Growing up: Memphis TN
It is no secret that my dad, Jefferey Lynn Carter, died in August 1989. It’s not a secret because I talk about it often. Experiencing loss at such a young age caused me to reflect much on the topic of death. This tragic event in my life helped me come to some pretty mature understanding of mortality and spiritual well-being at a very early age. Though it was difficult to endure, his death has very much shaped my life in a rather positive way. There are so many things I have learned from this single part of my life. Of course, I didn’t sleep for the first year or two after he died and I had lots of fear surrounding anything or anyone who was “sick”… but eventually, through a very patient mother, counseling, and the gift of prayer, I overcame those fears and I think I’ve become a pretty well-balanced adult…
I was born in Memphis, TN on a Wednesday evening. Other than my mom cleaning the house and doing laundry, my arrival was pretty uneventful even though my baby book has a picture of me, just moments after birth, with the caption “Prize fighter”. I was the third child born to Jeff & Jenny Carter. I had an older brother Ben and an older sister Jill. We were pretty close in age and my mom definitely had her hands full.
My father was diagnosed with Epilepsy while my mom was pregnant with me (1981-ish). The Epilepsy started small but progressively developed over the years. I was young enough not to remember too much about what was going on as well as the hardship it was for both my father and mother. I did know that he was “sick” but I don’t think I ever realized how sick he was. I do know that when I was about 4-ish, he got better enough for them to have my little sister Terri and 21 months later my little brother Ty snuck in there. That’s when my dad started to get really bad. He had a few major surgeries in an attempt to correct the seizures. After the last surgery he never recovered. After he died, they found that he had a rare form of cancer that lined his brain.
We stayed in Memphis for about a year after Dad died. At first, my mom and us 5 kids were embraced and supported by our community but soon it became hard for my mom because her story seemed to be “too sad” for others. So she made the difficult decision of moving us across the country to Bakersfield, CA where her family lived.
As difficult as that was, It was a great choice for our family.
Have you ever had to move across state lines? What was that like for you?
Adulting: Lessons from my reality
“You think you know… but you have NO idea.” Please tell me you wasted many precious hours of your life watching The Real World on MTV like I did!? Well, That phrase sums up any 30 something year old person reflecting back on their 20 something year old self. I didn’t mean to be so naive but I just think as 20 year olds, we just haven’t gained enough life experience to know any better. Sure, I had hard times, made dumb choices, but nothing compared to the trials I had to conquer in my 30ies.
When my father passed away, my mom found herself a widow, not enough education to sustain a career, all the debt you could imagine a young mom with a very sick husband might have, 5 young children, at 35 years old. The very thought gives me painful chills. I admire my mother for many reasons but mostly because of how hard she worked to provide not just a good life, but a GREAT life for me and my siblings. Nothing glamorous at all, but as a kid, I never felt deprived of anything. I’m sure she spent many a night trying to figure out how she would put dinner on the table the next night, but she managed mothering, working, serving at church, coaching cheer (which if you’ve ever been a cheer coach you know it doesn’t pay squat!) AND going to school.
As I grew older, I often thought about if I were in her shoes, what would I do? How would I sustain a life for myself? My Kids? This question is ultimately what pushed me into the Cosmetology Industry. Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t a totally practical decision. I was also very excited to explore my creativity through hair styling and the added bonus of helping others feel good about themselves… all very appealing to this . The goal was to go to hair school and work as a stylist while I went to College. I met a guy and got married 6 months after I finished hair school (2002), never once stepping into a College, and plans of a short career styling hair and then many years of raising babies.
Flash forward 10 years (2012), I found myself isolated from family in a new state, crippling anxiety/depression (they tend to be a package deal) and going through a very difficult divorce with 4 young children at my ankles. Oh CRAP, doesn’t even do it justice. When I moved to Arizona a few years before the divorce, I was so overwhelmed by my 4-year-old, 3-year-old, 2-year-old and an almost 1-year-old, that I didn’t even tell anyone that I did hair. It wasn’t that I didn’t love it, I just didn’t want to get myself back in the position of never telling anyone “no” and cutting hair that would fall on my babies faces while they stood, sat, laid at my feet, screaming for my attention. However, with a fresh new divorce, I hopped on the internet, bought a hydraulic chair and started taking clients out of my home.
It was the perfect job for me during that time. It allowed me the flexibility of pretending like I was a stay at home mom while helping to supplement a tiny bit of income. I would only take clients when my kids were at school, napping or with their dad. I wasn’t rolling in the dough by any means but it helped ease the financial burden a bit. I still have a small clientele of friends that I get to see regularly but over the past 5 years I’ve dabbled here and there with other ventures that could have been great for me but were too difficult for me to balance family life, work, and mental/emotional stability. I really wanted to be the type who could do the single mom thing and start an at home business and just be Successful in all the things. Boy did I reach my limits fast!
Guess what, it turns out that I can’t do it all. I just learned (the hard way) that I could just do some and that was going to have to be enough. It took a lot of trial and error and a massive amount of faith but we got through it. So many life lessons we learn amidst challenges. Sometimes we learn them quickly, other times very, very slowly.
“THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN ONLY LEARN IN A STORM.” – JOEL OSTEEN (I HATE THAT I JUST QUOTED HIM BUT I CAN RECOGNIZE WORDS OF WISDOM WHEN I HEAR THEM.)
Now that my kids are older and am happily remarried, I’m ready to attempt a new adventure. I really love cutting hair and I think I will always do that but I’m looking to do something that can bring in a more consistent contribution… I know what i’m gonna do but I’m note ready to put it out there yet. Stay tuned.
and FYI… It took my Mom 20 Years to graduate College but she did it and that’s pretty awesome!
Hi I'm Cindi! When I'm not chasing after kids or dogs... oh wait, that never happens!