Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Sob Story of My Life: Or, The Reason I haven't Graduated Yet

Or, The Reason Why I'm About To Take an Internet Hiatus.

Blog interviews this last year or so have gotten increasingly harder. Why? The first question, the almost certain "Tell me a bit about yourself." Why? Because I want to put down the fact that I'm homeschooled, and that I'm 20 ... and then it gets embarrassing. You may have noticed my clever wording of "20 and homeschooled my whole life" that I used throughout the blog tour.

Because I can't say homeschool graduate, and people expect that of a 20-year-old.

It's difficult in real life, too. People ask me if I've graduated, and I answer "It's complicated," because no, I haven't dropped out, but I'm not technically in school either. I quickly tack on a "but I've published six books" and they're usually more impressed after that, but still. That underlying "I haven't graduated yet - what kind of author doesn't finish high school?" hangs awkward in the air.

And honestly, I wonder what my younger self, say eleven or twelve years old, would think if she were to meet me. You see, I had big plans for my education. I was going to be done with "school" by sixteen, and then use my Timothy Award that I was going to win in AWANA to help pay for college. And I was on track for it, too. I started school a year and a half early, so eager was I to learn new things, and I was crunching through my AWANA handbooks every Wednesday. I was smart enough for it, that's an undeniable fact.

But somewhere about twelve, I began to let my study get away from me, and by the time I was sixteen, I could barely focus on it.

I don't have much school left to do: A research paper for English (I have no idea what I'm going to write about), two half-credits in Science (Chemistry and Biology, I've gotten about halfway through each), a half-credit in math (Algebra II), and modern history. (Post Revolutionary war - present.)

I'm not here to ask for pity, make excuses, or anything like that, I'm just going to tell my story - to stand before you guys as human instead of the perfect authoress I try to pretend to be. Because I'm not perfect, and neither has been my life.

Until I was five, my life was pretty normal. As I said, I even started school a year or so early. There were bumps in my life, I'm sure (such as my sister being in and out of the hospital with Asthma), but for the most part, the bumps didn't faze me. It was the adventure of life. But that year, my dad, a computer programmer, lost his job. He got a second, even better one quickly enough, but it only lasted six months.

And so, that year and a half was spent with a LOT of moving - first from our house in Colorado, down to Texas to stay a few weeks/months with my grandparents, then back to Colorado because dad had a new job, and then back down to Texas "temporarily" which became a permanent state of flux for the next two and a half years where we went back and forth between my two grandparents.

Divorce is one thing that I've never had to live through, thank the Lord, but these few years was close to it. We spent Saturday through Wednesday with my dad's parents, and the rest of the week with my mom's. My dad stayed permanently with his parents, because we had two and half rooms in their house, and only one with my mom's parents (toward the end, they were also housing my aunt and her family).  Mom was trying to not be in the way and give both sets of parents time to spend with us, since this was "temporary" and we were suppose to move far away again.

Finally, an uncle died, and his wife decided to gift us with her trailer home, and we spent the next six weeks or so fixing it up so we could live in it, during which time, we practically forgot about school. However, once that was done, we had a stable home, and we didn't have to be moving twice a week.

About 18 months later, when I was ten, I gained my younger brother, which meant a major rearranging so we had room for him.

However, aside from that, this was probably the most stable period of my life for some time.

Then, when I was twelve, our Dad lost his job again. This set in motion several years where our family literally dreaded spring as:

When I was thirteen, our mother suffered a nasty miscarriage. Miscarriages were nothing new in our family - but this one occurred later in the pregnancy than the others - in what she had previously considered the safe zone. This miscarriage was so bad, they had to take her to the hospital - where she was given a painkiller which she was allergic to. We almost lost her. She spent the next several months in a deep depression, during which time V and I basically had to run the household on our own.

But the year I turned fourteen was probably the worst. In February, mom discovered she was pregnant again - which meant she had to take things easy again - V and I took over the household once more, my Grammy was going to help. But just a week or so later, my grandparents (to whom we still lived next door to, mind you), gained custody of a two-year-old to whom the word "no" was a foreign language.

