My Story

By: Tyler Morgan Penn

111 Votes

My Story - Tyler Morgan Penn

Big Sandy Community & Technical College

Tyler Morgan Penn

My name is Tyler Morgan Penn. I'm a mother, wife and last but not least, a college student. I am pursing my associate in Criminal Justice and will be graduating this fall. I moved to Kentucky from Scottsdale, Arizona when I was five years old. I am the youngest of three girls. I started my journey at Big Sandy Community & Technical college when I was seventeen and pregnant. I am now twenty-three years old. My mother was a struggling, drug addicted, single mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She never graduated middle school and has had eight failed marriages. I turned her world upside down at the mere age of five years old. My mother worked twelve hour shifts at a nursing home and would hire a babysitter to watch us every morning till night. After a year of the continuous sexual abuse I decided to tell my mother. I never realized the choice I was making would affect everyone around me until I testified in court against him. Amidst the allegations, the news reports, my father decided it was easier to forget I existed. My mother, my half sisters and I moved to Kentucky after his sentencing. As for my father, he signed his rights over and made a new life for myself in a different county.

We decided to moved in with my great grandmother in Inez, Kentucky. My mother always regretted her decision to move here. She was very open about her resentment against me. After all, I was her reason to abandon everything she knew and everyone she loved. The physical and emotional abuse was a daily reminder of the trouble I caused my family, especially my older sisters. My mother never worked again after we left Arizona. She loved to party. Ultimately leaving my slightly older sisters to become my surrogate mothers. They both sacrified their childhoods to allow me to still be a child. They dressed me every morning, bathed me every night. We moved about every six months till my eighth grade year. Social services intervened, causing my mother to force me to get on a plane to meet my father after all these years. While living with my father in Arizona I began to become severely depressed. I lived there for nine months before purchasing my own plane ticket and leaving. The man who raped me was released on parole and was living just a couple miles from my house. I will never regret my decision to leave Arizona.

The week I moved back to Kentucky where I met the man I wanted to spend my life with at fourteen years old. I obtained my high school diploma ahead of my class sophomore year with a 3.8 gpa. We married that same month with my mothers permission. I was sixteen. My mother never truly supported my decision to marry someone without money. After a month of marriage we found out I was pregnant. We decided to attend college together the following fall semester. Once I had my daughter we didn't have any reliable family members to babysit. So, we brought her to the college with us. The staff was always understanding and allowed us to even bring her to our finals. The teachers at Big Sandy always wanted me to succeed with college. They supported me in any any way they could. They say it takes a village to raise a child, they showed me how true that statement is. After changing my major a few times, two kids later, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I dropped out of college following my diagnosis. I became the person I was fighting so hard not to become, my own mother. My husband always stood by my side. After seven months he finally convinced me to detox and try at college again. He knew my only dream was to graduate college and be a good mother. He was the only one that believed in me.

I enrolled back in college, but this time I was going to chase my dream. Anyone can run away, it's super easy. Facing problems and working through them, that is what makes you strong. It was time to straighten up for my children and to embrace my story. I always wanted to help people in more ways than one. I wanted to help people fight their own demons, like I did. I really just want to be the person I needed growing up. I want to be the first to graduate college. I want to show my sisters that I did it because of them. Their sacrifices, sweat and tears helped me turn my dream into reality. I currently have a 4.0 gpa. I am hoping I can get my Bachelors in Criminal Justice at EKU once I graduate Big Sandy. I want to finally be able to say, “She turned her cants into cans and her dreams into plans.”