This I Believe

Tatiana - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Men define power in a physical perspective, yet I believe power is not determined by physical appearance, but in the mind and heart. For women, power is set to reflect upon the troubles we come to face. Though “giving up” will come to mind, swallowing my pride, and facing a challenge will set two feet to the ground.

Growing up in a world full of negative energy and discrimination toward Hispanic woman, my mind was easily manipulated in believing I would fail. Being the eldest of five sisters I was enforced to be an example, “The example” of how to survive in this world whether it were pregnancy, drugs, lust and other reasons that lead to failure. Raised in the Humboldt park area for most of my life, nothing was ever easy.

My brother the eldest of six, was the weakest of all, nothing was ever possible for him. He dropped out of high school, joined a gang and is now accused for murder. My younger sister, the middle child is known as easy access to young males, though she has up most respect for others, she does not respect herself. My mother was the disciplined parent, yet her meaning of discipline was to abuse not as much physically, but with words so powerful that they would tear up your insides and spit them out, as if you were nothing or even worst then that. Yet at times I would hear her cry at night hoping for strength to keep us together, but it would always occur to me that it is a father’s job to keep a family strong, little did we know he was and has always been the blame for this, what I call our dysfunctional family.

Here is where my struggle begins. Since the first day I was able to know right from wrong, I have always looked up to my father as a strong person, though he was a drug addict and always under the influence of alcohol, I have never seen him as anything but my father. Yet there is a secret behind my story. At the age of twelve I was physically abused by my father, I continued with my life and swore to him that I will never tell. Yet little did I know that it would change my life forever. As years passed I became insecure about my body and afraid to fall in love with anyone. I had no sympathy for others or myself as I began to distrust those who befriended me. I grew angry inside, and hoped for death at times, but seemed to think twice about my actions. At the age of 16 I have found myself rebelling against my mother, and blaming her for my problems. Only if she knew what I held inside, or what I went through everyday, maybe she would have sympathy instead of identifying me as a bitch, an individual who will end up pregnant in the streets. Why would she be so quick to judge me, when she has only described herself? That is when I realized I am a strong and independent young woman who deserves to achieve a goal in her life, as well as a promise, to never give up no matter what happens or what problem you come to face. I learned to forgive him and move on with my life no matter where I end up. Though I will never speak to him again I can never change the fact that he is my father.

As a young woman of a new generation, I awake to a new challenge, as well as a new problem everyday. I sleep with a smile knowing that I have succeeded, not only for giving advice or contributing what I believe, but to feel pride in being an example of a young successful woman, helping those who feel what I have grown to recognize, self confidence and motivation to succeed. I have grown to realize that I have become a reflection of woman who are abused everyday and continue to live their lives with as much strength in mind as a man. Though I have many weaknesses, I have learned to overcome the fear of being judged. I stand up for what I believe and work my heart out; because through effort and success I have discovered that a woman’s power has always been with in me. For a woman has as much power in her heart as in the hands of a man, with failure and opportunities any woman will succeed. This is what I believe….