Tag Archive: love


Scars of Who We Are Chapter XV-Home

And two chapters remain.

Chapter 15 ~For years I have ached to go back home, when there was nobody there to whom I could return.

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Shortly after I introduced Rebekah to my mom’s family, I ended up cutting ties once more with my mother and began distancing myself from her and the rest of the family. In truth I just couldn’t take all the lies anymore and I was done with feeling like a belittled second class member of the family. I was done with the whole thing. I tried my best to make things work, but no matter how hard I would try, nothing ever worked, I would always leave feeling worse about myself than I did before I visited. Also sadly for reasons beyond my control, Rebekah and I ended up going our separate ways. I admit now that it had been stupid of me to break up with her, but there was drama that entered our lives from a most trusted friend who through jealously managed to create a rift between her and myself. For me the wound festered in paranoia, fear and crippling doubt, which forced me to break things off before the drama got any worse than it already had. All because a friend, a cousin who I loved as a brother, who’s betrayal had come unexpected, cutting me deeper than he’ll ever know. Torn, I ended my relationship with Rebekah and needless to say the New Year wasn’t that great for me.

My older brother and his dog Dozer

My older brother and his dog Dozer

Roughly, a year later I was beginning to feel alright again about my life and where it was heading. Slowly I began rebuilding my relationship with my cousin which wasn’t easy, knowing I’d never fully be able to trust him again, but we had been close since we were six and it was from this sentiment I decided not to let our relationship fall to the wayside, to be lost and scattered on the winds of time.  He made a mistake and I couldn’t exactly fault him for it, he had liked Rebekah for the same reasons that caused me fallen head over heels in love with her. Then as fate would have it, I ran into my older brother while working at the Kenton County Library in Newport. To my surprise we struck up a good rapport with each other, better than any we had ever had in the past. We ended up exchanging numbers for I had lost his and he mine and after a couple of days he and I began hanging out. It felt good to reconnect to his brother I barely knew. Growing up I barely even knew him, for he rarely ever wanted anything to do with me, other than tormenting or teasing me in some way. Then when he did finally want to get to know me, I didn’t really want to get close to him, because I knew a little of his involvement with drugs, drinking and his run ins with the police. All the things I didn’t care much for, or want any part of, also, I didn’t trust his friends and knew the kind of crowd he liked to runaround with. But during this time, he started going back to church and he left most of his old friends behind for the purpose of carving out a new life for himself. To my surprise I discovered he and I had a lot in common and shared similar interest in movies, the outdoors, martial arts and philosophical views. We were also both born again Christians, starting down a new path and it felt good to find myself going down the same path with my brother. In a few months I had the kind of relationship with my older brother that I used to always dream about having when I was a kid. We were as brothers should be. I trusted him without question, confided in him as you would your closest friend. After years of never knowing my brother, I had found him, just as he had with me. It only took us two decades to finally get there and to form that brotherly bond that all siblings should have.

My brother and I hiking at Red River Gorge

My brother and I hiking at Red River Gorge

In time, I grew to almost forget how he used to tease and make fun of me, making the past that once was feel not so much like a distant memory, but as something that had happened to someone else.  But after a time, he began asking me about my relationship with our mother and pushing for me to talk to her, to take the first steps in forgiveness and to forget about whatever differences we had in the past. Something I couldn’t bring myself to do, time and again I kept trying to explain to him without telling him exactly why I couldn’t do as he asked, I couldn’t go back down the road,because I knew all that would be waiting for me would be more pain and disappointment. I spent months, and a year building back up that wall around my heart and guarding myself from her. I was terrified of the prospect of letting my mother back into my heart just so that she could wreck it all over again. But no matter what I said, or how hard I tried to ignore and change the subject, he wouldn’t stop, insisting that I just talk to her and bury the hatchet, to make amends and forget the past to start anew. The more he talked, the more I found myself wanting to tell him everything and how weary it became keeping the truth locked up within the confines of my heart. But I feared the truth and what it would do to him. Maybe I was a little selfish in doing so, fearing that if I told him, it would cause the relationship we had been building to unravel completely,

My brother and me on the beach

My brother and me on the beach

because I doubted he would believe anything negative I had to say about his mother. I was also afraid of what would happen if he did believe me and what that it would cost him. Our mother was always good to him, bordering on spoiling him even, she had always been there for him, looked out for him and supported him when no one else did. How could I take that away from him and I did it wouldn’t make me any better than her. If my brother listened to me and took my side it would take away yet another pillar of support that he had and he didn’t have many since his real father had been a deadbeat. But no matter what I said, or how hard I tried to ignore and change the subject, he wouldn’t stop, insisting that I just talk to her and bury the hatchet, to make amends and forget the past to start anew. The more he talked, the more I found myself wanting to tell him everything and how weary it became keeping the truth locked up within the confines of my heart. But I feared the truth and what it would do to him. Maybe I was a little selfish in doing so, fearing that if I told him, it would cause the relationship we had been building to unravel completely, because I doubted he would believe anything negative I had to say about his mother. I was also afraid of what would happen if he did believe me and what that it would cost him. Our mother was always good to him, bordering on spoiling him even, she had always been there for him, looked out for him and supported him when no one else did. How could I take that away from him and I did it wouldn’t make me any better than her. If my brother listened to me and took my side it would take away yet another pillar of support that he had and he didn’t have many since his real father had been a deadbeat.

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Of course it didn’t help matters much that I also kinda figured that my my mother had already told and convinced my brother of her side of things and anything that I would say would be but lies in his eyes. Because I long since saw the power of a lie and how quickly it can travel around the world, while the truth is still at home putting on its shoes. People in my experience always seem to believe the first story they hear and it doesn’t that the lie can often be easier to digest than the truth, because the truth can often be far more painful to accept because of what it means. Many are all too eager to accept and believe in the lie, than see the logic behind the truth. So I feared I would lose my brother forever, or wound him beyond measure if my truth ended up costing him his relationship with his mother and it was in this I was willing to just leave things be. His relationship with our mother was his and his alone, it wasn’t mine. Plus I didn’t want to put him in that kind of situation that would put him between her and me, I respected and accepted the circumstances that his mother wasn’t mine, the woman I knew as our mother was completely different from the one he knew. That being said, no one deserves being put in a situation where they have to choose between family and I would never envy anyone in that position. Like myself, my brother can be infinitely stubborn and for whatever reason he wouldn’t give up on trying to get me to work with him on reestablishing this relationship with our mother, whenever we were out and there was any lull in the conversation, he’d start telling me how I had only one mother and how the bible says we should honor our mother and father. Once, I even came close to telling him the truth, by asking,

“But what if your mother or father doesn’t exactly honor or respect you?”

“She’s your mother and she gave you life,” He argued,

“Listen…I never told you this, but do you know what she told me when I was sixteen?” I asked, turning in my seat to look at him, not wanting to tell him that story, but at the same time felt so tired feeling like I was living a lie by not telling him the true nature of my relationship with our mother.

“Look, I know you two had your issues in the past, but it’s over and done with, you can say one thing, and she’ll say another, it’s time to get over it and remember you’re both family, forget the past, live for tomorrow instead.”

“Its not so easy,” I told him, knowing from his tone and the look he gave me that he didn’t want to hear my story about when I was sixteen. So I dropped the subject and for the moment so did he.

Once during this time I even dreamt about it, I dreamed I gave my mother another chance and once again it ended in pain and discord. In my dream I was back home. My mother was screaming at me, accusing me of something and telling me how I was this huge disappointment, an accident she wished that would have died in the womb. Having heard enough, I turned and went into into the room that used to be mine, but now it was mine again, filled with relics throughout my childhood. My old nightlight, my Batman doll, my spider-man action figures, my story time clock and in this dream I pulled this old burlap sack from my closet and began collecting these relics of my childhood, stuffing them down into this burlap sack, because I planned on taking it all with me, everything. All the while, my mother and step father screaming profanities at me, pulling and tearing at my clothes, shoving me as I ignored them and continued collecting everything from my childhood, before I finally turned on her shouting,

“I’ve had it, I’m done with you and all these games, I’m leaving and never coming back, you have wish and I’m never coming back!”

I awoke as my mother screamed and shoved me down the stairs, leaving me grasping at empty air as I fell still gripping my burlap sack. I awoke in a cold sweat and call Rebekah, who despite everything that happened between us, was still a good friend.

Me goofing off behind my sleeping step-father on the last vacation I'll ever share with them.

Me goofing off behind my sleeping step-father on the last vacation I’ll ever have with them.

My cousin derek, me, my brother and Jenifer

My cousin derek, me, my brother and Jenifer

I told her about my older brother and my dream, how I was struggling to find the right thing to do and her advice was for me to stand my ground. She believe the Lord was trying to warn me what would happen if I returned home, if I let my mother back into my life she would only break me again, she advised me told me to have a sit down with Dominic and just tell him everything.

Sadly I never had the chance, (I’m also a victim of always trying to find the right moment for such things) Because before I could, Dominic had asked me to a movie and when we pulled into the parking lot of the Danbury Theater, his phone rang as he parked his jeep he tossed me the phone saying,

“They want to talk to you,” and he jumped out of his jeep before I could ask who it was, but I should have guessed.

He shut the door and began pacing around the front of his jeep as I tentatively brought the phone to my ear and whispered, “Hello?”

The voice on the other ended mirrored my tone as they greeted me; my mother spoke as if she wasn’t sure how to proceed, asking me how I was, about my work and what I have been up to.

I answer, keeping my responses as short as possible, fearing my voice would betray me and hating how I still loved her even after everything that’s happened.

Like my brother, a part of me still wanted and longed for this family. Which I didn’t know until right then as I spoke with her that day on the phone, just hearing her voice made me realized how much I missed her, missed all of them  my little brothers I missed the most.

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She asked about my grievances, and then gave me apologies and excuses/explanations as I spoke. We ended our conversation with her telling me how much she missed and loved me; reluctantly I told her how I loved her too.

