Saturday, April 23, 2011

It Started as just a Comment...

I started to write a comment on A Daddy Blog's blog post about Disney Princesses & the messages conveyed by the Princesses of the various stories. I highly recommend reading the post before reading too far into this post of mine, simply because my post may not make a great deal of sense otherwise. *maybe* I could be wrong, but he wrote a great post, so either way you should still check it out, as well as the comments posted.

*~*Disclaimer: I've been drinking tonight, a lot. My mind is in rambling mode...or my drunk fingers are, I can't tell.*~*

I agree with your sentiment posted, Michael, as well as the points highlighted by the previous commentors.

Both my ex husband & my current husband can be likened to 'The Beast" and myself to Belle - strong willed, intelligent gal, of Beauty & the Beast...the difference is with my ex-husband I thought I could change him over to being a prince charming when he was nothing more than a beast at the core, even still - abusive, controlling, manipulative, you name it...except he was quite the charmer to everyone else, but me, after I was 'sucked in'. Current husband, where he wasn't abusive he did take quite a bit of time & patience to learn what honest love was & that he was worthy of being loved, despite not being 'perfect' by others' standards.

I agree we can't shelter our children from the negative parents tried, with everything...and from personal experiences, it doesn't matter how well we're taught by our parents, peers, etc we're still going to make some pretty stupid mistakes along the way...its how we learn from those mistakes & grow from said mistakes that shapes us into adults. Some young folks will never experience things like peer pressure to try things like drugs, or wind up in an abusive relationship, etc the list is miles long...I never expected to wind up in any such situation because I was smart, I knew better, I was intelligent, had a straight upbringing, etc...I didn't have the first ounce of street smarts though & that was a hard road to walk after I moved out as a single woman at 18. Then another hard road as a single mom with a toddler before I was 22.

My opinion is - to teach the good, the bad, & the ugly and how to avoid/react to each...then be there for them when/if they fall. That was where I got snared in-my folks weren't there to help me out of a dark situation because they'd taught me better, I went against what I was taught, I had to find my own way out of my own mess. I got the same story from the church I had been attending, other family members, and a random multitude of persons I'd basically grown up with as role models for me. My life was FULL of ideal positive role models. I think I knew MAYBE five whole people who even smoked cigarettes - my grandpa quit when I was 10, he's 78 now, still as feisty as ever, my stepgrandpa smoked what seemed like a carton of cigarettes a day, until the day he died, at 84 years old, from 'old age', and my PaPa smoked until he died 3 days before his 70th birthday - his death was attributed more to just a broken heart from losing my Granny less than a year before after they'd been married almost 50 years. She died of a combination of stress, diabetes complications, and a weak heart, never smoked a day in her Papa was an over the road truck driver & smoked outside, she was barely exposed to any secondhand smoke.

Anyways, my point is - I didn't grow up around alcoholics, those that did have a drinking problem had quit their addictions years before I was old enough to even know they'd drank, ever. I don't think a single person I grew up around ever did any illegal drugs - I wasn't exposed to potheads, meth addicts, coke or heroin junkies...I seriously grew up thinking such things only occurred in bigger cities, like Los Angeles, New York City, & Miami. Of course, now, as an almost 29 year old adult I know better.

I've been exposed to a number of different substances, even ones that I'd never even heard of in my drug awareness classes. I know the street slang for 90% of it too. It is really scary to me to think of what I knew when I moved out of my parents' home, at 18, compared to what I learned within the first 3 years of being out of their home. By the time I turned 19 I was hooked on drinking & smoking pot - to EXTREMES. I sobered up for a while when I found out I was pregnant & then breast feeding, but within two months of leaving my ex, stopping breastfeeding, etc when Mikeal was 13 months old I was back into that party scene....I was also 21, so no longer had to sneak around or fake IDs in order to get into bars and the like. A few months before I turned 22 I found myself homeless with an 18 month old because no one was willing to help me get out of this bad rut I'd found myself in - between the depression, the lack of self-esteem, the complete worthlessness I felt I turned harder towards the "party" lifestyle.

