teen years, Uncategorized

Waiting

I lay on the patch of grass trying to breathe. To keep my happy facade firmly in place. I’d found a little spot of green with shade amidst the hard cement and cold uninviting buildings of the downtown.

 

The clouds twisted and danced as their shapes continually changed. I wished I was an artist. I wished a photo would show what I saw. And I waited.

It was the third day. The bus depot was ready to kick my loitering butt to the curb. They wouldn’t let me sleep on the cold plastic bench another night. The money I’d earned picking cherries was almost gone. The public washroom couldn’t wash the stink off me. I had been waiting for what seemed forever.

The bus system had a safety net for youth. They would give you a ticket home if you needed to get home. As long as someone was willing to claim you and say they were your home. There was no safety net for me. Deep down I knew this. I knew I had no safety net. Yet I had tried. Dared to hope a little bit.

My mother was technically home. They would give me a bus ticket there. Trouble was, I wasn’t allowed to live with her. There was no point in going further from where I planned to settle down. My family where I was trying to go wouldn’t acknowledge me. Wouldn’t say they would be my family home even to get me safe travel passage.

I would have to hitchhike the highway of tears if I was to get where I was going. It wasn’t called that yet. That would come in another few years. My waiting was over. I just had to pull up my big girl panties. Put on my happy face. And build my own life. Starting with hitchhiking almost a thousand kilometers.

The waiting was over.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Hanging on to stuff

I remember dad got me these really cool sunglasses after I burnt my eyes. They were completely red matching my red high top sneakers that I wore till they were in shreds. The frames had red leather blinders so no light could get in from the sides. My eyes were safe and wouldn’t burn again. I didn’t know a person could burn their eyes. Yet I burnt mine on a hiking excursion. The glare off of the white snow crust, the bright reflection off of the glaciers. That glare is evil. I suffered from a painful blinding ache for days. Trust me, that isn’t something you ever want to experience.

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Later I lost them. Put them somewhere safe or left them somewhere and they were gone. I felt horrible. Sick to my stomach horrible that I lost them. I knew they were expensive, important. Dad’s old school reaction didn’t help my gut ache. That I should be more responsible, careful with my things. That they were expensive. Didn’t he think I knew that? Every time that my parents were in the bathroom together with the tap on I knew they were fighting. Fighting about money. I hadn’t meant to lose them. I loved them. They were red. They matched my shoes. They were gone.

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We keep things in case we need them, as mementos, for that one time we might need it. As a tangible piece after losing someone. Keepsakes, memories, things. I’m like that with photos. Thousands of photo’s to jog my memory of the wonderful adventures I’ve had.

Our stuff our collections of mementos don’t mean anything to others. We cart it around and display it. When we are gone it goes too. It’s just stuff. Even our photo’s don’t mean as much to others.

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Hanging on to things. Hanging on to the past. Feeling guilty when losing things. Becoming a hoarder when you feel you have no control over your life or income. When life becomes so scary so hard that all there is, is stuff. The connection between emotional tumult and things becomes blurred. It doesn’t have to be that way but for many it is.

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On a side note. I keep feeling shocked over how much stuff, junk actually is created. Every dollar store, Wal-Mart, knock-off brand, a cheap version that ends up in the landfill. Let’s face it, two minutes after using cheap replicas they break assuming they worked in the first place! The constant redecorating, redoing, replacing of things that aren’t even broken is such a common occurrence nowadays. That gives me a tummy ache for entirely different reasons than the one I had over losing my sunglasses.

teen years, Uncategorized

What I have always missed

You might surmise I missed my mother. Or my father. Maybe even my little brothers and sisters. Or my friends. No those things I became used to not having.  What I have always missed is the sense of community, the sense of belonging. Of not being alone. The deep-rooted piece that leaves me sad and lonely is the lack of belonging of community.

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Growing up with the entire community living as one has left me with an overwhelming sense of aloneness in this world. I could blame technology but this feeling came not long after ‘coming to the world’ as I call it. That was before technology as we know it. The realization that ultimately I was alone hit hard. Knowing the families in the neighborhood, being friends with the kids my age, eating and playing together ended. The sense of belonging was gone. Even walking into a church didn’t help. And I tried. Either members knew ‘my story’. The story that was being spread throughout the SDA grape-vine. Or no one knew me or tried to reach out to the slip of a girl hiding in the back.

