Families logo


by Tiaja Mckay about a year ago in literature
Report Story

By: Tiaja Mckay

Everyone always grows up either knowing A, exactly what they want to do in life, or B, taking years to figure out what they finally want to do. Growing up, I never really thought about what I wanted to do when I got older; I just knew I was destined for great things. The question of “what do you want to be when you get older?” from when I was a kid has changed to “what do you want to do with your life?”. This is something I am continuously asked by so many people in my life. Now the problem isn't that I don't know what to do, it's that there are so many things I could do that I know I would be successful at; I simply can't just choose one. When I tell people I am a third-year communications major attending the University of Arizona the question of “what are you going to do with that?” always comes up! I know you're probably wondering how I reply.

To be honest I usually just make up a bullshit story of how I want to move off to another state and then include whatever pops into my head at the time. And my answers are never the same because why should it be? I live a life based on opportunities and anything can happen in the time between getting my diploma, to five years later moving to another country. Life is full of possibilities and I'm always going to be down for whatever, as long as it makes me happy.

Now, I don’t like to bring up the past, but I feel as if my past defines a little part of who I am. In order for you to understand how I got here; writing about my whole life's story, I'm going to have to start from the beginning. It all started when my seventeen-year-old mother met my father and snuck out of the house on a warm summer night to look at the stars. The night was peaceful; love was in the air. They snuggled closely on an old baby blue blanket that smelled like oil from sitting in the back of my father's truck. As they stared at the stars whispering sweet words in each other's ears, the night ended with my mother and father wrapped very tightly around each other. That's when a miracle happened. A small white jelly-shaped droplet swam out of my father's ear and jumped into my mother's ear and traveled down through her body where a small sleeping egg lie waiting to be rescued. That little egg was me! And nine months later, on April 20th, 2000 I was born at St. Jude's hospital 9 LBS 9 ounces with a mohawk! Yup that's right, a mohawk; I even have the baby photos to prove it.

Well, life was great as far as how much a kid usually remembers between the ages of one and six. For all I know I was living my best life being a kid. But once I started getting older I started realizing things were happening around me that just didn't seem right. My mother was still very young and she wasn't always the best at taking care of me which meant I spent a lot of time at my grandma's house. I've blacked out a lot of things that happened to me as a child but the things I remember stay in the back of my head popping up on a daily basis.

My father was very abusive to my mother, almost beating her up to death. She would constantly have huge bruises and cuts all over her. And when she would come to lay by me at night to get away from him I would hold her and trace my fingers over her bruises which would make me hold her even tighter. Sometimes he would even try to make me a part of the many ways he hurt my mother. I look back and wonder what my mom could have done to make someone angry enough to want to take her life away. It was always so hard to see my mom when she was scared, young, alone, fighting for her and her daughter’s life. I knew a lot more than my mom’s family knew. Once they found out, they did everything to get her out of that situation. I look back and wish I could have done more but I was so young, so innocent, so oblivious, there was nothing I could have done.

Now you would think things got better after this but they didn’t. Court dates, therapy, supervised visits with my father, and a young, raging, emotionally abused, alcoholic mother came after that. The older I got, the more time I spent at my grandma's house, and the time I did spend with my mom turned into countless nights of crying in bed because there was always either a new guy she brought home from the bars after leaving me in the middle of the night, or having no electricity or food. And to make it worse I still didn't quite understand why my father was no longer allowed in my life. There were times when I threatened to kill myself but I never actually wanted to I just wanted to be heard. I wanted someone to acknowledge that I had pain too. Even though I went to a therapist weekly, I never felt comfortable talking to my therapist- let alone did I understand why I needed one in the first place. Yeah, I went through a lot, but I didn't need someone to help talk me through it. I just wanted my mom to be there to talk to me and give me the love I deserve.

Once 8th grade came I had to decide on a high school. My best option was to move in with my grandma. My mom had lost her job once again and had to move into a studio apartment with her boyfriend, where there was no room for me.

My relationship with my grandma had always been like a rollercoaster full of crazy emotions. My grandma I never really got along because I always felt that she was super controlling. I admit I wouldn't be where I am today without her and I'm so grateful for her, but it took a long time to get to where we are now with our relationship and we've been through a lot together.

High school started rough, but sophomore year I found my people. Weekend bonfires, football games, partying, and all the other things that come with high school flew by a lot quicker than I expected. Senior year I met a guy that I was positive was “the one”. We were so in love that we spent every waking moment together before we had to go off to college. The thing is I was never good at school and I never thought I had a chance at making it in college, but my boyfriend's father at the time somehow convinced me to go to school. He told me that I would have so much more potential if I did and that I would have so many good experiences. It was the most anyone actually tried to persuade me to go to school.

I'm gonna be honest I knew there was no way I could get into college and so I cheated on my ACT exam, and that's how I got into my college. Everything after that was pure luck.

Well, I finally made it to college and 6 months later I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend. Thirteen hours was too far and we both had some growing up to do. The time I spent alone, made me grow into a powerful, individualistic creature. These two years that I've taken to try and figure out what I want for myself have truly shown how much one person can grow. I have been able to meet so many new people and create so many crazy memories. I’ve gone places and done things I never imagined being able to do. I’ve created goals for myself and have a very powerful mindset. In the past year, I have come to realize what makes me happy is the people I surround myself with and the things I strive to achieve.

At this point you're probably wondering how I got here, believe it or not, I was walking home scrolling through Facebook when an ad for a contest popped up, in the headline in big bold print it said “ Write an inspiring short story and win 20,000” The requirements include 1,000 to 2,000 words and the deadline is June 8th, which is today. So in the hope to have a chance at winning 20,000, I am sitting alone against a garbage can in a small alleyway, a block away from my apartment writing in a little black notebook that I found on the ground next to me; writing everything that comes to my mind. You see, when you've lived a life as I have, you learn a few things.

So when I saw an ad for the opportunity to write an inspiring story for 20,000. I said “why not, I got nothing to lose” and I took it. I started writing this in hopes of sharing my story and inspiring people with similar backgrounds, but I think everyone needs to hear this. Having gone through a lot, there is so much more to my story but if there's one thing I've always done is keep my head up. I continue to tell myself I am destined for great things and that I am going to be successful. I've learned to take the bad and turn it into good. I never shut down an opportunity and I strive to push myself because why settle for less? I deserve to have the best life and I'm only going to do that by being my best self and pushing myself to do things even if they are out of my comfort zone. My mother, who's still an alcoholic will call me and tell me that I'm gonna end up just like her and that college is nothing. She will say so many mean hurtful things. But if there is one thing that I've always kept confidential in my head, is that I will never end up like her. I will never let my past determine my future. Because I create my destiny, I choose how I want to live my life. I'm the only person that is ever going to be here for myself, and I stand by that. I guess what I want everyone reading this to know is that life can get tough and not everyone goes through life the same way. You don't always have to have a plan. And I'm saying this because the next time you get asked what you want to do with your life…be optimistic and say a bunch of crazy things that you've never thought about doing until you’ve said it out loud. Because you're only gonna live one life. Not everything has to be set in stone. I think that's the part that everyone thinks is so scary about life until you realize you don't always have to have it figured out. Think about the people around you who are successful. Nine times out of ten, they are going through the same things as you. You can choose to take the route that leaves you emotionally unstable with anxiety and depression, or you can choose to be spontaneous, let go, and live a little. To say the least…. next time you see an opportunity, take it!


About the author

Tiaja Mckay

New aspiring writer!

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.