If Only They Cared
Age 14, Chicago, Illinois, USA
I struggled to understand why my parents did these things…
It started when I was younger, but I grew to realize what I was going through wasn’t okay. My dad abused me. He abused my brother and my mother. My mother abused me. She hit me until I fought back. She told me that I was worthless and said I didn’t deserve to live.
We moved for the twentieth time, yet I thought it would be different. I thought we were a family. You know, those siblings that share their happiness with each other. It was only like that for a few days until Mom and Dad started drinking again, going out with their gangbanger friends.
My brother and I waited for them outside until two o’clock in the morning, wondering where you were. My sister was sleeping. She didn’t know what was going on. Clueless.
I was clueless, young, and dumb. I waited hours and my brother got anxious. He wondered where our parents were. I missed them. They came home, fighting. Dad went after Mom and I pulled him into a dresser. I weighed less than 12o pounds. Dad was over 200. He hit me, kicked me out. The neighbors called the cops.
I didn’t know what to do. I was on the street. No shoes. No sweater. Shorts, tank top. Confused. I had to go away for a little while. I missed my parents. At least they admired my presence. I loved them.
I stayed strong until high school came. I lost myself. My parents act like I don’t exist. I had my first kiss, do they care? I loved him, he hurt me. I cried day and night. Did they notice?
What did you learn?
Stay strong, do it for yourself. Things may never change.
I Hope You Forgive Me
Dear “If Only They Cared,”
We are so sorry to hear how difficult things have been for you and your siblings. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! And you’re definitely not worthless! You’re worthmore!!! It’s our “word” and we want people to embrace being worthmore!
This is important: There are many, many things you can’t control. But please focus on what you can control and that is who you are as a person. You get to decide who you’re going to be. Are you going to follow in their footsteps? Or are you going to do everything in your power to get an education, seek out mentors you can respect. and live your life for YOU!?!? It’s not easy. We know. We really, really know. Because we’ve done it. So can you.
Regarding this boy. We care. Please know that you are in charge of your body and that being physical with someone is NOT A SUBSTITUTION for love. It never is. True love is about mutually supporting one another. Respect is key. Boundaries are key. Friendship is key. One person cannot be everything to another person. We need to love ourselves first.
Be proud of your strength. Be proud of your desire to not only survive, but to become the kind of person you can respect.
You didn’t mention forgiveness. What has been done to you, isn’t okay. But letting it define you will harm you. It’s THEIR weaknesses and those weaknesses shouldn’t become yours. Sometimes, adults just can’t be what we wish they would be. Forgiveness is about remembering what’s happened to you but not allowing it to define you. Not allowing it to control your emotions and the choices you’re able to make for yourself.
We’re sorry that you’ve suffered. We admire your strength. Be kind and good to yourself. Find good people. They’re out there. You seem smart. So use your strengths to really observe people and to make the best choices you can.
Thank you for sharing your story. And we’re hoping that there will be wonderful people who come into your life and your siblings’ lives who will make a difference! Stay strong!