This I Believe

Mandy - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Hoping for Hope

My past can be summed up in one word—shameful. I envy those who can reminisce about happy childhood memories, when all my memories are of pain and neglect. When I was younger, I lived in the outskirts of downtown Columbus, Ohio. I grew up living in the hell they called “the bottoms”, which according to the local news station, was the “pit of crime” and the “home of the homeless”. Most children when they are younger don’t know the difference between a good life and a bad life or the poor and the rich, but I knew the reality all too well. Sadly, I had to grow up surrounded by death, abuse, and literal ruins. However, through all my pain and all my suffering, I held strong to the ambition that my life wasn’t going to be like that forever and I grew a strong faith for the future of my family. That instance in my life led me to believe in something better; I began to believe in hope.

As a child, life downtown was hard. Most nights, I could hear gunshots and yelling, and a lot of times I felt alone. Growing up alone was difficult because I was never the child who got tucked in at night or had friends over for slumber parties. My parents were never home and I couldn’t blame them. My mom spent a lot of her time working and my dad spent his time “looking” for a job. As time went on, things got worse around the house and I started trials of running away and locking myself in my room. My dad became abusive and my mom was oblivious to the fact. Things got to the point where even as a child, I began to hope and pray that I didn’t have to live anymore.

At the age of five, two years after the abuse and neglect began to worsen, my sister Felicia died of cancer. By that time, I thought my life was over and nothing for me nor my family would ever get better. God had yet to answer my prayers and I was starting to think he wasn’t going to. But to my surprise, my hope for a new beginning had only truly begun. I started to have talks with my mom about how I didn’t feel safe at home. I told her about dad and how he would hurt me when she wasn’t home. I told her I wanted expensive things and a beautiful house that wasn’t infected with families of roaches. To be honest, I knew mom didn’t take me seriously at first. After all, I was only five.

Eventually, my mom started to see the inevitable. That was the first time in my life I actually felt that God was listening to my prayers and my hope for a change was beginning to come true. My mom divorced my dad and her strength through it all showed me what kind of woman she truly was. After a year of fighting with hope, we moved into an apartment in Westerville, Ohio and that was when I truly started to live.

Now, most people will agree that I am one of the hardest working and determined people you will ever meet. I built my life on the basis that anything and everything is possible as long as you hold onto the hope that you yourself can make it possible. One of the only members of my family to choose college as the next step in their lives, I decided to attend Bowling Green State University with a major in Nursing and a passion to not only achieve my goals but to excel in them as well. I’ve endured so much personal growth in my life, and hopefully I can pass on that quality to the family I choose to have in the future.

Without hope and determination in my life, I wouldn’t have made it through it all. I believed in hope, and that’s what saved me.