Finding my Roots

I was thinking how crazy it is that I began my genealogy journey in 2006, that’s 14 years ago, way older than my oldest child. I was barely a child myself, 19 years old and I had no clue what I was doing. I just jumped on Ancestry and started putting in names my parents gave me. I hit huge brick wall because there were so many people with the same name and people frequently used only their middle names or nicknames. I did a google search for my great grandparents names which lead me a thread on Ancestry about family with that name. It looked correct so I put it in my tree. Biggest rookie mistake ever!

Luckily for me it was the correct couple and that lead me to a distant cousin who had all kinds of information on my grandfather’s mother’s family. This was the first time I’d learned that her name wasn’t Josephine but Marie Josephine. The tree of this cousin took me all the way to Joseph Simon Turbé my 5x great grandfather. I assumed he was born in St. Barts as well since everyone else seemed to have been also, another rookie mistake. I did another google search which lead me to Anne Marie Danet’s post on her blog 3 – First French in the Antilles, you can see on line 24 there is a Joseph Turbe who married Anne Rose Greaux and he is the ancestor of all Turbe on the Island. This Joseph is my great grandfather. This suggested that he was from Nantes but he wasn’t born there which was a brickwall I had for a long time.

To break this wall I scoured all over the net, looked at several family trees, and then I found a reference somewhere that said he was born in Couëron, I had never heard of this place before.

Couëron is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France. It is part of the historic French Brittany. Couëron is one of the 24 communes of the Nantes Métropole.

It makes a bit of sense why he would be considered a Nantes native but it is very unhelpful for a novice. So, I now knew where he was from but I had no idea where to find information about his parents. I asked a question on Wikitree in 2018 asking if anyone could help me find his Acte de naissance or Acte de baptême. A very helpful person pointed me in the right direction and I found not only his Acte de baptême but that he had a brother! I haven’t explored much of his brother’s descendants, maybe I should do that sometime soon.

There’s a really nice blog about my great grandfather that you can read here: Capitaine Simon Joseph Turbé

Now I work on all the families of Saint-Barthélemy, sometimes I find a link to my family and realize this stanger suddenly became a distant family member. I spoke a bit about it in my post Saint-Barthélemy Project last year, I actually have an update on that post that I just never posted about. I now have the ancestry of my 3x great grandparents Anne Louise Chapelain and Pierre LaPlace thanks to the author of The Saint-Barth Islander. He was very helpful and I was able to make connections on those lines in my brother’s Ancestry DNA tree. The Joseph Chaplin that I thought was my grandmother’s brother was in fact her brother and someone made a typo on his age.

For now I’m working on the Governors of the US Virgin Islands/Danish West Indies. It is much more challenging work compared to researching my French ancestry. A lot of them were descendants from slaves and those records are not so easy to go through.

If you’re also looking to do some research in the Dansk Vestindien I suggest this site Caribbean Genealogy Library or CGL for short, I find myself using the records for St. Thomas a lot when working with my French side because many of them left St. Barts and ended up in the Virgin Islands. I’m particularly fond of the:

St. Thomas and St. John Government (archive no. 693), Reports of births, St. Thomas and St. John, 1859-1918 (nos. 30.1.1-6) and St. Thomas and St. John Government (archive no. 693), Reports of marriages, St. Thomas and St. John, 1828-1918 (nos. 30.2.1-7), these two have proven very very helpful.

For census records during Danish time you can find those on Ancestry which of course requires a subscription to use but you can also find the St. Croix census on the Dansk Demografisk Database by Rigsarkivet (Danish National Archives), all you do is enter a name and it will bring you up all instances of that name appearing in the Census records.

Show Household will display everyone that lived in the household.

Show all Fields will show you all the information about the person you were looking for.

It is a pain because you have to search for eveyone one by one but it is free so I can’t really complain. I should note that not eveyone can be found this way, the record you are looking for might not have been transcribed or the name is spelled differently than you are looking for.

For the more recent Census records you can find them on Ancestry or you can look on FamilySearch, FamilySearch is free to use, you just have to sign up for a free account. It is a very useful site because you can also look up their free world tree to see if your relatives are already on there. If they are you will be notified when you search for records about them. You can see it circled in the photo attached.

