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Its easy to say that the things you go through in life make you grow and evolve into a better person. The truth is that most of the time that isn't the case. Simply going through the motions and being present as time passes doesn't make you wiser. You have to work for it. If it was easy being wise, loving, driven and compassionate than wouldn't their be more people in the world like that. Growing up in a dysfunctional family made my view of the world different, but as I have grown up I realize that I can change all of that. Noticing and observing change is the answer, refusing to learn, grow, and evolve is not the way I want to live my life. I encourage everyone to step outside themselves and re-evaluate what is important, what your dreams are, and the kind of person you want to be.
My dad is a physiologist for the criminally insane, and to say that career chose him is an understatement. I believe a career such as that can only be occupied by someone who themselves is some degree of crazy. My grandparents no doubt contributed to the dysfunction that plagues our family. It is easy to see the patterns form but if you want it bad enough you can change the pattern. You wake up and you choose a dress with a brighter more vibrant pattern, and you wear the shit out of it. I don't know the right words that would do justice to the type of people my grandparents are, so I will just tell you. They have three dogs that never go outside, over 100 parachutes, which when one dies my grandmother wraps them in saran wrap and puts them in the freezer. The bathtub is filled with VHS tapes and all the windows except 3 are covered with garbage bags. My grandfather speaks broken english but manages to call my grandmother the gestapo whenever she tries to talk to him, all in the confines of there 6th floor one bedroom apartment. There is no family unit, and working together is a concept unknown to them.
My mom is 1 of 8 and grew up extremely poor and abused. There is no doubt that shaped her view of life and made her want nothing more than to make it out, which she did, at a cost. My mom and dad met when they were 14 and 15, both lost and yearning for the love they knew existed but had long since slipped through there grasp. My parents married young and my sister and I were born. My most fond memories are from early childhood before the cycle started again. My mom got into witchcraft and decided my dad wasn't good enough. He would never be able to give her the life she so wanted, and whether this is true, i'll never know. She left without saying buy and drove across the county with a friend looking for herself. Less than a month later my dad was dating a stripper from brooklyn.
Life wasn't easy, between the rats and fights I don't even remember having dreams past longing to be anywhere than were I was. My mom eventually came back and we all pretended like nothing happened. My sister and I saw her on the weekends and were forbidden to speaking to her during the week by the stripper. My dad showed up on the steps one sunday morning wearing a tuxedo, the stripper in white. They got married. We were not told or invited. Eventually the situation got worse and my sister and I went to live with my mom, and by that I mean we all slept in a storage room in my moms fathers house. Two in the twin size bed, one on the army cot, switch, repeat. That was our life. I was the girl that smelled bad because we couldn't take showers and I hated my life.
Marvin was sweet, my sister and I both liked him even though he was old. He was in his late sixties and my mom was in her mid thirties. They started dated and she saw the opportunity to escape. He gave us an apartment in a high-rise apartment building, and all of a sudden we had a concierge. What they don't tell you about rags to riches is that happiness does not always accompany you. All of a sudden we were well off and my mom was scheduled to marry him. Shortly after we moved to Florida because that is where Marvin wanted to retire. I wish I could say life dramatically improved but it was more like a slight upgrade with less supervision and more teenage rebellion. I was wild and there were no rules. I was dating a college guy as a freshman and my mom didn't seem to notice.
My dad lost the little he had divorcing the stripper, Marvin died and we were all of a sudden right back were we started but with a lot more sunshine. The house was foreclosed on and I dropped out of high school. Everyone was right where they had always been, it seemed time stood still as it was flashing by before my eyes. My grandparents have been the same since I was born, we call them by their first names and instead of cookies and milk we got stake fritos and dog poop on our shoes. My dad has been caught in a sandstorm of debt, stress, and unhappiness since I can remember and my moms grand plan failed. My aunts still live in the house they grew up in, jobless and broke. Everything is the same. People don't change unless they want to, and why bother if you don't have to. You live and you die, its simple.
I can't except that, I won't except that. Im sitting at my shiny macbook pro in my cozy, well decorated two bedroom house and Im smiling. About to graduate college and more proud of myself than I could have ever imagined. With a job I love, amazing friends, and goals that could fill a book I can honestly say I have already made it. The sad, poor, smelly girl from New York City did it. I am beautiful, intelligent, driven, stylish, and hungry. Hungry for all the things I always thought could never be mine, the things your not aloud to touch, the fancy living room that is not for sitting only for looking at. I can have it all, and you can too. Anything is possible, within reason of course. I have too many drunk college pictures to be a political figure, and too many ex boyfriends to be a nun, but thats ok. All the things I have ever wanted, I have. I am young and my stomach is growling for more, success, happiness, and everything in between. Its true what they say, the more you have the more you want and that is not necessarily a bad thing. More love, more happiness, more learning experiences, and more life.
No matter who you are or what you have been through you can change it. There are people who have been through worse than me and people who haven't been through much at all, but that doesn't matter. Whatever you want, reach out and grab it, with your hands, your nails, your teeth and don't let go. Rip into it, devour it, and keep going. This life may yet be a dream, and in death we may wake, who knows. What I do know is that we better not waste this gorgeous thing called living. You can make and break and change your dreams just as you can with your life. Love yourself, work hard and become everything you have ever wished. I did it, and you can too.
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