I believe that you and I were born with nothing.
We were nobodies.
Clean slates, blank canvases, dough to be formed and molded.
We entered this world with a chance—with every chance.
We came in to this world with unlimited possibilities, the world our portrait to construct and a masterpiece within reach; anything and everything to claim as our own.
The world was ours—
It’s all we had.
And it was all we needed.
But the hope that radiates from our crisp and pure souls doesn’t last long.
At some point—and without a doubt—the world hardens us.
We lose the innocence of our birth.
We lose our naivety and our blissful ignorance, blessings that both go unrealized and unappreciated until they are no longer there.
We all have our own reasons for the loss of our trusting nature and our faith in humanity, in the kindness and genuine conviction of safety and security promised to us at an early age.
It’s different for each of us.
Some had this precious time stolen immediately.
They entered the world with a dimming light that became gloomier with every passing second.
Others were given all the necessary components to establish a healthy and secure outlook.
They are the lucky ones—the life of protection and safety that every innocent soul who enters this world is entitled to, encased within them like the sturdy foundation of a newly built home.
These children were fostered, cared for and life as a whole remained easier for longer.
This is how it should be.
Always as it should be.
However, some sitting here reading this cannot relate to this sentiment.
Some of us had to grow up very quickly, and without option.
Quicker than we should have.
Faster than was fair.
A few of us had to live the life of the parent.
Securing our own safety and declaring our own independence, not because we wanted to, but because we had to.
We didn’t have the luxury of harboring the dreams of the average seven-year-old.
We lacked the safety of consistency and the protection that sent that message of constant security.
We weren’t encouraged to study, to think, to be ambitious—
We had to find these things within, because they were never going to come from the external world.
Those who were born into families with substance abuse problems, emotional neglect, physical abuse, abandonment and other hardships that need no listing have fought for anything and everything we have.
Are we hopeless because of the life sent our way?
Are our lives over—our efforts futile?
Never think that. Never fall into that trap.
We will have hurdles to overcome.
We will have setbacks.
And a life has been set forth that requires a different outlook, dependent upon the hand that we were dealt.
But one thing I try to always remember—
One thing that is at times hard to remember, especially when life throws stumbling blocks, unpaved paths and a road-map that is old and tethered, inaccurate and difficult to trace our way is that we are not the sum of our mistakes…
We are not a creation of the past, of the memories and moments that terrorize us and leave us confused, trembling and awoken from a nightmare with a shivering sweat showering our bodies.
We may not be given new cards, but we can use our old ones to create a life worth living.
The fact is that life has hurt us.
People have abandoned us.
The world has disappointed us.
We are stronger for it.
We are better for it.
And our futures are our own.
Do not let your past predict what is to come.
Remember there is always hope.
We create it.
We control it.
We choose it.
Or we don’t…
Author: Rebecca Conroy
Apprentice Editor: Clifford Henry; Editor: Yoli Ramazzina