Dear friend, 

I've been told for years that I have a story to tell and that I should tell it, so that others will benefit from it.  In truth, I have spent most of my life hiding my story from the world, so as not to be judged for it.  I wanted to re-create myself and be something other than what I was, because I had lived with the truth of who I was and where I came from and it was a harsh existence.

Something happened a couple of years back (I'll get into that later) and it began to slowly unwind this thinking of mine and slowly, I have become more and more comfortable with sharing my story.  I am not yet ready to have it be tied to me in a public sense, so you will have to forgive my preference to remain anonymous for now, but perhaps one day I will drop the mask and allow the world to see me for who I really am.

I fear that if I came out as the real me, that I might not be honest and I might not dig down deep enough in fear of crucifixion and judgment and yes even a little concern for my career; and in order for this to really work, honesty is crucial.  I hope through this, I can find some healing for the younger me and acceptance and self love for the person I am today and if I may be so bold, as to beg the universe for this...that perhaps it is inspiring for some of you too.  

I want this blog to be about more than just my story though.  I want it to be about the whole of me...the person I was, the person I am and the person I hope to become.  My legacy of I am just going to lay it all out thoughts, my feelings, my pain, my joy, my story and whatever else feels right in the moment; and if I am on the right path, I hope it will touch and inspire those who are kind and patient enough to listen to the beautiful chaos that is me.

The truth is that no one knows what they are really doing in this life.  No matter how together or perfect they look or their life seems.  No one was handed an instruction manual and most of our parents managed to fuck us up somewhere along the way; some more than others and in working through that, here we all are.  Just doing the very best we can, with what we have.  Something that I remind myself of often, is that no matter how difficult or hard life gets at times, we are never alone and surely someone has walked our path before us and this blog is intended to pay homage to that. 

With much love and a heart full of hope,


Part 3: Welcome Home

Welcome Home 


I didn’t hate much as a child.  I was much more of a quiet observer than one to pass judgement, but I truly hated the Freddy Kruger trailer.  It was hands down the worst place I had ever lived in my whole life and that says a lot, given that my mom and I were once homeless and living out of her car.  It might sound inconceivable to you, to prefer living in a car over a trailer, but the trailer was something nightmares were made of.  


The front door was missing the bottom half, from someone having kicked the door in and breaking the bottom of it off.  It was dark and dank, mostly because the power was almost never on.  There was no real furniture in the living room other than a long old fashioned record player type cabinet, which my mom used for storage and a large crickety old rattan chair that I used to sit in when I would eat.  The carpet was this indistinguishable marbled brown, black nastiness that had gone flat from years of neglect. The kitchen unlike most homes, was the least used room, as both the refrigerator and the stove were useless without power and the room never seemed to get much light, so it was always dark, even in the daylight.  There was a table in the far corner of the kitchen, but we never, not even once ate together at that table. 


My room was the first room on the left down the hall, off of the living room.  My door and closet doors were all missing.  I had a small oblong window high on my wall probably the size of two shoeboxes, but the glass had long since been broken and now it was just covered in plastic and duct tape.  On windy nights it would keep me up with an incessant sound of the plastic being beaten around and a low howl type of noise. I used to imagine that I lived in the forest and that I was a part of the tree, that the owls lived in to help comfort me though those nights.  


My room was completely empty with the exception of my bed, which was made of 4 egg crates turned upside down with a bunch of pillows laid across the top.  I owned two toys, one of which was a walkman and the other of which, was a Glowworm and I loved them both more than I now imagine any other child having loved their toys.  I was older than I should have been for that Gloworm, but it comforted me when I fell asleep in the dark and more often than not, I was alone there and somehow my glowworm made me feel like I wasn’t.  My walkman was my favorite toy by day and it allowed me to briefly escape my life for a happier more colorful one, that seemed to exist in all of my favorite songs.  


