I grew up privileged, in a sense. I have one thing that a lot of people sadly don’t have: unlimited and unconditional love and support from my family. There was a point in my life where we were homeless, I have gone hungry before, and our family has been looked down on for being mixed race, but I always had love and support. I never had to come out to them. It was just one of those things where if I brought home a girl, no one would bat an eye. I didn’t realize that people usually did have to come out until I was in middle school.
I moved around a lot when I was younger. My parents had divorced when I was five and my mom spent the years afterwards trying to “find herself.” Now, don’t get me wrong, my mother is a wonderful human being who loves me and my sister and unconditionally, but she admits that she practically went through a midlife crisis at that point. We went all across the States, and even out of the country to Morocco and Egypt. It was there that she remarried. It didn’t last long, but it was long enough for her to contract HIV from her cheating, now ex, husband.
After my father had left us one year we were homeless for a short time. We lived in our car in the middle of winter and ate food given to us from food banks. This was only for a short time, though, because my mother was able to secure an apartment for us. It was there that I met a boy. My emotional support dog didn’t like him, but he seemed alright and that wasn’t a big deal at the time. It wasn’t until one night, when he had to stay at our home because his mother was out of town and he had nowhere else to stay, that things turned. I am an insomniac, and I have taken a plethora of medications to try and sleep. I was also on high doses of medication to deal with my anxiety and depression. It was on that fateful night that I had taken my first ever dose of this new sleeping medication. This was the night that the boy had stayed over. I don’t remember much. That’s a good thing, I guess. It is only after all this time that I have been able to recall moments from that night. I didn’t know at the time, but I had been taken advantage of while I was medicated and unable to respond or refuse. I was 13 years old. I woke up in my sister’s bed with no recollection of the previous night.
The boy asked me to be his girlfriend, and my mom liked him so I said yes. Halfway through this relationship, the boy found out that I wasn’t exactly straight, and that I didn’t exactly say yes to a relationship because I liked him. The relationship became abusive at that point. In the end, when my father had come back to us, I was able to break free of the toxic relationship.
I now not only suffer from my previously mentioned depression, insomnia, and anxiety, but I also deal with a severe nightmare disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. My emotional support dog became my service dog. Recently, in January of 2017, my dog passed away. This led to a short bout of depression where I felt like nothing mattered, because that dog was the only person who understood me. Now, I have a cat. He was a stray who was sickly thin with scars across his face, and a demeanor towards others that was overall quite rude, but we connected right away. Now he is fat, happy, and far too spoiled for his own good. We have grown into different beings together, and I guess that can be cheesily referred to as poetic.
I guess I really just want younger people, who may have been in similar situations as me, to know that things get better. Life won’t be perfect, it never is, and sometimes it won’t seem like it’s worth it. But it’s the small moments that make life worth living. They make every horrible thing that happened in life worth it, even if just for one moment. It’s like when I hold my cat to my chest as I sleep, or when I make a friend laugh. It’s those small moments that make everything worth it, and you just have to remember that.