I remember growing up in a house filled with love. I lost my brother (my father's son from a different relationship) when I was 3 years of age.
You see my father was Black/Native American and my mother is Caucasian. I have two older siblings from my mom's first marriage. Although being the youngest at the time, I knew nothing of race. I knew nothing of looking at color of people’s skin. All I knew was these were my siblings and I love them. I didn't even realize growing up that my dad wasn't their dad.
By the time I was about 10 years of age I saw in my sister's diary how she wished me and my father were dead. She never wanted a black sister or step dad. She wished she was the only child. She even wished she never had a brother. It was around then that "color"... My skin color and my Dad's color was different than my siblings. It was then that I became self-conscious of who I was. My complexion became visible to me and I was then awaken to the color of other people’s skin around me. The person I was went out the window.
She made many things apparent as I got older about not liking me or wanting me around. It was almost as if I was an inconvenience to be around, to breathe or exist. There was more frequently some sort of comment about me being too small to partake in whatever she was doing when our mom told her I was supposed to go with my sister somewhere. Of course, our mom didn’t get to see the side of my sister when I was alone. I heard the rants about how one day I’ll regret that she wasn’t the only child. I figured growing up that that is the talk that siblings do to kind be the king/queen of the household. Little did I know how much my life would change in an instant. I was 13 or 14 years old that this one instance stands out in my life more than other situations. It changed that bigger part of who I have become.
7th grade and in Junior High school. Still at that age where you are trying to figure out who you are and develop a sense of individuality. This one particular day as I was on the bus heading home, I had that sense of “something being wrong” but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I got off the bus and walked up the steps and opened the front door. My dad was sitting on the couch like usual and my mom standing near him. She folded her arms when she saw me and I remember that my dad was crying. I knew it had to be serious because I never EVER saw my dad cry. My dad couldn’t say much and avoided eye contact with me. Probably so I couldn’t see him cry but that was too late because I did. My mom sat on the edge of the arm of the couch that we had on our patio. She was telling me that my dad had to go away for a while. He had to leave the house and wasn’t allowed to come around. I was so confused. What was happening? Why was this happening?
What seemed like only a few seconds to me, I heard a police siren and my mom’s eyes and reaction was pain, hurt, anger, and so many other things that I couldn’t explain. My dad’s eyes widened and he took a deep breath. I tried to hurry in front of him to protect him from the cops that walked in slowly looking saddened themselves and stood there close to where my mom was sitting on the arm of the couch. About 3 feet from my dad. The officer told my mom that she needed to move me away from my dad and she did. In my mind, I was protecting my dad who was sitting there on the couch. My mom told me to go in the house but I stood on the threshold of the door entrance from the porch to the inner part of the house. I remember as I swallowed it almost hurt and I could only smell salt from my tears that was flowing. I was half paralyzed. I wasn’t leaving my dad completely. I wasn’t going to go behind walls where I couldn’t see what the cops were going to do to my dad. I wasn’t understanding what was going on. In my head, I was going to be my dad’s savior if I could. Why? Because my dad never cried and it had to be horrible for him to be crying. No one was answering my question of why the cops were there and now more cops were showing up. The officer took a deep breath and looked at my dad and told him he couldn't stay at the residence. If he had no place to go to at that moment he would be taken into custody and thrown in jail. I almost collapsed from those words. The door frame was holding me up. Everything in my view except my dad disappeared. All I saw was him. I remember trying to hold back my emotions while my lips parted and I took in a deep breath. It felt like no air would fill my lungs. I heard my dad speaking to my mom but my brain erased her from that moment. That space. I couldn’t see anything else in front of me. Everything was happening so suddenly, yet in slow motion. He stood up and I went to run to him so he wouldn’t leave me. So the cops wouldn’t take him away. I needed my dad. The officer stopped me from going to save my dad. I was trying to jerk my arm away from the officer and I watched from the window on the porch as he walked down the sidewalk without looking back. I felt I had failed him. I let him down. I was supposed to be his savior. I was not there to hold his hand and protect him. I watched him get smaller and smaller as he walked away down the street about a block and a half away to his sister’s house. For me, that distance seemed like miles and miles away. I stormed off into the house and left my mom out on the porch with the police officers. After they left, I went up to my mom who was in tears. I asked what was going on. Why did my dad have to leave the house? What did he do so bad? My mom said my sister told a big lie on my dad. I was willing to call the police back and tell them that whatever was said was a lie. My dad shouldn’t be crying. He never cries. I was willing to say whatever was needed to get him back. I wanted to do it now but she said it wasn’t that simple. To me, it was. The phone rang and my mom answered. It was our neighbor Carol. My mom said she was going to leave and speak with Carol. Leave? Leave me here? Alone? Without her? Did my mom just call the police and tell them to come get her and I didn't see her do it?
