Forgiving is hard but forgetting is impossible. If only I had the time to tell you everything I’m feeling inside. I was born to teen parents who were longing for love. But they had been hurt by people who are now above. Hurt people, hurt people. And man do I know that first-hand. By the time I was 5 I knew I was different. My grandpa reminded me every day of my mother’s mistakes and said I would follow in the same footsteps. By the time I was 8 I knew I wanted better for my life. It was at eight years old that my dad drove me into an alleyway on the way “home,” he needed to buy crack. Little did I know he would do nearly anything to feed his addiction. He left me in this dark alleyway in Phoenix, Arizona. This would be the first time I held a gun. He left me in harm's way while he went to get his fix. Before he left, he said “use this to protect yourself.” It was in that exact moment I realized that I was the only one who would have my back.
This was just the first of many things that would make me grow up fast. The years passed and I became a homeless kid with a drug addicted Mom and an abusive Dad who wasn’t in the picture much. By 12 years old my life was filled with sleepless nights as I would check my Mom’s pulse throughout the night. To make sure she didn’t OD. Through all this I promised myself I would work as hard as humanly possible to break the cycle.
I couldn’t take care of my Mom anymore so I moved to be with my Dad who promised he was better. But when I got to him things were worse than ever before. With no home and no where to go we slepped wherever we could. Eventually ending up on a Kitchen floor in a trailer where we would stay for about 8 months. My dad had grown to be mentally and verbally abusive. Life at home became a living hell. With no where left to turn I ran back to my Mom who promised she was better. Not at all surprised when I got back to her to discover her addiction had gotten worse. I ended up back with my Dad within a few months. I would face years more to come of emotional and mental abuse and threats of physical violence until I was finally able to get away.
Abuse, addiction, violence, homelessness and assault are all apart of my past now. After years of crying myself to sleep at night, calling CPS on my own dad to no avail, and being told I should flee multiple times. I was finally able to safely get away at 17 while my Dad was in jail and unable to hurt me. All of these things with only a few trusted adults in my corner. I kept fighting so that I could get away, break the cycle and make something of myself. At 22 years old now, I can tell you that I was the first in my family to graduate high school, and at just 17 years old. I went on to college and graduated with my Bachelor‘s degree at 21. Now at 22 I’m working on a Master’s degree.
All of the things I went through have made me who I am, and I’m thankful for them. And while I’ve forgiven, I haven’t forgotton. Now I want to help kids that are in similar situations. My overall goal now is to help as many youth who are facing similar issues, as possible. I hope to send a message that there is always hope. I always try and share my story with people so that I can encourage them to never give up or stop believing in themselves. I hope someone who needs hope reads this. Please.. Never. Give. Up.