If it wasn’t for your parents…

If it wasn’t for your parents, you wouldn’t be here, people say.


However, I also dare to say that if it wasn’t for my parents, I also wouldn’t be dealing with all these self-destructive thoughts.

 

— All I wanted was some hope. A parent that believed in me before I became a basketball star.

 

If it wasn’t for my parents,  I would not have battled self-doubt and low self-esteem in areas that I have repeatedly excelled or succeeded in.

 

— I just needed someone to study with me and tell me that I know the material, I  got it. I just wanted someone to consistently come to my games and tell me, “It’s okay, next shot.”

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I would not have considered myself as inadequate or unworthy because I never got to spend quality time with my father or my mother as a child.

 

— Dad, I wish you had never left or at least came back eventually. I am still counting years. Mom, I wish it didn’t take me spending time at your job to feel your affection and care.

 


If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have found myself accepting forms of love that degraded me, broke me, and disrespected me.

 

— Dad, I love you, but I never met you. You left and promised to come back and promised that things will get better. You also claimed to love me back. So, all a man or a woman needed to do for me to feel loved was to promise something.

 

— Mom, I love you. You also say you love me too, but you never protected me and you never defended me.

 

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have spent majority of my life assessing who I am based on other people’s opinions of me.

 

— All I wanted was for one of you to have my back, when I was lied upon or when older men approached me with inappropriate intentions. When others doubted me, I just wanted to have your support. Instead, those older men validated my beauty. Then, once I became a teenager, boys' attention and having sex made me feel worthy.

 

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I would not have spend sleepless nights wondering what it’s like to have family dinners on Sundays or listening to a bedtime story before I go to sleep.

 

— All I wanted was to have a family, a home.

 

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have made all my life decisions based on my need to escape my toxic reality at home.

 

— Home was never a safe or mentally healthy place to be. So, I left. Every chance I got I left and I continue to leave.

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable every time I was invited to other families’ celebrations.

 

— I just don’t know how to act. I don’t know how to be around a male figure at home. I don’t know how to feel. I still struggle with this feeling of emptiness. Why can’t my family celebrate?


 

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have grown up thinking that asking for help is a form of self-pity and worthlessness.

 

— Dad, I heard you were a proud man. I heard your pride stopped you from asking for help from others and that’s how you ended up leaving and never coming back. Mom, is being in need of help worth my mental health issues, my scars, my safety?

 

 

If it wasn’t for my parents, I wouldn’t be here and for a lot of reasons I wish I wasn’t here because they were never ready for me to come.


Yes, I know, I am not a child anymore. I can protect myself now. I love myself now. I survived my worst and biggest suicide attempt and haven’t had an attempt in 8 years. I ask for help now. I accept help now. I motivate, inspire, and encourage myself and others now. I believe in myself now.

I am a strong, black, independent, ardent, and determined woman now, but I didn’t have to struggle with wanting to take my life away every other day to become this strong.

 

I understand that parents will make mistakes and children have the chance to do and be better than their parents. I understand that tough times, build winners and make you stronger. However, not everybody makes it.

Not everybody overcomes depression. Not everyone can deal with absent parents who spend all their time working. Not everyone can overcome the pain of sexual harassment, abandonment, poverty, loneliness, and hopelessness. Some people lose their mind. Other people lose themselves.

 

So, all I ask for is for you to think. Are you truly ready to have kids? Are you happy with yourself or are you planning to project your dreams and lost desires on your child? Do you love yourself enough? If you do not, then your child will suffer.

If you are already parent, being there is not enough. You really need to be there; encourage, love, protect, help, build, and understand your child and the world we live in.

 

If you are that child, message us, and let us heal together...

 

Love Always, 

Jessica Ogunnorin