Monique Miller Opens Up on The Reality of "Daddy Issues" and Inspires Us to Pursue Our Own Happiness
Monique Miller is going to change the world! She has a lot of things planned for her future and the future of our children. She opens up about her struggles and gives advice on how to overcome adversity.
How important was it to go to college and graduate in your household?
Not going to college was never an option for me. My mother is a CEO of a nonprofit organization, my grandparents both have their PhD’s, and my father is in the Air Force. He’s the reason why (luckily) my schooling was paid for. He is also the reason my family’s credentials goes on and on. I remember I was so wrapped up with this guy in high school, to the point I didn’t even bother applying to college because I didn’t want to leave him. So my mother and father applied to the University of Arizona for me. They got my letters of recommendation from school, wrote my entry paper, and paid my application fee. When I was accepted, they had to legitimately threaten me (and that “nameless” guy) to make me leave Las Vegas. So as I said before, not going to college was NOT an option at all.
We know that you’re the oldest amongst your siblings, because of that did you ever feel pressured to accomplish all of your goals?
Honestly, I feel like I was the worst big sister and oldest child because in high school I was so rebellious. I can say I always kept my grades up. I would ditch school, but still ace my tests (which was leverage). I would use that as an explanation to my parents on “why it’s okay for me not to come home” or “why I should be able to take the car.” When I look back on things, I honestly believe that my actions, lack of respect, and desire to act “grown” shaped my baby sister into the awesome, brilliant, sophisticated, outgoing young woman she is today. She does the complete opposite of what I did at her age. It wasn’t really until college that my priorities changed. Becoming a better sister, better daughter, better granddaughter really became something of importance to me. Truth be told, one of the most rewarding moments in my life was my college graduation. I finally did something that would make my family proud of me. I used to be the one that everyone in the family knew was unruly, inconsiderate, and headed for self-destruction. But with God’s grace - I literally turned my life around. I’m blessed that my closest family members prayed for me and never gave up on me. I went through the roughest time in my life and they got to share that moment with me.
Heck! They deserve that degree, just as much as I do! Without my family, I don’t know where I would be or how I would’ve ended up.
What are some things you struggled with growing up and how did you overcome them?
I was fortunate enough to never to have to worry about the things kids growing up now have to deal with or worry about. My mom made sure we always had everything we needed and wanted growing up. My sister and I were never involved in “grown folks business.” However, there was one thing that I think truly affected me as a child: my biological father was absent in my life. It’s crazy to me, because my sister’s dad has been apart of my life since I was 5. He has never treated me like a “step child” or anything; he gave me his GI BILL so that I could go through college - debt free. My biological father was at my birth, took pictures with his family and I, and was active in my life until I was 3-4 years old – then vanished. That has taken a toll on me and to be blatantly honest has messed me up. I remember growing up and just thinking, “Why was I not good enough for my own father to want to continue being in my life?” I had my sister’s dad – and I love him with every fiber of my being – but why did another man have to pick up where my biological father left off. It would be different if my father denied me since birth, if he never saw me, or even if he never knew he was my father. But he did know! Even sitting here thinking about this, it feels like I’m opening up a freshly healed wound. The last time I tried reaching out to my biological father was for my high school graduation. I emailed him, inviting him to share that day with me. And of course, he never showed up. So I can definitely say, I grew up with “daddy” issues.
There are a lot of internal things that are a direct result of the rejection I feel from my biological father. The most prevalent is the fact I hate being alone. Which is why I’ve always been someone’s girlfriend. I long for that unconditional – I’ll never leave you – kinda love. And from relationship to relationship that’s always what I’ve searched for.
I wish I had the “answer” as to how I got over that feeling, but I don’t. I still deal with that pain from being rejected by the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally. The absence of my biological father resulted in me not always knowing my – full, complete – worth, which in turn, trickles down to my need to be in relationships for the sake of feeling complete.
I try to better myself and not cling to things that are not meant for me anymore. I’m definitely a work in progress and the older I get the more I learn about myself. Self-love is something that I have to remind myself everyday. Even though my biological father didn’t love me, I LOVE me – and the woman I am becoming!
You’re working with children, parents, and handling different cases. Does it affect you emotionally? If so, how? If not, how and why do you disconnect?
I love being able to be an advocate for children who often times go unheard due to their age. I am grateful for this opportunity and I take everyday as a new learning experience. With all that being said, I am a huge baby so I knew controlling my emotions would be something I’d have to work on. Although, I pride myself on being a real person, having no emotions would only make the people I come in contact with less likely to tell the truth and more likely to respond negatively. I do this for the well being of the kids, but you also have to realize people make mistakes. No one is perfect and a lot of times people don’t realize what they are doing wrong. The way they are as people and parents is a direct correlation with the way they grew up. I feel that is true because I have friends who are young parents, I know people who grew up without having basic necessities, and I know people who have been in and out of jail/prison. Not only that, but I’ve done a lot and witnessed a lot of different experiences in my life. I am less likely than most to pass judgment on anyone living differently than me. The demographics in a majority of my cases are African Americans and Hispanic Americans, which is disheartening sometimes. But I try to use my position to bring a more positive light to CPS by educating these parents and children, connecting them with the community services they may need, and by trying to see the good in people. Not everyone comes from the same kind of background and I try to show each person that I come into contact with the same level of respect I’d wish to be given.
Back to the question at hand, there is not one case that I’ve forgotten about. The things I’ve witnessed in my cases are things that occur nationwide, in many homes, despite socio-economic classes. There has only been one time that I’ve actually cried over a case and it was because I had to remove a child from a caregiver due to a situation she didn’t know was happening.
I feel like if you can do this kind of work and disconnect your emotions completely, then you need to step back from your position, because you have to try to be compassionate and understanding when working with people – in any realm of work.
What are your future goals for the next 5 years and how do you plan on accomplishing those goals?
My main goal is to be happy with what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. I don’t want to get rich or famous from my work. I just want to continue doing things that feel good to my soul. I feel like my purpose is to help minority at-risk youth. I aspire to give those kids access to things affluent children have access to without even realizing it. I want to help build up my people – one child at a time for now. In the next 5 years, I will get my master’s degree in social work. I will use that to begin working in the Social Service Policy Reform arena. My 10-year goal is to launch a non-profit organization that focuses on providing at-risk youth more cultured experiences. Through my organization I want to be able to take them to different colleges tours, teach them how to find different scholarships for higher education, take them to different museums, plays & musicals, and provide them with mentors from similar backgrounds, so they can relate and realize that they too are destined for great things.
I want to help at-risk youth think and aim for things outside of their current reality. But also I want to teach them the importance of giving back to their community and helping build our people up to be successful, goal-attaining, and productive citizens.
We wish you the best of luck on your endeavors, Monique! To learn more about Monique, reach her on facebook Monique Janevia.