I have been putting this off for some time. I feel I’ve told my story so many times people might be sick of hearing it. Then I remembered why I started sharing. It wasn’t for the people who may be tired of reading my story (the same people who are able to exit at their convenience) it was for the one person who hasn’t yet heard my story.
“If I can help open one person’s eyes to the fact that they’re not alone… I’m happy”
“If I can help open one person’s mind to empathizing with the people in their life that struggle with mental health instead of trying to understand it… I’m happy”
“If I can introduce one person to my empowerment group on Facebook where they will find sisterhood, guidance, and accountability… I’m happy.”
So here goes nothing… again.
I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 5 years old to live with my maternal grandmother. Life up until that point was… well I don’t really remember, but I’m told it was chaos. I was my mother’s first born and my father’s youngest daughter (and the only one in his life). Both of my parents were considered the “black sheep” of their families, so it’s pretty safe to assume that things were less than ideal for newborn Mel.
Sadly, I don’t seem to have any memories with my mom and I’m still working out a lot of the issues of abandonment that I struggle with in hope of maybe changing that. There are, however, so many memories of my dad in my early childhood years. Looking back, a few memories I have are a bit traumatic. I have memories of walking in on my grandma tending to my dad’s stab wounds from a bar fight, smelling a weird drink my dad had while we were out having a picnic, my mom asking me weird questions like “does your dad ever touch you in bad places?” (which he never did) and the worst… sneaking into the hallway while my aunts were all at our front door trying to fight off my drunk dad in the middle of the night.
The strangest part of all of this is I don’t remember EXPERIENCING my childhood negatively. Even if I don’t have any memories of my mom, I’ve ALWAYS remembered my dad as the goofiest and most loving human I’ve ever met. Some of the better memories I have include sitting on the porch swing laughing for hours at the things my dad said and walking back and forth from my mom’s to my dad’s because they lived just down the street from each other. I loved spending time with my dad before I started to catch on to a few realities of his… other side.
I think that’s when I started to become aware of just how shitty my situation was. My maternal grandma would call my paternal grandma and ask if he was “ok” before letting me go over. They had to make sure that he wasn’t drunk before I went with him.
During this time, my mom was dealing with inner demons of self worth and struggling with her bipolar depression diagnosis. She lived with her boyfriend, my two sisters, and my baby brother in a nearby town. I saw my mom building a family that I wasn’t a part of and that’s where I believe my own issues of self worth were born. “Why can she raise them and not me?” “What’s wrong with me that I’m not good enough?” “Why do I have to live with other families?” “My mom doesn’t want me and my dad isn’t allowed to have me.” These are the thoughts that I imagine began to fill my 6 year old mind.
I lived with my grandma, my aunt, and my cousin (who I consider a brother). They were my family and I am so grateful to them. There was, however, no replacement for my own mother and father. I think the most damaging part of my early childhood years is that no one explained to me why I didn’t live with either of my parents and it left me to come up with reasons of my own.
I don’t want to paint this tragic picture. I was an outwardly happy little girl. I loved the time I spent with my father, I had an amazing support system, and more family than I could ever imagine to spend life with! Still, I was a little girl who felt like she didn’t have a permanent or secure place in this world and I’ve carried the weight of my early childhood insecurities for decades. The little girl who didn’t have a place in the world grew up to be a woman with the inner voice that says she’s a burden to everyone she meets in life and my heart hurts every single time I think of that little girl.
I may have been happy growing up, but the negative voice inside me quickly grew like a field of weeds and I only wish there was someone in my life who was informed or educated on how to help the little girl who was silently dying inside.
To be continued…
This is probably the most I’ve ever elaborated on the subject of my early childhood and as I’m writing, I’m still uncovering some thoughts and feelings that I didn’t know existed. My journey is a long one, but I’m determined to walk through it in order to finally find more inner peace than I’ve ever been able to feel. My idea for sharing all of my story thus far is to break it up into segments so that I can recall as much as possible without publishing a novel in a blog post. Thank you for allowing me to trust you all with a very personal subject. As always, stay fierce!