April 1st, 2014by wontstoptosurrender
I’ve always been the strong one. The one who held others up when they couldn’t take it. I never wanted to burden others with my problems, so I tend to fake a smile and say I’m okay. I hate to be viewed as weak. It started when I was little — I was born to teenage parents who had a taste for methanphetamines. They did try to get clean when I was born, as well as three years later when my little brother came into the world. But their lifestyle caused me to take care of myself at an early age. A funny story I’ve been told about myself: when I was around 2, my mom woke up and couldn’t find me in my usual place in front of the TV, watching Lion King. I was at the stove, with a small frying pan filled with two cracked eggs (including shells), salt, pepper, and toy spatula in hand. I learned to read when I was 3 and had read the first Harry Potter book by the time I was 5. My parents divorced when I was about 4, and neither of them dealt with it too well. My mom, brother and I went to live with my grandparents 1 1/2 hours away from my dad. A few years later my mom married my stepdad, and shortly after my dad met my stepmom. Things were good for a while. We had a house, clothes, food. Then in 2008, when I was in 4th grade, the recession hit us. We had to move and both my parents lost their jobs. Soon we had no money and got on state assistance. We bounced from house to house, never staying in one place, at times homeless. My mother and stepfather went back to drugs. At the time I didn’t realize, but I have very distinct memories of walking into my parents’ room and seeing them hunched over a mirror with white lines crossing the length. I only realized what I saw a couple years ago, and it’s hard to forgive my parents for that. While they were sitting in their rooms doing illegal drugs, I, the oldest of my now 4 siblings, was keeping them fed and dressed. I was in 6th grade taking on the role of a mother. I didn’t have any friends and my grades were dropping, as was my self esteem. I stayed inside reading and taking care of my siblings, which in the next three years was increased by one when my now almost 2 year old brother was born. All those years, I continued to hide away and not talk to anyone. With all my moving around and the good friends I’d lost through it, I put up walls to ensure it would never happen again. I began to dress meticulously, planning my thrift store outfits days in advance and waking up at ungodly hours to curl my hair just so and apply my makeup perfectly. I walked through the halls with my nose in the air, trying to fake the confidence I didn’t have. I wanted the kids at school who had friends to know that I didn’t need them. I was so lonely. In 8th grade we moved for the 12th time, but this time we didn’t leave. I made one friend, cautiously, then another. By the end of 9th grade I had a good little group and a best friend. That year was one of the best and the worst. I finally felt accepted at school. But at home… my mom had taken up sleeping. All. The. Time. My brother and I would try to coax her out of her bed and she’d promise to wake up if we cleaned the house. If we stopped fighting. If we let her sleep for one more hour. And with all this, she still wouldn’t get out of bed. I made sure the house was clean and the kids were happy. I maintained a 3.96 GPA. All for her, to get my own mother to wake up and love us. But it wouldn’t work; nothing would. On my 15th birthday she woke up long enough to take me to buy a $30 outfit, and the rest of the time she slept. I was crying myself to sleep, wondering what I’d done wrong to make her not want to leave her room. My dad lived just 20 minutes away with his wife and my other brothers and sister, but my mom kept my brother and I from him as much as she could. Through this, the only thing keeping a smile on my face was One Direction, whom I’d found at the end of 2012. They helped me more than anyone will ever know. Near the end of the school year we got evicted and moved to another house across town, a house that soon became more like a dump. The dishes never seemed to stay done, the floors were sticky, there was the same gargantuan pile of laundry sitting on the carpet and sofas for months, it smelled like something had died… and still my mother and stepfather expected their kids, ages 1-15, to keep it all clean with no help from them. Whatsoever. But by the time we moved in, I was tired. Of everything. I had no motivation and no energy and I just gave up.
Then came summer. I was excited. I had friends and no school. I could actually get out of my disgusting house. Instead of what I’d envisioned, however, my parents took up drinking. Vodka. Every night. All day they’d sleep, and when they woke up at 7 pm they drank. The house got worse and my parents’ drinking got so out of hand that soon they were buying $12 alcohol rather than milk and bread. We had nothing to eat. Neither of my parents would buy food; they would claim to have no money, only to be caught smuggling a paper bag from the State Liquor Store. I began to search the house for change so I could ride my bike to the closest store to buy essentials. Eventually we ran out of even that, and I resorted to stealing. At first it was for everyone. Food. But not long after I started stealing things for myself. Frivolous things like Cosmo magazine, candy, makeup. It gave me a thrill and, thanks to my innocent countenance, no one suspected a thing. It became a regular thing, every other day. Tenth grade had started and I always had candy to share. But my parents were still drinking and my depression grew deeper and deeper. I was thinking of suicide again. In September I wrote my note and prepared myself. I had it all planned out: I would come home on a B Day. Get a glass of the chocolate milk we got from the church, along with a pill cocktail that I would carefully research to make sure it’d work. Turn on a playlist of my favorite songs and put my earbuds in. Read Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows until I got sleepy from the pills. Never wake up. The only thing stopping me — One Direction yet again. I kept thinking: I can’t miss Niall’s birthday. The album release. Louis’ birthday. Zayn. Harry turning 20! WWA tour. My 16th birthday. And so on. Music was all I had to hold on to. I started listening to 5 Seconds of Summer, and soon they were another reason to stay alive. November came. That was the turning point. One night some of my stepdad’s co-workers came over and they all got piss drunk. My own mother started to try to convince and pressure me to drink. I was scared. That night they yelled at me because I was on my mom’s phone. I cut myself for the first time, and I regret it so much. The next day was Sunday, and I stayed in my room. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. The next day I didn’t go to school — I did that often, as my mom was always asleep and never noticed. While I was laying in my bed, I started to cry. I realized that I needed to get myself together. So I wrote a note, packed a bag, found some change, and walked to the store where I used the payphone to call my dad. He picked me up and I told him everything. I’ve been living with him since then. Wrong moved to where I was going to school because they knew I didn’t want to lose my friends. My mom got evicted… again. She went to live with my grandpa, along with my siblings and my stepdad. They moved again recently, to a house about 5 minutes from mine. She still sleeps and she doesn’t call. I still cut. I have really bad days and it was really hard to get my grades up, since the first two terms I only passed two classes. I’ll have to do a lot of credit recovery to graduate high school, but this last term I finished out with a B- average. Every day is a struggle to get up and do what I need to, but I’m getting better. I can finally see the light that once seemed so far away.