Judy - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on May 6, 2008

May is National Foster Care Awareness month

My story is to all the foster children.

My Backpack

Since birth I have my own unique collection of past experiences. Which leads me to believe that foster care is ageless? No matter what age you are, everyone has a past, and we often carry our childhood experiences into adulthood.

In order to represent my experiences while in foster care, I want to use the analogy of a backpack. Have you ever carried a heavy backpack? How did it make you feel? Did it slow you down or hold you back? Did your backpack ever get on your nerves or maybe you couldn’t wait to get rid of it? Did it prevent you from standing tall? Did you complain to others? Did you envy others who had a lighter backpack?

I carry an invisible backpack with me all the time. My backpack is where I carry all the scars, insecurities, hurts and disappointments from my past. Lets call these my rocks.

Throughout my life I have experience physical, verbal, sexual and emotional abuse. These are heavy rocks for a child to carry alone. I lived in the streets when I was nine and eighteen. I also got my diploma while living in the streets.

As a young adult at age eighteen my backpack was still invisible to me. Hidden scars of the past seemed to weigh me down. I could feel the heaviness in my heart and an emptiness I couldn’t explain. I had feelings of hopelessness and despair. I wanted love, respect and approval but often came up empty with feelings of being used or unappreciated. What would be the logical way for me to view the world?

The bad news is we have no control over the rocks that were given to us as a child. The good news is today we can make a choice to take back our life. No matter how badly I was mistreated, ultimately I have to take responsibility for my life.

If it’s to be it’s up to me,

to take back what was stolen from me.

What’s in your backpack not only affects you but those around you? The changes you make in your life can influence others in a positive way and consequently, “You can make a difference.”

Finally, my deepest hope for you is that you find the inner strength to sort through the barriers and roadblocks that hold you back and weigh you down and begin to build your life on your terms.

By the way what’s In Your Backpack?