I wasn’t angry about what my brother did, at the time I actually felt a little better having talked with her. So in the weeks and months that followed I gradually allowed my brother to bring me around our mother. Naturally I was suspicious and wary at first, but gradually she managed to coax me out from behind my walls and for a while everything seemed fine. The past seemed good and gone and I began believing my mother had truly changed for the better. Yeah we still had our bumps in the road, but the ride wasn’t as rocky as it once was and I was happy to finally have my family back, even though my father had strongly disapproved of me trying to reestablished this relationship with my mother and her side of the family, but this was something I myself wanted and I wanted more than anything for it work, to be real, I needed it so that I could finally heal and maybe even forget about the past. Little did I know I was setting myself up to learn why it is they say you can never go home again.

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Scars of Who We Are part 14

                      “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

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It’s amazing how small your life seems once you pack everything you ever own at nineteen and load it into the back of your father’s truck. It took two trips which we had divided up between two days of moving my stuff up to New Port, where I was to live with my father and grandmother. It felt strange saying goodbye to the place that had once been my home and had spent so much time within and finally walking away from everything. It was hard. Even though she wasn’t the best mother in the world, she was still my mother and for better or worse, I still loved her. I only wished that she could love me too and I wish I could tell you why I loved her. But I suppose it was the little things and something to do with all children loving their mothers. Leaving me to often contemplate about all the things that could have been. But I couldn’t let a few good memories anchor to someone who would only drag me down to the bottom of the sea. It was sink or swim and I chose to swim.

Two days after moving my stuff,  we went to Burger King to pick up my last paycheck, followed by a short trip to the Bank of Kentucky to close out my savings accounts, ideally to transfer the funds over to a bank closer to where I was going to be, which was fifth third. However my mother had already beaten me to it, the young woman at the desk politely informed me that my account had already been closed two days prior, by my mother.

All the money I got for graduation, money I had saved doing odd job while growing up, but all money I was going to save for college or put towards a car was gone. Every penny I had saved since I was fourteen. The poor girl must have thought I was insane as I started to laugh, knowing I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. Because when you’re under 18, you need a co-signer and I agreed to make her mine, figuring if I was ever in a bind she could withdraw some cash for me. Also, I was fool who believed if I had her name on my account it would show that I trusted her and bring us closer together. But I was wrong. She had taken it for herself, or perhaps even given it to my older brother, but I’ll get to that in a minute. But i shouldn’t have been surprised, because a year prior, I wanted to get a high school graduation ring along with the rest of my friends and my mother talked my dad and grandmother into pitching in, they agreed and pooled their money together to send her a few hundred bucks so that I could get a nice ring.

My grandma, I miss her

M grandmother, the closest thing to a real mom I ever had.

My mother had no problem cashing the checks, but the ring however never found its way to me. It didn’t matter how many times I asked about it, she would give me the run around. She always seemed to have multiple excuses at the ready, but eventually she convinced me to have one made at Wal-Mart which would be cheaper, telling me I could put the difference in the bank.…(before you go judging my on my stupidity here, remember hindsight is 20/20.) so as you can guess I never got my ring and the money never found its way to my saving’s account.

Two years prior I had been the proud owner of a dirt bike that I was given a year before and a mini bike the year previous from my grandpa on my mom’s side. Then one day I noticed both my bikes were missing from our garage and when I inquired about them, I was told my step-father had taken them to get serviced. But as time wore on I kept getting excuses as to why it was taking so long to get my bikes back. Until one day, I came home early from a friend’s house and by chance I happened upon  my mom on the phone with my brother, which wasn’t uncommon, they called each other every day, but then I overheard her saying,

“Dominic I can’t afford to give you any more money right now, I already gave you the money for Josh’s bikes…”  Then I froze there on the bottom of the steps, knowing that she didn’t know I was home and that I had just overheard the truth of why it was taking the guy so long to finish tuning up my bikes, because they were gone, sold.

I never confronted her though, I figured if I did she’ll only deny it, or give me some excuse, or sob story, or somehow turn it around on me for ease dropping even though it hadn’t been purposely done so. You can’t help but hear something you overheard. So I let it go and quietly fumed and never thought of it again, until that day at the bank when the young woman was telling me my account had been closed.

Anger soon gave away to depression and I spent the next few days just lying on my grandma’s couch, feigning illness so that my grandmother and father wouldn’t worry. Truth was, I was broken and couldn’t stop thinking about all the things my mother had done, wondering if she ever loved me at all, or if it was all just some ploy to rob me blind and to make my life miserable. Everything I had been working towards was gone and at nineteen my life felt like it was over. The task of starting all over from scratch seemed daunting and I was afraid of failing again. I blamed myself as much as I did my mother, hating myself for not getting out when I had the chance, for not being smarter and not better protecting myself. I hated my naïveté.

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My cousin Nick reminding me to hang in there

I ended up beating myself up for days, before finally finding the strength to pull myself together. My cousin Nick contributed more than he knows to helping me find the strength to pull myself back together again. For after hearing I had moved in with my father and grandmother, he took it upon himself to help me stand back on my own two feet again, reminding me how to have a good time, how to laugh along with helping me rediscover my lost smile. Every week we hung out, went to the movies, biking, or simply sat around and shared a few laughs.

After a while I was finally ready to start all over, walking the streets of Newport everyday going to every business and filling out applications and always following up the next day and the day after. Eventually the Newport Library got tired of seeing me coming in every day and asking for work, so they finally offered me a job as a shelver.

A few months later the calls started, my mother was trying to get a hold of me, wanting to talk. At first I avoided her calls like the plague, refusing to speak to her, always telling my dad or grandma to tell her I wasn’t there or that I had just left. I didn’t want this woman anyway near my life. As far as I was concerned she was poison.

But eventually, my grandma and even my father of all people began telling me that I needed to talk to her and I should see what she wants. So then one day she called and I answered. I could hear the tension and the relief in her voice and the tentative way that she spoke that she was afraid I’ll hang up before she got to say what she wanted to say to me. At first she was asking me questions about how I been, what I’ve been up too and how it was living with my father. I kept my answers as short as possible, afraid of accidentally opening that door that would lead her back into my heart, until she started crying… between sobs she confessed to everything, apologizing profusely for not being a good mother and for never being the kind of mother that I needed. She begged for my forgiveness, and for another chance. Reluctantly I cave and agreed to let her back into my life.

For a while things were okay between us, I started spending time with her and the rest of the family again and as if by some unspoken agreement, none of us mentioned the past or what it was that drove me away from home and all of them. In time, it began to feel like family again. But over time, the cracks began to show and suddenly I wasn’t good enough and my job at the library had become a disappointment. Things slowly escalated from there with little snide comments and the “forgetting of my birthday” and eventually things degraded to the point where I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I couldn’t help but feel like I was becoming the target of ridicule, with nothing I ever did being good enough and I was constantly being treated like I was some little kid and calling me selfish and greedy because I didn’t come around more, ignoring the fact that I was working and also had another family so to speak.. But I bit my tongue and kept trying to make things work, wanting them to work and trying to watch my own behavior to see if they were right. But I was feeling torn again between what felt like to warring factions, my mother’s side and my fathers.

Rebekah my guiding light.

Rebekah my guiding light.

But then I met her, Rebekah Josann Stidham, my lighthouse who guided me from my own darkness and the rocky shores and treacherous shores of my soul. My dealings with my mother and her family was tearing me apart and I was gradually sinking back into my depression, beginning to believe in my own worthlessness and that I was broken, destined to spend the rest of my life alone.

Rebekah changed all that, I me her by chance at the library; she was a volunteer along with her sister Rachel and Rebekah’s smile reminded me of Christmas morning and the sound of her laughter was as soothing as a warm breeze in the fall.. She was the first girl I ever met who made the first move by leaving me at work after we first met. She was…and still is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on, sweet, attentive, understanding and her laugh had an almost musical quality about it and she was always quick to laugh and the ease of which her laughter came always brought a smile a to my lips.

But I never told her about my past, or my mother, instead I pretended to have a good, healthy relationship with her and her family, so that she wouldn’t think I was some guy weighed down with a crippling amount of emotional luggage. Plus someone once told me that I should never tell a love interest about all the things wrong with me, for they can become overwhelming, thus become a turn off. So I let her get to know me in the present, for the person I was and not who I had once been.

Overnight it seemed we had become best friends, even though I had already fallen head over heels in love with her on that  day we first met, losing myself forever in her big doe eyes. I loved her then and ever since, although back then I was afraid to admit it, but still everyone knew it. But I was afraid of what would happen to my heart if my love once again went unrequited as it did with Sherry.

So I remained her friend, for the longest time, longing every day to hold her in my arms and to kiss all of her worries away….But I was fool and I was afraid, so I dragged my heels for the longest time, feeling constantly at war with myself. Then one day another guy came along, who was a singer like her, a real musician, who was well on his way of turning his passions into a career. She grew to where she talked about him all the time even when she was around me. I knew without her saying that she was torn between him and me. But in the end, I decided he could offer her more than I ever could, so I walked away. I didn’t fight for her or try to argue my case, I simply stopped calling/texting her, avoided her if I could, but remained friendly whenever I ran into her.

Eventually, things with her and Caleb fell apart, then somehow she found her way back to me and we became fast friends again. Then before I knew it, she had fallen in love with me, or as she told me, she was always in love with me, but her father had disapproved of me and when I disappeared from her life she thought that maybe she was meant to be with the other guy, (Caleb so she chose to be with him.) But now she was finally distancing herself from her father and wanted to live her own life, one she wanted to share that life with me which she did.

We were together for six months before I finally decided to bring her around my mom’s family. Albeit I was curious if what I perceived as disrespect was real, or was all just in my head. She would be my impartial witness, because I still hadn’t revealed any of the truth about my childhood and I wanted…needed some kind confirmation if what I was seeing was real or not.

