It’s all your fault!
by Chris Adams
Actually, it might be. What am I talking about? Personal responsibility.
It is something that has freed my mind and made my life happier. I used to believe, as many do, that others were the reason why my life hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to. If only other people wouldn’t get in my way or try to hold me back. The reality is that most people don’t care about you. You aren’t much of a thought in their day because they have their own problems to deal with. Understanding that one simple thing gave the power back to me. It freed me to stop blaming other people for my successes and failures. When I stopped looking to be a victim, my life became happier and I saw ways to improve it.
I didn’t grow up privileged. From the time I was born I was addicted to heroin and weighed 1 pound 7 ounces. I nearly died at birth and yet my mother remained addicted to heroin throughout most my childhood. We were often homeless and lived with other poor people who would bring us in, mainly black and latino families. Many people have childhood memories of playing catch with their dad, I have memories of begging on the streets with my mom hoping to get enough money to eat every day. Sometimes, we’d have a place to live but it was never for long and often we’d leave in the middle of the night because we couldn’t pay rent. This led us to live in a car, but because I was a little kid it wasn't that bad for me.
She often struggled with sobriety all throughout her life but eventually after several trips to jail and going in and out of treatment, she managed to kick the addiction. Things finally got better and we had a new apartment all to ourselves. I even had my own room with a dog and a cat. It was the first time in my life that everything seemed to be going well. I had just had the first Christmas that seemed normal, my mother wasn’t on drugs, and I’d never received so many presents. Then on December 28th, 1992, I awoke to my step dad crying. He tearfully told me that my mother had passed away. My world was shattered, I was only 9 years old. I’ve carried that memory around with me and it still haunts me to this day.
My mother, for all her faults, instilled in me the value of treating others with compassion. We struggled constantly but when she did have something to offer others, she would. She would take in homeless people and feed and bathe them. She taught me to treat every person, no matter who they were with respect. I say this to let you know that I could blame the world for the life I’ve had, but I don’t. In a way, I’m thankful for what I’ve been through. It gave me a perspective on life. Despite what hand you are dealt it is up to you to find happiness in your own life. Bad things will always happen, you can’t change that. You can change how you let it affect you. Take responsibility for your life and make it what you want it to be. I believe in YOU.
Thank you for reading.