10 years ago, someone told me I wasn't raised right.
I was raised in 1 bedroom apartments with my parents and 5-6 of my siblings. I was raised in section 8 housing and welfare. I was raised in 7 states and more schools than I can count on my fingers.
I was raised in a household with an on/off drug-addicted parent for 18 years of my life. Where he would ask to borrow his children's money and we would never see it back. Where he would leave for days at a time when our mother was pregnant with a sick baby. Our baby sister didn't make it.
I was raised in an environment where it wasn't uncommon to be told you are worthless. That you have nothing to show for. I was even told that having me around was worse than having a dog around.
I was raised in a world where I kind of shut down and barely spoke from middle school to early high school.
I was raised in a world where no one knew I was sexually abused by an uncle and a family 'friend' when I was just about both of my children's ages.
Growing up was conflicting for me. Maybe I wasn't raised right. But that never defined me as a person.
Jada Pinkett Smith once said that she turned the pain of her childhood into power. That was her motivation. This past year has been the most challenging of my life. Everything came crashing down. Past, present, and future. Not knowing what I'm doing. Not knowing what the future holds. Not feeling like myself. In a way, forgetting who I am. I've never felt so powerless. I've never felt so.. weak.
Being in that place made me question everything. Through it all, I think I forgot to take care of myself. It's not something I ever considered. Honestly, I'm still trying to find my way there. My saving grace is the very fact that I'm a mother.
I've spent the past 10 years of my life doing the best thing I will ever do in this lifetime: raising my kids. Raising them to have big hearts and kind souls. Raising them to respect people and to respect themselves. Raising them into good/great/amazing human beings.
As a parent, my biggest fear is to repeat the mistakes I've watched countless people around me make. It's not easy when it's all I've known. It's an internal battle that I fight every single day.. to be the mom my children deserve. To be their champion. To be someone they can turn to. To guide them and to protect them. To make them feel loved. To let them know that I will always be their home.
This is something I will never stop fighting for.. no matter how many times I think I fail.. because they are worth it.
This is something Olivia and I repeat daily. This is my hope for her and for her brother.