So I took her down to my mother’s for thanksgiving and to my surprise my mom and her family fell in love with her almost immediately. They fawned over; she was the daughter my mother always wanted, beautiful, charming, talented, graceful and modest. But for some reason my family also seemed to go out of their way to paint me in a negative light. Harping on me whenever I wasn’t being the perfect boyfriend, (I.E pulling out her chair, or refilling her glass for every three sips she took, all things I kept thinking was odd and even though she kept trying to tell them that she didn’t like that kind of hovering. Insisting that did like doing some things for herself.

Rebekah and me

Rebekah and me

At the end of the night, she and I went for a walk and I asked what she thought of my family and I noticed her hesitation as she told me they were very nice to her. However I had known her long enough to know when something was bothering her and when I asked what it was she said,

“I don’t like how they treat and talk down to you all the time, it’s almost like they don’t think of you as a person….”

“Oh…” I said, knowing she was confirming what I had been feeling this whole time when I’ve been trying to heal the past and mend all the broken fences between me and m family.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it, I know it’s your family and you love them,” She whispers, kissing me, before pulling me closer against her. I could lose myself forever in her warmth; for nothing in this world had ever made me feel better.

“It’s okay,” I assure her, “You’re right, I just needed confirmation.” I confessed, returning her embrace and her kiss, happy to have her as a part of my life and knowing I would have to tell her everything once we got home.

“I just don’t think they’re good for you, I felt like the whole time they kept trying to turn me against you for some reason.”

“You saw that too?” I asked, smiling sheepishly, knowing she had also become my rock. I would have probably married her too and would have if I could go back, but that’s another story for another time.

By the time we made it back to the house, Rebekah already had me feeling better and that night we spent the night at my mother’s. The following day we were having dinner, a follow-up to our thanksgiving day feast and while the food was being prepared my mother had asked me to help my little brother’s put together a Star-wars Lego set, which I eagerly agreed too. But fifteen minutes in, my mother asked Rebekah if she could talk to her upstairs for a moment because she wanted to show her something. I don’t know why, but something in my mother’s tone struck me as a little odd. So I waited several minutes before finally deciding to sneak upstairs and see what she was up too. I heard them talking down the hall in my mother’s room, along with my aunt and they were asking her why she was with me. She explained that she had been in love with me, that I had been the sweetest, most caring and thoughtful guy she’s met and she loved my sense of humor, and my intellect. When I heard my aunt start asking her if she met my older brother and how handsome, smart and funny he was.

My heart started to sink and I realized as I stood out there in the hall, that my mother, along with her sister was trying to convince her to choose my brother over me. I heard my own mother say how Dominic was so much more handsome than I was and how he’d be such a better match for her. My heart broke into a million pieces that day; I stood out in the hall.

Rebekah, me and her younger brother

Rebekah, me and her younger brother

I know I could have made a scene and kicked the door open, confronting my mother, but instead I retreated and went back downstairs to play with my younger brothers, trying to pretend I didn’t hear what I had. The next day I went and saw Rebekah and asked her what happened when my mother was talking to her in private and she told me everything that my mother and aunt were trying to talk her into breaking up with me in order for her to date my brother. Thankfully Rebekah loved me and was loyal to a fault, my heart and my guiding star, my best friend. And in that moment I knew I had to keep my distance from my mother and shield Rebekah from her as well…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolors

Scars of Who We Are Chapter XII

Chapter 12

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott

Senior photo

Senior photo

At eighteen I finally broke down and killed myself, for I had enough. I had just graduated High-school and felt like life had thrown everything including the kitchen sink at me. Even graduating high-school hadn’t felt real to me, or like something I really deserved. I kept expecting word to come down that there had been a mistake and I wasn’t meant or supposed to graduate along with my friends. It felt weird saying goodbye and walking away from all I had known, High-school was something I once hated and feared coming to every morning because of bullies, the pressures of just getting by and the unforgiving social hierarchy. But, it was also the place where I made some of the best friends anyone could possibly meet and it was the place where I had fallen in love for the very first time. Sherry Troy had been the sister of one of my good friends and falling for her was something I had never meant to do. For when we first met that day in the cafeteria I had already knew that her social circle would never approve of me. She was popular, gorgeous, funny and sincere; she was also dating one of my friends. But as life happens, things happen and life changes, because the of them ended up breaking up and her I grew closer, exchanged numbers and started talking on the phone almost every day.

About around that time my mother gave me some real motherly advice, which was,

“Listen, when any girl talks to you as much as this one does, calling you almost every day, it means she really likes you.”

But I couldn’t accept that, she didn’t know Sherry, she didn’t me and good things didn’t usually happen to me. But I was young and just beginning to b4d5878dget schooled in love. Sherry gave me a reason to get up every day, seeing her was like Christmas morning and it gave me strength to face each day. For once I had something to look forward to other than the weekends I got to spend with my dad.

Of course I still remember the day when her sister Jane had approached me in class and told me how her sister was falling hard for me. It had been the happiest day of my life and felt like I had finally been thrown a life preserver and according to Jane my eyes lit up and sparked like the fourth of July, robbing her of her breath as she was taken aback by the purity of my reaction of hearing her news. I couldn’t believe it, I was inspired.

I went home that night and wrote Sherry a poem proclaiming my love for her, playing coy all throughout the day, until we were walking to our busses when I slipped my poem into her hand and walked away smiling like an idiot on parade, felt like I could do anything, the world was mine.

The next morning her other sister Terry approached me that morning, excitedly telling me how much her sister had loved my poem and how no one had ever wrote her a poem before, that she was so happy and excited that she was actually and completely overjoyed. So now I couldn’t wait to see her, I couldn’t wait to tell her how much I loved her, I couldn’t wait to feel her arms wrap around me, to hold her tight, imagining what our lives would be like together, picturing what it would be like to one day proposing to her, getting married and growing old together. (What they don’t tell you about being a hopeless romantic) It wasn’t until lunchtime rolled around that I finally had the time to approach and ask her out, surrounded by her sisters and all of our mutual friends. She answered with a disgusted no, and after hearing all day how much she liked me by all of our friends, so I was dumbstruck, managing a feeble, “What?” And when she repeated her answer I could feel my dreams shattering and falling like rain all around me, my heart felt like it was breaking in two.

Sherry and her sister Terry

Sherry and her sister Terry

“But…my poem…” I mumbled numbly, “Was garbage, so I threw it away,” She replied, making me want to just crawl into a hole somewhere and die. But then came Terry and my friends trying to supportive and reminding her how crazy she was for me. She denied them over a dozen times, each one a blow to my heart, hearing her telling not just me, but everyone how she never liked me and never will. I wanted to beg them to stop, to ask them to stop trying to help me because it had hurt too much.

I ended up spending the rest of my high school career in this on again, off again dance with her, trying to win her heart with every song and there were times where I could have sworn she had the same feelings for me, but whenever we would get close, it was like someone or something would always drive us further apart. It drove me crazy and eventually I gave up on chasing her, I walked away from love.

But on graduation day, her sister Jane sees me and pulls me aside and asked me if I still had feelings for her sister.

I couldn’t bear to speak the truth, I was too afraid to so much as think about her out of fear it’d spark that torch I carried for her and be left feeling like a love struck fool all over again, so I shrugged and said, “I don’t know….”

Taking my hand, she pulled me close then and I could feel her eyes exploring the depths of my own and before I could ask what this was all about she says,

“I have to tell you something, my sister did like you and probably still does, the reason she never said yes, was because of me.”

I could feel my brow furrow, because I didn’t understand, it didn’t make sense to me….she had been one of my closest friends and I couldn’t fathom why she would be sorry, or what she could have done to keep Sherry and me apart, then she said something I never expected to hear, because I had known her for years, she was my friend and confidant.

“I’ve been in love with you for a long time and when I saw that look on your face when I told you how Sherry felt about you, I was jealous and I told her nothing but lie about you. I told her this had all been a game to you, because you only wanted her to make some other girl jealous. I told her you only seemed nice but in reality you were really just a player…And I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gotten in the way.”

I could feel the earth giving away beneath my feat, I never felt or knew such an act of betrayal even existed in this world. I had no words, I couldn’t speak, and all I could do was turn and walked away. It’s wasn’t until writing this that I realized that I still haven’t spoken to Jane since that day. But still every now and then I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if she never intervened.

Sherry Troy and smile that was like the sunrise.

Sherry Troy and smile that was like the sunrise.

I turned away from my friend and walked away from her that day without ever looking, feeling a small twinkling of hope that it wasn’t too late, believing I still had a chance to fix things and maybe, just maybe pick up from where we started. That day I couldn’t stop scanning every face in the hall and the crowd of my graduation ceremony, hoping to find her face someone among the countless faces, to see her staring back at me. Imagining what I would do when I saw her and having this little fantasy that I would see her, walk up to her and pull her away from whoever she may have been talking to, pulling her against me as I leaned down to kiss her lips of soft velvet.

I never did find her and I was too distracted to join in the excitement of celebrating of finally graduating from High-school, I was somewhere else while my friends were busy living in the moment. But I was too busy thinking about her, anxious to get home to call her and to just hear the sound of her voice. But when I finally got around to calling her no one was home and so I took off and went to my best friend’s graduation party hoping she’ll be there, but she wasn’t.

