I’ll be 30 this year.

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve been awake for an hour and a half.  The pharmacist said that my Claritin might give me insomnia.  She was correct.  I don’t know if it’s the medicine or the late hour that is making my mind race, but if brains could enter marathons, mine would win them all tonight.

I am currently twenty-nine years old.  That changes on the first day of July.  I’ve been telling people who ask my age, “I’ll be thirty this year,” since January.  Every time I do, I think, “Why am I not telling them I’m twenty-nine?”  Don’t most people cling to their twenties?  I just want mine to be over.  The last ten years have been difficult for me.  A lot of wonderful things have happened, but growing up is a bitch.

I’m convinced people will start taking me seriously at 30.  I have a young face and demeanor, so people treat me as such.  It makes sense, I guess, but on the inside I’m a serious person.  I have fun, sure, but behind my smile and laughing eyes you’ll find a person who is in constant thought.  It’s difficult for even me to reconcile my outward self, who is always joking and trying to make people feel loved, with my inner self, who is always thinking and trying to love the person I know I truly am.

Maybe a little background would help you understand?

I was born July 1, 1986 at Medina Community Hospital in Media, OH.  My mother was unmarried, and my father died three months prior to my birth.  He would not have been in the picture even if he had lived, because he was married to another woman.  My mother says that she was led to believe they were separated and in the process of a divorce.  He died in a car accident at age twenty-seven.  He was traveling at a high rate of speed and slammed into a truck that was carrying a mother and her two young daughters.  They were treated for minor injuries but lived.  He drove away from the scene of the accident, only to drive straight into a telephone pole a short distance down the road, which led to his demise.  Alcohol and/or drugs, I suspect, were involved.

I’m not sure what exactly happened with my mother between this time and a year and a half later, but it wasn’t great, because the state stepped in and placed me in foster care.  Another clue that her mental state wasn’t wonderful:  the only picture I have of my father has tiny stab marks in the face, something my mother said she did when he died and she found out he was still married.  I never found out what made the state get involved.  There are many stories and I don’t really want to know the specifics.  The vague generalities surrounding my early years are enough to keep me up at night, details would kill me.

My first foster mother didn’t want me.  I threw constant tantrums and was a violent, angry child.  I don’t blame her, honestly, though my heart still feels heavy when I think of that.  My second foster mother…she saved me.  She loved me and I believe she was the first one in my life to really do so.  I never felt scared with her.  Never.  I felt safe, and warm, and loved, and whole.

Then I went back to my biological mother.  It was shortly before my fourth birthday.  I still cannot begin to comprehend why anyone would think it was a good idea to return me to this woman, but they did.  The family rumor is that my grandmother testified for my mother, speaking not 100% in truth, in hopes that I would be “one of the lucky ones.”  What a gamble.

I was terrified daily for the rest of my childhood.  My mother loves alcohol, and she has a fondness for other drugs.  She also has deep anger issues and poor choice in men.  I will leave out the gritty details, but believe me when I say that it was a grim period for me.

When I was almost nine, my mother met the man she later married.  I loved him at first.  He was so funny and I guess I thought that he could save me from my mother if they got married.  Wrong.  It was like my mother married herself in male form.  And not only did he enjoy alcohol and drugs, he was involved in the distribution of his choice recreational pharmaceuticals: cocaine and marijuana.  By the time we settled into his home and they were engaged, he was no longer selling coke, but he was still heavily involved with selling weed.  So heavily that he was inevitably busted and sent to jail.

I remember the day they took him.  I was in fourth grade and getting ready for school.  A bunch of cars, some police, some unmarked sedans, pulled into our driveway.  The police were often at our house for domestic altercations, so I didn’t think much of it and kept getting ready for school.  As I was walking around, gathering my belongings for the day, the officers and some men in street clothes were sitting around the house, looking serious and like they didn’t quite know what to do with themselves.  I learned years later that they had the decency (at my stepfather’s request) to wait to handcuff him until I left for school.