There are not that many of us doing Caribbean genealogy on Wikitree so if you are interested in helping I’d suggest joining and helping put on Islands on the map.

Phasing my 23andme

Hello there!

As you guys have read about before here, here, and here. I took the 23andme test in June 2018 and got my results back on July 18, 2018. I was left very underwhelded, there was not much to learn from the results.

Take a look for yourself:

Over 100€ for that, I thought my brother’s Ancestry test was much more informative. It was fine though, a couple of months after there was an update and it broke down the African. It still wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t just West African anymore. My .3% African Hunter-Gatherer was gone while Nigerian, Senegambian & Guinean, Congolese, and Sudanese was separated from the broad West African category. Coastal West African while narrowed down from just West African is still a broad category not to mention the Broadly West African, Broadly Congolese & Southern East African, and Broadly Sub-Saharan African. Just a lot of Broadly.

My European stayed mostly the same. Scandinavian at .4% was added send it made sense since my brother had Norway and Sweden which I assumed came from my Father’s mother. My grandmother’s family has been in the Danish West Indies since the first slaves were brought there. There’s also a mulatto ancestor with the surname Boldt, I admit it’s not much evidence but a cousin who descended from that same line also has Norway and Sweden. Unfortunately Ancestry DNA doesn’t have a Chromosome browser so I can’t see where that Norway and Sweden is located and if my brother and this cousin match on that same chromosome. Since doing my research on my grandfather’s place of birth Saint-Barthélemy, I realized that Swedish could come from that side since the Swedish colonized the Island from 1784 to 1877.

I should note that my African went up and my European went down, not by much but I found it interesting nonetheless. My Native American stayed the same and I gained Western Asian and North African.

In May 2019 my results went through another update, they called this a Beta update, my African portion was broken down even more, I lost the Sudanese but gained Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, the Congolese & Southern East African got a break down showing Angolan & Congolese but there was still those pesky Broadly categories.

My European had a revamp, the Iberian category was renamed to Spanish & Portuguese, I lost the little bit of Italian I had. My Native American once again stayed the same. Strangely, I had Central & South Asian added at 0.1%, seeing how categories at that level seem to vanish I didn’t expect to see it at the next update.

Now we’re at my most recent update before I phased with my father. It was updated around September 2019 but if you remember I was pregnant and sick during that time so I didn’t see the update until April of this year. My African Hunter-Gatherer is back at the same percentage too. Southern East African was added at .1%. My Western Asian & North African went up. I had a location for France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine which lines up perfectly with my paper trail, and I had a Caribbean location Dominica, which is right on the money since both my Mother’s parents were from there.

For Father’s Day I decided I was going to buy my father a 23andme kit, it wasn’t a surprise since I had spoken to both parents about it and they were interested, my father got his kit in July and his results were ready earlier this month. I’m not going to lie but I didn’t expect anything in his composition other than European and African. What he received shocked me.

My father apparently has Native American ancestry. Never in my life has anyone ever mentioned him having Native American anywhere in any of his family lines and since both his parents have passed I have no one to ask about it and will probably never find out where it comes from. Even better?

My Native American comes from him. All my life I was told my Mother’s mother had Kalinago ancestry and when I saw Native American in my composition I assumed it came from my Grandmother, jokes on me though, it could have come from a Grandmother, just not the one I thought.

My Father has two region in France and six in the United Kingdom. Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie lines up perfectly with our paper trail but all the United Kingdom regions are a mystery.

Here’s my results after phasing with my father. My African Hunter-Gatherer is gone once again. Italian has reappeared. My West Asian & North African has gone down again, this time they are trace ancestry.

I guess my course of action now is to test my Mother and see what secrets her dna is hiding.

Trip to Correns and more

Welcome back or if you’re visiting for the first time hello.

The last time I posted “The Last of them” my grandfather had just passed away and I was not in a good frame of mind. I’m doing better now, not 100% but I don’t feel like closing myself up in a deep dark hole, I got the space I needed to grieve and I’m thankful for that.

