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My Story- Part 1

Updated on June 18, 2013

A Little Background

I was born in Philly, but grew up in Ny, mostly. I lived with my mom for the majority of the time. My birth father was in the picture for a short time, and my step-dad for a longer time. I love both of them, but my step-dad was there for me in ways I could never appreciate when I was younger, that my real dad couldn't be.

My mother and I moved a lot. Sometimes we lived with other people, sometimes we lived on our own. I never had a steady home, nor a steady male figure in my life, and I think that's really important for development. But, I didn't have the privilege. I have no brothers or sisters, and my mother has a job that she's had for 11 years now, that caused her to be away a good portion of the day. So, I got used to being alone. It's why I'm a loner. A sociable loner, which is a paradox. At the core of me, I am truly a loner.

My whole life I was different. I was usually extra nice to people, even though they would use me for this and that. I went through some strange periods as a child, but, for the most part, I was nice. I had very low self-esteem, which I know is crazy now, because I was such a beautiful little girl. I'm honestly not tooting my own horn, but when I look at my photos from childhood, I just can't believe how ugly I thought I was! Children can be horrible! There were people who would call me ugly, or who would prey on me because of my mostly gentle nature. I was teased a lot. I always got along with the teachers, up through High School, and some people thought I was purposely a "teacher's pet" for it. I simply related better to adults. After taking a psychology class more recently, I found that actually happens often with only children, so there was a reason I was the way that I was.

I had and still have a wonderful mother, who's done a lot for me. She didn't always make the best decisions, and there are some things I honestly resent her for, but I think that she did the best she could. I wish that she had done some things differently, but I have accepted that I cannot change the past. There are some things I wish I would've done differently, myself, but again, the past is out of my grasp.

Anyway, my peers weren't the only cause my low self-esteem. It was my peers, my mother, even though she wasn't aware, and my own mind. I struggled with weight from maybe about 12 until even now, because of a summer that I spent with my dad that my mother is still upset about. I gained maybe 30 lbs or more, because I was left indoors a lot since he was busy working and there wasn't much to do in my Aunt's little Philadelphia apartment-like house. So I ate. I ate and all there was to eat was fattening food. It was the same when we went to my NC family's house. I ate there, too. And my mother never let me hear the end of it.

She disowned me, actually. She didn't know that I heard her say it, but it broke my heart in two when told my step-father that I was not her daughter. I was 30lbs + pounds heavier, probably about 6 shades darker (darker skin is taboo in many Black American households). And she disowned me. Ever since then, she was on my weight like that was her main focus. And I became unhealthily self-conscious. I already thought I was ugly, and then, of all people, my mom made me feel like I wasn't skinny enough, even when I was at a good weight. She once told me "if you lost a few more pounds, you could look like Beyonce." As an adult, I now understand what she meant and what her intentions were, but all I heard as a child was a constant "you're not good enough," even if those aren't the words she used. It did a number on my psyche.

The Move that Started it All

Jump to my mother and I moving to Ga. We hadn't been there long, but I was pretty down and out because, even though I'm usually good at making friends, I had just been dragged out of a comfortable living situation that I'd become well accustomed to, to having to make all new friends and get used to a completely different environment, again. Talk about a culture shock. I was depressed. And then "it" happened.

I was always a very heavy sleeper as a kid. So heavy, in fact, that I would wake up and not know what day it was. Well, I was in a miserable "I'm an awful, ugly person" state of mind already. I was 13 years old, and very unhappy, for many reasons. One day, I woke up, not really sure about the day it was or anything, even though the previous day I'd been aware that my mother's birthday was that next day. I had a problem with reacting way too hard to a situation, and my state of mind didn't help. So I was awake, roaming the apartment, and my mom was like "Do you know what day it is" or something to that affect. And I had just no clue because of having just woken from sleep. My mother says it's her birthday and I tried to play it off by saying I knew that. But instead she got offended and yelled at me for forgetting. I already had felt like shit about myself, and that was like the straw on the camels back. Not the act of her yelling at me, but the act of "forgetting." I felt like a horrible person. I went outside to the railing (we lived on the 3rd level of our apartment building) and i sat on the railing, eyes-saturated with tears, threatening to jump off.

But it's funny, all my mother cared about was if the neighbors saw. She told me to "get down before the neighbors see," literally. She never took me to a psychologist or asked me anything herself. We never even spoke about it afterwards. A clear cry for help, and I got nothing... Guess that's where "God" came into the picture.

