This is the true story of my life… A life in which abuse, loneliness, and dark nights of despair rattled the very bones of my body, drained the tears of my spirit, shattered my mind into a million fragments, and left me for awhile plodding through life as an empty shell, a lost and helpless soul. I have breathed the air of the unloved, and suffered deep psychological and spiritual wounds due to abandonment at an early age by my mother and father. I have blamed myself for a past over which I had no control. My trust in people was displaced with hostility and anger. And yet, my spirit would not be broken. I have fought for survival in the name of love, powered by a dogged will whose voice never stopped telling me to NEVER GIVE UP!
I was a five year-old kid, and already a survivor of appalling events. I have never known my father. My mother, having given up on me, abandoned me at an emergency psychiatric facility where I would eventually end up in the county foster care system. She was desperate to be rid of me. The saddest, most inexplicable part of this was that she kept my younger brother and older sister. I was devastated knowing I had been deleted from my family and felt like a reject. I was now motherless and fatherless. I loved my mother, brother and sister, but my love for them wasn’t enough for her to keep me in the family. She claimed she could not control me, and that I was a “devil,” but I now know she was the one out of control. I was the child and she was the adult. I am not to blame for the predicament I found myself in. That is life; it is unfair.
There are millions of kids who have been given up on, and I hold their parents completely responsible. The ignoble actions of parents will always be remembered by their children. I know, because that five year-old foster child still lives within me, constantly striving to be empowered, to make his insecurities my own. But I refuse to be a victim; I am a conqueror. I am stronger than my unworthy parents!
There is no question, the mental and physical struggles of my life have proved very difficult to overcome. They say the first five years of a child’s life are the most critical to his or her development, and that children soak up everything they experience like a sponge. I agree. I have seen my own three children sponge both my strengths and weaknesses. Kids watch their parents, and mimic what they observe. The influence of my first five years contributed to many destructive behaviors throughout my life. I often wished I had been given away at birth, so that I wouldn’t have had to endure the memories and nightmares which have haunted me these many years.
There is always a lesson to be learned from adversity. I have learned many such lessons the hard way, but have found there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light that leads us out of the darkness is the positive energy that comes to surround those who continually search for what life has to offer. The answer is always within. By harnessing this positive energy you can accomplish anything. Nothing has ever held me back from “going for it.” I have not let anyone or anything stop me from making my dreams a reality. I keep on keeping on. I am an unstoppable force. I am headstrong and know exactly what I want. I have always trusted my intuition.
My search for life’s meaning eventually brought me through a baptism by fire, which cleansed my soul. I am like the mystical “Phoenix” that has risen from its own ashes, a resurrected soul, a lost boy who evolved into a man. In life’s journey, I was meant to shine. It is this journey in which fractured souls are made whole again. It is this journey in which wounds are healed and pain is finally replaced with love and peace.
This is a bitter-sweet story filled with blood, tears, unthinkable pain, turmoil, hope, love, success; and finally, significance. This is the true story of a fearless boy in foster care who fought for his life and won. – By Derek Clark
Derek Clark’s inspiring book “I Will Never Give Up” is for anyone who is suffering emotionally, mentally, and physically in their life. You can purchase this inspiring book here
Here is a brief background about motivational speaker Derek Clark:
Derek Clark’s life is one of resilience and redemption. As a child he suffered unthinkable child abuse, abandonment and emotional distress before being turned over to the psychiatric hospital at age five. His thirteen years in the San Francisco bay area foster care system reflected an early life of humiliation, aggression, emotional distress, overwhelming anxiety and being wrongfully labeled.
Psychiatric reports stated that at the age of five years old, Derek had severe behavioral problems. Neurological reports stated that at six years old, he had the IQ of a two year old and diagnosed him with erratic psychosis. Having also been misdiagnosed as mentally handicapped and having numerous emotional and language difficulties, Derek never gave up.
With amazing help from his foster parents, a great social worker and mentors, he has defied the artificial limitations imposed upon him. Derek knows firsthand how to cope with adversity and overcoming hardship. His past has never held him back from accomplishing what he set his heart and mind to. From owning a very successful corporation to having a family, his maxim is to make no excuses.
Derek is an inspiring speaker and trainer has been featured on Headline News, The Steve Harvey TV Show, The Ricki Lake Show and other shows around the world. He has recently become a viral video sensation with his “Rapping Dad” videos which have had millions of views and have been featured on Best of Instagram and Vine. He is the author of six books including “Never Limit Your Life” “Disable The Label” and the “I Will Never Give Up” book series.
As a speaker, author and singer/songwriter, Derek has spoken and performed his music from Australia to Canada including a President of the United States. His true-life trials and personal triumphs have inspired organizations with his message of hope and unwavering perseverance. His maxim is to make no excuses. He has turned his situation from a victim to a victor, equipping him with the wisdom and the will to never give up.
Watch inspiring motivational speaker Derek Clark deliver a powerful keynote for TEDx on Determination.