I realize now that I needed to reach out. I needed to talk to people to interact. I didn’t know how. I didn’t want the avid interest. The offers of help that comes with a price or an expiry date. I was so hurt inside I only could manage to push people away. If I was abandoned by my own mother – well really there was no sense in offering anyone else that opportunity now was there.

Now I know that I needed to become active in life. To join groups ( aside from church! ). I see now that a sense of community is built around being doing things together, memberships, clubs, hobbies. But it isn’t the same. I think many of us want to feel as though we belong. Whether is’s to our family we are born into or to the one we choose. This is part of why cults, churches, organizations, teams, are all so popular. They accept us and welcome us in. The unloved, the misunderstood, the different. We all want to belong.

It’s almost like Mr. Rogers had something with his line ‘won’t you be my neighbor’.

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childhood, Uncategorized

How could she 

So here’s the question of my mid-life emotional crisis. HOW COULD SHE???

I look at my children who are now teenagers. Gangly, pimply, know everything and nothing. Pushing me away and then needing me. Hugging me then turning away from too much contact with “mom”. How they need me and manage to admit it once in a while. The fragile grip they have on adulthood. The guidance needed to help them become confident individuals that are happy and give back to society.

So how could she let me go at 13? How could she deny me at 14 to return? I sat waiting, praying, mentally in anguish begging ‘please let them say yes’. I wanted to come home.  So I sat waiting for the staff meeting to end. Waiting to find out what their vote would be. Would I be allowed to live at home again with my mother or would I be sent away?

What I didn’t know at 13 was that if you left you couldn’t just come back even if your parents were there. I left because I was angry at the lack of understanding over my grief. I left because I was overwhelmed with loss and fear. I left because I never knew if mom would do as she said. Would I come home to an empty house? I never knew if she would be locked in the house in the bedroom in the closet with daddy’s bloody clothes. Or if she would be gone with the little ones. The rifles and ammunition gone as well. Maybe it would be their bloody clothes I would have to add to dads. She kept saying it would be easier to do that. The fear was staggering at that age. She had already proved to me once that she would take the younger ones and abandon me.

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So I left. I said goodbye, got on my bicycle and peddled away. Six months later I wanted to return. I missed my siblings and mother. Mother seemed to be doing better now. It was then that I learned you can’t just move back with mom. That the commune has to vote and decide if I should be allowed home. Who fucking knew that at 13? I should have known. Even though no other child had left like I did I should have known. No other child dare ask the questions that I did. Dared to stand up when I thought things didn’t make sense or seemed odd. I didn’t realize what I pain in the ass I was to those idealists.

So some select commune leaders held a meeting to decide my fate. I sat on pins and needles. My stomach in my throat. If I chewed my nails they would have been bloody stubs that night. The unanimous decision was NO.

I was shocked. I had had a friend on my side in that meeting. I had thought she would sway their hearts and minds. I was born and raised in this lifestyle. They made me! My dad had devoted his life to this lifestyle. He had helped build the world they wanted to hide in. Yet they said NO. I was even more shocked that mom accepted their decision. What kind of mother is that? This is Christianity at it’s finest moments. The golden jewel for their crowns.

I would like to think those adults as they grew old regretted turning me away. Realize how cruel to deny a child her mother. Send her to the streets. They made me for fuck’s sake. I was born into that. It wasn’t my fault my father taught me to not be a sheep. To think for myself, to ask questions, be inquisitive. He taught me to be an individual not afraid to stand on my own. To question and learn, to try and understand.

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I know deep down those people prayed for me. Felt they did the right thing. Maybe they never gave that decision another thought. Over the years they grasped on all the fabricated juicy gossip they could. Adding to it and spreading it further. Trying to condone to themselves what they had done. I hope there is a heaven.  And I hope to hell that at those pearly gates they are reminded of the young me. The child that needed love and understanding, not the boot.

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street youth, Uncategorized

How alone are we really

Sometimes I think it’s funny how I’m so used to being alone.  That I chose to do things alone. As a teen, I had no choice. My mother didn’t want me. My extended family didn’t want me. The commune was terrified to have me around questioning them. I was a problem they had created. So I was sent away. The rebel, the black sheep, the one to pray for and to keep out. Keep your children away from her. Warn others not to take her in.

Fired

Now at 40, I’m so used to being alone that I crave it at times. I don’t feel as alone and desolate as I did. That heavy blackness that sucks every part of your being in.  Worse than a black hole. Desperately clawing thru the darkness trying to find the light. Gasping chest heaving silent sobs choking you. That heavy aloneness.