And then, the day before Mother's day, my Grammy collapsed. We rushed her to the hospital, but God took her home within twenty-four hours. This sent our whole family into a tailspin. Grammy was one of those special women who managed to have her whole world revolving around her as she took care of everyone, and without her, it took us a bit of time to find our equilibrium again, especially for one aunt.

My baby sister was born, and then just six weeks later, we nearly lost her, my brother, and mom in a car accident. They all survived, miraculously, but the repercussions continue to this day.

The next spring, a family friend had complications following the birth of her youngest, so for the next eight weeks, we added four extra kids to our household during the week, one of whom is special needs.

Please note that during this time, my Dad was, for the most part, unemployed. He reffed during basketball and volleyball seasons, and he had a few temporary jobs, but nothing full-time.

The spring I was sixteen, Dad had a heart attack. Fortunately, basketball season had just ended, and he survived it, but we went into yet another tailspin. It was months before he was back on his feet.  Mom doesn't drive, and we did without a lot that summer.

During this time, I always turned to writing as a form of escape, as a way to control something in a life that was way out of my control. This was the year I discovered NaNo, and in specific, the NaNo forums, the roleplays in particular. And, well, let's just say that I got a bit addicted. Mom thought I was doing school, but I would be there instead. This lasted at least six or seven months, while my parents tried to find a way to keep me off of the site, but I worked around it until my dad put a block on the term "NaNoWriMo" on our internet. Said block exists to this day, which means that if a URL contains that term, I can't pull it up. Mere "NaNo" is fine, which is why it's what I use when blogging.

I've said before that I published Sew rather on a whim, and this is the reason why: I felt desperate. I wanted a way to help bring in a bit of an income, and I really wanted to start my journey to fame and fortune.

With publication came a shift in my own attitude. I began to think of myself as an author rather than a student, and I'd fallen so far out of the habit of school, it was almost impossible for me to focus. I made progress, and I'd devour the subjects I was interested in, like History (until modern times) and English.  (I was really on a roll when it came to math too, until I was introduced to theorems in Geometry.)

When I was seventeen, we housed the whole family of our family friends, while they were going through a rather crazy move, for about six months.

Just as my life was evening out and I was gaining more time to work on things, I got my job, which ate up all my time. You guys know most of the rest of the story.

So, long story short, I'm not graduated, though I'm nearly there. And it's not because I'm stupid, but because I'm easily distracted or hyper focused, and I often use that as an excuse for laziness. That's why I'm going to disappear from the internet for the next few months. Because I've been dividing my time too much. I'll post from time to time here on my blog - such as posting the research paper for you guys to grade. (BTW, I have no idea what I'm going to write it on, so any ideas? I'm considering the ear, because my last research paper was the eye.) And I'll probably keep up with Goodreads, and some Facebook. But if you see me anywhere else (or you see me posting too much on Goodreads or Facebook) you have my full permission to ask me how I'm doing on graduation, and quietly guilt me back to work (because I am easily distracted).

And I do plan to devote exactly thirty minutes a day to writing - ten minutes each to LDTD, Poison Kiss, and the Bookania collection (because I have books 3.5 and one and half a short stories left to write). Because each of those projects have a looming deadline I still need to meet, so I need to continue to be making progress. I'll be using a timer on these projects, and I tend to write faster if I'm going against a timer, so hopefully I'll get some good words.

So farewell! I hope you guys won't miss me too much - I know I'm going to miss all of you. I intend to be graduated by NaNo, so hopefully I'll be back by then. If I'm not, I'll have to reevaluate my life.


  1. Wow. I knew you had a tough time, but I didn't know about all of that. I'm going to miss you being around, but I'll be praying for you to be able to focus, and hopefully soon you'll be back!

  2. Good for you to persevere with school despite everything you have been through! I think most people would have quit, especially if they were a successful author.

    1. I don't have much school left to go. Honestly, it's tempting to give up, especially since I've given myself practically a college education on subjects I'm interested in, but it looks better on resumes if I've graduated at least high school, and I want to get out of McDonalds.

