I have parents but they were never really there. During junior school my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. For her and my father, this meant frequent hospital visits, experimenting new medicines and a lot of pain. For me, this meant growing up without them really being involved in my childhood years.
Of course, there were times in which we would all gather together for a special event, but given the lack of physical strength my mother had these events didn’t last long.
Being so young I didn’t understand why they weren’t around that much. My older sister was given access to councilling and, as she was loved by her teachers for being naturally clever, she got most of the attention and support. But for me this never happened. The adults in my life never considered giving me counseling or talking to me about what was happening. No one reached out their hand to help me. Perhaps they thought I was too young or too naive as I didn’t match the intelligence my sister was born with.
I remember watching my mum cry as she brushed my hair in the morning, seeing her break down crying on the floor as the pain got too much and the bags under my father’s eyes get bigger as my mother got thinner.
Things were happening around me and I couldn’t understand why. Why did all the adults look at me with such solemn looks? Looks of pity.
My father did try to help. He wanted to be there for my sister and I, but working a full-time job and looking after my mum didn’t give him enough time to learn how to raise us alone. He burnt turkey dinosaurs, dressed me in my sister’s school uniform and ended up exhausting himself too much.
Time went by and I became more isolated. Choosing not to socialise or play with my fellow classmates made me a very easy bullying target, and as a consequence I spent hours walking around the playground alone, tracing every crack in the pavement until the concrete veins became familiar friends.
Again, the school was aware of this but did nothing. I broke down in class, I came home with bruises and yet nothing was done.
Over time, I became angry. I was sick of being ignored. I wanted people to notice me and this anger came out to my family. I screamed, I broke stuff, I ran away. I did everything an 8-year-old could do to get attention, even if it was bad attention.
Only this didn’t work how I intended. My parents pushed themselves further away from me as the stress wasn’t good for my mum’s health and I had to learn to stop clutching at straws.
Eventually, I found company in friends who became my family and my mother got better, meaning she could spend more time with us.
Everything fixed itself and I became happier. But still these memories haunt me.
It was never the bullying that got to me or seeing my mother break down. It was the loneliness. Being so alone and so young has forever marked my life, and even now I still feel that loneliness like a scar on my skin.
I fear many things but life is a waiting game. Everything is just a phase and will pass. This is a reality I’ve had to learn to love. Good phases and phases of our lives aren’t permanent, so enjoying and learning from them as much as possible its apart of what it means to be human.