He never went back to selling anything once he got out of jail, and, though he was still violent and full of rage, it was to a lesser, seemingly more manageable degree.  The police still constantly came to our house and there always seemed to be a new hole in the wall or another injury that couldn’t be explained, but it was better.

Then I turned eighteen.  I didn’t move out of their house right away.  I can’t explain why.  As strange as it might seem, I almost felt safe there, if only because it was what I knew.  But near my nineteenth birthday, a friend asked me to move in with him, and I accepted, thus beginning a new phase of my life.

I did not do well mentally for several years after I left my childhood home.  I always thought there was something wrong with me, which made me feel and behave even worse.  Looking back, I was doomed, considering the life skills my mother and her husband taught me.  My one saving grace was that I did not drink.  I did many drugs, but I was not a drinker.  I’ve been drunk a few times since, and occasionally enjoy a drink now, but at the time, not one drop of alcohol passed my lips.  I felt like as long as I didn’t drink, I wouldn’t become them.  I was better than them.

The next several years passed quickly.  I made a whole bunch of horrible decisions, laced with a few decent ones.  But I was never arrested, never got into anything heavy, never got in a physical fight, was never abused by a partner, and was never homeless.  I think I was living by one basic rule: don’t become your mother.

So now I am twenty-nine.  I am a case manager at a domestic violence shelter and I write on the side.  I have a three-year-old son with autism and he has taught me new ways to see the world.  I was always a positive person, even with all that garbage going on at home, but now that I am a parent, I see things even more brightly.  I’m grateful for what I went through, because it taught me to be resourceful and brave.  It gave me perspective to help the families I see at work.  I truly am one of the lucky ones.

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Julia

I’m going back to school this year.  I have two years under my belt so far, mainly of core credits.  I’ve never had a real idea of what I should do with my life but I love being in school.  It just makes me feel good.  I haven’t declared a major and they’re pushing for it since my core credits have mostly been completed.  My brain says, “Social work, it’s what you do for a living, might as well have a degree.”  It would help me at work and I know I would do well. My heart says, “Bitch, you better write.”  Which is kinda scary that my heart is so aggressive, but it’s not wrong.  I love to write.  It makes me feel whole.  My biggest fear is that I wouldn’t do well.  I’m a sucker for a sure thing.  It makes my life easier.  Taking chances is not something I’m good at.  I need to feel safe and know I will succeed.  I’ve never really loved doing anything as much as I’ve loved writing.  I’m just scared I won’t succeed.  So I’m going to post a piece of my writing.  It’s an extremely short story that I wrote in college.  I kinda like it so please be gentle with me.

***

Julia

The first thing that struck her upon waking was how rested she felt, as if every care resting on her tired soul had been washed away with the blood.  What occurred to her secondly was the fact that it was daylight and she wasn’t up and breakfast wasn’t ready yet.  She felt a brief rush of fear and started to throw off the blankets-but then she remembered, and with a soft smile on her face, she settled back into bed.

As she lay there, comfortably listening to the clock tick away the seconds, she wondered what she would do with her day.  She realized that for the first time in nearly four decades, she could do whatever she wanted with whomever she chose.  Maybe she would spend the day alone.  She did need to clean the floors and a few spots on the cupboards.  After that, perhaps she could tend to the garden; the recent digging had softened the soil and made it perfect for planting.

When that’s done, she decided she would call up her sister.  It had been years since they had spent a day together.  She was always too scared to leave.  A part of her knew she would never come back, and then what would he do to her?  Panic once again began to rise in her chest and she reminded herself that there was no longer a need to worry.  She had saved herself.  She could do anything.

For now, she decided to meander her way into the kitchen.  Coffee sounded nice, and a bagel maybe; the perfect breakfast for just one person.

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Surprise!

Hello! It’s been 4 years since  I posted.  I found out I was pregnant shortly after creating my blog. A better parent would have dedicated those 4 years to documenting the pregnancy and the baby’s early years.  I dedicated that time to puking and just trying to get a nap.

