Monday, March 13, 2006

All About Me: 3.0 (are you getting sick of ME yet?)

For my entire childhood growing up, I was an only child to a single mother. We moved around a lot. In fact, I can't remember how many schools I went to during my elementary years. Before writing these posts, I had always thought I had moved from Missouri to San Diego when I was really little, but after researching it, I came to realize that I was much older. Like 8 years old.

That may not seem like a huge revelation to you, but it was for me. It put into perspective how much I have blocked out or put into hibernation in my brain. It has always bothered me that I haven't been able to remember much from my childhood, but I think I realize now that it was a defence mechanism that kicked in so I could just survive.

Anyway, as I was saying, we moved around. In fact, on average, we moved to a different house / apartment / trailer every six months or so. My mom never owned anything of her own. We never lived in anything nice or big. To put it into perspective, one of my old bedrooms when I was a teen was as big as my closet is now in my house. I had a daybed and a small chest of drawers, and that only left about 18 inches of space to walk around in. Literally. But I never thought twice about it and I was never embarrassed to bring people home. Our places may have been small or humble, and even run down at times, but our place was always clean and well-kept.

So we moved from Missouri to San Diego when I was 8. My happiest memories are from there. And who could blame me? There was no imminent threat of an abuser, I had my mom all to myself - no boyfriends to share her with, and we lived an insanely short distance from the beach.

When I was 11, my mom reconciled with her second husband from Missouri (they had married when I was little and divorced when I was 4). He wanted her to move to Kansas where he was living at the time, but she wanted to move to Texas. Kansas was too small for her, and Texas was too big for him, so they met in the middle - literally. We ended up moving to Owasso, Oklahoma. I was thrilled (NOT!). Not only was my mom reconciling with her drunk, truck-driving ex-husband, but she was moving me from beautiful, sunny San Diego to Butt Crack Oklahoma.

Needless to say I didn't settle so well with the move.

My mom was an amazing woman, though. She was a bartender and she regularly held two and three jobs to make ends meet. On top of her jobs, she managed to take care of all of our cattle and horses we maintained on our land, as well as toting me back and forth to the ice skating rink before and after school every day. If that weren't enough, she also managed to head to the library every two weeks and bring home a stack of 4 or 5 books to which she would read each one in it's entirety by the time the due date would roll around.

When my mom was 33, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was floored, but didn't really fully understand the gamut of the whole situation. She had a full mastectomy on her left breast and underwent the routine chemo treatments. All while continuing her heavy work load.

She went into remission and soon after we moved out of the place we were living with my step-dad. The reconciliation lasted all of about 2 years. He was SOOOO worth leaving San Diego for.

Back on our own again, life went on.

2 years later, just after I turned 16, my mom kept battling this ongoing stint with bronchitis (or so that's what the doctors were saying it was). After two months of dealing with a bad cough, she found out her cancer had returned, but this time it had spread into her lungs and into her lymph system.

Her doctors gave her 18 months.

She refused to go through chemo again, so she opted for experimental treatments in Scottsdale, AZ. My Grandfather (her dad) took care of the medical expenses and travel and did everything he could to keep her alive.

We found out in March that the cancer had returned and by June she was gone.

I was devastated. I was pissed off at God (REALLY pissed off at God. In my mind, how cruel was He to take away the only person I had?) I was pissed off at her. I was pissed off at everyone around me, including myself for not making the most of what little time we had left together. I took for granted that my mom would always be there for me. I took her for granted and never told her how much I appreciated her and everything she ever did for me; for all of the countless sacrifices she made for me.

After her funeral, my dad asked me to move in with him. I just kind of laughed and gave him the "Are you serious?" look. Instead, my mom's cousin, Sandy and her husband, took guardianship over me and I moved in with them for the next year.

Having grown up always being by myself and fending for myself with no rules or boundaries and being able to come and go as I pleased, it was completely difficult (to say the least) to move into a home with rules and structure and a traditional family order in place.

I lived with them through my junior year of high school and moved out on my own during my senior year.

In an unconscious attempt at avoiding my own problems, I took on the problems of my boyfriend, Brian. He was from a broken home and had been abused his whole life. His dad had kicked him out of the house for being caught with drugs. That was the real reason for the move. So he could have a place to stay and I could support him. I worked two jobs and finished high school while he dropped out, took up dealing (and using) Crystal Meth and Weed, and became extremely violent and abusive over the next year.

I survived being thrown down a flight of stairs head-first, having one of those old, metal, stream-line phones smashed into the side of my head repeatedly, having a gun held to my head, waking up on several occasions to him trying to smother me with a pillow, and the usual beatings where he would punch me, kick me, smash my face into the carpet, and toss me against the walls.

The final straw was being punched in the stomach repeatedly in an attempt to cause me to have a miscarriage. He was successful.

I moved out, leaving him homeless, and got an apartment with a roommate. But after too many threats, one too many nights of coming home to find him hiding in the bushes outside of my apartment, and a very scary occurrence of walking in my apartment to find an extremely large knife sticking in my couch cushion, I decided to move to Texas.


At 3/14/2006 5:41 AM, Blogger Jeana said...

Reading this is reminding me of some things God has been prompting me to share. Thanks!

At 3/14/2006 10:14 AM, Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

I didn't know you lived in Oklahoma. Sounds like you have been through alot, but I am glad to hear God is helping you to shre it to help others!

At 3/15/2006 7:48 AM, Blogger Shelley said...

Not sick of you yet. Keep going. :-)


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