Mandy Morris – Choose Love
Motivational speaker Mandy Morris recounts how her dad’s suicide attempt sent her into a tailspin that left her helpless until she discovered the power of love. Her powerful speech will teach you how to make everyday decisions out of love so you can live your best life.
Who were like, “Who do you think you are? You’re a dumb blonde, or you must be some rich girl. Life’s been really easy for you.” My past is not a beautiful one. My sister had an extreme drug problem when I was in high school. I remember one night coming home and I could hear her screaming at the top of her lungs. My mom is on top of her, choking her. My sister’s attempting to scream, trying to throw punches, and all this stuff. I go over and I’m trying to shove my mom off, and she throws an elbow at me, knocks me in the face. My sister breaks free from my mom, because I’m trying to hold my mom.
She runs into this washing room. She tries to shut the door, and my mom breaks through and again just starts choking her. She’s turning blue, and I’m screaming. Finally, we got my mom out of the washing room. We locked ourselves in between the two. My mom is kicking the door so hard that the door is breaking and it’s splintering. My sister is in this little ball just screaming, “Why doesn’t my mom love me? Why doesn’t my mom love me?” She moved out that night.
I had this very bipolar experience with love, in the sense that it was unpredictable, and it was kind of scary about my mom’s, and my dad was just this … I just felt safe. I felt like I could do no wrong. It just felt natural, and it would flow. He taught me how to two-step in the living room. I had my feet on his boots, and I had my hair in little braids, my little feet on his, and we’re two-stepping and I’m giggling because I’m messing up, and he’s twirling me around. That was all the time with him, was that feeling.
When I was 11 years old, I took my mom to court so that I could live with my father. I had to write a letter to the judge, telling everything that my mom had did, and they read it in court in front of her, and I was like, “There’s no way any judge would ever let me go back to her,” so I was just 100% confident, and I remember the call, and I was sitting in this little living room in Oklahoma, my step-mom, and she picks up the phone, and I’m so excited because I’m like, “Oh, she’s gonna tell me my life’s gonna change,” and I just saw her face just look at me with just deep concern, and I was like, “Say something,” and she’s like, “Baby, we didn’t win.” I just started screaming, and I grabbed the phone, talked to my dad, and he had fought tooth and nail, maxed out every credit card he had to try and fight for me. He must have felt so defeated in that moment.
I remember having to get on that plane and go back to my mom’s, and I wouldn’t even let her be at the airport. I said, “I will not go home if you’re at the airport,” and I hated her. I was so mad.
I remember when I was 13, getting home, and a few hours later, I get a call from my father, and he didn’t sound right, and I could just hear in his voice … He just called to say, “Hey,” but something was really wrong. I said, “Daddy, are you okay?” He’s like, “I’m fine.” I go to my mom, and I’m like, “I know you don’t really like this man, but he’s not okay right now and something’s wrong.” She picks up the phone, and she’s like, “Do I need to call people like last time?”
Immediately, I knew. I was like, “This is so bad. This is so, so bad.” I grabbed the phone from her, and I say, “Daddy, I need you. Me and my sister, we need you. Please, whatever’s going on, please be stronger than this. We love you. You’re amazing. You’re perfect,” and he stops, and I will never forget the words, because it hit me so hard, and he’s like, just quiet, and he goes, “Honey, Daddy’s just tired,” and I could feel the weight of the world on him in that moment where he could not see past his darkness, and I couldn’t take it from him. I was this 13-year-old girl saying, “Just please, Daddy. Don’t go. I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why you’re in this space, but can I help?”
My mom grabs the phone, and she’s screaming at him, she’s like, “You fucking bastard, don’t you leave these girls. Don’t you do this to them. This is so selfish. Tell me where the fuck you are.” He eventually tells my mom where he is, and I remember thinking that day if someone had just been there before, before he took the pills, if someone had told him that he was okay, that all of his mistakes were forgiven, he deserved to be loved exactly as he was, then he wouldn’t have been in that space in the first place.
