The Opposite of a Role Model
Your mom is supposed to be your role model, someone you want to grow up to be, and someone who will positively impact your character. I believe someone’s character is developed by the mental and moral qualities distinctive to the individual. In most cases, you are raised to develop these characteristics in a positive way, but experiences alter and individualize who you are. I have faced quite a bit of adversity within the walls of my home, struggling for years to adapt and cooperate with my mom, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, severe depression, and alcoholism.
The most damaging episode occurred when I was eight years old. I came home from school to an empty house, and later, a fearful dad telling me my mom was placed into rehab and he wasn’t sure when I would be able to see her again. At such a young age, I was mostly oblivious to her actions. I didn’t think anything of the late-night trips to hotel rooms so she could get drunk, or the threats of her taking her own life, but once I wasn’t allowed to see my mom for three years, it hit me hard.
As a teenager, I began to blame myself for her actions. That I wasn’t worth getting sober for, or even worse, that I wasn’t worth living for. When I felt as if I had nowhere else to go, I turned to my friends and YoungLife, a religious youth group organization, to take me in and to make me feel like I meant something. Ever since, I have had my eyes on the ultimate goal: the phenomenal chance to attend a university and be everything my mom showed me I could not be.
I strongly believe that the experience of being independent at such a young age had a profound impact in elevating my responsibility and level of commitment not only to myself, but to my family. In addition, my dependability, dedication, and resilience in the face of crisis have carried over into other areas of my life. I have found community through YoungLife, along with my school and sports, where I’m committed to being present in the lives of those individuals I now call family. I strive to spread kindness to everyone at school, as you never know what is truly going on in someone’s life. I have also found myself extremely dedicated to my education, knowing that it is my ticket out of this home.
The rejection I have experienced through my mother’s actions has made me feel worthless, and in return, it has taken me a long time to find my self-worth. When I look back on the experience, I did all I could do to hold myself together and care for those around me—and somewhere along the way, I found myself transformed. I was no longer frightened. I stopped blaming myself, and became proud of the person I am today.
Fortunately, my experience made me realize the extremity of things I am capable of doing. Although my mother’s actions have put limitations on my opportunities of obtaining a higher education due to her inability to care for herself, let alone her children, I hope that my skills and hard work will be able to shine through in order to allow me to reach my goals. I have been significantly shaped by this adversity, but I have so much more room to grow and change the lives of others.