Not Another Statistic : Overcoming Parents Divorcing, Sickness and Low Self-Esteem
If you don’t know me personally, it’s probably easy to look at my life (at least what is displayed across social media platforms) and think, “Wow! That woman really has her sh*t together.” And don’t get me wrong, at the age of 31, I do have my life in order, but, things definitely could have gone much differently. But rather than giving you a long sob story of the things that I’ve been through in life, I’ve decided to break everything down into short paragraphs with subtitles that hopefully many of you can relate to.
I was in the third grade when my parents divorced. It was a long time coming. My mom would have left years before but because of my dad’s controlling ways, it was damn near impossible for her to get on her feet. He didn’t want her to work because he knew that she would then be able to support herself. But she didn’t let that stop her. She got a weekend job at a nursing home and walked to work. If there was no one available to babysit me, she would take me along with her and I would stay in a vacant patient room. Sometimes the patients would invite me into their rooms from time to time just to chat. That’s probably when I learned that I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I was only 9-years-old.
It was tough being a young Black girl. I remember admiring my White friends’ hair, their fathers, their beautiful homes, and their Spring Break vacations. With my mom just getting on her feet and us having to move to a different county which was about 35 minutes away, I had to make new friends and it just so happens that most of the girls in my class were White. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just always comforting when you have at least one person around who actually looks like you. It just is.
So rather than embracing my “Black” roots, I did whatever was necessary to keep up with the White girls in my class. My mom would even work extra shifts to make sure that I had the cool L.L. Bean backpacks that all of the girls were wearing and clothes from some of the popular stores. My hair was always bone straight and I started packing my lunch….I mean, none of the White girls ate the cafeteria food so I didn’t want to either. But that was only until I met my first Black friend. Her name was Ricketa.
It was just months after I met Ricketa that I received a call that she was in the hospital in critical condition. The doctors said that she had contracted something similar to Meningitis and it was quickly eating away at her body. How could this have happened? I had just played in gym with her the day before and now my new best friend was in a patient bed at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital! Well thankfully, God healed her and her mom let me go to her physical therapy appointments. It was a long recovery but she is doing just fine now!
Middle School – Fights and Temptation
Middle school was rough. The school was bigger and the girls got meaner. Half of the time I had no idea why certain girls didn’t like me. I just knew that they didn’t and made sure to take a different route to class. I had never been in a physical fight in my entire life so I sure wasn’t about to start. Besides that, kids were starting to experiment with drugs and sex and I just wasn’t ready for that. Kissing a boy was still a pretty big deal for me. But that all changed when I went to high school.
High School – Oh Man!
I guess by this time I was feeling really comfortable in my own skin. I had made the cheerleading squad, was doing well academically, but started dating much older guys. I guess in 2016 this would have been some huge scandal and some innocent teen boy would have ended up with a statutory rape charge on his record but I knew exactly what I was doing and there was no one to blame. (Side note: In no way am I saying that older men should go after underaged girls. I am only expressing my view point on my particular situation.)
In any case, I mention this just to say that I could have ended up being a “Teen Mom” just like so many of my other friends did. And that….that could have changed everything for me. But instead, I was lucky and able to graduate high school and attend college without any responsibility…..other than passing my classes and making good grades.
Just remember….no one is better than you. Some just got lucky. You are still blessed no matter what circumstances may have slowed you down. You got this!
Well that’s all for now. I’ll pick up where I left off on the part II of this blog.
STAY BEAUTIFUL. BE ENCOURAGED. DREAM BIG.