130 161

I have a master's degree

I was born to my parents, in an apartment, in Tacoma, WA. The same apartment I'd spend the rest of my childhood living in. I moved out shortly after 19. The apartment was run down, and the walls were covered in mold, and the wallpaper peeled on every exterior wall. The carpets were filthy. The linoleum floor peeled, and cracked. We had mice, a lot, when I was growing up. I'd find their shit in my dresser drawer, mixed with my clothes. Once I woke up to a rat, not a mouse, on the end of my bed.

We were poor, just like most families in my neighborhood. The city I was raised in is the most dangerous city in Washington State. We lovingly refer to it as, "Tacompton." Drive by shootings. Hookers down on South Tacoma Way, 2 blocks from my parents apartment. Drug house directly across the street, and on the next block.

We didn't own a car for much of my childhood. It was either broken, or we couldn't afford to fix it; later sending it to the junkyard around the time I was in the 6th grade. We never owned a car, again. We began using the bus to grocery shop, and take our laundry to the laundromat.

My father has a gambling addiction, and my mother has schizophrenia. It was a hell of a thing, growing up with the type of neglect I endured. I nearly died as an infant from something called Failure to Thrive. I'm sure any of my fellow medical colleagues will understand just how serious that is, and just how overt the neglect was at that time. My father would leave me alone with my schizophrenic mother, as an infant, while he went to work all day. She provided zero care. If you've never seen videos of what happens to a baby when they are denied human interaction, you're welcome to check it out, but it's not for the faint of heart. He would tell me about coming home from work and finding me in my crib. Bottle empty, or soured, covered in my own excrement after working to get my feces away from my already severely blistered skin. You're probably wondering, "why would he even admit to that?" Because he has narcissistic personality disorder also, and he loves to feel he's a saint. Blaming my mother for the neglect after my grandmother told me about my nearly dying.... well that just makes sense, when it comes to him.

So, infancy was pretty rough. But it didn't end there. My parents were poor, and couldn't afford childcare...... got it. But, what about my hair growing up? It's simple enough to brush a child's hair. Once again, overt neglect.

Once a year I would be taken to a salon to have them comb the birds nests from my hair. Sometimes the naps would get as large as a softball. Giant balls of tangled hair. And my father would complain about the cost of the salon, but he sure did have the money for those pull tabs.

I suffered much more abuse and neglect than what I've listed and described here. I could write a book on my life that would shock people. And probably break many a heart.

I say all of this, to say.....

Poverty. That's my greatest fear. I'm overcoming it step by step.

Today, in spite of all the things I endured growing up, I graduated with my master's degree in nutrition and dietetics, and completed my dietetic internship.

God did NOT help me. I did. I worked so very hard to achieve this. This was all me. Because growing up in a religious household, I was told to pray. And I did, like a good little girl. And it didn't stop any of the abuse. I always knew it wasn't real, deep down.

I did this. I overcame. I persisted.

nutrition_nerd 7 Aug 11

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


The one thing you did get from your parents was that lucky combination of their genes that gave you intelligence, and more importantly, drive. And even with all that, I just can’t imagine how you survived such a babyhood, childhood, and the trauma of being a teenager. Your story is inspirational, and one I know I’ll never forget. I hope you will one day soon be able to sit back a little and enjoy the fruits of you unbelievable perseverance!


Fantastic job! You should be very proud of yourself! I was the first person in my family to earn a masters. My family was poor and neither of my parents graduated from high school, but I would not have been able to get any degree with my mom's support. I cannot imagine getting a degree without any support.

@nutrition_nerd I'm proud of you for keep up with it! You have my admiration!


(raises a glass in the lady's direction)


Congratulations! We here are so incredibly proud of you and all you've accomplished. I'm beyond thrilled that a mind as brilliant as yours was able to find a way to thrive in the face of all these immense and difficult challenges. I for one can not wait to see where that inimitable intellect of yours takes you next.


I was born in backwoods Oklahoma in 1952. We were dirt poor but so was everyone else. We never went hungry, but we had no indoor plumbing. When I was six, we moved to California and things improved somewhat. It is hard to overcome the mindset of being poor and even when my dad was making decent money, the mindset persisted.

I grew up, got married, got a BA in English Lit, had a couple of kids, went back to school to get a teaching credential, stuck around for about ten more years, left the marriage, moved to Missouri, and got a dual MA in British Lit and Creative Writing. I am an adjunct at three schools and make pretty good money.

However, before getting the MA, I lived at the poverty level for several years.

Now, even though I am financially stable and a LOT better off than many people, I have five or six jugs of clothes detergent, I don't know how many packs of toilet paper, and I stock up on other things. I have 150 or more pairs of shoes and closets full of clothes (almost all bought on sale/clearance). I also save straws and napkins from McD's. I attribute all of these actions to being poor as child and at times as an adult.

God did not help me with anything.

Next to losing a son or grandchild, poverty is my biggest fear.

And good for you! You have truly accomplished much in your life and you will accomplish even more. I sometimes look around and am amazed at what I have accomplished--you will do the same. What YOU accomplished: you.


