This I Believe

Ana - woodland hills, California
Entered on December 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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“Follow Your Heart”

I believe that everyone should follow their heart and do whatever they desire to do. It took me most of my lifetime to figure this out. There are times were you have to break free from everything and everyone that’s dragging you down. I kept making that mistake over and over again until I learned to make the right decision. It takes a leader to control their life.

Growing up, I had what we would call a “hard knock life.” My dad was gone, my mom was raising 4 kids on her own. Sometimes we never even had food on the table. We would go days or weeks without eating. I was always the one who got punished for everyone else’s wrong doings. But, when I got older things did not get any better for me. My mom used to tell me that she felt something special about me when I was born. Then she said it was that kind of special that would be hard to deal with. I never did anything wrong. I was always a good student, a good stewart, and a good kid. My brother and two sisters always got into trouble. They always made it hard on my mom and yet she said i was the worse one. The mistake. The one that wouldn’t amount to anything. And I believed it.

Throughout my life, I always struggled with insecurities. My mom always told me I was ugly and fat and worthless. She used to tell me that not even the ugliest guy alive would look at me. And if I was lucky enough, she said, I would marry an old man with money and have his kids. I took every word, every poisoning word. I always let it get to me. I always believed it. I had people in school telling me that I was a very smart kid and that with my brains I could get into any college. I was always hesitant to accept any compliments. After a while, I started doing poorly in school because of my home situation. I always came to school with scrapes and bruises. Everyone asked me, especially teachers, if I was getting abused at home. Guess what I said? I said no! I defended my mom and that meant to her that it was ok to hit me. My siblings never got hit. And I hated them for that. I ached for revenge. Life is hard and unfair all the time. It’s ok because I’ve learned a lot. In middle school, I struggled with drugs and alcohol. I tried to overdose on pills but could not do it. Drugs and alcohol didn’t make me forget all the hurts, the pain, the abuse and the hatred I felt towards my family. Instead it made me remember it even more. I went to rehab and came back clean. But still went into the same hell that made me turn to drugs and alcohol.

There were times where I wanted to run away. I never did. It was always me saying, “But she needs me.” She never needed me. She just needed someone to dump all her burdens on. Her mistakes, her hurts, her pain. There was one day where I said,” That’s enough.” I put my foot down and fought back for my life. She ended up kicking me out; two weeks after my birthday. 17 years old, no place to go, no family to turn to. I was all alone. As I was walking through the streets with my bags, all I heard was their voices. The purpose of those voices were to say to me,” You can’t do it. You never will. Just quit.” But I never did. After that day, those voices were silenced. I’ve survived. I don’t need them. I’m doing well for myself. I’m here. Sane. In school everyday. Taking one day at a time. Free from the abuse. And making it work.

If you want to do something you truly love then do it. Don’t let anybody or anything get in your way. Even if its your family. I did it. And so can you. I guarantee that if you don’t chase after your dreams and accomplish your goals, you’ll regret not doing it. Always follow your heart. It may be hard at times but its worth it. Always believe in yourself no matter what happens in your life. This I believe.