9. What are your goals? What are your hobbies?
Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday, December 30, 2012
15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger
8. Tell us a bit about your family!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the BloggerThis challenge is open to any and everyone who wants to get to know each other a little better in the blogosphere. I encourage you all to make this challenge your own. There is no special format to follow or rules on posting. Do your challenge in 1 day by answering all the questions at once or do it in 90 days. Just have fun!
Has your life gone the way you expected it?
Life Is Interesting
I can honestly say nothing in my life has gone the way I expected it to.
I never expected to be the mother of two wonderful and interesting young men. The doctor had told me that I could never be a mother because I could never conceive a child. However, two years in a row, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on November 22. I think, often, that I should send a long letter and photographs to the gynecologist that gave me the most crushing news I had ever gotten in my life.
I never expected that once I had children, they would be the most kind, compassionate, and considerate young men that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Though we butt heads often, I can honestly say that I have very good kids. They do well in school, and they are very responsible. They both think about other people and often advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
I never expected that I would be married to such a wonderful man. My husband has been my best friend and confidant throughout the last eighteen years. We have had some tough times, but that is just being married. There has never been a time in the last eighteen years that I have not been totally in love with DJ. Even when times were the most bleak, my love for him consumed my heart. He is the one person that knows me the most. He has lived with me longer than any other person in my life, including my parents and siblings.
Other than with my family, I never expected to be so ordinary. I've never been beautiful, but I was kind of pretty. I've never been a genius, but I am intelligent. I never expected to not be able to succeed in any of my carrer endeavors. Though I had shot for the moon, I have only been middle management material. I thought I would bee a successful writer, but my words always fall short. I thought I would be a successful teacher, but I have never been able to afford to get there. I wanted to be a great student, but I have only been a pretty good one. What has worked out for me is being a mom, though I am like many mothers. I have been a good wife, but no different from other wives. As long as my family loves me, that's all that matters to me.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Several years back, a gang war erupted in our small city. A young mentally disabled child was killed by gunfire, and the war grew out of hand. My husband and I were shopping with the children in the local mall when the battle came to its peak. There was fighting, and guns and knives were being waved around as we tried to protect our boys. The stores closed their doors locking us amidst the violent altercation. All my husband and I could do to protect our boys was back them into a corner and shield them with our bodies. Officers soon got the skirmish under control, and we were directed out of the mall. I never realized until now, that it was a good two years before I would walk through those mall doors once again.
Though it was a horrifying experience, I never thought that I would hear of a person shooting at police officers in my town. But, it did happen, and the result was the loss of the life to the local business man along with the discovery of 131 firearms and 63,000 rounds of ammunition. The gunman's family members are in mourning, and the officer who had been left with little choice but to fire back is undergoing the required treatment for officers that take a life. Two families are in turmoil because of this needless altercation.
My mind was still reeling about the battle that ensued on the other side of the freeway from my home. I thought of how lucky we are to be safe from gun violence when the news broke about Newtown, Connecticut. I cannot begin to imagine how the parents must feel. As I watched the news in terror, tears flowed freely from my eyes. Those poor innocent babies, teachers, and faculty ~ Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison N. Wyatt.
Today, the news is still engrossed with coverage for the horrifying massacre. My heart aches for the family and friends of the children and faculty of the small school, as it aches for the family and friends of the gunman. We could never understand what drove him to draw one of his four guns on the students and teachers ending their lives. What traumatic event did this young man undergo to make him feel the need to take the lives of others? It was recently released he was the victim of bullying at a school he attended. Could this be the reason for his mental anguish?
I am further horrified at the probable repercussions toward children and adults with autism due to guessing game the media is irresponsibly playing about the possible mental health issues the gunman may or may not have had. I have extensively researched, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Reactive Attachment Disorders (RAD) both in University and through my employment as a Child Protective Services Investigator. Each of these four disorders are often misdiagnosed, meaning a person with these disorders exhibit traits with another one of these disorders. I find it hard to believe that this man had an ASD, as children with an ASD are less likely to be violent toward other people. For a matter of fact, most people with an ASD are likely to be law abiding citizens and have a need to follow laws and rules.