  3. Wow. I...yeah, I didn't know all of that either. (And I also mistakenly thought I had it hard.) I'll miss you too, as I know everyone else will, but as Morgan is, I will be praying for you, and I know you can do it. Will you still be emailable?
    (And if you need anyone to complain about school to, feel free to talk to me and I will gladly commiserate with you.) Haha.
    Good luck! Persevere! And come back soon.

    1. Oh, and also, we should throw you a party for when you finish. Sound good?

    2. Agreed. :)

    3. I wouldn't call it a bad life, but after a while, you get tired of lemonade. And yes, I should still be emailable.

      And I may take you up on that offer to commiserate - such as the writing style of my science drives me nuts. He has a slightly condescending tone, or at least that's how I read it. If I go insane, science will be the culprit. I love science, to be honest, and Apologia has some of the best CHRISTIAN textbooks, but his tone...

      That sounds lovely. I like parties.

    4. Lemonade?

      Please do.
      I KNOW, RIGHT? The whole tone of, "Hello, puny little student. I am here to explain this thing called science, because obviously you know nothing about it, and I do. Let me unleash my bad writing upon you--I mean teach you, of course." UGH. LET ME CHOOSE MY OWN FATE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD (which I did a lot of).

      Yes, we need to plan an awesome party. Keep us posted on your progress.

    5. Oh, and I forgot three things. (Again.)

      1. On Quizlet, I have the Apologia biology flashcards all typed out and ready for study. Tell me if you ever want the link.

      2. I should have said this before, but thank you for sharing your heart. It takes a lot of courage, and it's encouraging to know that it's not just me with struggles of my own.

      3. We are all behind you and supporting you, and you could always do a research paper on waterfalls.
      (Kidding, kidding, but still.)

    6. "When life hands you Lemons, make lemonade"

      Yes, this is why I chose homeschooling! So I wouldn't have to listen to teachers talking down to me.

      And I've been working on math this evening. Lots of fun.

    7. How could I forget? And yeah, I've been getting tired of lemonade too, but I guess I have to keep reminding myself that God is good.

      I know. It's not fair. CrashCourse on YouTube is good, even though it's not Christian. It's entertaining and helped me survive last year.

      Math. *shudders* What program are you using? I'm using Teaching Textbooks for Algebra 2...(and don't tell anyone, but I'm very behind on it.) It took me two hours for one lesson this morning.

    8. I'll live through it. I'm almost done with Biology, TBH, and I'm not entirely certain that I'm going to do their chemistry. I'll probably get through chemistry faster if I do, but I may lose my sanity in the process.

      Khan's Academy, which is amazing because it allows me to power through what I already know, and gives me videos for what I don't know (I love the combination of auditory and visual.) They're not Christain, which is why I'm NOT doing biology through them, but I made good progress on their chemistry a few years back.

    9. KA is great. I wish I could do that now.

    10. Amanda, ABeka Algebra 2 took ME an hour yesterday morning, too. :P

      I like the idea of Khan Academy, but...it just seems to be a very messy interface to me. Like, I went in there to do their sample problems for Algebra 2 once to "see where I am" and the "personalized plan" they gave me just...looked like a disaster. Maybe there's something I'm missing?

    11. I like Apologia and hated science until we started using it, then it became one of my favorite subjects....

  4. You go, Kendra! You certainly didn't have to tell us about it, but it's a very good reminder that everyone has struggles even when they look fine on the outside. It helps when I'm getting into an 'oh poor me' attitude to remember that. I'm sure you will finish your schoolwork, and I can assure you that once it's finished, a huge weight will be lifted off of your mind (a weight you might not have even realized was there) and you will be able to put so much more of your mental energy into writing. In the meantime, go forth and conquer that schoolwork. We know you can!

  5. My goodness. Just . . . my goodness.
    I shall miss you, but I definitely understand why you need this hiatus. I'll be praying for you and looking forward eagerly to your return.

