I am Annie Jean Brewer, the mind behind Annienygma.com.
I come from the wrong side of the proverbial railroad tracks, the daughter of an ex-con and a dancer, raised in the shadows of the Appalachian mountains of Eastern Kentucky.
I was taught to cuss, shoot and play cards with the best of them as I helped my father bootleg and run a weekend card game to supplement our income after he lost his leg in an accident.
By the time I was 18 Father was dead from cancer; by the time I was 19 I was pregnant with my first child. By 22 I had child #2 by the man I would eventually marry and saw my mother dead in a car accident.
By this point in my life I hated myself; I was an unwed mother 2x over, considered by many to be a slut and a whore (including myself). After Mother died things became steadily worse.
There was still a little fight inside of me and among other things I attempted college twice, the Army once and a whole slew of get-rich-quick schemes. I enjoyed writing so I would submit short story after short story to any magazine I thought may read it. I received a ream of rejection slips and finally decided that not only was I a failure in life but a failure in chasing my dreams as well.
I eventually married the father of my second child, which (while the proper thing to do) was definitely NOT the smartest thing I've ever done. Let's just say I spent the next several years walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid his wrath.
Constantly berated by spouse, family and friends I literally wanted to die. When I found myself seriously considering this possibility I KNEW it was time to change.
I knew I had to get out.
I applied myself even more to creating some sort of income for myself. I signed up for Amway. I did Tupperware. I sold the Excel phone service. I tried to learn medical transcription. I splurged on those medical coding kits that are supposed to teach you everything you need to know to create your own at-home medical billing service (Yeah, I was that dumb).
I tried those at-home sewing gigs. I tried the doll-furniture making gig. I even bought the home foreclosure stuff that was being sold on some late night television program!
My salvation came in the form of two registered Cocker Spaniels that were given to me in the local Wal Mart parking lot.
I spent most of what money I had that night on dog food and took those pups home to learn how to breed those critters and make money.
The profits from those pups purchased an old 10×50 mobile home and when I finally convinced my husband to take a job over the road I moved the kids (now 3 of them) into that tumbledown hovel and dug in for the fight of my life.
Freed of my marital chains, I attended computer repair school and graduated with ease. I found myself working full time at a restaurant by day with my evenings split between computer and cleaning jobs.
I supplemented my high-school education with books borrowed from the local library and even gained a love for classical music and literature. I even reigned in my tongue and gained control over my horribly foul language!
I had the "dream" as I remade myself but I was working my ass off to get it.
Eventually we were forced to relocate to Western Kentucky and it was there that my real journey began.
I discovered that the less I owned, the easier it was to clean.
The less I owned, the less I had to trip over.
The less we had, the less I had to work to pay for it!
I work and support my daughter entirely from my laptop, taking my work with me wherever there is an Internet connection--but my favorite work location is at home.
Something changed inside of me when I made the mental shift from acquisition to minimalism. The less I owned the happier I became.
Nowadays I can do almost everything from my pet laptop. It is my workplace, my stereo, my library, my mailbox, my telephone, my television and my video player.
My monthly bills--including rent on our 1-bedroom cottage are less than $500 a month. This includes insurance on our paid-for van and gives us room for extras as well.
This minimal amount has allowed me to follow my dream of becoming a writer--I rarely even work on computers anymore because I no longer have to.
Instead I spend my days writing books and blog posts while caring for my daughter and the menagerie that we have acquired.
We love grabbing our sleeping bags in the summer and camping in the woods or sleeping wherever we end up in our van.
We enjoy random trips to visit family and friends.
We enjoy mountains of experiences that would be impossible if I worked a conventional job.
I cherish being a stay-at-home single mother and having the opportunity to watch my baby girl grow up.
I am proud of the fact that I do not need a boyfriend to support me. This frees me to look at men as men instead of as financial lifelines.
I definitely enjoy a lot more spare time!
I have learned something very valuable and I hope to pass it on through my blog and books: you will succeed if you keep trying.
If you keep working, if you keep looking, if you keep searching the answers will come. If you don't limit yourself, your answers may come from the most unexpected places (like a couple of dogs in a Wal Mart parking lot).
If you keep looking, total strangers will give you clues to help you along. I once had a computer repair client press a book in my hands that entirely changed my life--and I thought she was nuts when she did it!
The only true failure in life is if you STOP trying.
These are my journeys; be they good, bad or ugly. This is who I am. I achieved my dream of becoming a writer and a stay-at-home mom and I KNOW that you can achieve anything you desire if you only focus and keep trying.
I want you to know that if I can do it; the backwards country girl whom everyone said was destined to fail--if I can do it, I KNOW you can too! I want you to see my success and share yours every step of the way.