I forgot what the truth was a long time ago. I forgot who knows what and who isn’t meant to know anything at all. No idea what’s a secret and what isn’t. So many distorted truths and even more lies and I can’t distinguish it anymore. Sometimes, I think I can’t be bothered to.
I grew up lying. I grew up pretending I was happy when I wasn’t and as a result there’s even days where I don’t know if I’m pretending anymore. Can’t work out if that smile is truly mine. I grew up pretending I was happy for Dad coming home, that I was excited to be visiting family in Greece, that I didn’t care what the bullies were saying to me. I grew up lying to myself, thinking it was all alright if I pretended it was alright when, in reality, it wasn’t.
I grew up with everyone telling me that I wasn’t good enough and I learnt to act as if their words didn’t hurt even though they cut so deep.
I had a father who told me he didn’t want a fat daughter but a slim one when I was only 10 years old. One who judged everything I ate, watching me so closely at dinner time, telling me to eat and then calling me fat. The one who told me it was embarrassing that I was a Paralympic athlete instead of an Olympic one. The one who told me everything that wasn’t 100% was a failure. That I was a failure. One who favoured my brother over everyone else and wasn’t scared to show it. One who called me girl because he didn’t feel the need to call me by my first name. One who said we had to keep my ED a family matter because it was too embarrassing for other people to know.
One who worked his whole life away from us to ‘give us a better life’ and all he gave us was a heartbroken mother and a half-brother we never wanted. Lies for 15 years of my life. Lies deep and tangled and you try to break free but they just stick to you and pull you down.
I was the one left to pick everyone up and hold us all together but no one ever realised, through that smile I had practiced, that I really needed someone.
And no one is there, no one was there. Strong enough for everyone else but not strong enough for myself. And I wish my mum would leave, let us leave these lies behind but she loves him and won’t go. I can’t force her. But I just wish I could break free, leave him behind, nothing to do with him because there is always something else, he always does something just when things get better to bring us all crashing down.
Always lying, so many lies, for once in my life could people stop lying to me. Just once, please.
But I smile. Why do I smile? To keep the peace. That’s what I was told growing up and its what I’m told now. Just smile, he’ll be gone soon. But why should I have to smile? Why should I have to pretend it’s all okay when it simply isn’t? What peace? The peace in my head? The peace in my heart? Because there is no peace with him involved in my life and there never will be.
I’m stuck in a web where I don’t know what the truth is anymore. I don’t know if I’m pretending.