My mother left me behind at the age of three

“My mother left me behind at the age of three. My sister was only two years older than me when she promised she would take care of me. We were left with our father, but our relationship with him was never great. In Brazil, life can be difficult if you lack a promising career. I believe my mother was looking for a better future by trying her luck in Europe. I don’t think I will ever know the real reasons because our relationship never recovered. The only tangible memory I have of her is the moment we said goodbye at the airport. This moment was also captured in a photograph that I found several years later at my grandmother’s house. The photograph is significant to me, representing all the hardships I’ve endured. That’s why I chose to tattoo it on my arm, my sister has the same. My insecurities, constant negative thoughts in my mind, and the feeling that I am undeserving of love stem from that moment. I was 13 when my mother decided to become a ‘mother’ again hoping we could rebuild what was lost. We tried to live together in Spain, but it was just too painful. Imagine that I look exactly like her but we are completely different. There is nothing we could agree on or connect. My sister is my rock. She is the only person I truly love. In her presence, I feel secure and safe, no matter where we are. She is resilient and strong. She never cries and leads a life with stability. Meanwhile, I continue to struggle to find my identity and purpose. I had a very difficult period in 2020. I was completely lost, with no money and nowhere to go. My sister said, ‘Come, live with me! I will help you through this.’ She looked after me while I finished college. She was paying my bills, feeding me, and helped me get back on track. I wasn’t a kid anymore. She didn’t have to do this. During that time, she became my entire world. I admire and look up to her in ways I can hardly express. Life often feels like a maze, and I find myself lost searching. I am fortunate to have a girlfriend who loves me, but I often question why she chose me. My mind tends to get in the way of enjoying positive experiences, but by not letting those thoughts define me, I know I’m on the path to healing.”