had since I was a pre-teen, it helps me to process all the chaos. I’m really looking forward to TheGirlNinja being a space that I can further my passion for writing.
To sum it all up I’m just a girl chasing my dreams, trying to be a good daughter, wife, mom, aunt, sister, friend, and successful career woman. I believe I have a wonderful life with a very large family that loves me, a husband that is always there for me supporting all of my wild dreams and standing by my side through the thick and the thin, a child that brings me joy and laughter, and a job in a career field that I am very passionate about.
I’m excited for this blog to help others, and look forward to making new connections. As challenging as my journey was, I am proud of who I am and defining characteristics of my personality that the challenges gave me. I feel that sharing knowledge is a way to empower others, and am looking at TheGirlNinja to provide strength to others through shared experiences. Together lets conquer the improbable.