It sounds sad to say that I only had two toys, but it wasn’t always like that and I certainly didn’t think of it that way.  I had, had lots of toys when I was with my sister but I could only take back with me what I could fit into my one child sized suitcase.   My grandmother and uncles had bought me toys over the years too, but we were always moving and my mom always put our stuff in storage whenever we moved and then we would lose the storage because she couldn’t pay the bill and all of our stuff would be lost.  Or as in the case of my antique Barbie collection that my grandma had bought me, some of which were original Barbies dating back to the 40’s; my mom had “hocked” them at the pawn shop for cash, promising me she would get them back when she got money again.  But of course that never happened and so it went with all of our stuff.  I can’t tell you how many things came and went to the pawnshops, or got traded out to one of her druggie friends.  Material possessions flowed like water in our house and for my mother, still do. 


So can you imagine the little girl that I was?  Wide eyed, quiet, hesitant to smile but always listening.  My life was pretty simple really; on school days, I would wake up, get dressed walk to the bus and go to school.  Luckily I didn’t have to worry about food on school days, I was on the low income program and had tickets for breakfast and lunch every day.  It wasn't great food, but it was better than anything I had at home.  After school, I would go to a neighbors house down the street who had a daughter in a grade below me and I would “tutor” her on her homework, in exchange for dinner and occasionally, even a little tv time. I never told her or her parents about my life, but somehow they sensed it and were gracious enough to allow me the tutoring arrangement.  I never let her over to my house, in fact I had never had any friends over to that house.  I never talked about where I lived, or my mom or my dad or anything.  I did my best to keep everyone around me happy, so that I could keep the arrangement going and that meant not getting too personal.  I dreaded going home after dinner though.  It was dark and most of the time my mom wasn’t home  So I would just head to my room and go to sleep cuddled up with my glowworm, listening to my walkman.  


My mom’s food stamps came once a month and I was always excited for the day to come.  I would be dressed and waiting for the mailman to drop them off and then I’d walk to the store to get as much stuff as I could carry.  I pretty much lived off of Chef Boyardee Raviolis, unless the power was on and then I would get top ramen, macaroni and cheese, hotdogs, eggs cereal, bread and butter.  The store I went to, always had cold pizza out for you to try when you were shopping and I always made sure to get my fill of it.  To this day, I will still eat cold food, food out of a can or even mildly rotten food.  It’s one of those things I have carried since childhood.  I figure, that humans lived without refrigeration for centuries and I certainly did growing up, so surely I’ll survive as an adult too. 


Anyway, food stamp day was always a good day.  My mom usually made sure she was home that day too, as it was also the day her welfare check came.  She would send me to the store to buy her cigarettes and then she’d be gone again for a few days.  You may be wondering how a child managed to buy cigarettes and I will remind you of my mother’s crazy temper.  The first time she sent me to the store for her cigarettes, the store owner refused to sell them to me.  I went home empty handed and explained to my mom that the man had refused to sell them to me.  She was pissed and I mean really pissed!  She dragged me back to the store that minute and threatened the store owner if he didn’t sell me the cigarettes.  She told him that if I ever went into the store to buy cigarettes, that they were for her and that if he didn’t sell them to me, she’d be back and his little store would be no more and if he was lucky, he’d just be in the hospital.  Well that settled that and he never hassled me about it again.


When my mom was gone, I would busy myself with tutoring and as much as I hated that scary trailer alone at night, it was peaceful without her there.   When she was home it was usually for no more than a week at a time.  She would always sleep the first three days straight and I would creep into her room and make sure she was still breathing without waking her up.

Occasionally I would accidentally wake her up, trying to check on her and she would scream at me for a while before she fell back asleep.  She was always in a very bad mood when she was home.  In hindsight it’s because she was only ever home, when she was coming down from her drugs and like any withdrawal from something, it wasn’t pretty.  Consequentky, I learned how to keep a low profile and not be seen when she was coming down. If she was out of money or friends, she would stick around for a few days after she had slept it all off and then it was this anxious paranoia combined with her badass temper.  On those days, she was very verbally abusive and I would be walking on eggshells.  


