I've always considered myself a soft person. I’m pretty sensitive; I can barely take a joke. Of course I've had my braver moments, like when I got on that scary ride that had the biggest drop I’ve ever seen, or even the one that flipped upside down a million times. I was my bravest throughout 2019, though. That was the year I really had to pull through and be tough. I feel like I wasn't strong at all, but this experience is what made me into the stronger person that I am today.
When I switched schools I cried so much. I had to leave all my friends; I knew our bonds would break and I wasn’t ready for that. I had to start waking up earlier. Every morning I woke up, I would always think to myself “I hate my life,” and I meant it. I felt anger toward my mom for making me switch, and pain because I felt so lonely. I was quiet that year at school. It’s like I had friends but I never really came out of that shell. I never felt a part of the circle.
I’ll never forget that summer. My parents argued like crazy. I hated my life even more. For every little thing, they got into it. It was torture to my mind and I could feel myself falling apart. They argued more than got along. It would be a good day and then we get home and they just break into another fight. It was tiring. It happened so much that I could count the days between another argument. It was so loud. There was nowhere in the house I could go without hearing it. It hurt so bad because I just wanted them to shut up. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t talk it out. Why did it have to get to such a bad point between them? Their relationship was so broken and all it did was break me.
Then came my mom's leg injury. That same summer I was sleeping over my cousin’s house when my sister told me about my mom.
“When did this happen?” I asked.
“Yesterday.” Why does no one tell me anything? My mom was in the hospital and no one told me. Apparently they “didn’t want me to worry.” When I went home, there she was laying in bed with her leg elevated with a cast, and a scab on her chin. I was so confused and I felt like nobody was telling me the full story. But of course, I remembered “yesterday.” That day everybody was at the lake and my mom showed up angry with my dad. They got into it and I was just so embarrassed. I didn’t want my cousins and everybody else to see how my parents were at home. I submerged myself underwater and I screamed and sobbed. People would only see the bubbles in the water and not hear the screams; they would see the water dripping from my face and not the tears falling from my eyes. They left together and I stayed with my sisters. That’s probably when her leg injury happened. Because of her injury, she could barely walk. She couldn’t get anywhere without her crutches-meaning no summer for me. Where was I supposed to go if I had nobody to take me? Especially with my dad working, it was only me and my mom at home. My mom stayed in her room most of the day; she only got up if necessary, so I stayed in mine. I watched basically all of Netflix and Youtube and ran out of music to listen to. But I still found something to watch. I stayed up late and slept in even later - and I still woke up tired. I was sad all the time and I was bored out of my mind. This is when what started to be depression, built.
I never told anybody about how I felt. I kept all my emotions bottled up inside me. It was to the point where I wouldn’t eat almost all day, just because I didn’t feel like it, and I wouldn’t even feel hungry. I felt trapped inside my house. I hated it there. I hated being in a place that I was always in. It’s like I never left.
When school started up again, things got worse. That’s when I experienced the worst of the arguments. My mom accused my dad of cheating before. A few times. I would always get annoyed because I thought she was just acting crazy and jealous of little stuff; I know my father and I know how much he loves my mom. I knew it inside of me that he’d never do that. But there was this one day that my mom was yelling at my dad to see his phone, asking “Who’s Carmen?” Carmen. An unforgettable name. Carmen was also married with kids, and was a close friend of my dad. She messaged him through instagram and I guess they became friends. I didn’t believe my mom’s accusations as usual until my sister and I saw the phone.
"I miss you.
You don’t miss me?"
This is what my dad sent to Carmen.
Carmen is the woman my dad cheated with.
My mom messaged Carmen through my dad’s phone.
"Call me. I need to talk to you," she wrote.
"Why? Is everything ok?"
They went back and forth and Carmen kept asking why “my dad” needed to talk to her so badly.
"Word?" Carmen asked.
This could have meant two different things. My dad said “word” a lot so my mom can either respond by saying “word,” or they had a secret word together. This is probably one of the moments that hurt the most. My mom did option one and responded by saying “Word.” Wrong.
"What’s the word?" She asked.
My dad was in the basement packing his stuff. My mom goes down, asking what the word is. I was upstairs with my sister crying. We both cried.
“There is no word!” He promised my mom. It was so loud. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went downstairs myself. I didn’t want to do this but I had to. He won't lie to me. I know my dad wouldn’t lie to me. It was the only way.
“What’s the word? She said there was a word so what's the word? ” My voice was shaky. The tears poured through my eyes as I talked. I was barely able to talk through all the pain. I hated it. I hated having to turn on him. It hurt so badly. It hurt my soul. My dad is my best friend, and having to go against my own best friend will never be easy. He looked so hurt in his eyes. He noticed the damage he’d already caused, not just to my mother but to me too.
“There is no word.” Another lie. He lied to me. He lied straight to my face. For some stupid woman he destroyed the family with. My dad threw things across the basement. Sharp things. I yelled at him to stop. I was scared. I like to think that I wasn’t scared of my dad-he’s not dangerous. I told myself that I was scared of what’s happening. But at that moment, I don’t know if I can tell you that I was scared of the situation. I don’t even know what I was scared of anymore. I was just afraid.
Another day, my dad asked to borrow my phone to call my mom since she was ignoring his calls. After a few minutes, he gave it back.
A few days later I went to go check Carmen’s Instagram; I felt like saying something but I didn’t know what to say. I was just so frustrated. I hated Carmen - but when I found it, my phone told me I had to unblock her to message her. Unblock her? I never even blocked her. This makes no sense. I unblocked her and went to message her but there were already messages there.
She knows how and I’m sorry."
So that was the word? Mutombo? Why would my dad use my phone and my instagram to apologize to this woman? She doesn’t need to be apologized to! I never told my dad I knew about the messages. It just angered me so much that he used his daughter’s phone for somebody who didn’t deserve it.
My mom talked to a few guys after my dad. I hated all of them. I hated that she was “moving on” because I still felt as if she never really moved on. Of course my dad “moved on” too, and by that I mean getting he got a girlfriend and my mom had a boyfriend, but they know that if they could go back they would do things differently. I didn’t like my mom's boyfriend or my dad's girlfriend for a really long time. I had no interest in meeting them or saying anything nice to their faces. My mom was always on the phone with her stupid boyfriend. I always made sure to say something rude.
It was hard for me when I met her boyfriend. Next thing I knew he was moving in. I didn’t want that at all-- he was a man I didn’t know. He wasn’t my dad.
Meeting my dad’s girlfriend was easier for me since I was already used to having to be nice to people. At that point, I already accepted that my parents weren’t getting back together and I didn’t want them to. They were no good together. It was hard and took me a long time to come to that conclusion. The amount of tears I shed, and the way my happiness went all the way down from such a high point is crazy. But life isn’t easy. Everybody knows this. It sucks, but you just need to push through it. I still try every day. If you’re reading this and had to deal with something genuinely hard, you’re just like me. You’re just as strong. Everybody is brave in their different ways. This was mine.