I grew up without a father. I know what you are thinking, you and 1 out of 3 kids growing up in America, no need to feel sorry for yourself. But here’s the thing, for a while I did. How does a child come to understand that one parent, for whichever reason, chose not to be in their life or even begin to understand the emotions that come along with all of that. I would look at other kids who seemed to have these great fathers who were probably always there for them and never forgot a birthday. These fathers seemed loving, and kind and made their children feel safe and I had absolutely no idea what that felt like. There are certain things in life that can either make or break a person and this was one of them, I mean, I have 23 chromosomes from someone I know nothing about. Unintentionally I built up walls to compensate for what I was missing and the foundation of those walls were of pure anger, bitterness, rejection, and hurt. Eventually those walls that I built up became a prison. I had become a prisoner to something someone else had done. I started to see all the flaws in the whole “keep my guard up so I don’t get hurt” philosophy and I wanted out of that prison. I needed a way out. I decided I wasn’t going to get hurt anymore, but not by building up any more walls, but because I decided to find a way to fill my heart with so much good that there would be no room for hurt.
Believe it or not you do have a choice. Life is actually full of choices. What you eat, what you wear. It’s amazing how one decision, no matter how small it may be, can be a life altering one. Even though we are human and experience very real human emotions where we let those emotions take us is actually the final result of every occurrence in our lives. Like the fact that just because I came from a broken home didn’t mean that I was broken.
I’m not going to lie and say that this was something easy for me to overcome. Trust me honey, I am not one for smoke and mirrors, I will not make it seem as if whatever I had to get over was something that happened overnight. There were in fact major hurdles. There were moments that affected my life, the way I saw and thought of myself, how I treated others even the decisions I made. There were even things that I missed out on as a result of this. No, everyday was not perfect and there were many moments where I cried and prayed to God to help me, moments where I almost gave up on myself, it even came to the point where I found myself confronting the one who gave me those 23 chromosomes and asking why he was never a part of my life. Let’s face it, looking in the mirror everyday and seeing you look like someone you barely know makes you think about a few things and eventually you are going to need some answers. I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life hurting, so I had to make a decision not to.
Negativity is one of those things that can hold even the most sensible of people back. So I learned to stay away from it and stop getting in my own way. I could not have moved forward if I let one person’s decision take control of my entire life. I was an infant, it is impossible that anything I did could have had any influence on his decision. My one and only action was simply being born. Whatever he chose or chose not do was of no fault of my own.
Society has a way of categorizing people then putting them in a certain box and closing the lid. Most people either believe they belong in that box and never try to venture out, or are to afraid to. Statistics are meant to make life easier right? But how do you tell a human being that certain circumstances has paved a path for their life because of numerical data and probability? Does not the human mind not have limitless potential? Yet, society has literally stuck a label on each person, sent them through a conveyor belt and made any effort of changing that pattern seem unfathomable. Just because I did not grow up with my biological father did not mean that I had to have some sort of “daddy didn’t love me” issues or a lack of ability to develope certain crucial life skills. Again, I’m not saying that I never experience any after affects at all, but I had to choose to overcome them. I had to choose not to be another statistic.
Remeber that thing I said about negativity? If I had held on to any bit of anger or resentment I took away the power I had over my own life and gave it to my circumstances. I had to forgive for my own well being. I do not know my biological fathers story or the series of events that led him to do what he did, but everyone in this life has been through something and you can either come out victorious or the victim. Not that I am making excuses on his behalf, but if I only focused on my hurt I would not be able to see the entire picture and realize that what had happened was bigger than just me. It was pointless to let the series of events that led him to make that bad decision lead me to have a series of bad decisions of my own and ruin my life. I cannot begin to explain the major changes that happened in me and in my life the moment I decided to forgive and let go. It was as if forgiving was the open door that led to many other open doors. I finally felt free. I stopped blaming myself and I realized that I deserved to be happy and I took advantage of every opportunity that allowed me to be. I had to change my mindset, I had to want my happiness as bad as I wanted to breathe. I had to fight for it. The more of a consistent effort I made to move forward the more it became less of an effort and more of a part of me.
This is not an effort to try to belittle what anyone went/is going through by suggesting to think happy thoughts and you’ll be fine. This is me telling you that you have a way out. You do not have to continue any cycle or be a part of any statistic! You are the master of your own life! The unfortunate circumstances that has happened in your life does not mean that you are an unfortunate person. You can be happy and you can have the best life. You just have to take it!
Despite experiencing setbacks in my life, do youknow how many of them actually held me back? None.
If you need help don’t hesitate to ask! You are not alone. Talk to someone at thementoringproject.org