Have you met such children in your life?
Or, may be, you’ve been one of them?
I was not “removed” – I stayed with my family – well, with whatever was left of it by then… No one cared, no one noticed – it was better that way. I was ‘caught’ only a few times at school. Once I struggled with completing a test in writing because my hands were shaking too much. On another occasion I punched a girl. She saw my dad coming home drunk and started making silly jokes about that in front of the class. My fuse was short – my fist was fast… I was taken to the principal. He could not make any sense of it: “You’ve always been such a good quiet student, always getting the top marks, always listening to the teachers. I can’t understand why you did that?” I had nothing to say.
I never invited anyone to my place, I never talked to anyone about my family – except my only school friend Lucy and later Ivan.
I felt very sorry for Lucy. She lived with her parents and her only sister. Her dad wanted to have sons – no luck. Both children turned out to be female. He never got over it, blaming them and their mum for that. He was often verbally and physically abusive – with both girls and their mother. I felt much luckier – at least, my dad was not bashing me.
Lucy’s sister got married as soon as she reached the ‘legal’ age, which was 18 – just to get away from her dad. Lucy ‘lasted’ a bit longer. She phoned me before her wedding day: “You might be surprised that I’m marrying a man who is 10 years older than I’m,” she said. “While it was the norm a century ago, I know it looks pretty weird nowadays. With a more mature dad, I hope my children will be growing in a better environment and won’t see the hell I went through as a child…”
Ivan was raised by a single mum. His dad was complete alcoholic. I saw him only once. He was so ‘marinated’ after decades of drinking, that it was even impossible to tell when he was drunk or sober, if he ever was sober. He was trying to say something friendly to me, but I could not understand even a single word. Poor Ivan needed to ‘translate’ for me from Russian to Russian. I felt very sorry for Ivan – my dad at least could still talk properly and was not always drunk.
From a letter to my drunk dad…
Alex never talked about his family. It looked like his family did not care about him at all. I had a feeling that there was a history of alcoholism in his family too, because Alex would never touch anything with alcohol, whether it was vodka, beer, wine or cider. Not a drop. For that reason, other lads were always mocking him with their usual ‘you are not a man if you are not drinking’ tune. My gender helped in those cases – as none of that ‘be a man’ crap applied to me I could easily get those lads ‘out of tune’ to shut them up.
From Russian Men Loosing Years to Vodka
Victoria was the only surprising exception. Her parents divorced when she was little. Her dad was married three times, her mum – twice. It always puzzled me how they all managed to maintain good relationships. Victoria lived with her mum, however if she needed her dad he was always there for her in a blink of an eye. She had very good relationship with all his children from other marriages – her half-sisters and half-brothers. Her step-dad treated her well too. May be, that’s why she turned into such a carefree chatter box with a beaming smile: always happy, always confident, always giggling…
I’m very proud of my friends. They did not have a good start in life, but they all managed to get their lives into a pretty good shape and provide safe, stable and loving environment for their children. They became wonderful teachers, doctors, train drivers, tradespeople. It was a hard work – and still is I’m sure. However they never complained, they never blamed their fate or difficult childhood, they never gave up and while steadily getting up on their feet, they never put anyone down.
I do admire their self-discipline, strength, determination and kind hearts. They are real heroes for me, the most beautiful people I’ve known.
What about you?
Who are the most beautiful people in your life?
My life resonates with your personal story and the stories of some of your wonderful friends. The most beautiful people I’ve known were in twelve-step programs with me. All of us coming to terms with past and present realities. I find that grown-ups who struggled in childhood and then break the cycle of violence generally have not just deep, but realistic empathy for others who struggle. Also, even though each struggle has its own shape and horror, there’s a common thread that does more than bind us in a kind of invisible fellowship. It actually strengthens our courage, grit and determination to pass on something better to the next generation–as long as we keep practicing our own brand of sobriety!
