This I Believe

Angela - Mishawaka, Indiana
Entered on October 23, 2006

Although my life held a great deal of challenge for me, from growing up with teenage parents who knew nothing of parenting and unconditional love, to parenting my own father at the tender age of ten while he was high on heroin, I had a burning desire in me to be different than those who gave nothing, except their blood, to me.

I grew up as an emotionally abused, verbally tormented girl with little to no self esteem. I had a difficult time dealing with the loss of my father to the volatile combination of heroine, marijuana, and alcohol—these three took him away for a very long time, and, to this day, he has never returned completely as the father I knew before his addictions. My mother was disturbed, and still is, from living her own life of hell growing up with 9 siblings in a two bedroom home with a father who drank far more than he hugged his own children.

What happened to me I cannot explain. However, I was always told by adults who were perceptive, that I was a special child—that I had a fire in my blue eyes—that I could light up a room—that I was destined to do great things. I never believed them then. I do now. I lost myself in books as soon as I could read and it was within the words of authors like Montgomery, Andrews, and Koontz, that everything else around me ceased to exist. I coped through reading, and later coped through writing.

I had a spirit in me that made me believe that no matter how rough a day was, that one day it was going to get better. I knew that I was not placed on this earth to muddle my way through it, cover stupid mistakes with endless excuses and blame; rather, I knew that education, and a lot of it, was the only way out. I saw to it that I would escape, relatively unscathed and this I did.

It is my belief that education is within anyone’s reach. It is my belief that no matter how hard life gets and no matter what boulders riddle your journey, you can and will make it beyond them. It is my belief that I, and everyone who may walk beside me at any given moment, have a special gift and a unique job to perform on this earth—mine is to give a voice to students who are traditionally unspoken-for. I wish to empower those who feel powerless and I give them power through the skills of written and verbal communication. I am passing to others what helped me cope. This, I believe, is my destiny.