Who would think Pantera lyrics could inspire someone…
My mother and father were stationed in the Navy together. A brief fling, but here I am. My mother returned to her hometown about six months or so pregnant. My father refused contact. He abandoned me while I was still in the womb.
They say mothers do the best they can at the time. I will never know, because I will likely never have children. My biggest reason is because I haven’t yet recovered from my own childhood. For as long as I can remember, I have always felt forsaken by my mother in a lot of ways, as well.
My mother chose to not put my father’s name on my birth certificate, so that limited her recourse in even getting medical records. All feelings aside, that is the worst part of this. Any time I go to the doctor for all my life I only have half my medical records. I don’t know what all ‘runs in the family.’
My mother is a twin. They were 23 when I was born. Young adults. My aunt was married with a daughter four years older than I. When I was first born we all lived at Grandma’s but soon after my aunt and uncle bought a house. The decision was made for us all to live together. My mom would stay home for the kids while my aunt and uncle worked. I had two more cousins join us, boys, one four years younger and the other 5+ years younger. So I am an only child of a single mom, but ultimately three adults and four children made up my childhood home. Crazy, and quite confusing.
I was tormented in my dreams as a small girl. I had a recurring dream, that my father came in a hot air balloon and took my mom away. Separation anxiety was a big deal. In first grade, my mom would stay after lunch and help with the reading class. She felt she needed to, and my teacher agreed, because otherwise I would leave at lunch. Skipping school for me started in first grade. I never actually felt important to my mom, until she lost custody of me. I often accompanied her to the grocery store and laundromat as a way to get alone time with her. Because otherwise I can really only think of one time in my whole life we have ever done mommy/daughter anything.
My mom was always up front answering questions about my father. Her information was rather limited, and with a name like Stephen Hughes it makes my searches seem impossible. I do have one picture. I still have it, thank God. All the times I had to start over. Through a house fire and everything I still have the one and only picture of my father I ever saw.
She was the ‘neighborhood mom.’ Once someone cut his finger and needed stitches. It wasn’t his mom in the ER with him. His mom waited in the lobby and my mom was the one holding his (other) hand. I have a love/hate relationship with that. She has such a thing with kids. Its amazing, actually. But I hated it. Between the neighborhood kids and my cousins, I often wondered What about your own daughter?
I could have quoted Slayer instead for a title. Innocence, withdrawn in fear. It is a line from the song Silent Scream. Whoever wrote that song had to have grown up without a daddy, too. Think of childhood. Words like innocence come to mind. I wanted to make friends at school. Sometimes it felt like I had some. Often times, however, I alienated myself. Withdrawn in fear. Other than swimming and baseball, I mostly isolated myself in my room. Alone with my imagination. Dreaming of a life somewhere far far away. With my music. The one constant of my whole life. I felt so different, and that nobody could possibly understand me. Anyone that tried I pushed away, again not wanting pity, or afraid they will also forsake me somehow. It seemed everyone I ever knew had their dad. Whether it was every other weekend or only in their memories.
Friends? I had some. I reconnected with my very first best friend last year. We of course talked about our Big Wheels and such, but he said he remembered my middle finger the most. Little four year old me flipping off the world saying “Fucking bitchessss!” Wow. So much angst at such a young age. I don’t even remember. I thought I remembered so much. He moved away, as did my other early BFF. I do have a couple neighborhood friends younger than me.
School was such a big deal for me. I am naturally very smart. Unfortunately I also had a mental block against learning, and it stems from not having my father. I was almost always teacher’s pet. I took it as pity. They talked about “my potential” and it just drove me nuts! Why bother excelling in school? My father doesn’t care, so why should anyone? I settled in as much as I could after first grade, but by 7th grade I had enough.
The way the district was set up at the time, 6th grade was when you graduated elementary school. I missed that ceremony. Migraines already. Or maybe I just didn’t want to do it without my father. So on to 7th grade… seemingly without friends. A couple of my good friends in my class moved that summer. I had a complex, that those who did know me from elementary school would talk about me, the freak. I completely lost interest by October. I quit. My mom let me stay home, because she already knew I would just leave school anyways.
No surprise, I was subject to court appearances and eventually probation and counseling. No big deal. Twice counselors refused me, saying talking to me is like talking to a brick wall. They can’t reach me. I quit again the next year too. My second year of 7th grade. I only made it through the first semester but they let me pass this time. My mom decided to enroll me in the local Christian school for 8th grade. I went all year and made honor roll.
I was sick of the façade after just the one year. Combine that with ‘the wrong group’ and it is a recipe for disaster. I started smoking and listening to gangster rap, and having sex. I got myself kicked out of Christian school and re-enrolled into 9th grade back at the same public school, this time with some like-minded friends. We skipped school a lot. If nobody wanted to skip with me, I would just stay home. Sometimes we would get ourselves kicked out of 1st hour, to go to in-school suspension and cause a scene to be kicked out from there. Out of school suspension equals legal skipping was the logic. By December, an uncle introduced me to the joys of alcohol. He would sometimes pick up my friends and I and we would go drink all day. My mom knew, but again she let it happen because she knew I would rebel anyways.
My probation officer asked the court to give me 20 days in jail to try to turn me around. The court gave me 10 days. She told me after this if I didn’t go to school for one month she would send me to a group home. I tried. I took it serious. Until 3rd hour, when I told a friend what was happening. Someone heard me, and laughed in my face. Done.
One week before my 16th birthday, I was indeed removed from my mom’s custody. I was placed in a girl’s group home the next town over. I entered 9th grade for the second time. Two years behind my original class. But at least nobody knew me. I had a couple friends and was consistently on the honor roll. I did theater and Student Council. After 10th grade, my guidance counselor said if I do these four credits home school over the summer, that would basically be my junior year, and I could graduate only one year behind. But then I turned 18 my first day of senior year. I knew if I acted up they would kick me out and I could be free. But I had no home to go to. My family lost my childhood home while I was gone. Seven years later I obtained my GED with extremely high honors, and very little effort. I am intellectually blessed, indeed.
It wasn’t until I heard that song by Slayer at age 20 that I realized there could be someone else out there like me. When I actually heard the words this guy was saying I had to stop the car. I was crying too hard. Tears of relief. I rewound the song and listened again. It is a twisted song to those who can’t understand. He talks about abortion, but that is how I felt about this. I felt I shouldn’t have been born. This song went a long ways to help me accept that I am here. I did attempt suicide when I was like 13, but obviously that failed. Since then I have never been suicidal. If 23 phenobarbital pills didn’t kill me, I must be here for something.
25 Years. That is the name of the song by Pantera I quoted for this blog title. I believe that guy had issues with his father too. Alcoholic. The full line goes orphaned to the dope and drinks, I learned my lessons well somehow from you.