So true, Elouise. It does bind us into a kind of invisible fellowship. No matter how well people are ‘hiding’ their childhood scars, I can see and feel those, who had such nasty experiences in their childhood. When I come across such people, something in me urges to reach out to them, give them a hug, show them, that they are not alone in this world. I feel much more comfortable with these people – whether we are talking or sharing a silent moment, we can feel each other. Like in a Mowgli call of the jungles, “We be of one blood, thou and I”
Your friends are beautiful most definitely and very precious!!!! Thank you for a heartwarming post. My hubby and mom and then the people that donate blood ( so that I get to live a normal life) they are my heroes 🙂
Thank you for sharing. I can relate too. I’m so grateful for Alanon too.
impressive and emotional, Miss O… ❤ you did touch my heart as I've found some similitudes that would fit my memories, too… I've had a few friends with almost similar childhood and adolescence…
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you're such an interesting and talented narrator… I often look forward to reading your own stories more than other "stuff"… 😉 spasiba! merci! thanx! ❤
Thanks, Melanie, for your kind words. Always enjoy reading your comments and finding similarities in our experiences. 🙂
Your post made me cry – and the video had me sobbing. I can relate to both stories in their own way, that’s why they touched me so deeply. Now, when things get tough or I feel low or give myself a hard time for not being ‘good enough’ or ‘successful’ or what not, a voice from deep within says to me ‘It’s a miracle you’re even here. It’s a miracle you got this far. It’s a miracle you are who you are. You’re doing really well. You’re doing great. Really.” That voice helps me carry on every time.
This ‘voice’ is right. You are unique just the way you are. And because we all are unique, there is no point in comparing us with anyone else. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. There is also no valid criteria for comparison. What can be perceived as ‘success’ by one person might not mean much for another.
You are a very beautiful person just the way you are 🙂
Thank you so much 🙂 You’re right – we’re apples and oranges – both amazing, but very different 🙂
Thanks, B Harmony. I hope this post will help others to understand such children and adults better.
Thank you for sharing these stories; they do help people to understand what is happening in some children’s homes. And I agree that you and your friends are a testament to the human spirit; demonstrating that people who grow up with abusive or negligent parents can become loving parents and compassionate friends. Kim
Thanks for your kind words, Kim. I do hope that this post also will help those people, who grew up in abusive environment, to see that they are not alone and no matter what happened to them in their childhood, they can still get back on track and build a happy life for themselves and their children.
I think it does!!
Kinda teared up reading this, many feels
My best friend, and brothers are mine
I would have to say that the most inspiring people in my life would be my family. My family came from a different country, and so immigrants always have a place in my heart. It always amazes me how blessed I am and how much I take for granted. All of the blessings in my life were made possible because my family made sacrifices to travel to this country. Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful read.
You are so lucky to have such a wonderful family. Immigration is a big decision that often requires sacrifices. Glad that your family settled well in a new country 🙂
Good post Otrazhenie 🙂
Reading back few of your older posts and the current ones, i felt that your writing/designing skills has grown over the years.
This is the second post from this entire blog that brought tears in my eyes.
I like that girl in the video very much.
I don’t remember me being such a child, as my parents made sure they don’t bring their fights in-front of us when we were kids.
But i had different bitter experiences as a child.
My father met a huge accidental financial loss in business and fell into debts.
People use to flood to my house to grab my fathers collar.
But my father use to hide in, out of fear; and would make me to tell lie to those people that dad is not in.
Sometimes those angry people who lent money, use to throw bad words and threaten me, my sis and my mom. Those angry people took pretty advantage over our inability.
And since i was little, it did affected me to a certain extent, but not in a worse way.
Years have passed, my father still owes a huge money to few people, out of that business loss.
And still today few people use to come and threaten us. Some how i learned to handle them better with a little of my intellectual strengths and principles that i hold.
Loved this line “Poor Ivan needed to ‘translate’ for me from Russian to Russian.” Had laughs.
I feel so good to hear that your friends have shaped their life into better ones.
For me the most beautiful people in my life is my girlfriend. She is chaotically beautiful.
In a way like your beautiful friends, its my mom, my dad and my girlfriend whom i see as beautiful.
They had very tougher times but they have improved a lot and changed themselves with the least resources they had.
I don’t hesitate to say again this, good post Otrazhenie 🙂
So sorry to hear about your scary experiences with your father’s debt. So scary when the whole family get threatened over that and there is not much you can do about that 😦
Yes, Otrazhenie. Like you said in one of your earlier posts, the only people who could help was the spectator. Our neighbors were kind and good hearted, but was afraid of getting involved in such threats and stood back during such incidents.
But the good part is that legally we had supportive voices. Law was in favor of us as there wasn’t anything illegal we did. Many judges and police officers were supportive and understood our situations.
So sad that fear turns even the kindest neighbours into silent bystanders. Glad that at least the judges and police officers were more supportive and understanding.
I cried..I have.t seent the ReMoved film till now…Sooo deep
Very heart-breaking movie.