Days go by and I can’t seem to ever seem to get a hold of her, or catch anyone to just tell her that I called.  Eventually, one day her mom answers and she tells me that Sherry had moved out a few days ago and was now living with some boy she had just met. I don’t remember hanging up the phone, just the feeling of my heart breaking and the pieces falling down all around my feet.  I feel defeated and numb, I was given hope and it was in was torn away from me in one fell swoop. Shell shocked I wondered out of my room, hoping to find some reason to keep believing….to believe in something, anything, wanting to find some purpose and maybe a little hope. But my mother found me instead and asked why I was moping around. For once, I decided to just talk to her and tell her everything, hoping that I’d receive some of that age old motherly advice, or receive a little of that love that always seemed so out of reach. Instead she interrupted me before I could say but two words and said,

“I don’t care, you’re just stupid, pathetic loser and I can’t stand you, I never could and the worse thing is that I never wanted you. You’re nothing but a stupid mistake and if it wasn’t for your father I would have never birthed you, I wanted an abortion and he’s the only reason you’re still here because he wanted you. You were the accident that was never supposed to be and I think you would have been better off dead, because no one will ever love or want a pathetic, weak loser like yourself. “

She turned and walked away from me then, striding toward her craft room, mumbling about how much she resented me and I hear her tell say with my own ears that the only reason she put up with me for so long was for the child support and the money. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to. My father had been right all along, it’s exactly what he’d been trying to warn me about for years, but I never listened and now I could feel what remained of my already broken heart shatter into a million little pieces.  Leaving it so broken that they could now pass seamlessly through the eye of a needle, I was broken, in every sense of the word and I couldn’t move. Not at first anyway. All I could do was watch disappear into her little craft room, expecting at any moment for her to pop back out and tell me this was all some sort of twisted and cruel joke, I didn’t want to think she was serious. But after several minutes of just standing there speechless with my mind reeling. I hear every 18 minutes someone commits suicide and ever forty seconds, someone attempts one. And I was about to become another statistic.forsaken

In that moment I lost my faith, I hated God. I couldn’t fathom why he would make this woman my mother and never allow me any real happiness. I had been hopeful my entire life, wanting and trying to believe that things would get better, believing that they had to. But my battles were too numerous, too long and hard and I was tired. Immediately I turned and headed upstairs, grabbing a few prescription pill bottles my mother had kept in our medicine cabinet. I’m not sure what all I took, but I took seven or eight pills from every bottle that read “Only take 1 every 12 hours,” And “Do not mix with other medication” Then not wanting to risk anyone seeing what I was up to, or trying to stop me, I shoved the pills down into my pocket. This was my decision and my choice and I wasn’t going to give anyone a chance to stop or delay me.

With a bottle of Vicodin that I had left over from my wisdom teeth surgery,  along with the various other pills that I had stuffed down into my pockets. Then I took one final look at my reflection in the mirror and waved goodbye to the person I used to be, the person I used to know.

Returning to my room, I closed and locked my door, filled my cd player with my favorite cds and took a bottle of prescription sleeping pills, along with about 3/4

I wrote a single sentence on my desk’s notepad, “This is my goodbye, I’ve waited too long, I’m not worth anything, and tell dad I’m sorry.”

It didn’t take long for the room to start to spin and for the shortness of breath to begin and I fell onto my bed, crawling up onto the sheets feeling so cold as my body went numb, feeling pins and needles all over body, I felt like I was suffocating, struggling to breathe and it was then my world went black.

At first darkness was all I could see and feel. I was relieved, because I was finally free from all the pain and loneliness that plagued me for long. No longer did I feel all the pain that was tearing my heart apart, it was over and death wasn’t so bad I thought, I felt a strange sense of comfort in darkness that coiled and wrapped around me. I was a little disappointed though, I was hoping to find myself before God and demand an explanation, an apology for all that been wrong. But I didn’t and I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, or loved ones who had already passed over. Instead I found myself in a world surrounded by darkness and for a moment it was soothing and a little peaceful. But then I felt this jerk and then I had this sense like I was falling. I was falling faster and faster,  feeling what felt like cool air rushing up to greet me as I plummeted downward, feeling the air grow and become warm, then hot as it rushed over me. The realization of what I have done hit me then. I had committed a cardinal sin, I had committed suicide, I wasn’t going to get my trial, I wasn’t going to able to curse at the God who made me and let me cry so many tears. I wasn’t going to get answers and I would never learn why or the reasons for any of it, I was going straight to hell.

In my fear I cried out to God and it was then I felt descent slow and the heat dispel, until when I was once again just floating there in the inky blackness and I felt like was being watched and I sensed this profound sadness in the air around me, before I felt what I can only describe was warm comforting arms wrapping around me, pulling me close and lifting me up. I have no words for the feelings that washed over me. The love I felt was overpowering and I felt like a child in the warm, loving arms a loved one, of a father who was holding me close. I began to cry as I heard the voice apologizing for the struggles I’ve had, that despite what I had done, he was still proud of me, but telling me not to lose hope and that I had to stay, I had to go back, asking me to stay strong, to have faith and to live, to really live, that I’d go on to do great things in time.

But I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay in this place that I was, I clung to the father, pleading to stay and I saw the faces of my father, my grandmother, my friends and all of those who would miss me. It made me sad, but still I didn’t want to go, I was happy here and now, in this warmth.

So he showed me something else instead, he showed me myself, decades later, living a life where I’m happy, with my dreams finally coming true and I see the world waking up and finally beginning to read again, I see a family, a loving wife.

Without really thinking I feel myself letting go and I’m blinded by this sudden light that seemed to appear out of nowhere and when I look around, I discover I’m outside and I’m flying, miles above the earth, the view is breathtaking. But I’m actually was falling, down through sky, past the clouds, with the world rushing up to greet me, the air is cool against my skin and comforting as it rushes through my hair. I see my house, coming into view and I’m falling faster. I’m not afraid, but I bring my arms up protectively around me as I fall into the roof, passing insubstantiality through the shingles and support beams of my house.  I Falling through the kitchen where my mother had started making dinner and I can smell macaroni and cheese from the pot on the stove, before I pass through the floor to where I saw myself, laying so still and alone on my bed, where I crash with a jolt into my body.

I sat up just as I reunited with my body, taking a sharp intake of breath as I rose up off the bed, it hurts to breathe, yet I’m gasping for breath. I’m cold and my body burns as blood rushes back through my limbs, giving me a feeling pin and needles, that you often get when a part of your body falls asleep. But mine was all over and then I crawled out of bed, where I collapsed on the floor and passed out once more.

I firmly believe that I died this day; but you may have come to your own conclusion. But this is what happened to me and when I woke up, I felt okay, even though I knew my the worse was far from over, instinctively I knew would be leaving Grant County and saying goodbye to all my friends until the day came when we would meet again. But I knew whatever came and no matter how things would turn out, I would survive it. I may have died a coward, a scared and frightened little boy, but I was born again and in so doing became a man.

Closing note: a few years ago thanks to the advent of Facebook, Sherry managed to look me up and send me a friend request. We still talk and she tells me she’s always had strong feelings for me. But she’s currently in a relationship and has a few kids and to me she’s just as beautiful as she was the day I first met her in the High-School cafeteria.

2008 I'm the crow with my cousins

2008 I’m the crow with my cousins

 

 

Scars of Who We Are: Chapter X

Scars of who were are, memories chapter 10.

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My little cousin, me, Dominic my older brother and his now ex-girlfriend, five years ago.

~These memories of who I was and where I’ve been are important to me. Just as your memories should be to you, even when they’re painful, or mired in regret, they still make up a large part of who we are, who I am, and the person I’m going to be once my journey finally winds down. I need to remember the essence of magic and hope that I once knew and held so dear, if I’m ever to capture it again. Because life isn’t a journey, for every journey ends and when it ends, we go on. There are no do-overs and second chances come as rare as a flower blooming in the dead of winter, but we learn and carry on. Sometimes we’re heavier from the burdens we take on and carry with us; sometimes we become lighter by sharing our burdens with those closest to us. The world turns and turns and we with it, plans fall apart, things change, scars fade, but the memory, the memories always remain and sometimes there’s a moment in our lives that hovers and settles for but a moment, leaving us forever and inexplicably changed in the most unexpected of ways, ways we never thought or felt before. And it’s then that our dreams take over and it’s there I see you and it seems that wherever I go, I find you, you’re there, my luck, my fate, my fortune, my life, my blessing and my curse. But it’s not all about you, or where in the stars your destiny lies, it’s about the here and now and what you find in the hidden depths of your soul, it’s where we go from here, as the ashes of what was and what might have been finally settle down around us, leaving us forever transformed, this is it, this is the now and it’s when you finally decide where you’re going to go from here.

      Patrick and I became inseparable, we were best friends and brothers all the same.  His eyes were also open, he wasn’t afraid to speak up and stand up to his mother for me. It was something about him I always admired, he never cared that

My step-brother and me at King's Island....Sorry Patrick this is the only picture I could find of you.

My step-brother and me at King’s Island….Sorry Patrick this is the only picture I could find of you.

by jumping to my defense whenever she was jumping on my case, making fun, or bullying me and how it would get often get him grounded, or chewed out, he was someone who always stood up for what was right, no matter what it had cost him.  Eventually Patrick would be the one to go to my dad about how I was being treated and I would begrudgingly confirm that Patrick was telling the truth. Often I had held my tongue Because I didn’t want to cause any ripples in my father’s new marriage. He loved her and she made him happy and I couldn’t bear to bear to be the the reason why he couldn’t hold onto this family he had found. He loved her kids and still does as if they were his own and maybe I was a little selfish myself, because I also didn’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my brother, I didn’t want to lose to him, or any of my extended family. So I was willing to go through that mental abuse and more if it meant my father’s happiness and the continued bond that forms between brothers. Sadly, I would eventually see this marriage fall apart and once more I got to relive all the ugliest therein. With a part of me always wishing they would get back together and mend the fences, so that we could all once again be a family.   

My Step-mother.

My Step-mother.

