In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “When Childhood Ends.”
This is one prompt I didn’t pull a mind blank to but actually knew the answer straight away. Today’s writing prompt is to “write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant”.
It’s a simple answer which I’m sure many people can relate to. The defining moment when I was forced to grow up was when my parents split up and eventually divorced. As a family unit of four (I’ve got an older sister) we had lived in the same house for about eight years (I might be off a year) which for me felt and still feels forever. As a child I never wanted to leave that house, I had six million memories there, was happy exactly where I was, one best friend next door, the other just a few doors down. I was pretty angry when the house went up for sale and down right didn’t understand why two random people in front of me had bought my home. The biggest part of my childhood went with that house, and a part of me stayed with it the day we left.
I would say that was the beginning of everything changing and my childhood beginning to disappear at an alarming rate. Both my parents met new people, married them (and equally divorced later on) which led to me and my sister being told there was no way we could stay in the area where we were, at the school we were at. Mum was going more north and Dad was going to the States. Pick one. I wanted to stay where I was. Why did I have to leave my childhood friends and new friends I’d just made at secondary school? Why did I have to give up what I wanted when it wasn’t me choosing to change everything? I was a kid, I honestly didn’t understand why I had to choose between two things of which neither I wanted. Which parent I wanted to live with, which step-parent, which location…
As you can imagine there was a lot of indecisiveness. I honestly didn’t know which option I wanted more, but I didn’t want either one more than the other; I didn’t want either. If staying put had been on offer I wouldn’t have even considered the other two. Unfortunately to this day I still wish that had been a choice I had. I’m not saying my life would have been better because of it, but the internal turmoil I went through having to decide where to go and not having the freedom to talk about it was crushing. No one wanted to hear that I had changed my mind again, no one understood that an eleven year old simply can’t comprehend their life completely changing in ways not wanted. All of this was happening for my sister too but I don’t remember us actually talking about how we both felt. She was fourteen and hated everyone. I was an over-sensitive shy girl who was still mad that the family cat had been given away. I loved her when no one else did. She hated everyone too (but not me, obviously).
I honestly wish someone had just made the decision for me. If I could have lived with one of my friends instead I would have jumped at the chance. It was becoming so apparent my family weren’t a family anymore and I was completely lost. We’d stopped being a proper family for awhile beforehand but now we were all so disconnected it broke my heart. I was having to get rid of my belongings because I was moving. Yes a lot of it needed to go, it was clutter, junk, old stuff I didn’t know I still had. But other things I prized so much I hated they had to go; most notably my acoustic guitar. I’m still waiting to replace it. My life was changing and not for the better if I’m honest. I chose to go to the States with my Dad and the day I had to say goodbye to my childhood friends was so emotionally painful I literally didn’t want to go. I’ve never seen them again.
And I went through literal hell after that point. My childhood had been ripped apart from me, the only person I could trust and rely on was myself and it’s been that way everyday since. I turned into an adult from that point and missed out on crucial stages of growing up. It’s been an extremely lonely hard fight to keep plodding on from all of that and it continues to be even now. At times I genuinely question what’s the point anymore, I’m sure we all do. I’m so tired of only having myself to depend on, to have to keep fighting for every single thing I want and need with no backup or support. Most people will always have their family to fall back on, I don’t. It’s me and only me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me because I’m not. Plenty of people are dealt with hell of a lot worse things to contend with. Yes I’m jealous of every single person who has a supportive network behind them, I don’t understand how such a thing can exist or what it feels like to have that. People who have things easy, given cars, jobs, houses, money, unconditional love and support.
It all makes me appreciate what I have got and managed to do so far. It feels like very little to me, I lack most of what others have at a click of a finger. But I have what I have, and I have me. I can be my own worst enemy, and often am but I seem to know how to tell myself to piss off well enough. I’m not the kind of person to have regrets, and I don’t regret what has happened. There are situations I wish had gone differently and I could have done with not feeling so alone all my life but at the end of the day all anyone has in their life away from their cars, houses, money, jobs, pets, family, friends is ultimately just themselves. Just you and only you. The world is a lonely unfair place and the only two feet to keep you up are yours. Be thankful for the hands waiting to pull you up when you fall down.
My parents separation saw our immediate family also separate from the extended family which I’ve missed so very much in my life. Amazing people who I speak about with pride and happiness when I get the chance. To end on a positive it just recently it looks like adulthood is giving me that family back.
The shadow proves the sunshine.