Overcoming Hardships

ALENA HANSON Features & Opinions Editor

There are always going to be things in life that try to bring you down — whether that is a person or an event, you must always keep your head up. There are ways to overcome negative things, even if it does not seem so at the time. You can be the happiest person, but stuff can still bother you. For me, one individual has always weaved himself into my life at the worst of times.

My biological father has always been the kind of person that never thinks before he speaks. Whatever nonsense comes into his head, he runs with it and truly believes in the words. Most of his concepts revolved around my mom — his ex-wife. He told me about how my mom was the one to break it off because she wanted to keep me away from him. He told me that she was brainwashing me to believe she was the “good guy” and he was the “bad guy.”

All of the things he said were off the wall, but I was a child and my mom did not want to unload the truth on me just yet. He was able to use her being sensitive to my age for me to make my own decisions to try and hurt her. It had nothing to do with me. He was an all-around bad dad in addition to being insensitive. He never came to anything that happened in school. He canceled on our weekends constantly. Each time he called to say he was not going to be able to get me, I would cry and feel really bad about myself. I would ask myself why he did not want to see me. What did I do? Those times happened until middle school. After that, I just got angry. How dare he cancel on Easter again. He loves my little sister and stepmom more than me. It all felt so unfair to me. Still, I secretly wanted him to say he was proud of me or show up to an awards ceremony. It was childish, but I always scanned the crowd, looking for his face.

Another thing he constantly did to me was completely ignore the words that came out of my mouth. He tried to say he knew everything about me, but when asked directly, he had no idea. Simple things about me threw him: What’s my favorite color? What is my favorite drink? What book do I enjoy the most? I am a very open person. I constantly talk about what I like, so these should not have been hard questions to answer. Yet, he did not know a single answer. Same goes with me trying to tell him about an accomplishment. He just brought up a whole other subject that either involved superheroes or him. It was like he was just waiting until I stopped yapping to say what he wanted. He spent tons of money on action figures, comic books, television series, Internet gaming and so many other things. Yet, he could never find the money to actually pay child support. He would write bad checks, until eventually, he just stopped paying altogether. He has never offered to take financial responsibility. Sure, he did buy the occasional toy, but I had to leave it at his house.

My dad and I got into a huge fight at Christmas time. He did not want me to leave, but I had to. It was a huge ordeal that was blown out of proportion. My mom ended up having to call the police, and I remember what my dad said when I told him: “You’re not worth it. You can leave.” Now, that hurt. I’m not going to lie. It really hurt. That did not stop him from hurting me yet again when we tried to talk it out on the phone. That’s when I stopped going over there. I needed time to think and make the best decision for myself.

Time went by and suddenly he shows up at an awards ceremony for a writing award I had won. He sat with my mom, brothers, nana and grandparents like he belonged there, like he had always been rooting for me. He brought just my sister, but I couldn’t complain. I had really missed her. He then traveled over with us to my high school to attend the fine art’s awards ceremony. He hugged me when it was all over. He hugged me and said he was so proud. Yet, I felt nothing. Who cares if he was proud of me? He does not know me. He wasn’t there all those stressful writing days or those nights after a play. How could he be proud of me when he had no idea how I earned those honors? I remember just smiling when he said that, before moving on to actually talk with the people who supported me.

I realized in that moment that I was doing just fine without him there. My mom has always been number one to me. She’s my best friend, and I would be nowhere without her. She inspired me to stay strong and do what I felt was best. She was there to pay for things and love me. She was there to scold me or reward me for my actions. There is no one on this planet that is a bigger fan of mine. Well, maybe besides my daddy.

The man that stepped up and took care of another man’s baby. He’s been in my life since I was three months old. Compare that to knowing my biological father since I was six months. My daddy is the person I go to for a second opinion or about moving into college. He is the one that has protected me and taken care of me like I was his own flesh and blood. He and his family treasure me, unlike my dad and his blood. He told me how proud of me he was. This time being told that made me feel like the most beloved person on Earth. He will be the one to walk me down the aisle in the future and the person my children call papa.

In my experience, I have known hurt and anger. I’ve felt neglected and unloved. However, I’ve also learned that I do not need my dad’s support or love. I have a whole network of family and friends that give me strength on a daily basis. I have a daddy that loves me and takes care of me. I have a mom that would give anything to see me succeed in life. I have little brothers that look up to me and whom I dote on constantly. I have a set of grandparents who aren’t blood that treat me like a princess. I’ve made friends who know how weird I can be and still choose to hang out with me.

It’s taken me many years to realize how loved and blessed I am. I will never know how to tell everyone that has inspired and helped me how much I love and appreciate them. Out of these experiences, I’ve gained the strength to get all that I want out of life. I know what my goals for the future are and every day I am striving to reach the finish line. I want to prove to myself that I am, and always have been, good enough. I want to show that I will not be beaten or brought down for someone else’s gain.

So, this is a story for all those who feel like nothing is going their way or everything is falling apart. It will get better. One day you are going to look back, like I do, on those sleepless nights and those days you just felt bad about yourself. Someone loves you. Someone wants you to succeed. That person needs to be you. Learn to love yourself, and you will see how many others feel the same way.