March 23, 2010

I’m new at this, so I will be doing it my way for once in my life – if that is okay with all of you who decide to read this. If you like drama, pain, misery, love, craziness, and you want to see how it was for a 25 year old to grow up in this generation in the midwest, then dear Lord, read this. I have thoughts I want out of my head. Terrible, and wonderful thoughts that are too much and I fear that they won’t ever get out of my head if I don’t sit down and spill. I will go back and forth – as smoothly as possible – between now and then.

So, today I woke up groggily to yet another morning where I sulk into my low-income housing kitchen to make myself some instant coffee… sat down to turn on the news and realized Ellen  was on ( love her – hate that I missed local news). Gerard Butler was on her show though.. oooweee that caught my attention for a minute. Love the accent.

I am writing this blog blindly. I don’t even know what I’m doing yet. I am learning as I go. See,… I have a story that I want to share with the world. My story. It’s full of drama. (My friends joke it could be a soap opera).

Let me begin from the start of this mess:

I had my first son at 17. Preston is a dream. He is somewhat autistic (asberger’s) but he is still my savior. I was headed nowhere fast. That tends to happen when you grow up with a mom popping pills -and well honestly in my young eyes -drug of choice “what do ya got?” along with the  constant beatings she got from her boyfriends and husbands (we’ll get there later), a seriously disturbed alcoholic father, mostly estranged from your life, a sister a year older than you who seemed to get all of the attention, along with all of her demands met by throwing tantrums – leaving me with the leftovers of my mother’s love. My sister also beat me constantly, and I always loved her to fight back with all my strength, for fear of hurting her . My rage simply grew.

The chain of my mother’s love went something like this, when I was a child: Her boyfriend/husband, my older sister, my brother (2 years younger, and the baby), and then me.

I don’t blame them entirely. I was typical in my rebellion. I wasn’t trying to make a statement – other then I was old enough to understand who they are, what’s in the world, and how crappy my life was (a notion my mother still denies to this day, claiming it is all in my head – hence, meaning I am the crazy one). However, Iwoud go to friends’ homes, see happy families that I couldn’t understand (so collective, prioritized, happy..), and my friends. They were different. They rebelled too, but I never understood why; they seemed to have life so much better with their loving parents and supports.

So lets do a little time-line for you:

Age 8: My mom left my loving soon-to-be step father, Rick, for a meth addict she “loved”- Jim. I knew he was full of it the minute I met him. I resented her choice, and I was angry. We moved into a farmhouse right outside of Fairfax,…maybe it was better nobody heard the parties. Or when he beat her  half to death.

9 years old: Once she came home so bloody and bruised, I couldn’t even recognize her. She was so swollen. I picked up the phone to call the police and she sobbed and begged me not to. I was 9 years old. Jim was non-violent for ONE year. After that, she had to do and be exactly what he wanted all the time. He’s knock the door down, invite his scary, “chester” looking friends to our home, he probably cooked meth in the garage he locked up every day. I knew he was on it. I knew too much for my age. I noticed the differences in my mom. I noticed our cupboards empty all the time. She didn’t work anymore. She went on welfare.

12 years old :We lost the farmhouse. Couldn’t pay the bills. I think my mom lost at least one baby from Jim beating her. My brother saw the whole thing. He was only about 7 years old.

We went to live in the nastiest, dirt cheap hotel in town. No food, only 2 beds, cockroaches… My mom said Jim didn’t know where we were, but one day he showed up. When he was gone, we grabbed our things and fled.

My mom would’t let us go to school. I overheard her tell someone on the phone she didn’t want us telling the guidance counselors what was going on. (She denies this).

I looked forward to school for lunch.

So we went to some empty trailor with some random guy I’d never seen. I had a tiny box of belongings. It was winter, we were hungry, we were cold, we had nothing to do, and all the while she was doing drugs in the back room. I was 12 years old. I knew this.

After a few days of that, I took my 10 year old brother for a long walk up to the gas station, down a highway, and sat him down with some food (I made my mom cry when I asked her to give me the money).  I walked away to the payphone where he wouldn’t hear me. I used every resource I could think of at 12. I called the department of human services, my father, a very stable aunt, and let them collaborate, and called back again.

When my brother and I returned to this trailor, there was a van outside. When we walked inside, my mom sat at the table looking strung out, and crying. The social worker there said we were going with her. My sister and brother cried. I didn’t. I was so happy.

We went to live with my Aunt. My dad’s youngest sister. My Grandma on my dad’s side (God rest her soul) paid for us to get school supplies, new clothes, winter coats, hats and gloves and shoes.

After what felt like a few months, my older sister happily returned home to my mom who had gotten a trailor and a car. She said she was stable and the social workers said we could go home. My mom had gotten pregnant by the man I’d last seen her with. My sister only went back because she was a sexually active 14 year old with a 17 year old boyfriend.

Soon after, my little brother went back to my mom.

I was so mad. I didn’t want to go back. So I called my dad and asked if I could live with him.

Dad turned the office/storage into my room. He made it really nice for me. He provided lunch money. He listened to me when I talked. I wasn’t used to that. So I told him I loved him all the time. After about a month of that, Dad sat me down and said ” Now, I’m your father, and I know you love me. You don’t have to say it all the time”. He would come pray with me and can you believe it- even tucked me in at 12 years old. It was strange at first, but than I realized it was because he missed all of that when I was a kid. They divorced when I was only 4.

I talked to my mom every so often. She cried less every time. I kept the conversations at a minimum because that made me think she was still unstable. Eventually, she stopped crying.

My step-mom helped me with homework, and I made the honor roll! I got $5 for C’s, $10 for B’s, and $20 for A’s. I got nothing if I got a D or an F. I was breaking them, it was a funny joke between us three. I liked the attention. I liked being the only child. I liked people talking to me at the age level my mind was at – which was far beyond what it should have been for 12.

I spent my 13th birthday with my dad and step-mom. I had been there a year. My mom was about to have my baby sister. I agreed to spend the summer with her.

I didn’t go back to live with my dad.

After Jamie was born, Jim moved in and assumed the father role for her. I started sneaking out. I started drinking alcohol. Beer mostly, my mom would give me the money to as she called it “disappear” for the night, weekend or whatever she asked. She rarely asked where I would be going, who I would be with, and what I would be doing. Sometimes I would just tell her, to see a reaction. Mostly, I never got one. Jim would call me foul names and yell at me everytime he saw me – that just pushed me further away.

I’ve never been grounded. Now, she did attempt but I would get out of it someway. It never lasted more than a few hours. I was 13 hanging out with 17 year old boys who smoked pot and drank all the time. One boy was kicked out of highschool for knocking out the vice principal. Yup, I was naive.

I had friends though. Or so I thought. People to help me forget how sad I was. Oh, they tortured me! I was a late bloomer, wouldn’t get drunk or smoke pot with them, wouldn’t have sex.. I was the “teeny bopper” they used to call me. Still, I stuck around. I knew I wouldn’t look like that forever. I just didn’t like drugs from what they did to my family. I didn’t like drinking until I threw up. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind that. Plus, I was smart enough to know about alcohol poisoning, and watched out for my friends too. I was so young.

Now, I had my first cigarette at 10. I told my mom. She asked  me not to do it again. At 13, I started and have never quit. At 15, I told my mom I smoked and that she didn’t have to like it, but I couldn’t quit. She offered no help to quit, or get me help.

We’ll pick up later…



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