Black and white photo of man with back to camera standing in front of window

“Darkness of My Mind”

A winning essay from our Brighter Future Scholarship contest

Little kids often fear being alone in the darkness. I in fact used to be one of those little kids. However, this idea wasn’t always about being trapped in physical darkness, it would also pertain to the darkness that would overwhelm my mind. At a young age, I was very observant. I would watch as my mother would take another sip of her foamy drinks. I would watch the words stumble from her mouth as she would speak after each sip. I would watch as these words would fuel my father and his intensity towards the matter. I would watch and continue to watch almost every night as this cycled. My father told me to remain calm and to avoid the games my mother was playing. I never understood why. And I wish I still never understood. 

As I grew older, it became clear to me the games my mother would play were not games at all. Her addictive cycle led to the overwhelming cycle presented in my home. I grew exhausted of my mother’s behavior, which at times got the best of me. I would watch my father and sister endeavor in my mother’s game. Frustrated, I did my best to remain calm like my father would always tell me to, but I would condense. My mind would grow dark and wander off to these dark thoughts, negatively impacting my mental stability. I was alone again, just as I was when I was a little girl afraid of the dark. 

Fortunately, there was still one aspect of my mind that I could resonate with: music. I would hit shuffle on my playlist and allow the lyrics to take over my mind. The darkness in my mind began to dissipate, lost in the lyrics and rhythms of the beats. My mind would elevate, becoming less focused on my mother. Music has a vivid array of color and has thankfully shaped my perspective on my situation. None of this could have been done without the help from my father. He would sit down with me, and teach me ways to distract myself, one way being through music. My father has always been my backbone to my strength, giving me the gift of shifting towards a positive mindset. Thanks to him, I made sure I surrounded myself with positive attributes and people. Everyday I am grateful for the friends and opportunities I’ve pursued, and there was nothing my mother could do to make me give up. Thanks to the endless support systems I have obtained, I began to realize that I did not have to face the darkness alone. I am no longer afraid. 

This is my life. My perspective has shifted. I know now that I am my own person and that I am capable of making my own choices. Addiction is a choice in itself, along with the choice of facing your fears. Through what I’ve learned and gained from my experiences, I want to teach others how to move forward like me. I want to teach others to grow, to cope, and to reflect. I want to be the reason why someone is no longer afraid. Through this scholarship, not only will I be able to further my education, I will be able to get answers about how and why people think the way that they do. With this in mind comes the questions circulating addiction and how to stand up against it, both as the addict and as the victims of the addict. My goal is to apply my knowledge and what I’ve experienced to those around me, that way they know that there is light in the darkness. 

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