If people with autism do exhibit violent tendencies, it is more likely to be in the form of a self-injurious behavior or an INSTANTANEOUS outburst due to SUDDEN frustration and stress. They are not likely to plan out a violent event. The truth is, no one is certain whether this man had any of these disorders because diagnoses can be incorrect; but it is more likely that it would have been a disorder that a symptom is a risk taking behavior such as ADHD, RAD, or bipolar disorder. I want to make it quite clear that I am not saying all people with these disorders are dangerous. Anyone, even people with no history of mental illness or mental health issues, can snap, just as they all can be perfectly fine.
My fears are founded as my son with autism has worked so hard throughout his life to be accepted, and now, we fear that people are going to treat him like there is something wrong with him because of the media's quick response to put the blame off on autism. Just to think that all of these 17 years of hard work for my son could be all taken away because of one man's actions and the media's misrepresentation of autism breaks my heart.
Regardless, it is clear that something is very wrong with this country. While I was learning of our local gunfire incident, I also learned of the mall shooting in Oregon, where Cindy Ann Yuille and Steven Forsyth lost their lives. Then, of course there is the Newton incident on Friday. Saturday, California was rocked by the gunfire at an open air mall where twenty shots were fired in the air luckily not hitting anyone. Sunday night, two police officers, Corporal David Gogian and Jeff Atherly, were shot in the head and killed by a gunman in the parking lot of a grocery store in Kansas. This shooter has lost his life in another standoff with police officers in Topeka, Kansas. In November, a thirteen year old girl, Lourdes Guzman, was shot and killed in front of her seven year old sister on a private school bus in Florida.
We, as a country, still have not healed from the Sikh Temple shooting in Wisconsin where Bhai Seeta Singh, Bhai Parkash Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Subegh Singh, and Parmjit Kaur Toor lost their lives. We still have not healed from the Aurora theater shooting where Jonathon Blunk, Alexander "AJ" Boik, Jessie Childress, Gordon Cowden, Jessica Ghawi, John Larimer, Matt McQuinn, Micayla Medek, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, Alex Sullivan, Alexander Teves, Rebecca Wingo, and the unborn child of Ashley Moser lost their lives, as well as the numerous people injured (Petra Anderson, Adan Avila, Brandon Axelrod, Tony Billipando, Christina Blanche, Maria Carbonell, Alejandra Cardona-Lamas, Louis Duran, Craig Enlund, Alex Expinoza, Jacqueline Fry, Yousef Gharbi, Zachary Golditch, Munirah Gravelly, Eugene Han, Jay Jenkins, Bonnie Kate, Jasmine Kennedy, Marcus Kizzar, Patricia Legaretta, Brenton Lowak, Ryan Lumba, Caleb Medley, Ashley Moser, Stephen Moton, Joshua Nowlan, Pierce O'Farrill, Prodeo Patria, Rita Paulina, Christopher Rapoza, Carli Richards, Dion Roseborough, Carey Rottman, Lucas Smith, Heather Snyder, Ferrah Soudana, Catherine Streib, Jamison Toews, Denise Traynom-Axelrod, Marcus Weaver, Michael White, David Williams, Allie Young, Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler, Gage Hankins, Mckayla Hicks, Stephen Barton, Nickelas Gallup, Evan Farris, Jennifer Avila, Jarrell Brooks, Amanda Hernandez-Memije, Kelly Lewis, Bonnie Pourcian, Anggiat Mora, Ethan Rohrs, and Nathan Juranek).
These are only a few of the violent shootings that have rocked our country and ripped at the hearts of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends country wide. I have no answers as to what should be done. I have no clue what motivates people to take the lives of innocent people. I do know that all of the people who have fell victim to such violence need to be remembered because once we realize that this could have been us, and it could be our families suffering, then, and only then, can we do something to attempt to end the violence.
