Monica is a new contributor to our Tobosa blog. We’re excited to have her writing for us!
Who is Monica?
I was born on April 7, 1982, in Roswell, NM to my parents, Kraig and Eileen. I was the apple of their eye up until I was five years old. At that time, I went through a difficult time because my parents divorced and I remained with my dad, Kraig. My grandmother, Barbara, helped my dad in raising me. My grandparents lived across the street from us, so it was easy for my grandmother to have a big presence in my life.
I have a baby brother, Kraig, Jr. that is 17 years younger than me and a half-sister, Kelley, that is in her mid-twenties.
I graduated from Roswell High School in 2001 and shortly thereafter I started attending Tobosa Developmental Services. I have been with Tobosa for sixteen years. When I first came to Tobosa, I was not happy being here. I was an angry young girl and I made them know that I was not happy here. I was like a “Tasmanian devil” and hell on wheels. I expressed myself very strongly to my staff, my dad, my grandmother, and anybody that I came into contact with.
I had staff support 24/7 with one-on-one and sometimes two-on-one. That gives you an idea of how out of control my life was. I think it had to do a lot with my medication.
I believe that when I came to Tobosa it was a life-changing moment. They worked with me and helped me to regulate my medications and they put up with my challenging behaviors. No one at Tobosa gave up on me. My grandmother also did not give up on me. Although sometimes, I thought my grandmother was too much involved with my life.
Gradually, I started to recognize what would trigger me and I would work through my feelings and emotions so that I could interact with my peers and my staff in a positive manner. With this newly gained knowledge, I was able to start accomplishing some of my goals. For example, I am now living independently with two gentlemen. Talk about coming a long way.
I am employed with People First and have been for about five years. My job duties are to advocate for myself and for other individuals with developmental disabilities. With People First, I have advocated with the Know Your Right Campaign, participated in the annual retreat, helped with the Southeast Regional Office Appreciation Celebration for the past three years, and I visit the legislative session in Santa Fe to visit with area legislators and others to advocate for the Developmentally Disabled (DD) population.
I think my biggest accomplishment in my life has been to obtain my own guardianship. My grandmother and my dad were my legal guardians and pretty much made every decision for me whether I liked it or not. They dictated where I lived, how much I smoked, what I wore, who I dated, etc. I know they did it out of love and caring, but I felt smothered all the time. So one day, I visited with my behavior support consultant and she encouraged me to pursue the possibility of me becoming my own guardian.
It was a long process, like about two or three years. But without giving up, even though I wanted to several times, I finally succeeded and the judge granted me guardianship. My dad continues to be my medical power of attorney but I now have control over the majority of my life’s decisions.