To my step-mother’s credit, she did eventually find me on face-book years later. To be honest I didn’t know what to make of the friend request that found its way to my inbox, or the message she sent with. In it, she wrote me a very heartfelt apology for how she treated me. Telling me how sorry she was and asking if I could ever find it in my heart to forgive her. So I accepted her friend request, and wrote her back, telling her I had forgiven her a very long time ago, because truth was I saw why she resented me so much even back then, I knew why. Even though she had two kids from a previous marriage whom of which my father had accepted as his own, she couldn’t bring herself to accept me.  I was a constant reminder to her of father’s previous marriage and how committed. I would be the one thing that would always keep him tied to her

       But now I’m happy to report that her and I still stay in touch and I do still have love for her. I even told her as much the last we talked and that she was often more of a mother to me, than my real one, because Trisha did  occasionally put forth at least a little  effort in trying to get to know me and she did spend a little bit of time with me here and there. Yeah, it may have been mostly because she didn’t want to watch a particular scary movie alone, or  maybe she was just lonely when my father wasn’t there and just wanted a movie buddy. But those memories of her asking me to sit with her and watch a movie together are some of greatest memories I have and still carry with me to this day. Movies had become her and mine thing that we would share and do together, further illustrating how the magic of a story, in a cinema, a movie can capture the essence of magic and bring unlikely people together. I remember how she would make me popcorn and how we would talk about the movie later, about what we thought of the story and how it should have ended. And to be honest if we shared more of those moments, I would have elected left home and would have moved in with them, adopting a new family all my own. 

My step-sister and no I'm not ashamed to admit I did used to have a bit of a crush on her.

My step-sister and no I’m not ashamed to admit I did used to have a bit of a crush on her.

 

 

But at fourteen, I had fallen into the habit of spending most of my summers with my father and when I stayed with him, I never wanted to come home, partially because I know I would be left alone and because I was afraid of my mother, who had the habit of making me miserable, so naturally I loathed the idea of coming home. Home was a place that never felt really real and always left me feeling a bit out of place, like I really didn’t belong, even though my mother had went from physically beating me, to full scale psychological abuse which started a year prior. I had also grown to dislike my step father, but the blunt of that came earlier in the year when he nearly broke my arm because I complained of having a migraine and wanted to lay down. Then I was threatened into lying about how I had a bruise the size of a grown man’s hand around my bicep, a angry black and yellow band around my arm, that everyone had wondered how I got, but to each one I told a different story.

Then of course was my older brother who often tormented me by either having fun at my expense or by treating me like a second class citizen, who was his dork little brother. I hated him so much at times and my mother too, for she would laugh with him as he poked fun at me and my speech problems, then whenever I would get bad and try to say something hurtful in turn, I would be the one whipped and punished. I hated my life, I hated my home more, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to love it. I wanted to be happy in my home and I wanted to have the kind of life you read about, or see on t.v. I wanted to believe in the stars.

Me at fourteen

Me at fourteen

 

But this one summer, I came home to an unexpected surprise; I went to my room to unpack my things and to discover that my room had been redecorated. The bunk beds that once took up residence in my room were replaced by a very nice queen sized bed and my walls had been painted to my favorite color, which at the time was red. (Now it’s blue, things change) It was then my mom popped into my room and I was taken aback by how excited and happy she was to see me. Then I saw her brow crease with worry when she thought I didn’t like it, when truth was I was in shock, I was speechless. It took me a moment for my wits to return and for me tell her how much I loved it. But that was two years before I would learn the unspeakable truth that would forever weigh on my soul. But sometimes, I also wonder if she could love me on this day how come she couldn’t always, why did her love sometimes wash over me like a wave, to so quickly ebb and dissipate, why was it that the waves were so few and far between, leaving me stranded alone on this island, with no place to call my home.

 

At sixteen, I came home from a hard day at school to yet another surprise, this time to discover that  my mother had thrown me a surprised birthday party. To be honest, it had been something I mentioned from to time growing up, I’ve always wanted one, but as I grew older I began to believe less and less in it actually happening, so needless to say I was overjoyed.

For all of ten minutes I couldn’t stop smiling, believing this was one of the greatest days of my life and for ten minutes I had forgotten about all the hurt feelings, the nasty words and all the beatings. I opened the door to the smell of steaks frying on the grill out back, mac and cheese cooking on the stove, the smell of freshly baked cookies and chocolate fudge brownies, all my favorites.

I laughed, not knowing what to think, believing that the Lord had finally granted my one request, which was to have my mother love me as much as she did my bother. Because this was it, this was the turning point I had been waiting for and I was so tired of struggling and fighting just to stay afloat and now, now I was happy. I had the attention I had always wanted, the sense of belonging I had craved for so long and now it was finally mine, or so I thought.

 

Then the pictures started the first few were of me, then I posed with a few family members, than my brother Dominic and I was still feeling euphoric, until I heard my aunt Terry remark on how handsome my brother was and right in front of me, she began insisting that he should go into modeling because he was so unbelievably photogenic and handsome. To my brother’s credit, he was being modest and tried brushing the comments aside, but they kept coming. My grandma on my mother’s side jumped in, as well telling my brother how it was true and that girls were always inquiring about him because he was so  handsome, then of course my mother had her say, trying to convince him of all the good money that could be had if he went into modeling, while I stood there, completely forgotten.

For awhile I did my best to pretend not to be a little hurt, so I wore my false smile and eventually having enough, I threw am arm around my brother and saying,

                “Hey, how about we go into modeling together, you know as brothers?” My brother quickly brushed me off and laughed, while the rest of the room looked at me as if looks could kill and as I tried figuring out what it was that I said that got everyone looking so peeved at me,I feel my Aunt Terry’s hand closing around my arm as she pulls me aside saying,

“Hey, you’re not like your brother, he’s really handsome and you shouldn’t be acting all jealous because you’re not and he’s your brother.”

                  At sixteen, I didn’t know rather to laugh or to cry, I wanted to believe she was just joking around with me, even if it was a little mean. But before I could formulate any kind of response my grandmother (on my mother’s side) Pulls me around, telling me it’s okay to be average and I shouldn’t be acting this way just because he’s really special and and very handsome.

I couldn’t believe my ears, heck I couldn’t even believe this was really happening and I had thought this was suppose to my day, and all could feel was m heart sinking along with whatever positive self image I still possessed.

 

Then of course my mom chimed in, I don’t know why when she first interrupted my aunt and grandma that I allowed myself to believe she was jumping to my defense, instead she launched into telling me about everything that was wrong with me. How my nose was too big and that I needed plastic surgery to get it fixed, then piece by piece she tore me apart, telling me how my hair was too greasy and unkempt, that I was too weakly, scrawny, my clothes didn’t fit me right, I had poor posture, bad skin, I couldn’t stand or walk right, my teeth weren’t white enough, my gums weren’t pink enough, etc. By then end of it I just wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die, but of course she didn’t stop there, she went as far as pointing out my speech problems, the grades I was making in school and so forth.

That day my favorite foods had lost their taste, I had lost my appetite, lost in my own depression, thinking how sorry they’ll all be once I’m gone, but I played my part, I smiled falsely, pretended that everything okay; even though I was dying inside and when I finally got to blow out my candles, I wished for a new life and I hoped for love to come into my life and make sense of all of this.

 

Later I would grow to suspect everything that happened was some veiled attempt to breed resentment between my brother and me, but it never took. Even when he was making my life miserable I still loved him, he was my brother and he always will be. brothers are suppose to be a pain, suppose to torment you and get on your nerves. Even my step-brother and me for as well as we did get along we often got on each others nerves, would tease one another and annoy the ever loving crap out of each other. So no, I never really blamed Dominic for anything that’s happened, because he was my brother.

                But, Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had spoken out and made myself heard, to admit how I wasn’t perfect but to ask who of us really was, I could have pointed out the faults of everyone in that room if I had wanted to. But I didn’t, instead I retreated into my room, having always preferred losing myself in a book, a movie, a video game, or hanging out with my own friends than try and pretend I was a part of something that I wasn’t. But it was okay, I had my friends, I had an amazing step brother and sister and it was they who always found me and pulled me back from that ledge that my depression had often brought me. They were my strongest supporters, my biggest fans, the people who I’ll always love and never forget, remembering always there words which will stay with me until the very end of my days. I may have been just days from learning the truth. But one thing I learned from writing this blog, which is this, appreciate your family for what it can be, not what it should be, step parents, step brothers and sisters can be just as good, or sometimes even better than the real thing, family is what you make of it, not what it should be, anyone can family, friends, co-workers, even your bosses, all you have to do is let it.

 

Okay, this has nothing to do with what I'm writing, but over the weekend I did finally get to meet my two favorite actors Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery and even in my severely sleep deprived state I can tell you, these guys are awesome and are remarkably down to earth.

Okay, this has nothing to do with what I’m writing, but over the weekend I did finally get to meet my two favorite actors Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery and even in my severely sleep deprived state I can tell you, these guys are awesome and are remarkably down to earth.

 

 

 

 

Scars of Who We Are: Intermission:

Life is not all sunshine and rainbows,
It’s in constant flux, a pendulum swinging,
wildly through the many shades of human emotion,
And it’s important to remember that sometimes,
That the greatest inspiration comes from moments of,
Deep despair and in the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in
moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in
times of challenge and controversy.”
And sometimes, great darkness can give birth to an even greater light.                 

 

During the course of sharing my story with all of you, I sometimes get asked why I didn’t leave when I had the chance. Which I did have once I was finally old enough to make the decision myself, about who I wanted to live with. I still sometimes even wonder what my life would have been like if I would have made the decision to live with my father. But a few things stopped me, with the first being my older brother, even though I always felt like he resented me for being able to see my/our father every other weekend.  A part of my decision to stay came from the fear, what if my mother was right and I would only worsen my situation and another part of me knew I would miss my older brother. Granted, we didn’t hang out very much growing up, for the most part he often preferred hanging out with his friends and I was always the dorky little brother. We didn’t always get along, he often teased me about my speech, because back then I had a lot of speech problems and even though he drove me nuts, I still loved him. I still love him even to this day, despite the bad blood between us and the harsh words we’ve exchanged. Although after our last conversation, things seemed to become a little more civil between us. But he was always my family and despite our problems he was my brother and the times he included me in something he did, or played with me, were some of the best times of my life. He could always make me laugh, or feel better whenever he saw I was really down and out. Also, despite everything that’s happened, I always looked up to him, he was the coolest brother in the world and more than anything I wanted to be just like him in every way. He was funny, smart, creative and artistic. In fact it was him who got me interested in drawing and helped me evolve as an artist, giving me pointers here and there, telling me what was good and what I needed to work on. Eventually it got to where I would draw just for him, to show him whatever thing or creature I managed to come up with, just to hear his opinion.

