I was in constant fear . . .


Hayden Parsons | Contributor

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Young Voices

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Part 1 of Hayden’s Story

One of my early memories, at least the earliest one that had any significant impact on my life, was when I was four years old. It was a normal day, or at least what we thought was to be normal considering the environmental circumstances we were given, and I was in my room playing with my toys in the bedroom window sill. The window had no blinds at the time so I was able to see everything that was happening outside. As I was playing with my toys I saw these two groups of men, or at least I thought they were men, and they were in two separate lines in the middle of the street. As I looked at the two groups, I didn’t think much. I heard someone yell out between the two groups and then all of them, at once, pulled out guns and shot multiple times at one another. The gun shots were very loud, but for some reason I wasn’t bothered by the sound. It seemed as though I had heard the sound before, but I can’t recall the first time I ever heard one. I remember seeing four men falling to the ground. And then after the shots were fired, the two groups left running in the opposite directions of each other.

Hayden Parsons trains at the amazing Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu

That was normal life at the time. It wasn’t the best of neighborhoods, but it was what we were able to live in. At that particular time, it was the sixth house I had lived in, and I was only four. My mother and my stepdad had been married for about a year, and my little sister was less than a few months old. This particular house was a two bedroom house. We managed to fit my mother, stepdad, sister, myself, and my two older stepbrothers, who would visit us every other weekend from their mother’s house. That neighborhood was not the best to live in, at least in terms of safety. The house had rules that my mother drilled into my head. The rules were as follows: Never play in the front yard. Never leave the front yard if given permission to play in the front yard. Never play with the other kids in the neighborhood if you have never seen them before. Never talk to another adult that you have never seen before. Nevertheless, all of those rules were broken, especially when my stepbrothers came over to visit. We always got into fights with the other kids in the neighborhood. The other kids would throw rocks at us and we would run away. We eventually got a smart idea and we cut apart our backyards chain linked fence, which we got in trouble for doing so, and we wrapped the chain linked part around our knuckles. We wrapped a wash cloth around the fence material around our knuckles so the other kids wouldn’t see it. That worked for a period of time and then we found a horse poop shovel on the side of the street one day. Whenever the neighboring kids would start a fight with us, we’d beat them with the horse shovel.

Hayden takes pen to paper to explore his relationships with his father, his mother, his coach, his stepdad, himself, and ultimately with God!

Life went on like that for about a year. My mother drew the line and we moved when our house was broken into from the front door, while we were all in the living room where the front door was located. We then moved to a number of houses after that. I did attend the same school, year after year, though. It was a private school, Magnolia Heights. My mother and stepdad didn’t pay for the tuition. That responsibility was taken on by my biological father. My father and mother have been divorced since as long as I can remember. This past summer in fact, I just recently found out about my father going to jail. I grew up for 16 years not knowing anything about his run-ins with the law.

My grandad and mother thought it was time that I knew since my father and I no longer have a relationship and they knew it was best to hear it from them instead of finding out via the internet. My father had always had a bad reputation with the law. He was in-and-out of jail multiple times, on very serious charges. I don’t remember visiting him in jail, but my mother said I did. I used to visit my dad every other weekend. Every time I went over there I was verbally abused. I was called “stupid,” “backwards,” and “too much like your mother”. I cried every weekend I was there. Never once did I look forward to going to his house because of how I talked to me from the time I woke up, until the time I went to bed. I was in constant fear. I was so scared that I had a set plan that if I ever thought he was going to hurt me, I would kill him. I made the plan when I was six. I didn’t feel bad about it either. I felt as if that was normal. My dad was disappointed in me because of my size. I was always short and skinny. My dad wanted me to be a big football player. I hated football. I hated, and still do, anything “country”. It’s because of my dad. As I got older my dad became more and more aggressive in letting me know he was the boss. He would be throwing things across the room to getting in my face and screaming. He started that when I was about eight years old.

Hayden Parsons

Hayden Parsons

Student, Fighter, & Journalist | Arlington High School

Student and Community Supporter. He will either be the next big name in boxing or the next big name on ESPN!

When I was fifteen, turning sixteen, I had enough of my dad’s abuse when he shoved my head under a zero turn lawn mower blade. I stopped going to his house for a while, but then we started a relationship again. That was a bad idea. It came to abrupt end when he and I got into an argument over the phone. He ended the argument by saying “Never call or text me again.” And just like that, I was free. I didn’t have to put up with him anymore. I was on “cloud nine”.


To be continued . . .











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