Hi beautiful friends! Happy Sunday. I am here to share my story of #RealBloggerBeauty with you today. My dear blogger friend, Maya, had a genius idea to have bloggers and lovely young ladies share more about themselves and be transparent without having to live up to the expectations of a “perfect blogger life” and I must say I am pretty excited about sharing my own story. You can learn more about it and what you can do to share your story by clicking here.

I must say that I am not used to being so candid with strangers, let alone people I’ve known for years, so just be warned. also… my story WILL be a novel someday. It’s one of my life’s goals to write a memoir. I have just seen too many things to not write about them. So to be very straightforward before I start rambling, I will get right to the point: the most difficult thing about my life, and something I’m still learning how to cope with is the absence of a mother and father. I will say that I am fortunate to have very loving and caring grandparents who did the best they could to help, and a few friends who stepped in along the way. I am forever grateful for those who took part in helping me survive throughout my childhood.

Many times when I tell people that I didn’t grow up with a mother or father, they believe that they passed away, or something heroic/decent of that nature, but then I have to break the news to them… I will say that there was a very short time in my childhood where I felt loved, and felt normal, like I did have a real mom. This was for around the first 4-5 years of my life. Everything after that was chaos.

So, basically I am the eldest of seven children. Most of us have different fathers [though I never met mine, and I’ve never known or seen him], and we all share the same mother who was a very talented pianist and could have done so well for herself, but she was also very selfish. When life was too difficult, she gave in to her weakness of drug and alcohol addiction and unfortunately dragged my siblings and I through that journey during most of our childhood. We grew up living with her different boyfriends, and when she was between boyfriends we stayed with our grandparents or with friends who took us in. It was very difficult being the eldest, of course, because she was not present- even when she was with us, she didn’t ever really ‘take care’ of us. I knew more than any of my siblings what was happening when she was gone.

I have distinct memories of living in one room with my mom and all of my sisters for months at a time, and sometimes being kicked out of her boyfriends house and having to walk across the city carrying the belongings we could fit into our bags while walking to my grandma’s house, or anyone we knew who would take us in, for that matter. It was a very tough situation to cope with, especially as a child. Sometimes, she would take off and leave us at other people’s houses for weeks at a time. We were never told when she was coming back. My siblings and I woke up in many different people’s houses on the mornings of my birthday or Christmas and would have nothing there waiting for us, not even our parents – just some strangers who knew our mom through a friend, and of course, the reality of the situation we were forced to endure.

Anyway, there is a happy ending, guys, I promise! So this craziness lasted from when I was around 7 until I turned 14. We then moved somewhere veryyy far away from what I had called home, and that was the last straw for me. I was much too old to be dragged around from one disastrous house and relationship to another…It was time for me to get out. I turned 15 on December 23, and that next year, I moved out of my house and lived with a friend all throughout high school. Living in another families’ basement is a whole different experience, but it was a place to stay while I went to high school and worked as a waitress to save up money for college. I ended up getting accepted to a university and moved out of that friend’s house after graduating high school. It was a dream come true for me, and also a total nightmare to apply to colleges as an independent student [try not being able to put any parent information on your FAFSA!] I jumped through so many hoops to make it to and through college! Anyway, I graduated from school, where I met my husband, J. and I am now married, very happy, healthy, and most importantly lucky! As many of you know, I’m a teacher, so I get to work with students who are going through, or have been through similar situations. I get to help them and connect with them on an empathetic level, which is so precious to me.

I am so thankful for the many people that really helped me through my childhood and teenage years. They made it so that I could rise up out of the situation I was forced into and make something of myself. I will say that it was VERY difficult having to leave my younger siblings behind when I moved out of my house at 15, but luckily, most of them had fathers who took them in before I even left. I think they finally understand that my mother was very ill [from substance abuse] and was not capable of taking care of them like she should have. Those siblings are all doing very well, and I’m so proud of the beautiful young women they’ve become.

This #RealBloggerBeauty post has really given me the opportunity to be super transparent with you about who I am, what kind of woman I am, and what sorts of obstacles and challenges I’ve had to overcome. It isn’t easy to tell the whole world that you grew up with a drug addict mom, who basically never existed and absolutely no father. People hear those things and just feel bad for you without realizing the strength it took to endure things like that. I choose to focus on the positive. In my “about me” section on this blog, I say, I consider obstacles to be stepping stones… and I really do. Yes, I grew up with a messy childhood and an imperfect family, but I’m okay now! That’s the happy ending! I made it.

I really looking forward to seeing the obstacles, challenges, or hardships that you women have endured and overcome. You’re all beautiful in your own way. Our story only helps us become who we really are meant to be, and I’m so glad that I was able to share it with you today. Thanks, Maya, for thinking up this amazing idea. xoxo.

