By Nya Hardaway
When I was eight years old, I witnessed my parents relationship devolve into constant tension. Each argument between them was agonizing, and a constant deafening silence filled my mind as my parents became increasingly more hostile. Being a child, I couldn’t understand why my parents were no longer going to be married or living under the same roof. Once our house was divided, my happiness dwindled and my consistency was shattered.
Years passed, yet I never became comfortable with my parents living in two separate homes. Because I spent the majority of my time at my mother’s house, I formed a routine and became at peace with my environment. On the other hand, going to my father’s house every other weekend took me out of my element and comfort zone. I wanted to stay where I was familiar with everything, where all my belongings were situated, where I didn’t have to pack a bag to stay over night; unfortunately, that’s not how divorce works.
I started to become angry and aggressive. Over time, I became a bully. I often insulted and made fun of my peers and younger brother. In school, I called my classmates harsh names and made fun of things and situations that my peers were sensitive about, like deaths in the family or hardships at home. At home I would physically assault my brother at random. I was unpredictable. Seemingly little occurrences or altercations between my brother and me turned into violent duels and endless battles that only one of my parents could end. Being a pre-teen, I was at an awkward age with feelings that I couldn’t channel or express in positive ways.
Becoming an adolescent was tough enough with all the foreign feelings and new responsibilities I acquired—on top of the new challenge of accepting my parents’ second marriages. I didn’t want my parents to be with anyone else; however, I was mature enough to want the best for the both of them and for them to be happy.
Yet my consistency was again destroyed with the addition of these new authority figures. I hated the idea of someone to whom I owed no respect or obedience being allowed to tell me what to do in my own home. This created a tension between my parents and me, especially in my mother’s household. I have always been independent and rebellious, and my step-parents could instantly fuel a fire in me with just one word or action.
Luckily, my parents started to value my opinion, and I was no longer forced to be shipped back and forth between houses like a package. I made my own schedule and decisions, yet it was stressful not being able to see and spend time with my dad more conveniently and consistently.
The fact that I always chose to stay with my mom and never my dad made me feel guilty and frustrated. However, now that I’m an older teenager and more able to rely on myself, I am starting to come to terms with my parents’ divorce and am better able to handle my feelings and make the most out of the time I spend with my family.
Even though my parents’ divorce has been one of the toughest things I’ve experienced emotionally, I believe it has made me stronger.
Nya Hardaway is a senior in high school.