I hail from a little place called Las Vegas. I was born and raised in a city that was constantly changing and growing. I can tell you so many stories from my childhood growing up on railroad tracks that are now overpasses and ranch style homes with horses that are now track developments. I can tell you stories about all the great spots to get away from the madness that is Sin City, the best mexican food in town, and show you both what it is known for and what it isn't. Being from Las Vegas is a big part of who I am but so is my family or, as you will learn, my lack thereof.
I was very fortunate to have been born from two healthy parents with good genes and lots of love. I have an amazing younger brother who is smarter than anyone realizes and could be the next Steve Jobs if he really wanted to. (Big sister gloat, sorry I'm not sorry!) By all accounts my life was set to be pretty normal, until it wasn't. The funny thing is... nothing about my life feels un-normal. What was two healthy parents became one when my mom walked out on the three of us and took my oldest stepbrother with (she went on to have 3 more kids - that's 6 total - but that is a story for another time). To make a long story short, real life came early and while I grew up really young I think it taught me how to be both a responsible person and a fun-loving dork regardless of my age.
Not knowing 50% of my relatives meant that I always had a really small family. Growing up we were the 3 Musketeers - my dad, brother, and myself. Is it any wonder I was a tomboy? haha Beyond that was a short trip over the hump to Pahrump (yes, that is a real place and something said by Las Vegans) where my dad's parents lived. Many summers, spring breaks, and weekends were spent at their house building forts, getting yelled at for laughing too loud, and later in the years... for fighting too much. Those were the good ol' days until I turned 16 and I really began to understand people the way I thought I always had. When my grandfather passed away it was a door that couldn't be closed. True colors started to show.
I quickly realized that I was who I was because I was raised by my dad in a single parent household and the life experiences that happened as a result. It wouldn't be for a couple more years when my mom's side of the family found me through Facebook and the course of events from age 18-24 that I would really understand that my dad wasn't just the best single parent on the planet but probably the most amazing human being I'll ever know.
My dad taught me that breaking the cycle is possible, that you can overcome pretty much anything, that budget shopping is a way of life to be learned young, and that no matter how many people are in your family that there is no limit to love. I grew up one of the most provocative cities in the world having to face life younger than most and grew up to be a responsible, well-rounded, level-headed, smart, sassy, and all around decent human being. You are where you come from. You are who you come from. But you can also be who you would want your kids to come from. That is really what my dad taught me.
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