By Jessica Fanelli
I came from a perfect world: everything was faultless. I was a part of a close, caring, and watchful community; I was sent to a Montessori kindergarten, and then to a distinguished elementary school; my mother worked as a teacher at my school and my father had a career that occupied him from early morning until late evening, but he always managed to make an appearance at every extracurricular event I participated in: as far as everyone could tell, including myself, my future couldn’t get any brighter.
Life’s possibilities were endless; absolutely nothing was unobtainable.
I now come from a different world, but it’s still my world. When I was ten, my mother and father filed for divorce.
I wasn’t surprised. My dad had started Interferon treatment, which was meant to help him manage his
hepatitis. However, the trial medication also came with significant side-effects, which included constant illness, irritability, and drastic mood swings.
My once hard working, dedicated father was now stuck at home, stir crazy because he felt worthless to his family. His change in attitude led him and my mother to argue constantly, leaving our once happy home a house divided.
In the four years that followed the divorce, I moved twice, my mom’s hours as a public school teacher were significantly cut-back, and my father lost his job, along with his pride, and left us for San Diego to live on his own.
And as though our situation couldn’t get any further from perfect, my father became sick again, but this time with a chronic lung disease brought on by smoking.
I now found myself unsure when it came to my future simply because I couldn’t find enough consistency in my everyday life.
My mom was kind enough to take in my dad while he was sick. Over a course of three months, my mother sacrificed her time to drive to countless doctors appointments, sleep in numerous hospital chairs, and hide endless emotions in order to keep her once perfect family as content as possible.
For a while, I was convinced that my dad had finally found himself again: he had finally realized that he left his family in a mess that he never bothered to clean up. He swore to me he’d fix it all; he’d watch his health, find his lost pride, and finally come home.
The past four years had been a test and the three of us would undoubtedly make it out on top, and together: we would be the perfect family we used to be.
Once he was better, my dad left us again, with nothing more than a simple ‘thanks’ and a pocket full of cigarettes, pain pills, and broken promises: this was the first time I saw him for who he really was.
I had realized that I put all my faith in someone whose selfishness overpowered his care and compassion for his family. From that day on, I knew I could only have full faith in one person: myself.
My future is now at its brightest. Now that I’m older, I am thankful for the tribulations life has put me through, because this has all made me unbreakable.
I am more appreciative of those I can rely on, simply because I know trust is so difficult to come by. With my past behind me, I am not only eager, but also confident in what I can make of my future.
Counting on Myself
By Jessica Fanelli