Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The year I loved Christmas

Christmas has always been an extremely hard time for me.  When I was alone and single, I would spend my Christmas working either at Starbucks or whatever job I happened to have at the time.  If I was living in a dorm, it would be shut down and I was forced to find a place to stay or live in my car.  I spent two winter breaks in my car because I couldn’t afford a hotel or an apartment.  When I lived in an apartment I spent the day playing on the internet, drawing, or sleeping. 

Since meeting my girlfriend I have gone to Chicago with her twice.  Her family is very nice and very welcoming but I felt so left out no matter how hard they tried to welcome me.  I didn’t understand their inside jokes or the little family quirks.  I am not really part of their family no matter how much my girlfriend wants me to be.  If we ever break up, her family breaks up with me too, so it’s not ever going to be the same as having my own family. 

Christmas is the time I feel most alone in the world.  My Christmas wishes were never answered as a child.  What I want the most in the world is what everyone else is just born with.  What I want the most in the world is what everyone else takes for granted.  What I want the most in the world is a family and Christmas time just reminds me that I’ve never had one.  I’ve never been surrounded by family on Christmas.  I’ve never watched my family eat too much good food, or just hang out together just enjoying being together.  I’ve never watched people I love exchange gifts and pretend to love what the other person gave them even if it’s the worst gift ever.  I’ve longed for that connection my entire life and I never had it and I probably never will.

This year I couldn’t afford to go to Chicago with my girlfriend so I stayed in LA and had planned on spending the day hiking with my dogs and then staying in bed feeling sorry for myself.  My friend, and mother of the little boy who shares my DNA, convinced me to come with them to her mother’s house on the 24th and then to her house on the 25th.  My friends are Jewish, but her family is not.  My DNA baby is Jewish.  You would have never known that to be true because my Jews sure know how to celebrate Christmas.  At my friend’s mother’s house I watched the kids tear open beautiful designer wrapping paper and squeal over their new toys, while dropping their extremely expensive new clothes on the floor without another glance.  My little man likes to bang on things so someone bought him the most perfect gift ever.  It was a little musical table that he could bang on.  He went nuts on that thing.  He loved it.  He would bang away, and then look up at his adoring crowd and smile ever few moments, just to keep us captivated.  My friend’s mother gave me a sweater from the Gap.  I really like it, but what touched me the most was the note on the gift bag.  It said, “Dear Campbell, with love and unending gratitude for XXXXX(baby’s name).  Love B.”  I wanted to cry but I was in a room full of people so I didn’t.  Instead I went into the kitchen to thank her only for the sweater and help her prepare the food.  I wanted to tell her how touched I was that she not only gave me a gift but that she left me such a sweet note.  The truth is I feel so grateful that such a tiny little piece of my body helped someone else have a family.  Maybe I can’t ever have my own family, but I will forever be a part of this family because of that little boy.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of something so magical.  I know there are people who are against what I did, but when I look at that little boy, I just know he belongs where he is.  I just know he is the best thing I ever did and I know this family loves him more than I could have ever dreamed possible.  I know with every inch of my heart that this family was meant to have this little boy and I was meant to help create him.  Nothing anyone says will ever make me feel differently.

On the 25th I went to my friend’s house to exchange gifts.  My dogs and I arrived bright and early in the morning.  My dogs love their dogs.  That’s actually how we became friends.  Our dogs fell in love at the dog park.  I set my gifts down on the kitchen table and noticed this homemade stocking, clipped together with binder clips on the table.  The fabric was giraffe print!  Seriously, Giraffe print!  Not only that, but the stocking was longer than I am tall and it was filled with little gifts for me.  Gifts make me extremely uncomfortable.  I love giving gifts.  I give people gifts all the time, usually randomly and without purpose.  I love giving people things.  I have no idea why.  It is just who I have always been.  When I was in 3rd grade I gave my teacher my Barbie dolls so she could give them to her daughter.  I have no idea why I did that.  So, I love to give people stuff, but receiving gifts has always been so hard for me.  I never feel like I’m showing enough excitement or appreciation for gifts.  I am worried people will think I don’t like it or that I’m being rude because I just don’t know how to react.  I always feel so undeserving of gifts.  Opening the gift is the worst part with your friends watching your every move and expression for validation that they got the right gift.  I so want to give them that validation but my anxiety kicks in and I forget how to be courteous and gracious. 