I shut off. It was too painful, and the feeling of the most important person in your life and you can’t save them, I made that my excuse for a long time. I’m a victim, and I ran with that for as long as I could. I started getting bad grades. I stopped trying, and I remember one of my teachers saying, “What has happened to you? You’re gonna go nowhere if you keep this up.” I remember smiling, being like, “Yes. I wanna go nowhere.” It was this cycle that I would create, and I created it into my twenties and unhealthy relationships and in my job experiences and allowing people to treat me ways that were totally disrespectful to my soul.
I was in a relationship with someone who I should have never been in a relationship with in the first place, and I remember one night, we were sitting in our bedroom, and he was an extremely jealous and insecure person, verbally and emotionally abusive, and it was the first night that he became physical, and he took a wine glass and he threw it at me full force. The wine hit my face, and it smashed into the wall behind me, and I remember in that moment, this pain, this lack of self worth was so much darker than anything that anyone should ever feel or experience or even … It wasn’t real, and I prayed, and I got on my knees, and I said, “God, I know that I’m here for a reason. I can’t see it. I sure as hell can’t get to it, but I know I’m here for something far bigger than this bullshit,” and it was like this wave of energy came over me.
I looked at him, and I was like, “Get out. Get out of my life.” I just was like just strong in it, and he left. I don’t know who spoke through telling him to get out, but thank God it did because it gave me a couple days to be like, “Why? Why did I let this in?” It gave me distance to create enough clarity to let the fog start to lift, to see things as they really are.
Why did I go into that? I was afraid to be unaccepted. I was afraid to live my life without someone constantly there. I was afraid to fully be loved, so I attracted someone who wouldn’t love me fully. Well, I don’t want to live a life of fear anymore. I want to live a life of love, so every day, I will make decisions from love, and, sometimes, they’re really courageous. They’re crazy. They’re perfect. They make me a better person.
With my mom, I didn’t know it, but my step-dad had an extreme addiction, and she was so ashamed that she wouldn’t tell me, but it was breaking her inside, and I realized all those years where she was so mean and violent was because she was in so much pain.
When I looked at how do I receive love and connection from each person, well, everyone dances with you the way you dance with them, and with my mom, if the only time where I can receive love and connection is when I’m drinking with her or when we’re fighting, and we’re screaming at each other, in some weird way, that’s the moment that I feel connected. That’s not healthy.
I remember when I began to choose my truths. I told her, “You’ve gotta leave him, and you have to remove the guilt and shame, and you have to tell your story, and you have to be okay with it.” She’s removed all the things in her life that weren’t suiting her, and she’s running towards happiness. She tells me, she’ll send me texts sometimes, she’s like, “Hey, thanks for saving me.” It’s in those moments, you’re like, “I had to save myself.”
Where was I when we all took a vote and decided that we weren’t worthy, that we weren’t allowed to receive unconditional love? What happened? Did I miss something in the grand scheme of existence, that, for some reason, we have to work for love, that we have to prove ourselves to be acceptable? Existing is enough to receive love, and the most pain I have seen in this world, and the most pain I have felt in my life is because I thought I had to do, experience, or be something other than what I was to be accepted, to live that beautiful life, and to feel loved. It’s not that I’ve gotten bigger than the pain and I don’t care about it anymore, it’s that it is not defining me. Everything I’ve experienced now, I choose to pluck it out and say, “Where? Does this need to be planted in my mouth so that I can create something beautiful from it?” Let me take that seed and let me water it properly so that it will flourish and will provide fruit for others.
If you are that person right now, that you are loved, you are accepted, and if there’s anyone in your life that is telling you that you’re not enough, then send them love because they clearly need it because they’re judging you. There’s something wrong with someone when they judge you, but it’s not about you. You have to remember that and vibe on with a beautiful life and choose that love and every moment, and as you choose it, I promise you that more people, more experiences, and more energy of love will show up. Believe in that, and it will surely be. There can be no other way.