In May of 2014, I drove over 1,577 miles with my seven month old daughter, Jade.
Hopping around, visiting friends and family, who surely all wondered if I was crazy... but we eventually stopped in Austin, Texas.
This marked the beginning of my divorce and my claim of independence in this world.
I had gotten married at age seventeen, to a military man I had met on World of Warcraft, who was into in astrology.
I was proposed to outside of a hotel room, by my parents...
By your what now?
Yes, my parents proposed to me as my nervous sort-of-boyfriend agreed that it sounded like a "good idea".
I didn't exactly want to get married, but I wanted to get out,
because I had always failed to stop my parents from getting into my bedroom and hitting me for some reason I could not figure out.
They once told me I was being hit for asking why I was being hit.
I did not like that feeling... I feared that feeling for years to come...
So I, reluctantly, got married and moved from Plano, Texas to Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
My husband was very patient with all of the times that I locked myself in the bathroom, crying and panicking, having flashbacks to my parents hitting me.
I eventually started working out, looking for a job, and while my husband was deployed I moved to New York City, then right back to Plano, Texas.
Plano, my home town, is where I began (and completed) emergency medical training and re-began taekwondo at the same place I had gone to (for only a month or so) when I was eight.
My instructor was a very intimidating Aries.
I was a very shy, timid little baby Leo.
I once walked up to him, very sad, and nervously confessed "I always have nightmares that I can't punch hard enough..."
He retaliated, "You punch plenty hard."
"Really???" Squeaked my little voice.
(I unfortunately do not have any pictures of he and I, the pictures of me above, with another instructor, were taken at a later date.)
I think nowadays, if you asked, a lot of people, would tell you, "Oh yeah, Penny hits hard!" as they wipe a bit of sweat off their brow.
I made it to blue belt in taekwondo and hapkido, held an alvused leg, got a piece of paper, said goodbye to all the animals and one or two of the people (I was super shy) at the animal shelter I volunteered at (Second Chance SPCA, check it out!) and was on my way to Goldsboro, North Carolina with my returning husband.
A series of bad things happened in North Carolina.
I began studying astrology, and while my (then) husband was in Texas (and I was still in North Carolina, where I didn't know anybody or have anything), we decided to have a baby!
Then we went back to Florida and he cheated on me.
Then, pregnant Penny went back to North Carolina to pick up her cats and throw a fit.
Then I punched him in the face while pregnant (not bragging... this was mean of me! Violence should be avoided.)
I then decided to stay in North Carolina with my cheating baby daddy husband and mend his wounds.... or at least make sure that he didn't bleed on the carpet. (#VirgoRising)
I tried to repair my relationship, and I had always kind of hoped that we would overcome his 7th house Saturn. Alas, if he does overcome it, it will not be with me. Our time has passed.
Jade Phoenix was born while we were living in Virginia. She was everything... the whole world was in her eyes... She opened up the world for me, because she was a missing part of my soul... something I didn't even know I had been missing.
Jade has wisdom, patience, perseverance, and she is insanely outgoing, friendly. She cracks everyone up, and I don't think anyone who has ever met her will forget her...
When I moved us to Austin, I had no idea of the amazing friends that we would make. I thought astrology was all I had as an outlet, source of communication, and income... and at first it was.
When I moved into our first apartment, all I had was Jade and astrology. Jade attracted the people (cute babies always do :) ) and astrology gave them something to talk to me about (I say 'them', rather than 'me', because I was too shy to even try to make conversation back then).
Once Jade started walking and talking, she would go up to people EVERYWHERE and just start talking away... we couldn't even understand her yet! I was so embarrassed, but also inspired and in awe of how EASY it was to talk to people! Jade was doing it, even when no one could understand her!
I'm like, "Wow, I can be like her!" Hahaha... my (then) one year old daughter... For every year of her life, I have admired what she can do.
So Jade FORCED me to become more outgoing, and I believe that saved my outgoing Leo nature from the shy shadows of the 12th house. It was beautiful.
People today never believe that I was ever shy. I tell them about how I used to have social anxiety, and they say, "I never would have guessed!" What an accomplishment... everything is...
Once I was out of a financial crisis, I very urgently drove all around North Austin... from dojo to dojo... in search of a place to once again train in martial arts.
I finally found one that I liked, but I had no idea how fated it was for me to meet this instructor... who was supportive of me in all areas of my life... even those I had tried to hide when I first came to the gym.
He may someday save my life with the self defense he has given me, if he hasn't already.
After two years in North Austin, I hit another financial hardship and could no longer afford my rent. So I left Champion's Way Martial Arts with my blue belt in Kajukenbo; my third blue belt.
Today, I am here in South Austin (didn't actually go that far), and I am refinding my purpose... filling in all the lights, and shining on all the colors of the calling that I already knew I had... because I could not keep myself from it. I could not deny or avoid this destiny, that I am currently craving and crawling towards day by day...
Things seem to work themselves out, but I had to be tough as Hell to get here.