26 October 2008

37 weeks, 5 days

I feel like I have hit rock bottom. I did something today that made me feel like a really bad person. I don’t know if these feelings are entirely logical. I know why I did it and I know what could have prevented it, but I had no access to the preventative means.

I want to go back in time more than I have wanted almost anything. I have made a lot of really dumb mistakes and I have been lying about who I am to one of the people I care about the most, maybe the single person whom I most care about and he doesn’t deserve that. By lying, I’ve hurt myself and maybe him and I feel terrible about the whole situation. The problem with going back in time is choosing which point in my life to go back to. Do I go back to the age of ten and remove the count from the bottom of each post? Would it be better just to go back to July and not send that message? Should I have separated myself from my mother and her problems a lot sooner than I did? Her problems do seem to be the root of all of mine. I have been taking care of my mother since I was a very small child. She didn’t raise me; she barely even participated. When I was three, she came out of a depressive stupor and found me in the kitchen with my younger sister trying to make macaroni and cheese in the sink.

She sent her three youngest children to live with my dad’s parents when I was about four. We stayed with them for a year or so and then she decided that she was doing better and could take care of us again, so we went back to live with her. Then when I was six, a little bit into my first grade year, she got “sick” again and the bottom five kids, I think, were sent to live in Ossian with my grandparents. I spent the summer between first and second grade with my parents while my grandparents moved to their new house in Columbia City. Not too far into the school year when I was in second grade, I was sent, along with my two older sisters, to live with our grandparents again. That year, I got the first glimpse of the fact that my life was not normal. We had to learn to write our addresses and phone numbers and I found out that I was the only kid in my class who didn’t live with her parents. This school was about 99% white and very few kids even had divorced parents at this points, so I was one of only two kids in my whole class who had more than one home.

My mother got a little better and we went to live with her again and we stayed there for a while. I went to third, fourth, and part of fifth grade while living with my parents. At this point in my life, I already did my own laundry and some family laundry as well. I made my own meals most days and some days, I didn’t have anything to eat. I was called out of class once with my baby brother who was in kindergarten at the time and my next older sister who was in fourth grade and we were taken into a conference room in our school where one of the adults from our school talked to us about our hygiene and why our clothes weren’t clean. I was traumatized by this experience that I didn’t want to go back to school. When I went back to my classroom, my teacher, whom I remember very well, Mrs. Harris, asked me what was wrong and I just couldn’t tell her. I was too humiliated. That was the first time I remember thinking how nice it was to live with grandma and grandpa. I had bath time and breakfast every day and I ate three times a day and I didn’t have to take care of everything myself and I didn’t have to make sure the baby was okay and had everything he needed. I always had clean clothes and underwear to wear to school and never had to worry about how I smell or if they didn’t want to play with me because they knew what my life was like. I don’t blame my classmates. They were 8 years old. What were they going to do? I went to a private church school the next two years because my mother believed that every Adventist kid should have an Adventist education. About halfway through my fifth grade year (the year, by the way, that the twin towers were hit), my mother started to slip again and my older sister and I were sent to live with grandma and grandpa again. I went back to the same school I had gone to in second grade and I had the same friends as when I was in second grade, but I had learned. I didn’t talk about why I lived with my grandparents. They didn’t want to hear about that. It was better that they didn’t know. I played like a normal kid. I had friends over and I went to birthday parties and sleepovers. Then the end of the year came. My class had its final guidence session. We were on the gym floor in a circle talking about how we felt about going to middle school. There was only one other kid in my class who hadn’t been going to the same elementary school practically since kindergarten. He was from Oklahoma and was going back at the end of the year. When it came to my turn to talk, the guidence counselor asked me if I was going to go to ISMS with the rest of my class. I had no idea. I was eleven years old and I didn’t know something as simple as where I would be going to middle school.

For some reason my mother felt that us spending that summer with her would be a good idea. We spent the summer there, only to return to my grandparents’ in the fall. I did end up going to the same middle school as all of my friends, for one year. That wonderful year was the last time I lived with my grandparents. That year, my mother got in a huge fight with my grandparents about my father and what they did to him and how they damamged him and how she wasn’t going to let them damage her children the way they had damaged theirs. Like she didn’t inflict damage upon us herself.

We moved to within thirty minutes of my grandparents’ the next year. We went to spend a little time with them every once in a while for the first summer we lived there and went to see them at Chritmastime that year. But since then, we haven’t seen them much at all. To this very day, I have attachment issues. I am afraid that everyone whom I care about is going to leave me. I want to get emotionally as far away as possible from my mother. Everyone who knows anything about the situation has told me that I can’t reform my own behavior until I do.

All I know is that when I wasn’t living with my mother, I felt better about myself and the way that I reacted to people and situations. I could go more than a few days without seeing my best friend and I wouldn’t freak out. The count only grew when I was living with my grandparents; it never once went back to zero. Then I would go back to live with my parents and it would go back to zero because of all the stress. Still today, living with them is stressful. My mother doesn’t take care of herself. My siblings and I basically take care of her. She doesn’t take her medication anymore, so we can never tell from one day to the next how she is going to react to what we tell her. She has refused to take me to school. She tried to stop me from going anywhere with the only person with whom I go anywhere. She’s brain-damaged and crazy and she admits these things and even uses them to excuse her behavior. But when anyone doesn’t allow her to do something because she’s crazy and brain-damaged, she acts as if that person has cut out her heart and eaten it. I get in trouble if I don’t act basically like my mom’s maid. I tell her that she can get her own food (which she can) and she says that she can’t. Then the next day, I arrange my transportation with my dad and she gets mad because she was left out of the loop. What the hell is that all about?

There is only one person outside my family who has had to live with my mother and knows just how crazy she is and how unpredictable each day is. Some days, I come down the stairs and she’s smiling and asking me when I want to be taken from school to the library and other days, she yells at me for taking so long to get up (when she’s the one who forces me to stay up past midnight doing things for her) and says that she won’t take me to school or the library until the absolute last midnight.


~ by Alida on 26 October 2008.

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