(Noun): The process of developing mentally or physically.
I’m not even sure where to begin but I do know that growth is such a beautiful thing. I witness it every day within myself and even some of the people closest to my heart.
In my 29 years of life, I feel as if I have lived, a lot. I have hurt, a lot. I have cried, a lot. I have failed, a lot. I have rejoiced, a lot. I have laughed, a lot. I have smiled, a lot. I have learned, a lot. Above all, I have grown, a whole lot.
I had my oldest at barely 18 years old. I had her on a Sunday morning of May 18, 2008. I went to pick up my high school diploma from graduation the following Saturday morning. Craziness. I obviously did not walk with my graduating class considering I had just birthed a baby days before, but I was there. I was so thankful my parents never let me throw in that towel. So, yes, I walked around my senior year of high school, pregnant as everything, until I gave birth… but I had a brand new baby girl and graduated high school in the same week! Pretty exciting and scary stuff!
Speaking of scary. Babies are scary. Especially, when you are a baby with a baby. I believe I slept on the couch, with my baby in her bassinet, downstairs in the living room, right outside of my parents room, for about three months. I still am not entirely sure what I was so terrified of, other than just, HER. She was so tiny and God seriously must have lost his marbles to think that I knew what to do with her. I am thankful every day for my parents love, acceptance, forgiveness, patience and help because with them, her and I, we grew together. We had a chance and we were going to be fine! My parents could’ve let me completely suffer the consequences of my choices, alone, scared and without any help… but they didn’t. They knew I was young, I was dumb and I wasn’t always making the best choices. They chose to show me grace, despite what some other parents or adults might have thought was the right thing to do, and they loved me through it. They were also pretty wrapped around my baby girl’s little fingers… and still are.
I could have made it without their help but I’m forever grateful that I never had to know what that was like. I hope to be as supportive to my babies as they have always been to me. They took on a lot of judgement and criticism as my parents, due to MY choices. Read that again, MY CHOICES. Not theirs. I chose to defy them, lie to them, hurt them, and do life my own way. No matter how much they tried to stop me. So, if you have a judgy opinion of my parents, you can shove that 💩 where the ☀️ doesn’t shine. Ok? Thank you.
Ok, so baby with a baby. On and off with baby’s daddy. A few relationships in the years between. Marriage and divorce to baby’s daddy. A lot of men hurt me. I hurt men. I hurt friends. I hurt family. There was depression. There was insecurity. Selfishness and disrespect. I was immature, with a baby, and trying to figure out this whole life thing. Life is super hard if you haven’t noticed by now. Life doesn’t care about you. You have to care about you. There was a time span of about six years where I wanted to be this good person and I wanted this happy little family, some way, some how, but I made a ton of stupid decisions. Whether it was me hurting others or allowing others to continue to hurt me but it was all, stupid, choices. I deserved to feel as wrecked as did when I finally hit rock bottom.
I remember to this day, my best friend telling me to, “WAKE UP, you are miserable and you are coming up with all of these excuses to try to find a reason to be happy. This isn’t love or happiness. This is control and a comfort zone. That’s it.” That night, I prayed and it was simple. I’m pretty sure all I said was, “God, give me a sign. I’m so tired.”
Well, within just a couple days I felt as if I were hit in the face with said sign and that was it. I was done with tolerating crap. I was done with treating people like crap. I wanted to receive respect and I wanted to give respect. A little light finally shined and it clicked! I knew it was OKAY to no longer tolerate anything that wasn’t serving me. Don’t underestimate the transformation though. Growth can feel like you are breaking, at first. It can feel like life is ripping you a part at the seams and everything you knew will never be as it was… or even remotely close.
That’s the thing about growth, sometimes it shakes your whole being. Growth will cost you friendships, relationships, and anything unhealthy to your mindset and your heart. As you are evolving, people will judge you for your past and they may call you a liar or a hypocrite… but just because you were someone different in your past doesn’t mean that you can’t advocate against those very things you did, in your future. Hello, I had a baby at barely 18, but if you asked me if I recommended it, I would tell you this… HELL NO. I wouldn’t change what it taught me, the love it brought me and the beautiful baby girl that I get to grow with but it was way harder that it had to be or ever should have been. She deserved more. Don’t let someone use your past to alter your mindset. Embrace the change and the growth in your mind, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Don’t be scared to apologize for the person you were either. They don’t have to forgive you but you need to forgive yourself to be the best you, that you can be. It really does feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders when you own it, forgive it, and keep on moving forward. You can always do better.
The world teaches us that we have to be one type of person. We have to be perfect. Whatever that is. Or, they simply classify you as one person because let’s be honest, that is way easier than trying to understand someone that has a little bit of everything beneath the surface. I love people that are a little bit of everything. I LOVE and I mean GENUINELY LOVE when others can be free and own everything that they have been, continue to be and hope to transform to.
I’ve had others tell me, I’m too nice, I’m too hard hearted, I’m too open about things, I’m too forgiving, I’m too stubborn… we could go on. All of those confuse me sometimes because depending on who you talk to, you may get a different story. That’s growth. Growth taught me that it’s ok to always strive for more and be humble at the same time. I have learned to forgive others and love them through their wrong doings but to also keep them at a distance if it threatens my inner peace. I love helping people even when they may not always deserve it. That’s what Jesus would do, right? I will try to hear you out, not judge you for your mistakes and understand why you are the way you are… but I will also punch you in the face if you hurt me or mine! Believe that. See, still not perfect… Jesus wouldn’t punch you in the face… but I still might. 🤔🙋🏻♀️
I’ve learned that no one is perfect, no matter how perfect they pretend to be and I try to find the sympathy in it. I’m an open book about my past because all the bad choices and hardships allowed me this growth and this growth is what brought me to, today. I thank God every morning and every night for where He has allowed my heart to flow gently and open minded into each new day. I’m so thankful he opened my eyes to more love, more happiness and more life.
As I said earlier, growth is hard. You may often feel misunderstood and even judged in the worst way.. but be patient. The right people for you can only find you if you are true to yourself. Being yourself is far more brave and courageous than being perfect, day in and day out! Surround yourself with the same. Growth will show you parts of you that you have yet to discover, love that you have yet to find and feel, experiences beyond your imagination and a whole world waiting for you to explore it and its diversity!
God doesn’t make mistakes. He knew you were going to fail. Use your story to show others that it’s ok to be imperfect, own it, and turn it all around for the beauty it can bring into your life and others that surround you. As my friend Cavino said to me, “People are just scared to use their imperfections for good. Instead, they hide them.”
Grow. Don’t be someone you’re not, forever. Forever is a very, long time, to be miserable. Be YOU. ✨