Choosing My Path
My story is one of perseverance. It is told in the hope we each realize that no matter where our life began or what may have happened to us – we can change our path. It will not be easy and may take time but we can set our mind to do things differently. None of us can change our past but we can change our future. We no longer have to float downstream with the current because we can now swim on our own. The choice is ours. Do we follow the path before us even though we see it might lead to despair and destruction? Do we let adversity steer our lives and feel sorry for ourselves? Do we use what happens to us to learn from it and make better choices or do we take the familiar path that was laid before us?
I began my life in a small town. I was the oldest child with four sisters and two brothers who followed me in quick succession. On the outside we seemed like the ideal family – we went to church weekly, were neatly dressed and well mannered. However, beneath the surface life was completely different.
Life in my house was anything but normal. I was five years old when the elderly neighbor, Cecil, next door started sexually abusing me. The abuse lasted throughout my kindergarten year. I tried to tell my parents but as a child I just didn’t know how.
My father was an alcoholic who struggled to hold a job most of my childhood. We were poor and struggled to make ends meet. I couldn’t bring friends home because I never knew when he would be raging or drunk. My dad had many physical problems and went from doctor to doctor to figure out what was wrong. He was angry and abusive. The emotional abuse hurt the most. My mother was struggling to keep herself afloat in a volatile marriage. She was an artist and withdrew to her studio. I felt unloved.
I went on to college and got married shortly afterwards. I spent years in an unhappy marriage until I finally found the courage and strength to make a change. Out of the unhappiness, I had two beautiful daughters so all was not lost. I also gained a second family until we divorced and was no longer welcome. The divorce was difficult but out of endings come new beginnings. I found the love of my life and have embarked on a path to help others heal themselves. Life is a balance and in it there are glimmers of hope in almost every situation if we look.
There are patterns in our life we have to step back to see if we don’t want to repeat them. I know my parents tried to do the best they could with what they learned growing up. I don’t blame my parents for the mistakes I made in my life. These mistakes are my own. I believe life is what we make it. If we allow ourselves to be pushed around by the current rather than swim for ourselves we will continue to follow paths that lead only to despair. I made poor choices in my life but I also eventually found the strength to choose a new path. Change did not happen overnight, but it did happen when I made the decision to swim for myself. Life is good and there are opportunities to change when we are ready and strong enough to make them happen.