One of my nieces went on vacation to the beach and my son wanted so badly join her but the closest beach to us is almost 5 hours away! There’s no way we travel that far to go to the beach. Or so I thought…

On Monday, all smug like, my son said to me “we’re going to the beach tomorrow”, Yeah right, I thought, we’re not going anywhere but his father didn’t say anything to me, then again his father waits until the very last minute to tell me anything. I’m sitting there contemplating this information and whether or not I can trust it when Marvin comes home and asks Naveen if he told me.

Told me?

Told me what?

Naveen said “yes, I tell Mama”, you mean it’s true? We’re going to the beach tomorrow?

Yup.

I had a rough night, Oyanie kept waking up even though she was sleeping for a good six hours, this night she decided four hours was good enough. So there I was on Tuesday morning, tired as hell and have to get up to start packing and making sure we don’t forget anything.

Everything checked and double checked, we were on our way, on our to where? I didn’t know. I just knew we were going to the beach. I mentioned before that my husband doesn’t tell me anything until last minute? Well for trips he doesn’t tell me where we are going at all… I think he works under the misinformation that I like surprises, nothing could be further from the truth, after 10 years I’ve just accepted that he likes surprising me. I’ve never hated any of his surprises so I’ll allow it.

First we stopped to get gas, can’t drive for so long on an empty tank eh, that done we started our long drive to the beach, at first I was admiring the scenery as we drove but that quickly turned to fatigue as we continued driving, we’d been driving for almost two hours when I felt the car slowing down, I didn’t see it ok, I feel asleep, it was a very long drive. We took a little break so we could stretch our legs, eat and drink, and just rest for a bit. We stil had about two hours left of driving to go. I was curious about what kind of hotel we would be staying in this time and anticipating just dropping onto the bed and staying there for however long I would need. Sitting in the car for so long had made my back ache like there was no tomorrow.

Our little stop over we were back on the road again, this passed by like a blur, I remember a lot of trees and building and then water, some of the water was greenish colored but the closer we got to our destination the more blue the color became.

Finally, we arrived at our destination, this wasn’t like any hotel I’d ever seen before, because it wasn’t, we were staying in someone’s air b&b?

It was an apartment of sorts, the door was one of those really old European doors, ancient wooden panel with a round knob that looks like it might fall off at any moment, it didn’t though, these doors are pretty strong despite their appearance. Inside was a kitchen slash dinning slash living area. Kind of like what we have at home, there’s no definition of space in the homes I’ve visited here in France. There was an upstairs, where I assume was the bedrooms and bathroom but there was one problem.

The stairs looked like something out of my worst nightmare..

Apparently Naveen felt the same because he refused to climb the stairs, we had no choice though, the beds were upstairs and the toilet which we would need sooner or later. His father helped him climb the ladder, I refuse to call it stairs, I followed behind gingerly placing my feet on each rung and holding onto the railing like my life depended on it. If you think going up that monstrosity was bad, going down it was worse, each rung was so narrow I had to try to climb down sideways so my feet could find purchase on each slender step. The worse thing about this was when I had to go up or down with Oyanie in my arms, There I was with my tiny bady held tightly in one arm and the other wrapped around the railing and trying to gauge how far down each step was from the other.

Naveen became a pro at the stairs, he went up and down like they were nothing, me? No such thing, I took the stairs only if I really needed to otherwise I was fine to stay upstairs or downstairs wherever I was at the moment.

We didn’t end up going to the beachthe first day because it would take another hour and we had reacher too late to go to the beach. We did visit an old wash station where there was a river flowing through. Naveen told his father he didn’t want to go to the beahc anymore, he was content to stay here and enjoy the river, we didn’t come all this way for the river though. We were going to drive to the beach the next day.

A semi good nights sleep, Ms Oyanie was up every four hour again, we had breakfast and relaxed a bit before heading to the beach around noon. The drive was interesting, we followed a canal of water along a very small road, you literally had to ride the wall to let another car pass, at the end of the canal was the beach.

