I always blamed myself and carried the guilt as if it were my punishment for making bad decisions. “You will never stop paying for it!” I was told many times, and a nugget of truth lies in that statement as we all must live with the consequences of our actions. Misplaced trust and belief in those who are undeserving of such gifts are my sins. “Imagine what you could have accomplished if the people in your life offered support and encouragement instead of tearing you down.” Someone once said to me, and this is the statement I choose to focus on now. The past is unchangeable, but the future is mine. It is a slow and often painful process, this transformation, but I embrace it as my reward for learning from and surviving the past.