My brother on me on vacation with my grandpa

My brother on me on vacation with my grandpa

 

I never had the chance to tell my brother that I owed most of who I am today, to him. My creativity and imagination was something he helped nurture, not just with drawing.  But he taught me how to really use my imagination to create whole new worlds. He did this by sheer virtue of introducing me to role-playing games. There’s something to be said about sitting around a table, with pen, paper and a variety of dice, using not just your own, but the imagination of the person or persons you’re playing with. It may sound weird, or juvenile, but hey we were kids and it was something I kept up with till my late teens and was something that always stuck with me. I took to it like a moth to the flame and my brother was always the game master, planning adventures for me to take a character that I created and walk him through this world my brother created. It was his story, but I could make the choices and and change and affect it as it was being told. Of course, I was always slave to the dice and my luck to delegate my successes or failures, often forcing me to improvise and at times accept my enviable defeat, waiting for an opening to turn the tables later on in the story.

A part of my decision to stay came from the fear, what if my mother was right and I would only worsen my situation and another part of me knew I would miss my older brother. Granted, we didn’t hang out very much growing up, for the most part he often preferred hanging out with his friends and I was always the dorky little brother. We didn’t always get along, he often teased me about my speech, because back then I had a lot of speech problems and even though he drove me nuts, I still loved him. I still love him even to this day, despite the bad blood between us and the harsh words we’ve exchanged. Although after our last conversation, things seemed to become a little more civil between us. But he was always my family and despite our problems he was my brother and the times he included me in something he did, or played with me, were some of the best times of my life. He could always make me laugh, or feel better whenever he saw I was really down and out. Also, despite everything that’s happened, I always looked up to him, he was the coolest brother in the world and more than anything I wanted to be just like him in every way. He was funny, smart, creative and artistic. In fact it was him who got me interested in drawing and helped me evolve as an artist, giving me pointers here and there, telling me what was good and what I needed to work on. Eventually it got to where I would draw just for him, to show him whatever thing or creature I managed to come up with, just to hear his opinion.

I never had the chance to tell my brother that I owed most of who I am today, to him. My creativity and imagination was something he helped nurture, not just with drawing.  But he taught me how to really use my imagination to create whole new worlds. He did this by sheer virtue of introducing me to role-playing games. There’s something to be said about sitting around a table, with pen, paper and a variety of dice, using not just your own, but the imagination of the person or persons you’re playing with. It may sound weird, or juvenile, but hey we were kids and it was something I kept up with till my late teens and was something that always stuck with me. I took to it like a moth to the flame and my brother was always the game master, planning adventures for me to take a character that I created and walk him through this world my brother created. It was his story, but I could make the choices and and change and affect it as it was being told. Of course, I was always slave to the dice and my luck to delegate my successes or failures, often forcing me to improvise and at times accept my enviable defeat, waiting for an opening to turn the tables later on in the story.

Mutants Down Under. The teenage mutant ninja Turtle RPG

Mutants Down Under. The teenage mutant ninja Turtle RPG

 My brother was often tough, but a fair as a gaming master, not afraid to make me squirm or fret over fear of losing the character who I created and grow to know, making him real to me. Because my brother always made it a requirement I make whatever character I created unlike myself, then he’d kindly have me write my characters back story and formulating his origin, along with motives, what he believed in and why. Which usually meant I had to do some required reading, which meant I would have to read about the world that the game took place in. My brother was always quick to give me a little homework, as well as ask me before every gaming session what my character had been up too, forcing me to always make it plausible. (So I couldn’t just give my character new abilities, talents, weapons, or resources) I had to choose more mundane tasks, such as where he lived and whatever he did in his downtime.

Playing these games with my brother are some of the fondness memories I have of him and I was addicted. My brother was an excellent story teller and I loved being a part of it. It was playing these games with him that helped nourish my imagination and challenge my creativity, because I learned I would often have to out think, out wit and in a sense out play him in order to survive his story, so that my character would then be able go on to live another adventure. The first Role-playing game he introduced me to, if you haven’t already guessed was “Mutants Down Under” And to this day I still remember the very first character I created, because even though I didn’t want to be him at first, because I wanted to be a mutant turtle, but as chance would have it, I rolled a mutant Kangaroo, who I named, “Jack.” A character who survived numerous adventures, acquiring weapons, equipment and eventually I even managed to procure an airship. All despite my brother’s eventual attempt to kill off this character I had grown to love, because he had grown bored writing stories for my character and of me being the same character all the time. I also think it was because it was growing harder to give me a suitable challenge with all the weapons and various other equipment and crew I managed to pull together. So he eventually forced me to retire Jack and I later created a few other characters who didn’t have Jack’s luck or his longevity.

The Marvel Super-heroes Role-Playing Game

The Marvel Super-heroes Role-Playing Game

 

  Later when my brother got me into comic books, he got me involved with another role-playing game, “Marvel Superheroes” where I was able to create my own hero. Again I wanted a character like Wolverine or one of my other two favorites Spider-man or Iron-Man, which he did let me play for awhile, before he forced me to create my own crime fighter. Who’s story was he got transformed into a super-powered being when a device he created to bring vegetation to the deserts exploded giving him powers to control and manipulate the earth around him. So I called me, “Earth Avenger” Who was almost as rich as Tony Stark but not quite and this was the game my brother had the most fun out of traumatizing and torturing my character. (Seriously unbeknownst to be, he turned my best in game friend into a monster and this monster attacked me, I kinda accidentally killed him and when I did that, he turned human again. Also my character at the time was engaged to his sister….twisted right?) But I still had fun and in time I managed to create a few other short lived heroes and from there I always in some hero kick, making up my own heroes and villains and imagining I was them .

 

 

Werewolf The Apocalypse Role-Playing Game by the "World Of Darkness"

Werewolf The Apocalypse Role-Playing Game by the “World Of Darkness”

 

But one of my favorite games, Dominic introduced me to, was “Werewolf the Apocalypse” An amazing game. Which he eventually handed down to me, which was a godsend. Because in school I never had very many friends, until the day I heard my now best-friend Matt, talking about the companion book to this, called “Vampire the Masquerade” So I jumped in and telling him how I had the other book, which won me some of the best friends anyone can ask for. That night I was invited over to their house to play and try our hand at role-playing and it was the first time anyone had ever asked me to come over to their house, (I was in the seventh grade) So it was a huge deal for me. Then because of my brother’s tutelage, I soon became the premiere game-master and we ended up playing “Werewolf” instead of their vampire and it was because of my brother that I was able to run my own game and how I became so good at it they couldn’t get enough. It wasn’t long either that our group swelled from just the four of us gathered around the table, throwing the dice, that soon it we grew to a group of 8 all sitting around playing in a world that we created together. Eventually I even developed and we would play Role-playing games that I created myself and we play long into the night, laughing, fighting, joking and it was in that we grew incredibly close, becoming in every sense of the word a family and all because of my brother. 

         Our potential was limitless and our imaginations were our playgrounds, we never let our creativity burn away, we weren’t rotting our minds with mindless television (And I love TV and movies as much as anyone, but I’m not ashamed to admit that it makes our minds lazy and robs us of imagination and creativity, making our minds dull and blunt, when we need books to keep our minds sharp and quick) But because of these games, we were able to sharpen our minds and explore whole worlds together, for many of us and myself in particular it was my escape. It was also some of the most fun I ever had and can’t think of any other time where I, or any of would laugh so hard and so consecutively have such a good time together. Our late night gaming sessions contributed to my finally over coming my shyness and I can’t tell you how many times our gaming lead to us having deep and meaningfully conversations, where we would talk about anything, everything, our lives, our hopes, dreams and our aspirations. We shared everything together and in so doing, they’ve became my brothers. 
If you never played a role-playing game before, I can’t recommend it enough, it’s story-telling at its finest, only everyone gets to contribute, making it a live action and interactive story, with everyone having their own specific rolls to play, with one person acting as the game-master, leading them ever further down the rabbit hole.

But I have fallen far from my point. Another reason why I chose to stay, was yes, because of my brother and my friends, but also because I loved my mother and more than anything I wanted her love. A few times I thought I was incredibly close to winning her affection, longing for her to look at me and to speak to me, to fight for me and defend just half as much as she had my brother. I wanted her love more than anything and I can never explain why I loved her, even when she usually went out of her way to make me miserable, which made me hate her. But still for reasons I can’t describe and if for no other reason except she was my mother and I loved her, for maybe that reason and that reason alone. Although, I am sentimental and desperately clung  to those memories of when I was younger, when she used to read to my brother and myself.

Growing up, was so weird, I never knew one could grow to hate, fear and love someone so much and at the same time. Despite all the beatings, the put-downs and all the horrible things my mother said to me, she wasn’t always so bad. She had moments when she could be incredibly sweet and kind, even on rare occasions was able to goof off with me and I think actually enjoy my company. I lived for the moments, believing I could win her love, praying every day that God would open her eyes and she’d see for the first time what she was doing to me, what she’s done and apologize.
But there was one time, one time in all my years that she made me feel just as loved as she did when she used to read to my brother and me. I was fourteen and I awoke in the dead of night, shivering, realizing that at some point during the night I had managed to kick my covers off.  So I started fumbling around in the dark for them, when I heard someone at my door and instinctively laid my head back on pillow and laid perfectly still. Then my door slowly eased open and I closed my eyes feigning sleep, out of fear that it was either my mother or step-dad.  
Laying there with my heart hammering painfully against my ribs, realizing that the person at my door 
wasn’t going away and after counting to ten, I slowly peeked out through the slits of my eyes and saw the silhouette of my mother standing there in the doorway, watching me sleep., (or in this case pretending to be asleep) I immediately began praying that she’d just close my door and leave, believing she was about to haul me out of bed and start accusing me, or hitting me. Then as I watched her slip silently into my room, I could feel my body tense and I closed my eyes out of fear she’d noticed I was watching her, then I just laid there, pretending to be asleep, almost too afraid to breathe, when the unexpected happened.

