Personal Stories After – The End

With actions come stories and with stories come rumours. Of course. You have to lit something to start a fire. And I was so stupid enough I did this to myself. Some I could control by my own actions but like I said before, once you have a reputation, it is really hard to get out. For a fact, it will follow you forever. And the best part of it all. YOUR truth will never get mentioned. That’s why it are rumours. It’s spread by mouths of people who haven’t seen it with their eyes. The reason “why” people don’t give a shit about. Yes.. I was young and dumb. I made a few mistakes that followed me for a very long time. A big reason why my form of bullying started I guess. Yep. Once you have a reputation, you’re an easy target.

Why my anxiety started, it’s something I have to handle personally. On my own. One of my girls who I told this said: “maybe you should get help”. But no, I still don’t trust people and definitely not someone who I don’t even know. I have friends who did step to a therapist or psychologist but I still don’t want to. My friends see me as a “strong” person and I am. But I had moments when I broke down. Happiness starts with myself. I try to think of it as a “reality check”. Life is real. Instagram, social media, you should not let the “perfect life and likes of others” affect you. You do you. Things out of your control, talk about it when you feel stuck. HEY IT IS OKAY! It is okay to feel lonely and miserable sometimes, but make sure it won’t overrule you. Find a way to clear your mind. I illustrate to get my mind of things and look where it got me!

Yes I made mistakes. Mistakes I’m definitely not proud of but I learned a lot. I had to fall hard and if bullying was a way to teach me, then yes, I deserved it I guess. But what I’m trying to say is. I will never apologise for who I am today. I am who I am now. And this was the journey that made me this way. I want people to know, no matter what you’re going through. You’re not alone! You don’t have to be perfect for others. Be perfect for yourself, be your perfect self! Life is a crazy roller coaster but definitely do what makes you happy. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Stand up for your friends, friendship is so hard these days! Be loving and caring. One day, this life will be over. You don’t want to spend it upset or regret you didn’t chose your own happiness. You are first!

If you have a feeling some people are toxic for you, it is okay to end things. I call it a fade out. I used to have a lot of “friends” but now I have family: people I can trust and build on. People I grow with.

I’m very happy with how my life goes right now. My anxiety hasn’t showed up in ages and feeling depressed is something that doesn’t rules my days still. I haven’t visited my dad in a few months and I think that’s also why my anxiety stays out. I want to tell you this part still. I haven’t really spoken about it and it can be really confusing. My parents divorced when I was 7/8. My mom found my stepdad pretty quick after that but remarried a few years later. Eventually for some reason the contact with my dad was broken. We used to see my dad on the weekends. I remember he was at our door to pick us up and my mom yelled at him: “you’re not taking the kids!”. When I think about it now, I really feel sad. I think it’s because at this moment when I type this, a lot of memories rush through my mind. Bad and good. Fun and sad. With my dad, I always held my hand above his head – it’s a Dutch saying and I’m not sure how to explain it. Anyway, I was 17 when I saw my dad and stepmom again. I studied in Zwolle and I was late for school that day. When I was at the train station I saw a bus going to Dronten, the place where he lived. I didn’t hesitate, I got on the bus and just went. And hour or something later I got off at the shopping area and walked around. Over the years it changed a lot and I tried to find the way to my dad by walking around. I used to live there so I kinda knew the way still. I just followed roads that seemed familiar to me. When I finally found the basketball court behind his house, my heart started pounding. Again I didn’t hesitate. I walked up to his doorstep en rang the doorbell. He opened but he was hesitant when he saw me and almost closed the door. He asked: “What can I do for you?”. I said: “Hi dad, it’s me. Lynn”. And before he could answer, I heard my stepmom in the back. She was so excited to see me and asked me in. We spoke for a few hours, my dad didn’t say anything. He was just quiet and stared in front of him. I had no idea why. Didn’t he want to see me? When I left, my stepmom said: “I would looooove to do this again, don’t be a stranger”. But that changed very quickly. My grandpa got involved and said: “I don’t want you to visit your dad anymore”. I was confused, why weren’t I allowed to go? I listen to my grandpa and didn’t visit them anymore. Years passed by again. I was 22 when I found my old diary in the attic. I didn’t have the key so I broke it open. Well I ripped it cause I wouldn’t be angry if someone would read it now. My diary was from the period in my life when we only visited my dad when my grandparent were there too. I was 12. It was funny to read back about things I liked and what I used to do. I also read about the days I got bullied. I wrote about it. I mentioned how much I hated it to feel left alone and lonely. I definitely didn’t understand why I got picked on and I noticed I was “different”, the only girl in class with color.. then suddenly I came on this page that said: “Today we visited dad, my grandparents were just talking to him and he didn’t really give them attention. He just stared at the floor. He seems so lonely. I should be there for him”. I was 12 when I wrote this. How could a 12 year old be so wise. And yes, when I was 12 there was no such thing as internet or anything else. I was still playing with dolls and would come home all dirty from playing outside. Playing. Nowadays you hear kids get pregnant at the age of 12..

