Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beautiful China Dish


  Four, count that: 1,2,3-4!! Four days left of school, and then externship!!  I really, REALLY hope that this works out and I have a job by the end of it! BUT if I don’t, I have faith that I’ll find a job quickly, even if it’s not necessarily what I want, but it’ll be a job, right?? 

In other news, “Dun Dun Dun”…things have slowed down here, slowly growing quieter day by day.  I still have the mag articles (which I’m SUPER stoked about), and the occasional volunteer time (which looks like it’ll be picking up pace here VERY soon), but otherwise…quiet.  And with perfect timing.  Everything is happening and falling together around the same time: the blog, the articles, the volunteering, school, extern, and hopefully, work.  It’s like the universe said “Hey, feel like you haven’t gotten anywhere near your dreams lately?? Let me sing you the song of my people!” *Fling* “Have fun being a grown up!!”.  And I couldn’t be happier.  My life is falling together just the way I want it to right now, today.  Things are never perfect, but they are pretty damn close. 


  Life has not always been so sunny (obviously, y’all have read most of that lol), and it hasn’t always been so clear.  It really is a pretty new outlook for me, one that’s only a few years old. Although it feels like it’s been forever since my Great Revelation, it really hasn’t. Even after it there was a loooong time I struggled with my own happiness.  I can confidently say that’s no longer a problem.  I’m happy, I’m healthy(er) ;), I’m moving forward, and above all else, I have my AMAZING family right beside me for this whole journey.  I’m sure there will days (frequently) in the future that I will forget nights like tonight and I will feel down and defeated. But I know it’ll be temporary. I will be right back up to where I am right now…or even better.




 When CPS came and told me I had to leave Keith, and I realized I had nowhere else to go but back to Maryland, a part of me was ecstatic, and a part of me was heartbroken.  I missed “home” so much, but I had a life in New York too, and for the most part it was good.  It feels like a lifetime ago that I was stepping back off a plane, this time back into a place I thought I’d always rather be.  I arrived in Baltimore in November of 2005, heart-broken and lost, but hopeful (falsely if nothing else).  I had a friend who worked in BW Airport and lived in Baltimore. I stayed with him for a few days, but quickly realized that was not going to work.  I decided to go home to College Park where my extended family lived, pray for a place to stay and time to figure out my life. 


My childhood was officially over. 


  There was nothing left of it, I could no longer cling to the hope that it’d arrive on the doorstep one day, cold and lost and say “Here I am!!  Let’s get together and have some fun now!”…yeah... no, that just wasn’t going to happen.  It was time to buck and be a big girl, get a job, create an adult life that I wasn’t prepared for… ironically. 

At this point, I was 16 years old with all of the wisdom of the world.  Considering I was past the 16 and ½ mark I was closer to 17 and, well, that was good enough for me. I’d spent the last 5 years trying like hell to just grow up and I had arrived!  I’d lied about my age for so long, I almost began believing it.  But this was the time to stop, analyze, and make myself live the reality I’d been trying to infiltrate.  But hey, adults party don’t they???  Well, I was an adult, it was time to have some real adult fun! 


  After going back to Maryland, the only communication I had with Keith was phone calls and it didn’t take long for the phone calls between Keith and I to get tense, realize the other was unhappy and lying about what we were doing while apart, and eventually, we’d both just come out with the fact that we’d found others to occupy us while we were apart.  He was forced (more or less)admitted this first. He thought he’d stupidly knocked someone up and figured I’d hear about it sooner rather than later.  It was just the excuse we both needed to put a label on what was happening and call it a breakup.  We were ok with that. We just stopped calling and went about our lives as normal. 


  Having moved back to the little neighborhood I’d lived in for the majority of my childhood, I quickly filled my time hanging out with familiar people who’d been in my life throughout the years.   There were some who hadn’t been a friend through the years, but a presence none-the-less. One in particular became a very important someone during this time. 

Chris* was younger than me, 15 at the time, he was such a sweet innocent boy.  He’d grown up in a house just a few doors down and his family was a solid one.  He had no idea when his hormones caught interest in me what a damaged and sad girl I was or how awful I’d treat him.  And to be honest, I had no idea either.  The little girl, the abused and broken child part of me hungered for the love and attention; the whole-hearted devotion he was offering me. The damaged part of me did nothing but trample on it and break his heart.  For four months I played him, strung him along, gave little and took much, cheated and then I left him.  I left him there broken and miserable and totally confused about what the fuck he’d just gone through.  I gave no cares about his feelings, about the damage I was causing him.  Because of ALL the abuse and trauma I’d endured, I effortlessly did much of the same kind of trauma to him. I ripped his innocent heart to pieces and then left him. 