I picked up my little man we went upstairs to wake up his mom who had been up until 3AM wrapping gifts.  When we were finally able to coax the sleepyhead out of bed, we all sat down to eat breakfast.  We had fried Matzo and cinnamon rolls.  You know, a traditional Christmas breakfast…  After breakfast we opened gifts.  Each gift in my larger than life giraffe print stocking was wrapped in green fabric—it was an environmentally friendly Christmas, and each gift had a little note attached.  There were books, food, cookies, bath salts, and many more things in the stocking.  I thought I might pass out from sheer anxiety alone when I saw the stocking but opening the gifts with them felt so natural and easy.  I didn’t feel obligated to act a certain way.  I felt safe to be myself and react the way I wanted to.  I felt safe enough to tease my friend for giving me weird things like a roll of toilet paper in my stocking.  My little man’s father is a hypochondriac so I found this book called the “Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You” for him.  I knew he would love it and he did.  My friend told me that after I left he held the book to his chest and said “I love this book.”  So cute and so strange.  I love these people.

I think this might have been the best Christmas I have ever had in my life.  It wasn’t the most extravagant.  It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but it was amazing nonetheless.  I watched these people that I love stuff their faces with food and open gifts with excitement and I didn’t have to pretend to have a good time—I actually had a great time.  It wasn’t the gifts or the stockings that mattered.  What made Christmas special this year were the amazing people that opened their homes and their hearts to share it with me.  Being with them on Christmas was the closest I have ever been to being with family on Christmas in my entire life.  I felt so lucky to be sitting around that table with people who mean so much to me even when they started screaming show tunes at the top of their lungs.  I love them so much more for being so weird.  I may have given them my DNA but they gave me so much more in return.  Thank you from every inch of my heart.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Broken Windows and Dognappers

I am having one of those never-should-have-gotten-out-of-bed days.  This morning my neighbor knocked on my door to inform me that the window of my car had been smashed.  I put on some jeans and shoes and ran down to my parking spot underneath the apartment building and see that my neighbor was correct.  Not only was my right passenger side window smashed to bits all over the front seat, but my stereo had been ripped out and my glove compartment emptied.  I’m not worried about the stereo.  This has happened to me before--four times to be exact.  What I am really upset about is the fact that the petty thieves took the part of my dash that holds the stereo in as well as controls the air, heat, hazard lights, etc…  I seriously doubt they still make this part for a 96 Corolla anymore.  That’s a pretty crappy way to start off the day but it’s really not that big of a deal compared to what happened later.

My dogs have been really antsy lately because it’s been raining like crazy here in Los Angeles these last two weeks.  My original plan was to take my dogs hiking at the famous Runyon Canyon where you can let your dogs off the leash and watch celebrities while you hike up a steep road for what seems like six miles, but I’m not sure if it’s even one.  After frantic calls to my girlfriend to ask her to tell me what I already knew I needed to do and then calling the police and my insurance, I didn’t feel like hauling my fat butt up that hill and took my dogs to the dog park instead.  I should have gone hiking because I just ate enough goat cheese to feed an army of…. Well, I can’t really think of what kind of army eats goat cheese.  I ate way too much goat cheese and now I feel like a 50 pound cat with a belly that drags on the ground when she walks.  I could use the exercise. 

It was a normal day at an LA dog park.  There were about a thousand dogs there and maybe ten people.  The dog “walkers” in LA fill the dog parks up every day, unless the weather is anything but perfect.  No one in LA leaves their homes unless it is 75 and Sunny outside.  My dogs and I were enjoying the fresh air (if you can call LA air fresh) and my dogs were having a great time socializing and chasing balls I threw with this tool called a “chuck it.” 

Scout

My dog, Scout, is retarded.  I don’t mean that as a politically incorrect insult, I mean she really is retarded.  I gave her a doggy IQ test once and she failed.  She got a 3 out of 20 and one of those points was a sympathy point.  It’s nearly impossible to teach her anything.  You ask her to shake and she will lie down.  You ask her to sit and she will give you her paw for “shake.”  She jumps off the side of mountains chasing lizards when we go hiking.  I have to scream her name like a lunatic every few seconds to keep her from plummeting down the cliff filled with cacti and other hazardous desert plants.  Scout is also amazingly sweet.  What she loses in intelligence she makes up for being so unbelievably hilarious and sweet.  You cannot look at this dog and not smile.  It’s impossible.  She is just so sweet and so dumb and so goofy, that she brings so much joy into my life.  I could not imagine my life without her. 

