Some mornings I wake up almost in disbelief of the life I live and the person I have become. I am a full-time federal employee at the Veterans Hospital (who was promoted a few months back), I have run half-marathons in different states and countries, and most recently I became a homeowner.
It’s crazy to think that just a few years ago, my life was the complete opposite of everything I am today. I spent 8 months living in my car, drug-addicted and ill-equipped to deal with lifelong trauma. All of that changed when I went into a facility for veterans. There, I learned about Back on My Feet.
“Do something different. Do something that scares you.”
In May 2014, I joined the Back on My Feet program. It was the first act of courage I took in years. Although I hadn’t run since basic training, it quickly became a part of my routine. The camaraderie and encouragement from my teammates kept me coming back each morning.
You feel a lot of shame when you experience homelessness and, at the time, I could barely look anyone, let alone myself, in the eye. During a weekend run with Back on My Feet, someone passed by and acknowledged me with a “Good Morning!” That moment changed me. “They see me,” I thought to myself. I could finally be who I was comfortable being.
“I never thought I could do anything like this.”
Being a part of Back on My Feet encouraged me to do things I never thought I could do. I attended job readiness workshops, updated my resume and learned how to manage my finances. I’m proud to say that my credit score has since improved by nearly 500 points! The support I received empowered me to face my unresolved trauma. Only then could I move forward. When I was ready, Back on My Feet provided the tools I needed for a bright future.
Back on My Feet is my heart and soul. Today, I am the person I was always meant to be: an awesome, smiley, outgoing, and successful human being.