Growing up, I knew there was no male figure in my life and it did not bother me at all. At least, not until I was able to tell the difference between yes and no. The truth is that it didn’t really bother me that much until trauma became part of my daily life.

I was only 8 years old when my mother started having a male figure in her life and introduced the stranger as my father. Being in the position I was there was no room for questions so I just danced to the tune. Two days later the stranger moved in into the shack that my mother had built for us and just like that, we were “family”. It felt exciting at first, finally I would also talk about my father who would stand up for me to bullies who bullied me at school and I would also be untouchable like the other kids I went to school with. The night he moved in, I slept peacefully, feeling a sense of security now that there was someone who was able to protect my mom and me. We didn’t have much and he didn’t have much to offer either; it was the happiness written all over my mom’s face that really gave me the peace of mind, but you know what they say, “the good never outlasts the bad”.

The harmony ended as quickly as it had started. The wolf ripped off the skin’s sheep and started howling loudly showing off his fangs, but I was the only one that could see it and somehow my mom wasn’t bothered by it. I was trembling in fear, the man I thought would protect me was the one endangering my life, causing my soul to be restless. My relationship with my mom was broken and she started protecting her wolf. When I thought that was the end of it – I suddenly started receiving daily beatings. I don’t recall anything not ending up on my fragile body and before I knew it, that became my new reality.

I saw myself changing, I started off isolating myself from my friends at school and didn’t speak much anymore. I would always sleep in class but the teachers just assumed I was getting lazy. Nobody could see the torment I was enduring at all. I then ran away from home to my grandmother’s place but that wasn’t enough. He sniffed around for my scent and found me, I don’t know what he said to my grandmother but she also abandoned me. Before I knew it, I had nobody to protect me, I was exposed, he could beat me up however, whenever and nobody could stop him. That’s when I discovered he wasn’t my real dad.

That’s when I asked myself: “what if I were my own father?” Would I have left and exposed my child to such cruelty? Or would I have stayed and gave them the childhood they deserved?


This was one of the commended entries in the My Father essay writing competition. Click here to read other excellent essays from the competition.