I did it.

Life in some or another always comes together as it should. I relearn this concept every day. Let me rewind to a month ago and share from then and now. I visioned in my head how this blog would go, but I just wasn’t sure when it would happen. I have missed writing in my blog, but I had to take a step away because I wasn’t ready to be completely vulnerable. I was still going through my struggles. But here I am, and I am ready.

June 1, 2017. This is the day I knew I had to begin waiting for up to 45 days for my test results to post. If you aren’t aware of what exam I sat for, it was my Board Certified Behavior Analyst Exam. This is the exam I previously had failed before. You could imagine how I felt waiting for this exam and these results to post.

Waiting for me, went something like this. Before I even sat for the exam I was financially in a position where I could not feed myself. I was struggling to make ends meet and living off next to nothing. As many Americans, I was living barely pay check to paycheck. Most days it was save money to put gas in my tank or do I grab a snack from a gas station because I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. Daily, I was living hungry and going without basic nutrients. You’re probably asking how I got to this point. Rewind back to my last job, my old boss only gave me 12-16 hours a week and it was during awkward times of the day making it nearly impossible to get another job. I applied to many places and they all required a schedule I could not accommodate to. You can imagine how hard it had to be living as an adult in one of the most expensive places in the U.S off of a 300 dollar a week paycheck. Luckily, I had a small savings and made do for a short amount of time.

Transitioning to my new job, I was going from weekly pay to being paid only two times a month. This is when life hit me. It hit me hard. At this time in my life, I had one friend who would always come over and spend time with me and he would always ask why I bought off brand food or why I never had food in my fridge. I played it off with a “well I just haven’t been to the store”, or ” I only buy for a few days, so it doesn’t go bad.” I was too embarrassed to say, because the food in my cabinet is going to last me the next week and off brand is all I can afford. I made a whole box of granola bars last a week and a half. I went from 175 to 155 in this time frame. If it weren’t for a few friends of mine, I would have went to bed hungry. To the friends that bought me pizza instead of letting me starve and paying the driver, Thank you, thank you so much. Your love during this time in my life was everything I needed.

I couldn’t sleep at night sometimes because the pains in my belly from hunger were so miserable. I remember a time when I had 2 dollars in my bank, no toilet paper, no soap, no gas in my car and no food. I wasn’t set to get paid for 2 more days. A friend of mine venomed me 30 dollars, I was able to buy soap, toilet paper, cheese crackers and chocolate (something to keep my spirit high) and I gave myself a half tank of gas. This was a moment of happiness for me, because once again the love I was shown was more than I felt I was worth in this moment.

There is one friend who I cannot thank enough for his support through this rough patch in my life. He always offered to send me a care package, but I was already so low, that I just couldn’t accept it. I felt so miserable with my life and myself. I had to wake up everyday and remind myself that this is just a piece of my life and its temporary. I wore the same dingy clothes to work everyday, trying to mix and match pieces to look different. My clothes were discolored, and nothing fit right, but I kept my spirits high. I showed up to work with a smile on my face, most mornings without breakfast. I showed up on time, and did what I loved. Helping my clients.

I attempted to quit my job June 8. I had 8 dollars in my bank 32 miles til empty and I was done. I sat in my car and cried because I had to quit my job because I had to choose between 8 dollars in gas or 8 dollars in food. I sent an email to my boss informing her I had to resign, and not even minutes later she called me asking what was happening. I broke down in tears and told her everything. I was hungry, I hadn’t had a good meal in a week and I couldn’t get caught up with anything. It was like paycheck comes and autopay bills came out. My drive time to and from work limited my ability to schedule clients. I was at a breaking point.

She offered to move me closer for work. My apartment hunt began and I knew just where I wanted to start. So, I did. I applied to an apartment complex in Delray Beach. Brand new, never lived in beautiful community.  I was approved. I am currently writing this blog from my couch in my new home. This apartment is everything I could have ever imagined. I went from living in a small studio type apartment with minimal lighting, no amenities and bad energy to a spacious modernized apartment. My view is incredible and it feels like home.

Back to before I moved. This move was a risk. If I accepted this apartment and I did not pass my exam, I risked living paycheck to paycheck again with all of my bills and the added expenses from this place. But, I did it. It took a few people to push me and to help ease my mind and release my fears. What else did I have to loose though? I was already down and out and moving just meant pushing myself a little further work wise everyday.  I just had to let go of my fear. By this point, exam results are near posting.

The anxiety I felt with my exam results were enough to send anyone to a looney bin. I woke up in night terrors, thinking of seeing the word failed again. Failing this exam for the second time would have been my worse nightmare.

June 23, 2017.

I was sitting at one of my clients house when a new friend I met in the ABA study group on Facebook messages me and says RESULTS ARE POSTED. My heart sank 10 feet deep. My friend, I mentioned above checked my portal for me. The fear and doubt I had in myself was unbelievable. But, I did it. I passed. I passed my exam and in the moment I could officially call myself a BCBA. Heather, we did it! Without Heather and our long study nights this would not have been possible. In that moment, my entire life as I knew it, was going to change.

Here I am sitting on my couch, in my new apt. I have been shopping for new clothes, I bought new bedding for my bed and best of all I went to the grocery store. I have eaten solid, healthy meals everyday since moving in. My workout routine has been persistent. I did it.

I realize I only spoke of the negative, but honestly through all of that I had no choice but to foster a positive mindset. I created a life inside of my head of uplifting thoughts and perseverance. Everyday, through my hunger, through my pains, through everything I had to remind myself how lucky I really was, how smart I was and to keep pushing. There were days I was so hungry and my mind and anxiety were so high that I thought to myself, what if I just ended all of this right now. It was in these moments that I realized I had to keep going, because the best was yet to come.

The best is still yet to come, even in my greatest moments. I made it. I stuck through and imagined everyday how it would feel to be in a better positive position. I have many friends and family to thank. The love I have in my heart for those close to me through this time is to infinity and beyond. During this transition in my life, there are some people I have had to let got and leave behind. There are some people where the relations I thought to be something else were actually not a reality and I have dealt with those feelings accordingly. All in all, I came out on top. I am a successful, smart, driven individual and I always have been. No amount of money in this world can take any of that away from me.

If you’re going through it with something in your life, remember you have the keys to positivity. You create your own happiness. Change your mindset to change your life.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to me via email on my main page. If you have a friend who seems to be going through something tough, take them out for ice cream, make sure they are eating, just check in on them. You could save a life.

Oascha M. Cross, M.Ed BCBA

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