“Your thoughts and beliefs of the past have created this moment, and all the moments up to this moment. What you are now choosing to believe and think and say will create the next moment and the next day and the next month and the next year” (Hay, 1999). Everyone has a story about who he or she is and how he or she got themselves where they are today. Lives are complicated they all have a past, a present and a future. What lies ahead in the future we do not know, but one thing is even though the past can affect you, the past does not make who you are in the future.
I am 29 years old, I residing in Montana; I was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After I turned one my mother decided, it was best to leave mother father. She explained to me as I was older he was not stabled and abusive. Never did I understand my mother’s reason until I was in the same situation with my son. We moved around lot from the time I can remember I never had a steady home or family life. I do have four other siblings from my mother and three others from my father. I am the oldest out of my mother’s children. I never meet my brother until I was about 24 years old; my mother left him in Ohio with his grandparents.
When I was 12, my mother had my sister and when I was 14 had my brother, which I ended up helping raising. I came from a broken family my mother was busy with her addictions as I grew up and my father I never knew of until I was 22. The people my mother left me with to care for me were no better than she was. According to Witt and Mossler (2010), for infants and toddlers, (birth-2 years of age), parents or caregivers are the most important influences. They are responsible for every aspect of care, safety, and comfort during a time when humans are forming their first impressions of the world.
Because parents or caregivers are so important, the quality (including quantity of time spent) of relationship has a heavy influence on early childhood development. It seemed as drugs, and men were more important than I was. My brother and sister’s father I considered a stepfather took me in as his own; my mother had been dating him off and on since I was about five years old. She would leave me with him when she would move out; go on a drug binge, or whatever her reasoning was. My stepfather had his own addictions to marijuana and alcohol but he did work and take care of my siblings and me.
Even though my mother is no longer with him, I am thankful until this day for him and always will be. I considered my Memere (grandma) a mother to me, even though she was not always there because she thought raising my mother’s child she would be condoning and enabling her behaviors (addictions). I have learned family is not always blood related, and you can make yourself a family with anyone. My teenage years were not exciting and fun as most teens experience. I was a very troubled teenage girl. I was very lost, confused, felt different from everyone else, lonely and sad.
From the results of a longitudinal research study, children who felt loved and cared for were “happier and showed greater social and moral maturity as adults than those who felt rejected, neglected, or unwanted” (McClelland, Constantian, Reglado and Stone, p53). Due to all the instability, depression, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse, I was suicidal and attempted suicide at the age of 14. Because of the suicide attempt I was hospitalized in a children’s psychiatric and not just one I would be transferred and placed into three different one until I was 17 where I would spend majority of my teenage years in an out of the hospital.
I never gotten to just grow up and learn which has affected me as an adult. When released from the hospital for the last time I was sent to live with my Memere (grandma). My mother had signed temporary guardianship over to my Memere, which is the best thing she had ever done for me. This is where I would I would develop the best relationship I ever had, my Memere was not just a grandma to me, she was a mother figure, and my best friend. The only person I could trust and know she would not hurt me.
I lacked so many skills for almost being an adult that made me depressed even more because I did not know how to survive, I lacked maturity, living skills, and social skills. Living skills, my Memere helped with but with social skills I conformed myself so I could fit in and be accepted, to be liked and loved. It did not work out all that well, it left me confused, lonely feeling indifferent, and not sure who I really was as a person. I had to learn to be a functional person in society, which took many years.
I had to remember the people in my life that meant something to me that helped motivate me to do better so I could have people proud of me. That was something that was important. I did have important people in my life that kept me going and motivated, my Memere, brother, sister and my stepfather. My Memere will always be the most influential person in my life. She believed in my when none else did, loved me unconditionally, accepted me, and was there for me no matter what. I recently lost my grandmother on August 26, 2010. My life has not been the same since she has passed, yet I knew this day would come but not as soon as it did.
I was not ready but then again no one is ready when a loved one passes. I feel so alone without her, lost, and very sad. I did not just lose a grandma; I lost a mother, and my best friend. My sister and brother were and still are very important people in my life until this day. We live four hours away from each other, we have contact with each other not as much as I would like though. They are teenagers and have their own life and I can completely understand that. I am so proud of them on all of their accomplishments in life.
My stepfather and I are no longer close; when I released from the hospital and sent to my Memere’s in Arizona, we lost contact. He was there for majority of my life, when I was hospitalized he would come to visit me with my brother and sister, it really helped and motivated to want to get better. He and my mother separated when I was about 16 or 17, I think it was personally best on him and my siblings. He married a woman last year and she has children, I do still visit him when I go and see my brother and sister, I do not call him dad, but I will always consider him my stepfather.
