As you walk down the street for your morning coffee, take some time to look at the people around you. From a glance you can infer that some are running late, in love, or even distracted. You may be able to gather information based off of social cues and appearance, but can you get the full story from just one look?
The simple answer to that question is no. I am 23 years old, healthy, and 9/10 times you would catch me with a wide smile across my face. I always go to work, return my cart at the grocery store, and offer a helping hand to anyone in need. I love hard, and work even harder.
But.. if you were to dig a little deeper, grab a cup of coffee with me, and ask me about my childhood you would hear about about experiences that contradict my positive persona. I spent countless nights as a little girl asking “Why me?” and praying for better days. I would close my eyes and force myself to think positive thoughts while the rest of the world was busy showing its ugly truths far too soon.
I am the daughter of two teenagers who had no business falling in love and creating a child at 18. Quite frankly they just didn’t know any better. As most fires that begin wild and fierce, they burned out just as quickly. My father cheated on my mother when she learned she was pregnant. He lost the closest thing he ever had to a family with the drop of his pants. My mother was then forced to sacrifice her youth and raise a baby while still growing up herself. Both eventually fell into drug and/or alcohol addictions and I spent most of my childhood disappointed and picking up all the pieces in their path of destruction.
One phrase that I heard repetitively created a fire inside of me. I was told time and time again to be careful because “Addiction runs through your blood, its in your genes.” I used to argue until I was blue in the face how invalid that statement was, but as I’ve matured I realized they weren’t completely wrong. I am here to tell you that this actually true. Let me explain..
“Addiction runs through your blood, it’s in your genes.”
There are two ways you can look at this statement. The way most intend it: negatively with the intent of inflicting emotional pain, OR positively, the way you feel once you’ve experienced it firsthand. This goes back to the ‘glass half full/empty’ scenario and it truly depends on who’s interpreting.
My parents did pass their addiction down to me. However, I decided to implement the concept into my life differently, using their mistakes as a tool for growth instead. I am addicted. I am addicted to winning. I am addicted to self care and to hard work. I am addicted to ambitious people who can talk for hours about how beautiful their visions are and what its going to take to get there. I live and breathe through my addiction of proving everyone wrong. I am not a statistic.
I stopped feeling sorry for myself and channeled that energy into positivity. I decided that having compassion in my heart made me stronger than if I remained guarded, and that my heart could inspire others battling similar struggles. And if it wasn’t for my parents choices, I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today. Their downfalls made me better.
I chose to rise up.
In life, it is your responsibility to make choices. You can choose to let your past define you and use “statistics” as excuses for weak behavior, or you can decide to change. You can decide that there is enough hate in this world already and that it is your obligation to be a beacon of light for those still lost in the dark.
I am addicted to living, loving, and succeeding.