This I Believe

Kourtney - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on January 31, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Choices, Decisions, and Consequences

Life is full of choices, each choice is full of decisions, and each decision has a consequence. Every choice a person makes defines them as an individual. I believe people are defined by the choices they make.

Right now, a six foot tall, overweight high school drop out sits in his twelve by twelve foot prison cell; one that he calls home. I call him dad. By the age of twelve, he had no hope nor future. He was an addict to many drugs, and he thought he would never amount to anything. With every obstacle life threw at him, he failed to act and instead, felt sorry for himself. He had an amazing mother who would do anything for him, but he insisted on living a life full of hardship and dismay. Eventually he met a woman, fell in love, and I was soon conceived. When I was three years old, my parents chose to leave me stranded alone in my grandfather’s trailer on a deserted piece of land. Little did they know, that would be the last time they would have full custody of their one and only daughter.

My mother grew up on the east side of Des Moines. By the time she was a senior in high school, she had attended four different schools around the area due to her drug use, violent behavior, and lack of attendance. Soon after high school, she met my father; they were perfect for each other, neither of them caring about anything but themselves and their drugs. They lived in a utopian world. They had no worries; they dealt drugs, stole from innocent people, and lived off unemployment. When I was born, I brought many responsibilities- responsibilities my parents couldn’t handle. After my abandonment, I moved in with a distant relative. A few months later, I was sent to live with my great aunt, who I live with to this day.

No one ever said life was easy, especially given my circumstances. Growing up without your parents isn’t the life of an average kid. I always worried people would make fun of me, because I wasn’t “normal.” As a child I always questioned myself. I wondered what was wrong with me, and why I wasn’t good enough for my parents. As I got older, I started making more decisions on my own, each one affecting my life. With the help of my great aunt I made good decisions; I went to school, got good grades, hung out with the right people, and stood up for what I believe in. I learned a lot from my parents’ stupidity. I know now that there was never anything wrong with me; it was them who had the problems. Given my parents’ example, I know what not to do. I would never want my child to have to grow up without parental guidance from their biological parents. I am the product of two inadequate decision makers. In the last few generations, there has always been an addict in my family, and I have decided to break the tradition.

In my life, people around me chose to make bad decisions, but it was their choice to make. Their life could have been better, but they continued to ignore the chances life had given them. Throughout one’s life there is an endless amount of opportunities. It is up to each individual to shape his or her life the way he or she want it. Every choice made throughout life molds a person’s future and makes them unique. I believe I am who I am because of the choices I have made, and the choices my parents’ made.