One Door Closes, as another Door Opens
Growing up in San Diego, California in a full blooded Portuguese family, complete with the grandparents from the old country and the western more contemporary parents was a very colorful upbringing. My grandmother and mother had many old wives sayings and tales that were the foundation of they way the reacted to life. Although raised in the fear and guilt that is known as the Catholic religion, my mother always reminded me that even when something bad happens, something good will come of it. Now in my Christian life, our Pastor Aaron refers to it as “When one door closes, another will open in its place”. In this reflective paper I will describe how my life experiences, some which were tragic and traumatic and closed that chapter in my life, many times a new door opened, usually with a more positive outcome. Child molestation, becoming a widow at 26 years of age, and alcoholism are just a few of the obstacles I endured in my life. I will explain how some wonderful experiences evolved from these obstacles. I was raised in family of four daughters. I was the second youngest and considered the middle child. My two older sisters were seven and eight years older than me. My mother use to say it was like raising two daughters, two at a time. By the time my older sisters married and moved out, my younger sister and I were just starting adolescence. My siblings and I cohabitated in one small bedroom with two sets of bunk beds in our small two bedroom home. My father was a hard working painting contractor and my mother was a stay at home housewife. My father drank everyday, and my mother spent her days meticulously cleaning our home. My childhood memories were full of large family get togethers with aunts and uncles and all the cousins, grandparents and other Portuguese friends. The women would cook cultural cuisine and the men would play cards, gather around and play musical instruments like the guitar, mandolin, and drums. My father played the spoons and bones that were carved from ivory. My father was the comedian, center of attention, and the guy who would put the lamp shade on his head after a few beers. I have shared that personality trait with him since I was very young. My sisters and I would sing and dance for the large gatherings. As a young girl, maybe eight years old, I remember reading a National Geographic Magazine article about Oregon. I told my mother I was going to live there some day. The tall trees and the mountains of green versus the San Diego hills of houses piled on top of one another, was very pleasing to me. Even at that young age, Hollands’ personality theory of career satisfaction (Witt and Mossler, 2010) was apparent. My need for self expression came out through drawing pictures of those beautiful mountains and sharing them with my friends and family. I was already leaning towards the artistic and social aspects of his theory. When I was around 11 years old a neighbor who was in his forties sexually molested me. His wife could not have children, so they would invite me and my younger sister for sleep overs. She had no clue the molestation was happening. She was always so sweet and caring to us. I was so terrified to go over there any more that I started making excuses. Having to give up my interaction with her is my first memory of a door closing. I started to become rebellious as the anger and resentment ate me up inside. Alcohol became my escape at the early age of 12. I would sneak vodka from my dad’s liquor cabinet, and take it to middle school to put in my lemonade at lunch. My world was closing in all around me. It was in 8th grade that I had an art class that opened another door to me. I would engulf myself in that class everyday and work hard on projects at home. I had found a release for the anger, and a way to channel it into something positive. I was modifying my behavior without realizing it. Art became a prevalent part...
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