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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

From Humble Beginnings

As a child I thought that our family was "middle class" maybe even "lower upper class". Man, how delusional is that? I found out as I grew up that we were in fact probably considered "upper lower class" if not "lower middle class". Times were tough sometimes, Dad was in construction, Mom was either in a secretarial type job or working day care, either at home or in a center, or not working at all. During those times, we always had home baked cookies coming home from school and the house was always sparkling clean.

Saturday was always "Cleaning" day and I don't know where Dad went on those days, but we would clean the house from top to bottom, front to back, starting around 7-8am and ending around 1-2pm. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. How messy could our family possibly be? Or maybe it was just my Mom and her OCD. (Kidding, Mom! I love you!)

We lived in what is now the "bad" part of Phoenix, cockroaches were in abundance but mainly because our house was about 100 yards from the canal. We were lectured quite sternly about never, EVER going into the canal, but of course I did....ONCE. Almost got swept away and it scared the shit out of me, of course that was a week before we were planning on moving to California, so although it took me about 7 years to do it, I just felt I had to do it once before we moved.

We always went out to dinner on Friday nights, or had Pizza at home, Friday was the end-of-the-week-last-day-of-work-or-school-so-let's-celebrate day in our house. I remember we would almost always go to our favorite Mexican food restaurant called "La Cucaracha". They sold shirts with huge cockroaches on them, with the cockroach eating a taco. We had several in every shade they sold throughout the family. I remember for P.E. in high school, after moving to California, we had to wear a red Tshirt and the only red Tshirt I had was the "La Cucaracha" shirt, so I then became known as "Roach". Affectionately, I might add. Of course, most people thought it referenced a certain smoking habit, so I let them believe that. They thought I was cool (for a minute, lmao).

I remember the bad times too. The having to move a lot due to unpaid rent, I think I've lived in a total of 12 different homes/apts/condos growing up. The nights we had popcorn for dinner because that was all we had. My mom might disagree with my putting this on my blog, but I gotta tell ya, I'm proud of my background and my upbringing, and I have NO shame. My parents did what they could for us, and with 4 kids (6 after 1990) and being blue collared, what can you do?

My background and upbringing has totally made me who I am today and makes me appreciate the things I have now more then ever and more then others who were "born" with it.

Becoming pregnant at 17 (gave birth at 18) and a being a single parent for 9 years, I can recall the hard times we (Cherissa and I) had. I was on welfare in the state of California for the first 2 years of her life. I used the system the way it was suppose to be used and enrolled into a Medical Assistant program, they paid for her child care and for the program, so that I could become an "independent" adult and not need the system anymore. Upon graduating from the MA program, I moved back to Arizona and went off the welfare system the same week.

I can quite easily recall the "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" mentality and how I had to live it every single paycheck. I was always having to borrow money from my parents or from one of my siblings and to me, broke meant BROKE. NO money, not even $5 for gas, THAT is broke in my opinion. I was never, ever brave enough to venture out onto my own and start my own company, even though I had the idea and passion to do it for 3 years before I finally did it. I couldn't take the risk of losing what income we did have, because I had a child.

Enter Bill. Bill gave me the support and courage I needed to finally make the attempt at my own business. It was rough at first, very rough. We moved from Phoenix to Kingman the day after our wedding and for the first year, we struggled. I opened my business on basically a shoestring budget, and when I say shoestring, I mean it. $50 was what I started with. Instead of buying boxes of envelopes or packages of Insurance forms, I would buy them by the dozen instead. I would buy what I needed, as I needed it, and only that, never more. Then things started to get better.

My reputation and my skill as a medical biller started getting me more clients. All by word of mouth too, I never advertised except for my website and the annual Christmas gift I would pass out to the local doctors. I grew and my company grew to the point where I now have 9 employees and am planning on semi retiring by March 1st.

You may ask, why is she writing all of this? Well, today, I hit a milestone in my life.

I took my daughter to get braces put on her teeth and didn't have to think twice about paying for them.

