adult years

The Only Advice I’ll Ever Give

I came across this picture at my dad’s house a few months ago.
My dad wasn’t in my life at the time, so I don’t know how he got it, but I do remember taking this picture.
I was playing the piano in my favorite aqua blue dress when my mom told me to turn around and smile.

My dad, his wife and I started talking about the picture.
When they looked at it, they saw a girl in a pretty dress playing her piano.
When I looked at it, I saw a broken girl hiding her hurt and fear behind a smile.
I didn’t say this because I didn’t want to make them sad.

Back then my life looked perfect.
Private schools, a nice house with a pool, a mountain house with a boat, dance lessons, piano lessons, golf lessons.
I grew up in Orange County, California and spent my summers at the beach.
I always had a Disneyland pass that I would use when ditching school with my friends.
I had the best clothes.
100 dollar bills were considered lunch money.
People always remarked on how privileged I was.

Little did they know that my mom’s boyfriend couldn’t keep his hands off me.
That he would sneak into my room at night.
That I never felt safe in my own home.
Or that the real reason I quit piano was because I couldn’t take the car rides alone with my mom’s piece of shit boyfriend anymore.

My life was a nightmare back then, but no one knew because my life looked great from the outside.

I try to never give advice because I can only speak from my experience, but there’s one thing everyone can do.
And that is to simply check-in with those you love.
Check-in with nieces, nephews, younger sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors, and friends.
Your children’s friends.

If it looks like something is not right at home, chances are something is not right.
Trust your gut and reach out because you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.

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