Growing up was very difficult for me because even though I had both my parents they were definitely not the best role models. My father was the eldest boy of 7 children, born and raised in Ireland with a good foundation of married loving parents and a very good athlete. He received a college scholarship for track but had to drop out because his father passed away in his junior year so he had to work to take care of his family. My mother was the eldest girl of 9 children, born and raised in North Carolina by an alcoholic mother, many fathers running in out of her life, very promiscuous and no education. Since her mother was always drunk and abusive she had to drop out of school and take care of her younger siblings. There were plenty of times my mother said they barely had food to eat and sometimes had to go to bed hungry. My mother left the house at an early age due to the abuse, constant hunger and resentment.
At age 18 she found an apartment in the projects, got on welfare, met my father (he was 21) and they had 3 children together but her resentment and experience growing up took a toll on my father where she started drinking heavily, abusing him physically and verbally and various men coming in and out of the house while my father was at work. He finally decided to leave my mother when she was 5 months pregnant with his second child and fell in the loving arms of another woman who later got pregnant with his third child. After my mother gave birth my sister came out with fetal alcohol syndrome and that is what made my father come home. They hatched out their differences and 4 yrs later I was born.
In the beginning my father was an epitome of what a father should be. He worked, helped us with our homework, took us to our grandmother’s house with the big backyard, took us to amusement parks and made sure every Christmas was memorable, but as we got older it became very difficult to take care all of us as he used to before. In the 80’s, Cocaine was a big drug at that time and everyone was using where my parents use to hold cocaine parties in their livingroom while us kids would be playing in the bedroom. They became addicted to drugs and that’s when the struggle and the abuse became all too real. When my mother use to get into her drunken stupors and got high she use to drag me and my sister out of our beds in the middle of the night and beat us for no good reason until my nose bled. I use to be so fearful for my life because I had a serious bed wetting problem and would try to cover it up by hiding my sheets in the closet so I wouldn’t get my behind beat to death.
Times got extremely tough especially when I got into high school because that’s when I had to travel by public transportation. Since I lived within a mile of the school I was only eligible for an 1/2 fare metrocard. I only needed $1.50 a day to get back and forth to school but due to a drug addiction my father could not afford to give me carfare everyday so I had to walk 20 blocks each way. After getting tired of not having any lunch money or carefare I had no choice but to get a job. I got a job working in a movie theater as an usher which gave me an opportunity to take care of myself and move out on my own at age 17. But of course juggling both school from 8:30am-2:30pm and working 4pm-12am became extremely difficult which affected my grades and I got held back an extra year.
After graduating high school, I continued to work 2 and 3 menial jobs at a time just to make ends meet but realized I was heading no where fast. So in 2003 I decided to enroll into college and received my Associates Degree in Business in 2005. It was a very proud moment to walk across that stage because I was the only one in my family to actually graduate college. My parents were so proud of me they made me believe that battling their addiction had finally stopped but I was totally wrong. There were a few incidents that occurred from time to time but the biggest one happened on June 2013. After taking 7 years off between both degrees, I finally completed my Bachelor’s Degree on April 2013 and decided to throw myself a graduation party at my cousin’s condo on June 2013. Everyone was enjoying themselves and having a good time until my mother got a hold of some liquor and that’s when all hell broke loose. She got so drunk and so belligerent she was asked to leave. Moments later she was found laid out in the hallway with her breasts exposed and it took 6 people including my 15 yr old nephew to carry her back into the house. At that moment when I saw my mother being carried in from one of her drunken stupors and tears started rolling down my face I realized I HAD NO CHOICE but to be a better woman than my mother because I never wanted to be anything like her.
The reason why I’m able to share my story and not be ashamed of my life is because I made it. This hard knock life made me who I am today an educated, independent, 32 yr old with no kids and a good job so there’s no excuse why no one can overcome any obstacle. This experience taught me what not to do and gave me the tools to survive. I am who I am because God only gave me what he knew I could handle and we all know He doesn’t make any mistakes. I am truly blessed to be able to make it through the struggle and live life like it’s golden!!! I definitely count my blessings everyday.
Always ~ n~ Forever Thankful,