Overcoming my parents’ favoritism by believing in myself
My name is Tawni, I’m 17, and I live in Ohio, USA. I’ve lived in the same small town most of my life and around here everyone knows everyone. That’s not always a good thing. Anyhow, I played soccer, softball and volleyball. I was a cheerleader for three years, and I ran track for two. Anyhow, I always had decent grades, and I normally got along well with people around me. On the outside my life looked nearly perfect. But it never was.
When I was born, my mom almost died. She was sick most of my life and she drank. A lot. My dad is a truck driver so he was never around. My brother, who is 3 years older than me, and I practically raised ourselves. I learned to cook at 6 years old and do laundry around the same time. I got us up for school and on the bus; I did pretty much everything our mom should’ve done. Our mom was always sick, drunk, or in the hospital. Oh, and she was literally crazy. She has been in the psych ward a few times and arrested a few times as well. But she hid it all well. She would go to my brother’s Little League games and talk with her “friends.” She would go to his school plays, be a chaperone on his field trips, etc. But she never did any of that for me.
My dad was never really around until I was about 8 or 9, when my mom started getting really sick. That’s when all the fighting began. They were constantly at each other’s throats about this, that, and the other thing. My brother never saw it they wouldn’t do it in front of him. But they used me as their referee. It got so bad that my dad kicked my mom out when I was 12. He didn’t let her keep anything. Around that time my brother got his license and.my dad bought him a car. My brother wrecked it. Dad got him another. I was mostly ignored until my dad needed something. He was so controlling. I was never allowed to go anywhere or do anything with my friends. He barely let me cheer or play soccer. I’ve never been allowed to date. My brother went on his first date when he was 14. My parents favor my brother so much.
One Christmas I learned why. I was at my mom’s house on Christmas Eve. My brother didn’t come. He hadn’t talked to my mom since her birthday in September. I don’t know what got us on this subject, but my mom suddenly said:“Tawni, I love you. But I love Tyler more. I always have. The day I had him, I knew I would never love anyone as much as I love him. And I was right because when I got pregnant with you I knew I didn’t want you. But I didn’t have money for an abortion, and my parents wouldn’t let me put you up for adoption. I hate that you’re the one here and your brother isn’t. I hate that you have my eyes and he doesn’t. I hate that you talk to me more than he does. He is your father and my favorite child.”
Her little speech went on and on. It lasted for about 20 minutes. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. The next day, she acted like nothing happened. I told my dad. He laughed and said, “Well, she’s finally speaking some truth!” It took all I had not to cry.
And my dad, well, he thinks I’m a bad kid. But I’m not. I get good grades, I don’t sneak around, I don’t drink or do drugs, I don’t lieHe treats my brother way better. I don’t even have a car. My dad always tells me I’ll never amount to anything, and that my “bad attitude” won’t get me anywhere in life. He says I can’t fend for myself, and I won’t make it in the real world. My mom agrees.
But I will. I’m moving out when I turn 18. My grandparents bought me a car, which I get when I turn 18 in February, and I am paying them back for it. They’ll put me on their insurance plan, but I am paying for it. I’m getting an apartment one town over with a couple of my friends. I’m taking courses at the local college. I graduate in May, then I’m going to school starting fall 2012. I know that once I move out, my dad will never speak to me again. He holds grudges and he’ll be mad about me leaving home. My mom is crazy so it’s hard to tell whether she’ll even talk to me tomorrow. I may end up dirt floor poor before I head off to college. But I’ll have the one thing I haven’t had in years: happiness. I’ll have a place I can call home and a place where I can relax. Six months to go.
All in all, my life has been on the wrong side of easy street. But I am making it and I am a stronger person through it all. I take it one day at a time, and I know that one day soon, all my pain will be worth it. When they told me I’d never make it, I believed them for awhile. But now I see that I can and will make it. Never, ever, let anyone tell you that you can’t. Because you can. You’re strong enough to overcome anything in your way, you just have to believe in yourself. So be strong, be your own hero. I know you can do it. I love you all.