I remember distinctly once watching my mom sit at the turntable cabinet in the living room and pulling some stuff out of it.  She put a giant rubber band on her arm, lit something up in a spoon and then put it in a needle like the nurses did on tv. Then she walked into her room, sat on the edge of her bed and stuck it in her arm.  Then she was back to sleep again.  It was the only time I remember witnessing her shoot up and I just remember that my mind was blank when it happened.  Like I passed no judgement on her for it, had no concept of what it really was, I just watched. 


I did however sense on some level, that there was danger because I checked on her frequently and when I had gone into check on her later on, I thought that she wasn’t breathing and this heavy panic set in on me.  I wasn’t positively sure, that she wasn't breathing, but I had this dark heavy feeling that something was really wrong.  So I walked to my friends house, the one I tutored and asked to used their phone.  I called 911 and told them I didn’t think my mom was breathing and that I had walked over to a friends house to call them and that I needed to get back to my mom and then I walked back to my house and waited.


The ambulance came and I can remember that moment as crystal clear, as if I am there right now.  It was late in the day during winter and the ground had a light layer of iced like dew... not snow and not really dew. It was overcast, the clouds were dark and the ambulance came with two men.  They went into the trailer and brought my mom out on a hospital gurney.  I stood at the back of the ambulance while they were pumping on her chest and yelling different things to each other.  I remember one of them looked at me and asked if there was anyone else I could call and I told them it was just me and my mom.  The machines made that long beep like in the movies when someone flatlines and they looked at each other for a moment and I saw an exchange in their eyes… Maybe I am adding my own inflection here, but I swear I saw sadness and then a fierce determination flash in one of their eyes.  I knew when I heard that beep, what it meant and I couldn’t even cry.  I was frozen in my own body, like I had drifted away but was still there.    


I tuned out, like everything fell into a backdrop and I was just there with my breath and my thoughts and a heart that seemed to have stopped beating in my own chest.  I didn’t feel sadness, because I didn’t feel like it was over yet.  I knew that the beeping meant she had died, but I didn’t feel like she would be dead, as in I would never see her again and I didn't really, fully understand what death even was.  It’s hard to explain, I have always had this sense about things, not psychic or anything; just a feeling like something is good, or bad, or very bad and I have over the years learned to trust this feeling.  


For example, I would be walking down a street and I would see a man who would be looking at me and my feelings would tell me that this was very bad and to get away from him as quickly as possible, and I would run into a store and hide for a while.  I would never know what would have happened had I not run and hid, but I was certain it wouldn’t be good. I believe that everyone has intuition, but that most maybe don't tune into it as well; but that because I did not have the voice of a parent to guide me, somehow it left me open to being more aware of this feeling.  I do believe that what god and the universe take away in one area, it gives back to you in another.  I will get into this more later in my story, but this is one example of why I believe this. 


I came back to awareness seeing my breath in front of me and then the ambulance came into focus again and then one of the men asked me if I wanted to ride to the hospital in the back of the ambulance with my mom and I said yes. In those days and certainly in that area, a remote suburb of Salem Oregon, there wasn’t child protective services or if there was, for one reason or another we never hit their radar; even in this moment, when my mom had OD and died on the scene only to be resuscitated. 


My mom ended up getting released from the hospital after a couple of days, only to wind up in prison a month or so later for burglary. 


Lucky for me right around this time, my grandma who lived in Simi Valley, California called one of my uncles that lived-in town near us, to check on everyone and see how things were.  When my grandma asked my uncle about my mom, he told her she was back in prison again and my grandma asked him where I was, and he said he didn’t know.  Well that was all my grandma needed to hear, she cursed him out and then drove up from So. Cal. the very next day to find me.

Part 2: Back To Reality

Back to Reality


As luck would have it, my mother was not in prison when I arrived.  This of course came with very mixed emotions for me.  On the one hand, I would have someone to take me from the airport and truthfully, I was worried about having to find my way back to the trailer.  I wasn’t even sure if my mom still lived in it.  We never lived in any one place for too long.  As relieved as I was to have her there to pick me up, I also knew that this meant, I was truly back in my own life. 


