As you all know already, I do not have relationships with either of my parents. I used to think that I couldn’t live my life without them, but when I truly thought about it – I have done so pretty much the whole time. I spent a lot of my time trying to gain the approval and affection of them both, but it was just a waste of time. Both my parents are severe alcoholics and throughout my childhood I often felt roles were reversed and I spent a lot of time giving them the emotional support they needed. It’s a massive responsibility for a young child to carry, and when I needed support in return – they just weren’t there.
Parents are supposed to be people you look up to and aspire to be like. When I look at my parents, if they have ever given me anything – they’ve shown me what not to be. My mother and father are in their early forties and within the time I spent with them, would often relay stories about their childhood & how their own parents had failed them. My mother and father both blame their parents for how their lives had turned out and I have no doubt they would blame their excessive drinking on them too. If only they could look at their relationship with me and realise it is history repeating. But no, I doubt they will ever recognise it and I am okay with that.
Do I feel sorry for myself? Well if I am being honest, some times. My heart hurts a little when I think of my wedding, no proud father to walk me down the aisle and no excited mother beaming with joy to help me pick my bridal gown. At times I wish I had a parent to call to just so they can say they are proud of me, I don’t think the yearning of wanting a parent will ever go away but it’s yet another thing I’ve learnt to accept.
My parents have the mind frame that because they had a bad childhood, it gives them the right to behave the way they do. They’ve spent the majority of their lives feeling sorry for themselves and feeling that because of these circumstances the world owes them something good. What a horrible misconstrued mind set to have. As horrible as it sounds, the world does not owe you a single thing. It is up to you to get out there and achieve great things. Some people might say, “Well it’s easier said than done” And I know at the peak of my illness, the thought of doing anything was so hard – how could I go out and achieve anything when getting out of bed was difficult? You just need to push yourself.
Do not let your illness, or bad circumstances or in my case bad parents – define who you are. You are so much more than that, and your potential is endless. It doesn’t have to take another person to see the potential, nor do you need validation from others – cultivate the love and positivity within yourself, and realise your options are endless. When I look back on my childhood, it makes me feel sad and I wish more than anything that it was different – but it’s in the past, it cannot be rewritten and all I can do is move forward. I refuse to be the victim, I refuse to be like my parents, I refuse to allow people in my life who only bring negativity and hurt. I am an adult, and I choose to deal with my problems instead of sweeping them under the rug or self medicating like my parents with drugs or alcohol. That is not me. I am better than that.
Sometimes people feel the easier way in life, is to sit back and say “poor me”. In no way am I undermining difficult experiences that happen within peoples lives, I know all too well the struggle and the pain. If you’ve been knocked down, you have the choice – you can stay on the ground or you can dust your knees off, get back up and try again. I’ve had many set backs in life, and I remember at times I did just want to give up, I was beyond the point of caring. I don’t remember the exact moment of when my viewpoint changed, but as I stumbled across the course guide for a Bachelor of Social Work, it was a light bulb moment for me. Instead of viewing myself as a victim, I could use my past experiences and help others. It was my way of turning what was seemingly negative, into a positive. I’ve nearly finished my degree, something I thought I would never achieve – I am living breathing proof that you can turn your life around at any given moment.
When I have my graduation ceremony, I won’t be looking for my parents in the crowd – I know they won’t be there. But I’ll still walk with my head held high onto that stage and be proud, of myself. Don’t limit yourself or berate yourself because of how others have treated you, you cannot control other peoples actions but you can control where you go from there. Be your own hero, realise you are worthy of a beautiful life and you don’t need other people to give it to you, you can create your own. Some of the worlds most powerful and influential people have come from the toughest of circumstances and risen above because they’ve accepted the past and worked hard to create themselves a better future.
If you’re at the point of giving up, please get a piece of paper and write down some goals. They can be short term or long term and they might seem whacky & crazy, but write them anyway and then go out and achieve them! Don’t just “hope” things will get better, get out there and actively make an effort to create a life you’re proud of. You are worthy, you are courageous and you are so deserving.
Be your own hero.