I refused to leave my mom’s side. I began hyperventilating and was in a deep panic. All my brain would wrap around was that she was leaving me. I jut saw my dad have to leave and I couldn't have her do the same to me. All she wanted to do was go over to our neighbor’s house and talk with her. I knew I wasn’t leaving her side no matter what. I refused. I just lost my dad and I wasn’t going to leave her as well. The walk to the neighbor’s house was long even though it was literally right next door. Probably 40 feet from our front door to her Carol's front door. I caught myself looking over my shoulder to see if cops were going to come get my mom. To see if I could see my dad on the steps looking down towards our house. Neither happened. We walked into our neighbor Carol’s house and my mom explained that my sister had grown fond of some kids that weren't a good group of people at school. She believed that one of the boys my sister had a crush on, influenced her to lie on my father. The story that I understood was my sister claimed my father violated her. My dad would therefore be kept from the house for months while the investigation was going on. My mom and I went back to our house. I was trying to come up with my own plan to get my dad back home. But how?
Sometime during that day, my sister had called the neighbor to have my mom pick her up from this friend’s house where she was staying. She wanted our mom to go pick her up because her friend’s mom wasn’t going to drop my sister off at home. I wasn't understanding of what was going on well. The magnitude of what was happening. I believed my mom was going to leave to the police department and not come back so I refused to leave my mom’s side.
Our neighbor drove my mom and I to go pick up my sister at this house. Apparently, my sister had called Carol and made up a story with her as well. While on the way to pick up my sister , the neighbor tells my mom that my sister told her she was hiding out and was afraid that our mom would hurt her for what she had done. Did my sister believe that nothing would happen to her?! Did my sister think that there would be a big hug and a party for her after she changed our lives in a split second?! I remember watching my sister walk out of her friend’s house. That friend’s mom watching her from the doorway as she headed towards the jeep we sat in. My sister glancing back once more at her friend’s mom before climbing in the vehicle in the backseat beside me. My mom barely said a word to her as she got in the jeep. I remember staring out the window and watching my sister walk from the front door to the jeep, and to me, it seemed like it was all in slow motion. I remember my mom telling me that she was going to sit in the back seat with me and I belted out “I don’t want that bitch sitting back here with me!” I remember getting that look that said “This is not the time for nonsense.” And I crossed my arms and mumbled “Fine!” I watched her grab that handle of the vehicle door and I almost seemed to have heard all the metal workings of that door work one by one. Finally, she opened the door and sat down.
Why did I have to sit next to the person who hurt my dad? Why did I have to sit next to the person who lied about my dad because a boy she liked told her to?
I looked at my sister and mouthed "How could you?!" She rolled her eyes and sat back. I looked out the window. The neighbor tried talking to my sister but she refused to speak. As we got close to home my mom asked my sister why she lied about my dad and my sister shrugged and did the whole "I don't know” routine.
After what seemed like an eternity, my dad came back home but things weren’t completely the same anymore. I was so less trusting of anyone. I spent my time closer to my dad. In my way, making up for the things I failed him on. One was not protecting him more and staying with him at all costs. I didn’t fight hard enough and to his last breath I did what I could in my mind to make amends for failing him. No matter what anyone has said about me being a child at that time has made no difference. I believe I could have done more to be that savior in my mind. I would have done anything to keep him with me.
My sister accomplished what she wanted to do. She took him away from me. Shattering me. Breaking me. Leaving me constantly in fear that she would take our mom away from me as well. All those things my sister said to me before and after that instance made everything in me break. Crumble down. It was like my insides were made of glass and I watched every piece shatter and fall down to the floor in front of me. I was naked to the world.
I forgive my sister, but I’ll never forget what happened. That part of me will never get to see what type of person I would have been if that moment in time never happened. I struggle to find me. The real me. I want to find something constant. Something real. Something to keep over that patch in my heart that seems to keep poking its head through because to me, he was that state of perfection of what a dad could be and I spiraled down afterwards. Even when he returned I was trying to keep my head above water and after he died, I lived my life for a while pretending to be whatever others wanted me to be because I felt I wasn’t good enough. The way it seemed to be was that because of who I was, not only physically, but in every aspect was questioned and I believed my dreams of life, who I was and what I wanted to be were questioned and I wouldn’t amount to much.
My life now, part of me is wanting prove to not only my sister, but to myself that she (my sister) can’t dictate anymore nor control my life and decide what will happen to my life because she can’t stand me for reasons unknown to me.
I will be that actor that I’ve worked hard at doing. I want to lift up my spirit from being dampened and disheartened. I want something that can help heal me and fill in that whole in my life that I feel I’ve been deprived of. I want to become an actor to make other people happy. I am at that state of being in life where I want to make peace with my past and show my dad that I can survive. It may have taken a long time in my life, but I have made it.
Lastly, what I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older, if you have siblings, love and be there for each other, you should cherish every moment. Not everyone has that. Some would do anything to have it. I don’t know at this point if I would or could have that. I try. Why? Because I just want to find that peace and joy that I finally deserve.