I have been blessed, although sometimes it feels like cursed, with an extraordinary dysfunctional family.
I grew up in a very Christian, American home- daddy was a pastor, momma was a teacher, brother played football, and I was the preacher’s daughter. When my parents went through a very sudden and hard divorce, I experienced more than the pain of having my family separate. We lost, for the most part, our church family. We moved from the home I grew up in. My friends looked at me differently because my family, the one that was super religious, didn’t exist anymore.
Only two other kids in my school had divorced parents. My dad was known for speaking at our school chapels. When he left us, people looked at me differently. I was the girl whose preacher dad walked out on, and I ended up bringing that title, that burden, with me to FMU.
The main reason that I came to FMU was to be closer to my little brother who lives with my dad in Savannah, Ga. FMU is conveniently located five hours from my mom in Virginia Beach, Va., and my three hours from where my dad lives. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.
My brother is my best friend and my world, for whom I would drop everything and go to if he called.
My freshman year was an opportunity for people to get to know me personally without that title, but the pain was still too current, so it controlled me. Things started to change when I found others who had been in similar situations, but none of them quite matched my story.
Sophomore year went similarly, with the exception of my newfound love for extra-curricular activities and working. I kept myself busy, and while my friends didn’t look at me any differently, I still felt different.
Around that time I began to get very irritable when I hung out with my friends’ parents. I was so jealous that they had their families with parents who came home to each other, for which I will forever be sorry. Looking back, it wasn’t fair to judge my friends just because they had family units and I didn’t. I was beginning to focus less on my career goals and more on having a family of my own.
And then last December came, and I decided it was time to give the weight of my family’s past up. I realized that I was too young and had too much potential to worry about who I was going to marry or what I would be like as a parent. I decided to give up the idea that I was going to turn out just like my divorced parents. I gave up the idea that my personality is destructive. I cut ties and burned unhealthy bridges, and I have never looked back.
These experiences have helped me become a better person because I am now more confident in who I am and what I want out of life than ever before. While this may seem longwinded, the point of my story is that you shouldn’t let what’s happened to you before burden you now, especially if it’s something that your parents did, like divorce. For too long I let myself be less because I felt incomplete. I still don’t have perfect parents. But there’s a line between letting that control me and being myself. I found the courage not too long ago to be who I want to be. Take this opportunity in college to shed the weight you’re carrying and be who you want to be.