Time to Overcome

“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”
Frida Kahlo

Everything in the world could be going fine, but something with me feels so off. It feels like I’m in a dark room and I can’t find the light switch, or I’m a lion without my mighty roar. I can’t explain why I feel this way or how I even got there. It just happens sometimes, for no reason at all.

It start with trying to get out of bed, no matter how hard I try I feel like gravity is just pulling me deeper and deeper into my sheets. The thought of even getting ready for the day sends me spiraling down the rabbit hole. However this time it’s different…

This time last year, I thought there would never feel “normal” again. A piece of me had disappeared, I don’t know when but I knew it was gone. It took regular therapy sessions and a nightly sleep schedules to get me back into a normal routine, but it was just what I needed. I could barely survive at my job, school was a joke, and trying to do just basic things seemed impossible. But little by little it got better.

Here I am now, even though I feel like I’ve been in a reoccurring funk over the last couple weeks, I’m so much better now than I was a year ago. My job brings me pure joy and my bad days are still good. The kids I work with bring a smile to my face and I love going to work. School even brings me peace and having a purpose plus a goal is something that I had been missing from my life when I “lost myself”.

Sleep seems to be escape and I could feel myself sliding back into old habits like not wanting to leave my bed. The difference now is I got out of bed. There may have been a few set backs like work being canceled due to weather, which lead to me oversleeping because what else is there to do on a snow day? I will admit, I didn’t try as hard as I should have. I should’ve gotten out of bed started addressing it but sleep felt easy and trying seemed too hard. But finally I got out of bed and acknowledge what was going on, it was the old habits creeping back. Sitting down, doing homework, and having a plan made me feel a sense of belonging and importance that I was lacking. I finally got back into the groove of things.

I’ve realized it’s okay to not be okay and it’s not the end of the world to slip back into old habits. But you have to take all the courage and strength you have and don’t give in. It’s hard but not impossible and the reward and the feeling of overcoming your own personal demons is one of the best feelings. The lights finally turn back on and the lion lets out the mightiest of roars. That’s when you know you’re stronger than you thought and you have finally found yourself once again.

Back to Where I Started

“Camp was the best day of my life! Well except for being born!” said five year old Hailey after her first day of summer camp at Camp Orkila.

Little did I know how my time at the YMCA Camp Orkila would impact my life so much. There was lots of love, lots of tears and the learning was limitless. Even from a young age, I was submerged into the camp lifestyle. A hardworking women paved the road that would lead me down the path to success. This road hasn’t come easy, it’s been full of twists, turns, ups, downs, and many forks in the road.

It’s hard finding yourself in the world and I haven’t felt like I’ve made a difference in the world yet. I remember walking up a hill to the grassy parking lot where my parent’s dropped me off and picked me up everyday after camp. Halfway up the hill, in the middle of the path was big wooden sign that said “Take only pictures, leave only foot print”. My mom had to leave foot prints pave the path for me, so here I am making my appearance at the YMCA and leaving only foot prints.

Even in a million years, I never thought I would end up working at the YMCA. But somehow I ended up at the YMCA of Rapid City. I’ve found myself immersed in the Y culture again and I’m constantly having flashbacks of back when I was kid playing poison dart frog and singing bazooka bubble gum. Each day at work I say to my Kidstop kids “You know when I was kid, this was my favorite thing about being at the YMCA” or “When I was your age, we loved playing…” And even though my kids think their 21 year old teacher is 50 years old and even on the days I never wanna hear a kid say “Miss Hailey” again, I love going to work. I love seeing the kids, I love teaching them without them even realizing their learning. The kids always bring a smile to my face.

Each day I feel so grateful to have these kids, they draw me pictures and tell me how there day was. Even when my life feels like it’s spiraling down the rabbit hole, for a minute I get break when I get to be surrounded by such a loving environment. Who would’ve ever thought that the path my mom went down, would lead me down a similar path?

Wide Open Spaces

Picture this, you’re sitting on the beach, skipping rocks into the ocean, the smell of evergreens fill the air. The beautiful, lush, green scenery surrounds you but 1200 miles away and it’s 2 degrees out with a windchill that’s making it feel like -15 degrees. There’s snow blowing and as soon as you step outside you can feel the cold seep into your lungs, making every breath painful. The only water to be found is under eight inches of ice. Now this where we are but how the hell did I end up here?

It started in the summer of 2015, fresh out of high school, I made a three day trek to the beautiful black hills. Not quite sure why I’m here but anything seemed better than being trapped on an island. There was nothing but highway and just like the Dixie Chicks said…
“She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes.”

Little did I know how much I NEEDED the black hills and the open roads. As much as I missed my parents and the island, I needed to be on my own. This is where my journey started and four years later, I’m still here. I originally came out for a higher education, however I learned more through life experiences than I would have at any college.

Even though the winters can be harsh and the summers are hot, the black hills are still heaven on earth. And I don’t plan on going anywhere else any time soon.