I often wonder what my life would have looked like had I been born to different parents in a different station. I dream of what it would have been like to be adored, a daddy’s princess. I’d have walked confidently. I definitely would have gone to a big university. I like to imagine that I would have had great talent cultivated until I broke forth on the international scene, dazzling those whom I encountered.
Alas, my reality has played out in an obscure valley in the Pacific Northwest where drugs and poverty are rampant. I was abandoned, not loved, first by my parents and then by two husbands. I’ve walked with my shoulders pulled forward in shame. I didn’t graduate high school. I have no great accomplishments to my credit, and no one wants to know me.
I often feel I’m a victim of my circumstances. I have been bound and constricted by the choices of others. My life has not been the one I would have chosen but, unfortunately, it is the one I was given.
In his film 2016, Dinesh D’Souza, comparing life in India to life in the U.S., stated, “My destiny would, to a large degree, have been given to me so in America my destiny isn’t given to me, it’s constructed by me.”
I find it very interesting that a foreigner comes to this country and sees it as a land of opportunity, a place to make his own decisions and choices. Yet, I, being born here, have allowed it to become my prison. I have to stop and really ponder this. What is imprisoning me? What is preventing me from constructing my own destiny?
Even in that oppressive Indian environment he must have been given something that I was denied, something that enabled him to move to a distant land and create his destiny.
I think he must have been given a certain confidence in his own abilities in order to even consider such a bold move. Conversely, I grew up hearing things like, “Poor, dumb, little Sissy,” “If you had a brain cell, you’d be dangerous,” “No man will ever put up with you,” and “No one will ever want you except for one thing.” With those messages emblazoned in my mind I have lacked the necessary confidence to create any kind of a life worth living.
After mulling that over, I submit that it isn’t so much the station that one is born into. It isn’t so much the government or the country that will determine one’s success or failure. Whether or not an individual is native born or an emigrant will not determine the ceiling that is placed on their intellectual, academic, or relational development. It is that foundational element of having someone who believes in our abilities that gives us the confidence to believe in ourselves and, thus, create our own destiny.