I’ll be completely honest, being from the Caribbean I grew up with white sand, blue waters, literally beaches of your dreams, this, was not it. First things first, the sand, more like dirt was speckled with something gold that felt like dust on your skin if it touched you. The water was not beckoning at all, add in that there was so many people there, my anxiety went sky high and I was content to stay on the bench we scored under the very shady tree. Marvin asked me if I wanted to go in the water and it was a big no. I’m fine love.

We spent about two hours there, Naveen enjoyed himself immensely, Oyanie stayed with me mostly, and Marvin went in the water with Naveen, everybody enjoyed themself and it was time to drive back to the apartment.

Had an okay night, it was time to head back home which meant another long drive, strangely, going up and down those horrifying stairs gave me muscle aches in my legs, I will not miss them at all. And because I completely forgot that Oyanie made five months yesterday I decided to take some pictures, she was not cooperating at all so I got many many very similar pictures lol. I thought I had settled on the best picture but I felt like the background was too busy and you couldn’t see her face well enough so I moved locations and voilà, the month 5 picture.

This drive I did better, I didn’t fall asleep so I saw some cool things like this church? ontop of the hill, not sure you can really see it in the picture.

Also saw this really cute tiny castle on a roundabout.

Finally we were back home!

This trip wasn’t the only thing I was up to, I also found this really interesting app on the appstore, you upload a picture and people try to guess where you are from, it said to input the furthest back your ancestry went so I entered France and Nigeria. Trying out the app I realized that I really can’t tell where people are from, I get lucky soemtimes but for the most part I guess very wrongly.

Here’s what people guessed for me:

The last interesting thing I have to talk about is a secret campaign I was selected for. I can’t say what I’m supposed to review yet but when the package arrived I’ll write a post about it. Stay tuned for that!

Alright, that’s all for now see you guys later!

My Weekend in Annecy

Annecy, a city found in the Haute-Savoie Department of France. It’s located in the southeastern part of France, where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River, this city has been on my bucket list for a few years.

I especially wanted to see Lake Annecy, La Vieille Ville, Pont des Amours, and Palais de l’Ile.

We left on Saturday around 12pm, the drive took around 2hrs, the weather was not the best, it was overcast and pretty chilly, yes, chilly in June! We’ve been having temperatures in the 50s which is about 12° Celsius.

As we were driving my son would get really excited seeing the clouds covering the mountains and driving through mist.

The most exciting thing though was driving through the mountains! I don’t mean over the mountains either, we drive through tunnels that went through the belly of the mountains, twice, and each time it was crazy.

Yeah, yeah, you might have don’t this before, probably many times, for us especially coming from an island without any mountains it was something really special to see and experience. I only wish I had taken a picture.

We reached the hotel about 2:55 or so, it was raining a bit and my husband realized we had forgotten the baby carrier, so there we were sans stroller and carrier so my husband had to heft the bag with our stuff and the little miss.

We hurried into the hotel and quickly got our room key, strangely enough there was only one key so we either had to all go out at the same time or some go and others stay behind. It was an ok hotel from the little I saw on our way to the room, there was a game room where Naveen wanted to spend some time. The elevator ride was terrible, it was so jerky, and I got bad motion sickness.

When we arrived at the room I noticed it was kind of small, there were two full size beds, one fairly close to the door and the other closer to the opposite wall, Naveen was only to happy to have such a big bed all to himself. I think miss lady believed the other one was for her.

We took a little rest, change Oyanie’s diaper and feed her then we were off!

First we stopped at Burger King so that the bigger people could eat then we visited the lake, the rain was still coming down, because we were closer to the lake the wind was really strong and those two things made it pretty cold.

Without the carrier, Oyanie ended up wrapped in her father’s coat, we tried to keep her as well as possible while taking in the sights.

The Pont des Amours wasn’t far from the lake, just had to keep walking and there we were, a little ways from the bridge I spotted a giant bow and arrow. I haven’t been able to find any information on it yet but I probably am not searching for the right terms.

Pont des Amours
Giant Bow and Arrow

Naveen was only too happy to have space to run around and explore. He wanted to keep walking but it was still raining and Oyanie was getting tired. We decided to head back to the hotel.

