Do you have regrets? Tell TheGloss your regrettable story in 600-800 words and you could win these designer shades to hide your shameful, shameful face.

One day, I was doing my sister’s hair when my stepmother came in and began screaming at the top of her lungs about how I didn’t vacuum the corners of the rooms the right way. She moved on to insulting me about how I “moped” around like someone “pissed in [my] Cheerios” (no, I don’t know why that was the comparison). This was about where my blood began to boil. For the past few weeks, I had been on Prozac for depression brought on by my stepmother and father’s horrible treatment of me. So when she shouted, “If it’s so bad here, there’s the door! You can just leave!” …I did.

Until I was nineteen, I lived with my father and stepmother and my three younger siblings, whom I loved (and still love) dearly. To keep a very long story short, my time there was rife with emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my father and stepmother. After far too long of putting up with it, I finally told my mother in New York what was going on, and so began the planning of my exit strategy from that toxic environment. The plan was not really for me to up and leave like that, but, looking back, it had to happen that way.

Packing my things was a blur. I remember being berated by my father and stepmother while I packed my car. I also remember them making me do the most horrible thing they could think of: telling my siblings why I was leaving. I had two choices: expose their parents for the assholes they were or keep calm and keep my siblings out of it. I kept it to, “I love you, but I just have to go. I can’t stay here anymore.” I do not regret not telling them that day that their parents treated me horribly. They were too young and couldn’t have understood anyway.

My mother and stepfather flew out to where I lived at great expense to themselves and sent my things back to New York. I got into my dream school, NYU, and as a delightful bonus, my father and stepmother had to shoulder half the costs, per the divorce agreement (after a long, tedious court battle).

This supposedly happy ending, though, is where my biggest regret starts. I had been calling my siblings for a few months after I left, despite being told off every time I called, including on Christmas. I loved my siblings too much to be kept from calling. I still love them too much. But one day, on one of my brothers’ birthdays, I called and my father childishly pretended he couldn’t hear me on the phone, then hung up. After that, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to call again. It was the last of many manipulations that were simply too much. It was also in the middle of the court battles to make them pay for the college they denied me, the therapy they sent me to, and so many other things. I was drained.

I’m still drained, but I regret so much losing touch with my siblings. Every birthday that passes makes my heart hurt. I haven’t heard their voices in almost 5 years. The only lucky part is that my stepmother’s brother and sister-in-law, who are wonderful people, found me on facebook and send me pictures and video of my siblings. I might be able to get in touch with my siblings sometime (hopefully soon) through my aunt and uncle.

But I know that I will never get those 5 years back. I will never get to redo it and know exactly what my sister was thinking before her first community theatre production (which she does a lot of apparently). I will never get to know how my brother felt before his first JV football game (he’s a pretty great player according to my aunt and uncle). I will never know how my eldest younger brother managed to get from playing Green Day’s “Longview” on his base by ear when he was 11 to playing an entire set of Green Day and other awesome bands at a local restaurant at the age of 16 (which I luckily got to see on a video sent by my aunt and uncle). I have missed so much I can never get back. I’m just hopeful that I will be there for more years than I was gone.