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Kaitlyn, NY

Kaitlyn, NY

My story begins when I was a child. I remember constantly searching in every nook, cranny and corner for a motherly figure to love me, spend time with me, and be proud of my accomplishments. Even though my mother was not absent physically from my life- she was mentally. Back then I didn't know the definitions of "Bi-Polar", "Split Personality Disorder" or "Narcissist", I just thought I was unloved. 

As I grew older I found love in my friends and their families. I was taught that what was going on behind my own closed doors was not okay- but I was. I was taught the meaning of unconditional love and that family didn't always had to be blood, and for that I can never repay them. It brought me peace in my own mind, but still sadness knowing that I too wanted that relationship with my own family.

During the later years of high school, I should have realized that the dream of having a normal family was just not going to happen to me due to severe substance abuse, but I continued to hang onto the hope-" just in case". Once again, my friends and their families were by my side every step of the way. 

Eventually, I moved out of my family home because of the constant mental abuse from my mother and mental and physical from my sister. I went to live with my aunt 20 minutes from home and was there for the remainder of my high school carrier and the majority of my young adult life (which was an absolute God sent to me). Leaving such a toxic environment and finding some sort of security in knowing I was safe and loved, I started to mend. Even with the small distance, I saw my friends and their families often and they continuously told me how they were rooting for me and that once again- I was okay.

Moving forward to adulthood, I have lost any dream of having normalcy in my life in regards to a relationship with my mother and sister as they have spiraled out of control in the last 15 years. I have learned that I cannot help someone that doesn't want to help themselves. I have learned that you can't make someone love you id they don't know what love is. I have learned that you can't fight mental illness, it will win every-single-time. I have also learned that this is NOT my fault. I have learned the meaning of true and genuine love isn't always family, but those who choose to stand by your side day in and day out.

People say "you can't choose your family, but you you can choose your friends". I would have to disagree with this statement. I believe that the most healthy thing a person can do is rid the negativity and toxicity out of their life. This takes strength and courage, but it can be done. I believe that you can choose your family, even if your weren't born into it. My friends have taught me this. Their parents have taught me this. My Aunt has taught me this. So when I have moments of sadness because I didn't grow up in the ideal dream home- I take a look around. Every person behind me is there because they love me. 

In my adult life, I traveled across the United States- living in places I could only dreamed of at one point. I married my best friend, obtained a career and established a home. I made new friends in every place that I have ever visit. I look back at when I was a young, naive child and how I always felt alone before I had friends. Now, I have an army behind me helping me up any time I fall. Sure, I still have days, but because of them they are more far and few between. THIS is the definition of family to me.

So whenever you are feeling down, take a look around. Cherish the people that are there. Not the people that you are made to love because of the box that society has put us in. It's okay to walk away from anything that is not building you as a person. 

Never wish change in your past, it made you who you are today. In the long scheme of things-regardless of what you are going through,

- you are either okay
- you are going to be okay
- or you are okay with how things are.

I am going to end this with two saying that I live by. "There is no use of getting upset about things you cannot change" and "You should never have to defend yourself to anyone, because those who matter will never question you".

Love the people that love you! - Kaitlyn, NY

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