When we experience pain and trauma in our lives, we often feel like giving up. But more often than not, we open ourselves up to the possibility of triumph. Here’s how a single mom of three proved that no matter what life throws at you—giving up is never an option. After facing many personal obstacles, Amanda Rowley learned the value of facing her fears head on. Today, she’s not afraid to stand up for herself and follows a dedicated self-care regimen that helps her grow and shine. In turn, she teaches her children to do the same.
“Why Giving Up Is Not An Option”
The following quote has always stuck with me when I think about giving up. If fact, it’s something I believe in wholeheartedly and try to ingrain in my three children daily. “Never give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration you cannot go wrong.”
Hi, my name is Amanda. I am 41 years old.
And, although against my personal hopes and belief system, I am a single mother of three: Justin (18), Brooklyn (14) and Dayton (11). I am eager to tell my story on this platform because I love to write, but I’ve never really had a place to share my thoughts and feelings other than in my own diaries.
RedLily® has given me a new perspective on what it means to share my personal experience of separation and family struggle. Since this is difficult for me (but I know essential to my personal growth), I am hoping to help another person going through something similar.
Where should I begin? I guess, in the beginning. My story starts the day I was born—and all that I had to overcome growing up.
I learned I was adopted at an early age. Some kids thought it made me “different” so they made fun of me for it. But, I always looked on the bright side that I was “chosen” to be a part of a family.
Although I never really got along with the woman who adopted me; my father was my rock. He was everything to me.
My dad made me feel like I was special because he picked me to be his daughter. He was my hero. But, part of me always wondered who I biologically looked like.
I played sports all my childhood. I was always doing something because I figured it was better to be busy than get into trouble—something I tell my kids today too. I also fell in love with horses.
They are such beautiful creatures and as a kid they made me feel like there were no cares in the world whenever I was around them. My passion eventually grew into an obsession with my dream to one day jump them in competition.
My dad supported me every step; even though my mother did not.
When I look back, I guess I led a pretty normal life. Until my world came tumbling down on the morning of January 3, 1992. I was only 13 years old when my dad passed. I remember hearing my mother screaming on the phone that my dad was in the bathroom and had collapsed on the floor. He wasn’t breathing.
At the hospital, we were devastated when the doctors told us he was gone. He suffered from what they call a Widowmaker heart attack. It still doesn’t make sense how this could have happened as he was very active, a runner, and he wasn’t overweight. He was otherwise very healthy—just didn’t have a healthy heart.
That day changed my life forever.
It’s strange what you remember when someone close to you dies unexpectedly. I was young, but I know for a fact her was very wise, he I latched onto everything I could grasp. My dad constantly told me that money and material things don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I also remember he told me to love myself no matter what.
Today, I have a tattoo with one of the quotes he used to tell me: “There is no love without forgiveness. There is no forgiveness without love.”
Fast forward a few years later, and I was still struggling with some kids at school. Bullying they call it today; but back then it was referred to as typical schoolyard play. Without my father by my side, I often found it difficult to stand my ground. Then at age 16, I met a guy who I fell madly in love with. He was very athletic and attractive—everything a girl looks for in their first crush.
After my dad died, I suffered from low self-esteem and didn’t have the courage to approach him. I had gained a bunch of weight.
Then one day, we started dating. To my surprise, he was extremely supportive and loving. I thought he was my soulmate.
He understood all of the bullying I had been going through, and helped me through my grief. He reminded me of my dad because of how supportive he was.
But, no matter how hard I tried, the weight never came off. I turned to my love of food as a comfort. Something that I still struggle with today.
Some people turn to smoking or drugs to cope. I turned to food. Word got around that I started box racing and since my Ex was in the race industry, he heard also. Unfortunately, my mom never really approved—she said it bored her—so I gave that up as well. Another let down.
I started to get out of my house by riding my bike every day after school; averaging about 20 km every day. I also started running, walking my dogs, and doing body weight exercises. Something was finally making me feel good inside, and I was reaping the benefits on the outside.
Why Never Giving Up Is My Mantra Today
I hadn’t felt this good since my dad passed away less than a year earlier. I eventually went from 260 to 145 lbs and was so proud of myself. Working out and focusing on my health was the best thing I could do for my confidence and self-worth. From that point forward, my Ex and I hung out as friends only. We travelled together all over the U.S. for his bike races, and we became a lot closer.
After a scary crash on my bike, my Ex realized how much he wanted to make our relationship official. I guess he didn’t want to lose me. For many years after that, we were inseparable. Our love story had begun. In 2001, we got married and had children. Life was great, but a struggle at times. However, I kept my positive outlook through the rough times. Then one day he asked me if he could have a “week off” our marriage—and from that point on, I knew there were going to be long-time issues.
Throughout all of this, I continued to work out and focus on my health. It was the only thing that kept me sane and on track. In fact, I credit my training for giving me strength to face the day-to-day struggles and raise the kids.
Today, my workouts continue to be my outlet for coping. I still have hope that one day things might work out with my love, but for now, my number one priority is my kids.
With that being said, I am proud of what I have accomplished with my body and mind over the years—especially through so many personal obstacles.
I write this story because I want to share with women that you can get through anything if you put your mind to it. Stay healthy, and focus on you, and your children. I want women to know that even a failed marriage shall pass. The truth is, I still have many bad days, but I always try to focus on the positive.
My self-care regimen involves running and body pump classes which help me deal with any negativity. I’ve learned that anything is possible for those who believe. I have my self-respect back, and I am no longer depending on a man to make me feel worthy or beautiful or capable. In fact, I just managed to buy my first car all on my own a month ago.
Maybe one day my love life will get back on track; but right now, I am happy that I am doing better than ever. And, I realize now those people who put you down, are often those who have insecurities themselves.
I feel this is so important for my kids to witness for their own future happiness. They are and always will be my top priority. I hope my story helps other women realize they should never give up. Always believe in yourself that anything is possible.
Thank you RedLily® for giving me the opportunity to share my story from struggle to triumph. Although my life is certainly not perfect, I am hopeful that with determination and by setting a good example, my children will grow up to realize that going through tough times is not something to be ashamed of.
You are stronger when you’ve overcome.
You are awesome.
About the Author: Rachel-Amanda Alexander is a mom of three from Guelph, Ontario. She loves horses, raising her kids, and going to the gym regularly.
Editor’s note: If you can relate to Rachel-Amanda’s story, or feel some sort of tug to reach out, please comment below and let us/her know how you feel. She poured her heart out here and we support our contributors every step of the way. Thank you. xo