Your emotions are valid
When I was 9 years old, my parents sat me down and said, Jess, we're going to split up for a while.
The next day I went into school and told my friends, "yeah yeah my mom and dad might be getting divorced. No yeah it totally sucks".
It was hot news and I kind of loved it. Everyone gave me a little slice of their attention and sympathy for the day. But it was fine because it was only for a little while. There was no way on this earth they'd ever get divorced forever. They practically NEVER argued. Not in front of me anyway.
When I was 10 the divorce was finalised and my dad moved out. My mum found a new boyfriend and I didn't like that very much. I had a new sibling but I did like that. My dad was living as a boarder and living in a grotty apartment. Life as I knew it was flipped upside down and inside out and nothing was alright anymore, everything hurt and everything was wrong. I guess that's when I decided I wasn't really a fan of change.
I was very much depressed for a while, which isn't right for a little girl. You can't talk to your mum and dad about it because you don't want to upset them. Looking back, a part of my everyday routine was to cry and cry and cry until there was no more, and then cry a little bit more until I fell asleep. Everything would link back to the divorce. Every song, every TV show would remind me of the pain and the hurt until I felt sick knowing that was exactly what everyone else was thinking about.
There's no doubt in my mind that what happened in my past made me directly who I am today, near the end of my teenage years. I have trouble trusting people and don't believe that long term relationships could ever work. I still get afraid today to tell people how I really feel because it reminds me of when my mum said, "I think you should see someone." But I'm also fiercely independent and capable. I'm wiser and more experienced, more realistic and stronger. Definitely stronger.
Divorce for any young child is one of the most crucial and defining moment of their lives. Sure, it gets better with time, but it never ever leaves you. To go from having a full, 'normal' family to a completely different lifestyle is enormous and should never be taken lightly. Don't ever think that your emotions and how you feel aren't valid. Don't ever stay silent. Ensure there will ALWAYS be someone there to confide in. Don't be afraid. You will come out stronger.
Photo: Scott Swigart. Creative Commons.