This I Believe

Jessica - Forrest, Illinois
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

My parents are divorced. Difficult to talk about, I thought that growing older would alleviate some of the problems, allow me to deal with things more maturely with the both of them. My younger brother would have to go through the same things as I would, and he was not going to have to go through them alone as I did. Our parents fought about everything from child custody to the other’s personal life, but their biggest and ongoing battle was about money. Not financially well-off, each believed that it was the responsibility of the other to provide for my brother and I. They went to court many times because they could not settle the issue between themselves. In the beginning I answered their questions, relayed the messages back and forth, and never asked for money knowing that it would only start an argument. By the time I left for college I saw into the weakness that they both portrayed and worried about leaving my brother home alone to deal with the both of them. I promised myself that my child would never have to go through a childhood with separated parents and financial issues.

I am eighteen. I am naïve, ditzy, stubborn, and jealous. Jealous of every person that does not have financial trouble, does not have to deal with fighting parents, and who lives in a home filled with love. Holidays at my house are spent with every other family. My dad never got to see me in my prom dress, and my mom never seems to have enough money to support us. I worry about my wedding day and how I’m going to accommodate the both of them in the same room for so long. I now see every minute mistake that my parents make, and I promise myself that I will not do the same. I have chosen a difficult profession to pursue to prove to myself and others that I am an exception and can succeed. I believe that if a will is strong enough, it can drive a person to the future they aspire to have.

Knowing that my parents had many chances to change who they are makes me very aware of the choices that I make now. Others are saying ‘carpe diem’ as I am looking to the future and making sure that what I am doing now does not negatively affect the life that I will have. The people that we are now are who we will always be, only with alterations. The only alterations that I want to plan to make based on my life now are good ones, and now is the time when I have control over that. I believe in self-determination.