I was sitting on the table top of a red cement picnic table at the dog park when a woman sat next to me.  I really can’t describe her well.  She looks like everyone else I know. Not too fat or thin.  Not too tall or short.  Not beautiful or ugly.  Just average.  She is one of those people that look like the people from anatomy books.  If you looked up the definition of human, you’d find her photo there.  She was wearing jeans and a cute brown sweater and I’m guessing she was in her 30, but it’s really hard to guess how old people are in LA.  Everyone looks like they are in their 20 or 30’s to me.  As usual Scout went up to this woman, turned around so that the woman had easy access to scratch her butt, and leaned against her.  The woman thought this was the cutest thing in the world.  She laughed and scratched my dogs butt for about half an hour, the whole time talking to her in the most ridiculously high pitched baby talk voice I have ever heard.  My other dog Cooper, was frantically running around trying to find his ball I just threw, so I went to go help him find this extremely special ball—his favorite ball.  He will not use any other ball unless he’s desperate.  He will just search the park for this ball and mope around with the saddest face a dog can possibly make.   It was very important I find this ball.  My dog’s happiness depended on it.

It took a few minutes to figure out another dog actually had his ball.  I walked over to the dog and asked her to please drop the ball.  Actually I said, “Drop it!” and she did nothing.  “Off!”  Still nothing.  “Down,” She laid down but still held the ball in her mouth.”    “Not yours,” she just stared at me like I was an idiot.  Finally I said as firmly as I possibly can “GIVE ME THE FREAKING BALL!” while reaching into her mouth and pulling it out.  She ran off as soon as I got the ball and I started walking back to my picnic table.  I scanned the park looking for Scout.  I couldn’t find her.  “Scout come!”  I called out.  She is usually pretty good at coming when called.  I ran around the park looking for my dog but she didn’t come.  “Have you seen a dog that looks like a small Rottweiler with a pink harness on?”  Everyone said no.  Now I was freaking out.  I ran around calling Scouts name and then thought maybe she had gotten out and into the parking lot.  I ran to the parking lot and check to see if maybe she’s waiting by the car.  She wasn’t.  By this time I am close to tears. 

I kept thinking, my dog is lost and she’s retarded.  She’ll never survive in the wild with the coyotes or on the street.  I begin to walk back to the park to get my other dog who was waiting for me at the fence.  He seemed just as worried as I was.  Sitting next to the entrance of the dog park was a brand new maroon Honda Element.  I always look at the elements because I secretly want one.  As I walk by I hear a scratch at the door and see Scout in the backseat of the Element.  The woman, who had been sitting next to me earlier, starts to open the driver side door of the car.  I ran up to her and slammed my body against the door so she couldn’t get into her car.  “Why is my dog in your car?” I growled.  She looked at me but didn’t respond.  “That is my dog in your car.  You have five seconds to get her out or someone is going to get hurt.”  This time she says, “That’s not your dog.  That’s my dog.”  At this point my whole body is shaking with adrenaline and I’m ready to fight this woman.  “No, you know that is my dog. Give her back to me now!”  This time I am screaming and people are starting to notice.  I take a fist full of this woman’s shirt, twist it and shove the woman forward.  “Trust me, I’m much tougher than I look and right now I’m ready to kick your ass.  Get my dog out of your car now!”  I pick up my phone and start to call the police to report this woman and the fact that I am about to kick her ass if someone doesn’t come right away when the woman opens her car door and Scout jumps out.  I grab my dog and quickly put her in my car.  Before I could go back and deal with the woman she takes off.  Her car was brand new so it didn’t have license plates.  The police told me without a license number all they can do is take down a report on the phone and it would probably be a couple of hours before they could send a police officer out to meet me.  Did you know that stealing a dog is only considered “petty theft?”  Dogs are considered property not family.  That is really depressing.  I didn’t want to wait that long for a police officer so I locked Scout in my car and went to get Cooper out of the dog park.  My sweet boy was waiting for me with his ball in his mouth right by the front entrance.  He looked really worried so I reached down to pat him and tell him everything is okay.  I clipped his leash to his harness and we joined Scout in the car. 

