Have you ever held onto the pain of your childhood? Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you could let go of the past?
Let me give you a little history about me.
My mom was born in Mexico and came here with little education and a dream to have a better life as an American. Her dream was to marry a white man and have children with colored eyes. My dad was a tall white man with blue eyes who had a troubled childhood. My dad came from a line of alcoholics. When my parents met, it was a new start for both. My mom just wanted a better life with a man and my dad wanted to be a different man in a different life.
So, my parents married in April of 1969. My sister was born in January of 1970. My brother was born in December of 1970. I was born in November of 1971. My little brother was born in June of 1973. My dad left my mom 3 weeks after my youngest brother’s birth.
They had purchased a home in West Covina when they started to have kids and my dad had started working with my uncle who was my dad’s mentor in real estate. My dad desired to be a great dad and husband, providing for his family. As each child was born, seemingly more responsibilities came with each. My dad was getting what he thought was the best training from his compadre. One bit of advice he received was, “When they want to think about it, pull out a bottle of tequila and tell them let’s think about it together while we have some shots!” Well, this couldn’t last long especially with my dad dealing with his own demons. He couldn’t handle being in a home with his nagging wife, crying children and mounting responsibilities. He had women hitting on him and ready to give him what he wanted, with no “strings” attached. The easier thing for him to do in his mind was leave.
With little education, my mom’s work skills were minimal. In her mind, the most she could ever do was some type of factory work. Unfortunately, with all of us being very young, she really couldn’t do anything since childcare was unavailable. She felt her only resort was to go on welfare. I honestly don’t remember how long my mom was on welfare. I do remember going to the grocery store and paying with food stamps. We could only get so much and make it last because it was what we could afford.
My dad would come around from time to time attempting to create some sanity in his life. Unfortunately, as an alcoholic he only brought hell with him. We lived in a modestly sized 900 square foot house with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. I remember moments when he would show up unexpectedly. He would sit in our living room in a complete drunken spell. He may have missed us but we hated the way he showed it. “Monica, come here!”. I would go and sit next to him and he would grip my arm as I sat on the floor next to him in his easy chair. If I moved, he would hold me tighter. I would have to wait for him to fall asleep so I could squeeze out of his grip. We all tried our hardest to hide when he would show up because we never knew what mood he would be in.
My mom was Catholic. She believed when you married someone, you married them for life. They did divorce but my mom never stopped caring for my dad. When he decided to come around, she felt obligated to care for him since he was the father of her children. At times he would come home with lipstick on his collar and smelt like perfume. They would have an argument and one time my mom woke up with black eyes (after she jumped on my dad in the dark and scared the living shit out of him-my dad reacted in self -defense).
I remember growing up angry with my dad. How could he abandon us? Plus, my mom would speak of my dad as if he was the devil. Yet, when he came around she allowed him in. I never understood my mom for doing this. I felt she was a strong woman and did what she could for us. I am telling you this woman sacrificed her life for her children. She attempted to date (my mom was very attractive) once but felt guilty since we wouldn’t know our dad if she was in a relationship with another man. Her whole life revolved around us, almost to a fault.
Once my brother was old enough to start kindergarten, my mom felt comfortable to go to work. She would leave early in the morning and we would all take care of our own for breakfast. She got off early while my brother was in kindergarten but went to full time once we were all in “regular” school. She would scare the living shit out of us if we didn’t make it to school on time. Plus, when we got home we knew not to open the door for anyone and stay inside until she got home. Essentially, we were latch key kids. I took on the responsibility of cooking for all of us to make sure we were all fed or we would just grab cereal and eat bowls of cereal. We did the best with what we knew how. Honestly, we all had an immense amount of love for each other. We also had a huge amount of respect for my mom.
We knew she sacrificied much of her life for us. She made sure we were taken care of and we knew she cared about us. My mom was never one to say “I love you” or even give us hugs to reassure us. We just knew she cared because she made sure we had food, we were clean, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.
I remember one instance when my dad was back at home for one of his visits. I remember waking up to screaming. My dad had woken up in a pool of blood and my mom didn’t know what to do. She refused to call the ambulance so she called my uncle who came with my cousin. They loaded my dad in the car and rushed my dad to the hospital. My dad flat lined 3 times. He came through after blood transfusions (which he contracted Hepatitis C from). When he came back to the house for recovery, he was angry. He still went out after he healed and drank.
The day my dad decided to stop drinking, he woke up in a parking lot of a bar completely hungover. The train blew by and he noticed the bar was opening up for the day. He thought to himself, “If I could have a bloody mary, then I could feel better”. He reached in his pocket to see if he had any money. The only thing in his pockets were 4 letters to Santa Claus from us of what we wanted for Christmas. It was December 21. From that moment on, he committed to stop drinking.
Once my mom and dad decided to get back together, my siblings and I were very confused. We couldn’t understand how my mom could take this devil back when he caused so much pain to us. I was scared of my dad and wasn’t sure how to act. I was in junior high school when he stopped drinking. I remember feeling like a stranger was living in our home. He seemed angry since he now chose to live alcohol free and his body was having actual physical withdrawals from the lack of alcohol. Plus, he had to completely reinvent himself. He didn’t want to be in sales and have to convince anyone to do anything, especially with alcohol. He decided to be a real estate appraiser.
My dad worked his ass off to get ahead. He worked to pay off every cent my mom was paid for while on welfare. He worked to put us in private school for high school. My dad worked 7 days a week for years. It almost seemed as if his new obsession was work.
Why do I tell you this story?
Could I blame my mistakes on my past?
Do I choose to live as the little girl who didn’t feel good enough?
Do I condemn my dad or mom for the decisions they made?
I tell you this story to share with you, your past does NOT dictate who you are today, if you do NOT allow it.
My mom and dad did the best they could. They both did not intend to emotionally abuse their children. It would do me no good to judge or condemn either one of my parents. I love both of my parents.
My mom passed away a couple of years ago and although at the time she was not happy with my choices, she knows I loved her. As much as I love my mom, I chose to live life on my terms. I have sensed my mom’s love even after her passing and I know this love.
My dad and I have had many meaningful conversations. He is an amazing person.
He has made a commitment to be sober. He speaks and shares his testimony to people all over the world.
I have sat and cried with my dad. We have forgiven each other. My dad is not the person he was. He follows the 12 step program and is committed to being a better man. I admire my dad.
If I chose to, I could blame all of my problems on my past. What good would this do? I am not the same person I was as a child. I am a grown woman who is the mother of her own children. Guess what? I have fucked up many times. I am not the perfect mother. If you ask my kids if they had a great childhood, they would tell you many stories of how they felt which would differ from my own.
Are you going to continue to live in the past? Will you continue to hold onto resentments? Will you continue to live the pain which consumes your life?
You can choose to live your life in anyway you choose however what if there was a better way? What if you could be happy just because? What if you were worthy of a great life? Let go of the past and start living for today. Forgive others and forgive yourself. Allow others to experience the magnificent you.
As horrible as your experience may be, whether you were raped, abandoned as a child, robbed, molested, etc. you don’t have to be the victim. You can get past the pain, release it and start over.
Being a victim day after day is only giving the other person more power over you. Take responsibility for your life and take your power back.
If the person who caused you pain in your past is no longer around and not a part of your life, why not write a letter to them? Once it is written, go to a place where you feel comfortable and read it out loud. Act as if you are reading this letter to them and forgive them. Once you have forgiven them, forgive yourself. Now tear up the letter and throw it away. Make this a huge step in your healing process.
Be the BEST you at any age!