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Back When

By @t-ris

    Today someone asked me a question I never knew I’d be able to answer. They asked what my life like before the age of 10. Thinking back to before I was even 10, things were much different than they are today. I am much different than who I am today. I had a completely different outlook on life, love, and religion. Now, that’s my whole world. I was born into a life that wasn’t fair to any child. My birth mother being a drug dealer and addict, prostitute, having three children before me. her first child being born when she was only 15. My birth mother was never around, and I’ve only seen her around 6 or 7 times her whole life. Along with my birth father, never being in the picture. She doesn’t know much about him, and would prefer to keep it that way. For as long as she could remember, i had lived with my grandparents.

    Back then, it wasn’t the worst situation she could’ve been in. She was never comparing herself to anyone or to anyone else’s story or circumstances at all. There are many stories much worse than mine. My grandparents were heavy alcoholics and smokers. Some people, can maintain themselves after getting a little buzzed. My grandparents, that didn’t happen. They were abusive, and there was physical fighting practically every time they drank. Whether that was towards each other, one of my siblings, or me, was circumstantial. Back then, I had severe anxiety that caused me to pick the top layer of skin from my fingers. I’d pick until they bled. I picked until it hurt. Until everything around me felt okay again.

Being so young, I had never been exposed to an environment any different than this. Fighting, physical, verbal abuse, drugs and alcohol always somewhere involved in my life, were things that I was used to. I expected every home was this way. This caused me to be a bitter, hateful, girl. I didn’t understand why everyone around me seemed to angry, so I did my best to be happy. I knew why I lived with my grandparents. I knew what happened. Before I was 10, I didn’t know what a normal family was. I didn’t know that I could have goals for myself and genuinely want to accomplish those goals. Way back then, I didn’t know that I didn’t have to follow the path of my family members. Way back then, I felt sorry for myself and began to grow envious of those who had normal family lives. I wished for a different life, different circumstances, and more. Now, I realize what a mistake that was.

    If I didn’t go through everything I did, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I thought life was worthless, because no one was happy. I didn’t know what real love looked like. From my perspective, love was only love when you were sober. Religion was not one of my concerns at all. I had no idea what the real meaning of faith was. I had no concern. I was never exposed to a church, if i wanted to go, I had to walk. Because of all of this, and because of a terrifying, crazy night, I am where I am today. The exact date I’m not sure of, but a night in October of 2012, my whole world got flipped upside down and things were at the worst point that I thought they could have been. Again, there are so many stories worse than mine.

After hours of screaming and fighting, Child Protective services had decided the only option, was to place my brother and I into foster care. Around 4 a.m, I was taken into foster care for the last time (there have been multiple times I’ve been placed into care.) I arrived around 6 a.m, due to the way the foster system works and the process that it takes to be placed with a family. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Their home was definitely not as bad as some homes, but verbal abuse was a large factor, the things my brother and I were forced to eat, etc. This lead me to become someone who didn’t care anymore. Others around me were making decisions that would determine my whole life. I didn’t respect that, I didn’t want that. And I was determined not to accept that. I wanted to be in control, I wanted what I wanted and I was sick of depending on people.   

   December 19, 2012 I was pulled out of the foster system for the very last time. This was going to be my ‘forever family.’ I was adopted on February 5, 2016. Sometimes your life gets shifted, and it may set you in a rough position or situation, but your outlook and attitude determines how the rest of your life goes.

You are the only thing that can allow your own happiness. If you don’t have an open mind in tough situations, and try to find at least one positive, everything will crash around you. You’ll become bitter, someone others don’t want to be around. You never meet a bitter person who is thankful, or a thankful person who is bitter. My family now, have taught me what love is. They are constantly willing to open anyone with open arms, no matter that person’s circumstances. They are not selfish, and you can count on them to make you feel loved when you don’t really feel like you love yourself. Most of all, my family gave me the biggest blessing I could have asked for. They brought me to church. This is where I changed the most. They exposed me to a christian atmosphere and home, that has shifted my whole life in a positive way. I struggle every single day. I am not perfect. I am human, I have flaws, and the me way back when, had even more. Although, without me back when, I wouldn’t be the version of myself I am now. 

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