“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.” –Joseph Campbell
I grew up in a poor family in a small town in California. My day-to-day life as a child was waking up for school at 6 am to get ready. I watched TV that was the size of a box of crayons while my other 4 siblings scrambled around me to get ready themselves. We lived in a one bedroom apartment with the smallest bathroom that ran cold water most of the time. My mother, who worked double shifts, was already gone by the time we all woke up. My baby brother was sent to grandmas house and my step father was out in the fields working as a migrant worker. My older siblings made sure I was dressed for school before they took off and my older brother had to walk my little brother and I to school before he left as well. We all had busy schedules.
In school I was bullied a lot. I am not talking about just being called names, but full on bullied by people who knew they were better off than I was. I wore hand -me-downs from my older brother and sisters. My clothes didn’t always fit and my sense of style was horrendous. Elementary school was the worst days of school of my life but I had good friends that stuck by me and teachers who helped me through it, except for that one who yelled at me and embarrassed me in front of the whole class. (Let’s not talk about him.)
After school I would hurry on home and I would have to help around the house and was supposed to be quiet. My mother at the time had serious depression where anything would set her off and she would beat us, kick us, and hang us by the ears if we misbehaved. When I was a kid I thought this behavior was normal. I thought that is what moms do.
She never failed to feed us and clothe us. She was very on top of that. Even when we had nothing to eat she was make a big batch of beans and save the broth for later to have bean broth and tortillas for breakfast. We didn’t have much at all. We never ate the good cereal, soda was just at parties, sweets was for birthdays, and holidays. There was no such thing as junk food in the house, we couldn’t afford it. Every penny counted.
These years were the hardest years of my entire life. I was my mothers punching bag and everyone knew it but nobody helped me. I did most of the house work since my mother had to work all the time because I ended up being the oldest sibling in the household. Whenever my mother was bothered by anything she would call me over to fix it and if I couldn’t, I was beaten to a pulp. She would scratch my arms, bash my head on walls, pull my hair, choke me, and knock me over and kick me wherever she saw an opening. I was scared of her for years and I didn’t say a word of it to my friends, family, and others. I was afraid my mother would be taken away. She always told me that she would be taken away to jail and if I really wanted that?
Psychologically I was at her mercy. I had to be a the good girl she always wanted. I believed all that she said about me being a worthless piece of shit and that I should never have existed. She would always remind me that I was a product of rape and she didn’t want me. I also had to be the protector of my younger siblings. Whenever my parents tried to hurt any one of them I would be in the way to stop them. I would take the beating and make sure there was peace after that.
I did what every teenager did: I rebelled. I was tired of being the one to blame for all of the family problems that I decided to just do what I wanted and I didn’t care who knew it. I went through a faze where my self worth was zero to none and I slept with my boyfriend all the time to forget the pain I was actually feeling. He later admitted to cheating on me and laughed while I was heartbroken.
I went into high school with nothing but a goal in mind to get the hell out of town. My new goal in life wasn’t to become a doctor or a writer anymore. It was to join the Marines and to never come back. I was set on leaving everything behind and starting a new life for myself. I grew into a stupid person that got a new person to sleep with that eventually turned into my ex husband. We were up to no good, we drank and ditched school without a care in the world until one day I snapped out of it and actually gave a hoot about my life. I wanted it back.
Right when I was escalating in life I fell pregnant with my daughter, Samantha Grace. She came into my life like an unexpected blessing. At 15 years old I was going to become a mother and It scared me to death. I was obviously not accepted in society and people talked about me like they knew me.
Fast forward to months later, I was accomplishing the goals I set for myself. I went to 11 classes, band practice, teen mom group, parenting classes. and adult school while I was a mother, daughter, sister, and student. And I did it, I finished high school with good grades and a high GPA.
As A Young Adult
I was kicked out of the house right after and was trying to juggle school, finding places to live, and work. It was hard but I was doing fine until one of those times I became homeless. I sat at a curb with my one year old daughter starving, with all the hurt in the world. Everything went downhill fast. I was helped by a wonderful program called the CYM program in Reedley CA. They helped house me and paid for some hotel stays while I tried my best to get back on my feet again. I kept going to school but later knew I should have dropped out because I now have low grades that I cannot take back. I had no idea what I was doing and I rushed into making big life decisions. I married Samantha’s dad, not because I was ready, but because he was signing up for the military and we both wanted the best for Samantha. We were happily married, but married too young…if that makes sense? We didn’t have much luck pursuing our goals and we were stuck working in jobs we didn’t like. We didn’t know how to handle the stress and we lost ourselves in horrible coping skills. I drank my life away and he hid in the gym as much as he could. We tried working out our marriage when it was too late and we now co parent and are best of friends.
In the time I was at my loneliest, I found a guy named Connor who lived 5,500 miles away from me. We fell in love and we took the chance of having a long distance relationship. He went to visit me in California for 3 months and I returned the favor and here I am in England.
Currently I am in the process of fixing myself. I am working on my self esteem, self worth, weight, and starting a better lifestyle for myself. I used to be a fighter and I looked at the brighter side and lately I have been letting depression win. I have good days, low days, and days where it’s just blah, but I am still holding on, even though I say I am not, I still have fight left in me.
My mother got the help she needed and is now an outstanding grandmother and the mother I knew she could be. She is doing well herself and I love her very very much. She too lived a hard life and I do not blame her for being the way she was, she needed help just like most.
This last year I lost so many important people in my life and the shit job that kept me afloat. I was in a rut and decided to just take the leap of faith and fly over to England to help me find myself.
And I look at myself now and I see potential. I have to dig really deep and try my hardest to just go in and take it. I can see that my past doesn’t have to define me but help me become a better version of myself.
I told myself that I will not let the odds against me win. I was not going to let circumstances take over, this is MY life and I am in charge. I promised myself that I will try harder and not put requirements on how to get there and to let it happen all in do time. I told myself to ignore those who judge me and worry about myself. I told myself to just do it! Do what I love doing! To do what I love and not look back.
And I encourage all of you to do the same!
Do what you love to do because life is way too short to just put it off until tomorrow! The time is here and now! Take this as the sign to just start…because what kind of life would it be if we give up living?