Today I want to take a step back. I want to talk about where I came from because I know so many of you see where I am today and might be thinking that I have this perfect life or have had it pretty easy, but I haven’t.
I am about to turn 35 in a couple of weeks, and yes, right now in my life, I’d say that I have it pretty fucking good. My life is pretty easy at the moment. But it hasn’t always been.
I grew up in a household where my parents constantly got into intense screaming matches, including while driving. I remember when we had just left my grandparents, and my parents started fighting before we even hit the freeway. I don’t quite remember how we got to the spot we did in town, it was off the highway that we usually take home, but my mother got out of the car and started walking away. The fighting got even more intense, and I was trapped in the backseat. This was normal. There was very little love ever seen in my parents’ marriage.
The yelling spilled over toward us kids too. I remember so many more instances of being yelled at than I do of any kind of loving embrace. My parents didn’t have goals, and they didn’t believe in anything bigger than themselves. They were the perfect example of living stuck and believing everybody else is at fault for their poor position in life. Speaking of poor, we definitely were. I don’t remember my parents buying me clothes. I only remember my grandmother doing it. And the clothes I got were from thrift stores or Walmart, never brand name. My parents cared more about beer and cigarettes than quality nutrition. The food stamps they were given usually went to sugary junk. SO much soda and Little Debbie lived in my life.
My mother always told me I was big-boned, and my family always commented that I had a “bubble butt”. Kids at school always told me I was fat. I have only recently realized that these things are pretty much 100% why I have body image issues. I spent many years trying to be so much skinnier because all I could think was how fat I was, but I wasn’t.
Neither of my parents could ever financially support themselves or our family of five. They continually “borrowed” money from family members and friends. They were pretty convincing when they wanted something, but they never repaid people or gave to others.
My parents divorced when I was 12, right around the same time that my four-and-a-half-month-old nephew passed away. The fighting didn’t stop, and the intense shit-talking from each parent was overwhelming. I had to testify in court on my sister’s behalf that she didn’t murder my nephew. At the time, I believed that. Today, I’m not so sure. My father is a drug-addict alcohol who at this moment, is an absolute fucking disaster. I have refused to have him in my life because of it. I didn’t realize it until after my mother passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s, but she was also addicted to pills. At the time of my mother’s passing, I hadn’t spoken to her in years, at least not intelligently. I saw her a couple of times when I was in town while she was in the nursing home, but before that, I refused contact for so many reasons. At this point in my life, I only converse with my younger sister, and that has taken work too. I didn’t speak to her for many years.
My mother used to tell me, “just graduate high school before you give me grandbabies”. That was her only goal for me. When I graduated high school, she asked when I was going to start having kids. Yes, I was dating a guy, but I wasn’t married. She didn’t care. I chose to go to college instead of having children right away.
I went to college, paid for a little by my grandmother (I hated taking her money), the lottery scholarship in New Mexico, and by hefty student loans. I preferred to borrow money that would take me years to pay back rather than continue taking free money from my grandmother. In fact, this feeling of not being able to take money or even help of any kind has been with me for many years. It makes me sick.
After college and after leaving my ex-boyfriend, I moved to work for my professional fraternity. I traveled, and I loved it. These years were a blur of partying and promiscuity. I used alcohol to have a social life, remember I’m an introvert through-and-through, and sex to feel a connection with people. I was an absolute mess.
I worked hard, partied hard, and knew there was something more for my life. That’s how I got to where I am today. I came from a mess of a life, but that didn’t stop me. As Lady Gaga said, “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or how much money you’ve got in your pocket. You have your own destiny and your own life ahead of you.”
I knew there was more to life than following in the footsteps of my parents. I knew I could become a successful woman without relying on other people, and I have. The past couple of years have been another turning point for me. I battled, not gracefully, through infertility to come to this place of deciding not to have children. I have battled with the societal pressure to maintain an impossible weight and pant size. I have battled with endometriosis and spondylolisthesis with a side of spina bifida. I have gotten more into debt and paid off debt. I have pushed Eddie away and pulled him back in. Life has been a battle of some kind for so many years, but I am coasting into a new chapter right now.
I have my whole life ahead of me. My past does define my future because it defines who I’ve grown from. So many people will tell you not to look back and that your past doesn’t define you. I disagree. Because I know where I came from, I know what I want my life ahead of me to look like. I want to direct my life to the destiny I know I can have.
I grew up in a situation far from perfect. I am far from perfect. I fail every single day. But every single minute of my past and every failure I’ve had makes me who I am today. I have my entire life ahead of me to be the woman I want to be. I have my whole life to continue failing imperfectly.