You see families are really complicated but wait you already knew that. My family, however, is slightly more complicated than most people I know, my biological mom died when I was just four, my brother was raised by my grandmother away from me who was left to my distraught father. From the time I was five until age eleven, we lived with my godparents which as many people may have found it to be was CONFUSING.

I went from having two parents to one, then to have three. My point is I was a very confused kid especially when my dad up and remarried in the middle of my very awkward teen years (shout out to sparkly eyeshadow and braces). My teen years were rough just as many of yours probably were (or are), I ran through ways to escape my life and sometimes even how to end it. I often pondered if other kids grew up as I did, feeling alien in their own homes, their own families. I've come to see that you and I aren't all that different, there are lots of us who grew up without one parent whether it be through one awful circumstance or another. We grow stronger through this.

We raise up, scream from the rooftops that we've made it this far! We've killed obstacles in our way, we've shattered all the expectations we were given and even those we had given ourselves because we won. We didn't let our bad childhoods crush us, we crushed them in becoming the women we always wanted to be but thought we would never gather the courage to become.

HERE WE ARE.

I am proud of you and I'll dare to say it I'm proud of me too. Our lives may not be picture perfect but we're making small gains each day and getting that much closer to achieving our greatness we deserve. You are so much more than a product of your upbringing, you are a warrior and because of all you have gone through you get to celebrate that much harder when you reach milestones. You get to say that although it was the fight of a lifetime you have made it. As someone who is attending their third college and is expected to graduate much later than anticipated, I can still say that I have made one hell of a woman out of myself.

I struggle without a family to hold and coddle me, I struggle knowing that I cannot go back and change my past as I am sure many of you do too but, what we can do is keep on going full speed ahead and making ourselves into wonderful people, who may have the opportunity to provide the things we never had to the ones we love and I just cannot think of anything better than that. Just remember you are who you want to be not the person who was made a victim of a broken childhood, of a messed up life but one who kills it with everything she does.