Back to no power on in the house, back to her 3 day long disappearances, followed by her 3 day long drug induced coma’s while she slept off her “come downs”.  Back to walking to school alone, back to sleeping on egg crates with pillows for a mattress, back to being worried about whether she was breathing when she was sleeping it all off, back to her paranoid rage when she was awake, back to finding her and her friends in dark houses with people sleeping along the walls.  Back to no new clothes, no toys and no friends.  Only this time, I felt the burden of it all in a way I had never known before.  It was the beginning of what would become my single biggest demon…feeling like I was never good enough and always less than everyone else. 


I sometimes wonder, if I had not tasted a bit of the good life, had not been given a yardstick of measurement by which to compare…would I have ever birthed this demon that haunts me to this day?  I don’t know.  I suppose in time it would have still surfaced, as surely I would have eventually seen that my life was not like others.   I know that I never felt ashamed, or less than others before that moment.  But I also know, that it is these roots that push me forward in life.  That allow me to take risks others dare not, fueled by only a chance at something better and a lack of fear in failing.  For even failure is better than where I came from.


As a child I learned many lessons, one of them was that nothing lasts forever.  I have spent my entire life preparing for goodbyes.  Saying goodbye to the good life as I knew it was just one of those examples.  My story is riddled with goodbyes…goodbyes to friends, schools, homes, even family members.  Having learned early on that getting too close, only caused you pain is another one of the demons I still carry and battle.


Although this particular demon, has been a double bladed sword in both serving me well, while also hindering my growth and attachments to people.  In dark times, I would remind myself that nothing lasts forever and in this way, I could get through anything.  But in good times, that same voice of protection would remind me that nothing lasts forever and to not get too comfortable.  


I tell you this because, for as long as I could remember, my mother would go through good spurts and bad spurts and just as I learned to let go of schools, homes, friends and family; I also learned that both the good and bad things in life and people, also come and go.  A good spurt for my mother, would mean that she was determined to change her life.  She’d enroll in dental school, or nail school, or one of any hundred endeavors that she had tried and given up on; and she would genuinely try and walk the straight and narrow, if only ever for a bit.  Eventually though, the call of the wild would pull her back into it’s clutches and she would be lost to me again.  The good spurts were frequent, albeit short when I was young; but as I got older her bad spurts consumed more and more of our lives and a bad spurt meant that she was back on drugs.  Her flavor of choice changing over the years with her circle of friends, location, financial situation and as I can only imagine… the high it gave her.  


When I was a baby it was pills…queloides and yellow jackets.  I have memories of what must have been my toddler self, learning to walk and seeing these jars of giant pills on top of the Alhambra water filter.  My grandma tells me that my moms drug addiction, started when she was 13 huffing paint.  Over the years of my life, I have witnessed her flavor change from queloides and yellow jackets, to heroin, to meth, to prescription pills, back to meth and now most recently methadone (prescription heroin). 


It’s sad to think that here, 36 years later, my mother having lost all of her kids, her freedoms, her self respect, her self worth, her self love, her beauty and even her sanity; still battles the demons that cause her to turn to drugs and that she still loses that battle every day, day after day.


When I was young, I used to wonder what was wrong with me.  Why my mom didn’t love me enough to give up her drugs.  Why her drugs, were more important than me.  I used to hate myself, for her habit.  It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be loved.  It took me many, many, many years of self reflection to finally understand that addiction, is truly a disease.  That it was never about me, or my worth, but that it was about her fight with her own demons. 


Like my father, my mother lived fast and hard and she had an indomitable spirit of her own.  She was charming when she wanted to be and ornery as hell when provoked.  She would fight anyone, including men large enough to intimidate other men, my teachers, our neighbors, druggies who had “burned” her and any random person she encountered throughout her day that pissed her off. My mom had a rage that seethed through her veins and always burned hot; she also had a gigantic chip on her shoulder, that seemed born of her belief that the world had some how wronged her and owed her.  


She was a hard-head as much as she was a hot-head.  She ran away when she was 13 and made her away around the country by hitchhiking with truck drivers.  She later became a truck driver herself for a few years and eventually even married one…one of her now, countless marriages.  Truck driving was probably the only job, that ever really suited her.  She didn’t take to authority well and working on the road solo with only a deadline and herself in-between, suited her well.


