I’ve always been asked who my family is. Up until recently, I could never give a solid answer. I constantly asked myself who my family was. I often thought that it only meant the ones who brought you into the world. But my family wasn’t the typical family. When I was born, my parents were still together. I had an older brother named Sean who was three and had autism, and an older sister named Kristin, who was a year younger than Sean. When I was three, my brother Lucas was born. At the age of six, my parents got divorced.
My biological mother moved to California and we stayed in Texas. My dad got together with his high school love. When she found out she was pregnant with his kid, they got married. I didn’t feel right around his new wife. And my feelings were valid. Meredith, my dad’s new wife, had a daughter named Hayleigh. Her father was a sperm donor, but my dad signed her birth certificate. The child they had together turned out to be my half brother Sebastan.
I was neglected by my bio mom and therefore didn’t know what it was like to have a mother figure in my life. Therefore, I distanced myself from Meredith. By the time I was eight I struggled with expressing myself. What I didn’t tell anyone until I was sixteen was probably the most detrimental incident between my step-mother and I.
My baby brother was taking a nap. I accidentally woke him up and my step mother said, “You’ll get your punishment later”. I gulped. She never really punished me before so I thought nothing of it.
Later, at about 11pm, I woke up to me being dragged to the basement. I saw my dad holding a belt and my parents made me remove my clothing. I had to hold my arms straight out to my sides while my dad hit me with a belt and Meredith blew a whistle at me. I must have blacked out, because the next thing I remembered I was in my bed, soaked in blood. I was only eight, I didn’t want to die. The school noticed the stains on my shirt and called an ambulance. I never really told them what happened. They found the bloody belt in the basement and still believed my parents over me. This is why I hate my parents.
The trauma still haunts me to this day. I refuse to wear belts, and I haven’t had a normal conversation with my parents since then. I cry myself to sleep each night because I have nightmares of the abuse over and over again. But ultimately, I am strong because I lived to tell this story. Please remember that abuse is never your fault. I blamed myself for nine years. But now I realise that my family isn’t them, but the people who support me when I need them most, and are the ones to pick me up when I fall.