  6. I like meeting humans. :)

    I just want to say, I know this must've taken a lot of courage, and thank you for sharing your story. I saw a bit of Andrew in this, but mostly, I saw the story of another friend, which was interesting. I also saw a bit of myself. That was strangely encouraging.

    I think you've made a fine choice. You can do it! I'll be praying for you to be able to get everything done and I'm looking forward to reading that research paper. No good suggestions coming to mind though...sorry!

  7. I think you should take pride in what you've accomplished so far. Push through because you're almost there!! It will be worth it in the end. I'll be praying for you! :)

  8. Wow. Just...wow.

    Somehow, words seem so inadequate, after reading a post like this, but I'll do my best....

    QUOTE: "I'm not here to ask for pity, make excuses, or anything like that...."
    Would you take great big air-hugs? *HUG*
    (Er...and now half the Peanut Gallery are sending their hugs, too....)

    As others have said, you have great courage to share that, but I'm glad you did--it gives us a better understanding of you, and how to pray for you. Add me to the "I'll be praying for you" list.

    God be with you, m'dear, as you tackle your schoolwork and "press on towards the goal" as it were. We're rooting for you, girl--we love you, Sister, and we know you'll get through this! *Pompoms* RAWR!

    If you ever need a listening ear (eye?), well, you know my e-mail address. :-)

  9. We will miss you TONS!!!! I'll be keeping you in my prayers - keep going, and remember God's got a plan through all of this. <3 You have some amazing talent, and we're all behind you!

  10. She'll be back soon ... Kendra is genius level with almost photographic memory ... I know that list of what she needs to finish sounds daunting ... but it'll not take more than 3 months for her to finish it. Unless some new disaster befalls us. I remember one year, she refused to budge on her school work and I told her she would get no party (birthday) if it wasn't completed by a certain date ... so she completed 5 months of school in 5 weeks without any mistakes or help. The required amount ... and quit again. Kendra is tenaciously single minded. When she was a toddler, I caught her contemplating her peanut butter sandwich and the VCR .... and when I told her to "Don't EVEN think about it." She proceeded to jam the sandwich into the VCR door while screaming "No pankin's" and in spite of me picking her up, still was putting that sandwich into that door! Oh yes, raising Kendra was a practice in patience and self control. It's a good thing the kid was outrageously cute. Ask her to post some baby pictures. I keep threatening to high jack her blog and post a "All About Kendra" post.

  11. That must have been pretty scary to throw out here on the interwebs. Thank you for sharing. I will miss your posts - but look forward to your return! And I'll be praying for you to stay focused.

    As far as research papers go... how about researching the life of an author who fascinates you? Or research something historical that you find interesting? (I once did a research paper on Tolkien's friendship with Lewis... which was fun). Or research a dialect and defend it as being "grammatical" (I once had to do a research paper on the Appalachian dialect and explain why it was grammatically correct... little did I know I'd ever live in the Appalachian region!!!)

    Just a few thoughts to get the ol' creative juices flowing. :) Research papers are really just an opportunity to investigate something that interests you. Another idea is you could research something that would help you with your writing: clothing in the middle ages, food of a certain time period, the evolution of (insert weapon of choice here) across the ages.

    Oh, so many ideas!!! (You've awoken the English teacher in me!) :)

  12. Well I'm about 19 and I'm mostly finished. I'm not going to officially graduate, I don't really think there's much point in me doing it. I've got a few trhings I'm doing but more out of interest that anything else and my writing has slowed them down this year.
    Good for you, for setting yourself a goal. I should do that more. I am dreadful at finishing things.

  13. I hope everything settles into place for you, and never give up! I'll miss getting blog updates from you for awhile, but I look forward to when you can get back into blogging.

    1. For the most part, my life has settled into place, which is why I'm going to knock school out of the way now, rather than later.

  14. You're not alone. I should have graduated already...but I haven't. (And I don't have any good explanation for it, unlike you.) Stay encouraged, Kendra! I'll be praying for you!

  15. omg, you nearly lost your family members so many times. :( That's terrible...and you're so upbeat and brave and positive about it all, so go you! I do hope you get your school finished. It is a very good feeling. *nods*


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