I had a heartbreaking revelation in the middle of the night as a teen. We are like grains of sand. Millions of specks that blend together. Disappear in the chaos of life. I realized I was utterly alone when I might need someone to help me. Hug me, hold me, push back the darkness for me when I was too tired to do it any longer. It took a couple more decades to realize we are only as alone as we choose to be.

One morning at about 5 am I called my aunt sobbing. I had been fighting the demons all night. Trying to understand why I was alone. Why I had no one. Why I was unwanted. I was wanted. I had two dear friends who wanted me but I felt so lost, so confused, so unworthy I hid from them. From their love and support. So here I was calling my aunt. I asked her, “Is this what you meant when you said we are all ultimately alone?” Woken from a dead sleep she struggled to understand me. She had no idea what I was talking about so I ended the call. My mother came to visit and brought me lunch shortly after that call. She was of little comfort to me.

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I didn’t know how to put into words how the demons came at night. Attacking my carefully built walls. Undermining my happiness. I didn’t realize then that something as simple as exercise, sunshine, a nearby friend would help chase those thoughts away.

Now after a full day or a weekend with others I’m exhausted. I need rest, quiet, to be alone. To regain my strength.  For sitting listening to the ebb and flow of conversation, watching the different types of personalities. It leaves me drained. Even when with those that I love and adore.  The ones that I can be myself with. Even that exhausts me. Leaves me weak and depleted, aching craving rest.

I still do things alone. I prefer to be with a friend of course but I don’t let it hold me back. I go out for lunch, kayak the lake, hike the trails, talk to my dog, have a bottle of wine. Live life in general alone. Not afraid anymore. Demons don’t haunt my nights anymore. Turns out this a good quality for me to have as I now have an amazing boyfriend who happens to be a rig worker. As in he is away half the time. I joked on our four year anniversary it’s actually two since he’s gone half the time. Apparently, I’m the only one that finds that funny.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Hitchhiking with dad

 

I would often go with dad on his trips to deliver produce. It was a part of the market gardening project. Those trips enabled us time alone to bond. On one of those trips, I tried bubble gum for the first time. Dad spent that 12-hour drive trying to teach me to blow bubbles. One time we ate so much watermelon we stopped to pee every half an hour. Another time we almost died thanks to airbrakes and power steering. So many memories from different trips.

The time I am thinking of is the time the truck died in the middle of nowhere. Before cell phones were common and useful.  If nothing else when in a jam dad always showed me to be resilient and positive. To see that no matter what, there is always a way. “When the going gets tough the tough get going” he used to say.

So here we were driving a large cube truck thru the mountains heading home. The trip had been successful. All the produce was sold. The survival camping gear he wanted was purchased and in the back. It was just a matter of the long drive home. A third of the way in the truck began to lag and sputter before coming to a halting death at the side of the road.

We had recently passed a tiny town and so stuck our thumbs out for a ride there. The first and last time I would hitchhike with dad. Once we got to town it was realized we would need to catch the greyhound home. That meant getting back to the truck for our things and of course the ever important survival gear.

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We stuck our thumbs out and soon enough a nice man pulled over to give us a ride. He was an off-duty police officer who was in no mood to help a man and his young daughter. He dropped us off at the truck and left not caring how we faired or interested in giving us any helpful information. This frustrated my father as we as Christians believed in ‘giving the shirt off our back’ so to speak. Helping others with a part of our values. As a man of the law who was to serve and protect his country and his people, it was saddening that he wanted nothing to do with that when he wasn’t being paid.

There wasn’t much that we needed to get from the truck. Our backpacks and the gear. I don’t recall what dad all carried. However, I sure do remember what I had to carry. Two sets of military down sleeping bags. These mummy style sleeping bags would keep you warm well below -20 C. I had one bag on each arm as shown in the photo below. We walked the entire way. No one wanted to pick us up. Dusk had long since turned into the dark of the night.  Hitchhiking wasn’t getting us a ride, the lack of traffic may have had something to do with that. We were in the middle of nowhere at night. Drivers probably couldn’t even see us until they were right on us.

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I probably complained the entire way. The bags were awkward and heavy. The cords cutting into my arms. Dad had no time for my complaints. We didn’t know what time the bus might pass by. It wasn’t even certain that the driver would stop. We walked all the way back to that lamp post. Hoping and praying that the greyhound to come by and pick us up.