I became the gal that everyone liked, everyone 'trusted', and I was subsequently exposed to more and more substances - I was the go to gal, if anyone ran out of anything I knew who to contact to get more...of course because I didn't do anything more than smoke a bit of weed once in a while and drink like a fish out of water I was a great pack horse to transport *whatever*. Ironically one of my 'contact' persons to get stuff from was/is the lead prosecuting attorney of the city, she guided me as to how to go about getting by with not getting caught, how to get out of having my vehicle searched if I ever was pulled over, the like.

On Mother's Day, right after my 22nd birthday, Mikeal wasn't but 21 months old, I called Child Protective Services on myself. I wanted help, I needed help, I needed motivation or something to get out of this lifestyle I'd gotten myself into. I love Mikeal more than life itself-it was my love for him that prompted me to make that phone call. I PLEADED with the social workers. I BEGGED them to help me, and if they couldn't help me then to at least take Mikeal away from me so he wouldn't be exposed to it all anymore. I was a disgusting excuse of a mother, where my opinion is concerned, frankly that's the only opinion that matters.

Imagine my shock and horror when I was told that because I asked for the help, etc that they saw no reason to intervene and take Mikeal from me. Apparently because I wasn't denying the fact that I was a fairly shitty excuse of a mother and I wanted to protect Mikeal, that he wasn't in any immediate danger, but the living situation was quite dire, (no food, no running water, living with a meth head, & 3 alcoholic adults) then they didn't see the need to take him or do anything at all about my case. They gave me a list of addresses of places I could go to get help, etc during the week. Later that evening, I called again, this time though I told them that I was on the brink of just ending both our lives so that we'd no longer be a burden on society - that worked.

I had to fucking threaten to kill my own child and myself before anyone even glanced in my direction. Two social workers & a police officer came out. In person I told them my first story, of needing Mikeal to be put in a safe home, where he'd be taken care of properly, and I needed help to get my life straightened out. After what seemed like an eternity of pleading they took Mikeal to a group home...the next day they took him to my ex-mother-in-law because she'd seen this as an opportunity to milk the system even further. I wasn't given any restrictions to Mikeal, I was told to get my life straightened out and at any time that I decided I wanted him back to just go get him and bring him back home to myself. And was left at that. It didn't seem to matter that I was needing to turn my alcohol system back into a blood system, or that I was in a dark mental place, etc. I did land myself a fair job, working graveyard shifts at the Waffle House that was within walking distance & then later I got a job at the Denny's just down the road too. I didn't have a vehicle. I tried meth during this time during a particularly horrible week where I was ready to really end it all - it didn't work, I saw no effect from smoking, snorting, or just eating the stuff...and I did a LOT of it that week. The 'professionals' were shocked that I didn't seem to be effected by it. I was over it nearly as soon as I'd started it.

I moved into a slightly better roommate situation - there was at least running water & the power wasn't constantly being turned off. Oh, and they had internet. I turned my 'need' to go out to get drunk into a chatroom obsession. I sobered up because of that chatroom - it was full of great folks, in Texas...I was in Oklahoma, an 8hr drive from the majority of the folks I'd chatted with, including Brian.

By the end of July I was nearly over my obsession to drink & go out, I was also making a fair income, and had someone nearby who was clean & sober & willing to watch Mikeal for me. That's when more problems started. My ex-mother-in-law decided that she didn't want to give Mikeal over to me...after all during those two months the state put her in a housing unit where she only had to pay $25 a month in rent, $25 a month in utilities, got almost $300 a month in food stamps, was awarded her disability for her fake back injury that she'd been working on getting for a while and had been denied several times, her life was GREAT! There was no way in any sort of fucking hell she'd part with her cash cow! She could lock him in a closet and run around all she wanted now. Heck, she even used him to help her in her shoplifting schemes - schemes where she could walk into ANY store empty handed and walk out with a few hundred dollars in cash & merchandise that she'd later sell on the streets.

I digress. After I learned that the ex-hag wasn't going to give me my son back without a fight that I didn't have a leg to stand on to fight one of my dear friends (I've known them all for now almost 8 years) worked a plan with me. He offered to let me live in his house, site unseen, for a few weeks, until I was able to get on my feet there in Austin....I just simply had to get down there with Mikeal. I worked my tail off to make more money...of course the more I earned the more often it seemed that my roommates expected me to pay towards rent, etc, leaving me no further ahead than when I'd started.

