I never met my mother. All I know is that she was from China, because it’s on my birth certificate. And I’ve seen what she looks like from a few photos. Dad was a migrant from Hong Kong who had his own restaurants. Apparently she went off with his second chef when I was a baby.
At first, when Dad was working, our live-in nanny looked after me. Then, when I was about 6, my dad met my step mum through an arranged marriage. I met her a few times in Hong Kong before they got married, and at the time I liked her. But when we got back to Australia there were some misunderstandings.
I was a pretty precocious child, but she saw me as super naughty and it just escalated and turned awful. Dad wasn’t home much because he was usually working. Although I spent every Saturday at the restaurant with him, the rest of the time I was home with my stepmother, and she did some really not very good stuff. For example, because I got hayfever, I wasn’t allowed to be out of my room while she was in the house because she said I was spreading germs. When I came out to talk to my Dad on the phone, she would do things like spray Glen 20 all over the room and all over the phone, as though I was really dirty.
She also used to cuff me across the head, to get out her frustration I suppose, and one day she got too close to my eye and gave me a black eye. Once she locked me in their bedroom. Another time, she went through my desk when I was at the restaurant, read my diary, and ripped out the pages where I had said she was a shit. Then she wrote me this letter about how much she hated me, but when my Dad was having a shower, she came into my room and ripped the letter out of my hands so I couldn’t show it to him.
Nobody at my school knew what was going on. My friend downstairs knew a little bit, but she was too young to grasp what was going on. And some of it was just so unbelievable, other adults didn’t believe it. I think one of my best friend’s mums knew I wasn’t 100%, even though I didn’t tell her anything. She didn’t give me hugs and stuff, but she would let me hang round for stupid lengths of time at their house, which I was grateful for.
I also enjoyed the time I spent with my father at the restaurant. We would go to the market in the morning, and then my cousin and I would sit out the back doing our homework, or messing around pretending we were making cocktails.
I never heard from my birth mother. Apparently she was in a shop that my dad and I were in once, but he didn’t tell me until later. All I know is that she was a nurse and that she worked at a local hospital, which Dad told me when I was 14. But it was really old information, and when I called, she wasn’t there anymore.
As soon as high school finished, I left home. In some ways, I feel that the situation with my step mother made me a stronger person. For example, when I had to pay rent for the first time, or when I realised I didn’t have money, I kind of already had the balls to deal with it!
I get asked a lot if I have tried to track my mother down, but I feel like she was never around, and she gave me up, so why would I want to? I’ve had a lot of counselling and I’m actually pretty happy now.
My friends are my family, and I’m happy with that.
Born in Australia
Father born in Hong Kong
Arrived late 1960s
If you are a young person of any age, and need someone to talk to, you can contact https://kidshelpline.com.au ❤️