About Me

Beaumont, Texas, United States
I am a 22-year-old grad student of Stephen F. Austin State University. Also, I am a woman who knows that things in life do not always come easy, however, with patience, discipline, and determination, I feel that all things are possible.

November 30, 2007

"Wait til I get my money right!"

As you well know, I am only 22-years-old and middle adulthood is a stage of life that I have yet to reach. Often times I like to consider myself an "old soul" being wise beyond my years; however, after a rude awakening I humbly admit that I have a long way to go.

As I sit here and think about the future and the days ahead of me, if God says the same, I hope to be married with maybe two or three children, at least one of them in college by this time. (Trust me; I'm in no rush to have kids now, so I think I will end up being an older parent). As far as my career, I plan on having my own practice working with troubled youth and the ex-offender population.

At this point of my life, I am already experiencing difficulty with regard to physical changes. My eyesight is horrible and said to decrease in strength as I get older. My hearing is not that great as well. After taking a blow to the left ear approximately one year ago, my hearing has never been the same. With all of this being said, I am quite sure that I will experience great difficulty with regard to physical changes in middle adulthood but now is the right time to prepare for such things.

Erikson explains emotional development of middle adulthood as successful completion of generativity vs. stagnation. At this point, I am certain that my desire to give back to others and sacrifice for the next generation outweighs any personal gains. I believe in wanting to be a counselor to help others help themselves is deeply rooted in this notion of generativity. I have always been this way and that will never change.

Finally, the reason I titled this entry "wait til I get my money right," a lyric taken from rapper Kanye West's multi-platinum album "Graduation," is because during the middle adulthood years of my life, I plan to have my finances in order. In today's society, I believe the only way to do this is to prepare now. We cannot count on social security, but instead we should have alternative means of saving money for after retirement. Also, after the children are off to college, I have been reminded that great savings will come. Even though I know I am going to enjoy being a parent and a lifelong career, this is the point of my life where I plan to become a kid all over again....minus midlife crisis :)....I pray.

November 16, 2007

The Turning Point

Early Adulthood....I can remember graduating high school thinking I had everything all figured out, only to find out that I had no idea. Even as those were adolescent days, the mentality I had at the time is something that manifests itself within me today. Then, I thought I was "grown." Now that I am, I wish I weren't. Then, I thought I knew everything. Now, I wish I didn't know. Making the transition from adolescence to adulthood is one of the hardest things that a person will ever have to do. It is my belief that when entering the "college world," whether traditional or non-traditional status, a person is forced to open up and take hold of their identity. My point in saying all of this is that the premise for these thoughts would be the beginning stages past post-formal thought with regard to my cognitive development.

When I arrived at SFA, my familiar world changed. Things that I thought to be true or factual were merely opinions. I begin looking at EVERYTHING from a different perspective. I began seeking explanations and an understanding of why I believed and practiced things the way I did. According to William Perry, this would be considered development of epistemic cognition.

On the other hand, socially and emotionally things were quite consistent for me. I began making friends and becoming involved in intimate relationships. I must admit there is some truth in the risk of feeling lonely as a young adult, because there were a couple of times when I would rather continue on in a "not-so-good" relationship because I was comfortable instead of being alone. At this point, there is that intimacy vs. isolation. In my opinion, for the most part, I feel that any major problems were resolved and companionship is something that I hope to pursue.

Moreover, it is important to understand this crucial period in our lives. As I have and continue to mature, I can see clearly where and what I have come from. "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child," (1 Corinthians 13:11) but now I am no longer a child...

Life is hard, (school, work, family, friends, bills, decisions, etc...) but nothing worth having is easy.

November 2, 2007

And Then There was...Puberty!

My first thoughts back to my adolescent years derive from my first thoughts of dying...let me explain. One evening after school, (I was in the sixth grade) my younger cousin and I were playing at my grandmother's house. I stood up to do something when my cousin noticed a spot on my overalls. Being that she had already began her menstrual cycle, she fell on the floor laughing saying that I "started my period." I cried in disbelief counterarguing that I must have cut myself. After being shocked for several minutes, I ran in my grandmother's room to tell her that I was bleeding but she was not there. On this day, I was glad my younger cousin knew exactly what to do because I would have been screwed if she wasn't there.

