You Can't Choose Your Family
A true story based on my life; hopefully this can help young teenagers and young woman understand that they are not alone in this world.
No one will know how it is to walk in your shoes. Some may experience one or two things in their life which have had a huge impact on them but at the end of the day they can move on with the help of friends and family, which would be — if you would compare it to a shoe — a sneaker. Just bought it and a bit hard at first, might get one or two blisters, but after wearing them in they are comfortable and fit like a glove. Which is what everybody wants: an easy stroll through life with a shoe that is comfortable and efficient in many ways.
But what if one person has to go through so much hatred and unfortunate life events that no one can really help? Imagine going for a hike with some proper hiking gear, a big heavy rucksack with all the essentials and some heavy hiking boots which are sadly one size too small, but you have no choice to change them because you didn't pick them. They were giving to you and you didn't know that they were a size too small because you trusted a person to give you the right size and now you have to climb a mountain.
People say they understand and they want to tell you what has helped them go through difficult times, even though they have only ever worn sneakers their whole life and you are a hiking boot.
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate what they are trying to do and so should you...but it's like they're just not understanding the fact that my feet are bleeding and aching and their feet are manicured and soft...
"You don't know and will not understand how it is to be trapped inside of my body, my mind. You don't know how it is to be left alone and misunderstood all your life. It changes your whole personality and the way you look at things..." These used to be my normal answers to the people around me until I decided that I have had enough and will not allow myself to become a prisoner of my own thoughts and fears. I allow myself to be free, but this takes a while and until then I still have to keep those big heavy things on my feet and climb a bit higher and higher until you reach the top of this big mountain and enjoy the beautiful view...
Let me tell you what I have been through and how I am still learning how to be a free and independent young woman. Maybe this can help some of you understand that you aren't alone and that there's someone that does understand you and has walked a similar path. I will write down the things that have worked for me to help me become a much better and understanding person. That doesn't mean that the same things will help you but maybe the way I decided to change my life around will.
I will start by telling you my story so you understand where I come from and what has made me be the person I am today.
It all started 17 years ago when I was four years old. My mother and my father decided to get a divorce. My mother, my two older sisters (13 and 11 years old at the time) and I moved from a beautiful and loving house with a big garden into a small dirty flat which was right next to a main road and a tram stop. You might think this is the typical "father left family and you have never seen him or heard from him again." I can assure you it does get a bit better than that.
My mother, let's call her Irene, wasn't really interested in what her kids were doing. She found her new life partner, let's call him Dick, and only wanted what was good for him and not for her three girls who clearly needed a mother. Dick got my mum into working with him and his internet franchising. So she was gone a lot on business trips and my oldest sister, 14 years old at the time, had to look after me and my other sister.
After three years living in a mouldy flat, our mother decided it was time to move to the man she thought she loved. My sisters told my father, Michael, and he decided to move back to England where he was originally from. He didn't wanted to live in the same country where his ex-wife has found another man. By the way we grew up bilingually; my mother is German and my father is English, which has always been a great benefit for me and my siblings.
We moved somewhere near Hamburg in Germany. We weren't really impressed living there, but we had no choice. Dick lived about half an hour away from us and he would be at our flat nearly every night. If you haven't realised it by his name, Dick was not a nice person. I was not allowed to speak about my family in England and he would shout at us if one of us would do something against his rules. I remember as an 8-year-old I would cry in public because he would've yelled at me; if I wasn't quiet he would pick me up and push my face against his chest so hard that I could barely breath. I was biting him and kicking him to escape but he just wouldn't let me go. Other times he would hold his one hand in front of my mouth and squeeze my nose with the other so I couldn't breathe. He did this until I stopped crying but I just stopped because I got extremely dizzy and felt unwell.
You would think, "Where and what did the mother do?" She walked beside him and told me to be quiet and let him do his thing to me. As a child I would act out a lot, and maybe not do the things I should do, like tidying up my room, but how could I if no one has ever taught me how to tidy up?
Instead of handling it as a proper adult and offer to help me tidy up, my mother punched me and I really mean punched me in the face! Blood would be flying from my nose across the room and spill all over the floor. She was very lucky she didn't break it! Try explaining that to the doctor..
On top of the stress at home I got bullied for being a smelly child in primary school. I remember that my friends' mums would wash me and wash my clothes when I was at my friends' houses, so that I wouldn't have to walk around dirty anymore. Picture Day at school, my few friends would do my hair so I wouldn't look scruffy and would lend me their clothes. They brought food for me to school because there was plenty of times where my lunch boxes were full with mouldy sandwiches and believe me there were a few times I didn't realise and took a bite from it. Now this all makes my mother sound like a horrible person and you would maybe imagine her being someone who doesn't really wash herself and has terrible coloured hair and would smoke at least a pack a day...
My mother is actually a very beautiful woman. Well-dressed and looks after herself very well, in fact she pays around 50 euro each month just to get her nails done, but when times were rough we wouldn't have food on the table or clothes that fit us. She was just not interested in the life of her kids and just wanted what was best for her.
I got to high school at the age of ten and I decided to steal money from my eldest sister to buy presents for my mother and Dick. I did tried to buy their love and affection for me...but it all backfired. I think I stole about 450 euros.
Amelia who was 19 at the time was furious, which I fully understand now of course being in the same age as her because she worked hard for the money in a pub. She called our dad and lucky for her a few days later he was in Germany to spend Christmas with us. He was not happy with me but at the end of the day he understood where I was coming from. He took me back to each and every shop I spent Amelia's money in and made me give back all the things I have bought so I could repay her.
My dad decided to speak to my mum and convinced her it wasn't good for me to be living in Germany any more and that she isn't looking after me properly. He even pointed out that I had nits for weeks and she didn't even notice it, which my father got rid of straight away.
A few months later I packed my things and my sisters Amelia and Natalia flew me over to England so that I wouldn't have to fly alone and then the two of them flew back to Germany.
When all of this happened as a young child I didn't really understand what was going on and why I acted the way that I did, but looking at it from a different perspective, all I wanted was attention from my mother and her partner. I just wanted to be held and loved, such as every other young girl would like. You wouldn't want any child to go through the mental and physical abuse, but unfortunately you can't choose the family you're born into.
Please read my second part and let me know what you think.