I remember very vividly the last time I had to come to my mom’s rescue. It was January 2000 and I was 13 years old. That night was the last time my dad put his hands on my mom. I went to bed like any other night and out of nowhere I heard someone yelling my name. I jumped out of bed and ran to my mom’s bedroom where I saw my dad choking her. I quickly pushed him away and started screaming. While I remember the police taking him away and seeing that my mom’s entire face and body were bruised, everything after that still remains a blur. In that moment, all I wanted was for my mom to be okay. In the days, weeks, and months after, everything changed. We lost our car and had to move out of our apartment which resulted in us having to temporarily live with family. While life was hard, I do remember feeling a sense of relief - relief that my mom was finally free.
I can’t say that the years ahead were easy because they weren’t. After my parents split up, my dad was no longer in our lives. My mom was forced to work 2-3 jobs to keep a roof over our heads which left me in charge of my younger siblings. As a result, I found myself resenting her over the years because she was unable to be present in my life. This left me feeling guilty for expecting more from her when I knew she was doing the best that she could to provide for us; but it still made navigating through my teenage years hard because I often felt alone.
As I became an adult and went on with my life, the one thing I always took from what I had seen growing up, was that I would never accept that type of behavior from any man - I knew that I was worthy of more. But because of what I witnessed between my parents, I remember always having my guard up and second guessing people I would date and build relationships with. It always seemed easier to expect the worst in people which made seeing the good in others difficult; but the good finally found me in the form of my now husband.
Fast forward to today: I am now a wife and mother to two beautiful girls who are my strength, and while I’m still healing from my past traumas, I strive daily to continue working on myself and choosing to heal so that I can give my girls and family the best version of me. I can’t say that sharing such painful moments of my life has been easy, but I believe my story can serve as hope for at least one person. I know how easy it can be to go through hardships and then allow them to consume you, but I believe we all have a choice to make: stay stuck in our past OR move forward and use it as our fuel to become better. You are not defined by your past. Keep pushing. Keep Striving. You got this!