Stories From ‘Think I Can’t, Just Watch Me’ People – Meet Deanna

Freeport, Illinois — Some of our favorite stories are those of every day average people who push themselves beyond stereotypes, fear, what others think, statistics and carve their own successful happy paths in life.

In other words, stories about the “I can and I will, just watch me” people. You just can’t stop those kinds of people.


These are the stories of people that blend in with the crowd.  The spotlight never shines on them. They are the ones who sit quietly in the back row who no one ever pays much attention to, yet despite their grades or appearances or any social label the world tries to put on them, there’s a bright shining star burning within — and they know it.

But not all those stories have happy beginnings. Some do, many do, but not all of them do. Some are tragic and devastating.

We would wager to say that most people strive to do better in life. Each of us in our own ways are pushing forward, making something a little better, fixing this or building on that. We are always trying to do something. None of us are very good at sitting still.

But not all of us have had the same luxuries in life. For example, maybe you’re a young person whose family didn’t have a lot of money for college or a better life for you. No one provided your car, college or first apartment expense when you started your adult life.

Maybe you’re on your own, supporting your own self. Working a job you’re not crazy about just to have the money you need to survive. But you know you’re better than that.

Maybe you’re a new Mom or Dad in your twenties and feel like the things you wanted to accomplish for yourself are now gone. You’re happy being a new parent, you’re looking forward to your new life raising your child yet at the same time, you don’t want to lose you in the process either.

Or maybe you struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol or come from a family of addiction. Maybe you don’t feel you’re worthy enough or good enough.

Maybe, you feel like you just can’t. For your own reason, what you want is just not possible, whatever it is. Get a better job, go back to school, start a small business, have a happier relationship, meet a good man or a good woman or maybe, just to prove to them that you can do it.

We all experience a little of that in our lives, don’t we?

Those times you’ve finally had enough of the world saying you can’t (with their snide little looks and their immature comments) and you’re sitting there, now forced to have to show it who’s the boss. You’re left with no other choice.

You have to knock em out. Here’s a story of one local woman, who pretty much did just that.

It’s a story of a woman who found the strength inside to break her crutches of self worth, accomplishment, pride and dignity. A woman who forced herself to believe in the unbelievable. To believe, in herself.

Her story, goes like this


My name is Deanna.

I was working for a small company that always treated me like I was less than others.  The company I was working for makes everyone take these two exams.

A lot of people have to take them more than once. I however, took both exams and like others, passed one and did not pass the other.

I had been tossing the thought back and forth pretty heavy over the past 8 years of going back to school.

Like everyone, I thought about it during my 20’s but like some, I didn’t go.

So anyway, I take these tests for this company and my boss literally, seriously tells me I was incompetent. I couldn’t believe it. It really bothered me and for the remainder of my employment there I let it get to me.

It stewed and it stewed.

I don’t hide it, but coming from a background of addiction, being treated that way brought out a lot of old feelings of self worth in me that were not good.  I never did good in school growing up.

Despite I knew inside that I deserved more, it took me eight years of sobriety to be OK with me as a person to even think that school was something I would be able to do.

I’m 50 years old now.  I’m not stupid. Who does this person think they are?

So I’m talking with my husband during my lunch hour one day.  I’m crying, I had just turned 50 and my husband looked at me and said, Deanna, it’s time you do something for yourself finally.  You’re 50 years old, at a turning point in your life, your boss is a jerk so go back to school. Do it for you.

That’s when I made my decision and that’s what I did. By July I registered for college.

I was nervous as ever at first but you know what? I am not the only one in my classes that is my age. I found out there are a lot of us.

Once I started though and got that first B grade, as well as having other friends my age in some of my classes, we all bound together and just kept pushing each other.

It is definitely not easy  at our age because we are pretty much set in our structure, so to juggle school, job, family all of a sudden is hard.  I had to learn to say no to a lot of outside activities and discipline myself. I have a great support network of friends, family and my husband though.

The hardest part was getting started.

I wanted to back out a lot at first but I kept going, got involved in the Project Succeed program (great by the way), I went to tutoring every week, asked questions, only missed one class when my daughter got married and just kept pushing myself.

My goal is the RN program but, baby steps is for me.

To anyone who says they can’t, this is definitely making my self esteem better. I do the best I can and as long as I give it my all, even if I fail I have learned anything is possible.

I am possible.

Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Doesn’t mean it’s easy but if you’re at a place where you’re down or not good in life (or have a jerk for a boss), that isn’t easy either. Go for it.

This has been an amazing, yet stressful experience but at the end of the semester when you go back to write papers or answer questions, its just amazing to see what you have learned. That alone is a sense of completion for me and you know what? I’m passing all my tests.

Imagine that.


Moral of the story?

If anyone ever tells you you can’t, you just have to knock em the hell out.

UPDATE: In May of 2017 Deanna’s hard work continues to pay off. Deanna said that she made the honor roll. Congratulations Deanna.


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