Survivor, Hustler, Whatever, I’m Still Here

I was watching a tragic story on Intervention last night (aren’t they all), and it got me thinking.  This poor guy had been in 10 foster homes by the time he was 12 and was molested for two years by one of the foster parents.  I look at my life and I think I have zero room to complain…compared to his story I lived in a castle like a princess.  He ended up working for the mafia, getting on drugs, then getting clean and making millions in the real estate industry, and then back on drugs.  I felt a lot of emotions watching this going from pity and sorrow to envy and disgust.  It made me think about my own life and how each of us has to deal with our own struggles and how we choose to do that.

I was never abused as a child, in fact, up until my parents divorce when I was eight, life was grand.  We waterskied and camped all the time, went to enduro races, lived in a fun neighborhood with young parents who had water fights with hoses on a Tuesday just because.  It was when my parents divorced, things got bad for me.  My mom was only 27 and started working and dating, my brother was a teenager by this point and we moved to some shitty apartments where I quickly began to understand the male anatomy.  I saw it a lot.  Felt it a lot.  I didn’t know any of it was wrong.  I was not longer getting attention and this felt like positive attention.  As hard as it is for me to say, I was molested and almost raped at eight years old.  The age my daughter is now.

I think my dad saw a little of what was going on, although not to the extent it was and by the time I was 11 I moved in with him and all of that abruptly stopped, thank God.  My mom broke my heart next.  She really could care less if she saw me, in fact, she really tried not to.  I was not complimentary to her dating life.  She had married one guy and got an annulment, got pregnant by another and had an abortion which saddened me immensely, and cancelled our plans constantly.  She never came to games (I was a cheerleader for four years during high school), in fact, no one did.  Recently my high school cheerleader buddy told me she thought my mom had died because she never saw her around.  To a teenage girl, this is painful.  There were certain things my dad could never understand and I felt alone.  None of this is traumatic by comparison to mafia guy, but it did leave me with feelings of abandonment and that I wasn’t good enough.  I felt forgotten.  My life since then has been a series of boyfriends, one short lived husband and very risky behavior.

At the end of it, looking back, I have used what I could to get what I want, I have lived in four major American cities, traveled abroad quite a bit, ate in the finest restaurants, shopped at the most expensive boutiques and have had quite a good time.  I made sure I was making stories.

When I had a child at 41 everything changed for me.  My life was dedicated to being the kind of mother I never had.  I wanted to work from home but still bring in the income, as if I had a premonition that her father would die and leave us with nothing.  Not a premonition really, just an understanding of how my life usually worked out with men and “trust no one”.  So, here I am, struggling financially, scared daily, but providing for my daughter, home every day and night, doing homework with her, cooking her meals, attending every play, recital and making SURE no one EVER touches her.  I may be broke but I’m not on drugs, I may not be able to live an extravagant lifestyle but I make sure we have fun.  On a wing and a prayer.   Our next adventure scares me because it is not one I am making by choice.  But, just as I took care of my mother through her lung cancer, I must go live with my father and take care of him through Alzheimer’s.

To Washington we go, just in time too, because I don’t have rent!


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