Become Stronger Without Parents
Ethan’s Story Pt. 2
In the first part of Ethan’s story I learned a hard lesson. That lesson was that I filled in the blanks a lot with Ethan. I assumed he was a certain kind of individual and he wasn’t. Shame on me for learning this lesson yet again at 31 years of age. But, as someone who strives to get to know people more deeply I decided to take the time to become better acquainted with Ethan. Naturally, I am a curious person and so I ask questions. I needed to know what led Ethan to truly become a motivational speaker entrepreneur. How did Ethan become stronger without his parents leadership?
Did your childhood influence who you are today?
Today, I can see myself in plenty of kids growing up in poverty, a single parent household, and having an unhealthy relationship with their biological fathers.
What were your strengths and shortcomings when you were younger?
I was originally shy as I wasn’t speaking much about life. I believe some of that contributed to my parents not allowing me to have a voice or a say about my life. I dislike the “my way or the highway” parent approach because a relationship cannot be one sided or else people will be growing apart. I’ve learned that by having a relationship with the youth there has to be open communication, effective listening, and accountability. I dislike being labeled having a reading problem when I always read the newspaper out of all of the students inside the classroom. Sure I was the class clown seeking attention to feel validated and the voids in my life. The class work was always completed with good grades.
How did you improve your weaknesses as you got older?
Once I started realizing something was wrong with me on the inside, that when I needed to change from the inside on out. Being naturally athletic is something I was born with and that gene is on both sides of my family. Having a sense of humor helped make fun of things that could be serious or create a story. I’m still allergic to dairy food, even when somebody offers me ice cream or I win free ice cream I’ll just give it away to somebody.
People will change for growth, pursuing higher education, making money, or life just happens. I’m able to identify stress as just a level of energy that can be too high, too low, or in the middle. Stress can be used to our advantage. It depends on the core nature on how to use that energy. The biggest difference is using my voice, holding certain people accountable for their actions, being in tune with those teachable moments, and having boundaries.
What was your relationship with your parents like, specifically your mom, biological father, and step-father?
- how did each one of these people effect you as a child?
My relationship with my bio parents seemed normal like everything is ok. Until a situation at my midget league football game caused me to be caught in the middle of a shouting match between my parents. The situation had me see things much differently about everything like something is really wrong.
Moving forward, I did call them both out on their behavior and neither one wants to have that talk to air out grievances. My actions were writing a letter, getting the senior pastor involved on my behalf, and offering to pay for counseling sessions with my health insurance. Since then I’ve kept my distance from both of my parents and certain that want to make things worse than what it already is.
I had two different step-fathers, the first one came into my life while I was either a newborn baby or toddler. My older brother got along with him just fine. I just remember my mom and step dad were cohabitating for almost 8 years, and they never got married. After they had two kids together meaning my younger brother, the step father just left and became an estranged man. He made a series of bad choices that landed him in jail and missed out on some much. Later on in my life, we started talking to give me closure.
My second father came into my life while I was attending 4th grade elementary school. I remember the day he was introduced to the family, then out of nowhere he started living with us, and my mom is cohabitating all over again. He was into drugs, alcoholism, and arrested several times. My mom would allow him to come back into the household without any boundaries or serve consequences. Moving forward, even though both of my stepfathers and bio dad worked, they never took care of their mental health and relationships with the kids on a foundational level. I could have gone down that dark road leading to detours, but I choose to go against the grain and do the complete opposite.
How did you becomes stronger although you had a lack of support from family?
I would say lack of support from immediate family members. I’ve learned not to depend on any family members because I’m not interested in excuses or stories for not coming through, Either you’re committed or you’re not committed. Support is supposed to go both ways, not one sided. If it’s not going to be equally invested, then it best we save time , and move forward with our lives. There were times when certain family members would ask me for money while I was attending college and working two jobs to support myself. I’m thinking they need to work a second job, ask the bank, credit union, or file their income taxes for a loan. That way their money situation is handled and it’s on them to make a decision. Telling people no is my boundary.
What was the moment that led you to decide to become a motivational speaker?
My younger friend in the early 2010’s told me about his teacher wanting a spoken word or poetry artist to speak in their classroom. After the interview was over with the administrators, I was offered an opportunity to do a poetry workshop at Lancaster Country Day School. The class was very welcoming to me, I allowed the students to use their imagination, and create their own messages. After I was done, that’s when I knew I could do this for a living.
Did anyone inspire you to do what you are doing now?
Nobody really inspired me to do what I’m doing now. I just wasn’t fully supported growing up as a child and teenager. I just remember seeing being a student-athlete and spoken word artist as a gate to live my life. Unfortunately, I was forced to sacrifice playing varsity sports to watch my younger siblings, there goes being recruited for college, having a national signing day, and earning a full ride athletic scholarship. What I’m doing now in my life it’s a result of overcoming adversities and creating my own life to be an inspiration. I never intended to be that, instead it just came naturally overtime.
What advice would you give your younger self if you were able to go back in time?
Probably move out of my mom’s home, maybe look into being enrolled at the Milton Hershey School. Since they have more resources for students to thrive and become the best version of themselves. That’s just me thinking out loud. I still would move into a better household that allows me to be myself without the drama and chaos. Focus more on reading books about business, eat healthier, get more exposed to a better quality of life, individual training for sports, college classes, and have at least three mentors. I can say I was ambitious and self motivated.
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Yessenia is a compelling and innovative program and operations manager who uses her 5+ years of experience in operations management and graphic design to determine small business needs in the areas of inventory costs, labor expenses, P&L, COGs, marketing, and graphic design to create and manage profitable plans for small businesses and individual projects. She is the Owner and Founder of Tru.Works.