Friday, January 20, 2012

Junior Year

This post falls under The Success portion of my childhood.

My junior year of high school was terrible.  I was burned out from practicing 30 hours a week.  Miserable doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.  I'd come to terms with the fact that I'd probably never get a job in the field I was training for and I didn't feel like putting for the effort and energy.  Hearing negative remarks about yourself day in and day out really being to wear on a person.  Knowing I'd never be given a chance to shine because my family didn't make large donations to the school hurt.  I didn't fit in with most of the girls and just wanted to discover who I really was rather than trying to fit a mold. 

In school, I found something that completely interested me and decided I'd like to pursue it as a career.  I fell in love with my camera.  I spent all of my lunch periods and study halls in the darkroom.  My camera was always with me taking photos every where I went.  Fellow students even paid me to take photos of them!

It took me weeks and weeks of finding encouragement from my 3 friends to finally tell my parents.  Well, my mother since she was the only person I ever talked to from home.  I was terrified.  I was always afraid of her reaction when I told her something she didn't want to hear. 

I told her I wanted to come home.  To get a job like a normal teenager, learn to drive a car, to just be me. 


That was the answer I got.  I was told I would be finishing high school whether I liked it or not.  There was no quitting.  I would be graduating from my school whether I chose to pursue a career or not.  This wasn't like wanted to quite the soccer team mid-season or dropping out of the school play.  I can understand her pushing for me to finish those.  But telling your child she HAS to stay another year and a half in her own personal Hell is just cruel.  I'd never signed a contract saying I was locked into 3 years there.  One would think that if your kid gave you the opportunity to save thousands of dollars a year you'd jump on it.  Wouldn't you want your child living at home rather than the other side of the country, anyway?

I sank it to a pretty deep depression.  I started cutting.  Binge eating.  Abusing various pills.  Smoking.  The eating didn't help my situation.  It only made the negative comments worse.  I was seriously drowning.  Yet, for some reason, my parents never knew.  They didn't see it when I was home, the didn't ask my teachers or dorm parents how I was doing.  Nothing.  Sometimes I felt like my mother just didn't want me home. 

I asked again and again over the course of the year.  Each time hearing the same thing.  

 Sometimes I wonder where my life would be today had they said I could come home. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

She Left

I don't think my mother is or was emotionally stable.  There have been a few times in my life where that was made very clear to me.  The first time was went I was probably 10 or 11 years old.  My sister and I were so confused by the whole ordeal and it was never really discussed after the fact. 

Church was something my dad did with my sister and I.  My mother never went.  As a parent,  I can understand why she stayed home.  It was the only time she had to herself other than when we were in school.  One Sunday my sister and I asked to stay home.  Neither of us were really "into" church and we wanted to stay home.  The six other days of the week were so hectic for us we just wanted a lazy day. 

My mother had washed all the laundry, probably 7 full baskets, and asked us to sort, fold, and put everything away.  We asked if we could watch TV while getting the work done.

I don't really know what happened but I guess we weren't doing it fast enough to her liking.  My dad came home from church and mass chaos erupted.  My mother was yelling and screaming, my dad trying to calm her down, my sister and I were crying because we knew the whole thing was because of us.  The next thing I knew, she was packing some suitcases, her jewelry box, and a few other things and left.  We didn't know where she was, when she was coming back, what was becoming of our family- nothing. We were all in shock.  I kept thinking to myself "has my family broken apart because of me?" 

Monday morning my dad said we weren't going to be able to go to our after school activities and that we'd need to go to after school care.  We were very understanding.  When the bell rang that afternoon, my mother was waiting outside for us.  Furious that we didn't have our equipment for our activities.  She wouldn't tell us where she was staying or anything.  Just that she had no money for food.  She drove us all the way home, only to reveal to us that she didn't have a house key.  Finally after me crawling through poison ivy and a window we got inside the house.  We made it to our activities and then she disappeared again. 

The worst was a few days later when my class was to go on a field trip she organized.  She appeared and I'm sure my classmates could cut the tension with a knife.  My class was going out to lunch after the field trip and my dad gave me money to purchase lunch for her, too.  But, she disappeared before I could find the right moment to tell her.  So after school when she appeared to take us to our lessons I was sent on the guilt trip of a life time.  Saying things like I didn't care about her.  I was irresponsible.  She hoped I'd enjoyed my lunch because she was hungry.  The list went on.  

I think she was gone for a week until one night I saw her and my dad talking while I was in one of my lessons.  She moved back in the next day.  Nothing was ever discussed other than my dad telling us we needed to try harder to do what she said.

Leaving your family because of your spouse in one thing.  Leaving because of your 10 and 7 year old kids is a whole other ballgame.  It still hurts to know that I made my mother run away.  That she couldn't get mental help if she felt like parenting us was too much.  It wasn't like were were rowdy teenagers.  We were kids for crying out loud. 

Even those dark days when I was spiraling into postpartum depression and wanted to run away, I always told my son it wasn't because of him and I just wanted one night away.  He didn't do anything wrong.  He deserved better.  Of course he didn't understand but it was my way of doing better than the generation before.  No child should ever feel what it's like to know you drove a parent away.