I stated before it is not blood that makes a family anyone can be your family. At 29 now and have my own family; I have a three-year-old little boy and a 19 stepson, it also took me awhile to find the man who I was supposed to marry. This is my fourth marriage not something I am not proud of. I was looking for love all in the wrong places. I think with my relationships and past marriages were not real. I did the same thing when wanting friends I just wanted to be loved and it did not matter by whom. My son’s biological father put things into perspective for me.
I left my second husband to be with this man not because I loved him because he told me everything I wanted to hear, and my second husband and I had problems so it was easier to leave. I learned a valuable lesson life is not always greener on the other said. This was an abusive relationship from the start, but I did not care I thought I had someone who loved me and wanted to be with me. I found out I was pregnant when I was 27 on March 9, 2007 and I knew with all of my being I was going to be a single mom. It scared me honestly, I thought with having a mental illness how in the world I would raise a baby.
I had no confidence in myself. I was not happy when I was pregnant which I thought I would be due to being told I could not have children and always wanted them, just did not want a baby like this and in a relationship like this. I now understood why my mother left my father. It was four months after my son was born, I left his father awhile he was in jail this is the last time he hit me, I put him jail, and got a restraining order and moved on with my life. It was not easy as I expected, I moved back in with my ex-husband just as roommates though, got a job, and attended beauty school.
Two years later while working, I meet a man who is now my husband and has adopted my son. I have come a long way in life it has not been easy. I have learned that you can change yourself, your thinking, and the way you act. One of my great achievements in life is overcoming many of the obstacles and challenges in my life, the reason I said many is that I still have work within myself that needs to be done. I do not think I ever will be done working on myself there is always room for improvement.
The past issues and problems will still take some time but I have dealt with majority of them, and along the way I found out who I am and who I want to be. I still have a lot of thinking errors, you can always change the way you think, it can be positive or it can be negative. I have learned though thinking positive gets you further along in life than thinking negatively. Having my son is another achievement I have accomplished. After everything I have been through, having a mental illness, and not having others believe that I could be a good mother and raise a child I was bound to prove all of them wrong.
My Memere was the only one who knew I could be a good mother and raise my son; my own mother did not think I could raise a child. The one thing I knew was I was not going to raise my child as she raised my siblings and me. Living in a small town, and being a part of the mental health system, and the past I have had, it took a lot to prove myself and myself as a mother. People did not seem to have confidence in me or think I was capable. When I left my son’s father I gained full custody of him, but I still had to prove myself.
Being a mother has not only been a major accomplishment, but has been a struggle, my son has also taught me many things about myself, the type of person I am, who I want to be, and has made my life better for the better. I still have a lot of work to do but I now have goals in my life. I have a direction where I want my life to go. I know I have to take small steps to get to some of these goals. I want to and am still working on the issues I have, I know I will always work on myself, there is always something you can do to better yourself, but for others they have more to work on when it comes to themselves.
I have not chosen a direct career path now; I am working on my BA in Social Science, with a minor in Psychology, and a specialization in Political Science and Government. One goal is actually figuring out a career, I like to have variety in my life and with a degree like this I feel I will have a choice when I out of college. I just do not want to finish college I want to finish with acceptable grades, I know I can earn good grades as long as I apply myself. Another goal I have is more of a personal goal; I am looking forward to having another child no more than one though.
Financially I do not think I will ever be ready to have more than two children. I struggle with just having one, and I do not want the life I had for my children. One thing I have learned and I would say one of the most important thing is the past can affect you; but the past does not make who you are in the future. You decide as a person who you are in the future, people can come from the worst childhood and yet overcome all and be someone successful. You have to ask yourself are you going to be a victim or student of victory.
The issues you have in your past do affect you, but you have control over your thoughts, and behaviors, if you do not like the person you have become change it. It is easier said than done but it can be done with time, effort, and patience. I can say I am not the product of my past, because of my past I am a better, stronger woman and I would not change anything about it. I would not want to go back and redo it but if I changed anything in my past, I may not be the woman I am today.
Hay, L. L. (1999). You Can Heal Your Life. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House INC.
McClelland, Constantian, Regalado & Stone, (1978, p. 53). Retrieved from http://https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPSY202.10.1/sections/sec1.3
Witt, G. A., & Mossler, R. A. (2010). Adult Development and Life Assessment. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/AUPSY202.10.1