For curiosities sake, my grandmother and I once tried to count how many times my mother had been married and we lost count at 8.  Some of them had been marriages on top of marriages, on top of other marriages, most without ever having divorced.  Needless to say the wake of my mothers love life, was a very messy one.  As it relates to the men in her life, I could literally devote a whole chapter to each of my mothers men and the chaos that ensued each of those relationships and the drama that spilled over into all of our lives as a result, but those stories are for another day.


It’s probably no surprise, that mom ran with the hells angels for a time when I was in middle school and I am sure you are starting to get the picture that my mom was one helluva badass, rough and tumble bitch.  But this picture would be a very linear one of her, as she was also very beautiful before the fast, hard life and the drugs took their toll on her looks.  My mom looked liked Valerie Bertinelli back when she was on the popular 80’s tv show, “One Day At A Time”. With brown hair, and big almond shaped, dark brown eyes; she had this natural confidence about her that could cast a spell on men, in a hopeless way.  


They were truly helpless to her guiles and would fall head over heels in love with her, before they ever even saw her for who she really was and by then it was far too late for them; as she had already sensed the end was near and would have taken what she needed or wanted from them and left them in what was always the cruelest of ways.  I never understood this power she had over men, but it was amazing to witness.


So here I was, back in Oregon with my druggie, criminal mother; reeling from having tasted the good life and trying the best I could, to make sense of all the thoughts and emotions swirling around in my young mind.

Part 1: The Best of The Worst

The question of where to begin is always a difficult one.  As memory has a way of bleeding time into itself, so that you can no longer tell where one moment begins and another ends. Whether consciously or unconsciously, I know that I also spent most of my adolescence trying to forget it all and bury it deep down somewhere, where I would never find it again.  But as these things go, you can never hide it for long.  Sooner or later it will creep back up like regurgitated food and the taste will be just as unpleasant, as it was going down the first time...


The Best of the Worst


My mother was 18 when she had me.  She and my father were married for a short time.  It was probably the only conventional thing my mother ever did.  I can see why she was attracted to him, he was incredibly good looking and very charismatic.  Tall, dark and handsome with these blues eyes that cracked at the corners and always seemed to be smiling mischievously at you.  He looked like Tom Selleck in his Magnum P.I. days with the same gregarious smile and charm.   


He exuded confidence and this extra something special that made people immediately like and trust him.  To me, he was larger than life and I could hardly believe that I was related to him, let alone his daughter.  He rode a motorcycle, which he would take me out on from time to time; and drove a t-top corvette with this super curvy front end and I remember him telling me that the curves on it reminded him, of the legs on a woman.  He owned a boat at the Oxnard harbor, which he was renovating by hand, all by himself and occasionally he would let me captain it.  I remember how good it felt to be steering the boat out on the open water, with the wind in my hair. 


Being with him, made me feel larger than life too. Almost like that life I had lived with my mother, before I was with him, was just some dark dream.  He told me that his boat was his special place and that it’s where he went when he wanted to get away from the world.  In all of our times on the boat, I don’t remember him ever bringing anyone else on it.  It truly felt like it was our secret hideaway from the world. 


We stayed on the boat sometimes, but he lived in a big house that he rented with a roommate and the two of them were living, what must have been the bachelors dream.  My dad always had some hot new blonde with big boobs in his bed, but those girls didn’t mean anything to him. For as long as I knew him, he only ever really loved one woman.  


Their relationship was off and on again though and it seemed like he was always trying to win back her good graces for something he had done.  In the end, after several years of back and forth, on again, off again, he ultimately lost her and I have to say, that she was the better for it.   I loved her too though.  She was beautiful, she had long legs, beautiful dark hair that shone in the sunlit and she drove a jeep with a removable top.  She had the face of a model and a heart of gold.  She always reminded me of my favorite brunette Barbie that I loved dressing up, only she was real and took me out shopping and to Universal Studios on the weekends.  When she was with him, we would have slumber parties and she would do my makeup and it was this perfect little world like you would see on tv.  Only this perfect little world, existed only in our minds, as she didn’t know my real dad, she only knew the parts he wanted her to see and I was far too young, to understand any of it.  


