What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger

Cynthia - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I am an optimist. I believe that regardless of how many mistakes you make or the amount of challenges you come face to face in life, positive things can come out of something negative. Some times, things just go wrong but I believe that it is the obstacles we come across in life that not only helps us grow and makes us better people but leads us to the right path. I believe that out the darkest situations with which we are presented in life, hope and love are born.

In my past, I was always surrounded by negativity. Poverty, drugs, and violence were things I faced on a daily basis. I woke up to gun shots and went to sleep to gunshots. My brother was the only person I had. I had never met my father and my mother was my biggest obstacle by far. Though my mother was strong in some ways, she was weak in others. One of her biggest weaknesses was drugs. There had been many times where she left me and my brother for drugs. Where drugs came first and her children second. It hurt me inside. Some days, I was so hurt that I would just burst out crying right in front of her but my mother never allowed that. She used to tell me, “Don’t you dare cry, do you want people controlling you all your life?” Though I didn’t understand this at the time, I now realize she was really telling me “Don’t you dare be weak, do you want to be like me?”

The truth was I didn’t want to be like her. Even though my mother has hurt me many times in my past, I thank her. She has taught me so much. Because of my mother, I am a better person. She has allowed me to learn from her mistakes. Many times in the past, people I know have offered me drugs and many times I was close to going in the wrong path, but because my mother and her mistakes are constantly in my mind, I would never choose the life of drugs and I give credit to my mother for teaching me that. I love my mother and I have forgiven her. I know that she never purposely choose that life, it just happened to her. Maybe she was meant to take the wrong path in order to make herself a better person and her children stronger.

Because of my mother, I believe that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I know that there are many people who would rather see me fail or just be another statistic but because of my mother I will never give up. I will fight to the end for anything that I believe in. Because of my mother I now have courage in daily events. I know how to stand up for myself with confidence, speak up when I know I have the right to do so, fight back when I’m being wronged, and above all accept when I have done wrong. I now see every challenge in my life as a blessing and I thank god that he has allowed to learn from them.

I cannot tell what is going to happen to me in life. But I can decide what happens in me, how I can take it, and what I can do with it and that is what really counts in the end. Like my grandmother once said to me one day a couple of years ago “I always try to remind myself that there is a reason for everything and there will always be challenges in my life that I cannot control from happening but that doesn’t mean I resent them. Remember that life is your biggest teacher. It can teach you things that others can not. It can teach you that we all have to experience pain and failure at least once in our lives because without the bad, we wouldn’t appreciate the good.”

While I will always face obstacles in my future, I now know that it is those very same obstacles that will allow me to gain wisdom. That will teach me how to turn the raw stuff of life into a thing of worth and beauty. This I believe.