A Product Of Her Environment


Lovena Cherilus

A picture of me when I was around five years old.

Estephania Cherilus, Staff Writer

Before I grew to understand what a healthy family was, I thought my family was healthy. I was wrong.

I saw Ann’s mother kiss her after she fell. I saw Johnathan’s father tie John’s shoes. My father would rather tie the knots with other women rather than the one on my shoes. My mother threatened to greet death more than I can count on my finger.

Even during these times, I had a few friends to count on. Leave it to trauma to throw trust away, right? Within the household field of chaos, there were people who did keep me sane, but I had a bad habit of expressing that chaos. I met Jake, which wasn’t his real name, in 6th grade. In my mind, I thought our friendship was normal. I thought the arguing was a way to show our love for each other. I often saw silence as a threat. It brought me so much comfort because it reminded me of home.

I soon realized that I brought every single thing I learned from home into our friendship. I despised the idea so much; it brought me so much rage that I could have possibly been just like my household even the slightest. My friendship with Jake was only the beginning. Soon after my friendship with Jake ended, I blamed everything on him. I was the victim; in my mind, I was always the victim.

Eighth grade: the year where if you were not dating someone, you were considered lame. I did what everyone else did, get in a relationship, but who knew those next two years would’ve changed my life forever. I and my ex took the saying, ¨misery loves company¨ way too seriously. I guess I learned it from my parents.

In this relationship, I soon learned everything that was wrong with me. I hated being touched; I was scared of it. Not only have I never seen my parents hug, but I myself have never hugged my parents before. I hated communicating; why do that when you can just disappear for a couple of days without saying anything?

When we decided to call quits on our relationship, I blamed him for our failure of a relationship. Then, he decided to tell me how he felt, and there’s one thing he told me that will always stick to me: “Being around you always felt like a rainy day.¨ My house always felt like a rainy day; it was always depressing.

I fell into a depressive episode, which led to me not wanting to ever get out of bed or eat anything. The suicidal thoughts also came and made their home in my mind.

The world is better without you, replaying over and over like a broken record player in my mind.

I decided to get help and went to therapy. I met an amazing therapist who told me, ¨You are allowed to change, Estephania. You are allowed to forgive yourself. You are allowed to be better.¨

Which I did. I got better.

I changed my habits because I refuse to be like my household. I refused to be “another product of their environment.”

I refused to let my brother become a product of his environment, and I refused to see my sister become a product of her environment.

We are not our environments; we are better.

If you are having any suicidal thoughts, please call +1 800-273-8255. We can change.