Facts About Autism:
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (NIV Matthew 19:14)
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger
In my life I have worked many, many jobs. I began making money for myself as a child. This started from a little old man that walked by my house every day. I cannot remember the name of the elderly gentleman, but I can see him when I close my eyes as if he were standing in front of me. The gentleman was always dressed in a pair of slacks and long sleeved button down shirt. On cooler days, the man wore a suit jacket. The man's snow white hair was neatly combed back revealing his growing widow's peak as each strand glistened in the beams from the overhead sun. He walked with a slight limp and was assisted by a hand carved wooden cane. The kind old man had pale blue eyes that would bore through your soul if you allowed them too. Each day that he would pass by my childhood home, he would have a chore for us to do, and we would be paid a quarter for each chore. The chores were often simple such as gathering some of the mulberries that fell from the tree, rinsing them, and bring them to the gentleman for a sweet snack. Others would include picking a rose from my tiny rosebush in front of the porch or a branch of the pale pink Crepe Myrtle growing in front of my bedroom window. This man instilled a value in me that serves me to this day, good work ethic.
My work ethic is what also drove me to do chores for many of my neighbors in an effort to assist them with tasks that had become difficult for them. I never asked for money and often offered my services for free. Some of the neighbors insisted in paying a quarter or two, sometimes I would be offered a dollar. I know it does not seem like much compared to today's standards, but then, a dollar would fill my purse full of candy and snacks. I did not always spend my money on the sugary sweets that I craved, for I often saved every dime I made for other purposes.
Once I turned ten, I made extra money babysitting for friends and family that lived in the area. I enjoyed being the primary caretaker for the small infants and toddlers that I watched. I babysat my Filipino cousin, his little brother, and my small cousin, who ended up staying with us for an extended period of time. My experience caring for small children helped me develop my parenting skills and the skills needed to care for a medically fragile child. As a teenager of 14, I began to care for a female infant that had Craniostynostosis. I cared for her in her parents' home while they worked as an EMT and Paramedic for the local hospital. I had to be available at all times while they were on call. In other words, I had to stay at their home, even when they were home, to watch the beautiful little red haired infant.
Once I was old enough, I began working as a waitress at the local steak house. My responsibilities were making burger patties with the 'secret' seasoning, marinating the steaks, waiting on customers, running the register, and keeping the salad bar fresh and clean. I worked at the restaurant until my sister went to a party at my bosses home. My mother made me quit my job because she did not want me to work for an adult who would contribute to the delinquency of minors.
It was not long after I had quit my job at the local steak house that I moved to live with my brother and father. Once I settled in, I started looking for work. I had a family member who worked at Wal-Mart, so I was not able to get a job there. I ended up finding work as a cook for Long John Silver's. I eventually worked my way to running the drive through and the register up front as well. I worked for Long John Silver's for over a year. I had transferred to a store in Lubbock when I graduated high school. The first several months were fine, and the work had become routine.
That is until I was scheduled by myself with three male workers. The assistant manager had followed me into the cooler and tried to remove my clothing. I tried to exit the door after kneeing the man between the legs. However, the door would not budge. I could hear the muffled laughs of the other two men, who must of been holding the door shut. The assistant manager continued to try to rip my clothing off of me when I began screaming and crying at the top of my lungs. My sweat covered skin began to stick to the frozen door as I continued to scream. l kept yelling, "He's hurting me! He's hurting me!" over and over again until the men on the outside door opened to let me out. I could tell by looking in their faces, they two young men felt ashamed as they could not make eye contact with me.
I started to run out the exit door of the store when the assistant manager yelled, "If you tell anyone what happened, I will tell them that you have been having an affair with me the entire time you worked here. I will make sure that your husband knows that you have been unfaithful to him."
I stopped dead in my tracks. The assistant manager knew my ex-husband and I, as my ex-husband was also an assistant manager for the other store in town. He also knew that my ex-husband was very abusive and very racist. If he believed that I was having an affair with a black man, I would most likely be beaten to death. I turned around and yelled, "Well, I'm quitting anyway."
"Well you can't leave with that shirt on or that apron! That's our property," he responded.
I pulled off my shirt and apron, threw it at him and ran across the street to use the phone. While at Wendy's I told the manager what had just happened to me, and showed him the claw marks on my body. I didn't care that the assistant manger across the street was going to make up an affair that never happened. The Wendy's manager gave me a work shirt to wear, and the police showed up quickly. I watched out the window as the police officers escorted the three men from the restaurant across the street and into the police cars.
