A Kindled Flame

“I grew up in a small town called Seaside in Monterey, California. When I was young I didn’t know how good we had it. I would play during recess in a field of grass and pick honey suckles with my brother. On the weekends my mom would take us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is where I found my love for the ocean. I remember restoring old arcades with my dad, and walking outside to feed the wild turkeys that lived in our neighborhood. I really did have an amazing childhood. In fact it kind of sounds like a really good book, but like all books there’s always a major conflict. How else would it be a good story?

Shortly after moving to San Antonio, Texas, my parents got divorced. I was eleven at the time, my brother, 13 I think, and my sister was either one or two years old. That was my first ever heartbreak in life. I was so young I didn’t understand why they didn’t want to be together. Like almost everyone, I believed my parents were soulmates, that love could withstand everything. I remember during the divorce I would stay up late and listen to the radio all night, until I would eventually fall asleep, go to school, come home, and repeat. It got to a point where I never wanted to be home, so I started joining service organizations in my middle school. I joined band and played sports, anything really so I could avoid coming home to a broken family. I repressed a lot from the divorce, but I remember feeling nothing. I couldn’t feel sadness or happiness. I really didn’t know what was happening inside of me. I don’t remember much of anything from age 11-13.

When I was 16 my dad received orders to move to San Angelo, Texas. I chose to stay with my mom and younger sister in San Antonio and this time period was a rollercoaster for me. I was depressed because at the time I had recently been broken up with by the person I thought was the love of my life. It lowered my confidence a lot, and I felt constant bitterness. I was bitter because I felt like I wasn’t enough, so I started studying hard and practicing my music every day trying to be better. I wanted people to notice me and I felt that I could accomplish that if I tried relentlessly to be the best person I could be. I remember crying to my mom in her car during my cousin’s birthday party because I felt so worthless, and I know every time I said those words I broke her heart. My mom worked hard to support all four of us in the house. I felt so guilty asking for money so I eventually got a job to pay for my lunch and gas for my car. She worked so hard during my high school years to help me work towards college.

When I eventually graduate and start working in a medical lab, my goal is to take care of my mom. I want to buy her a house and make sure she never has to work a day in her life again. I have two years left of school, I’m in the Clinical Laboratory Science program here at Texas State University. So many people don’t understand what I’m doing or the work load that comes with it. I’m not only a medical laboratory scientist, I’m a hematologist, a microbiologist, a chemist, an immunologist, a phlebotomist, etc. I use my passion in hopes that I can save lives, and it took me so long to get here. It’s amazing though to see how much people have believed in me and supported my journey. I was so close to not going to college because I didn’t have any money for it, but I met some amazing people who gave me a scholarship to study biology. I met people who wanted to hear my research, people who saw something unique inside of me so they hired me as a paid intern, and I met people who paid for my travel to go to conferences around the world. It’s just so amazing that I’ve done these things. Things that I never thought I was capable of. I truly feel that I am someone I never in my life thought I could be.

Things were so bad for most of my teenage life, I didn’t recognize my parents anymore and I think that was the scariest thing. I wear my dad’s old wedding ring from his marriage with my mom. I wear it as a necklace to remember that things get better, everything heals with time. If you would’ve told me at age 12 that my parents would be able to be in the same room together for longer than five minutes I would’ve called you a liar, and if you said best friends I would’ve called you insane. Insane or not, my parents eventually worked it out. They co-parent us now and honestly it’s amazing. People always freak out when they see that my dad and step-dad are best friends. It’s not normal, but it’s a hell of a lot better than seeing people you care about breaking down one another. I now have an extremely supportive boyfriend of two years that I met here at college. The differences in how our relationship works compared to my past ones is quite significant. I’m vice president of my service sorority and couldn’t be happier to be involved in such an amazing place in life. There’s so much I could talk about, but my parents’ divorce is definitely the biggest event in my life that has shaped my being.

In the future I still plan on developing myself as a person. I know I still have so much room to grow. I can see the end of the rainbow, where I actually have to be in the real world. It’s scary to think about, but I know if it all hits the fan that I’ll have my family, and I’ll have a flame in my heart.”

Quincey Gonzalez, 20

Clinical Lab Science major, Texas State University

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