Or at least that's how it feels to me. Logically I know it was BECAUSE of all I'd been through and the damage done. The part of me that knew better and still believes everything was my choice also believes I should have handled it differently-regardless of the damaged parts that were destroying me from the inside out.

  
  I lived with various family members, all of whom believed just as I did, that I was adult enough to live my own life, or scared to try and stop me.  And Chris’s family didn’t like what he was doing with me, or the amount of time we spent together.  But it was easy for me to live one way with him, and then go home and shower it all off and be a different person.   I must’ve cheated on him every night for the four months.  I would leave his house, go home, get dressed, and walk right back out the door to someone else’s place and stay the night there.  Looking back, it feels like I must’ve just turned off my little Jiminy Cricket and just floated along, doing whatever the hell I wanted…because I was an “adult”.  While there was no one there guiding me in any way through the minefield of my life, I am also not sure they would have been able to steer me in the right direction if there was someone. Like I said, I was an adult. And like most teenagers who decide they're adults, I knew it all.  I just wish looking back now that there was someone to be my Jiminy Cricket.


  In the end, I never got a job, I never did anything productive.  I didn’t make anyone’s life better, or contribute to anyone’s day to day.  I just “did me” and when I was done, I got my ass on a Greyhound bus and I left. 


  I obliviously went back to NY and called Keith. I moved right back in with him the moment I set foot back in Mayville.  Besides the few phone calls and texts, I forgot what I’d done while I was in Maryland.  On my life went, without a thought in the world for anything I’d wrecked in Maryland.  I cannot, in a million years, take back what I did to that poor sweet boy.  He never knew, and he never will.  I broke him. He hates me, rightfully so.  It took a few more years after this to finally admit to myself all of the wrong I’d done. I humbly accepted the karma coming my way for it.  I’ve accepted it every day since.  I can never physically apologize to him. I’ll never call or write.  But if he reads this, and I don’t pretend to assume he will, but if he does, I hope he believes these words.  I hope he knows how truly, truly sorry and remorseful I am.  Above all, I hope he has found happiness.  I hope his life is full and he has love and confidence in his relationships. 



“Grab a plate and throw it to the ground. Did it break?”

“Yes.”

“Now say sorry to it.” “Sorry.”

“Did it go back to the way it was before?”

“No.” “Now do you understand?”

Yes, I do.


  I hope he’s filled his cracks with gold.  I hope that where I broke him, he is now beautiful because of it.  He should be whole, he shouldn’t have to live with cracks and I can’t “Sorry” them away. But I hope that where I broke him, he’s more beautiful because of them.



I look back at my actions now and they disgust me. I am embarrassed to the tip of my toes to the very split ends of my hair. It's almost impossible to view my actions without all that I've learned since then.  It's very hard to realize that the damage I did to that amazing young man was an extension of the damage within me. This entire blog is filled with stories that I still view as 100% MY doing. I have never lived a life where there was an adult parent to guide me. I'd been pretty much on my own for everything other than shelter for 5 years or more at this point.


  There is no manual that can be handed to a 12 year old who is responsible for learning to be a responsible, respectable, respectful adult. That comes from the adults in our lives and I didn't have that guidance-I had the guidance of pimps like Angelo and Tyrone. They had used me in much the same way I used Chris.


Those were the influences that shaped who I was.


  I look back and I did know other people in my life who were good, decent, respectable, respectful and didn't do what I did. I know NOW those are the people I should have been emulating. I know I was incredibly damaged and there was so much therapy needed.
But in my heart? I know I am also responsible for my actions and that balance is something I struggle with every day of my life.  Balancing that responsibility and making my brain remember and view everything that happened in those years with the knowledge that I am a victim and that abuse shaped those actions as much as my own free will is very hard. I own the blame for his hurt, but I know too that the reasons I did what I did are far more complicated than just a self-centered teenage girl.
 
   I am working through my damage and hurts. I am making better choices, but I have a long road in the coming months and years.

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