As most of you that know me at all, already know that I am constantly seeking answers and understanding about myself and other. At night, I stay up often dictating different portions of my life story in hopes of realizing something new. My favorite conversations with people are the ones that have me saying things I never knew about myself. Self awareness and realization is the most profound thing one can discover. At any age. I’ve been narrating my life story at night since I was at least 12. If I had started back then my ideas about who I was and my past would have been so different if not warped in perception.
Sometimes at night I couldn’t sleep and would write love stories with myself as the main character. I didn’t know anything of love at the time beyond what I saw on “The Wonder Years” but the unknown had such a spark of magic and excitement that I couldn’t sleep at night. I’d be so excited as if Christmas morning was the next day. I had so much I wanted to experience and growing up in a very rural small town an hour outside of Dallas, I felt so restrained. My mother had grown up in East Dallas and moved us out to Union Valley when I was five after she divorced my father. We had no neighbors for miles. No paved roads. We had a pond and open fields and some forest behind us. For some it would have been an ideal childhood but I never seemed to appreciate it. When we moved out there I started having terrible meltdowns almost daily from running away from home constantly and hiding in the woods, to bawling crying under my bed for hours. Anything could set me off.
I remember in Kindergarten having an assembly about emotions. One of the speakers started talking about self harm and I thought it was so directed at me. I blushed and put my head down. Looking back it was obviously just an assembly. But that moment stayed in my mind as knowing I was abusing myself all the way back then. I had so much anger and so much hate for myself at such a young age.
Before we had moved to Union Valley, we lived in Farmersville 45 minutes north east with my father in a house he had built. My father… I honestly don’t know any easy way to describe him. How I saw him as a kid was that he was the less strict one but also the less fun parent. He didn’t enjoy or want to play with us. Didn’t really supervise us much. Let us watch rated R movies at a seriously young age. When we all lived together, I was younger than five then so I don’t have much memory. I do remember when my mom told us we were leaving him that I cried and she held me saying that it wouldn’t be much different since he was never home anyways. He would leave for weeks at a time saying he was working in another state where there was work. At the time he did construction work. Turns out though he’d just be at a friend’s house or out partying. He would live out of his car. He even had a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M but refused to use it after my mom supported him through college. I thought he knew everything back then. One time my mom told me years later that my dad didn’t come home after a few weeks and she found out that he was living in a new apartment and left us with nothing. No car, no food. We were stranded in a very rural town and had to go to the neighbors house to beg for lunch one day.
My mom didn’t grow up wealthy or anything like that but as an adult she held white collar jobs and did relatively well without a college background. She kept trying to help my dad and he would just desert us whenever possible. I commend her for leaving. She should have left. I know how hard it is to leave. To admit defeat. He never cared about us. He didn’t care if we lived or died at that point based on his actions. But I didn’t know any of that back then.
I played basketball throughout my childhood. I was actually really good. I was super aggressive and not afraid of anything. I would push myself until I was sick. I was… just so dedicated. One time my father came to one of my games dressed like a hobo. I mean ripped torn white Hanes Tshirt and sweatpants with paint all over them with cutoff blue jeans on top. That was his classic look. My mom said I turned to her when I saw him and said, “I don’t care what he looks like. I’m just glad he came.” Of course I went to hug him and felt so special that he even showed up. He was notorious for coming hours late or not showing up at all to see his children. When he would show up he would comment on my weight or telling me what I could be doing better. He made a big deal once about leaving the state for work when I was 8 or 9 and drew me a picture of the mountains in New Mexico where he’d be staying. I cried for days. Turns out he never left and just didn’t see us for 3 months.
Probably around when I was 12 I started calling him out on his bullshit. I was even angrier. I did so well in everything. Yet he could always find something to cut me down about. I started hating him and seeing him for who he was. A mean person. A sad person. He didn’t know shit about me. He didn’t know anything at all anymore. The illusion faded away. But I wasn’t just mad at him or myself at this point. I had a rage enough to set the world on fire.
My relationship with my mother was much different. Because she was actually there to have a relationship. Being a single mother burns you out after a while. Especially having a daughter that’s always lashing out at everyone around her. My brother kept to himself and didn’t want to make life harder for everyone. I didn’t care or even think about how my behavior affected everyone else. Or would ever get to the point where no one would want anything to do with me. That took years though. Years of torture for my family through my teens.
My mother began to isolate herself and fully commit her life to this church and God. She would spend hours in her room condemning us to quite time so she could meditate and be with God. I mean I get it. Everyone needs some form of escape. She didn’t drink. She didn’t do drugs as far as I know. All she did was go to church 3-5 times a week. When I was young I tried to be good and go with her and fit in… but those people wouldn’t even understand what I was going through. I say that because I tried. Then when trying to talk to my mom about anything I was feeling she would just say, “God is the answer.” But I felt like she wasn’t even understanding the question. She mentally couldn’t take what I was going through. I don’t have any resentment towards her for it. She was trying her best. It was all too much for her.
So I spent a majority of my childhood feeling abandoned and alone. I wouldn’t have said it that way 20 years ago. I felt tough and angry and like a bulldozer. That’s the thing about anger. It can power you… but it’ll also burn you from the inside.