I can easily remember where I was when my life was forever, irreversibly changed. It's not a pleasant memory. Alone at the mall, feeling as though I was falling into a dark abyss to which I would never be saved. Fear and desperation consumed me. But the worst was being alone. Everything I had planned, hoped for and dreamed were gone. I felt I was forever lost with them.
I don't recognize that girl now. I'm glad I don't. When I go visit my childhood town I'm often surprised when others recognize me. I have changed so much on the inside, it seems impossible that my outer appearance has remained intact.
Merely 7 months after I forced myself to acknowledge the truth, alone in the ladies room at the mall, I had my first child and became a mother at 18. By the time he was born I was no longer swirling, lost in the abyss. Turns out I was not as alone as I feared, and my family reached down and pulled me from the darkness. They rescued both of us.
Still, I sometimes wonder, like in a choose your own adventure book, if I could go back and make a different choice, where would I be. Who would I be? Would the following chapters bring me joy or would I still be the same girl I was in high school? Would life have been easier? Would I like the person I would become?
The struggles and sacrifices made are too numerous to count. I am still haunted by the girl I once was. Society doesn't look kindly on young mothers. Neither do most guys, regardless of being young and single. The baggage for most is too heavy.
I don't know if everything happens for a reason. If a path is set for us to follow. But I know, with the clarity of hindsight, that I am lucky I ended up on the path I did. There are too many things I would not give up. The struggles I learned from, and the sacrifices made, make what I have all the more sweet on my tongue. The guys, who weren't strong enough for the son I carried cleared the way for the one who was. Would I have found him on another path? I wouldn't risk finding out.