This is huge to me. Monumental. I knew when she was born that she would need braces as a teenager. I had horrible teeth, her natural father had horrible teeth, and besides, what teenager doesn't "need" braces? So, I always had the fear of not having the money when it was time for her to get them put on. When I had braces myself, it was rough financially for my parents, and I had to actually keep them on for an extra year because they couldn't afford to pay them off. I ended up paying them off myself and getting them removed a few months before Cherissa was born, at age 18.

I am the kind of person that has a lot of pride. I take pride in my work, I take pride in my life...where I've come from, where I've been, and where I'm at now. This, I think, is one of the key factors that will also help me to always remain humble and down to earth. No matter how "BIG" I make it, I will always be the same girl who grew up with cockroaches and eating popcorn for dinner.

And believe me, I will make it. One day.


Blogger Otter Chaos said...

Don't ever think that making it this far isn't making it. You've already done plenty to be proud of, so feel good about it.

OK. That's enough. Now go and do some more...


Good piece, well-written. Dammit, I'm proud of you. Sniff.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Porsche_Dan said...

It's always good to look back to see where you have been Tanya, so you know where you are going. My only advice is to celebrate every step of the way because to me that is "making it".

9:41 PM  
Blogger Ignatious said...

i beleive. :)

10:46 PM  
Blogger EC said...

What an inspirational story. I completely see myself in what you said, and I hope that I too will be able to turn my life around like you did with yours. You really have done a wonderful job with your life and your daughter and you should be very proud of yourself.

6:19 AM  
Blogger "MissT74" said...

Of course you all are right, and I DO already feel as if I've "made it" I just know that I want to go a lot further, and so I shall!

I am extremely proud of myself and am always thinking back to my past so that I CAN see how far I've made it. It's like a "WOO HOO!" feeling. LOL

6:25 AM  
Blogger Mom said...

As your mother I can reflect back on all that you have written, and although your childhood had some "humle" times you neglected to mention the many of the "good" times. Times like your father and I coaching all you and your sisters softball teams, the fact that your father and I were at all your games even if it meant driving from park to park on the same day. The fact that your father and I were your girl scout leaders and how involved we were with your school including me being PTA President so I could do my part in making your school years memorable. And speaking of memories, what about all those camping trips? We may not have been able to take you to Disneyland every year, but we always had a few trips in the woods or to the beach where you were also able to bring friends and create a memory. And yes we may not have lived in the best part of town but during that time all 4 of you girls had your own room, not many kids can say that when there are 4 kids in the family. You're father always managed to find a way to get the money to get you that Prom dress, or pay to have you play sports, or to be a Pop Warner Cheerleader. There was no limit as to what your father and I would do to make sure you kids had not only what you needed buy almost all of what you wanted. But you know what? It was those "humble" times that made all of us what we are today, just like you said. All you girls have character, have love and support for one another, and turned out to be model citizens. As your mother I can honestly say none of you ever gave me an ounce of trouble. Yes you may have gotten pregnant in high school, but because of your upbringing you graduated, went on to persue a carreer and still be a mother to one of the greatest kids on the planet. Humble beginnings??? You could have stayed where you were, gone even lower or soared. I can honestly say that all of us, including your father and myself, have all soared because of the life we led and the more astonishing fact is that this is just the beginning....We've only just begun. 2006 will be "Our Best Year Yet" look out! I Love you Tanya, every day you give me more reasons to be proud of you!

9:16 AM  
Blogger "MissT74" said...

You almost sounded defensive Mom, at the beginning, and I just want you to know that you have NO idea how much I DO remember. There's just NO way to put out all my memories in one blog, so I picked and choosed. I did mention some good times, read again, this post wasn't JUST about bad times, so don't it defensively, if you did.

I know that each year can only get better, as that's what I'm striving for and I almost always achieve the goals/tasks I set out to do.

Look out 2006!!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Mom said...

Yes, I thought it sounded a bit defensive but it was not my intent. For all it's worth, I think we had some pretty good times and the bad times only made us stronger. I agree with you....2006 better look out for the two of us, because GREAT things are going to happen!

10:40 AM  

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