As my grandma always says, "everything that glitters isn’t golden".  You see, my dad was also a coke dealer in the 80’s, amongst many other things.  Probably not hard to imagine given his over the top lifestyle, but I have heard my mother say on many occasions, that he was one of the biggest dealers in LA at the time.  While my mother isn't exactly the best character witness, I have heard enough stories from my uncles and had witnessed enough during those years to believe it.  Sometimes, when I would come over to his house on the weekends, he would have a giant scale and a huge pile of coke on his coffee table, which he would occasionally weigh out for a friend.


But his criminal enterprise didn’t end at drug dealing, he was quite the mastermind really.  My grandma always tells me that I get my charm and smarts from my dad, which truly terrifies me, but also sort of makes me proud, considering all that he got away with.  I remember him taking me once, to a house that he and one of his business partners had rented.  In looking back on it now, I think it was a house they used to store their take in.  I remember seeing a closet full of gold bars stacked from the floor to the ceiling and I remember the little girl me, staring at the gold in awe of how big and beautiful it was.  I also remember my dad saying something to his partner, about what a pain it was to move them; but I also remember him being very proud of that closet. 


I have heard stories that he and his partner would dress up like coastguards and go to the rich neighborhoods in Malibu, knocking on all of the doors pretending that there was some kind of emergency (not sure if they said tidal waves or what), but that everyone needed to evacuate their homes immediately.  Citing that it wasn’t safe to be there and then after everyone in the neighborhood had cleared out, he and his partner would break into the houses one by one and steal anything and everything they could fit in their disguised van.  


In looking back on it all and trying to make sense of it, as I have done thousands of times over the years.  I can’t say for sure whether or not it was a byproduct of the coke or a passing on of a perversion that his mother had wrongly bestowed upon him; but my father had a very dark side to him when it came to me.  It was a sick twisted version of fatherly love.  When I would visit him on those weekends, I would share a bed with him and his woman of the night, sometimes the woman would have a little girl of her own and we would all share the bed together.  He would make love to woman, while I usually pretended to be asleep and then after she fell asleep, he would pull me close and touch me in my private, while telling me how much he loved me. 


One morning in particular I remember waking up, the woman was gone and he was on top of me. He didn’t say anything, he was just looking at me, while he was trying to put himself inside of me; and to this day I can’t say for sure if it was my ass or my pussy.  I am not even sure if he made it in, I just remember this overwhelming feeling of having to go poop, like one of those painful constipated poops. I told him it hurt and that I needed to go poop and he kept on for a while, but I insisted and finally he let me up and I must have sat on that toilet for an hour, waiting for a poop that never came. 


A part of me knew it was wrong, I didn’t like the way it felt and I was stalling because I didn’t want to get back into that bed.  Lucky for me, I must have stalled long enough because he finally lost interest and we went about our day as if nothing had happened.  


It was the only time that I ever remember him trying to stick himself inside of me, but he always touched and played with me before we fell asleep.  Although he never did this stuff when the brunette Barbie was around. I knew he felt guilty about it, because right before he would bring me back on Sundays, he would take me shopping and buy me anything and everything I wanted and then some.  He would then give me a long, stern speech about how it was our little secret and that I couldn't tell anyone about the things we did and that if I told anybody, he would never see me again. Little did we both know, how true those words would end up being.


I would go home with bags full of bribery toys.  This went on from the time I was about 6, until I was 7 or 8. People sometimes ask me, why I let it happen.  Honestly it’s not something you think about.  As a kid you don’t know what normal is, all you have is your own life as a gauge against the world.  I didn’t think I was being molested, I didn’t even know what being molested was.  I knew it didn't feel good and that I didn’t like it and that I was always trying to weasel my way out of it.  I’d pretend to be asleep or move down to the edge of the bed by his feet and sleep there, so it was harder for him to pull me up.  But as far as I was concerned, this was normal and something that probably every kid did with their dad, they just didn’t talk about it because it was supposed to be their little secret.


