by Tami Pedersen (Kamloops, B.C.)
This is a story about finding the courage to be myself. It’s also a story about how having friends in your life can help you see yourself in a new way.
My story starts a few years after high school. Until then, I’d been living at home in Kamloops. Life was okay, but I wasn’t very happy. I was playing the part of being who I thought my parents and others wanted me to be and I felt kind of trapped.
I needed a change, so I took a huge leap and moved to Vancouver. When you are from a small town like Kamloops, Vancouver seemed huge and busy. I didn’t know anyone.
Luckily, I connected with an employment program and met some really nice people, one of whom was Laura. She became a lifelong friend. Laura got me into Indy Car racing where we volunteered and I met my friend, Dan.
Both Laura and Dan gave me the chance to see myself in a different way. I didn’t have to worry about being judged and it gave me a chance to start trying different things.
I even went on a cruise with Dan. That is when I got bitten by the travel bug! I love to travel. It helps me to change the way I think about myself and the world. I get to learn about things I might never have thought about and that is really cool.
I lived in Vancouver for 17 years before moving back to Kamloops. Today, people in my life see me happier and more confident.
Now I have all of these wonderful friends who love and like me for me. They accept me. I’m learning to love myself as I continue to grow and learn. Finding your way is about finding a way that works for you!