The Good & The Bad—I Am Still Grateful

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Photos by Priscilla Du Preez & Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

I am not the type to wait for one day of the year to express my gratitude; however, out of the blue, I started to write, I mean, 2020 has been a funny year, so why not make the exception. Before I begin, I think I should warn you; the list you will read below is not going to be your usual list of things I am grateful for. The Good & The Bad—I am still grateful. I am speaking my truth, and there are some trigger points, drugs and sexual abuse.

A secret I sat on for years that slowly destroyed me as I got older; a secret that, even though the police found out about, nothing was done which was caused me revert once again and keep shit in. Again, still grateful.

 

I am grateful for my parents (ALL of them), my wife, my friends, my foes and enemies. I am grateful for everyone that has impacted my life. I couldn’t EVER state that I never had help in life because, without these people, I wouldn’t be who I am today. We often list the good and positive things that we are grateful for; however, I am who I am because of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

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I am grateful for my mother’s ex-husband invading my space, touching me in places he shouldn’t have, doing things he shouldn’t have done, making me do things I shouldn’t have done and being exposed to these things at such a young age. A secret I sat on for years that slowly destroyed me as I got older; a secret that, even though the police found out about, nothing was done which was caused me revert once again and keep shit in. I am grateful because it allowed me not to lower my guard when the vibe felt all too familiar. I am grateful because as much as I wanted a father figure in my life, he showed what a father is NOT. As my own father was not in my life as a child, I did not know what having a father was like; I didn’t know what to expect other than what he showed and told me. I am grateful because whilst he stole elements from my childhood, I am no longer broken and ashamed, but stronger because of him.

I am grateful that my parents were on drugs for most of my life as it allowed me to see firsthand that this was not the path I wanted to travel down. Yes, I have tried a few minor things, because I wanted to know what it was that took them from me, but thankfully, I never experimented on their level. I am grateful because it has made me want to have my own family and learn from their mistakes. It has shown me that not everyone that is on drugs is the stereotypical definition of a ‘crackhead’. It has opened up honest conversations with my parents and allowed me to love them to their core.

I am grateful for the families that took care of me when my parents couldn’t. I have learned that blood is not always thicker than water. I have learned what it is like to be an outcast from my own family and experienced love from others. I have felt the exclusion and resentment from non-blood relatives because of my unexpected and probably unwanted ‘membership’ into their family. I am grateful that I learned at an early age that every family has problems, and every family plays favourites. The pain never goes away, if I am honest, I have learned to deal with it the best I can. 

I am grateful for the people who murdered my brother, the witness and the police. It showed me that in the blink of an eye, your ‘friends’ would turn on you to save themselves. It opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how loud people shout ‘gone but not forgotten’ most times it is bullshit. I am grateful because I see that depending on who you are or the circumstances of your death, some members of the police do not give a shit; he is just another dead black man off the streets. I have learned that people will literally look you in the face and claim how they love(d) your loved one so much, but are the key to solving their death or providing closure but will never keep it 100 with you. I am grateful because I understand firsthand what it feels like to be publicly threatened at my brothers funeral/wake by a gang member and felt fearful for my life. I am grateful because I lived in fear for years, but now I know how to walk in my truth.

I am grateful for the people I thought were my friends. I learned that I held on way too long to fraudulent ‘friendships’. I learned how to love and accept my emotions despite being constantly told I am ‘too emotional’. I learned that ‘friends’ would literally deny things they have said/done to you even though you have receipts to remind them of their actions. I am grateful because I have learned (over and over and over) that friends come and go and that some people are only in your life for a lesson. I am grateful because I am stronger.

I am grateful for my wife because she has shown me that even rough starts can lead to great endings. My marriage is far from perfect, but I am grateful for our continuous fight and communication to overcome the inevitable relationship issues. I am grateful that she pushes me to be me; she balances me out. I am grateful for the gossip and whispers and naysayers who betted against us because it made us stronger.

The Good & The Bad—I Am Still Grateful.

Ultimately, I am grateful for the person I am today. I am flawed, imperfect, emotional, passionate and caring. Sure, I have cracks and wounds that occasionally reopen from the pain, but I am learning to work through the pain. I am grateful because I stopped allowing my past to be a crutch and excuse for my actions. As hard as it may be at times, I walk in my truth proudly. I am grateful because through it all, I have learned that no matter what, no matter who you are, people will always have something to say, people will always judge you for something. The good and the bad has shown me that it is me who has ultimate control over the direction of my life in my reactions and responses. I could be a completely different person, but I am not, and for that, I am truly grateful.

 

Good or Bad, what are you grateful for?

 

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