Angelina, My Friend


 Today I want to share with you a story about my friend Angelina. No, it is not about Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie and I are not friends. My friend Angelina is just another person with challenges trying to make her life the way she dreams it should be. She is just like you and me. We all have our personal “stuff” that makes our lives rocky at times.

Angelina was born to parents that were not ready to raise and care for a child. Her mom had addiction problems and was only seventeen when Angelina was born. Her dad was in and out of her life. Angelina did not have any stability in her life. Sometimes she lived with her mom and sometimes she was farmed out to other family members. Her dad visited her from time to time but he never provided a home for her. Her childhood was filled with uncertainty, confusion, rejection and trauma. There was no one she could count on. No one was there for her on any consistent basis. She did not have guidance and love. She always told me that she raised herself. In addition to raising herself she also raised her three younger siblings. Angelina was the first born. Unfortunately her mom had three more children that were neglected like Angelina was.


Angelina shared with me some of her survival secrets. She told me that early on she discovered something that was major for her to get through every day. She could not dwell on her tragic and unfortunate circumstances. If she did that she would not be able to take care of herself. If she dwelled on her sorrowful life she could not be there for her siblings. Somehow when she was very young she trained herself to live one day at a time. One day at a time with the hope that tomorrow would be better. How did Angelina, someone so young, stubble upon this survival philosophy? Angelina told me that it was out of necessity that she lived each day with this philosophy. I was amazed. It seems that necessity took over and Angelina was able to make her life important to her.


The other thing Angelina shared with me was that responsibility kept her going every day. The responsibility to take care of herself. She had to take care of herself because no one else would. She also had to take care of her siblings. If she didn’t who would.


The next question I had for Angelina was, “Did this make you bitter?” Angelina answered this in a very matter of fact way. She said, “No. It made me stronger.” That took a while to sink in. All I could do was imagine how I would feel if my childhood was like hers. I thought I would be angry, depressed, lost, dejected, frightened, confused, unable to function. Angelina told me that she did have these feeling. But she also had the hope that if she made it through today tomorrow could be better. It was that hope despite the circumstances she lived with that made her stronger. That hope made her go on each and every day.


So what is Angelina like all grown up?  She is a complex person. She has mental scars. She knows that she never really had a childhood. She knows she was thrust into adulthood out of necessity. She also knows that despite it all she made it. She knows that if she made it through the chaos and craziness of her childhood she will make it through adulthood. She thinks adulthood is a piece of cake compared to where she came from and what she lived thorough.


There are many reasons I am telling you about Angelina. First I am amazed at how someone that lived through what she lived through could take control of her life. Yet when I think about it I am not so amazed. What Angelina did was what we all do at one time or another. We look to ourselves and our strength to help us make our lives better.


This is the same thing you can do to overcome your shyness. First off be responsible for yourself. You may want to blame others. That is not the way to deal with something. You have only so much time and energy in the day. You can choose to devote that energy and time to making your life better or you can devote it to hurtful feelings. The choice is yours.


Second remember that you have one day at a time to live your life. Live that day doing your personal best. There is always hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.


Marcia, Your Confidence Coach


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