Kara is in her early twenties. She was born and raised in Iowa. Since a child, Kara has dreamt of being like her best role models, her teachers. The path has been rough but she never let a detour tempt her to stray.
Kara lost her father as an infant, faced emotional abuse from her step-father and watched her mother struggle to take care of herself. The responsibility of taking care of her younger siblings often fell on her but she never let that dismantle her dreams. She stayed up later and woke up earlier to work harder and always wears her brave face.
I know there are many young people with a dream and story like Kara’s. Don’t ever let that discourage you. Hear Kara’s story and hold your head high and keep fighting for you.
When I asked Kara to partake in an impromptu interview via Facebook messenger, her response was “I’m not interesting.” I beg to differ. Little does she know, I look up to her. She inspires me and gives me hope too.
“I was in elementary school when I formed my first concept of beauty. I remember thinking my student teacher was the most beautiful person alive. A few years later, I became more aware of my personal appearance. My reflection showed a lonely girl with a gap in her teeth and messy hair. I thought I always needed to be surrounded by people in order to feel validated as a person and to prove to myself that people liked me. I always worried what people thought of me and if they talked behind my back.
School was my saving grace as a child. I knew I was safe there and I always loved learning. Books also helped me get through because they provided me an escape. Creative writing was my outlet for the things I couldn’t say out loud. I know it sounds cheesy, but I always looked up to my teachers. I thought they were so smart and caring and I knew I wanted to be like that. That was part of the reason I wanted to go to school for teaching.
Financial hardship was a really big obstacle. I grew up in a low income household and there was a time I wasn’t sure I would be able to afford college. And there was the dynamic within my family and home. My mom has had issues with substance abuse for as long as I can remember and that led to numerous problems, as well as the way I was treated by my step-dad as a kid. It all made it hard to focus on myself and my own aspirations. I wish that I would have had family closer when I was younger to notice what was going on and to make more of an effort to put a stop to it.
As I got older, my friends became a really great support system for me in a lot of ways. Then I moved to Waterloo. I didn’t have a lot of people around all the time. At first I was miserable without my group of friends, but I got to know myself better and I learned to enjoy my own company.
My life at times has not been what I wanted it to be, and that has helped me to have the strength and determination to work to get where I am.”
Kara has graduated from UNI and had begun subbing in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She is currently on hold while she awaits the birth of her first child; a son, Oliver.
“I will miss sleep and being able to do what I want when I feel like it, but I will have someone to look after and someone who needs me.
I am afraid I won’t be good at it, that I won’t be nurturing or patient enough. I am looking forward to watching Oliver start out as a mix of me and his father and grow into his own person. I am looking forward to seeing things through a child’s eyes again.
Looking back now, my concept of beauty has changed. It is not at all about outer appearance. It has much more to do with the person as a whole.
As a mother, I want Oliver to be able to see people for more than what they look like. I want him to be kind to others and himself. I want him to do what he loves, whatever that may be. I want him to be a well-rounded person with interests and hobbies and friends and I know I can teach him that through modeling those things myself.
The important things in my life are the people that I love…and food ☺ .
As women, I think it is important to recognize our worth is just as much as any man.
As a human, I think the most important thing is to give and receive love. ”