After the excitement had died down and the officer interviewing me left Wendy's, the Wendy's manager offered me a position running the register in her store. She assured me that it would be a safe working environment, and I would have the opportunity to advance in the restaurant if I wished to. I accepted the position, and worked nights while I finished receiving my Legal Assistant diploma at the business college I attended. I had worked my way up to trainer by the time I left Wendy's for a position at an agricultural insurance company.
I started at the insurance company as the receptionist, who answered phones and sorted mail. Before long, I was making the company's monthly newsletters to go out to the insurance agents and adjusters. I began working on the books and eventually worked as an assistant computer programmer.
Although I worked at the insurance company, I also had three other jobs. I worked for a janitorial service, with whom I cleaned a vending company at four in the morning. I worked evenings at Pizza Hut and Benaglio's, and I worked weekends at an all night daycare. I worked all of these jobs in order for my ex-husband to go to college. He was a junior working on his engineering degree. I found out that he had stopped going to school months before I knew about it, but I did not confront him about it because I knew I would be beat. (Now, before you judge, know this. I would have left the man, but he threatened that if I did, he would kill my family. I stayed with him to protect my parents, sister and nephew, grandmother and uncle, and little brother. This man had tried to kill me on more than one occasion, so I knew he had it in him to keep his word if I left.)
I continued working the five positions until my ex-husband joined the military, and I moved home with my family. I was hired back at Long John Silver's and worked there until my sister asked me to move in with her and help her with her new son. Not long after I moved to Abilene, I received a job at Grandy's. I worked from four in the morning until noon. It was the perfect job for a nineteen year old. With my ex-husband stationed over seas, I had finally gained the nerve to file for a divorce which was granted after his first child, with another woman, was born. I started out making minimum wage and had received over $2.50/hour raises in the nine months I worked there before moving to Sweetwater.
While living in Sweetwater, I was hired as a fuel desk clerk at Roscoe Truck and Travel. I started testing my wings and lived on my own for the very first time. I moved to Winters and worked as a cook at the local steak house for a short time, and I eventually moved back to Sweetwater. I soon received a job at the Sweetwater 76 as a hostess running the register in the restaurant. I worked my way up to assistant manager of the restaurant. That is when I met my current husband Darren, but that is another beautiful story.
After developing a close connection with DJ and several months of constant and consistent contact, my heart swayed me to move to Indiana, where he lived. I soon applied for and received a job as a server at Applebee's Bar and Grill right before the restaurant opened the doors for the first time. I worked there as a server and a server trainer up until DJ and I decided to try to live in Abilene. I was hired at Chelsea's Street Pub and soon learned that I was pregnant. I was given restrictions by my obstetrician including no lifting. The manager insisted that I could still lift the heavy oak chairs and place them on the table. When I refused to risk losing my child, my manager became angry. I quit my job at the pub and was immediately hired as a waitress at the Best Western Hotel restaurant.
Several months passed without incident. DJ was unable to find employment, and we knew he needed to find a job soon because the due date of the baby was nearing. We returned to Indiana where DJ was rehired to work for Gunther's Trucking as a driver. I started back to work at Applebee's and worked up until right before Halloween. In September, the doctor told me that I was beginning to show signs of Toxemia, and he restricted me to working part time with no lifting. Since I was restricted on what I could do, I resumed my training position, and I worked occasionally as a hostess and hostess trainer. Before Halloween, I was put on full bed rest and had to take maternity leave.
My son was born in late November, and I returned to work in January. I soon found out I was pregnant once again and was put on bed rest right away due to being high risk. I did not work again until my second son was a year old. I began working as a bookkeeper for Bruno Enterprises, and I cleaned offices for a law firm. I soon found out my oldest son was being physically abused at daycare, so I pulled my children from the daycare and stayed at home with my children.