This period of my life is a tough one to discuss. Even after enduring all things with both of my parents, I would continue on as an academically gifted young lady. On the other hand, however, I would face great obstacles both socially and emotionally (see a trend?).

My adolescence did indeed start with puberty. After coming to terms with the fact that I was maturing in ways that I was not quite ready for, the moodiness and physical changes kicked in. I was angry all of the time and I did not understand why I was more shapely than the rest of my peers. Of course, this would lead to other problems...

At a time when peer pressure was highly prevalent, I would say that Erikson's theory would play a part in my development. I began to struggle with my identity. Erikson calls this stage of development, "identity v. role confusion." His premise basically says that if previous stages of development are met successfully then adolescents will most likely discover identity at an easier rate. Even though I was extremely developed cognitively, socially I was struggling. I was always around my brother who didn't really want much to do with me. Other than that, I spent time with counsins and classroom friends, but most often I stayed to myself. When I experienced middle school, it was an entirely different playing field. I did not know where to fit in. This would soon become one of the most troubling experiences for me. I was a smart student, but the smart students did not appear to be liked or respected by others. Identifying as such would be a big "no, no" for me. Furthermore, with this came exploration.

Of course, my grandmother had previously taught me right from wrong, however, my grandmother was not always around to acknowledge my wrongs or reasons for doing so. Here is where I would say Piaget's Theory of Moral Development may apply. I was moving away from the heteronomous morality and into the autonomous morality. I no longer worried about being wrong in fear of judgment, I just wanted to be accepted.

The rest of the story is a big blur. I could go into great detail about these years of my life and how I was so desperate just to fit in, but instead, I will spare the details and make one conclusion...

"If I'd known then what I know now"....but I didn't and I will not continue wasting my time regretting. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others and still be the person I am today. I believe a key component in adolescent years is for teenagers to be able to establish an identity. When this is done, the rest is quite simple. I just worry about the children that have no clue...remember parents play a major role in the development of a child's identity as well...but whose pointing fingers?

October 19, 2007

Growing Pains

Being "the baby" of the family, I was often forced to comply with my siblings no matter whose roof I was under. Despite my snitching, during these years I grew exremely fond of my older brother. I remember he and my other siblings would beat me up and lock me in the closet until I told them that I would not tell on them anymore only to get out and do the same thing again. Even so, he was like my protector from everything else. If someone outside of the family picked on me, he was there. At times he grew extremely upset for having to protect me so often, however, he still managed to do so. It got so bad, I would cry when he left me... but hey, who wants to have their little sister tagging along side them all of the time? Eventually, I grew out of this.

After several years of living with my grandmother, my brother and I finally moved to stay with my mother... and her boyfriend. By this time, my father had been sentenced to twenty years in prison. Despite all of this, emotionally I was in tact. I lived with my mother, I did not have to visit my father's house anymore, and I was doing exceptionally well in school. During this time, we would take "family trips" to theme parks, to visit other family members out of town, and to music concerts. I remember when I was about nine-years-old, I went to my first concert. It was a combination of R&B music acts including, MC Hammer, Jodeci, and Boys II Men. They were my favorite at the time:) I guess one would say that I had it made. As long as I was doing well in school, I had everything that I wanted; however, being spoiled would soon come to an end.

At this point, I am forced to recall an incident that taught me a life-long lesson. After my eleventh birthday, one Saturday evening I was preparing to go to the local skating rink, a tradition for me on the weekends. Anyhow, the weather was really bad and my mother decided that it would be best if I stayed at home that night. When she told me I could not go, I became upset and began pouting. Her boyfriend heard me and tried to bargain with her on my behalf. For the next couple of hours, she would not even budge. About thirty minutes before it would be time for me to leave, her boyfriend came in and told me that he was going to take me and my mother said it was okay. I was estatic!... I went to the skating rink, and after a night of fun with my friends, I prepared for the final competition, "Cops and Robbers." Everyone knew that I was an extremely good skater and a pretty quick one at that. I was the last one in the game, when a girl that I had previously beaten in speed racing decided she would tripped me. I flew forward falling on my face. Before I could get up all of the way, one of the guards was pulling me up with a frightened look on his face. Blood was everywhere! My tooth had broken in half and pushed up deep inside my gums. It wasn't until I looked in the mirror in the restroom that I began to cry. Not even ten minutes after this happened, my mother was coming through the doors screaming. Someone had called her, we lived like five minutes away. When I saw her, all I could do was apologize for wanting to come to the skating rink so bad. I told her that I should have listened....

