To the few of you who still follow me or even remember who the hell I am on here, meet my baby cousin aka my reason for living. I’ve decided to share his story because not only somewhat similar to mine, it’s become an extension of my own life story.
Anthony Jaden Flores was born without his father to see him into the world, just as I was. His mother, a recoverimg heroin addict, barely made it thru his birth. When she was about 6 weeks along, her withdrawals and her inability to stay strong thru her pregnancy made it tough to watch. I knew there was a kid in there, I knew he’d probably never know his father. But no matter what, I told myself that if he was to make it and call this world home, I’d be there to act as one myself. People often mistake him for MY own son, but that is only because I so effortlessly treat him as such. He is my light. When the time came closer to his arrival, things only got scarier and worse. My entire immediate family (which consists of 3 aunts *including AJ’s mom*, 4 cousins, my mom and grandparents) all worried about whether or not he’d be addicted himself. We knew that once he came into the world, we might not see him for awhile. And unfortunately…he was.
He and his mother stayed in the hospital for what seemed like the longest month of my entire existence. But when they came home it was the beginning of a new change for all of us. My tia Angel, Anthony’s mother, was really close to me before she drifted off into her addictions at the age of 19. She was just like an older sister. She loved me like one too. She had to babysit me and my older cousin when we were kids so she always tried to bond and be apart of our imagination. But she took to me because she saw how different and observant I was. She’s really smart. Well, she was really smart. I didn’t see her anymore after one specific night that changed my life.
It was sometime in the winter of ‘06. I went downstairs and saw her in the restroom…unconscious with a needle in her arm. My grandfather had no will to see his daughter destroy herself like that, so he forced her out of our home.
Then…I’ll admit, I had a distaste for her and her choices. But I was only 12, and I didn’t completely understand or try to for that matter. All I could comprehend was that my aunt and her friends were stealing my things for money. I didn’t realize exactly what they were into. It was hard at times because she always helped me when I didn’t understand things. From how I was feeling about myself, to how I felt about girls or the way other kids thought of me. She always encouraged me to be ME. Angel always made it a point to remind me that I was gonna be someone important one day. Even when she would be here, at home, strung out, she’d see me and snap out of it just enough to ask me about my day.
Thinking about it now has me in tears. Because I can’t imagine what she went thru out there on her own. What horrible people she must have met. This whole thing goes deeper and deeper into a darker understanding, but parts of my aunts life should remain confidential.
Today, she is healthy. Very healthy. And beautiful as ever. The change is absolutely evident. From how she and AJ interact, to how she speaks of him…it’s obvious that she’s well aware of the gift that has been given to her. He saved her life, and little does he even know. He loves her so much. They both are the most beautiful mother/son duo I’ve ever seen.
But neither of them, nor do a lot of my family know how much AJ saved MY life. I, too, struggled with an addiction of my own. It really tore me from the person I was to become. The beautiful soul that lies within me was being torn apart by my own selfish doubt and inability to be strong. I was not myself, and if it weren’t for him, I would have been in the same dark place we found his mother. He, along with my ex-girlfriend, showed me how much more there is to life than always wanting to die. How much more it means to live than to spend every day doing the most to have it end.
I am grateful. Every day. For him, his light, and his infinite love. He’ll grow, he’ll have his own stories. He may even have his own addictions. But no matter what, I will be there to remind him of the lives he saved, and how much his existence means to all of us.
For anyone who’s struggling with addiction or just poor life choices in general…YOU ARE STRONG. Holy fucking shit are you strong. Well within your very heart and soul lies a strength you cannot fathom. And it is for that same exact reason, you can’t seem to harness it. Its a strength that we all, as humans, carry. This life is not out to get us. Our societies make it tough to be an individual at times, I’ll agree. But never ever let someone or some drug tear you from the things you know and love about yourself. People love you. People want to see you prosper in this world.
So put down your fears, put down the metaphoric needle that is your self-doubt and be who you want to be.
You never know.
Being YOU just might help save lives.
~ All my love tumblnerds