When my youngest was three and my oldest learned to speak, I returned to work. I worked as an assistant manager at a convenience store for a good while. My husband and I decided to return to Abilene, and I became a stay-at-home mother. If you ask me, that has always been my toughest job. I loved staying home with my children; but with daily therapies for my oldest son due to his autism, I was often too worn out to find a job out of the home. I did, however, volunteer at the children's school and became volunteer of the year three years in a row.
My oldest son was eight years of age when I decided to become a student. I had been putting off college every since I first graduated high school for one reason of another. I entered the work-study program and worked the first year of school in the library as an assistant. The following year, I was a teacher's assistant where my main duties were record keeping and keeping up with the online classes and as a mathematic's tutor. My last few years in college, I worked only as what was required for my courses. I assisted teachers in local schools, helped tutor students in the reading clinic, and student teaching responsibilities. I graduated from the university with honors.
Although I graduated at the top of my class, I had difficulty finding suitable employment. I put in over two hundred applications and resumes before I was offered a position as an investigator at Child Protective Services. I worked there for a year before I decided to leave my position. I made this decision for three reasons. The first being that I was working 60-80 hours per week and did not get paid for my overtime. The overtime was mandatory, but my supervisor would change my hours so she would not get in trouble.
The second reason is that I was paying all of my take home pay back into the job in travel money. I had no actual income to live on because I spent my first three months out of the academy working the Snyder/Sweetwater area, which is Nolan County, Scurry County, and Mitchell County. That position was opened when I applied for the job, but I did not apply for that position for a reason. My abusive ex-husband was from the area as well as an ex-boyfriend, both of which attempted to kill me. I told my supervisor over and over again that I did not want to work there, but she did not seem to care. I would get cases on old friends and family, and I would notify the supervisor, but I was forced to keep the cases. According to state law, due to conflict of interest, I was not supposed to be taking cases on people I knew.
Finally, the job was a high stress position. I was often reliving the abuse that I had endured throughout my lifetime. I became so depressed that I had to turn off my emotions to get out of bed everyday. My family became worried about me, as they had seen that I had changed. The kids were worried that I had become mean. No, I did not hurt or abuse my children, we just argued every day over trivial things. DJ told me, "Your job is killing you. You aren't the same person that you were before you started working there."
My oldest son said, "You used to be bright, cheerful, and bubbly. Now, you are dark and cynical."
My youngest said, "With all due respect, Mom, with all due respect, you're a bitch."
The words cut through my heart like a hot knife through butter. Here, I had taken a job to help children and to assist families, and the job was tearing my family apart. I immediately resigned my position and agreed to stay for a month in order to close some of my 42 cases. I have not found a job over the last eleven and a half months, but I am still looking. I never was paid my full overtime. I only received $5,500 of the $14,000 in overtime owed me, but that, my readers, is another story.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
15 Day Blogger Challenge - Getting to Know the Blogger
I doubt I will ever be able to pin down anyone I would consider a "closest friend" or a group of "closest friends" as a teenager. I was the kid that was on the outskirts of the average typical teen. I did not fit in with any clique, but I was friends with everyone. My school was small, so it was more of a matter of growing up with one another rather than being cliquish. I am not denying that we had our stoners and our preps, but we all, more or less, got along with one another. As you learned from before, I was very geeky. I still am.
Anyway, I had many friends that had a place in my heart. I guess, I did have close friends when I was younger, but everything changed when I was in high school. My home life was brutal, as the ongoing battle between my sister and my parents kept our household in chaos. For this reason, I pulled away from my closest friends. I still would hang out with them every now and again, but it was too embarrassing for me to be close enough to someone to let them enter my world. The one friend that I clung to the most was Priscilla, but I still do not believe that she knew and understood everything that I was going through.
Together, Prissy and I would listen to The Cure and explore our newfound 'Alternative' lifestyles. We often bought our dark depressing clothing with one another in tow. Prissy dreamed of being a clothing designer, and she would find new ways to make our clothing edgy and unique. One weekend, Prissy and I spent the entire weekend putting safety pins on a denim jacket I had bought. She taught me how to make my hair stand on end and how to make my dark eye makeup even darker.
