I used to write in a journal all the time when I was a kid. It was an escape for me. I also used to read. I haven't done either of those things in a long time, but I have found myself back to writing here tonight. I honestly haven't expressed my feelings or had anyone actually give me any revolutionary advice that fixed my hurting. It is sometimes hard to tell if my problems are even problems. I'm healthy; I have a job, I go to school, and I have aspirations and dreams just like everyone else. I have plenty to be thankful for at 22. However, I don't think I've come to terms that I was robbed of a childhood, and sometimes it's hard to decipher if I'm even allowed to be angry or upset. I hear, “you're an adult now; you should be over it,” but I am not. I am here anonymously because some of the people who hurt me in my past, I have forgiven, and they have grown, but sometimes the damage comes back to haunt me. For some context, my parents divorced when I was six, and really all I remember was fighting and being broke. I mean, I remember this one Christmas back in 2004 or 5; I had so many presents. I remember the exact crayon and pastel kit that I got. But I also remember my parents never got along, and we never had money. My dad worked out of town almost my entire life as a carpenter, and my mom bounced around from jobs for a while until she found the job she's at now. My mom pretty badly abused pills when I was a kid, and my dad was never there. I remember when I was like 5, my mother was washing me in the bath, and I guess I was acting out, and she cussed me, and we started like actually fighting, and I slipped and hit my arm on the toilet paper holder. Now, this was the early 2000s, so we had the old toilet holders that were like tile, well, it busted, and of course, this sent my belligerent mother into more rage. I couldn't tell you how the rest of that night went, but I'm sure I cried myself to sleep. However, despite the stories I could tell you about both my mother's anger and mine exploding together, that's not why I'm here tonight. I am here to talk about you, dad. I can't say these things to you anymore, so I am putting them somewhere where no one will ever read, but I can get it off my chest. I see a lot of people on the internet express their family trauma and the sad childhood they lived in because it is more common than not. The 2000s were a wild time, a lot of people's parents were dirt poor, and most of them that weren't their parents made a nice living. See, last night, I found out that my dad has another child on the way with my stepmom. Both of my parents remarried and had children with their second spouses. Both my half-brother, who is my mom's child, and my sister, who is my dad's child, live pretty nice lives. They take vacations, get Christmas presents, and experience “gentle parenting”. I love that they do; I wouldn't wish my childhood on anyone in the world. It was a dark and lonely time. I never saw my dad, so it was just me and mom most of the time, she was a single mother who was struggling with addiction, so you know how that story goes. We lived with my grandparents (moms) and even my dad's parents too for a time. I remember running away a lot and then being brought right back home. I even lived with my dad for about a year, but he was gone for like 8 months the whole (maybe) year I stayed there. I enjoyed the first portion of living there until my stepmother started trying to have a child and couldn't. She started to treat me differently and have a shorter fuse. I remember my dad got me a phone and I had these crazy restrictions on it and had to give it to them every night and my stepmom would go through my phone and use any reason to take it from me. I spent a lot of those nights reading the books that were on my bookcase in my room. That's when I really started to fall in love with the fantasy world of fiction. This was I think 2010 or 2011 when I stayed there, so fiction then was extraordinary. But once my stepmom started to what seem like hate me I had to leave. Of course, my father never did anything, but I didn't expect anything different. He never fought custody for me when my parents split because at that time I guess fighting a pill addict in court was too difficult. But over time I felt like everything was mending. I had a wild teenage experience doing a lot of troubling stuff I shouldn't have been doing and blamed my parents for a lot of it. But the older I have gotten, I feel like I've done better. I have forgiven my mom for everything in the past because she had been sober for almost 8 years. However, the one thing I can't seem to move past is the pain I feel seeing my father be so present in my sister's life. I love that he is because she deserves that, but why couldn't I have that? It was hard being broke and being embarrassed by what you wore to school. I hated my mom for never being able to afford things, but how could she? she didn't finish college. I learned when I got to 21, which was when my mom had me, that it was hard to raise a child. I don't have any children, and I'm sure you'll learn to understand why. I'm sure therapy would help a lot, but here lately, I don't seem to have the time or money for it. I'm wondering if anyone will read this and relate to the hurt I feel seeing her get a father and a childhood; I would never want her to not have that. But I can't help but feel like I was robbed of a lot of things. I had to worry about school and my mother. I would come home, and the house would be a wreck because she would be high and passed out on the couch or on the floor. And he was never there. Of course, both of my parents have two different versions of why they actually got divorced, but I believe it was a mix of both of their beliefs. I played sports in high school and was pretty good. I would text him and invite him to my games, and he would never show up. He did maybe a couple of times, but other than that, it was always my mom and grandparents (moms) there. I remember always looking in the stands searching for him, waiting for him to show up, and he never did. It killed me to see him be so involved in my sister's life. He goes on field trips and vacations and does birthdays and holidays to the fullest extreme now. When I was younger, I always tried to be the best at whatever I did because I thought, “when he does show up, ill be the best at it! and then he will stay because he will be so impressed by it!” but he never came to see how good I was. He showed up to my graduation and a couple of times for prom pictures, and I was so happy when he showed up, so I always forgave every broken promise. My mom always told me that he was a liar and that he never keeps his word, but of course, then I was angry with her, so I just ignored it. She was tired of him hurting me. I tried a few times when I got older to rekindle our relationship, but we would talk for a week on the phone, and then he would just ghost me. In 2018, I fell back in love with video games when Fortnite was released, and I desperately wanted to go to TwitchCon. I asked my dad if we could go, and I would buy the plane tickets and convention tickets if he would just get the hotel room. He agreed, and we planned our trip over text. I had texted him a lot the week following up on the event, and he would hardly text me, but I didn't worry because I thought there was no way he would agree to this and bail. Wrong. We were set to fly out on a red-eye early Thursday morning and get there, but an hour after he should have been at my house picking me up, he texted that he can't make it because his buddy, who was supposed to cover for him, mother died so he can't work his shifts. I was crushed and out about 2,000 plus dollars. But what could I do? I couldn't make my dad risk his job. So I get on Facebook the next day to see he is back in town... at my sister's dance recital. I finally realized then he was exactly like my mother explained. There are a lot of hurts I have tried to heal, but I hope I can grow to get past this feeling of abandonment. I have also grown to understand that I deserve better than that. My dad and I have probably seen each other once in the last four years, and that's okay. It still hurts to see him be the dad I always wanted for someone else, but it makes me work so much harder to make something of myself. I hope if anyone reads this, if you resonate with anything I have said, you know that I am sorry. Anyone who has felt like I have, understands the scar it leaves.