Heat, pressure, and time. That's all it takes to make a diamond. Heat, pressure, and time. That's all it takes to make or break a person. Diamonds and people are incredibly similar in the fact that both of them start out as flawed, but are crafted into beautiful things.
Growing up in a household of scarcity can do a lot of things to a young person. It can harden their soul to the outside world, building within them resentment and hatred of those who were dealt a better hand. That's because they go day to day wondering "God, why did you choose me for this kind of life?" They feel targeted, second-guessing every move they make because they know that things are too good to be true.
Money, food, happiness... all of these things that people around you seem to have in surplus, you have none of. Rock bottom is feeling like you are the only one going through it. There is no other loneliness like when you're standing in a house, an empty shell of what used to be a home. Remembering the times where "we didn't have much but we had each other" that are simply non-existent now chisels away at the mind and motivation to go on.
Sadly, this is where many people get stuck. They don't realize that everything that happens to you in life can be used as fuel. Eventually, as an adult, you have to stop playing the victim card and start rolling with the punches. You have to realize that the environment you come up in is the single most important thing in your development as a human. People have to start taking the things that tear ordinary people down and using it as a reason to hustle your way out of the bad situation you are in.
Yeah, there were times where I missed my mother and father and didn't have someone there. There were definitely nights where I went to bed for dinner. Nights in the winter where I shivered, and days where I didn't know where my next meal was coming from. But no matter what, I kept those memories locked in to add fuel to my fire knowing that one day, things wouldn't be like this again. I had to remember to be thankful I even knew my parents. To be thankful I had a school to go to where I could escape each day and work myself to the grindstone until I knew my future was taken care of.
People like an underdog. It gives them something to believe in, attaching them to a lost piece of themselves. This is how I got my family back. How I motivated them to do what was best for their health and me as their child. How my mother escaped from the cold grip of addiction. She put in the long nights because she saw me do the same with much less. Telling my story is how I got the opportunity I was never supposed to have. Showing people that they should never be ashamed of where they come from is how I plan to continue succeeding.
College wasn't supposed to be an option for me, but by telling my story and showing my development as a person through my hardships, I got that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Now, three years later going into the final leg of my college career, it's incredibly humbling to see how far I've come. There's no better feeling than not taking things for granted. To remember how each day used to be compared to how each day is now. The everyday privileges everyone has always enjoyed feel that much more special to you as a person.
I laugh at people who complain about the smallest inconveniences — these are the people who will never have satisfaction with themselves or their lives. When people who have scrapped their way out of nothing are minorly inconvenienced, they are thankful instead of complaining.
To anyone out there who is still going through it, if you remember nothing else remember this: take every single thing that is thrown against you in life and don't let it tear you down. Convert it into gunpowder and put a match to it, and explode in a beautiful blaze of ambition and originality. Remember everything that happens to you, but don't use it as an excuse to be anything less than your best self.
The world equally disperses talent, but not opportunity. Most people are afforded opportunities, but some of us have to seize them. Seize every moment, and you too can be the diamond that came from the rough.