I had the baby and he’s awesome.  His name is Lane and he’s nearly 3 1/2 now.  Our days are filled with cars, rocks, Play-Doh, 7k chicken nuggets, and a love so deep I’m tearing up as I write this.  I really love surprises and he was the BEST surprise I could ever imagine.

Lane-0007

‘Where is this blog headed?’, you are probably not asking yourself.  Nowhere discernible.  It’s still going to be a bunch of nonsense.  That’s just what is flopping around in my head.

I hear this little dude starting to wake up so I guess my day is starting.  See you soon. Or maybe in another 4 years.

 

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Steve Martin

I finally finished reading Steve Martin’s memoir of his stand-up career, “Born Standing Up”.  Hilarious, poetic, tender and revealing.  Steve is what I aspired to be as a child (not a man, a professional funny person).  Every revelation of self doubt could have stemmed from the neurosis in my own head.  But he didn’t succumb.  He forced himself to do what his heart desired, to avoid the never ending pang of regret experienced by those of us who didn’t follow our dreams.  I felt like an ass, reading it.  My excuse for not becoming a comedienne? I thought people wouldn’t find me funny enough.  Steve performed when he knew people didn’t think he was funny.  That is pure, steel, testicular fortitude, my friends.  In my defense, I grew up in the midst of the largest Amish community in the United States, if not the world.  There weren’t many venues in which to refine my act.  Barns aplenty, but no comedy clubs.

My parents are extremely funny people, albeit, less than supportive caretakers.  I wanted to try out for softball in 5th grade.  My dad, never one to mince words, bluntly reminded me of my less than graceful gait (“You’re going to play softball running like that?”)  No more sports.  My mother has a great vocabulary, and once when I was 11, I mistook the word ‘invalid’, as in a paralyzed or wheelchair confined person, or the word ‘invalid’, meaning useless.  They look the same, but they certainly do not sound the same, as I learned from my mom’s raucous laughter at my mispronunciation.  The mockery continues to this day, nearly 15 years later, and I’m still terrified of pronouncing words wrong.  Even though, she tells me, she once pronounced ‘tongue’ as ‘tohn-jew’.  Now, that’s stupid.

My point…and I do have one…is that maybe I should take this as a sign that this regret will follow me forever unless I try.  Which, admittedly, I never really did.  At anything.

What the hell happened to me?

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Belong

I’ve never felt that I’ve been a part of the human race.  I never quite got what the hell others are all about, and vice versa.  Why is so much emphasis based on appearance?  Why is there always a villain to whose side of the story no one bothers to hear?  Who decided that white is right?  And why, dear God, why…does the fanny pack exist?

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Waiting.

I’m sitting here on the couch, stealing the neighbor’s internet, listening to a friend’s band (Ruins of Tekoah-look them up if you like metal or are ready to have your face rocked off).  My boyfriend is at work.  He’s scheduled until ten, but he said he might stay late.  I got off work at 2 and he left shortly after.  So I’ve had hours and hours and hours to sit.  And drink.  And think.  The thinking is what gets me in trouble (not the drink, you say? No, I’m not my mother).  I found out recently that an ex of mine is getting married.  I surprised myself by being highly disappointed by the news.  Not because I still have feelings for him, but because this is sure to be a happy occasion, and I wanted nothing but lifelong misery for him.  Although, I’ve heard that some marriages aren’t quite as happy, and with the gays ruining the entire institution, maybe I’ll get lucky and his marriage will be a sham (maybe she’s a man!).  Fingers crossed!

p.s.  I don’t hate the gays.  If it was possible, I’d be gay from osmosis, as 95% of my friends are homosexual, or some form of it.

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Saturday, 7ish

First blog.  I am currently drinking a beer.  My second.  Third is on hand.  I don’t have a point in writing this blog.  I just enjoy writing and, like everyone else a few others, I have thoughts.  Some small, some big, some funny, some sad, some perverse, few pure.  And I don’t have money for a therapist, so wordpress is my new shrink.

Update: third beer has been opened.

Update: third beer has been spilled!

R.I.P. Rolling Rock, The Third

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