My family members are the prime witnesses to my evolution. From the beginning they have seen who I was and are currently learning who I am.
It was out of necessity I was strong. It was required I grow up and parent my younger siblings at the unknowing age of seven. Responsibility was poured onto me along with the guilt of how my family ended and the failure of my parents’ marriage. A sense of where I truly belong was unbeknownst to me due to the constant shifting of my life from family member to family member. I coped the best a child could with never having a true mother or a true father.
As a child, I witnessed fear and the absence of self within my mother and I witnessed the acceptance of failure and abandonment of his own children within my father. I observed the twisted ideals and willingness of victimization of my grandmother and I observed the callous criticism and obstinate discipline of my grandfather. I vowed at seven years old to never hold these traits as my own. These attributes of the four most important people in my seven year old life, angered me. With this anger I developed a drive which gave me the strength to survive the first 25 years of my life. The problem with anger being a drive is that anger itself is a double edged sword and although I thought I was empowering myself, I was in fact destroying myself.
My indispensable self-developed anger drove me to be the opposite of everything in which I hated. I was not weak, I was strong. I was not a failure, I succeeded in everything I attempted. I was not the victim, I was the victor. I was not cruel, I was loving. But in reality, I was lying to myself. I realized at eighteen years old that everything I fought so hard not to become, I in fact was. My portrayed strength was a facade for the overwhelming weakness that only found me when I looked into a mirror. My self-righteousness behavior was due to the lack of self and sense of worth. My outstanding competitive drive was a fictitious veneer, when in fact I failed the essence of ethics and morality. Sacrifice to raise my brother and sister had no value when I moved to Los Angeles for college, the abandonment they felt because of my departure was just as painful as our father’s neglect. My so-called words of encouragement to my siblings and younger cousins were in reality beautiful big words which disguised degradation and bitterness.
I didn’t talk to my dad for almost fifteen years. If I was capable of hate, he would be the sole receiver of such a feeling. I placed a huge amount of blame on him. It was his fault I grew up so young. His fault that I was out casted from his side of the family and blamed for the way the divorce went between him and my mom. His fault no one showed up for Dad-Daughter day at school. His fault why I know what poverty is like… when there’s absolutely nothing in the fridge or the cabinets. His fault that I had to feed my brother and sister the only food left in the whole house – a can of Alpo. His fault I couldn’t be who I really am, because I had to be someone for everyone else in my life. His fault why I can never listen to smooth jazz or Sade. His fault why it was impossible to truly be a sister to my brother and sister because first and foremost I had to be a mother.
Surviving through a drug overdose is being born again. When you are awake, you cannot see. Your speech cannot be deciphered into comprehensible sentences. Your legs are shaky when you try to stand, and your arms cannot support your weight in order to crawl, so you must be carried to the bath and be bathed by your mother. Strength in your limbs are built in order to crawl… and your first step, oh the first step – when you’re learning to walk it’s absolute invigoration. When you’re able to see objects and the details of your mothers face, you cry due to the simple appreciation of its beauty. When your able to annunciate your words correctly and those around you can understand your broken language, connections spark through the very core of your being.
My outsides didn’t reflect my insides and I felt torn apart. I wanted real strength. I wanted to value myself. I wanted to stop fearing the unknown. I wanted my own life. All this began with learning acceptance.
I am my mother’s daughter. I am my father’s daughter. I am my grandmother’s grand-daughter. I am my grandfather’s grand-daughter. Like my mother, I put others before I put myself. I practice selflessness and it partially brings me happiness. I am able to communicate to others through emotions. I love to sing and I am a lover of canines. Like my father, I am a thinker and philosopher. Most of my thoughts are outside the box and randomness is in my nature. I appreciate diversity, art, talent and share a passion for food. Like my grandmother, I am a helper and companion. I am available for those I care about at the drop of a dime. I am willing to extend myself at most means necessary. I can offer comfort and friendship with sharing my company. Like my grandfather, I have an appreciation for structure, discipline and education. I appreciate a clean kitchen and bath tub. I love to travel, my humor tends to be dry and I have many sounds of laughter.
Talks with my mom helped. I shared with her the challenges I faced as a young child acting as a parent for my brother and sister. I told her the truth – I am nothing of what she thinks I am. I am afraid of the world. I don’t fear death, but I fear living. I find myself as strange, because my thoughts are intense and the feelings I feel in my chest when I experience life are enough to bring tears to my eyes.
I re-established a relationship with my father, and it happened in such a fairy tale manner. I no longer cared about the past and was able to put that behind me. I wanted a future and I wanted a father, and these true desires manifested my current existing relationship with a man whom always brings a smile to my face. A man I can call Dad.
Through my period of realizations, I have established a relationship with myself. I have found myself in an epoch of my life where I want to be me and no one else. I am completely open to seeing my faults and facing my demons.
I share with you this particular story in which has great meaning in my life:
Today, I made a step. I find myself in moods in which I would like to share with all, but instead of using my own words, I quote others. I posted a quote by Cushing today on Facebook. My brother responded with his own words in a quote like fashion which was stating the same meaning by Cushing. I realized there are many attributes in which I lack. I lack the courage to express my anger. I am unable to be honest with myself, by feeling the constant need to sugar coat everything. I am unable to tell people what I truly think, and instead tell them what they want to hear. I’m terribly frightened to put my actual, real thought into the public for fear of humiliation and judgment. I am a coward. I use scapegoats often. I make excuses for myself. I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to live.
I gathered my imaginary balls, and I created and posted a quote which came so naturally: Doubt is our only enemy which is created by thyself. Through doubt produces fear in which success is a dying ideal. Through fear creates failure, BUT through failure we have the possibility of realized opportunity and with this opportunity we are given the gift of wisdom, choice and living.
I have doubted myself. I have feared all and every thing. My fear has produced my failure in myself. Oh, but there’s hope at the end of my thinking… With my failure I have gained opportunity which I didn’t know existed. I have an opportunity to make the choice to change. I have an opportunity to take this change and begin living.
Through my twenty-nine years of life as a lion, I gave the impression I was grand and confident. All the while inside, I was a cowardly lion in search of courage, only to find that it resided within me all along.