This I Believe

Kattie - Charleston, South Carolina
Entered on February 14, 2008

I believe in the strength within us all.

I believe that there is a source of incredible strength inside of us all. Some of us are lucky enough never to have to tap into the source, but others spend their whole lives praying that it is endless.

My parents divorced when I was 6, and my mother took me to live with my step-father. He wasn’t a very nice man and the next six years of my life were even more painful than the nights I laid awake listening to my parents fighting and the sound of crashing glass.

My mother left when I was only 12 years old. She divorced my step-father and ran off with her third husband. I had to live with my father and take care of my brother who was only a few years younger than me. I had to become the woman of the house, keep up my school work, and still have time for myself.

Somehow, I managed to live through it and come out relatively in one piece. My older sister got pregnant at 15, dropped out in the eigth grade, and had another child a year later. My brother dropped out of school after his second attempt at the sixth grade. He’s now a medicated bi-polar schizophrenic and my sister is in her second marriage with her third child.

I guess I’m the black sheep of the family. I went on to graduate high school and am now currently in my last semester of my senior year of college. There were many times along the way that I doubted myself. I often lacked the familial support that I needed and at times I felt like giving up.

But then I thought about my mother. My sister. My brother. Somewhere in between, I found that strength. That deep down motivating force that kept telling me I could do it. I had to do it. Not just for me, but for them.

I love my family. I can’t imagine the things that my sister or my brother must go through on a daily basis. I still have times when I think I hate my mother for what she did to me, but then I tap into that source again and I manage to find the strength to forgive her.

In the short 23 years that I have lived on this earth, I have seen and felt things I wish a thousand times over that I never did. But I believe it’s in the body and the mind’s weakest moments that it finds the strength to pick up and carry on.