Yesterday I came upon a video of a mother doing something that I find unacceptable for a mother to do. Many of you may be familiar with the Teen Mom 2 "star" (I use that term loosely) Janelle. For those of you who don't take a moment now to go look her up. You won't need to type much into google to get a slew of information on her current antics. I'm well aware that she's not the first and certainly won't be the last mother to act in the ways she has.
Upon posting the video on a social networking site I'm on and discussing it with my friends I began to see that some were justifying her actions because of the way her mother treats her. These people didn't say that it was right but more of that she is the way she is because of how she was raised. I beg to differ with that point of view and thought it'd be a great topic to discuss here on my blog. The topic: Letting your past shape you vs rising above it to better yourself.
Let's start out by discussing those who allow their past/upbringing to shape them. There are many people in this world who weren't raised in a "perfect" family or home situation. There are those who didn't or don't have loving parents who supported them and pushed them to be greater. Some people allow this to shape them. They become users of alcohol or drugs, or in some cases both. They lie, cheat, steal, and an array of illegal things. They allow that past to be a crutch. Explaining away that they are who they are because their mother and/or father didn't love them enough or that they grew up poor/in a ghetto and don't know anything different. Why do these people allow their past to be a crutch? Why do they allow where they came from to define who they are today? The answer is simple. It's not easy to rise above it. The solution may appear to be something as easy as deciding one day "I won't let this define who I am or shape me. I will allow it to show me what NOT to do and become." but in all actuality following through with that mentality is much harder than you'd imagine. It takes persistence, pushing through failures to finally succeed, and a whole lot of hard work. For some, these things are far too demanding and it's much easier to simply fail and let that be the end of it. The biggest question is not why don't they, but rather why is it so easy to allow yourself to be shaped instead of setting a new mold? I believe that failing and then getting back up and trying again until you succeed is hard to do. You don't know how many times it'll take to fail at something (a class, driving, work, whatever it is) before you'll finally succeed. Failure hurts and stings like a knife. So the safest bet is to stop trying after the first failure. That way you save yourself the heartache of possibly setting yourself up for more failure. People are content to ride the easiest road and often don't think of the consequences it may have.
For every few who are content to settle for less and allow their past shape who they are/will become in the future there are those at the far end of the spectrum. Those who allow their past to serve as a mold and example of all the things NOT to do. At some point they sit down and decide that they will not allow the past to repeat it's self or shape them. Instead they decide to stand up, brush off the dust, and break the mold or chain. This isn't just for those who's parents weren't good parents. There are also those who sit and watch their parent(s) do drugs or drink and they decide they won't be that kind of person. They won't allow what and who their parents are be what they will become. There's something inside them, in the heart and head, that decides they want to be different. They want to be their own person. They think to themselves "I've been shown what NOT to do. I've seen all the things you shouldn't do and instead of doing them, I'll be rebelious and learn from that." Those people use others mistakes or misguided decisions as lessons learned. I would know, as I am one of those people. I came from a poor family with pretty epic failures in the parental department. My mother had me out of wedlock and still to this day doesn't know who my biological father is. My step-father was an abusive alcoholic. My mother surely wasn't much better. They both embodied abuse in all it's forms. Mental, emotional, and physical. I'd have to say my mother was worse with the emotional and mental and the things she'd say hurt me more. Instead of using that as a crutch and an excuse I decided to do the opposite. Maybe those who do have a rebelious spirit to begin with. Maybe that's what sets them apart from everyone else. Maybe that isn't the case in the others. Maybe those others just decide they've down right had enough and are going to live everyday striving to be different and, for the most part, better. I can't answer you as to which of those I fall into. I like to believe it's a little bit of both. A little of a rebelious spirit and wanting to do the opposite of what I was told. My mother would always tell me I'd "never amount to anything". She'd go on and on for hours about how when I became a mother I'd be horrible at it because I'm selfish and stupid.
I'm proud to say that I currently a mother to an adorable little 2yr old. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally. We live a nice life. We aren't by any means well off nor do we not know the struggles of being broke from time to time but we live well. Everyday I wake up, look in the mirror, and tell myself "YOU will be different. You will not repeat the vicious cycle and you will rise above it all triumphant." I do know that it's not easy to rise above it all. It takes a lot of falling down and having to get back up and brush yourself off. It takes a lot of heartache and I know all to well the sting of failure. So why do people like me do it? Why don't we choose the easy road and just allow ourselves to be what we came from? I can tell you that it's a burning want and desire for something better. Something bigger. Especially now that I'm a parent my desire burns more for my daughter to have something better. To know the love of her parents and the support we have for her. For her to know that she's special in every way possible and WILL succeed in life. For me it's harder to understand how someone can become a mother and still have no desire to become better. Maybe some of the questions will never be answered as to why people choose the path they do but I hope and pray that someday those who have allowed the past to shape them will decide to change. To rise above it all and become the great person they can.