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I’ve Gone Through A Lot In My 19 Years Of Life Without an Identity

My story is long and complicated. I am only nineteen years old, but I have seen a couple things. When I was born, I was born in a trailer without a midwife.

No application for a birth certificate or social security was filed, so for the next eighteen years of my life, I would live without those documents. This seemed fine to me, being a small child. I never left the house, never went to school, and as such, I never got sick, so I didn’t need to go to the doctor. I felt like a normal kid, because I didn’t know that reading my own books and learning from my siblings did not count as an education. My parents neglected me. I watched my father abuse my mother, and I remember screaming, shouting, doing anything to get him to stop. Sometimes, it wouldn’t be my mom, though. It would be me. I recall many nights when my mom would take my brother and I and lock us in the bedroom to keep us safe. My dad ripped the door off the hinges, so it didn’t last too long, but that was the life I was used to.

My brother was my best friend. I never had friends outside of him and whatever kids would come into the neighborhood only to move out again within a month. I had a sister, who I looked up to, who taught me how to write and how to write in cursive. She was about 9 years older than me, and she was a role model to me. Sometimes, role models are not perfect, though, and this happened in my sister. I was about four years old when it started. It started with tickling, kissing, like any innocent siblings might do, but it didn’t stop there. My sister molested me for the next five years, when she would leave and move to live with her family in Pennsylvania. At the time, this didn’t seem as traumatic as later it would become, and for the next thirteen years, I told nobody.

My life took another turn when I moved out. I moved into an apartment complex, where I was exposed to new friends, and I would develop a terrible attachment to that place because it was where I began to actually have fun. However, all good things must come to an end, and my friends moved, and later, I did, too. I moved to a house in a run-down town in north Mississippi. What made my parents choose that speck on the map, I’ll never know, but there I went. I lost all my friends and became reclusive again.

I was about twelve when I moved to Mississippi. I didn’t get out much, and as the teen years hit, I grew to be full of angst, as most teenagers, but I had no way to express it. As my family joined a local church, I was exposed to new concepts and ideas. I was always raised as Christian, but never in a Baptist environment. The new exposure to people made me realize that I was lacking something: friends. Eventually I attributed this to not attending school, but I also grew anxious of the fact that I had no ID. I would spend these years watching peers and other kids get their driver’s licenses and cars before me. I felt isolated.

I complained to my parents about my feelings and concerns, but they would give excuses to get me off of their back. On the worst occasions, my mom would tell me that I had no reason to feel that way. But this started a long battle of conflict with my parents. The tension would build up, and I turned to self-harm, and even suicide. This was met with harshness instead of compassion, which pushed me even further away. My mom got sick, and I became the mom of the household. The expectations were on me. I cooked, I cleaned. My oldest brother, who had only recently come to live with us, would help me. My dad fell in love with my mom again, but his hate had a new target: me.

There were explosions. I almost ran away once, but that was because I was terrified my dad was going to beat me like he used to, so I ran into the woods and stayed almost all night. My brother, T, was the only person who I felt like was on my side. Since the second time I attempted suicide, and word got out, T talked to me the next day and cried because he was so worried about me. I felt like I had no one, and we spent many nights outside where he would tell me that life was worth living and that I could get past this.

I did get past it. At some point, when the tension between my parents and I became too much, I had to get out of the house. I went to work with my brother and volunteered (he worked at a state park). We were making the cabin beds, when she said, “Do you have to make your own bed at home?” and I said, “I don’t have a bed. I sleep on the couch.” This floored her, so I let her into my neglectful and abusive home life. She told me to go the state, which with the help of my brother, T, I did.

My life would then change in so many ways that I never had imagined, and the whirlwind of events about to play out would be so emotionally tormenting and elating at the same time. I cried the night I was taken into custody, even though I had asked to go. I took only what I could fit in a black garbage bag, which included the little money I had and clothes to wear. I went to stay at a foster home of a nice couple for the first night, and my next home would be revealed to me the following day. I had no way of talking to my brother, T, especially since my parents had slung dirt on him in a last attempt to get their way. They accused him of raping me. So, I was not allowed to see my brother for now.

The next home lasted for a month, and I would move twice more before settling back at the first house I stayed in. I was in school now, and though I had to have remediation to catch up on some subjects (I started at 6th grade math), I learned quickly, and my grades were good. I grew attached to my foster family, and they became my real family. I called her my mom and I called him my dad.

This isn’t the end of my story, nor have I told you everything. This is just the highlights of my journey and I hope someone can get something out of it. Life isn’t meaningless. There are so many beautiful experiences that are just around the corner, and you may have to wait. You may have to wait a long, painful time, but believe me, waiting those eighteen years was totally worth it. I hope you have a wonderful day. 🙂

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