Hi! My name is Cat and I am a Community Manager at Gotcha in Blacksburg, Virginia area. This new position has been incredible for me for so many reasons, including being able to combine my passion for sustainable transportation through biking and connecting with the humans around me. It has also provided some financial freedom I’ve never had before, which lets me live life rather than just surviving it. This also means I can focus on helping other humans move forward too.
I am proud and surprised by the many times I have bounced back from crashes that easily could have ended me. I have been through about 3-4 near death experiences (hit by a car, a golf cart and a boat before age 10, and another car at 30) resulting in many hospital visits, surgeries, and painful physical therapy sessions. After all the accidents, I managed to not only walk again but run, bike and swim. I’ve regained nearly full use of my arm and can rock climb & power/weight lift and cook for myself. I’m still dealing with the residual effects of those experiences but I am proud of how strong, both mentally and physically, I’ve become. I am amazed at my accomplishments as an athlete [and human] and have been learning how to love my body and treat it with respect and kindness.
Strong in the Real Way:
I am proud of how mentally/emotionally stable I’ve become, which is harder than physical therapy. I’ve overcome many forms of abuse from friends, family, and relationships, and deal with an alphabet soup’s worth of mental health issues. But as painful as these experiences have been for me, they have also allowed me to find my voice, be more empathetic and compassionate, and help others work through their pain.
First Gen for the Win:
I am proud of my academic accomplishments: graduating high school, becoming a licensed massage therapist, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer, graduating community college with two degrees, and finishing my undergrad in 2.5 years! Education has always been a struggle for me due to my learning disabilities. I only recently learned they I have these disabilities because I am on the spectrum for Autism. I am proud I never gave up and that I sought out every opportunity coming my way to better myself. I also worked hard to help others along the way by making changes to help folks who are often overlooked or left out of the education system.
Paycheck to Paycheck:
I have learned so much from every single job I’ve had.
Top 5 Lessons
1. Have compassion for humans and other species.
2. Fighting for livable wages for everyone regardless of occupation.
3. Make one hell of a latte complete with foam art.
4. Wrap the tightest burrito in record time.
5. Fold a t-shirt into a perfect square without a folding mat.
Also, everyone should work at least 1 year in customer service. So much in my life changed when I became a massage therapist. During school/training, I learned so much about myself and was able to make huge breakthroughs in my healing process by knowing how to be vulnerable and set up boundaries. I am humbled by the folks who shared their stories and were vulnerable with me. I am grateful for those chances to connect with humans on such an intimate level and help them with their healing. I learned how important and necessary human touch is and how incredible it feels to be able to offer that in a society that can be so touch deprived.
I am really loving my current work in mobility. It has really shown me what I already know to be true – [affordable and accessible] mobility really is freedom. I want to decrease and eliminate those gaps in transportation.
Overall, I am proud of how resilient AF I am, of my work ethic, and of my persistence to accomplish my goals and dreams. I am most proud of the kindness, compassion, and humanity I’ve managed to hang on to, despite the experiences I’ve survived. I am proud of the amazing humans I surround myself with, who have helped me out of some tough situations and have encouraged me to not give up. It’s good to know we are not alone in this. I am proud to be in a healthy relationship with someone who genuinely cares and loves me, who challenges me to be better, celebrates my victories and helps me learn from my mess ups. I am proud to be able to live the life I have and live it in my most authentic way. I am proud of all the identities I have and acknowledge those may change as I grow.
Story submitted by a human named Cat.