For dinner we had pizza from Domino’s, it’s been many years since I’ve had a pizza from there, I found the pizzas to be pretty small, we ordered two and had really tiny containers of ice cream and some kind of dessert with chocolate. I didn’t eat the chocolate dessert. The ice cream was enough for me.

It was a bit difficult to get Oyanie to sleep and after trying and trying she finally went to sleep but I ended up not being able to fall asleep, I don’t know if I was too hot or if I was just too wired to sleep, whatever it was I ended up just laying there twisting and turning the whole night.

My phone was charging in Marvin’s side of the bed and I didn’t want to wake anyone up trying to reach so I tried to wait patiently until everyone woke up. Thankfully Marvin woke up long enough to hand me my phone.

Finally everyone was up and it was time to check out of the hotel but first Oyanie got a bottle.

I hadn’t noticed it before when we arrived but downstairs in the lobby there’s a statue of a red cow.

Everyone was hungry do we decided to go to the bakery, unfortunately the bakery had a long line as they only allowed one customer in at a time, we were too hungry to wait in line do we took a walk looking for other places to eat.

Every so often Marvin would stop to look at menus or Naveen would watch stalls with people selling toys.

Finally, after waking for what seemed like forever, we went into French Coffee Shop, Marvin asked me what I wanted and I looked over the offerings. There were lots of muffins and some other things but what caught my attention was the cheesecake. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before but I love cheesecake, if I see it I will always want it, so when Marvin asked me again what I wanted without hesitation I said cheesecake.

Now, things could have gone either good or bad because not everyone can make cheesecake.

Thankfully, this was not the case, nope, this cheesecake was delicious, it was utterly divine, like if anyone would have tried to ask me to taste some I’d stuff the whole thing in my mouth or lick it.

I had to restrain myself from licking the cardboard but I sure did lick the spoon. Breakfast over with, we walked back to the car and began the drive to go home.

Now, we’re home, I’m very tired so will probably end this here.

Confinement

Hey! Welcome back!

Today I’m going to talk about being in confinement after giving birth. While I was in the hospital Naveen was on break from school and Marvin was home from work so I didn’t have to worry about who would watch him.

When I got out of the hospital it was time for Naveen to go back to school but he had a cold so he went one day and was sent home the next and stayed home on Friday. We thought he’ll be fine to go on Monday but then the schools were closed and Naveen never got to go back to school.

We could still go out at that point so we would go for walks which was important for me since I had to walk for my recovery from the C-section. It was good to be outside feeling the cool air and not being cooped inside the house or stuck in there hospital. I stayed there for a while week!

Everything was ok and then we went into confinement, stay home unless you absolutely need to go out, have your attestation of you will be fined, we stayed inside. Naveen didn’t understand why he wasn’t going to school and why we couldn’t go to the park or see his grandparents.

I tried to explain to him in a way he would understand and I think he got it.

My husband is still working during the pandemic so it’s just me, Naveen, and Oyanie. Due to Oyanie waking up every two hours at night to eat we usually stay in bed until afternoon. I try to get a little extra sleep but I’m still so very tired when we get up to go downstairs. Sometimes Naveen comes into the room and lay in the bed with Oyanie and me but he’s mostly up early and downstairs. I try to make sure that he has something to eat and occupy himself with.

While I’m taking care of the baby I sometimes wonder if I’m neglecting Naveen and try to include him or I’ll put the baby down to give him extra attention. It’s hard having two kids especially now when the baby is so small and need so much more of my attention.

Naveen has been a good big brother though, he always asks me if I need help and will bring bottles upstairs for me, reach diapers and wipes, he kisses his sister and wants to hold her.

He will sometimes feed her so I can make myself something to eat or when I need to do something else.

I think I’m adjusting well to having two children especially in these strange times. If I’m being honest I’ve been suffering a bit from being stuck at home, given how my pregnancy went where I was stuck at home with only doctor visits as my time outside its only a given that I’d go stir crazy without a reason to go outside. I miss the air and the sun and I wish things go back to normal soon.

Before I forget to mention it Oyanie made one month on March 22, one month already it seemed like I just had her. Time is going by so fast.