I felt my covers being pulled up around me and I went from frightened to speechless, making me too afraid to move out of fear it would break whatever magic, or grace of God that came into my room that night. Then as she hugged me and softly whispered,
“I’m sorry, for everything, I love you,” Then she kissed the top of my head and more than anything I wanted to open my eyes and throw my arms around her, I wanted to tell her I loved her too, that she’ll always be my mother. But I didn’t, I was afraid I would ruin the moment and I opened my eyes just enough to watch her quietly slip back out of my room, closing my door lightly behind her as she went. I don’t think I ever slept better than I did that night and never felt better as I slept off into dreamland.

        That moment stayed with me for a very long time and for several nights there after I would purposely kick off my blankets in the middle of the night and sometimes would even leave my door cracked out of hope it’d happened again. Even though it never did, I sometimes wondered if this was the first time she slipped into my my room, or if she had done it on numerous nights. Even today I catch myself wondering almost absentmindedly about what prompted her to this, even if it was just the one time, often telling myself it was something God meant for me to experience and to hear. Sometimes, I wonder if it was my mother at all, or the Lord who came into my room that night and sometimes I will swear it had to be her. Believing maybe never wanted to treat me the way that she had, that maybe she hated herself for mistreating me and that maybe, there was a reason for it. Like, maybe it’s all been a part of the Lord’s plan and she was playing her role, so that I could later help others and know their pain and loneliness for having known their darkness. Or maybe it was to help prepare me for something bigger, something yet to come.

Al I really know, is that in that moment, even if it was just for a moment, I had all doubt erased from my mind and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, my mother loved me, even if it was just for a moment, because sometimes, a moment is all you really ever need.

Maybe I’ll never get it,
Because the lights are out,
And I’m just typing in the dark
Knowing you’ll never know what happened to me,
 And I’m just sitting here by myself, It’s just one of those things,
I never spoke about,
When the words just started pouring out,
And here we are,
Just playing our parts.

 

                       Until recently I hadn’t spoken to my brother for a few years. The little contact we had usually resulted in accusations and bitter words, because he blames me for some things, which I don’t blame in the least, because he never seen what really went on and I never told him, not for years and all he ever got to see was the best of our mother. However this time when we conversed I refused to get worked up, angry or frustrated. Instead I met him with understanding and listened to him, which I think got him to listen a little to me. Part of our differences stems from his recent claims to me that my father abused him. Something I can’t say what he says is true or not. I can only talk about my own accounts and what I’ve been told my step brother and step sister, who even after that divorce still love and adore my father, with both telling me how good of a man he was. That said, I don’t know about my brother’s past with him and I told him as much, stating that I never told him what was going on, or what happened to me, for the same reasons he never said anything to me. It could have happened and I still love my brother and if my dad did beat him, I’m deeply sorry, it shouldn’t have happened. 

 

 

 

            ~ It’s not that any one person doesn’t have the capacity to accept the truth, sometimes they just don’t want to, or they cannot, for what the truth would mean. So they hide behind their own logic and intelligence while the truth marches by, instead of stepping out and joining it.

Boy Playing in Public Square.

 

 

The Scars of Who We Are Chapter VII

Chapter VII: Scars will always fade,
But they will never go away,
I try throwing it all away,
But I remember everything,
Because the memory always remains…

Young boy looking through window

The year was 1989 when my parents finally got a divorce, admittedly I didn’t really understand what was going on and like most kids I had hoped it would be only temporary. But it wasn’t  My mother had cheated on my dad, with someone she had told my brother and I was just a friend. Admittedly I was somewhat suspicious when asked my brother and I to be quiet about it. Personally at the time I liked the guy, but I was six and he seemed nice enough to me, so I didn’t have a problem with him. But again I was six, below should be a recording that I accidently made, when I was trying to get my older brother in trouble, by recording him cursing on a tape recorder…..Yeah it may have been black mail, but I had grown tired of him picking on me, making fun of me and always blaming me, or getting me into trouble. What can I say, I was resourceful and I suppose I was a lot smarter

than I gave myself credit for in those days.
Believe it or not, my mom wasn’t always as nice as she sounds in this recording, remember the woman had brought another man to our house and was afraid of my dad finding out in fear that it would give him ammunition for their looming divorce.  You can listen to through here, (sorry I coudn’t find any other way to upload it to my blog.
https://sites.google.com/site/jcooperaudio/mp3/confession_.wav?attredirects=0&d=1

 

(I believe the first voice you hear is my older brother, followed by my less intelligible voice. I edited the recording down as much as I could and cut out all the blips and squeals, since most of the cassette tape had eroded somewhat. If you want to fast forward to the 3 minute mark I think is when my mother finally enters our room.)

 

 


I don’t think I’ll ever forget when I was told that I would only be able to see my dad every other weekend. Because my father was always very involved in the lives of both my brother and me, he loved, taking us to the movies and taking us to see the movies we wanted to see. Once even after our parents divorced he picked up both my brother and me and took us to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then afterward he took us to Toys R’us and bought us some Ninja Turtle toys. Something he didn’t have to do, but he that’s the kind of man my father was. He was always the kind of father he didn’t have to be and treated the kids that weren’t even his as if they were his own.  And it was my father who spent time with my brother and me; he didn’t hesitate taking us to parks, fairs, or amusement parks.  He always made time for us and was rarely ever too tired, or busy to spend time with us. If I ever get married and have kids I hope I’ll be half the father and the man that was and still is.

 

This is my mom way back when, it's the only good picture I have of her anymore.

This is my mom way back when, it’s the only good picture I have of her anymore.

 

My father was and still is my hero, the strongest man I’ll ever know and I’ll never forget the day when I saw him cry. He had come to pick me up the weekend after the divorce, because my mother had lied and manipulated the court to judge in her favor and won the custody battle over me. I didn’t have any say, I wasn’t allowed to speak up and because of that I only got to see my father every other weekend, or for weeks at a time once summer began. But the day I saw him dad cry, I have no words for it.  I was there at my grandma’s with him and I was playing contently on the couch across from him with my toys; he was talking to my grandmother about everything. I distinctly remembered the very words he spoke as I heard his voice crack for the very first time.

 

 

       “I don’t know what I’m going to do…and I miss her,” He spoke, choking back a sob. I knew the sound well, from all the times I tried holding back my tears and always failed so miserably. So I froze at first, not really knowing what to do, but I doped my toys and turned to my father, feeling my own heart shatter as I saw the tears streaming down his cheeks. A part of me knew this was an adult situation and was well beyond my understanding at the time. But I stood up all the same and walked solemnly over to him, wrapping my around his neck and I hugged him. I told him that everything would be okay and I loved him. He pulled his arms around me, clutching my little shoulders as he assured me that he knew and that he loved me too. We stayed there for a while, as he apologized and I could feel him shaking as he told me how sorry he was, that he tried his best to get me and failed. I did my best try and comfort him as he had comforted me so many countless times in the past. I never did stop missing him.

 

 

When I got home that weekend, I felt as if I had aged by ten years, I had so many things now rattling around inside my head, most of which I didn’t fully understand and at the time I still didn’t get how two people could fall out of love and how they could hurt each other so much. I was thinking about that and a dozen other things a child of six had no business thinking, or wondering about.  I did want to live with my dad, but at the same time I knew I would miss my brother, then there were my friends who I knew I’d never see again if I moved. I also believed that my mother could still love me, or so that’s what I wanted so desperately to believe. Even now I kick myself for not seeing things for how they were and it was strange to think that just a year prior I was with both my parents in my aunt’s car, driving to see my uncle Skip so he could show off his new boat.

 

We had spent most of the day driving around, so by the time we pulled up into the parking lot to meet him, my dad had popped out to get a coke because he was thirsty and I started to with him, when I was ordered to stay where I was. So naturally I protested, insisting I was thirsty all the while I was watching my dad on the off the chance my mother and her sister (my aunt Terry) would permit me to go. Instead Terry produced a clear glass bottle from under her seat and offered it to me.

 

I don’t know why the sight of the bottle made me immediately suspicious, or why I had that sickly feeling that something about it was wrong and I shouldn’t partake in its contents of whatever liquid that bottle held.

 

“No thanks, I don’t like it.” I said almost immediately, (mistake #1)

 

“How do you know you don’t like it?” My aunt asked.

 

“I just don’t….Please let me go with dad and get something to drink, I’m really thirsty.” I pleaded (mistake #2 for thinking they’d show me the slightest of mercies)

 

“Then you can’t be that thirsty,” My mother challenged and I looked at the bottle again, debating.

 

 “It’s either this or you have to wait till we meet up with Skip and see if he has any drinks on his boat,” My aunt said with mock sympathy. I knew what it was even then, for I had grown accustom to having an older brother who often got me in trouble or got me to do something I didn’t want to by speaking in the same tone.

 

“What is it?”  I asked, distrustfully trying to read the bottle and my aunt’s face, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was some sort of trick. (Which it was)

 

 

“Water,” My aunt (lied) as she held the bottle out to me again and I stared at it suspiciously, half expecting at any moment that one of them would laugh, or give something away to tell me this was all some sort of a joke they were playing on me.

 

          “It doesn’t look like water,” I commented, smiling and almost certain my they would tell me this was a joke now and they were just teasing me. (Mistake number 3) I should have known better and shouldn’t under estimate my mom or my aunt’s depravity.

