This was a very difficult blog to write as I was at a very low point in my life. But I wanted to share with you my journey growing up with divorced parents and how I overcame it. I won’t start from the beginning but I will start with the day my father left.
I awake from the front door slamming into the wall. I remember this day so clearly. Overnight we received about 4-6 inches of fresh snowfall. I can hear my father’s voice echo through the walls as he screams at my mother. I can picture my her crying in her wheelchair, begging my father to stop.
My parent has been fighting every night for the past week. But this morning was the first time I’ve ever awoken to a fight. It was way too early for this! I ran down the hall as I reach the top of the stairs, I find my two younger brothers curled up in their own little balls frightened. I looked passed them and down the stairs to see my father shoving my mother on her wheelchair out the front door into the snow.
I found every ounce of courage inside of me to get up and ran to grab the cordless phone. As I hear a 911 dispatch say “911, what’s your emergency?” As I tried to tell them what was going on, my voice disappeared. Tears rushed down my cheeks, all I was able to say was “Please come, help!” and I dropped the phone.
That the day the cops came by and convince him to leave peacefully. My mom was helped back into the house and warmed up. As I sat there, I blamed myself with mixed feeling of anger and frustration. Fear for the future and what this meant. This significantly changed my life with the custody battle between my parents.
As a child, I had a ton of questions:
- What is going to happen to next?
- Who will take care of my mom while I’m at school? Would I need to drop out to help care for the family?
- If my parents can lose love for each other, can they lose love for me?
- With one parent moving out, what if I lose the other too?
Before the court had settle the custody agreement, I noticed changes already. My father had moved on and wanted nothing to do with us. The church we attended disapproved the divorce, so our membership was dismissed. The adults I have known and looked up to my entire life became strangers and disowned us. I didn’t know how to feel at first.
Responsibilities only increased around the house, and of course I avoided them. I was in denial. I couldn’t go home to face the reality of it. I felt lost on who I was. I searched to find a group of people who would show me any kind of love and place to feel a sense of belonging. So I joined a gang. I started smoking. I didn’t care what any one thought of me. I began skipping school. I started to steal and lie. I had created this new girl to help me cope and feel alive again.
When my best friend died, reality hit me! How beneficial was all that I was doing? Was I digging my own grave? And was my father right, we needed him to survive? I began to feel hopeless and defeated.
One evening, I saw the movie Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story. The movie was about a girl who came from a trouble family but changes her life. She rise above all trials, she finishes high-school and goes to college. This is when I realized education was my key!
STOP WAITING, WATCHING, WONDERING. START DOING.
I had to change my ways and do the right things for my family and if for myself I put my education first. By this time I was failing every class. I had to face my teachers and tell them the truth. I came clean with my teachers of my situation and on how I can make up. They were most understanding and supportive, we came to an agreement.
I was determined to go to college so I applied for multiple scholarships. I didn’t even know I got it one of them. I missed my junior high graduation so they send home my certificate and a letter. I was so excited! It motivated me to work even harder.
I graduated high school with honors, I had 12 college credits and full scholarship to the University of Minnesota.
Things that helped me…
- Talking about it; not just with a therapist but with another person you can trust. This could be with a teacher, a friend, school counselor, or even a family member.
- Write it down; don’t just talk about it but also write down your feelings and thoughts.
- Never accept failure; learn from your failure and try again.