I finally was able to get about $500 in my pocket - my grandmother sent me a couple hundred of that, in the mail. I bought myself a Greyhound bus ticket, I was to be leaving out on the 14th of August. I talked my mom into coming up to take me to get Mikeal & drive me to the bus station - we told my ex-hag that I was going to be spending the weekend with my mother & Mikeal, I'd be back on Sunday or Monday, this was a Friday evening. She sent 2 changes of clothes for Mikeal, that was it, and one diaper, although he'd been out of diapers for months when he went to go stay with her in the first place. He'd regressed that much in less than 2 months. bus left out at 6pm, 12 hrs later it pulled into the Austin terminal. A different chat buddy picked me up at the bus terminal & took me out to where I'd be staying - a GORGEOUS $300K house (for those of you not familiar with what that means in Austin - it meant 4 bathrooms, full entry way, 3 car garage, 4 bedrooms, a huge master suite, formal dining room, HUGE kitchen, HUGE living room, beautiful fenced in private yard, etc...I felt completely out of place. Here I was with every worldly item I owned at that point in two duffle bags, a carry on suitcase, and a normal sized suitcase...I also had a car seat. That was it....well, I did have a few things that my mom took back to her place-enough to almost fill the trunk of her 2door car, but even that didn't amount to much at all.

Over the course of a week complete strangers would drive all the way out there, some from as far as an hour away, to pick me up and take me around town to look for a job. Within a week I landed a job, the next day I was given a car by a different 'complete stranger'. Within a month I met Brian face to face, falling instantly head over heels so fast it still takes my breath away. A week or two later I moved in with him & his roommate.

Of course that wasn't the end of fairy tale. My ex-hag hunted me down & started sending out subpenas that would beckon me to make regular trips back to Oklahoma, she felt completely entitled to Mikeal. I won each and every hearing, simply based on the fact that 1)I'm his mother & 2) she's a convicted felon. She pulled every dirty trick in the book and I was still gullible and naive, we'd work out a 'custody' plan between the two of us...and then she'd run off with Mikeal for a few months with the help of her family. I put a stop to all dealings with her after that incident. She of course hired a lawyer and a few court hearings again the judge finally told her to get over herself and let me care for my child...that was 7 years ago. I've only heard from her once since, and that was about 18 months ago. She told me about how she loved her grandson and yada yada yada yada bullshit until her own son went back to jail for failure to pay child support for a little while. I've not heard from her since, and I don't believe my mom has either (seeing as she has my mother's number, but not my new one). For all I know she's dead from a drug overdose or was caught shoplifting and is now sitting behind bars for the rest of her life, per the terms of her probation from her previous arrest. Either way, GOOD RIDDANCE!

I've only heard twice from the deadbeat sperm donor since I left him in Sept 2003. The first time was in Oct 2005, just a few weeks after I moved back to Oklahoma so I could file for the divorce, then again in February of 2010, where he told the judge he wanted 50/50 custody of Mikeal & to never have to pay child support or he wanted his rights terminated and to never pay child support again. The judge denied him on both accounts and he's still spotty in making child support payments and hasn't bothered with anything else related to Mikeal, the son he loves so much.

Brian on the otherhand, he's been great. We've had some pretty low points, as a couple, broke it off on SEVERAL occasions, but he's always been a daddy to Mikeal. Even when he and I weren't seeing eye to eye there was no denying his relationship with Mikeal, for that reason alone I never completely broke off contact with him...sure we'd gone over a year without seeing/talking to each other, but we had some things individually to get taken care of both legally and personally.

