Throughout most of my life I have often wondered how I would have turned out having been raised by different parents. I have been curious to know what it is like to be hugged by parents who mean it, to be encouraged by parents who want success for me and are genuinely interested in just my life in general.
I have come to the conclusion that the people that share my DNA are uninterested, not encouraging and are not loving. I think that sometimes they forget I exist, literally. A difficult conclusion, I might add and certainly not one that I wanted to accept. I quickly come to mind when they have need for something.
I was born to my parents in 1973 after they had lost a child due to a miscarriage which I have been reminded of repetitively during my life. After the miscarriage the conception of me took eight years. Living in that shadow, I was expected to be the perfect child, sad but true which was the catalyst for a plethora of problems that would overflow into my adult life. More than once I have been told that I was not worth the wait or she (my mother) wished I had not been born at all. She said that she had waited so long for what, me? How's that for loving?
Our existence was filled with falseness that spilled over to the outside world. I was hugged when in public to maintain the facade that my family was "the perfect family." Inside those walls of the house there was a completely different atmosphere sometimes smothering. The portrayal of perfection was so stressful and expectations so high, I literally collapsed at six years old from exhaustion.
As I grew up and went school, the classroom became my escape. I attached myself to my teachers and the search for a family had begun. The older I got the harder I tried to seek acceptance from my own family. I would strive to make the best grades, get the lead in the play, or whatever it took to get their attention, because in order to do that I had to be perfect.
As a teenager I was in advanced classes as I had been my entire school life, I brought home my first "B" (not a typo, yes a B). I trembled as I handed it to my mother, a beating ensued as I had embarrassed her by not making an "A". The next time I made a "B" I forged my mother's name. My teacher called me out of class to ask me why I had signed her name to the interim report, I explained what had happened before, she never sent another report home.
At sixteen, I got pregnant with my oldest daughter Brittany. I attended a private school, I had to hide it. I decided I would graduate in summer school a year early. I did, then I told my mother I was pregnant. By this time I was seven months. I kept it hidden because I knew she would make me have an abortion or give her up for adoption. I was right. Of course, all of it ended up being about her as I again had embarrassed her, how could I have done this to her. She made me stand up in front of the church and announce that I was having a "bastard child." What more support could I ask for?
Everyone knows that my mother is a saint, after all. She fails to remember that I was alive and old even not to forget the affairs she had. Not to mention the times she decided she wanted my dad and us to move out, it never failed that it was near the holidays. Still to this day I hate the holidays, all thanks to her. This will put the icing on the cake, for Christmas the first time she had us move out, Santa brought my sister and I a luggage set. I would never forget that Christmas, not because of my mother but rather my Daddy. He built me a doll house from the ground up. I even got to pick put the wallpaper, he and I made curtain rods out of q-tips. For about six months I lived in a camper outside my granny's trailer. That was when I really started to get close to my granny. She liked for me to read to her, she couldn't read.
I made a profound decision after having had Brittany. I decided and was determined not to become a statistic. It has not been easy, especially with two other children, a failed marriage and until now being completely alone in the world, literally. I have succeeded and continue to be successful everyday despite the lack of concern, encouragement and support from my immediate family. Never once have they said,I am proud of you or anything else positive but I have accepted the reality it won't ever happen, not from them at least.
Therefore, I search out and surround myself with people who will support me, who will be there even when I fail and love me just the same, and encourage me to go after my goals no matter how big or small and by no means expect me to be perfect. Some of them are clients, some are old family friends, some new people that trickle into my life and they all play very specific parts in my life.
For me letting people be a part of my life, to truly let them into who I am and break down the exterior that most people see is in all cases frightening. I am probably the most unsure person. I am afraid of rejection, of not meeting expectations and of just not being good enough. All of these come from a life lived in the shadow of the one they lost and my mother's inability to become less self-absorbed and love me.
My mother's words were far worse than her hands, the abuse happened both verbally and physically. I lived with fear stuck in my throat for most of my childhood and through my teenage years. A few years back I confronted her about a few things from the past, I laid it on the line and asked her reasoning for many things she had done. Her response to me was that she didn't know what I thought she had done to me but that I was crazy. I should have realized then that this relationship was not worth my time, she is toxic and that unless she changes it will remain unreconciled. A harsh conclusion to come to I know but I don't know what else to do.
Since then I have been in search of a family, not blood kin. I have acquired many sets of people that I consider parents. I have Mia and Bob, Toni and Randy, Kathleen and Lewis, Irma, Donna and JM, Brownie and Bill. Each of these people play a huge part in my life. They have cried with me, celebrated with me and watched me evolve into the person that I am today. I am fortunate to have them be a part of my life.