Uncertain is an accurate way to describe my life. Nobody can predict the future, but given my childhood, what would become of me was up for discussion. A few months ago, a new friend said to me, “Blessed is he who had a difficult childhood.”
I was born into rather unfavorable socioeconomic conditions. Early in my mother’s pregnancy with me, she made the difficult decision to leave my father and raise me on her own, without him knowing of my existence. As a young twenty-two-year-old from a poor family, with no education, no job prospects, and few resources, she had one goal: to raise a daughter to become an independent woman, have an impact on the world, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty in my family. From as early as I can remember it had been “me and her against the world.” As a child, the uncertainty in my life was comforting and exciting. Uncertainty gave me something to aspire to—motivation to prove the whole world wrong, prove my mother right, and make something of myself.
When I became an adolescent, Mom decided that I should meet my father. I didn’t yet know the burden that comes from understanding where the dominant half of your personality comes from. Shortly after my father started to build a relationship with me, I started to see many of my weaknesses and personal struggles in him. For most of my life, I simply brushed off my inner challenges and weaknesses, but seeing them in my father made them real, and the journey towards self-awareness, self-acceptance, and ultimately self-improvement was emotionally taxing and isolating. But in the end it was worth it, because I found somebody to share my life with.
From the moment that I got engaged, I haven’t known how to deal with it. I don’t know how an engagement or a wedding is supposed to play out. My relatives never hosted weddings, because ain’t nobody got no money for that. Cyril and I could easily afford to host whatever kind of wedding that we want, now that we’re settled in our careers. But having grown up without any money at all, I still have a hard time spending—I’m comfortable living like I’m poor because it’s all that I know. We’re not the types that throw big parties, and coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, eloping was starting to sound like a pretty easy solution. I bounced some ideas off of my mom, and what I got back was that it’s OUR wedding, and that we have to do what feels right for us.
And then I came to the realization that my wedding isn’t for me. My wedding is for my mom, who gave up everything so that I could follow my dreams, do things I never imagined I could do, and find an amazing partner to share my life with. My wedding is for my maternal grandparents, who raised a family to the best of their abilities, given the circumstances. My wedding is for my paternal grandparents, who missed out on my childhood, and aren’t angry or sad for the years that they missed, but thankful to their Lord for the granddaughter that they gained.
I spent my whole life trying to prove the world wrong. I’m twenty-five years old, and already I earned my Master’s of Science degree from McGill, built myself a rewarding career, traveled to thirteen different countries, became fluent in a new language, and found a partner who deserves me. For the first time in my life, I have nothing left to prove to the world, and that scares me. Instead of the uncertainty in my life leading me in a specific direction, it’s now up to me to carve out my own path, and I’m not quite sure how to do that yet.
All I know, is that in six months, Mom will walk me down the aisle, and give me to my partner, and we will figure it out together.