Well, at this point I'm out of alcohol in my juice bottle and out of juice to put in my alcohol bottle, and it's 2am and I should be doing some of my homework assignments, instead writing this entry...but my point is you can give your children the best upbringing in the world, mine was far from 'the best' or even mediocre for that matter, but it was VERY sheltered - I'd never even watched MTV until I was in my mid-20s, and don't care a lick for it - and my young adulthood turned out to be less than stellar. The MOST important thing a parent can EVER teach their child is that they will be there for them to HELP them when they need it and are willing to work for it....and sometimes you have to let them have the opportunities to make some mistakes so that they'll learn from said mistakes so that they can grow away from making deeper mistakes. I'm seriously lucky to have survived those few years with no more scars than what I have now. By all rights I should be dead or sitting in prison for someone else's death or something equally life damning. I can't say I've been given a 2nd chance to make my life awesome...I think I'm pushing the ranks of being on my 20th chance at life, but I can say that the LAST thing I want to do is lie to my children about the reality of life. I don't sugar coat, or make my kids think they don't have to worry about such things because 'we live in a good area'. Because frankly, it doesn't matter in the slightest how nice of an area you think you live in. The crap is everywhere - ALL of it. Right now you have at least one neighbor who beats their spouse, another neighbor that tortures their children, and another neighbor that spends 90% of their time completely strung out on *something*. And maybe that someone is you.

My family and friends, even the ones that saw me on a near daily basis, never knew or admitted that I was being beaten, burned with cigarettes, raped, cut with knives, verbally attacked, etc...yea, sure, I'd tried going to them in the beginning, I tried getting out early...did me absolutely no good to a bunch of folks who preached about how an honorable wife sticks with her husband or the husband had everyone charmed and just thinking that I just had a flare for the dramatic, since I was only 19/20 and he was almost 10 years older than me. After being shot down about it I just got better at hiding it, to the point that I became the things everyone believed me to be - a drunken whore to put it lightly.

I still work on a daily basis to be the woman that I know myself to be before all the bullshit swallowed me, but it's hard. I've only recently gotten to where I trust myself to have an occasional drink or three even, such as I think I've had tonight...I didn't measure out the shots of vodka, I just took a few sips out of the bottle of juice, filled it up with the shot or to I had in my little bottle from a few months ago, then when I drank that down some I poured in a few more shots worth of vodka from the new little bottle Brian brought home for me....But I still can't stomach the smell of whiskey or tequila.

One can make Disney out to be the villain, or MTV, or classmates, or any number of things...the reality of it is it all rests on the shoulders of the parents, caretakers, and role models in a child's life. The lessons taught and learned don't stop when the child becomes a legal adult and moves out of the home. The teaching and molding influence you have over your child doesn't stop until your child has died, at that moment they're no longer able to learn from you. Until that time comes though, they will still continue to learn from you, even after you've passed on before them.

My PaPa's favorite saying all my life was: A day is only wasted if you learn nothing and you teach nothing. Never let a day go wasted. There is always something to learn, even while teaching. He wasn't a scholar, he dropped out of school when he was 8 years old to join the circus, didn't learn to read past that level until he was nearly 60 years old, when he started having to use a computer to drive a semi. However, he was also one of the wisest men I knew. He only passed away about 8 years ago, when I was 20, I saw him on nearly a daily basis for the last 10 years of his life, with the except of the very last year, when I had moved far off to pursue a life with my ex-husband, and I still learn things from the way he lived his life, treated my Granny, their kids, and nearly 20 grandkids and four great-grandbabies (Mikeal was the youngest one born when he passed, Mikeal was 4 months old).

As far as my opinion goes, and it's the only one that matters, my PaPa was a great man. He makes all the Prince Charmings of the Disney franchise look lame. Dads - be the type of man you'd want your daughters to marry. Moms - lighten up and just enjoy...the dishes and laundry will never be caught up and a little dirt behind the furniture never hurt anyone. Money, looks, things, etc mean jack squat. I grew up dirt poor, but I was happy. I married a man with a lot of money (in comparison, at least), who made a lot of money and I was absolutely miserable and mistreated. Now, our family income counts as below poverty level for a family of 4 and I'm happier. I'm still working on some demons & hang-ups I have from my past, but outside of that I have everything I want in my broke, slightly overweight, balding, covered in body hair, Prince Charming. He's kind, honest, trustworthy, loving, and my best friend. That is all I know that matters. The stuff & looks can be gone without even a moment's notice - integrity lives for generations.

1 comment:

  1. It has been nice to "meet" you via Twitter. I agree "integrity lasts for generations".