Sunday, January 12, 2014

"This is a story that I have never told..."

Before we get into the main point of this blog, let me tell you a little bit about something I don't really talk to anyone about: my childhood. I'm not going to go into too much detail; a lot of it isn't my story to tell.

My parents met when they were kids. They went to the same church.. Funny how that happens. Two kids who didn’t go to the same school, didn’t really live near one another, had two very different families and somehow they met, got together, and had us kids. Weird. Like I said, they met young, married young, and had kids too young. They had my oldest brother right away, my next brother three years later, and then me 18 months later. Things were good for awhile then, just the five of us, at least from my young viewpoint (I don’t think they were as good as I remember). Then about five years later Mom gets pregnant again (my sister). Somewhere between the difficult pregnancy and the premature birth that my sister barely survived, something fractured between my parents. My little brother came 20 months after that. By then, though, that crack had grown. I don’t have nearly as many happy memories from then. They fought. A lot. And then one day, my Daddy was gone, left one day and never came home. Sure, they told us about it, and we went to see him three weekends a month, but that doesn't change that. From that moment on, my childhood changed. I had to grow up a lot faster than most. And as I have grown older, I have learned more about the circumstances. But no matter what was going on, I have never gotten over the fact that: He. Gave. Up. On. Us.

(I know this music may not be some people's cup of tea, but please listen. It's hard to really get the rest of this post without it.)


This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I don’t really talk about this, like I've said. But after today (which I don’t want to go into) and this whole self-empowerment thing I’m trying, I feel like if I’m going to continue to grow as a person, then I need to confront this.

I need to take back the light inside you stole
You're a criminal, And you steal like you're a pro

My dad stole something when he left, a trust that people will always be there. And I have let that hold me back from relationships, platonic and otherwise, my entire life. I think he stole that from all of us. And then when he brought his girlfriend into our lives, he stole the remaining belief that we had in him. Every time he puts her needs and selfishness and HER family before us, he steals just a little bit more of my hope. That needs to stop. I can’t let her or him take anything else from me.

All the pain and the truth, I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused, I was broken and bruised

As I’m sure my sister can testify, I know that my childhood after he left was a lot different than most people’s. I have always been, not proud necessarily, but…it’s hard to word it. I have identified myself as someone who had to grow up and take care of my siblings and the house, etc. My friends never seemed to understand, though. I remember several fights with my friend Abby who couldn't understand why I couldn't just come over to hang out whenever. She didn't get the responsibilities that I had been given and had taken. I felt different from a lot of my peers, and I thought it made me different. Worse, maybe.

Now I'm a warrior, Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior, I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior, And you can never hurt me again
Over the years, my expectations for my relationship with my father have faltered a lot. But now, I think that I have to “grow a pair” as my brothers might say and see my father for what he is. I can’t let his apathy or his attitude get to me.

Out of the ashes, I'm burning like a fire
Last year was kind of a low point for me. But I am determined that this year is going to be better. I will be better. And I will believe I am better.

You can save your apologies, you're nothing but a liar
Every time that I think things will get better. “If she does [whatever it is he’s pissed about this time] then she can just go away, I don’t even care!” I don’t know how many times I have heard him say that about his girlfriend. But nothing ever changes. I can’t afford it, in my soul, to keep believing and then being let down. It costs me too much.

I've got shame, I've got scars, That I will never show
I'm a survivor, In more ways than you know
There are things in my past, my childhood, that I don’t think I have ever told anyone. Not my mom. Not my best friend. Not my childhood best friend. These are the pains and “scars” that I, despite this new strength I am trying to achieve, am too ashamed and too weak to ever talk about. But I’ve gone through a lot. Let’s leave it at that.

Cause all the pain and the truth, I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused, I'm not broken or bruised

Like I said, the fact that I had to grow up fast and had my dad up and leave is something that makes me who I am. I’ve always thought that maybe we, my siblings and I, were part of the reason that he left. Since my parents met and married so young, I’m not sure they were ever “in love”. Sure they love each other as only having kids together can bind you, but without kids, I’m sure things would have turned out much different for them. I used to think (maybe even still, at times) that having us kids ruined their lives. But whatever the truth may be from that doesn’t make me any less of a person than I am. I am not something that drives people away. He made his choice for him. Not for us.

'Cause now I'm a warrior, Now I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior, I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior, And you can never hurt me

I mentioned about something happening today. Let me just summarize. My brother and I, when we were younger, we collected stuffed animals like crazy. We named every one of them. We even had certain traditions when it came to new stuffed animals—you never took the tag off the animal; you had to leave it on until it came off on its own. Once that happened then it was officially adopted. To be brief, even now, those stuffed animals hold a lot of meaning and memories. Well the girlfriend got into a box of them to “clean” them (aka steal/take), and Daddy didn’t seem to care. If he knew anything about us, he would’ve known that they were important to us. He should have known. But he doesn’t know/care about those things, at least not anymore from what I can tell. Things like that are the types of things that I need to be able to let go. I’m no longer crying when stuff like that happens, but I do get quite angry. I need to not let him and her take ANYTHING from me.

There's a part of me I can't get back, A little girl grew up too fast
It may make me who I am today, but there is an innocence, a naivety, that I lost when he left. No matter how much I build my self-belief up, that part of me is gone. It was gone a long time ago. It’s time I let myself grieve for it, and then put it to rest. I don’t want to be bitter the rest of my life.

All it took was once, I'll never be the same
That one act of seeing him leave and not come back, that’s all it took to change me. Forever.

Now I'm taking back my life today, Nothing left that you can say
There’s nothing at this point that will bring back my childhood or my daddy as he was. I will take whatever relationship I can get from him, but I can’t keep putting so much energy and trust into something that is never going to be the same.

Cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway
I think one of the hardest parts is that he doesn’t see what his leaving did. I said something to him once about walking away, and all he did was tell me that I don’t need to talk about things I don’t know anything about. Except that I do know something. He left. That’s what I know, but he doesn’t own up to.

Now I'm a warrior, I've got thicker skin
I'm a warrior, I'm stronger than I've ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in
I'm a warrior, And you can never hurt me again
My biggest problem, when it comes to family, is that I have trouble accepting that they don’t see family the way that I do. To me, nothing, NOTHING is more important than family. Not friends, not work, not hobbies, not significant others. I would lay my life down if it meant that anyone in my family would be better for it. That makes my life difficult at times, true, but I wouldn’t trade ANYTHING for anyone in my family, even my little sister and dad. Those are the main two, with my oldest brother a little bit there too, that I have trouble accepting. And I don’t mean that I can’t accept what they do for a living or whatever. I just DON’T see how they can actively hurt their family. (I’ll save my sister for some other angsty blog. That’s an issue in and of itself.) Like, how can Daddy possibly be with someone who made threatening gestures to his daughter? Or that threw a glass pitcher (full of tea) at his sister? That just baffles me. But it is something that I have to accept and move on from, for my sanity’s sake if nothing else. This is going to be an ongoing goal though.

You can never hurt me again
But this is it. (And I am not kidding myself; I know that there will be times where my will will slip, and I will get upset. But I am trying.) I am done letting my dad walking out on us define me and how I approach relationships with others. It’s done. I’m done. And God, does it feel good.

(I want to thank my sister for turning me onto this song. She actually played it for me a long time ago, but listening to it last night something just came over me. And I HAD to do this.)

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