I called my grandma and said I was coming over. She told me to meet me at the Hema. I told her about a few things in my diary and then mentioned the story about my dad. I said: “I’m done with this, why can’t I see my dad?” She said: “just don’t go”. I didn’t listen. I said: “My dad didn’t see me grow up. He never seen my first heartbreak. He didn’t see me graduate. He wasn’t there and I want that to change. I want him to be at my wedding if I ever get married. When I have my first child. This other man who isn’t my father did see it and really I didn’t chose for that. Don’t tell grandpa but I’m going”. I got up and walked to the bus going to my dads. And on the bus my grandpa called me: “What do you think you’re doing? I’m going to get you if I have to”. Still I had no idea why I wasn’t allowed to go. When I arrived I was a bit nervous again. Another 6 years had passed of not seeing him and from what I knew, the last time didn’t go so well either. But I’m here now, I might as well just do it. I rang the door and he opened. A lot more hesitant than last time. He didn’t fully open the door, he checked and asked: “What can I do for you”. I only said: “Hi dad”. He looked at me and closed the door. I was like: “WTF?”. It took him a minute and opened the door and asked me in. I was so not ready for this. Also because this time, my stepmom wasn’t there and I was hoping she were. I sat down on the couch and he offered me something to drink. We spoke a bit and the longer I was there, the more I noticed it: he got dementia. He asked me 5 times how I got to his house. He asked me I don’t know how many times what I studied and every time when he asked me something I replied as enthusiastic as I could because I realised that he had no idea.

Suddenly the phone rang and he asked if he could pick up. It was my stepmom. He said: “I have a visitor here”. I could hear she was confused. Then he said: “Well, she says she’s my daughter”. DUDE REALLY… Okay I had to stay calm so I just sat there with a stupid smile on my face. He handed over the phone and she was like: “AAAAH OMG I CANT BELIEVE YOURE THERE HOW ARE YOU OMG I COME HOME SOON. LETS MEET UP”. I laughed and said yes to that. He got on the phone with her again and I walked around the house. I noticed he had notes everywhere. On the table for his medication. On the fridge. A note that said what time he had to pick her up in Lelystad at 4pm. He had notes everywhere so he wouldn’t forget. I think she left it there for him. But as I went to the toilet, I suddenly didn’t feel okay. I had to clear my mind from everything that has happened. I remember I walked away crying. I called my grandpa and said: “why didn’t you tell me he had dementia”. He mentioned he wanted it to stay like this cause my dad didn’t really knew who we were anymore, me and my brother. I understood that but I know that visiting on the regular will help him too. Knowing he is always in that house. Doing the same things over and over again. Every day is the same routine. He had no friends. He was just at home with all his CD stored on artist and album name. He had nobody.