Update

Hey guys,

I know I haven’t shared an update in a while so here it goes.

I’m doing much better HGwise, I’m what you’d call medicated fluffy, I don’t have any nausea or vomiting unless I eat something that doesn’t agree with my belly. Since about 10 weeks I’ve only vomited once after eating a banana that didn’t sit well. The only downside is I’m still suffering from lack of energy. When I go out I have to sit or I feel like blacking out. If I can’t sit I stoop down until the feeling passes. It’s really unpleasant and makes going out difficult since I don’t go anywhere for the whole week.

I’m now 16 weeks 5 days, on Tuesday I’ll be 17 weeks.

I’m slowing getting there, by belly isn’t that big as yet but I’ve already started wearing maternity clothes.

I’m experiencing round ligament pain and Braxton Hicks which is no fun, some heartburn, excessive drooling especially at night, I wake up multiple times to clean my face and shoulders. I sleep on my back and that doesn’t seem to help any.

Even with all these complaints I’m so grateful that my medication works and I’m not back to the all day nausea and vomiting because that’s no fun at all.

First ultrasound

I recently went for my first ultrasound, no waiting for 12 weeks after all!

I was measuring at 10 weeks 3 days which is about two days ahead of what my app Nurture calculated.

They do things a little different here in France and have me another set of measurements which is considered theoretical 11 weeks 4 days. From what I understand they add a week or two from last menstrual date because predicting when implantation occurred is just not possible.

So here is baby O at 10w3d.

Naveen was present for the ultrasound so he got to see his little sibling playing in my belly, he was so excited to see it on the big screen and hear the heartbeat.

I’m glad he was there to see if because he wasn’t really believing there was a baby, he kept asking if my belly got bigger.

Health wise I seem to be having some fluffy weeks with occasional nausea that ranges from not so bad to I can’t move. I notice that the bad nausea always occurs when I’m up and about too much. I tend to take a rest and feel a little better.

I hope these weeks continue to be fluffy because I feel a little more human when I can function.

Stuck on Sick

It’s official, I’ve been stuck on bed rest since 4w5d and I’m now 6w5d. I’ve passed every hour of every day either throwing up, stuck on a continuous loop of nauseated, or sleeping the sleep of the undead.

Yes, we’re pregnant again and yes I’m suffering once more from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

I knew better, I knew I would never be able to experience pregnancy like a happy person, I knew I’d be sick every waking hour. I have so many boxes and boxes of medications and I’m still so sick.

My lips are dried and peeling, my skin is dry as is my hair.

This is my third pregnancy dealing with this and I don’t know what I was hoping for but I definitely didn’t find it. I’m so close to the mark where we lost the last one that I just decided to come out with it.

If you’re local to me chances are you will not see me again until after the birth. I can barely climb the stairs in my own home.

I don’t know who you are unborn baby but I’m trying everything I can to meet you.

23andMe Beta update

So last night 23andMe released their beta update.

I spoke about it on this post 23andMe: Changing Ancestry Composition.

If this is your first time hearing about it, 23andMe is a DNA testing company, it’s one of the more well known ones, you have Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FTDNA, which does big y DNA testing.

Along with the introduction of Trace Ancestry category. My estimates have gone through quite the change.

I’ve always found my French & German percentage to be on the small side for having a father who is half French. This estimate is more understandable. I went from 3.3% to 9.7%. My British & Irish also went down, for the longest time it was higher than my F&G and it shouldn’t have been. It’s nice to see that they’ve shifted some of the B& I over to F&G where it belongs. I just hope they’ll be able to do the same with Spanish & Portuguese because I have no known ancestry from those areas, what I do have is Ancestors who lived in border towns so maybe, just maybe they were S&P?

Here’s my complete update:

The Useless Sibling

Hey guys,

Today I want to talk about something that has always bothered me.

Ever since I was very young I’ve always viewed myself as the useless sibling. I have two older sisters who were obviously intelligent, they got good grades they were Salutatorian and Valedictorian of their classes, I also have three younger brothers who are also obviously intelligent, graduating with High honors, internship, also Sal/Val of their class, and then there’s me.

