“ for me, it was always through achievement that I was able to receive notice from my parents. What does taught me at a very early age was that in order to be loved I need to do things to earn it. But to a child for whom notice is the outpouring of love, the absence of any leads to a desperation to learn what she can do to receive it.“
I don’t resonate with this saying at all.
I need to let people into my world for a second.
I am the youngest of 5. The youngest by far. My next oldest brother is 8 years older than I. You know what that means right?…OOOPS.
That’s right, I was an oops baby.
I wasn’t planned. By the time I came along, my mom was tired. She was done from what I’ve heard.
I say that because I don’t have many memories of my birth mom after the age of 8. My parents got divorced and my dad took all of us.
Now I got three of my own and I don’t know how the hell he did it! I struggle with the three while my wife works on the weekends. He had to take care of the kids financially and emotionally (as best as he could). Again, I say this because at the time my Dad was an alcoholic. Don’t get me wrong…my Dad is my Superman. He would come home from work and we would go to the bar. Again, I am much younger than the others, so mostly I would be the only one that would go to the “club” (a bar that you had to pay membership to get into). There weren’t a lot of kids at this bar, but the kids that were there became like family because we all had the same story. Our dads all drank and drank almost every night.
I became the “Pinball Wizard” and my name was always on the board.
Again, my Dad did his best to take care of me, as he was just trying to stay afloat and teach me lessons throughout my life. He coached baseball, he never missed a game from the time I was 8 up to when I was 17. He took me to my bowling league. He stood up against a major street gang when they attacked our family (and they backed off). He eventually married my Step-Mom (Aida), which completely turned my life around. He no longer went to the bar. We moved out of the gang and violence that I grew accustomed to and moved to a farm town.
The reason that I never used achievement to feel loved is because I was full of hate and self-worth issues.
I had to be the best…not to get the attention of my parents because my Dad didn’t value accomplishments as much as the work out into any accomplishment. He didn’t care that I only struck out three times my senior year of baseball, but he praised the hours that I would spend at the field hitting into the fence.
I had to be the best…because I needed to prove my value.
Remember…I was an oops baby and I knew this.
To make matters worse, my mom left me and walked out of my life when I was young. The person that gave birth and was supposed to have inherent trust because of that…walked away.
I had a self-worth issue.
I’ve seen it happen many times in life, a situation like this either breaks a person and they search for whatever acceptance they can find or it drives the person with a chip on the shoulder.
I had the chip.
I didn’t care what I was doing, I had to work to be the best at it. I would look at people that had all of the opportunities and talent and just never reached potential and I would shake my head.
I created a catchphrase that I still follow today.
“All hustle, no talent”.
It was that rejection that I experienced early in life that led to the work ethic that I have today.
It was that rejection that led me to become the employee of the year at Sam’s Club. It was that rejection that led to me graduating with a 3.8 GPA from college. It was that rejection that led me to push myself in the career that I have.
There has been closure from that rejection. I no longer harbor the hate that I had for decades.
I had a long conversation with my Dad when I was about 24 years old that allowed me to dispose of the hatred.
I wrote a letter to my birth mom, which allowed me to close that book.
Aida filled the gap of raising me, but she could never cure the resentment that I had for decades.
Now, it’s because of that rejection that I try to never do something like that to my kids.
Loyalty to those I love is the reason why I push myself so hard now. I have nothing to prove anymore, but I have to set an example for my family.