A few years later, my dad travelled to Morocco where he met my mum; they married and moved to France. They lived in Toulouse, the south of France where my dad worked as a builder. Later on, he trained to become a quantity surveyor to provide for our family. My dad was exhausted when he came home from work and barely spent time with us.
I was the eldest of five children (three girls and two boys). He always wanted to watch the news in silence on TV before going to bed. He would only intervene in our upbringing if we needed to be disciplined. He rarely asked us questions about school or life. On a few occasions, he would take us on bike rides and to the fair, but he usually only played with us on Christmas Day. He never had time to develop a proper relationship with his children. I saw him just as a disciplinarian. My parents usually sent us to summer camps on holidays.
My mum had been a primary school teacher in Morocco who taught nine and ten year olds. She had four brothers. Her dad worked in a factory, and her mum raised the kids at home. Her father was also a disciplinarian. Her younger brother used to misbehave. One day, her dad hit him on the arm so strongly causing him to bleed. The wound became infected, and he died at a very young age.
My mum’s uncle controlled the family’s decisions. Children had to financially support their family. My mum’s wages were shared between family members. She wanted to work in research labs, but her family forced her to become a teacher. Her uncle was a tailor; he made the uniforms for the Moroccan army. He made my grandma sew a few uniforms, but he hardly paid her. My mum had to dress poorly because she had to give most of her wages to her family.
I remember coming back from school, completely depressed. I had enough of my family and the cruelty at the hands of my classmates. I lay on my bed, crying and thinking about going to a better world with angels. I wanted my life to end on that day. I managed to pull myself together when my sisters came home from school.
One day, I hid in my bedroom cupboard for a game of hide and seek. Unfortunately, my dad saw the door of the cupboard wasn’t locked properly, and turned the key to lock it. I’m grateful that my sisters came home. As I shouted for help, my sisters heard me and opened the door. Maybe I was looking for help and didn’t really want to die.
I enrolled at a university in France in business administration, which I found extremely boring and a waste of time. I chose this path for the sake of achieving something, but did not really know what I wanted. Most of the things I had wished for, such as a career, a boyfriend, a loving home, and friends, had not happened. I was so unhappy that I often thought about committing suicide. Life at home was very tense because my parents were always arguing. I had to find a way to get away from my depressing life.