Quiet, can’t speak in school, trouble with bullies, terrible grades, held back twice, nothing really special. I didn’t graduate with honors and I didn’t go to college, I am the useless child. Every parent must have a dud and I always knew it was me.

When I was younger you could go to Wendy’s for a free meal with your report card and for whatever reason my father always brought me along to see my siblings get their free meals and he would buy nothing for me. I’d sit there and watch them eat and feel out of place.

He’d also do this with toys, I got nothing while they got something new to play with. I never really blamed my siblings, I blamed myself for being too dumb to understand the work, too dumb to be able to speak.

My mother probably didn’t know about this and I know if she did she would have bought me something even if it was something small and tiny. She never let me feel useless until that one year she said to me “if you get good grades, I’ll buy you that doll you wanted”, I worked my ass off and I didn’t get that doll, sold out is what she told me.

I think that was the same year my youngest brother was born and my grandmother, my mother’s mother passed away. I remember not feeling anything really, I didn’t cry, I didn’t understand why others were crying but when I saw my mother break down I felt it, I cried because my mother was crying. I loved my grandmother and I have very fond memories of her but I just don’t feel emotions like other people.

That was also the very first year I was held back, I stopped trying, I stopped caring, my first experience with depression but nobody noticed. They said I was being difficult and willful. Nobody saw me.

I used to have a very best friend that I’d eat with hang out every chance I got and the very next year we stopped hanging out and I’d sit by myself on the stairs in front of my class room. I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t eat lunch, my thought were not the best and I didn’t know how to change them.

It’s not to say some of my classmates didn’t try, they did, they invited me to sit with them under a mango tree, they’d share a little of their lunches with me and talk around me. Never to me because everyone knew I didn’t talk. I barely even smiled or showed any emotions.

For my entire young life I felt out of place like I couldn’t understand my peers, they were all speaking a language I just didn’t know. I tried to emulate them, I tried to have crushes like the other girls and copy their mannerisms and what I thought their thought patterns might be but it was like playing a part I had no business trying out for.

In Jr. High my second year of 7th grade after being held back yet again I encountered a teacher that challenged me. According to one of my older sisters she was in the woman’s class all of one day but this woman would constantly call me by my sister’s name and it chafed because I had my own name. This woman would also make fun of students who did poorly and I was not going to let her make fun of me, she was going to know my name. Mine, not my sister’s but mine.

I got into honors that year, I spoke for the first time that year, my grandfather, my father’s father passed away that year. My mother was pregnant with my baby sister that year, 9/11 happened that year and my mother lost my baby sister that year.

It was a catalyst for me and I let everything push me into doing everything I could to get out of school.

It didn’t matter. My father still didn’t acknowledge what I had accomplished, I was still the child that couldn’t speak and couldn’t make it in the real world because I was filled with so much anxiety I couldn’t do half the things my siblings could.

It’s amazing how much your parents can hurt you without knowing they did or maybe he knew exactly where to inflict the worst pain.

He’s such a confusing person, he says these cruel things but then he took me out for my birthday just me and him and he bought me a birthday gift that I never thought he would. We’d go out to the movies together and we argued yes but it seemed like only the two of us did these things. My father was like me.

He was filled with anxiety and he didn’t know how to express his emotions.

As I got older I learned more about him just by observing him and I am so much like him not just in looks but in temperament.

All those times when he’d sit by himself away from others, I understand it now, he looked so cut off from us because he didn’t know how to interact with us.

When he’d want to leave or not go to a social function, I fully understand it. I hate social functions and how it drains me.

His special hobbies, his desire for a schedule, I do all of this as well.

I felt like I was looking for his approval and never got it but I was the only one he’d call to help him, the only one he showed a little attention in, I think my father understood me just a little better than I understood myself back then.

That saying he kept saying to me? That I’d never go anywhere and be able to survive in the real world?

I took it to heart and pushed myself, I left home and traveled internationally, I got married and I might still struggle socially but I function on my own level.

I might not be as academically fortunate as my siblings but I am not the useless sibling, I made my success in personal battles and I accomplished my own great things.

Thanks for reading a tiny bit of my story.