Growing up, my parent’s priorities were always twisted. My dad had this idea in his head that he would wake up one day and be a millionaire, and it would happen as long as he kept spending every waking moment locked in his room on his computer. The scheme he was working always seemed to change; whether it be a new program, a new website, a new marketing scheme. What it did to the life of his kids however, always remained the same. It was a cycle I became sickeningly used to. He would work a job for about six months, then I always knew when he had gotten fired, (or quit) because my siblings and I would be in the living room doing homeschool work with mom when dad would walk in with his brief case and my heart would just sink in my chest. Him and mom would walk into the other room, and my little brothers and sisters and I would just sit and wait, knowing what was to come. We were moving again. We would lose possessions, a little bit more of ourselves, more self respect, (if we ever even had any) and inevitably, we’d end up homeless living on someone else’s couch, in a motel or even in tents in the middle of a rain storm. As an adult to this day, I can’t go camping and I will stay anywhere except a Days Inn motel. I refuse to go back.
On top of this unstable, uncertain life, my father always found a way to buy himself the latest Microsoft Laptop and HD computer screens. He’d make long speeches about his eye sight and how anything else would just make his eyes worse as he “worked.” But even with the thousands of dollars he spent on new technology, he couldn’t find money to get braces for my teeth, even though he had been told when I was little that I would need them asap. He just quit taking me to the dentist. He couldn’t find money to ever take us to the doctor for anything. Hell, he sometimes couldn’t even find money to feed us.
I’m an adult now, with my own family, a husband that puts our health and needs before wants, and this week I had to go to the doctor to have a cyst removed from my shoulder. It was deep and highly infected and painful, it was also only a couple inches from a scar I’ll carry for the rest of my life from a time my parent’s chose self-help instead of paying a doctor to take care of me.
When I was a teenager I had a cyst, just like the one I had removed this week, and it hurt so badly. I needed a doctor, but why would they take me to a doctor when my dad did research online?
It was the most physically horrible, painful experience of my life. (If you get queasy, don’t read the next part. Skip to the next paragraph.) :
-With nothing to numb me, they cut an inch long slit over the cyst on my back, I was laid flat on the bed trying to hold still, my arms pinned beneath me, screaming into a pillow. They used an exacto knife, then squeezed the puss, and used tweezers to try to get the sack.-
It was years later that I learned my little siblings were sitting outside the door crying as they heard me scream. Knowing this may have broken my heart more than anything. I was the oldest, I feel like I should have known better. Even though there was no way I could have by that point in life yet.
The scar on my back is a long line with a hole in the middle that will never go away. I’ve given up on trying to hide it, it’s there and it’s part of me.
Two days ago, I went to the doctor to have another cyst removed from near the first spot. It likely came from remnants of the original one that weren’t cleaned properly. Of course it hurt, but then I was numb. The doctor used proper tools and trained hands. He packed it and gave me antibiotic to try to clean as much of the nasty puss out of me as possible. He was kind and patient, making every effort humanly possible to make sure I had little pain and ended with as little chance of one returning as possible.
Laying in bed that night after having the cyst removed, I thought back to my dad who I haven’t even spoken with in many years. An almost stranger who never even met my husband or child. I wonder all the more, with every new experience in life, how a parent can do that to their child. Any of it.
My dad now lives in a motel, all alone, with his computers. None of us children want anything to do with him.
I’m in my mid twenties, and I’m finally getting braces. My confidence and even self respect has grown in the single year I’ve had them–more than I can explain. My priorities are lined completely different. And though I learned about the world as a young adult rather than as a child, I bring life experience and understanding to my journey that I believe makes me a better and more determined person.
From being raised by a man who wanted the world to hand him two million dollars in the mail, I have a drive to work hard and earn my way in this world. To prove myself and to make an impact everywhere I go for the better.
From being raised by a man who was condescending towards every other person unless they praised him, I am understanding, I have a heart for others and even if we disagree, we can still have a friendship.
Life can be cruel and unfair. The question is, will you let the shit that the world hands you be your excuse for your bad choices, or your fuel to grow stronger, fight harder and be better? The choice is yours alone.
Slay your own dragons, my friends. And don’t give up.