Filipino American social media star Bella Poarch took to Instagram on Friday to reveal how her childhood trauma inspired her latest single “Living Hell.”
Poarch, who has over 91 million followers on TikTok, released “Living Hell” as part of her debut EP “Dolls” earlier this month. The 25-year-old content creator shared that the song encapsulates her struggles in the Philippines.
“It’s a story about how I struggled growing up inside a real-life living hell in a tiny room in the Philippines,” she wrote. “My whole life, I’ve been trying to escape my childhood trauma, my living hell, and no matter how much therapy I do, no matter how much medicine I take, and no matter how far I try to run away… it always comes back to haunt me.”
According to Poarch, the color yellow is prominently featured in her new single’s music video because her childhood bedroom served as inspiration behind the set design.
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Poarch said that her parents forced her to like the color as a means of imposing their authority over her. Her childhood bedroom had a lock outside because her parents “wanted to make sure that I didn’t escape when I was in there.”
Creating the music video was a challenge for Poarch as it meant reliving her childhood trauma. She noted that she intends to speak more about her past when she is ready.
“Sorry for the essay,” she continued in her post. “The reason I’m writing this is that I want all of you who are reading this and all of you who have supported me along this journey to understand that I love you more than you know/. You guys are my escape. You guys are why I wake up every day. You guys are the reason that I’m able to break free from this mess and in my darkest times, understand that things are going to be okay. I truly can’t thank you enough and I want you to know that I’m here for you the same way that you’re here for me.”
Poarch then dedicated the song to those who may have had similar experiences: “To anyone who is also going through their own living hell, you will escape and I’ll be right there by your side. This one’s for you.”
The TikToker, who was born in the Philippines, was adopted by a Filipino mother and an American military veteran father at the age of 3. She revealed during an episode of the H3 Podcast last year that her adoptive father was verbally and physically abusive to her and her adopted brother.
While speaking with hosts Ethan and Hila Klein, she recalled having to work on her family’s farm in the early hours of the morning before school, saying, “It was very hard actually because I had to wake up at 4 a.m. Sometimes, I have to wake up at 3 a.m. if I want to get to school on time because in the Philippines, school starts at 6:30 a.m. So I have to be able to finish all the chores. I’d be sweeping the yard, picking up dog sh*t, cleaning the cat house, sweeping goat poop.”
“And I have to clean up real good because my stepdad would be mad at me,” she shared. “He’ll be like, ‘Oh, you’re not eating breakfast if you don’t get this done.'”