The whole thing came to end though, when I was back at home and at that time, home was living with my younger sister and her dad and their family.  My sister’s grandmother on her dads side, was giving us girls a bath and as she was drying us off, she was telling us that our private parts were meant to be private and that no one should ever touch them.  I responded to her with “well my daddy touches me there” and she said well what do you mean, how does he touch you and I explained it to her and showed her, while my sister too young to really understand what was happening, sat their listening with wide eyes.   


I remember that evening overhearing my sisters grandmother telling my sisters dad, about our little conversation and how she thought I was being molested by my dad during the weekend visitations. The next day I went to school, proudly telling all of my friends and teachers that I was being molested.  I had no idea what the word meant, but it was so big, that I thought it would surely impress them that I knew such a big word.  Well impressed wasn’t the reaction I got.  The school pulled me out of class and called my sisters father and being that I was living with him, they must have assumed that he was the father doing the molesting and the whole thing got blown out of hand and my sisters father was completely embarrassed by it all.  Not wanting to deal with it, or me anymore, he promptly shipped me back up to my mother in Oregon and that was the end of the good life for me; and what also would be the second to last time, I would ever see my father again.


Life before and after this was with my mother and in all of the things that I had endured up and until this point, nothing had hurt me as bad as having been sent back home.  Not because I didn’t love my mother, but because it felt like rejection.  Like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their family.  There was no conversation with me about it, no preparation, no explaining why they were sending me back, no helping me understand the shock and embarrassment they were trying to deal with.  No, I was simply on a plane before I knew it.  It felt cold and heartless and it was one of the few things that ever made me cry and to this day, can still do that to me. 


You see up and until this point, I had never known what normal life was.  I had never seen it and been able to contrast it to the life I had lived up and until that point.  My sisters father lived in a home he owned, with a pool in the backyard, in a neighborhood full of kids.  He was married, the wife was pretty, they both worked full-time while we went to school; and there I was, in this house of strangers, living with my sister, her dad, his new wife and their two kids.  


Her dad owned a bike shop, so we had cool new bikes and dinner was on the table every night like clockwork.  They woke us up in the morning for school, they made lunch for us, we had nice clothes and toys and family movie nights.  Then the mom and dad would drive us to school and pick us up afterwards in their trucks and race each other home.  The mom would cheat, by off-roading through a field to beat my sisters dad home and I remember always being happy to be riding with the girls cause we always won.  So yes, this was the good life to me.  It was where I learned how to ride a bike and what a normal relationship between a man and woman looked like.  This was my sisters home and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced and I wanted so much to be part of it, to fit in, to belong and to stay.  But it wasn’t my world and I wasn’t meant to live in it.  They had done a nice thing by taking me in, when my mother went to prison and now I had humiliated her father and it was time for me to go back home.  I just wish it hadn’t hurt me so much.  I don’t think I ever forgave them for turning their back on me, to this day I have a hard time talking to my sister about it. 


I had flown countless times by myself and while I usually enjoyed the independence of taking a flight all by myself like the adults did, this particular flight was different for me.  I was broken hearted at the sudden rejection I felt by my sisters family and by the not knowing if my mother would be waiting for me on the other end of that flight.  I wasn't sure whether she was back in jail or prison and if I would be finding my way back to the dark "Freddy Krugar" trailer on my own.  More importantly, I was not ready for the life I knew awaited me. 


It’s a funny thing to see your life with such different eyes as a child, probably no more than 7 at the time, but here I was alone on a flight from Southern California to Oregon, contemplating two very contrasting ways of living.  This moment as painful as it was, profoundly changed me and ultimately paved the way for my future self.  Just one of the many foundational building blocks to the person that I am today.  For I knew at that very moment in time, that another way of life was possible; what it looked like, how the people acted and treated one another and I knew that this was the life I would spend the rest of my life striving to achieve. Something I had always been blind to before.  So I stepped off of that plane a child no more and in that moment, an indomitable spirit was born.