Selfishness. I grew up watching an alcoholic father destroy my family. My father’s alcoholism made him violent and unaware of his actions or their effect. My mother was too self-consumed after divorcing him to take care of me, and we inevitably switched roles. My father also stopped talking to me around this time because it made him feel guilty. Like many children of my generation, I have been 40 since I was 10.
I grew up feeling betrayed and abandoned by my parents. I started my pre-teen years full of hatred and anger toward everyone in my life including myself. I felt unworthy of love, desperately alone, and absolutely heartbroken. I could not make sense of what my life had become.
I struggled through my teen years with an eating disorder and suicidal behavior. While I teetered on the edge of self-destruction, my body gave out; and I was forced to see a therapist.
I was grateful for hitting that final level of darkness in order to build myself into the young woman I am today, but therapy does not teach you everything. As I got older I knew that my experiences as a child made me better than my parents would ever be, but still viewed them with a bitter negativity.
Then in college I met my roommate. She is the most amazing young woman that I have ever known. She is also a 40-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old body. Her wisdom, strength, and grace have also come from her “not-so-perfect” childhood. Her mother is an alcoholic and her father is a recovering drug addict. She knows that they are not perfect, and as much pain as their experiences have caused her, she believes that these roles her parents have played are their purpose in life.
She does not view her parents as selfish. She sees them as instructors. She knows as much as they try to change, they cannot. Her parents have caused her more heartache and struggle than parents should, but at the same time they have made her stronger and provided her with convictions, morals, and values that make her passionate to change the world.
Her influence has changed my attitude towards my past and others in similar situations. This I believe, I believe that everything happens for a reason. Whether it is bad or good, something amazing can come from it. My roommate has taught me that our influences although negative, were supposed to be that way.
Without our parents faults affecting us, neither of us would be the young women we are today. I am forever grateful for meeting her. She is studying to be an educator, and I hope she will have the chance to shine her amazing spirit and strength on her students as much as she has on me.
Life is too precious to not see the beauty that raises from pain and suffering.
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