Who am I?

I've lived my whole life suppressing all of my emotions and personal problems.

When I was 6, my mother left China to pursue her career and to better her life. I was left in the care of my father, my babysitter and my aunt (on my father's side). My father has never taken a keen interest in me and I'm always reassured that he 'loves' me, in his own way. I don't remember much of the year I spent with him apart from one incident where he was drunk out of his mind and was meant to be looking after me. His friend put me and him in a taxi but he passed out and I had to navigate to my aunt's house. I just remember how dark and cold it was and I couldn't reach the buzzer to ring for my aunt and the loneliness that I felt. Eventually, a kind stranger helped me. My aunt and I have always been close, she was there for me when my father either drank too much or was being verbally abusive.

One year later, I moved to England to be with my mother and started school in the town that she had set up her business. We were very poor at that point, where food was a struggle. But our landlord, an elderly widowed guy, was caring and genuinely loved me like I was his kid. He would take me to football practice and treat me to fish and chips and picked me up from school when my mother was working most of the time. It was hard but we were happy. I did well at school and that made my mother proud. I got into a prestigious high school, and that year my father moved over. I've always been well liked at school, trying hard to seem 'normal' and easy going, but high school was hard for me. I've never met the types of people that I encountered and found myself feeling alienated and confused. I wouldn't say I was bullied but I never found myself feeling easy around any of my peers. Around this time, my father and mother were not getting on and my father would disappear days on end, using my mother's money to fund his little trips. He also confronted me about one recent search on the internet - "how to kill yourself". That was probably my first encounter with suicidal thoughts but I never thought this was unsual. I knew I could never kill myself, my mother and father loved me too much and I could never do that to them. So I laughed away the accusations and started to cut myself, hiding away and crying most evenings.

I never told any of my peers about any of these issues and pretended that, I, like them, was from a fairly affluent background with stable parents and a stable family life. I stuck my head in books and aspired to become the person with a stable family and comfortable home life. I eventually made close friends, pretending to be exactly like them and sharing in their woes. At the same time holding in all the problems that I was experiencing at home. At school, I could escape from my problems. Eventually, my father left the country and his presence in my life slowly and surely disappeared. I settled back into the daily grind of pretending to live a certain way and started drinking alcohol around the time I was 13. I looked forward to those times because I felt like I was really not pretending to be happy, I felt loose and out going and I looked forward to the times i could start drinking. 

Fast forward to age 15 when I was told that my aunt had been murdered in her apartment by her daughter's fiancee. It has happened a year prior to me being informed, my mother didn't want to disturb my school life. But it hurt me so much, but I never spoke to anyone about it, I was still the chirpy funny girl that everyone knew. I visited China to see her grave but my father was extremely resistant to my requests and admitted that he hadn't been there yet. He eventually allowed me to do so and I spoke to my cousin for the first time in many years. I broke down completely and utterly.

School was a haven and I loved to escape into a place where I had friends and seemed to fit in, but I was starting to question my sexuality and felt myself falling for my friend. I was always the weird one, the strange girl and I let that be a part of my persona. I was just glad that I appeared to be acceptable but by other people's standards. My life in China, my home life, my primary school life were all segregated into neat and unattached boxes that I could keep in my mind. This continued as I went to university. The first people I met, I played the role that would make me new friends, people to be around to learn from - their secrets to being happy. And I got drunk, a lot. I knew about my sexuality deep down inside but it was easier to stay afloat without thinking about that, I just wanted to have people around me to convince myself I was living the life that I wanted. The first two years of university life was easy. I didn't get good grades but I felt sure that there was a future - that the main goal was to make friends, meet people. I avoided being at home by travelling, and to an extent living out of my means. My unresolved problems seemed so far away, but I always felt lonely unless I was drunk. That's when I felt the world was at my feet, that it's completely possible to break away from your past. I lived without attachment, without becoming too close to anybody. 

I stopped getting my period and was told that the likelihood of my becoming a mother was low. Logically, this never bothered me since I'd thought about my sexuality and was totally fine, it appeared. But I cried non stop when I was alone and I could never think through why it bothered me so much. This is another problem that I've never told to anybody. I pretended I had periods and even shared synthesized period stories with my friends. The widowed landlord who was still a constant in my life also suffered a heart attack just as I was going away on a ski trip. Again I didn't tell anyone about this and just hid the problem away the entire time I was there. When I got back, his condition declined and I was so broken from his death. His fatherly presence in my life reassured that love is out there. Unjudgemental and unconditional. It gave me a sense of stability that I never got from my own father. But to the friends that I made at university - this would have never made sense. And my mother got angry every time I tried to talk about my feelings, as if I was weak. I went back to university, again, pretending nothing was the matter. Home was difficult because his absence left a massive dark hole in our lives. 


User Comments

God, you have been through so much. This may be no help to you at all but when I realised that the actions of other people in the past although they had negatively influenced me, had given me strength and helped me become the person I am today I decided to use the energy I had invested in the past to help build myslef up and encourage myself. Ultimately, you are the one who can support yourself, when you start to do that and don't berate yourself you can change for the better.

I am a stranger on the internet, but you are stronger than you think and by being here you will be making your father proud, never forget that. I wish you all the best x