There are so many stories from so many people about their Uphill Climb. I decided I would talk about mine today.
I was born into a lower middle class family of four -I have a mother, father and younger sister. We moved a lot, usually on the whim of my father, from continent to continent, town to town, school to school. My childhood wasn’t all that stable but it was happy.
Then my father decided we would be moving back to Pakistan without him so that we could be raised in our culture. I was 12 going on 13. My sister was four years younger. This move was utterly traumatic for all of us. Our lives fell apart all over again. Slowly, we learned a new language and an alien culture. Slowly, we began to thrive in it. I lived a very sheltered and somewhat privileged life. Until one day my horrible uncle, who lived with us, found me kissing my much older boyfriend. In that culture, this is the biggest shame a girl can bring on her family. It is proof of how poorly she was raised, how little virtue she has and how utterly immoral she is. Don’t raise your eyebrow at the ridiculousness of it – this is the same in many cultures all over the world and was in European and American culture until just a couple of decades ago. People in the West still throw their children out on the street for getting pregnant. It is that dual standard – if a young man has many sexual escapades, he is a stud. If a young woman has any at all, she is a slut.
My father is an unhinged sociopath and cares only about appearances. When my uncle told him what he had seen, he flew to Pakistan for the first time in years and threatened to kill me to my face. My uncle had people he knew who would do this easily. But for the sake of appearances, my life was spared. I spent an year in total hell. I was put under house arrest. My friends were told I had left for the States with my father I had not. I was living in my room, being denied the chance to go to the engineering university I had worked so hard to gain entrance to and had been accepted into.
The extended family were told I was sick and could not attend university as a result A few months later we moved back to the States into the home of a tyrant who mentally and emotionally abused us for more than 7 years until we all had enough. We graduated college by getting loans and working two jobs at a time. We moved out, my mom and my sister and I, after my sperm donor decided to choke me to death for looking at him wrong. We are safe from him now.
I worked 80 hours a week at two jobs to make ends meet. I had a hard time landing these jobs as well. I was unemployed for 8 months due to failing out from a PhD program. That dream was just another huge disappointment. I don’t think I will ever really forgive myself for failing to achieve that dream.
Amidst all this family drama, I had another soul wrenching issue to deal with. The man I thought I would marry, would have kids with, would build a life with, did not share my faith. Eventually, we could no longer agree about many important and pivotal ideals unrelated to faith. Marrying him would have meant leaving my mother, my family and everything I had grown up with for him. He lost all confidence in himself and in me 4.5 years into our relationship. A month after we put down our wedding deposit, he broke up with me. My soul shattered. My life ceased to mean anything at all. I got through it because of all the amazing and supportive people in my life. Their support saved me from myself. I am still trying to recover from the magnitude of that betrayal. I find myself happier than when I was with him quite frequently though. It was good that it ended before the walk down the aisle and children and divorce court. I just wish he hadn’t wasted so much of my time and let me waste my youth on him.
A couple months after this break up, I was at an arts market and saw a particular painting that caught my eye for some reason. I couldn’t afford it and walked away from it. Just a week ago, I saw it again at the same market. The artist sold it to me for half price and then told me the name of the painting was the “Uphill Climb.” That was when I understood what had made me feel drawn to it. It was about choosing to do the hard but right thing when the wrong thing would be the easier to do. It was about going on no matter what. It was about never giving up. And it inspired me to write this here today.
Currently, I am experiencing a lot of financial difficulty thanks tot the hard times falling on most of us. But I believe my fate will be what it is and whatever is meant for me will get to me one way or another.
For all of you going through your own uphill climb, don’t ever give up. Every path will have its pitfalls. Everything that is worth your effort will be worth a lot of effort. There will be countless days when giving up on yourself and on your dreams would be a lot easier. There will be so many times where you will hate yourself and resent the world. Don’t give up. You can do it. You can make it to the top and over to the next peak. Keep going. You will see places you never even imagined possible.
Best of luck on your travels through life. May your hope never leave you.