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  1. Such a great post with a beautiful ending! I am lucky to have grown up with a family who was present and loving, but I greatly admire anyone who grew up in a rough childhood but worked to get themselves out and break the pattern. Thanks for sharing your story of strength and your happy ending πŸ™‚


  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's beautiful to hear about a fabulous young woman such as yourself coming out on top after all of the trials and tribulations, all thanks to your dedication and belief in yourself. I know sharing this story will inspire others to look within themselves as it has myself. Sharing stories really helps bring us all together, and as a regular reader, I feel as though I know you on a much different level by simply taking a few minutes to read this. Thank you, brave girl!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story! I love how you've overcome so much and didn't let these very difficult times keep you from creating the best life for yourself. I've has students in similar situations and not all are as a strong as you!

  4. Holy Molies! I don't even know what to say…I stopped & started reading many times because my brain couldn't comprehend what you must have gone through. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your story. But as a teacher myself I thank you for all you are giving back…your are a true inspiration!

  5. i'm really enjoying reading all the posts in maya's link up today! πŸ™‚ you definitely shared much more than i personally felt comfortable with, so i really admire you for that. and as cheesy as the saying is, what doesn't kill us really does make us stronger, and makes us much more interesting and complex people too. xo

  6. You are absolutely wonderful! I can't even comprehend what a strong woman you are to conquer those obstacles with such grace, but it's so incredibly inspiring. I've never gone through anything like that, but your story touched my heart and I'm thankful to work in education now so to be closer to kids going through similar situations. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I'm sure it was rather scary to open up to strangers, but please know you have a friend in me and I cannot wait to meet you! xo


  7. I love that you took a not great situation and used it to power you through and make your dreams come true! So many aren't as driven or lucky. Thanks for sharing your story, and do please write a book! It sounds like it would be incredibly interesting!!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to be so transparent, especially in this crazy blogging world. You are clearly an amazing, strong, smart and beautiful woman! I am so happy you are someone helping out children and helping them grow into strong, capable people!

  9. Thank you so much Elle for sharing such an amazing story and how you over came those obstacles in your life. You truly are an amazing person!! I cried reading this because I can only imagine what it felt like growing up for you. Thank you once again for sharing! I will share my story on my blog sometime this week. It is truly inspiring to read about your favorite bloggers.


  10. Wow, what a life journey! I never would have imagined that you've been on your own from such a young age + grew up with such a tough childhood! You're gorgeous inside + out, so thankful that things have worked out for you- you so deserve all the happiness in the world!

  11. Thanks for sharing your life story. WOW! I have dealt with abandonment issues with my parents but I could only imagine having to take care of myself and 6 other children. You are truly a rockstar and a blessing to many.

    xoxo Aisha @ truesoulandspirit

  12. I can relate to this post in so many ways. I didn't grow up in the most stable environment and it's still something I struggle with to this day. It's amazing what you have overcome and I'm incredibly thankful that you shared your story with us!

  13. So brave of you to share this! It's easy to look at someone and just see a pretty face, but we all have stories hidden inside, too, that shape who we are. I love this hashtag and look forward to checking out other bloggers who have posted! πŸ™‚

  14. Think you for sharing. It's so true that we see your beautiful pictures and rarely ever think of what Your life experience was or is. I'm glad you and your sisters are all doing well. Your hard work paid off, your students are lucky to have you.

  15. I applaud your vulnerability. Not an easy story to tell! Sounds like you had a similar life to my nephews. My sister has been a drug user for as long as I can remember. She has a 21 year old that my parents raised, and a 10 and 11 year old that deserve a much better life than she is giving them… Thank you for sharing your story and I'm so glad to see that you made such an amazing life for yourself!


  16. Thank you for sharing your story. I can see how the obstacles and hardships you've endured have shaped you into the woman you are today. We've all had difficult periods in our lives and reading about your overcoming yours is encouraging and inspirational.

  17. I actually read your post on vacation and made sure to mark it as unread on my feed, to be able to comment when I came back, thank you so much for sharing, it takes a lot to expose yourself like that and share such a personal part of your life, it's very encouraging and inspiring and I am sure we can all use an extra dose of that, to remind us that even in the darkest moments there is always a chance that things will turn up for the best. You are truly a nice and genuine person and you desreve all the good things that have come your way and the ones that are yet to come.


  18. Elle, I have always loved your blog, your style and obviously you are very pretty. After reading this I appreciate the person you are even more. You are beautiful inside and out. And so strong too. Strong to share your sad story and difficult childhood you had. Strong to become who you are and rise up despite the many difficulties.

    I am so glad I read this. I just wrote my Real Blogger Beauty post today and would love for you to read it as well. Thanks so much.

    P.S. I am proud of you. =)

  19. Love the honesty and I feel even more inspired to know that despite trials there are women out here who turned their lives completely around. Honestly, it's refreshing to know I'm not the only one who didn't live in a perfect home.

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