The Quest to Have it All
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Shared by: Anonymous
Growing up in a first generation college household, there was always pressure to "make it". My parents constantly drove home the importance of higher education as the key to avoiding poverty and achieving financial and social success. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the Northern Virginia area, where diversity and socioeconomic success was something that surrounded me. Striving for anything less than an upper middle class lifestyle would be perceived as failure.
I appreciated the comfort of the middle class lifestyle. This ensured I never worried about bills being paid, food in the refrigerator, not having access to extracurricular activities or the feeling of financial inferiority to classmates due to the lack of finances. But at home, I saw the stress on my parents trying to maintain this lifestyle. My dad traveled for work, often being away from home for days or weeks at a time. When he was home, he was physically exhausted and often had a short temper. My mom owned a successful in-home daycare business; however the pressure of running a full-time business while also raising teenagers without the in-home support of her husband created a constant tension. When my dad was home, my parents were often at odds and it caused a lot of stress, ultimately leading to the demise of their marriage.
Amongst all the dysfunction at home, I just wanted to feel and be loved by any means necessary. I looked for validation in all the wrong places. I played basketball in high school, but I was not a superstar or as popular as my younger twin brothers. I was overweight, so I struggled to find positive male affection from my peers and used my body as a weapon to get what I wanted. As I got more depressed, I turned to food and gained more weight. Upon graduation from high school, I wanted to reinvent myself in a way that allowed me to shine and finally get the love and affirmation I sought my whole life.
Going to college was never a matter of choice, I was going whether I wanted to or not. I wanted to go to cosmetology school, but my parents immediately rejected that notion. I ended up going to my father's alma mater where I was expected to follow his footsteps. My personal hopes and dreams were eclipsed by the expectations of my parents, and I began to live a life that was centered on the appeasement and affirmation of others. At each turn, I found myself making choices to fill the voids of loneliness and disappointment. I turned to substance abuse to self-medicate from the constant pain and rejection I felt on a regular basis. It was so bad, I almost failed my first semester in college. Then, at the end of my freshman year, I was a victim of sexual assault that would become the catalyst of a downhill spiral that would only end with the birth of my twin sons in April 2010.
Becoming a mother changed my entire life. Before I was a mother, my life was on a trajectory for self-destruction. My days were spent trying to fill the voids of the rejection of my past. But when I found out I was pregnant, I had a choice: Would I allow the pain of my past to ruin these innocent lives, OR would I make the necessary changes to make sure these children would have the best opportunity for success? For the first time, I had to choose someone else's livelihood over my own. At 19 weeks pregnant, I was placed on hospital bed rest to avoid miscarrying my sons. For 10 weeks, I stayed in my hospital bed to ensure my sons had a chance at life. When they were finally born, I did not know what to do. I knew I had kids, but I did not feel connected.
I was scared. I was angry. I was numb.
Again, I had a choice: Do I abandon my responsibilities as a parent, OR do I suck it up and fight like hell?
SPOILER ALERT I fought like hell. With