Hi beautiful friends! Happy Sunday. I am here to share my story of #RealBloggerBeauty with you today. My dear blogger friend, Maya, had a genius idea to have bloggers and lovely young ladies share more about themselves and be transparent without having to live up to the expectations of a "perfect blogger life" and I must say I am pretty excited about sharing my own story. You can learn more about it and what you can do to share your story by clicking here.
I must say that I am not used to being so candid with strangers, let alone people I've known for years, so just be warned. also... my story WILL be a novel someday. It's one of my life's goals to write a memoir. I have just seen too many things to not write about them. So to be very straightforward before I start rambling, I will get right to the point: the most difficult thing about my life, and something I'm still learning how to cope with is the absence of a mother and father. I will say that I am fortunate to have very loving and caring grandparents who did the best they could to help, and a few friends who stepped in along the way. I am forever grateful for those who took part in helping me survive throughout my childhood.
Many times when I tell people that I didn't grow up with a mother or father, they believe that they passed away, or something heroic/decent of that nature, but then I have to break the news to them… I will say that there was a very short time in my childhood where I felt loved, and felt normal, like I did have a real mom. This was for around the first 4-5 years of my life. Everything after that was chaos.
So, basically I am the eldest of seven children. Most of us have different fathers [though I never met mine, and I've never known or seen him], and we all share the same mother who was a very talented pianist and could have done so well for herself, but she was also very selfish. When life was too difficult, she gave in to her weakness of drug and alcohol addiction and unfortunately dragged my siblings and I through that journey during most of our childhood. We grew up living with her different boyfriends, and when she was between boyfriends we stayed with our grandparents or with friends who took us in. It was very difficult being the eldest, of course, because she was not present- even when she was with us, she didn't ever really 'take care' of us. I knew more than any of my siblings what was happening when she was gone.
I have distinct memories of living in one room with my mom and all of my sisters for months at a time, and sometimes being kicked out of her boyfriends house and having to walk across the city carrying the belongings we could fit into our bags while walking to my grandma's house, or anyone we knew who would take us in, for that matter. It was a very tough situation to cope with, especially as a child. Sometimes, she would take off and leave us at other people's houses for weeks at a time. We were never told when she was coming back. My siblings and I woke up in many different people's houses on the mornings of my birthday or Christmas and would have nothing there waiting for us, not even our parents - just some strangers who knew our mom through a friend, and of course, the reality of the situation we were forced to endure.
Anyway, there is a happy ending, guys, I promise! So this craziness lasted from when I was around 7 until I turned 14. We then moved somewhere veryyy far away from what I had called home, and that was the last straw for me. I was much too old to be dragged around from one disastrous house and relationship to another…It was time for me to get out. I turned 15 on December 23, and that next year, I moved out of my house and lived with a friend all throughout high school. Living in another families' basement is a whole different experience, but it was a place to stay while I went to high school and worked as a waitress to save up money for college. I ended up getting accepted to a university and moved out of that friend's house after graduating high school. It was a dream come true for me, and also a total nightmare to apply to colleges as an independent student [try not being able to put any parent information on your FAFSA!] I jumped through so many hoops to make it to and through college! Anyway, I graduated from school, where I met my husband, J. and I am now married, very happy, healthy, and most importantly lucky! As many of you know, I'm a teacher, so I get to work with students who are going through, or have been through similar situations. I get to help them and connect with them on an empathetic level, which is so precious to me.
I am so thankful for the many people that really helped me through my childhood and teenage years. They made it so that I could rise up out of the situation I was forced into and make something of myself. I will say that it was VERY difficult having to leave my younger siblings behind when I moved out of my house at 15, but luckily, most of them had fathers who took them in before I even left. I think they finally understand that my mother was very ill [from substance abuse] and was not capable of taking care of them like she should have. Those siblings are all doing very well, and I'm so proud of the beautiful young women they've become.
This #RealBloggerBeauty post has really given me the opportunity to be super transparent with you about who I am, what kind of woman I am, and what sorts of obstacles and challenges I've had to overcome. It isn't easy to tell the whole world that you grew up with a drug addict mom, who basically never existed and absolutely no father. People hear those things and just feel bad for you without realizing the strength it took to endure things like that. I choose to focus on the positive. In my "about me" section on this blog, I say, I consider obstacles to be stepping stones… and I really do. Yes, I grew up with a messy childhood and an imperfect family, but I'm okay now! That's the happy ending! I made it.
I really looking forward to seeing the obstacles, challenges, or hardships that you women have endured and overcome. You're all beautiful in your own way. Our story only helps us become who we really are meant to be, and I'm so glad that I was able to share it with you today. Thanks, Maya, for thinking up this amazing idea. xoxo.