My Heart, Your Home: From the vault - The offending post - I am the product of a broken home   

Thursday, 16 August 2012

From the vault - The offending post - I am the product of a broken home

Every so often I think back to where I have come from, where I have been, and I ponder the forks in the road and the turns life has taken. I often wonder, how different things could have been? Better? Worse? Just different. I wonder... 

I didn't have a bad childhood, by any means, but I did have a trialling and challenging and confusing one. I truly don't believe that many childhoods are made up of blissful unawareness, I truly believe that we are more knowing than we are given credit for as children. Moments, words, they can all be far more damaging for a child that people are aware of. They become deeply seeded, to haunt that child for the remainder of their days. My childhood wasn't a bad one, it had no violence or alcoholism, it wasn't a bad one. But it was a trialling and challenging and confusing one. It had no stability, no constant.

I remember the day my Mum and Dad sit me and my brother and sister down and told us that "Mummy and Daddy don't love each other anymore". I remember my Mum correcting my Dad and prompting him to tell the truth, "Daddy has to leave". I remember not quite understanding what that meant. I remember walking away from the table and I believe my Sister and I both went and watched cartoons. I didn't know what that meant, or how real it was, or that it meant forever. Daddy has to leave. Those words. That moment. It changed our lives forever. Daddy has to leave.

I remember the day he left too, the day he packed his things, the day he took them all away. I remember we were selling the house, so Mum let us paint the empty wall of the hallway in whatever colours, shades or shapes we would like. I was a painting a big dark multi coloured heart (I wonder what that meant?). I remember Daddy had to leave. He was crying, so I was crying. He gave us all cuddles and told us he loved us. He patted Jarrah (the dog) goodbye and he walked out the door. I continued painting. But Daddy had to leave.

I remember all the tears that Mum cried, the hours spent locked in her bedroom. I don't remember a great deal about my life with Dad or the time between him leaving and us leaving. But I do remember how I felt. And I felt confused and lost. I felt angry at Dad, angry at Mum. I felt sad. I remember the day I found out Daddy didn't just have to leave, I remember finding out that Daddy left to be with another family. I remember being in the back of the car, it being dark and Mum driving. I remember turning up to a house and Dad coming outside. I remember Mum yelling and crying. I remember Dad being calm. I remember looking at the house and seeing a young boy peering through the blinds. I felt angry. At Dad, and at Mum for taking me there. That boy had tears in his eyes. So I did too. I didn't want to know. I loved my Dad and that moment made me question that love. I don't want to know.

I remember the day we left our home, we left our suburb, we left our city. We packed our lives into a truck, we packed ourselves into the van and we drove away. We drove 4 hours north to a town far away. I remember hearing the words "there's not a cloud in the sky, it's as sweet as your sweet goodbye" singing from the radio. I remember thinking, there isn't a cloud in the sky, and this is goodbye because Daddy had to leave. So we left too.

We moved to Forster, we started a new life, a life as a broken family... whatever that meant. I remember that we stayed with friends for quite some time. I lived in a caravan on their front lawn. I remember feeling uncomfortable. Unwelcome. An intruder. I remember wanting my home back. We found a home of our own. A house on stilts. Normalcy? For a while. Mum found a new man (my now passed step dad). A new man? A new Dad? I remember being angry. Angry at the new man. Angry at Dad. Angry at Mum. I had a Dad. He had to leave. But I don't need a new one! I remember saying those words to him. I remember hating him for being there. He was unwelcome. An intruder! I wanted my home back.

Life progressed, we moved on, we grew up. That new man, became a known man, Craig. He moved in. I still didn't like him there. I still felt angry. At Craig. At Dad. At Mum. I was angry. We bought a house, a family home. Dad painted my room, with the lion king characters. I thought it was special. I struggled through school, with friends, or no friends. I was picked on, because I was angry. Every day I became more and more quiet and reserved. Every day I lost more and more confidence. I became more confused and I never found myself, I remained lost. I was angry. Now angry at Dad. Angry at Mum. Angry at Craig. Angry at myself. 

I progressed through primary school and I moved onto High School, still with very minimal friends. They tolerated me, because they had to, we were in a small school and they couldn't avoid me. I guess I was tolerable. My anger became me and I struggled through it. I wasn't a bad child, I truly believe that. But I was angry. And Mum was angry. This caused for very hard times. For misunderstandings, for arguments, for fights. For hellish times. I have a temper, I know this, but my temper came from my Mum.

I remember the fights, I remember the moments, I remember the words and I absolutely remember the results. Results which ended with me walking the streets. Living with two young boys. A night in the police station. Bad boyfriends. Bad men. Results which ended in disrespect of myself. I saw things and experienced things a 14 year old girl never should have. I remember the moment I was told to leave. I remember the hurt but I remember the feeling of freedom. I remember the moment I left, I packed my bags, I walked out. I walked into a new home with two friends, I thought I was going to have my life made. I thought that this was going to be better than life at home. How very wrong I was. But at least here I wont be told to leave.

