Hope and its’ Struggles

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As I sit and reflect on my life up until this moment in time, I have come to see just how strong and resilient I am. I wouldn’t be where I am today, or have the perspective I have on life without the experiences, trials, and tribulations I have been through. Beyond blessed does not even begin to explain my outlook on life today. I hope my story shares and yields hope to those who can relate, and just know, this too shall pass, what we are dealt in life is but a chance to learn and grown and become the best versions of ourselves.

My name is Beth, short and simple name, ironic because I am a complex to say the least. I grew up surrounded by my loving and supportive family. Independent at a very young age, I struggled with many things. My mother whom has taught me more then she will ever know, is and has always been learning disabled. I struggled intellectually at a young age and with learning and retaining information in part due to my family dynamic. My dad worked full time to support our family, and my mother the homemaker. My little sister was diagnosed Mildly Mentally Handicapped before she even began to walk and when that occurred I couldn’t yet grasp what that meant, I just knew she was different and I would never love her any less. My mother couldn’t help me with my after school assignments and after a certain point I passed her intellectually. Resentments grew in me towards her without ever realizing until years later, she wasn’t the same as all my friends mothers. I was young and naïve, and mean because I felt it wasn’t fair. “Why is my family different?” “Why can’t my mom help me with my homework?” I had fallen behind my peers, and was placed in special education classes in the 1st grade. But then, then I found Music, the Violin. As the years passed I slowly caught up and gradated in the top 30% of my graduating class. Had the honor of being 1st Chair in my high school Orchestra my senior year. Received multiple academic and music scholarships and was the first to attend college in my family.

Left to my own devices and away from my family at college, typical, I partied and drank quite a bit. Joined a Sorority and was a member of the College Symphony Orchestra. At this point in time I was struggling with my self identity, because I had known for years I was Gay, however I had believed I had to make others happy before myself and I stayed silent and was unhappy. A pivotal time in my life came when I was diagnosed with HSV, Herpes simplex virus, days after I was sexually assaulted while I was intoxicated and my world came to a screeching halt. At this time I had many friends and sorority sisters who helped me and walked by my side as I got the necessary help I needed. I was never alone, even though I sure felt like I was.

I have yet to complete and finish my bachelor’s degree. I dropped out of college because my grades started to deteriorate, I had lost my focus on academics, and I had lost me.

I ran away, I moved clear across the state and avoided my family, because I felt that I had disappointed them. I disappointed myself so why wouldn’t they be. I have had two long term relationships one resulting in a marriage. However, both were unhealthy and entered into and stayed in them for all the wrong reasons. My now ex wife is a recovering alcoholic and I couldn’t be more proud of her and her accomplishments in her journey of sobriety. We met and got married in the throws of her active alcoholism. Her story is not mine to tell. I learned that I am a codependent and I have this initiate want to fix everything for everyone, to rescue and to put myself in harms way. Today I know my self worth, and that it is not my responsibility to sacrifice parts of me to put others first and to save them. When I learned this, I saved myself! I have been in recovery myself for over two years, attending support groups of friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts. I would not be where I am today without that and mental health professionals. This is such a brief description of parts of my journey to this point.

Through my life up to this point, I have found myself through the help and guidance of other like-minded, positive, supportive, and accepting individuals. We are all only human. I have found strength, and hope that no matter what I will always be okay. I was never alone, and will never be alone. Life is a journey of living and growing, I am forever grateful. Please feel free to reach out, I am an open book.