Your hair is dark and curly like mine; your anger is what I have held deep inside. I do not have many memories of you, but I do know I did and still do love you. You have changed the person I am today, and I know I should hate you for it; but instead I thank you. I grew up a lot faster than I wanted to, I have seen things I wish I could take back, and I have been through a lot in my twenty one years than what most people have in their whole life.
I do not have too many fond things to say of you, only because growing up you were never really there. Even though we lived in the same house for sixteen years, I never felt important to you. Going to my dance recitals was a drag to you, and on special occasions there was always an empty seat at the table. Instead of spending time with me, you chose something else that was more important. The white powder on your dresser came and went away each and every day, the prescription bottles on your nightstand had so many letters in the name I could not even comprehend what it was for. You stayed up all night when the house was at rest and slept your days away till the sun went down. I always wanted to be in your life, but instead of your daughter, I felt like a bother.
Things got worse when you and mommy split. She left us abandon in the house while she was too caught up with someone else who made her happy. Even after everything you put me through, I still loved you, and I wanted to take care of you. I had a choice to move in with someone else, but I stayed. I stayed with you because you were my father; I stayed with you because I knew you were sick, I stayed with you because part of me came from within you. The drugs were always a problem before, but your addiction intensified when the depression hit you. Sleepless nights were an everyday occurrence, and my grades were so bad I had to retake a whole class because I could not stay awake for the final exam. How could anyone have a normal home life at sixteen-years-old while their dad is cracked out sitting in his dark leather chair in the living room saying there are “people” living underneath the house and other outrageous scenarios?
I was so naive, so hard-headed; I did not want to believe my dad was “crazy”. Crazy people do not have a good reputation for themselves, but it took me a long time to realize my dad had a disease, and he needed help. I’ll always remember the morning I went to your door to say good-bye because I was meeting up with a friend, when you did not respond, I started to panic. I opened the door, and saw my picture taped to your heart and mommy’s right next to it. A bottle of pills were sprawled out everywhere on your body and you just looked at me with sadness.
People really do not know what “crazy” is, until they experience it themselves. After his attempted suicide, visiting him did not make it any better. I walked in this cold, lifeless, room in a brick building, and the first thing I see is a rope burn around someone’s neck. A young girl has razor cuts all over her body that strike me from a distance. I had one guy talk to me for thirty minutes how he is in love with President Bush’s daughter. Everything was too much for me, all I wanted to do was cry, but I could not. I could not believe my own dad was mixed into this kind of facility. My dad was a good dad, he loved me I know he did, or I am just in denial and I am just now realizing he needs help.
Months passed and it was not long until he was at home again. I took it into deep consideration what I would do with myself now that he was back: would I slay my life away to take care of him or do I need to start taking care of myself? After he got substantially better, I decided it was time to leave that house and start doing what was best for me. On my nineteenth birthday I got a tattoo on the back of my shoulder that says “with pain comes strength,” to remind me that all the tears, the sleepless nights, the hospital visits, it all made me who I am today. I have learned that being strong, is the only thing I can do sometimes, and I am glad that I have used it to my advantage today.