About the Author: Fulfilling My Dreams
By Rebecca Contreras
If there was ever a perfect storm for a life poised for hardship and steeped with trauma, it was the childhood I lived through.
I was born to a single mother battling drug addiction and mental illness, whose abandonment of her children was heartbreakingly a regular occurrence. I lived in abusive and poverty-stricken homes for most of my early childhood years; if not for the intervention of my grandmother, I would have ended up in the foster care system. As a teenager I desperately searched for a sense of self-worth in all the wrong places. These are the elements that produce a vicious cycle of chronic adversity, generation after generation. And I was well on my way to perpetuating that cycle by age 17 – as a high school dropout and welfare-dependent teen mother with a prison-bound drug dealer boyfriend.
Fortunately, however, I was able to break the cycle instead of allowing the cycle to break me.
Using a combination of grit and faith – and by recognizing the right opportunities and the right people to guide me – I took control of my future and put myself on the path to success. This led to me entering a welfare-to-work program for the late Governor Ann Richards in the Texas state government and eventually climbing the political ladder with President George W. Bush, working alongside him at the White House. Now, as an entrepreneur and the CEO of my own thriving business as well as an organization to help disadvantaged youth, I can look back on that path and take pride in my strong work ethic and determination to fulfill my dreams.
Of course, the path wasn’t always clear to me, and was far from easy, but I learned any challenge or failure I encountered could either be seen as a roadblock to prevent me from reaching my goals, or as a bump in the road to overcome. I chose – and still choose – to see the latter.
My book, Lost Girl, is the story of my path. I wrote it to show how hope can still be found in even the most seemingly hopeless situations. No one expected this Texas border town girl living in destitution and neglect to grow up to become a self-made millionaire. However, I didn’t do it alone, and no one should be expected to. My resolution is what helped me get back up when I fell (or when I was pushed down), and I took a helping hand when offered. I am now in a position to offer a helping hand, and my hope is that my journey can be an inspiration to others.