It was hard for me. A few months had passed. I didn’t visit him. For me it was still hard to decide whether I wanted to work for this or not. On the 19th of March 2013, the police showed up at my moms house. My dad had a car accident with my stepmom. It happened around 5pm. He was on his way home from Lelystad and suddenly my head exploded. It was the day I read on the note that he had to pick her up. They drowned. They got stuck under water for 20 minutes. She passed away later that evening, while my dad was still on intensive care struggling to keep his heart working. Our whole family was in the hospital. He made it through the night and so followed a month of him being in a coma. For my brother it was even harder. He hadn’t seen dad since he was 12/13 either. So he saw his father again in a coma after 15 years. I’ve never seen him so stressed. The doctors said he wouldn’t be able to talk, to walk or anything. They said only the oldest child could decide for his life. My brother didn’t want to decide so I said we should keep the plugs in. I told them to do tests every day with him. Pain. Light. Anything. I started to hate myself. My dad opened his eyes but he seemed not all there. He looked like he had so much brain failure, he couldn’t function. My dad was in a coma for 3 months when he was around 20 already with a lot of brain damage. So why did I do this to my grandparents again. Keeping him alive didn’t help them. I started to regret it all. And didn’t visit him for a few days. I was tired. Suddenly one day my grandpa called and said I had to come to the hospital. When I arrived, I was shocked. He looked at me. Like normal. He just looked at me and gave me a nod, like saying hi! But he couldn’t say anything because of the tubes in his throat. I decided to write down letters on a paper and let him point out what he wanted to say. He said: “I love you” to me and my brother. I never see my brother cry. Last time he cried was because my mom sold his kitten hahahahaha. So this was new.

This didn’t last long. A week after he “woke up” he forgot who I was. He thought I was a nurse. He was mean and rude to me. I started to hate myself again even more. The dementia right now is even worse than before. He misses like 30 years of his life. He has no idea who my mother is. He had no idea why I was “Brown” and not blonde.

Right now, 5 years later after everything my dad is still alive, living in a care center. But in those 5 years of him having back in my life I dealt with crazy anxiety. Anxiety I couldn’t place. Anxiety I would only feel when visiting him. Memories started to come back slowly every time I visited him. I used to visit my dad every day. That changed to visiting only Sunday. To only visiting when I was home again from Sydney or anywhere else on this planet. But slowly I started to remember things. Things I didn’t want to think of. Something I hid away as a child. And yes I know, I have my dad back in my life. Something I wanted right. But now I know why I should have left it. I know why I should have listened to my grandpa. And sometimes I feel guilty because I’m the one who kept him alive and he still feels lonely. I can never blame my father for whatever happened in the past, he wouldn’t even know it anymore cause of the dementia. But I know for my own sake, if this makes me happier, if not having him in my life makes me happier or gives me less stress and anxiety than I chose for my own happiness.

I’m finally putting myself first in a lot of situations. It was hard cause yes, life comes with more than just you. You have family and friends. But if some things don’t make you happy you have to be honest to yourself and see that it should be different. I’m finally taking the right path and make good decisions. I had a lot of financial issues, like crazy but I definitely jumped into the right direction by sorting everything out. I’ve been living on my own for a while but now I live together with someone is love and want to grow old with. He said one day: “every time we go to Ikea, we build for our future”. Hahaha I think that’s the cutest thing I ever heard really. I stepped away from people who were toxic for my behaviour – people who used my kindness. I have a dope new job, something really new and I love it! I also think my old jobs used to give me anxiety too. I also said to myself I had to stop comparing myself to anyone else on social media. Reality is not online.

Right now my boyfriend and I are saving up a lot. Will we buy a house? Are we going on a big trip together next year? We will see. Whatever life brings, I’ve dealt with so much in the past already, I can handle it!

YOU DESERVE TO HAVE PEACE. YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY AND SMILING! YOU HAVE ALL THE RIGHT TO CHOSE FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS.

Caroll van den Brom

Online Creative and Artist of CAREAUX. My name is Caroll Lynn and my artist name is CAREAUX. I'm a sneaker illustrator turned footwear designer. After a study of four years, I landed at Filling Pieces as their first Womens Footwear Designer. In 2016 and 2017 CAREAUX released her first collaboration with PUMA. Besides working for Filling Pieces and working with PUMA, I also worked on illustrations for Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, FILA, DIESEL. More of my previous work can be found via portfolio I illustrate everything I like myself and sell my favourites. Most of my work is made on canvas but I'm always open for discussions and requests. For collaborations, contact me via the contactform. My instagram is known for her sneakers and feminine style. The content created is focussed on fashion and art combined with traveling - #SHECOZY

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