“Audrey”: Breaking Barriers Boldly
Growing up with a twin sister “Audrey” at a young age felt the need to find her own identity but struggled in finding this due to the barriers of always being compared to her sister. “Audrey” also stated that she often felt like “the black sheep of the family” or that she didn’t belong there. As “Audrey” grew older she was able to find a feeling of belonging; in relationships with boyfriends and with friends with whom she would do drugs. This feeling of belonging came to a halt when she was sentenced to prison for possession of drugs. Going to prison and having a felony on her record did not help her sense of belonging, but “Audrey” was able to realize that she did not want to go back into her old ways of belonging with “using friends”.
While “Audrey” was overcoming the barriers of transitioning back into society, she came to realize that the little confidence she had before going into prison was even less after being released. “Who would ever love me or who would hire me?” “I’m a felon!” were just some of the negative questions “Audrey” asked herself over and over. Eventually, she was able to find someone who did want to marry her, but even years after being married she would still ask herself “why did he want to marry me?”. “Audrey” also was able to find a job at a local fast food place and for months “Audrey” worked her hardest for an employer who didn’t follow through on promises. She had coworkers who she didn’t feel would defend her when she was being treated unfairly. One day after months of working in the “toxic” environment she found enough confidence to ask for help from a community organization. “I overcame a huge barrier that day, I realized I needed help and I asked for it”. Through this provider she learned about Life-Work Planning Center (LWPC) and the workshops it offers. She knew right after reading over the topics that she needed lots of help in all of those different areas. “I was really broken the first time I met with a Self-Sufficiency counselor from LWPC…I was failing at being a good mom to my preschool aged son, my marriage was falling apart, and I couldn’t leave my awful job because it was the only place I thought would hire a person like me.” she said.
“Audrey” began attending the workshops and started implementing what she learned into situations that would come up with her husband, while at work, and with her family. By the fifth session in the series, Decision Making, “Audrey” was faced with a huge decision, what job should she choose? “Audrey” had been applying for jobs and was offered two different jobs that same week! “Not only was I happy about the job offers but everyone that had been attending the workshops was so happy for me! Meeting others who knew what I was going through was a very comforting feeling.” she stated.
After being hired part-time at one of those positions, “Audrey” was promoted to full-time hours with benefits at this job that she loves! “I’m still growing and trying to remember to use what I learned from the workshops in everyday life” “Audrey” said. She now also wants to SHOW her son the benefits of being confident and setting goals. She has been able to communicate with her husband more assertively, and now “I know for myself that I am more than my broken past. I am the product of overcoming the barriers that have been placed in my way.”
“Audrey” was able to overcome the obstacle of feeling as if she didn’t belong from her past, the obstacle of unworthiness which kept her from moving forward in life, and the obstacle of not allowing others to help her. The barriers used to stop “Audrey”, but now she is boldly overcoming them each and every day.
**Name has been changed to protect the identity of the subject of this story.**