I didn’t have a father growing up, not in the traditional sense, at least. I had a male guardian figure, yes, but he wasn’t in the slightest father material. My biological father and mother had divorced when I was 8, and before that I’d only known and lived with my “Sperm Donor” for a total of 2 years. From the tender age of 6 months to 5 years, I jumped from babysitter to babysitter before finally settling into the homes of one of my mother’s old students’ parents. You could say that I grew up in China, as I didn’t immigrate to the United States until I was 5, but everybody knows that before the age of 5, you don’t really remember things. Bits and pieces, maybe, but not whole memories. Basically, I never lived with my parents, they were in the United States trying to establish a safe environment before uprooting my siblings and me.
After moving to the United States at 5, I went through a turmoil of environmental changes. As I implied before, growing up I didn’t have a stable family life. My home life was a constant turmoil of emotions. Starting from the minute I stepped off the MARTA train, my whole life changed. I was no longer the little girl whose parents didn’t want her so they dropped her off at family and friends, I was no longer the little girl who had no home, I was the little girl that had a mom and a dad. I thought that I would finally get the home that I dreamed of, the family that I’ve wanted since being old enough to know what a family is…
Boy, was I wrong. The minute I stepped off that train, the life I knew before changed. At least when I was living with my nannies, I had a somewhat stable family life, with people that sort of loved me. Living with my biological parents changed my perspective on that, every night there would be fight after fight, argument after argument. I came to know from a very early age that my biological father, the one whose DNA I share, didn’t love me. He never even wanted me to begin with, I was that unwanted, unplanned child to him. I was a hindrance to the life that he would have had. My sister at the time was already 19, past the age where he would have to continuously pay for college, etc. She could get a part time job and pay her own way through school, unlike me. I was still 5, a child, meaning he would have had to work another 10+ years to provide for my mom and me. He didn’t want that, he wanted to retire. He wanted to make enough money to go back to China and just live off that.
The environment in which I grew up in, wasn’t the nicest. Wasn’t the easiest. While every other kid I knew had a mother and a father that loved them, I had a father that hated my existence. A father that wish I’d never existed. A father that would rather have me die than to take me to the hospital. A father who would send their child’s mother to jail on false accusations and even through the most intense begging and crying session, he would not bail her out. That was my life the first 2 years of living in the United States. Having the police called every 2 weeks, because there was always a fight, an argument. I was 8 when I testified against my own father for lying to law enforcement. I was 8 when I went to my first courthouse. My childhood wasn’t the greatest, I was shy, scared of people, I didn’t like talking. Hell, I didn’t even start speaking in coherent sentences until I was almost 8. My ways of communicating were throwing tantrums or crying if I didn’t get what I wanted. Saying I was a late bloomer would be putting it nicely, I didn’t get the chance to grow up in the same environment people my age did. I was a shell of the person that I am today.
Growing up in that sort of environment has an impact on you, it makes you see things differently. Growing up in that kind of environment sort of has the power to either make or break you. My mother is a strong woman and she withstood everything that my sperm donor did to her and to our family, until she no longer could. She is my hero in every way, she didn’t let the things he did get to her and she didn’t let them hinder her being a responsible mother and woman. She did her duties as a mother in the best way she could. After divorcing my sperm donor, she worked two jobs to provide for my brother and me. She did everything she could to make ends meet. And throughout everything that happened, my mom always told me no matter how desperate and tired I get, the one thing I can’t do is give up. If I gave up I would be letting the people that want me down, win. And, giving up is for losers, if after everything that I went through I let the trivial things beat me up and get to me, it would make me weak. I wasn’t weak. If I was weak, I would have gone crazy, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would have let it drive me crazy. And she’s right, instead of letting what happened in my childhood take control of my life, I instead learned to let it go, it’ll always be a part of me, but It won’t be something I bring to the future.