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Dear Life Coach, I Am Damaged Goods Series Week 3:

I know a few people have anticipated this week's post. I am sure most think they have an idea of what will be said and how this post will go. I contemplated quite a bit on rather or not to post this. I called you wanting to quit so I can go back to digging all if this where I buried it before because I couldn’t deal with the idea of people questioning my mom or asking her to tell me not to post these things. You didn’t tell me not to quit instead you encouraged me not to sink into the grave of fear.

You asked me today what does freedom look like to me? What will be my action items to move towards it? Without hesitation, I answered finding me the REAL ME is what freedom looks like. You smiled in agreement. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am traveling with a carryon bag not a heavy suitcase to a dark destination. Freedom feels like I can finally look at my mom in the face and not see the hurt and pain I encountered. I get to see the wrinkles in her face that does not line up perfectly to make any pattern, I get to see the depth of her heart through eyes who have cried for a miracle and I get to see a human being who simply dealt with the cards given to her. Freedom is forgiveness!

I was 6-year-old when my school principal called my mom at work because I was caught hiding in the school bathroom falling asleep, she took me to my uncle’s restaurant where she was the cook and dishwashing person. I remember how embarrassed I was by what she had on. Her hair was a mess, she looked like she did not sleep for months and I could see her burn fragile skin. She made me sit in the back of the kitchen so my uncle would not be upset and, I remember how he spoke to her; I felt bad for her. She was stressed and started to cry. Her husband just left her with 50 dollars to her name, She had a disabled child to care for and now the school is looking at her youngest child with concern. She told me I needed to behave so that the government wouldn’t take Rosa and me away. She gave me a microphone toy and told me our family is like a kitchen table. My father’s leg broke off, my sister’s leg was wobbling but, her and I would not let this table fall. I knew at that moment I was responsible for us and, although I didn’t have a voice to use on that microphone, I wouldn’t let us fall.

From the age of 6 to 13, we had different people living with us to help pay bills. I was responsible for cooking oatmeal, feeding Rosa, and taking her to her bus stop. I would run to my school so I wouldn't get kidnapped. I was up every day at 5 am. I barely saw her but I knew she was doing her part on keeping our table standing. Maybe if I would have been brave enough I could’ve told her I was getting molested by the people who were smiling in her face. I know the responsibility she gave me, the neglect I faced, the drugs I witness others do, the abuse I experienced, and the many times I wanted to leave earth was not her fault. I heard a mother demand they bring her children to the united states so her youngest wouldn’t die, I watched a woman get beat while attempting to save her marriage, I watched a mother work 3 jobs barely making it home to bring food to the table, I watched a woman get belittled by people she still cares for, I watched her come home with anger anytime our family members would say something negative about me and I still see a mother today while her oldest daughter has seizures almost every day not knowing if she will make it want to dig a hole and die in it.

It is easy to judge when the story only has one part. Her faith saved my life while her giving heart and ignorance might have affected my upbringing. I yearned for her hugs, and I love you although I knew that wasn’t part of her character and I yelled at her many times because I couldn’t scream at those that marked my life. She saw me as her crutch while I needed her to see me as a child. That same woman wanted all my dreams to come true and would work extra hours to make that happen so when people say where was your mom? I say life was beating her up.

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