I know the fact that I grew up in a struggling environment is definitely the fabric that outlines who I am. Had I not had those experiences that remain as scars I might not appreciate the life I have today. Some people might choose to block out and or forget their struggles, instead I claim mine and use them as part of my testimony.
Not too long ago I was reading a meme that said, when a dog does something bad, he looks down at his owner, instead a person that wrongs you looks at you straight in the eye. This made me think and evaluate the company I keep even if we are bounded by blood.
I have four sisters and while we are all blood sisters we might as well be complete strangers. Sadly, we are not close. While we are sisters none of us see the world the same way and we all view our experiences differently. Growing up I remember my parents would always say that each head is a different world and that is true.
Not too long ago, I was sharing my personal story with a group and my younger sister told me to quit sharing my story in essence in her words, “ I need to get over it!” Thank God you made it and move on!” I was so hurt by her comments. In other words based on her standards, then I guess I should ask her how she would feel if I asked her to forget her experiences as a military war veteran.
In my family I was the first one to attend and graduate college. Since then my accomplishments have been met with negativity. When I received my undergrad, I was told by my sisters to not forget where I came from and to be careful to check my ego. Several of my sisters did not attend my commencement. When I went on to graduate school I was asked when I was going to be done wanting more out of life.
Again, two of my sisters did not attend for reasons only they know. Needless to say, I kept the fact I was applying towards a doctoral program a secret from them because I knew they would not be happy for me and or understand. All of my accomplishments have made my family assume I am better than them, just because I choose better. There is a difference.
I have always been proud to share my story of struggle and survival in hopes of inspiring others. I am not ashamed of my past. I feel it is my personal mission to empower others by reminding them they do not need to fall victims to their environments. I am proof of that. I will NEVER stop sharing my story. Today I live my life for my son in an effort to create a legacy of love and strength and one that he can be proud of.
The moral of the story is no matter if people are your blood related relatives it does not mean they are family. Love is way thicker than blood. Along the way, I have learned to surround myself with people that I aspire to be like. I surround myself with positive people, those that are happy for my accomplishments and those that lift me up.
Today my relationships with all of my sisters are strained. I pray for each of them daily and wish them all well because in my heart I know that if they knew better they would do better.
As Jesus said in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Elvia Espino, A NEW ME Blog Contributor
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