How-to Reinvent Yourself

How-to Find Your Path: Part 1

My life has hit many ups and downs as I’ve searched for a fulfilling path through life.

Still, rather than taking punches like a bitch, I’ve recently started wrestling back control of my life. 

In this series, I will be making short posts that examine my experiences from a more autobiographical perspective and provide relatable personal background to my achievements, failures, and overall growth. This will serve as a method of therapy for myself, and a chance for my audience to grow a deeper understanding of me and hopefully, themselves as well. 

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw

My life now is a far cry from what it was formerly.

Just two years ago, I felt a tearing sense of emptiness within my soul, and a staggering amount of pain growing from an unexplored region of my psyche. Rather than seeking the solution to my grief, I suppressed it and did everything possible to let my life pass me by without addressing this malignant issue.

Conversely, I’ve grown to a point where my life is now one of gratitude and self-acceptance… Virtues that were seldom expressed in my earlier years.

Accepting myself has given me a voice—a true say in how my life will unfold.

I’ve come a long way in a short time, and while I am apprehensive of what may come in the future, I’m also excited to continue creating the story of my life…

My Story Starts With Childhood Depression

In the suburban area surrounding the South-west side of Chicago, Illinois, I was very exposed to the regressive culture that infects that area of the city. Interactions with other kids who promoted gang activity, violence, and drug use were unfortunately frequent. With this atmosphere of awful behavior, my family did everything in their power to raise me as a proper young boy. 

In school, I was surrounded by kids who were always angry, or depressed, but had no true outlets for their disruptive emotions. Their aggression became toxic, gradually poisoning my own mental state. Sometimes I was bullied, but fortunately, this never became violent and I was able to mostly handle it on my own.

School was bad, but things were not much better for me at home. Though my family was always around, I constantly felt like something in my life was not right.

As many black people of my generation will share, getting a beating from your parents was almost certain to be considered as a reasonable punishment for poor behavior.

And what constituted poor behavior was never a concrete rule, but rather entirely dependent on context.

In my family’s case, my mother’s repertoire of punishments was almost entirely limited to a nice ass-whooping for me and my two siblings. I certainly didn’t agree with this method of parenting and spent much of my life feuding with my mother as the result of it. 

My siblings, of course, didn’t like getting beaten either, but I would say they were not nearly as resistant as I adamantly remained throughout my entire youth. Of course, my resistance was met with a far more frequent physical punishment, and this served well to chip away at the potential of ever forming a healthy maternal bond with my mother. 

My mother was largely responsible for caring for my siblings and I, because my father was constantly busy with work and other projects. Though most of her actions were seemingly based on an immense amount of love for her children, as she progressed in her own understanding of the world, her views gradually began to become more and more protective. This limited me from many of the experiences that encourage personal growth during childhood. Instead of having the opportunity to grow as an individual, I was forced into a strict, regimented lifestyle that was highlighted by attending church, doing homework, and generally having my personal desires ignored.

Over time, I became suffocated by this highly religious and constrictive method of parenting and became resentful.

Resentful of the church.

Resentful of school.

Resentful of my mother.

And most of all, resentful of myself.

There was no room on this Earth for a person who could actuate such strong hatred for the woman who gave him life. Gradually, these complex emotions created a deep-seeded depression that would span from my early pre-teen years throughout my adolescence and into early adulthood…

This depression would inevitably lead me to the darkest depths of my lifetime—

Yet these were the periods where I learned the most, cementing the foundation for my current personal growth, peace of mind, and genuine gratitude for life.

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