There Are Diamonds In The Rough, From The Person Who Is Living Proof

There Are Diamonds In The Rough, From The Person Who Is Living Proof

Growing up in the bad times has made me appreciate the good times

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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.

diamond inside coal

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.

50 Cent Quote

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.

"don't be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others"

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.

Quote about hardship

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.

Cover Image Credit:

Austin Goodwin

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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An Open Letter To My 14-Year-Old Self

"Wish you could go back, and tell yourself what you know now." - Taylor Swift

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I remember being 14 and couldn't wait to be one year older so I could finally sing Fifteen by Taylor Swift truthfully. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Tswift, and her songs were much like the narrative to my high school years. Her song Fifteen reflects back on her freshman year of high school realizing all that she has learned since then and wish she had known. But what I didn't know at 14 is that it was one of the most important years of my life.


Dear 14 year-old-me,

So, I know you have your first serious boyfriend, and you still have all of your innocence. You are naive to almost everything and anything, but all you is to be loved. But take a step back and realizing what you are doing to yourself in order to be liked. You see so many kids walking down the hallway holding hands, the senior boys seem so intriguing, and your straightening the life out of your hair to make it "perfect". The pressure is so on, girl I know.


What does it take to be "popular" and how far will you go to validate your worth?

Don't buy those Uggs you and your bestie saw the most popular girl in school wearing- its creepy and weird. She will probably think you're a stalker. Stop laying your outfits out the night before because honestly no one is impressed with your Holister jeans and Abrcombie zip-up that is sooo last year.

You think that 90 you got on your History test is a clear sign you should be a history teacher. I love that you had so much passion for that then, but little do you know the next year of your life will shape who and what you will become for the rest of your life. At 14, things may seem awkward and embarrassing, but it is one of the best years for you. You are still so close with your best friend. You have weekly sleep overs, your still calling your crushes by their "code-names" (even though everyone knows them), and your metabolism is impeccable.

You finally are liked by the guy you always wanted. You turn down really great guys because all you care about is him. You think that he only has eyes for you and you're meant to be. Girl, don't be so foolish. Even though, in due time, you will realize 4 years later that some things aren't meant to be and that's okay.

The first time he breaks your heart, is not the last, and it will only get worse. And you will continue to let let him hurt you time and time again because you think his love is the only love that will make you feel that you are enough.

I wish you would've walked away when you had the chance, and what I'm about to tell you, you may not be ready for.

Within the next year your depression and anxiety will hit the fan. You will lose friends, lose 30 pounds and lose sight of whats really important, all in order to be "good enough".

Here is the secret, good enough does not exist. It is unattainable, and nothing but a false hope that keeps fueling your desire to obtain perfection. You will isolate yourself, you will lie about everything you are doing in order to protect it, and you won't tell a single soul how much you will suffer.

I lived through your lowest of lows, and I have watched you want to give up. I have watched you cry yourself to sleep every night, I watched you lay on the bathroom floor feeling hopeless and I have witnessed you whip those tears, throw your hair in the cutest messy bun and smile into the mirror saying, "You're okay. Get it together girlfriend." Your eyes are lifeless. Your soul belongs to your disorder. This isn't who you are. But you will become who you were meant to be because of this.

But you will not be okay. You will face the hardest years of your life, and girl I am here for it. Every step of the way. You will not give up, even when you swear the pain of never being enough is unbearable.

So enjoy your last year of innocence because you won't be this happy again for a while. I am telling you this 7 years later. But happiness will come when you rid the toxicity from your life. This is the only way you will only be successful at reclaiming your life back.

There is so much more to you than how many friends you have or the size of your jeans. I need you to be strong, after all- you're going to run marathons soon. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that you become a damn good runner. And that sport breaks your heart more than any boy ever has. But you finally find your passion, and it's to help people who struggled just like you.

Pay attention in your honors chemistry class because girl, this is the field you're going into. Don't entertain boys who want you to shrink in order to make them feel powerful. DO your homework, wash your face and enjoy your icecream before bed. Wear whatever the hell you want because girls are going to judge you regardless- jealously is a real b*tch. No one is going to like you more at your lowest weight, even though the voice in your head tells you so. No one is going to pay you more attention, no one is going to love you more, and no one is going to prioritize your needs more than you can. You have to do all of this on your own, for your own good.

At 14, this world seems like a really good place. Cherish this feeling before the world becomes tainted with your uncontrollable desire to fit its' standard of perfect.

I want you to know the moment that you fall out of love, is when you start to mend the most beautiful relationship you will ever have- the one with yourself. People will come and go, but at the end of the day you have to be okay with who you are.

Lastly, your years with your loved ones are numbered quicker than you know. Hug them tight, call them more often, and see them every opportunity you get. Always tell them you love them when you kiss them goodbye.

Love,

The woman who is still trying to pick up the pieces, even 7 years later. I'm in this all for you and our future. Xo

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