Dark Pasts, New Beginnings

Renee - Glendale, Arizona
Entered on August 28, 2008

I believe at birth, everyone is dealt a set of cards and the way we choose to play them defines and underlines our character. If life was a game of poker, my childhood would have been the trip to the casino where one tries gambling with deuce seven off suited. As many find themselves dealt a similar pair, they should be encouraged to change their fate as they grow up and mature. For us unfortunate ones, I believe everyday is a new opportunity to change the direction of our lives, or if you are like me, to deter away from the horrendous path introduced to us by our parents.

Growing up is sometimes hard enough for everyone, right? Now close your eyes and imagine being five, waking up everyday to an empty house except for your “illegal babysitter”, also known as your nine year old brother. Oblivious at the time, I got a few years older and became exposed to the secret drug addict, cheating lives of my parents. Determined at a young age, my fate could have catapulted in a dangerous direction, the only direction I was ever shown. Suddenly, things made sense and the reason my father would come home so infuriated with my mother to the point of physical abuse did too. My story is a case of a child who decided that her life was worth so much more than that and she would never be who her parents were. Experiencing the pain exulting off my mothers face as my dad’s temper flared I promised myself drugs would never be a part of my life.

As I round the end of my 17th year on this Earth, I am ecstatic to say I have kept every promise I ever made to myself. I am gratified to announce the mood-altering drugs I was grown up around never did and never will get the best of me. Of course, I had help getting my life right where it is supposed to be. My mother transformed herself from an irresponsible mother to my role model and a best friend just in time for me to start being able to make my own decisions. Her newfound positive advice has kept me in track and ensured I grew up the right way. Although my life is awfully far from perfect, I am proud to shy away from the norm. I am that child who did not use the absence of authority as an excuse to act juvenile and irresponsible. I am the example of why people should never judge a person solely on their past. It is an important life lesson to know that judging a person by their past will not always accurately predict who they will be in their future. I am the firmest believer that whatever joke of a hand this “game of poker” throws our way, we have the ability to overcome it and play hands such as deuce seven off suit like champs.