Unfortunately, as the battles at home raged and my mother slipped into her depression, my depression began to creep in as well. I think that Prissy was the only person that knew that I cut myself on a daily basis. The darkness that invaded my life enveloped me, and I had grown numb. Night after night, I would drag the razor blade across my skin just so I could feel something, anything. When Prissy grew worried about the marks I hid under friendship bracelets, black rubber bracelets, and Swatches, I shut her out as well. Our friendship was never the same from that point.
I was still the perfect little student wearing a perfect little smile across my face in public. I was embarrassed to go around the friends I had gone to church with throughout my life because I was arrested twice for running away so that I could go to church. Mom's demands on me were painful, as I felt time and time again I was being punished for my sister's wrongdoings. Not being allowed to attend church was the final straw. My rough exterior broke, and I dove into a depression that surpassed my sister's. I do not blame my sister or my mother for my reaction to the strict rules set before me. I understand, today, that my mom did not want me to make the same mistakes my sister had made, so she set up a stiffer regiment for me than my sister.
When my sister moved out of the home, I was shielded and 'protected.' I was only allowed to attend school functions, and church was not permitted. Then, I did not understand, so the harder my mother tried, the further she pushed me away. Not long after my sister left, my father left. A few months later, my brother was gone too.
Rebellion had become my middle name. By the beginning of my Senior year, I had no friends only acquaintences. I did not trust anyone at all. My depression peaked when I learned that the school board did not want me to be drum major. I started drinking, doing drugs, and smoking pot was my number one past time. However, cocaine was my drug of choice. I dated guys that were bad influences just to piss my parents off, as well as have easy access to drugs and alcohol. Soon, I was seeing less and less of my mother, and I, pretty much, had the house to myself.
One evening, the shift at the hospital was overstaffed, and my mother was sent home to work. I had snuck my sister over to hang out with me. I watched in horror, as my mother drug her out of the home by her hair, and the two equal sized women beat the hell out of one another. Mom, eventually, stopped coming home. I thought that I was abandoned and all alone. I only was able to eat at school because I received free lunches. The house was out of food, and I often found myself going to the convenience store my aunt managed to beg for food.
The electricity was soon shut off, and I used candlelight to find my way through the house. Although I was doing drugs and drinking, I still kept up with going to school, doing my homework, and making good grades. After all, I had an image to uphold. When I was not at school, band practice, basketball practice, or a game, I was out with my boyfriend doing drugs and raising hail. I remember being chased by the police one night. I jumped from the car and scrambled down alleyways until I found myself home. My boyfriend took off in the other direction. His sister came to the house later that night to tell me that he had been arrested and was in jail.
I had not seen Mom in a few days. I was still begging my aunt for food, and eating my free breakfast and lunches at school. When I had not attended school in two days, the concerned principal, who I had become a regular visitor to, called my grandmother's house, as she was listed as my emergency contact. My sister answered the phone and was notified of my failure to attend classes, and he voiced his concern. Knowing how my geekiness drove me to strive to finish school, my sister became concerned as well.
My sister arrived at the tiny apartment I shared with my mother to find me lying on the couch with 104 degree temperature. She ran to the store where my aunt was working and had her call my father because no one had any idea where to find my mother. My aunt gave my sister Tylenol and a bag of ice. She instructed my sister to run me a cold bath with the ice and give me the pills to help bring my temperature down.
My father arrived at the house in a couple of hours and took me to the emergency room in the hospital my mother worked in. While the doctor explained to my father that I had irreparable kidney damage due to the severe infection, a patient was wheeled into the area next to mine. The nurses and doctors were working frantically to save the life on the other side of the curtain when we heard one state, "Breathe, Sandy. Dammit!" My dad pulled the curtain back and their laid my mother on the gurney.
I had not known that the stress of raising a child with mental illness had become overwhelming for my mother. I never realized how it had broken my family apart and twisted each one of us into one another's worst enemy. Mom had been battling a battle of her own, and I was so absorbed in my teenaged angst that I had failed to see it. The loss of my sister in the family home and built wedges in-between each and every one of us. My father and mother separating had added stress to my mother, and the rebellion that forced my mother to send my brother to live with Dad had taken its toll.