Moreover, even though I probably hadn't realized at that time, I learned a lesson that most parents are still trying to teach their kids, parents know more... bottom line! Maybe I didn't get hurt because the weather was bad, but I was being such a spoiled brat, I personally feel that God had to show me something. Too bad it took me losing my teeth:)

September 27, 2007

Zykia: The Wee Little Woman

I was born November 14, 1985 in Silsbee, TX to parents Pamela Sam and Chucky Ray Johnson. For my parents, this would be a familiar experience being that they were both already a part of another family. At the time, my dad had six other children, three boys and three girls. My mom only had one son but was dying to have a baby girl. Somewhere in the equation of two adults, seven children total, and two separate households came an added addition. I would forever be known as "the baby girl." In the beginning of my life, being the youngest of seven children, I would assume my acceptance was a hard pill for my siblings to swallow. Most of them were attending elementary school and even junior high school when I was born. This however, did not take away from the fact that everyone was well taken care of financially. After attending college, my father deemed himself a "business man," owning several private businesses. He was my hero, or so I thought... My mother, on the other hand, was never stable. She always had a variety of jobs and was always moving from one place to another. On the weekends, I would go to visit my dad and his family, and during the week, I would most often stay with my grandmother and sometimes my aunt. The first week out of the hospital, I remember my father told me that he and my mother were arguing because she was going out of town and I was sick. Being born to a father that had six other children to be concerned about and a mother that was always on the go, from a developmental perspective several individuals might assume that I would face a life of great adversity.

The Early Years

After looking at this picture, you can tell that there are several differences in the genetic make-up of my siblings and I. The two older girls and young boy wearing the black suit are three of my father's children, making them my half-brother and sisters. As you can see, I have acquired a lighter skin complexion from my mother, being that my mother's son, my oldest brother, and I share similar skin tones unlike the rest. I guess having a large head was also a trait inherited from my mother:)

When I look at this picture, on the other hand, I can't help but notice emptiness in both my eyes and the eyes of my brother. From this picture, one would think that I was quiet or withdrawn as a little girl. I believe I was three-years-old in this picture, and at that time, nothing about me was shy. I have heard so many stories about how I was talking like a baby genius and how some of my family members often questioned themselves forgetting they were engaged in a conversation with me. I also loved to sing and dance, so I frequently performed. Cognitively, I developed at a steady pace despite misconceptions. I was counting, reciting the alphabet, and reading before you knew it. Being around my siblings, I would say helped me be a social extrovert and challenged me to remain physically active. Having said all of these things, physically, socially, and cognitively, I am certain that I developed normally. Emotionally, I am not so sure. I guess this is part of the reason why I see emptiness in my eyes in the picture above. Even though I developed secure attachment with my grandmother, my mother and father were different. I was ALWAYS being cared for by my grandmother, and my aunt was something like her assistant. They were always making excuses for my mother, and I often remember them bribing me in order that I would stop crying for my mother. My grandmother would bring me to "The Markin Basket," that's what I called the local grocery store. Anyhow, she brought me there so that I could buy fruit for everyone in the family. This was her way to get me to stop crying. They also told me that I would get new things such as clothes and jewelry. I ended up getting those things but never what I really wanted, my mother. As for my dad, he was always trying to get custody of me and take me away from my mother. My grandmother never let this happen, but I was immediately turned off and did not want to stay with my dad for a long period of time. My temperament at this time was not normal, I would scream and holler hours on end just to leave my dad and be with my grandmother. This however, did not change the fact that I really wanted to be close to my mother. In dealing with emotions and attachment, I was in bad shape.