Have you ever had something stolen from you? Remember the way you felt when it happened? Imagine that particular feeling you felt in that moment. It can be really upsetting when something that belongs to you is stolen. It could be something you’ve worked hard for or saved for, or it could have even been a gift. It makes you have this feeling of being unsafe and that some people just don’t care.

Now, take that feeling and apply it to your life. Picture your LIFE feeling stolen. 

What if you felt like, since you were born, your life was stolen? How would you react then? How would you feel if that was YOUR reality?

Unfortunately, that’s how my life’s felt. Growing up, they tell you everything has an expiration date but I never thought all those expiration dates would hit all within a short amount of time. 

Growing up with my mother until I was 10 years old had its ups and downs, especially coming from poverty. I can sit here and try to explain to you all day about what it was like but that’s a conversation for another day. My mother was always working to put food on the table. So, I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, who taught me all he could in a short amount of time. 

Then, things started to get stolen from my life. I was forced to go and spend time with a man that was never relevant in my life and that never showed an interest in taking care of his son. So there I was at a crossroad, thinking why doesn’t anyone want me or want to teach me anything? Fast forward to me bouncing around foster care and no one wanting that RESPONSIBILITY; to take care of a child they knew barely anything about or wanting the extra load it would add to their plate. You see the pattern yet? On top of those feelings of being unwanted, I then had to add the constant struggle of being blamed for everything, as if everything was my fault. I started lashing out because I had had enough of people putting labels on me, saying things such as “He’s using drugs” or  “He’s bad at controlling his emotions”. No one wanted to actually ask me about what was going on with me. 

After all of this happened, my life was still not going to be in my control. Add to all of that being kidnapped by the same person who was supposed to be your father and being taken to another country. He left me there with no passport. Like, come on! That’s stuff you watch in movies! Now imagine finding out your mother has passed away a few years back, a mother that you were told you were going to that other country to go see. Imagine the man that was supposed to be your FATHER was the one who lied to you about your mother and tricked you into being kidnapped by him. I lived 2 and a half months in that kidnapped, stolen life. After surviving that, and getting back home, my life was still not going to be mine to control. Add to it all that 5-6 months later the mother, who stepped in when she didn’t have to, passes away. Then, a few years later, a car accident that I should have died from but didn’t. I tell you what, if that doesn’t feel like a stolen life, I don’t know what else does.. 

Now go back to that feeling of having something stolen from you. Do you think you could have handled growing up with life feeling like every aspect of it was stolen? Feeling like every single turn, twist, decision, and event was just another one that was stolen from you?

For me, I came out of all these experiences learning what empathy was and how powerful forgiveness can be. I learned empathy by looking at my situation outside the box. I had to accept an apology I never received and had to move on with my life, no matter how many chances I had given to a man I thought was going to be my father. I figured he had things he had not healed from and demons he was fighting; which by no means gave him a right to leave me by myself and in a new world I knew nothing about but it did help to explain why he did what he did. Then the power of forgiveness; me forgiving my father wasn’t going to erase the past but it would allow for me to start the healing process to move on with my life. I also had to forgive all those people in life that placed labels on me and that never just asked what was wrong and instead just tried to blame me for everything. Learning those things help me move on and start teaching myself things I needed to know to get by. So, if you ever feel like you’re drowning in life, keep swimming. Because there is no better feeling than that first breath you breath after you’ve been drowning underwater. 

Could you imagine your life right now different with how you grew up?