The last thing this woman needed was to lose me too, and lose me she had. Her nervous breakdown had forced her to make a decision to enter a stress unit where she could heal and grow strong once again. Unfortunately, the teenaged me did not understand how hard life had been for mom, and I still carried resentment toward her for abandoning me until I had children of my own.
I moved to a much larger school in a much larger town where I knew no one but my father, brother, and several much older and much older cousins. No one in the school knew me, and I was able to get a fresh start. I was very reserved and timid, and I still did not want to let anyone in. However, two of the coolest people I have ever known had become my very close friends, Michelle and Shane.
Like me, Michelle was quiet and did not like to be loud or raise hell. She reminded me a lot of my friend Prissy. We hung out together, attended dances together, and even went to the prom together. I stayed at Michelle's house on occasion, but I never allowed her to stay at my home, as I was sharing a two bedroom apartment with my father and brother and had to sleep on the couch when my father was off of work. Dad worked the night shift; so when he worked, I slept in his bed. Not having a bed of my own, a dresser of my own, and living out of boxes was embarrassing to me. We did eventually move into a house after my mother was released from the stress unit, and my family was reunited. Michelle did not know a lot about my family.
Shane, on the other hand, knew everything about me as he recognized my behaviors because they we behaviors he and I shared. We were often in 'flight or fight mode.' Shane and I grew very close because his homosexuality helped me bond with a man on a level that I did not feel threatened or at risk for sexual advances. Shane knew about my drug habit, which I kept well hidden from everyone else, and he knew about my cutting habit. He did not judge me because of the scrutiny he had fought his entire life due to his more feminine attributes.
To date, I do not think that Shane really realizes how much he means to me, but Michelle is well aware. She and I are still in contact with one another and enjoy watching one another's families grow and change via the internet. I would love, someday, to have the opportunity to spend time with Michelle once again. I would also love to be able to find and contact Prissy. I think of her often and miss being her friend. Though time has passed, I know that we would be able to re-enter our friendship. Most of the other children I grew up with are my friends on my Facebook, and we are still acquainted with one another. Several of them I hold dear as they were my first friends and companions, which I foolishly pushed away my final school years. I would love, some day, to be able to let them know how much they meant to me as a child and how I still carry them with me, but that, my darlings, is another story.
~ I just finished this book. ~ This book was awe inspiring. Reading the book puts you on the emotional roller coaster that therapeutic families ride on every day. It helps you understand what it is like to be a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as a parent raising a child with mental illness.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Not Just a Band Geek
Growing up, school was my life. I loved school and strived to be the best I could be no matter the cost. I often spent my days learning everything that I could learn. After school would let out, I would walk home, do my chores and start on my homework. Unfortunately, due to my slow writing speed, poor penmanship, and dyslexia, it would often take me all evening to finish my school work. I often fell asleep trying to finish, and I got up extra early to finish what I had not completed the next morning. I would often ask the teachers to allow me to stay inside during recess to finish what I had not completed the night before. I struggled intensely trying to make the A's that were the results of all of my hard work. In the third grade, I received my first and only C throughout my school career. I had broken my arm and was not able to complete the required pull ups to pass my P.E. class. The teacher told my mother that my doctor's note meant that I did no work throughout the six weeks, and she felt that her giving me a passing grade was more than generous for the laps I walked around the school while everyone else ran. The following six weeks, my arm was still weak from misuse, and I received only a B in the P.E. class. These were my only non-A grades I would see on my report card through my completion of high school.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The women in my family are my most favorite memories. I was blessed with wonderful grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Because my mother had just turned eighteen years old before I was born, my older sister and I were fortunate enough to not only know all except for one of our natural grandparents but also know all of our great-grandparents. The one grandparent I never knew was my maternal grandfather, who passed away nine years before I was born. I love all my family members, but I learned so much from the women in my family.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Small Town, USA
I could tell you a thousand lies about where I grew up, but I do not feel that I should try to deceive you. Therefore, I will tell you the truth. Most of the time, I feel that I grew up in the depths of hell, but there are other times, I feel that I grew up in a happy place.