I have led what I call a very “boringly-interesting” life. I think when most of us look back on our lives we see them as nothing out of the ordinary though because we are the ones who have played the starring role.
I was in a flood in my early childhood and suffered nightmares for years after the event. This flood also destroyed most of the photographs of my early years including those of my beloved father. I feel like this flood would become a metaphor for much of my life later on.
My mother abandoned me when I was around a year and a half old and I never regained a truly significant relationship with her after this. We have had contact and we have a very strained relationship, to put it mildly. Sadly I never had the chance to get to know the person who should have been my maternal role model. Her absence in my life would leave me with a longing for a maternal figure and an urgent need to be the best possible mother to my children. I would also be left with an immense fear of myself as a mother since I had no one to guide me in that regard.
My father remarried a few years later which turned out to be a devastating event for me. My step-mother was a highly volatile and abusive woman who tormented me for many years without my father’s knowledge. I had family surrounding me that saw the abuse but they did not know how to handle the situation. They did their best to try and help me but child abuse was considered more of a “family matter” at the time and wasn’t handled as it would be today.
At the age of 10 my father completed suicide. His death came in the middle of his military retirement, his third divorce, and also while attempting to move his life (and mine) to a new state. The timing of his death left me to be a ward of the Military and completely uprooted my life, setting me on a path none could have ever foreseen. His death would prove to be something that I felt both hindered and defined by for many years. I struggled with understanding his death and my own life while being restricted by the new society I found myself a part of. I was taunted and looked down upon because of the means by which my father died. I struggled with depression and my own suicidal thoughts because of all of these things.
I will always suffer from depression But I will always fight it with all that I can.
I have met many different types of people and I have seen many unique personalities throughout my life. After the death of my father I was both adopted and raised by my grandparents (my father’s parents) who lived in the Southern United States. This too would prove to be a unique experience. I was a Korean girl being raised by my White Grandparents in a time where this was not a common sight.
I learned a great deal from my grandparents. I learned respect, humility, what hard work was made of, and life-lessons that are sadly being forgotten by many in today’s generation. Though they taught me a great deal it was not an easy way to be raised. I had not only lost my father but I had now been sent to a whole new set of expectations and allowances. There was also a 50 year age difference between myself and my new “parents.” I struggled with my new world and my loss and they struggled with the loss of another child and now found themselves raising a teenager once again. Only this time the world had changed and I was left groping for words I did not know how to speak. Much of our time together was spent in silence as I grew older because none of us knew how to comfort the other.
My new environment brought new challenges as well. I had been living in Washington D.C. with my father and had enjoyed the cultural diversity that the city holds. Moving to the Southern US meant that there was little cultural diversity. I suffered from racism where I had never known it (other than from my stepmother) before. The constant stigma of being the child of a parent who had committed suicide would also take its toll on me. Others around me were quick to cruelty and slow to understanding. I learned what being different felt like as both a teenager and a young woman. I longed to fit in and I felt at odds with who I was and who I appeared to be in the eyes of all who were around me.
Over the years I learned more about the intricacies of relationships and the desires that move people to act in certain ways. I have always been fascinated with the inner-self and the limitlessness of our consciousness. People amaze me. Sometimes they do so in a good way and sometimes not. I have encountered self-less people who would do anything for anyone. I have met loyal friends who self-sacrifice everything for those they love. I have had the honor of meeting courageous individuals who persevered past the limitations that life attempted to constrain them with. I have also had darkened times where I was surrounded by those who would manipulate and lie without regard to others or regard to consequences. I was taken advantage of and eventually discarded by people I foolishly considered my friends. I learned that trust is a gift that should be held close to the heart and earned rather than freely given. These relationships have opened my mind in so many ways and they have also helped to form me into the person that I am today. I am stronger because of all of them.
I love writing. I have been writing my entire life. It soothed my pains when I was a child. It eased my loneliness. It opened my inner-mind and it calmed my ever-longing heart. Writing has been a constant that I never feared being abandoned by. In so many ways it was my only constant. It was something that both gave me power and allowed me to be weak all at once and yet it never judged my flaws unlike so many people I had met and known.
I now have 3 beautiful children who make my world complete. They are the ones that have allowed me to love without the fear of rejection. They are my heart, my joy, and my strength. Each day that I smile it is for and because of them. I will never regret the path that brought me to them.
I want to instill values and ethics within my children. I want to be available and active in my children’s lives and I want them to also learn that they should have control over their own paths. I feel I am meant to steer them by providing them with the best start, the best tools, and the best knowledge that I can. It is then up to them to reach their goals.
The woman I am today is one who has moved past many things. I have seen and experienced quite a lot for my age and a lot of it was at a very young age. Today, I am the strongest version of myself. I have learned to embrace my differences through both humor and understanding. I no longer cower down because of my appearance. I rather enjoy standing out in the crowd now. It took me decades to come to a point where I could be open about many aspects of my life. A lot of time was needed for me to both heal and understand who I am as a person. I have learned that my heart is one that wants to help. I want to make a difference in the lives of those who are lost. I want to reach out and be the hand that pulls another up from the mud. I want to tell my story and I can only hope that one person will find solace in my words.
I hope that you will enjoy what you see and I look forward to getting to know you as well. Please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts and feelings. © Susie Reece 2014