Overcoming adversity. I salute you as I am from a similar background although not nearly as challenging.
May I wish you every success; the fears of your upbringing will drive you to never allow your family to suffer the same.

@nutrition_nerd when and if you have a family it will!
Best wishes...


Beautifully written. Truth has a way of making the story especially from the hand of the afflicted. As long as you never quit or give up, you will never fail. Mental torment and anguish in the eyes of a child can be understood more so than any Psychiatrist could explain. I have two brothers who are PH.d's and cannot stand each other and they tried to destroy me. I walked the fine line of hard work and determination alone. If I ever fell off I thought I would never be able to get back on. Your the Captain on your own ship and the storms you will and did encounter along the way were met with the same survival skills you learned on your own. Your education was very important and you learned more than most because you knew more than they never experienced. You took the bull by the tail and faced the situations. Your scars are many but your understanding and stamina are what most people will never understand.
Beautifully written without an editor, advisor or publicist. From your heart, openly, honest and without any hatred or ill feelings.


Well done... You should be giving motivational talks in schools. You're an inspiration.

Go on The Moth radio show.

@nutrition_nerd I'm serious... far too often people are too scared, or weak, or don't have the support, or the drive... to make it through things that have been done to them... How often do you hear abusers say that they do things because that's what they were taught... TRUE strength of character shines through when a person doesn't just see what's wrong... but understands what's wrong and works to ensure they come out the other side as a better person. I think you've done great.


Congratulations, you have finally passed the bar of someone who was more abused as a child than was I. Thank you for showing me that I am not the most mistreated person alive.


Inspiring and heart wrenching. Thank you for sharing, you are a fighter and it shows. Life sucks at times and especially when you're not in control. You have bright future ahead of you! Congratulations! ?


Congratulations on your Master's degree! That is a huge accomplishment! You are to be commended for the willpower, energy, sacrifice, and determination it took to get to that level.
Savor the moment and walk in your strength.


Brava, Sister. You are courageous.


Congratulations on your persistence.

JK666 Level 7 Aug 11, 2018

Congratulations! I consider you a super hero and am so very happy you are a part of this community. =]


You have a strong inner strength that is inspiring. Thank you! ?


I am glad for your success and proud to know you the little bit that I do.


It breakes my heart to hear what you endured. No child should ever be treated so poorly. It's amazing you lived through the abuse. Thank you for sharing. Your story will be an inspiration to others. Congratulations on surviving and on your achievements. Xoxo. ❤.


Congratulations @Nerd! That is inspiring!! You deserve every success!


"What does not kills us,makes us stronger" You should have a sign made up for other people to see,of your accomplishments.

Now(if you have not already),find a Man who matches your drive,who will encourage you to even greater accomplishments.

@nutrition_nerd So very smart ! Took me awhile to come to pretty much the same conclusions . You are amazing !


Poverty is our nation's scourge, and the world's, but here the poor get blamed and the rich get rewarded. It is an awful blight continued by those encouraging dissent among the people through religion, race and ethnicity. I grew up on the poorer side. My first five years were in a house with no running water and inadequate heat in the cold. Honestly, I was too young to know and have more fond memories than my siblings as we had a stream and pond to around. Only after my dad's work improved and my mom worked and we got a house and joined the ranks of the lower middle class (which seems to no longer exist) did I see how the world, especially the U.S. worked. It is a terrible system. I ended up with a graduate degree and joined that system, still hating it, and raising at least three good kids who are pragmatic socialists. Until we overcome the class divide and really help the disadvantaged, more and more people will continue to fall through the cracks. Or should I say the gaping holes.


You. Are. Amazing!


My mother believed in the power of God - believed in it absolutely, thought God would protect her from all of life's troubles if she just had faith. I watched her decline in her latter years, loose all her money and end up in a neighborhood like the one you describe, where gun shots rang out on a regular basis.

I had left home long before that and it was the shame of my life was that I was not able to help her during those years. But the lesson for me was that neither did the God she believed in. Still she died believing in him as strongly as ever, believing that the misery she suffered was somehow his will, perhaps a test of her worthiness or a punishment for her sins.

I never forgot that madness; it still haunts me today.

DES32 Level 4 Aug 12, 2018

@nutrition_nerd Wow, autoimmune disease can be really tough, but it sounds like you are managing it well. Also probably inherited, at least to some degree, isn't it? Almost everything is! I have to deal with high blood pressure and arthritis, both handed down from previous generations. But I also got many good things; so, no complaints!

@nutrition_nerd Thanks, I think I've heard of that. I'll check it out.

@nutrition_nerd Autoimmune disease , wouldn't that be likely due to having been born with it due to receiving it pre-natel drug exposure via your parents?

@nutrition_nerd FFS


Congratulations -- both for surviving your childhood and grad school. Cheers to you and best wishes for whatever the future holds!


Congratulations on getting your master's degree. You have had a very rough life. Your story shows that people can rise above adversity if they really want to. No one ever said that the road would be smooth sailing. Hold you head up high.


i wouldn't be surprised if this becomes just another in a long line of achievements. thats the thing about persistence, it persists. congratulations.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:152759
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.