Now that I’m an adult with children of my own I am better able to make sense of the way my parents chose to raise me. They had one biological son and they adopted me. I believe they adopted for the wrong reasons and were totally unprepared for what they were getting themselves into. They did maintain strict rules, taught manners and made sure I wanted for nothing money could buy. My brother was always treated much different. Completely different rules, standards…everything. I had chores that included cleaning each room of the house including my brothers and parents. I did dishes nightly, trash, dusted and vacuumed 3 times a week, wad in charge of laundry and mowed the lawn. My brother had none. As soon as I was old enough I started working in the summers and weekends. I was not allowed to go many places because they pinned me as a trouble maker. I was never in trouble in school or with the authorities. When I was little and would cry and miss my mom, I was told not to feel sorry for myself because I wasn’t the only one in the world going through it. These actions are starkly different from what our church peers saw, or anyone looking in from the outside. It wasn’t till later in life that I had a chance to speak with some people who were close to our family that I finally realized I wasn’t the only one who thought I was being treated unfairly. I don’t think I was treated this way on purpose, but when they were confronted something should have changed. Now as an adult the relationship is hardly recognizable and they have no real interest in mine or their grandchildren. It’s sad but I forgive them.
Spent the ages six to sixteen with an adopted family. Their goal was to protect me from a world I had long since experienced. Instilling well placed morals and ideals. Introducing religion, we would participate in church on Sundays and bible study on Wednesdays. A great family dynamic. Dad was a firefighter, mom worked at the police station. Quiet evenings and a large fenced yard. One older brother, a small dog…story book status really. We did things together like camping, holidays, movies. Summers I spent a lot of time with relatives hanging out with cousins, working, playing on my grandpas farm. Summers were always amazing. After about 4 years we moved to the country. A large house on a hill suiting on four acres. Twenty minutes from any real city. Life was good and quiet. Well it should have been good, but I always craved something else. I grew up in such chaos it had become part of me. My heart never stopped yearning for it, and I would seek it wherever I could. I’m certain my parents thought I was crazy, but they took it in stride. In an attempt to further calm me down I was put in private school. This only made me worse, I immediately attracted the black sheep in the school. Girls who were much worse than I ever was, and they really expanded my mind. I lasted a year and a half in private school, and a month after turning sixteen set off on a new journey.
It’s easy to let yourself be defined by many different things. Other people’s opinions, a turbulent past, your parents ideals, or even keeping up with a normal appearance. Living this way is not only confusing but, exhausting. I’ve let a “bad childhood” rule me for most of my life. “Memories” echoing in my mind affecting me, even as an adult. Regardless of the medications and therapies that have been a part of my life since childhood. As I get older and reflect I’m haunted by one specific thing. These memories I retain are not my own. Planted memories, constantly repeated and reinforced. These things I was fed were the reason I was placed in a new home at six. Boom! I had no idea what was going on, other than what caseworkers, police, therapists, and so on were telling me. From the age of four till I was six I was interviewed, questioned, consoled, and told of all these awful things I was privy to. To this day I have zero working memory of these incidents. Child molestation and witnessing the murder of my brother are things I would assume would stick with me. Not the case. I do not believe they are fact. I am certain the divorce and following custody battle played a huge part in those, among other, stories. My parents were not good people and I think my mother would have said and done anything to keep custody from my father. Including severely corrupting her daughters mind and ultimately tossing me away forever. The result of her selfish and damaging actions sculpted who I would become in later years. My ability to bond, trust, love, even manage a healthy friendship were affected.
We all have a history, a past, things that haunt us. Each of us struggles with something. There comes a time, my time is now, when you let go. Accept the bad and the good. Move forward and grow. I’ve been holding this hot Cole, despite it searing my skin. I have to put it down and heal. I’m tired of who I am being defined by what may have happened over two decades ago. Now make no mistake, this will be a Hell of a challenge, but wouldn’t life be boring without challenges? We are in control, we have free will, we decide our path. I plan to try my damndest to navigate my own journey. Learning and growing. Hopefully my words which reflect my heart can help others too.
Are you on your own journey? Have you begun redefining your life? Have any thoughts, comments, questions? I’d love to share in your story as well.