Growing up, I didn’t have the best childhood, but it definitely could have been worse.
I lived with my mother for the first 7 years of my life, which was the foundation to the woman I am today. My mother was in two abusive relationships and in that time span I knew that I didn’t want to end up like her and that no one deserved to be treated like that. At eight years old I asked my grandmother to pick me up from school, and I never looked back. Although I was young, I knew that if I stayed in my current situation, there wouldn’t be much hope for me.
My grandmother raised me on her own, I learned a lot of life lessons. I learned that having hate in my heart doesn’t hurt anyone more than hurting myself. It took me years to realize that you can’t force people to do the right thing and that regardless of what your parents decide to do with their lives, I am in control of mine.
Seeing all the sacrifices that my grandmother made in order to give me the closest to normal life as possible, I wanted to make sure that everything I did reflected my gratitude. So I was on the honor roll all through my childhood, cheered and danced in high school, went to college and did everything I could to be a great granddaughter to her. While focusing on myself and my dreams, I was able to let go of my hurt and anger towards all the horrible things my parents put me through over the years.
Even getting away from the situation at my mom’s house wasn’t enough, though. When everyone around you is getting pregnant at a young age, going to jail or attending neighborhood schools that don’t have current technology, it’s easy to fall into that mindset that this is it. But I refused to let my situation define the outcome of my life.
Now, as a college student, I pay all my own bills and live on my own. This is one of the hardest things ever, but I know it is preparing me to be a successful and independent young women. All of the trials and tribulations you go through in life all have a greater person, and I truly believe that. In order to become financially and emotionally independent, you have to stop blaming others for the things that happen in your life and just accept that it happened. Once I did that, life became easier for me. I began to like myself again, and realize that I have the power to control my destiny.
I say all of this because being a young adult is hard enough as it is. We deal with so much shit that life can be overwhelming. Losing my grandmother a few months ago was the worse thing that has ever happened to me, but instead of becoming a victim, I decided to choose happiness. I’m happy that I had her in my life, teaching me and loving me and making up for the lack of parents I had in my life. I’m happy because she taught me forgiveness and how to overcome heartbreak, disappointment and everyday obstacles.
Life is shitty enough as it is, and it doesn’t get easier. I’ve learned that what seems like the end of the world now, won’t feel as bad as it does in this moment, days, weeks or months from now. If you decide to chose yourself, you can literally overcome everything. Being independent is hard but is so worth it.