I thought I was the only one who felt so unworthy – so lacking in measuring up. That no one struggled as I did to just go outside of my home and face the world.
For years, I held onto my secret, my shame. The words of my aunt echoing in my mind:
No one must know where we are from. No one.
But I longed to tell someone and know that it was ok – that I would not be rejected because of my secret.
My brothers and I would joke around saying that it was like we were aliens from another world. In our new home in the U.S., we felt that different.
People will treat you differently and look down on you.
My aunt had wanted to protect us and maybe herself but in trying, she essentially told us there was something wrong with us.
Don’t tell anyone who you really are.
She kept the secret well and carried it to her grave. She never got to be who she really was – but someone she believed the world would accept. Sadly though, she never found the acceptance she longed for.
For years, I heeded her warning. No one must know who I really was. The only logical thing to do was to create someone the world could accept.
So I worked hard to gain approval, acceptance. And as I grew older, I became driven to succeed and achieve.
The certificate from the state senator was nice, the internship on Capitol Hill a badge of honor, the appointment to the college president’s student council even more and on and on it went.
Without fully realizing it, I was on a mission to prove to the world I was enough – that my identity of who I really was and where I really came from – didn’t stop me from doing what everyone else was doing. And to really prove it, I had to do more than anyone.
I worked late into the night and sometimes into the wee hours of the next day.
Then the waves of terror started coming at night — the feeling of free falling into a bottomless dark pit. I was too lost to know that I needed help or how to get it. My whole existence depended on me working hard enough to prove myself and it wasn’t enough.
Had it not been for that D in organic chemistry, my crash in college might have been much worse but God used that D to save me.