 

 

         “It’s flavored water,” my mom answered.  (It wasn’t.)

 

Her answer gave me pause,  because I did see her and my aunt drinking flavored water on numerous occasions, however I knew those bottles were different, clear plastic with colored labels, and this one was in a glass bottle with a label I didn’t recognize. (Yeah, I couldn’t really read it, but give me a break I was five.)

 

“No thanks, can I please go with dad and get something?”  I pleaded, hoping I’d get permission before he returns, in which I knew would make the answer an definitive and resounding “No,” but I saw the anger flash across my mom’s face as she accused me of lying telling me if I was really thirsty I would drink what was being offered and wouldn’t be so picky.

 

 

“No, no, I’m not lying!” I protested, panic rising in my throat, with a strong suspicion that I was about to be smacked, (Because my mother had a penchant for hauling off and hitting us, my brother or me across the face, whenever we made her upset, often this would come without warning or provocation, such as at the dinner table whenever we sat our elbows on the table, or complained of being hot whenever we sat in the backseat of the car, or accidently bothered her on the wrong day.)

 

 

        “You’re getting the paddle when we get home,” She threatened and I paled,


 

       Long ago, my mother believed her hand was ineffective in beating us kids, so she commissioned my father to craft a wooden paddle, with the holes drilled into it to reduce wind resistance, and the electrical taped handle “for her comfort” she naturally didn’t want to risk getting splinters and for whatever the reason I recalled her beating me with that paddle quit frequently. (I feared the beatings from my mother way more than my father. For the few times I warranted a beating from my father, he would only do so with the greatest of reluctance and would only give me one or two swats to my backside and be done with it. My mother however was much more severe. She would deliver so many that I would lose count, hitting me as hard as she could with each swat, which often times left large and sometimes bleeding welts against my buttocks, my lower back, or the back of my legs whenever she missed. She didn’t much care for accuracy, she prided herself more on bending over her knee and hitting as wildly and as ferociously as she could and to this day I still remember the searing pain that would flair up whenever she struck my lower back, and/or the back of my legs. If I cried, or screamed out during any of this, she would beat me more until I didn’t make a noise, then God help me if later I retreated to my room and she heard me crying. Because she explode into my room, with a belt, or tear me out of my bed with her nails biting painfully into my arms and beat me until I promised to be quiet.

 

 

So now, when I find myself sitting in a car, listening to my mom tell me how she’s going to beat me when we get home for lying about how thirsty I was, I had little choice, but to prove my honesty by taking the bottle of whiskey from my aunt. I vaguely remember squeezing my noise as I brought the bottle to my lips, partly from the noxious smell of it and to help me not taste it, then I threw back my head, gulping down the contents. Almost immediately I heard my aunt squealing with delight,

 

 

 “Oh my god, he’s drinking it, he’s really drinking it,” She squealed excitedly.

 

 

  Then I heard my mother guffaw as the two laughed and it was then the taste hit me and I could feel my mouth and throat burning as if I was drinking liquid fire. My eyes bulge out as I threw the bottle away from me and immediately got sick all over my aunt’s new car.

 

 

         My father returned shortly thereafter, right as my mother was dragging me out of the car, so that I could finish throwing up outside the car, oppose to further ruining my the interior of my aunt’s car, with the last thing I remembered from that day being my dad going ballistic as he found out what happened and how he took care of me afterwards.

 

 

 Now, more than a year later, I finished spending that first weekend with my dad and I come into the house and overhear my older brother, Dominic asking my mother why Robert, (My dad) didn’t take him away for the weekend too. I too was curious so I ease dropped and heard her explain that my father wasn’t his real father and that he was from her previous marriage and that he wasn’t Robert’s son, only I was (meaning me)

 

 

“Why?” He asked pitifully, adding how much he had loved and cared for my father. What I heard next chilled me to my core and left me feeling overwhelming pity for my older brother, as my mother said,

 

 

“Because he doesn’t love you, he never loved you, just like how your real father didn’t want you. I’m the only one who loves you, I’m the only who cares about you and wants you.”

 I slipped away after that, I felt ashamed, guilty and confused. My heart went out to my older brother with the only thing I knew for certain was that what she said to him was wrong.  I didn’t say for certain, but I knew she was being a liar, because I remembered my father and he treated my brother no different than me.  But I still searched and long for the truth. Often I would ask my dad, I saw my dad if he reason why he never picked my brother up along with me was because he didn’t love or want him and every time he had told me that he couldn’t gain custody of Dominic because he wasn’t his son and the lawyers wouldn’t allow it, but he still tried. Truthfully, my dad did care for my brother and for years would ask me about him, wanting to know what he was up too and what how he’d been. A few times he did try to see him as well as me, but my mother would never allow it. It still pains my heart to this day knowing that my brother’s opinion of my father is based solely on lies. 

The Scars of Who We Are part IV

Part IV Be careful what you wish for, because you may just get your hearts, just to discover it’s not really what you wanted at all.

 

At best my life has been plagued with turmoil, impossible obstacles, forcing me to learn how to overcome incredible adversity and accept change. No matter how how hard life got for me, no matter how dark the skies became, I survived and lived another day and despite all the darkness and pain I endured, there were quite a few sunny days, day I’ll never take back for anything. Yes, although thinking back over the rough patches of my life are painful, I’m proud of the life I lived.

 

Yes, I stumbled here and there, I struggled with an uphill battle with depression which I nearly lost as it threatened to consume my very being, but I fought on and refused to ever give up. Because I’ve always believed in something being out there, looking over me, something so much bigger than me. Because I believed in God, and I’m incredibly stubborn. That said I’ve also been a survivor. My mother tried having a miscarriage before I was born, fought to get an abortion, making it a miracle I’m even here today, but don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed, or jaded or anything well not anymore. I had my issues which I managed to work through, sometimes I had a little help from my friends, others were family.

 

Now I can say with the utmost confidence that I love my life and I’m happy. (Granted I think I’m in love with one of my best friends and would be significantly happier if she ever sees me how I see her, but I doubt she will, but I’ll still be  happy with whatever happiness she does find with me, or whoever) But I digress, I’m happy with life and where I’m at. I’ve seen and done some pretty incredible and amazing things. I believe this may be the same with you as it was with me, I didn’t realize how spectacular my life had been, until long after the fact and I looked back and finally saw the many blessings that the Lord has granted me with.

 

Which is why I’m telling you my story. Because life…it does get better and it can hit pretty hard sometimes and some blows will knock you down pretty hard and sometimes it’ll feel like you may never be able to pick yourself back up, or even be you again. But hang in there, we’re all pulling for you, even if you never met me, or you have and we spoke briefly in person. I love you and I’m here for you, always. Because sometimes we go through these struggles and believe me, they make us stronger and define us as human beings. These struggles will give you a far greater appreciation for the good things life has to offer. Even if you can’t see it, the struggles we face now, the pain, humiliation, they don’t really last. Even though it seems like it may never end, but it will, just give it time and have a little faith. Besides if you give up now, you’ll never know how close you’ll come to victory and falling in love with the life now, or discovering something truly amazing. Because things will get better, they always do, and sometimes you just have to push through and survive High-School and step out into the world for the first time on your own and don’t be afraid if you stumble, or fall and lose your way. Because we all do, I did and we all eventually find our way back home.

 

 

Now, the last we left off, my mother had abandoned me while I was a baby, leaving me for my father to discover sitting at the top of the stairs of our home. He then took me to my grandmothers where I stayed for a week before she even tried to contact him to see if he had me. Then she arranged a meeting where she stole me from my father’s loving care and ran off with me and with my dad in hot pursuit, only to eventually be forced to give up the chase.

 

My parents separated shortly thereafter and my father felt the very foundations of his whole world crumbling beneath his feet. He knew he’d end up losing me in the divorce and my mother would win soul custody, partly because she was better at lying and squeezing out a few tears. Whereas my father has always been more honest and straightforward and more often than not too much so for his own good. So the thought of losing me along with his wife who he still loved became almost too much for him to bare. So one day he’s driving to his mom’s after a hard day’s work he loses it, he begins cursing God, accusing him of being the cause of all of this pain and strife, telling the Lord, he should just kill him since Debbie, (my mother) was going to take me. He challenged God’s hand and God listened and responded.

 Picture 3

                A semi-truck ran a red light and t-boned my father’s car.

 

                              Picture 5.

 

The damage was catastrophic and resulted in my father’s death. He challenged God to kill him and so he did, even when you think God isn’t listening, he is and when you think he doesn’t care, he does.

 

 

 Picture 2.

 

I came very close to losing my father that day and I would forever miss out on the one man who’d be my saving grace growing up and who would later teach me to be a parent, who wouldn’t simply be a good father, but one of my best friends. Words cannot express how much I admire and love this man, he’s my hero and he’s also my father and I thank God every day for him. Two things saved his life this day. The first being that he wasn’t wearing his seat-belt (I know right? nothing makes a kid more terrified of wearing a seat-belt) But because he wasn’t wearing his seat-belt he was able to jump into the passenger seat which saved him from being fatally crushed to death.

 Picture 4.

                The second thing that saved my father’s life was a woman who appeared and pictured below, who got of her car and checked on him, discovering that despite his narrow escape from being crushed to death, he had died. Paramedics were still far from the scene. But there was this woman who leaned into his vehicle and laid her hands on him and she began to pray. It was then, only then that my father came back and started breathing. Once he described this feeling to me, about what it was like to die. He didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, instead all he saw was darkness, but in that darkness he felt an incredible sense of peace and love. He was ready to pass on, but was told it wasn’t his time and he needed to come back and take care of me. To have a little faith, this story isn’t so much about me, but my incredible father who saved my life, my heart and my soul, simply by being there for me and teaching me about the all-encompassing love of God.

 

My dad visiting the wreckage.

 

My father as a young man, revisting the wreckage that nearly took his his life.

My father as a young man, revisiting the wreckage that nearly took his his life.