Guest Blogger: Amanda Gray

{How thrilled am I that one of Deena’s Disciples is Guest Blogging today?! Please give a warm welcome to Amanda Woodward. I’ve come to admire Amanda and what she’s been able to accomplish in her life. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way, too! Enjoy…}

I am a professional truck driver. I am a female in a male dominated profession.You may not think much of this. Believe me, it is an accomplishment that I am proud of. For you to understand here is a little history.

I was raised in a southern family by strong-willed confident women who were dependent on the men they loved. I grew up being told by those women that I don’t need a man to take care of me. I never saw the proof. Therefore, please excuse me for secretly believing it was a lie. The men in my family were gifted, strong, and hard-working. My father took me with him on his jobs and I learned a lot, but there was always the “you’re a girl” line …

I had developed resentment for that sentiment at a very young age.

There were several male members of my family who were truckers. I was fascinated with them. To me they were kings! They had to know everything! Had to have seen everything! I wanted that! I told my uncle I wanted to be a truck driver. He smiled at me and said that when I grew up I could marry a truck driver and ask him to let me ride. My response? I don’t think so!
Years passed and I learned dependent behavior and conformity.

I was married at a young age to a proper young man. I began the job of raising a daughter and studying for a medical degree. I started working in a hospital. Then one day the abuse my husband had focused on me turned on my daughter, and I left him. My whole life stopped. There was a time of aimlessness and near madness. I was searching for a man to give me direction though I didn’t realize it at the time. To save my daughter from suffering with me I let my parents take her.

 Finally, another man. He was loving and kind. We married. Too late I found out he was a total addict. I wasted years trying to help him. Then one day he said he wanted to go to truck driving school. He said he could straighten out if he just got away. So I found a way and we went to school and became team drivers. It worked for 2 years, and then he relapsed in a big way. I said goodbye. I make it sound easy, but it almost killed me. I didn’t know what to do. I tried a few more team partners and some local jobs. I even went back to the medical field. I was miserable.

Then I met a man and after a year of friendship we started dating. I felt safe. Then he was run down by a drunk driver. He was totally disabled. I didn’t know what to do or how to support us. I tried for several jobs but in El Paso, Texas, if you’re not bilingual, it’s next to impossible to get a well-paying job. Finally, I realized I was gonna have to get on the truck alone. He told me that if I didn’t learn to do it on my own, and to be my own person, I would never be happy.

 So after much drama and threats I got my first solo job. I was terrified. I cried and I cussed, and then I relaxed and took the cb radio out. I loaded up an audio book, and almost 7 years later, I am happy and independent. I support and care for the man I love. I know that is not a bad thing if I end up alone. I look back now at the women in my family and realize that those women could have left anytime they chose. They chose to stay. The men in my family are mostly gone now. Each of them in their own time told me they were impressed and proud of me. My dad passed in December. Before he went he told me I was his hero.

 I have seen so much of this country and done so much. I wish you could see things through my eyes. How little the things people think about you matter. All that really matters is what you think about yourself. Follow your dreams.             

~Amanda Gray

A quick tale from the road…

     One of the dangers involving truck driving is your unfamiliarity with the local highways and byways. For example, I was leaving a customer in Odessa, Texas. I was looking for a place to lie down and go to sleep since I was exhausted. My fiance was riding with me and we were having a discussion about where we should go to bed. I was on the service road to the west bound freeway. The road was under construction and there were no signs. I took the exit to get on the freeway. Halfway up we realize I’m going the wrong way. My fiance begins yelling. I stopped, got ready to throw it in reverse, and realized three other trucks had followed us up the ramp. The only choice we had, was to continue forward and try  turn around on the freeway. Thank god there were no police officers around and the traffic was light.You should have seen three 18-wheelers trying to do  a u-turn on the interstate… we still laugh so hard to this day. But at the time, it was terrifying.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Leanne says:

    Amanda I already know you had a strong personality and a wonderful sense of humour. After reading your story I am so proud to say I’ve become your friend. You are so special and strong, your story shows any woman can do anything she wants on her own. I’m so happy for your that you found yourself and still got love in the end. Many hugs Amanda! Your a true inspiration to women everywhere!