And Then There Was Church

We always went to church occasionally, but I never cared much for it. I had "given my life to Jesus" twice already as a younger child, but didn't really understand what that entailed. But that changed.

The church that my mother and I began to attend had a separate church service for the youth. We had a boisterous Youth Pastor, who was very authoritative and loud, but meant well, and believed what he did quite strongly. He wanted us to be "real" and open with out peers. Nothing was secret. We talked, cried, prayed, fellowshipped, the lot of it. I "gave my life to Christ" not too long after. But, that's a whole other story, and certainly required this intro. Stay tuned for Part 2.


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    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I know you do not believe in God or , satan but will please forgive me for my comment or belief? You can erase it. To me racism is evil. For some reason I believe that satan created it. The devil created racism. All of us have blood that is red, bones that are white, brains that are gray. I just believe the devil created racism.

      You are beautiful , please believe that.


    • Collisa profile image

      Columba Smith 5 years ago from California

      Awww. Hugs to you. I had some similar experiences growing up. I remember threatening suicide once, and my parents ignoring it. *sigh* Never forget how special you are.

      I wonder at the dark skin taboo in African American households. That seems so sad to me. I think dark, light, however God made us, is absolutely beautiful.



    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 5 years ago from st louis,mo

      What a beautifully written piece. Your authenticity as a human being comes through loud and clear. Inspiring, humbling and lovely writing. I look forward to part two.

    • A Thousand Words profile image

      A Thousand Words 5 years ago

      While I thank you for your sentiment, Ceegen... you're talking to a wall. The side of me that you're trying to appeal to grew up. I'm not special, nor a miracle, and I don't need to feel like one. I'm confident in my self, and I give myself worth. There's a lot wrong with believing in Jesus in that way in my personal opinion, but if that is the route you choose, then I respect your decision. But please also respect mine. I never forgot the faith that had. I miss it, in fact. Doesn't mean I'll dishonestly hold onto something I no longer believe is true. I'm going to be real, and to be me, and who I am is quite different from who I once was, and I'm not necessarily sorry for it.

    • Ceegen profile image

      James 5 years ago from Maine, USA

      You're a beautiful woman, and just by reading how you type, shows me how intelligent you are. You're a real gem.

      Don't let hypocritical churches ruin the hope in you, that God will restore all things. I don't go to church for a reason, and I too am a "loner" because of it. I've lost friends and a few family because of my faith, and the bible told me this would happen. There is a ton of false information out there, that puts Christianity and the bible in a bad light. A lot of it is true, but a healthy portion of lies are included with it.

      I know that you once had hope and faith, and I ask you to remember that. What is so bad about believing that one man, Jesus Christ, really did die so that all sins could be forgiven? That's what a REAL man is, and God loves you without a doubt. Don't let other people's sins, get in the way of your salvation. Please hold on to the promises of God, I beg you.

      I want to help you as best I can, and I can't make any promises, except to say that if I don't have an answer for you: I will not make anything up. To the best of my knowledge, and what I've learned in life and through scripture, is that miracles are real. And ya know what? You're a miracle, young lady. A beautiful miracle! God made you special, don't you forget it.

    • boyatdelhi profile image

      boyatdelhi 5 years ago

      You are stronger than you think.

      You are Better than you feel

      You are capable than you think...

    • MaestroECMcCloud profile image

      MaestroECMcCloud 5 years ago from Lexington, South Carolina

      May God continue to guide and direct your path young lady. I know exactly how you felt growing up. Your story is very similar to mine. I went through about the first thirty years of my life feeling ugly, awkward and worthless. I am doing much better now, but I still have my days.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Having read your comments and questions in the forums, I was interested in your story. Wow, that is quite an interesting childhood you had!

      Some parents don't have great parenting skills, and actually it might not be their fault. Just like some people might not be able to do other skills well enough. Perhaps in their life, they did not get those opportunities to learn, or the schooling.

      There are some things we have to accept in our own lives. And there are things that we can change. The younger we are, the more "able" we are at changing these things for the better.

      I admire your openess and candid way that you describe your childhood. That is not an easy thing to do. Some of us go through life, not knowing what life has in store for us, or who we truly are. Or what we are meant to do.

      We look inside ourselves. We ponder the questions. We ask opinions of friends and others. Second opinions do count.

      Turning to God is one way. Turning to someone strong who we can trust is another. We do all need a good role model in life. Role models are hard to find.

      I look forward to reading part 2.

      And I wish you the best in life and don't worry about things so much. Things turn out pretty much the way most of us want them to. Except for winning the damn lottery, that is! LOL!