I believe in ambition. Ambition is the driving force, compelling us to achieve something better or greater for ourselves in our lives.
I grew up very poor, me and my mother living out of our car when I was only three. My father had abandoned us like he would do to me for the rest of my life; coming in and out of it as he pleases. An alcoholic and cocaine addict, he was often on week long drug binges or working. Even since the time my mother was pregnant he would leave my her at home, sometimes for a week at a time with no food and no money. He would come back and bring money, often angry that my mother would start a tab at the grocery store because she needed things to live.
By the time I was two years old, she had got a small job, but my father still was not a constant; only claiming residence there and coming back when he felt like it. My mother couldn’t take it anymore and we moved out, staying with her friend’s parents.
She got a very low paying job delivering auto parts but soon we were forced out on the streets and into her car, because of a lack of money. She worked a variety of low paying jobs, finally getting a decent apartment for us to call home. After years of hard work she became an assistant to a licensed home appraiser and started training to become one herself.
By sixth grade she could no longer help me with my homework anymore but she was so proud of me. She always told me that I had to be the first in our family to go to college and find a career that made me happy.
Through my time at school my mother was working to become licensed as a home appraiser and studying to take her test. I did well in school and as a hobby picked up a guitar against my mothers will, but with her support, as my father was a guitarist also. I started a band that started playing punk rock clubs with bands that I grew up listening to. Towards the end of high school she started her own business and I decided that I would stay in Tucson and go to the University of Arizona.
I have become a husband to my wonderful wife, a home owner and am still aiming for my current goal of graduation with a double major and becoming an appraiser.
Still, I long to be a writer, a poet, a loving father, a rock star, a hip hop producer and a graduate student. I am the first in my family to go to college and now I will push my kids to strive for better. I thank my mother for all of the strength she gave me, I believe in ambition.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.