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Archive for September, 2016

Do it anyway

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Growing up I always had curiosities about technology. Meanwhile fighting off the forces around me pushing me to be the ultimate housewife. Growing up everything was so focused on appearance that I rebelled. That and femininity seemed to attract weirdos and was confusing. I didn’t get what the big deal was all about. Now I embrace my femininity.  I’m a woman who enjoys pink and wearing dresses. But that seems to confuse some as I still dig technology. It’s ok to be into both. I am also creative and passionate about art. Incorporating them all together is a dream come true. Thankfully I live in a community that encourages such incorporation. But I didn’t always.

I had the exposure but lacked the encouragement. It’s so important for a child to feel encouraged. Without it, it just became very “what’s the point”? I had no idea. I was not taught what the point was. My talents and interests were not encouraged. They were not honored. As a result I ended up being rather lost on what my future was to be. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I had no idea what you do once high school is over. I was told I was on my own to figure it out. So I didn’t bother. I didn’t know where to start and was already pretty discouraged by some poor experiences I had with my school’s administration and instructors. As it would turn out my parents were told that I was good enough to qualify for an art scholarship. Thing is everyone forgot to tell me this.

There was always a computer in my home that I wasn’t allowed to touch. In high school my buddy and I would go to the library and spend hours on weird forums learning about whatever we could. The library at my school had computers that I would get on and play SIM City while all the trench coat dudes would play magic the gathering. Once the internet was a thing at school I would spend all the time I could trying to learn and hack (before I knew it was hacking) around the schools security filters to learn more.

One of the good things that came out of my parents divorce is that I got my dad’s computer. It was a ridiculous beast of a machine. The Gateway Navigator if anyone remembers that thing. HUGE tube TV screen that you can watch TV and compute with. The ole picture in a picture. The computer box was huge as well. It was just a lot if you think about the computing power of a cellphone or tablet today. Anyways it was mine all mine and I constantly broke it trying to make it do things I read about other guys doing. Unfortunately during this time other things in my life were falling to pieces. Being an insanely curious person that everyone tried to keep in the dark or discourage I found myself experimenting with chemicals. Life got a bit crazy for a while for me. I ended up in a 3/4 house and in the end sold this monster computer for a months rent. As I journeyed to come back from the ‘dark side’ my curiosity was still there but not at my finger tips.

It wasn’t until I found myself back in Iowa that I bought an old desktop from my aunt for $100. I think it had win98 on it. I eventually installed Mandrake (old linux OS) onto the machine because I was reading a lot about linux and these dudes on IRC said I don’t need to worry about learning about linux. I need to worry more about being ‘hot’. My hot self went out to a office supply chain and bought Mandrake for $60. It came with disks and this horrible manual. The manual was horrible only because it was written by several people all of which had broken english (they were French natively). But I managed to do it! I installed it. I even got dual boot to work so I could login into windows or linux depending on my mood. I felt so friggin rad. I was on the computer again, a lot, learning and communicating. I got a lot of grief from forces around me they didn’t understand that I was learning. They thought I was just wasting my life on the computer. Perhaps I was but it felt better than my reality of living in a dead end city with no idea what to do with myself there.

I ended up getting a job in a small office calling locals for donations. My boss was super impressed by me and when I got a car had me start picking up donations for him. I would get my route and rush to my house (we didn’t have computers in the office it was cord phones and a piece of paper) Yahoo! map my route and then head out. I was the best he had and he was really impressed by me. While doing this I was also helping to organize for the second year in a row a tent at a music festival in Wisconsin. We had 3 days 25 + talent from Nebraska and Iowa that I was wrangling to get ready to head out to the event in Wisconsin. I wrangled the talent, the equipment, the tent, the activities that would occur in our area to draw people in. I mean I had a ton of people helping but I directed the traffic. A promoter from Minnesota contacted the webmaster for a website I was involved with about participating.It was an opportunity I thought would be great for our scene. Hype started but no one really took the lead to get it going so I stepped in and gave it a go. Turned out I wasn’t bad at it despite a few freak outs. Both years were big successes. Thanks mostly to all the awesome people that were involved (All of which was wrangled via my trusty $100 desktop and fancy internet). But anyway I told my boss about this and he was instantly impressed and offered me an opportunity in Idaho to make some killer cash in a short months time doing what I did locally there. He would put me up in an extended stay motel and pay for everything. Sound too good to be true? Well it was but I went (computer in toe) and it was an adventure in itself I’ll save for another day. The short of it: I ended up not being able to attend the event in Wisconsin and found myself involved in a project with the Deputy department that was ripping off the community). When I escaped from Idaho I immediately quit the job.

I found another job at a kiosk in the mall selling cellphone face plates and purses. I would have to take the cellphones a part to put on the plates. That was a delicate task especially when the owner of the phone is looming over you. I ended up doing well selling the products the kiosk next-door ended up offering me a job making more money. That opportunity went so well that it lead to me getting offered a management position in Omaha. I jumped on that and after a year realized retail management is the worst for me. I got another job and it was becoming clear to me that I needed to get an education. Unfortunately I was in default because I had half heartedly attempted to start school with the wrong intentions. As a result I had to pay myself out of default before I could get back into school. I ended up moving into a room in the house of a couple I had recently met. They wanted to help me. I was able to save and pay high payments to get myself out of default as well as save up enough money to buy a car cash down (2500) that I still drive to this day (the car story was pretty great, I posted on a forum that I was in need out of woe and a friend who was moving to Dubai with his wife offered to sell me one of theirs).

So that was the start of it. 8 years later I have an associates degree, a certificate completion from a code school, and a bachelors degree. During the 8yrs it took me to get where I am today I had SO MANY curve balls and negative encounters hit me from every direction. But I pushed on. I refused to stop. I had a goal. I didn’t have the best directions to achieve my goal so my journey was very long. I often worked full time as well as had 1 or 2 part time jobs all while taking college classes. I often feel out of sorts and uncomfortable because my journey has not been like others. My past is very much my own. I don’t always know how to be as I’ve had so many tell me how much I can’t or shouldn’t or won’t. Thing is, I did anyway and I did well.

Now the skies the limit and I’m a few years shy of 40. I can dive into anything I want. I still desire approval and acceptance but I think that’s human nature. It’s not my driving force however. It’s not why I do what I do. I do what I do because I can.

Written by seenaomi

September 18th, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Posted in Allthecode