People tell me all the time that I am strong.  Sometimes I think I am and sometimes I am not. I have gone through a lot in my life. This may just be the most personal post that I’ve written so far.  Here goes. My mother began a drug addict when I was 5 years old. From the time I was 5 until I was about 26 I have had a mother that I couldn’t depend on. This has made be somewhat bitter. For a long time I felt as if she put drugs before me. I felt like God abandoned me. Not only because my mom did drugs, but because I lost my father when I was 12.  So I was essentially an orphan.  I had a wonderful aunt who stepped in and raised me along with my uncle.  However, I never did feel as if I fit in.  I have always felt like an outsider; I still do.  No one in my family can truly understand what it feels like to be alone. They all have their parents (or had parents who passed away well into their adulthood).

I struggle with raising my own girls because in the back of my mind I wonder if I will have a tumultuous relationship with them the way I have with my mother. We still aren’t close. There are so many times I have things I want to share with a mother, the way my friends do with their moms, and I have to remind myself that I simply don’t have a mother. I have a woman who gave birth to me, but I don’t have a mother.

I have been on my own since 17. I was emancipated the day I graduated high school, which I did in the 11th grade. I packed up my clothes and caught a Greyhound bus to New Orleans, LA and didn’t tell a soul where I was going. I moved in with my older brother (half) and the rest as they say is history.  After earning a degree in accounting, I interned with NASA. Soon after, I joined the Army, served in Iraq and earned an MBA.

Having earned my accomplishments should have made my mom proud of me, but instead it made us drift further apart. She thinks that because I am educated and make different choices than her, I “act white” and think I’m better than her.

Looking back on all I have gone through and accomplished after that leads me to believe I am pretty strong and brave. I was pretty smart and brave to graduate high school in the 11th grade. I was brave to leave home and earn my accounting degree when neither of my parent finished high school. I was brave to intern with NASA, serve my country in Iraq and earn my MBA. I was strong enough to drown out all the voices who told me I wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough or sophisticated enough.  I am all those things and more.

Don’t let your past or your circumstances define you.  Remember Moses was abandoned in the Nile and became the right hand of Ramses, delivering his people from bondage.  It doesn’t matter where you are from, only where you are on the website

Will you be brave?