man seated on couch pouring liquor from bottle into glass

“Losing My Father”

A winning essay from our Brighter Future Scholarship contest

Fathers. I hear they are supposed to be your best friend, partner in crime, and protector. Mine is my first heartbreak. Every time I see fathers with their daughters smiling, laughing, and having fun, I get upset and my mood changes. I start to think about how I never got that type of happiness in my life when I’ve always wanted it.

I remember hearing the sirens and being bombarded with questions from the police. Asking me if I was okay, explain what happened in detail. Living in a house where there was constant arguing, fighting, screaming, and crying. Going to elementary school the next day pretending that everything was fine. Acting like I wasn’t struggling was hard. Being forced to lie to your friends and family members, having no one to confide in, I felt like I was locked in a house of horrors and couldn’t get out.

When I was 7, my father started getting an addiction to drinking and then started hitting me over the smallest things. If I didn’t eat certain foods, if I didn’t turn down the tv, or if I asked to go to my friend’s house. One day he was hitting me for what felt like hours because I didn’t like vegetables and he made me sit at the table until I ate them. I was sitting there until the sun came up. I remember during my soccer game I got injured while I was playing, and he yelled at me because we lost and told me that I didn’t do a good enough job and that I should quit. He often blamed me for ruining his life and he wishes every day that I wasn’t born and that my mother should’ve had a miscarriage, or he should’ve killed me in my sleep while he had the chance. Being in an abusive household and being abused mentally, physically, and verbally at a young age by someone who you thought cared about you is a really hard thing to process as a child. Seeing your father dunk on the couch and missing important events in your life because he only wants to drink really ruins a kid because they start to think that you find other things more important than them. You are just stuck in your room crying and wondering why me, what did I do? You start to not express your feelings, being good at lying, and the only way you can express yourself is by lashing out at the people you love. I ruined relationships because I don’t know how to process what has happened to me. I have started trying to open up to more people and telling myself that it’s not my fault for what happened to me. I have improved on my skills in soccer and realized that soccer is my passion, and I would love to pursue it professionally. At the age of 10 I got invited to go to Ireland to be trained. Now I am in my senior year with 30 1st place medals, 15 gold trophies, I have been undefeated for 11 years in a row. Everything that my father has said and done to me has shown how much better of a person I have grown to be. I don’t lash out at my friends and family anymore, I take time to process how I feel, and then tell people without hiding my feelings. I teach my little sister how to be a better player. She is just like me, on her way to becoming a good soccer player. I encourage my little sister to not be like me and to open up about her feelings. If something is bothering her, I tell her to process her feelings and to speak her mind.

As time went on the sirens got quieter and the questions stopped coming, I stopped wondering why me, do I actually deserve this? I’ve learned that I was never the problem and that whatever happened was never my fault. A seven-year-old can’t help a grown man with his addiction no matter how hard you try they just won’t listen. This has changed my life because I have been working on myself mentally and I no longer blame myself for what happened to me.

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