That chapter of my life wasn't one I was proud of. It didn't turn out quite the way I had planned. I dropped out of school before finishing Year 10. I was surrounded by drugs in that house, for a while I wouldn't come out of the bedroom when the drugs were being used but eventually that became too hard to maintain. Finally being around the drugs wore me down and I started to dabble. They never became me, not like my anger, but they did become a part of my life for a while. Living in that house, at times was great, but at other times it was really very hard. The boy that I was living with was supposed to be my boyfriend, but he was angry too. He would get into fights every other weekend and he would bring home different girls on the weekends that I wasn't going out with him. So I wasn't ever told to leave that place, but I was locked out. Locked out of the house on a cold winters night while I got to overhear my so called boyfriend sleeping with my so called friend. One day I came home to find half my wardrobe was missing. I saw that wardrobe walking around town on other girls. Another day I came home to find my belongings on the front lawn and hosed down. The stories could go on, but I will stop at saying it was a time in my life that is best kept in the dark, where it belongs. I remember feeling more lost. I didn't know who I was anymore. I lost all respect for myself. I looked for love and acceptance where ever I could. I didn't feel like I had it.

My best friend at the time saved me from that house. She and I packed up my things and we moved me across the bridge into her home. It was me, her and her Dad. Normalcy! I had my own bedroom. I posted photos on the wall. I had a bed. We used to stay up talking until the very early hours of the morning, every morning. We walked the streets looking for jobs. We ate fish and chips for lunch. We had fun. Life was fun again. Someone loved me and looked after me. She was my saviour. I will never forget what she and her Dad did for me.

I heard around town that Mum was saying I ran away from home, everyone thought that I was being a brat, everyone thought I chose this life. I didn't run away from home. I run away from Mum telling me to leave and that she doesn't want to see me again. I run away from those words, because those words were real to me. She obviously didn't mean them, she mustn't have meant them, to tell people that they weren't said? But they were said, and I remember them, and they hurt, so I did what those words told me to do. But, when I heard this I realised that maybe now I can come home. So I asked Mum. She said yes. And I went home. Not before all the damage had been done though, not before I saw those things, did those things, experienced those things. I wish I had of known that those words weren't real.

I grew up. I finished Year 10 at TAFE. I went back to school for my senior years. I met a boy, a boy that was really nice to me. He was gentle and caring. Caring about me. He loved me and he cared about me. I found acceptance in him. For a while. Until that ended, he ended it because his Father told him he was too young for a relationship. That moment, those words. I remember them. I remember being loved and then that love was lost. I remember being hurt and confused. But I moved on.

I couldn't find a place that felt like home. I couldn't find people that felt like home. I didn't want to settle down anywhere, because anywhere was good enough. I moved to Queensland, only to pack up 6 months later and moved to Lismore where I went to University and made a new best friend. A girl I could be honest with, have fun with, laugh and talk and run and be wild with. She was my heart, my home. In her I found love and acceptance. I also met a boy. A boy I would spend that next 3-4 years with, a boy I would follow to New Zealand, then make a home with in Sydney. A boy that would help me through some of the hardest months of my life, a boy who would help me through watching Craig die. That new man, the man I spent so many years hating, but also spent so many years loving. The new man that became the known man, only to become my Step-Father. The man that made my family complete. That boy held my hand through watching Craig diminish until he was gone and held my hand while my world and my family came tumbling down around me.

That boy and I broke up not too soon after. I moved to Avalon, a town as far away from everyone and everything as I could get, without leaving my beloved beaches. I moved in on my home. I spent 6 months in that house, this was the beginning of my journey of finally finding myself. Of finding love and acceptance of me, from me. I loved that time of my life. I loved the house I was living in. I loved the walks to the beach before work, after work. I loved the life that I had created. I found myself. Without those 6 months on my own, getting to know myself, I would still be angry. I would still be lost. Avalon was my saviour. The saviour of my soul. I felt love. I felt peace. I felt at home. Normalcy! 

All that time, I was looking for relief from other people. I was looking in all the wrong places, where I had to look was deep inside myself. I had to let go of that anger. That anger of Dad. The anger of Mum. The anger of life. I had to find peace to be able to live a life of normalcy. I had to find a place within myself, I had to love and accept myself. 

I have never been the child of a broken family that talks about being the child of divorced parents. For me, it was normalcy, it was never a disability or a comparison. I have met people who even now, as adults, still talk about coming from a broken home. It never occurred to me that I was disadvantaged. I knew my life was different, I knew their was a piece missing. But I didn't know the true affects it was to have on me and my life. Not until I had my own family. Then my thoughts changed, I realised... I was disadvantage, in a major way.

I wonder... how different life would have been, had Daddy not had to leave?

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