    Leanne

  2. Margie H says:

    I also am in a male dominated world (law enforcement) and know what you are saying about the phrase “but you’re just a girl” being beyond frustrating. Growing up I was in my small Southern rural town’s gifted program. I overheard my being mom with by my grandmother that I would never get a husband. That I was too smart for my own good. Then when I was older I took a liking to playing baseball instead of softball and thanks to Title 9 I was able to play but heard the continuing grumbles that I was never going to find a man. At 18 I finally had enough and informed my family that I didn’t need a man to be complete. I still hope to find my one and only but it is also okay if I don’t. I am happy with the person I’ve become. I am glad you were able to overcome so much! Keep on trucking

  3. Amanda Gray says:

    Thank you Leanne! I am glad you got what I was trying to show out of my story. So many times stories of independence come with the woman alone. I don’t believe you have to be alone to be independent I believe that you just have to Know you can. Like my Mother and My Aunt Cathy and so many other women I knew growing up. They COULD have left at anytime; they chose not to. I failed to understand that as a child I only saw dependence in what was Love and Coexistence. I know better now.

  4. Toni says:

    Amanda – You are an inspiration to all women. You got through your hard times and made a wonderful life for yourself and your family. You are a hero and don’t forget it!! You are doing your daughter a great service showing her she can be ANYTHING she chooses to be. It’s not that old lip service we have all grown up on, you proved it! I’m so glad to have met you and so happy to call you friend. You are amazing!

    With Love & Hugs – Toni

    P.S. – She also gets the bestest / hottest pics too.

  5. hotcha1 says:

    HI AMANDA!

    I HAVE NOT READ ANY OF YOUR BOOKS YET DUE TO MARRYING SCROOGE BUT I HOPE TO GET A GIFT CARD FOR MOM’S DAY.

  6. Karen C says:

    Amanda:
    I am in awe of your courage! And while it took a long time, I’m glad that you found peace and happiness – that you are stronger now, especially to be successful in the ‘man’s job’. Your’s is an amazing story – bravo! And, I imagine you have tons of stories to tell – please do!!

  7. deenaremiel says:

    Amanda wanted me to thank everyone who posted a comment today or even just read her article. She’s on her way to New Jersey at the moment, so I get to say, THANK YOU, EVERYONE!

    As for me, I’m so glad Amanda made my place a rest stop for a bit. Door’s always open, Amanda! 🙂

  8. Chelsea Rafferty says:

    Amanda,
    Sorry I didn’t get a chance to stop by yesterday dear.. I had a final in Earth Science on the campus, yuck! But I came over here to read your story and I wanted to tell you how amazingly awesome I think you are! Sometimes life’s best lessons are also the hardest ones to get through. I am glad you went for your dreams no matter what was happening and I’m sorry about the previous men in your life. It sounds like you found a sweetheart to keep though who encourages you. He sounds like a great guy! The right kind for a beautiful, independent woman! 😉

    And your story at the end made me laugh out loud. I think I’d be totally freaked out that other people were following me LOL! I did that once in my car in Reno and I asked my friend which street to turn on so I turned and I”m driving along and realize there’s like two or three lanes of traffic and the lights were ON me and I realized my road was “one” way and of course I was on the wrong side LOL! 🙂 Got to love driving incidents, they can be the funniest stories sometimes 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Darcy says:

    Amanda,
    Thank so much for sharing your life and experience.
    It is amazing at how life can change our direction, and it is no wonder that your Dad told you that you were his hero. You’ve survived personal battlefields that most don’t recover from, and instead it has made you stronger for it. *S*
    I’ve been in the medical field, and walked away from the insanity myself because it was eating my soul. I haven’t been a trucker driver, but I’ve worked receiving dept in the back room at a world wide superstore chain. I know how hard those drivers work. And they are the nicest people in the world. My favorite truck driver Gina, kept me in humor when I started to hate the company I was working for. She has my admiration and respect still . *S*
    You rock girl. And I hope to read more of you in the future!

    Darcy

  10. Samaris says:

    Amanda I have known you for dang near 5 years now. WOW! I know your story and I love you all the more for it. I know sometimes people tried to get in the way of our friendship and I am glad they could not defeat us. You know I am always here for you for what ever and in any way that I can help. Just like youhave been there for me thru my trials. Love you sttay safe out there on the road.
    Many hugs your friedn now and always!

  11. Dianna Love says:

    What an inspiring story, Amanda. Kudos to you for battling your way to a happy life and proving to others that you could be anything you wanted to be.

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