Laura Dorren portrayed for IAMLOVE Story Photography
For as long as I can remember I have been busy trying to be “good enough” and to make everybody around me happy. I have always been very sensitive for other people’s feelings and people’s vibes always had an effect on me. At a young age I realized that if I would behave a certain way or do certain things (be kind, smile, get high grades, perform, be a shoulder to cry on) people would be happy. I have always been terrified to disappoint people. So I would do as I was expected. I did well in school, was very active in all sorts of (after)school clubs, was very social, performed a lot and tried to keep everybody happy and satisfied.
At age 19 I had finished high school, worked in a restaurant and as a dance teacher besides that I performed in the weekends. And then I found out I was pregnant. I seriously took 5 pregnancy test because I couldn’t believe it. Weirdly enough I was not scared at all of becoming a mom. The thought of abortion or adoption never crossed my mind, but I did know I was not happy and I was not going to raise a little human being in the situation I was in. Stubborn as I am, I decided to go against all that was “safe” and expected at that moment, chose for my unborn kid’s happiness and mine, left my situation being 19 year old, knocked up and decided to start college while being pregnant and alone.
I’ve been scared, worried, angry and sad at times, questioning myself if I should better have done what was “expected” and “normal”. And honestly, when I look back now, I’m surprised myself about how I managed to do it all. Thankfully I have wonderful parents that took us in and let us live there for as long as we wanted.
After 4 years I graduated, was offered a full time job even before I officially had my diploma and found my boy and me a house within a few months after getting my diploma. Life was looking good! Unfortunately things turned around after a while. My son was physically and emotionally bullied in school when he was just 5 years old. His school was not competent enough to deal with this, so I decided to take him out of there at the end of the school year. Right before the school year ended I was diagnosed with Cluster headache and I lost my job.
The 4 years that followed were very rough. It turned out I had the chronic version of Cluster headaches, and I ended up having to stay at home getting benefits because I was not allowed to work. My son and I had to make ends meet, which at times felt impossible. I had so many moments when I felt absolutely desperate, feeling so insecure and anxious there wouldn’t be any better times ahead. It felt like I standing in a train station and my life and everybody around me was in a train that kept on passing me with high speed, and I couldn’t get in. I felt so useless, like I was disappointing my son and everybody else around me. But the love for my son got me through everything. I’ve always tried to focus on the positive things in life, no matter how small they may be. And now that I have realized that it is also okay to love myself and I’m learning how to do that, I feel even better.
I don’t have to make everybody happy. I don’t have to please everybody. Who cares what other people think? Let them judge. I am human, I laugh, I cry, I get upset, I love. I am a full time working, strong, independent, bisexual, single ‘teen mom’, and there is nothing wrong with that
IAMLOVE by Laura Dorren
Text: Laura Dorren
Photography: Hester Baks