This has been one crazy day.  It’s been the kind of day that puts other bad days into perspective.  At least I have my dogs—my family, and at least it was just my car stereo.  It could have been a whole lot worse today.  I could have lost a lot more than what was in my car.  I could have lost a part of my family.  I could have lost a little piece of my heart.  She may be a pain and she may be a lot of work but I love my little retarded Scout.  I would die if I lost her.  I’m so glad she’s still in my life.  Today I feel lucky that I still have her.  Today I kicked ass.  Today I feel powerful.  Today I won.
I am not sure why the number of comments aren't showing up for this post or the one below, but both have comments.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Screwed up


Today my therapist said I was fucked up.  At first I just looked at her then said, "Oh wow!"  She burst out laughing realizing the way that sounded.  She continued, "Yes, you are fucked up in some ways, but so is everyone else.  Everyone is fucked up somehow.  I'm fucked up too."  I said, "You are?"  "I am," she replied. "Can you enlighten me?"  I asked.  I was half serious, but I knew she would just laugh.  For a moment I just sat there, percolating on what my therapist just said.

A few moments earlier we were talking about why no one ever adopted me or stayed in my life and I said there must be something wrong with me and that I am a total fuck up in life.  "The only thing I have ever wanted in life is a family and no amount of therapy can ever give me that."  I told her, "I screw up every good thing that comes into my life and I hate how I sabotage everything without even meaning to.  There is something seriously wrong with me."  She shifted in her chair, put her stylish heeled black boots firmly on the floor, leaned toward me and said,”I want to share your experience with you.  I want to be in it with you, but I'm kind of in a bind because I hate how you blame yourself for things that are not your fault.  You're so quick to take the blame and beat yourself up for everything.  It makes me angry.  I'm angry at all the people who have made you feel this way about yourself."  I said, "But it usually is my fault.  I screw up so much in my life.  I have messed up in almost every single relationship I have ever had.  There is something wrong with me that makes everyone go away.  No one wants to be in my life.  I'm seriously fucked up."  That's when she told me I was fucked up.

We laughed for a few minutes at the idea of a therapist telling a client they are fucked up and then she tried to compare foster homes getting rid of me to how she could never get rid of her new kitten.  Horrible analogy.  I told her, "You know you can never give this kitten away now since you compared him to me, right?"  She laughed told me that I was funny, and said she wouldn't ever give her kitten away. 

She then said that holding onto blame for everything is holding me back in life.  "How is that belief serving you?"  I don't really understand statements like that.  I can't just say nothing is ever my fault because usually it truly is, and it feels like a lie to tell myself it isn't.  I can lie to myself but I don't know how to believe this lie.  How do I believe a lie in order to feel better about myself?

The truth is I really do screw up in life--often.  I can't blame anyone but myself for those screw ups.  I push everyone away either by being too needy or too distant or a mixture of both.  I can't find the right balance.  I can't figure out how to be with people.  I am afraid to open up to people because I think they won't like me if they really knew me and at the same time it really sucks that I have so few close friends.  I desperately want close connections with other people but I always push people away without meaning to.  I don't have anyone in my life that won't go away if things get tough.  I don't have anyone that I can't push away.  I don't have a mom that will love me unconditionally.  I have screwed up my chances at having those types of relationships when I was a kid so the only kind of relationships I have left are friendships and I have no freaking clue how to make or keep friends.  I have no clue how not to be fucked up. 

I was afraid therapy would be so weird this week because it was so intense last week.  It was hard to go back today after telling her something so big.  Something I am so ashamed about, but it turned out okay.  Maybe my therapist really does care about me or maybe that's just wishful thinking.  Who knows.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why group homes are not good alterntiaves to foster families

“You’re not that little girl anymore, so why focus on it?”
“You get to choose your family now.”
“Didn’t you like your group home?  Maybe they should have let you stay there the whole time.”
 These quotes come from my friend today when we were talking about foster care.  She didn’t mean to upset me by them and she was really trying hard to understand why they did.  I think it was hard for her because we don’t really talk about my life like this and she had a huge family all over the globe. 

I am that little girl.  I will always be that little girl.  It doesn’t matter if I’m 8 or 80, I will always be the kid who no one wanted.  Time will never change the fact that no one ever loved me or kept me.  Time won’t change the fact that I never had a mom or a dad or any other type of family.  It won’t change the fact that I ache for a mom every day of my life.  It won’t change the fact that I grew up without any stability or safety.   It’s not only that I didn’t get a family, but I was constantly rejected by family after family.  Time can’t change that and I don’t think it will ever hurt any less. Rejection always hurts.   It doesn’t matter if you’re being rejected for a job, a date, or the soccer game.  It hurts.  It really hurts, but those things are easy to get over.  Rejection destroys when families decide that you just aren’t good enough for them.  Rejection destroys you when you aren’t lovable enough to keep.
 
I don’t get to choose my family today any more than I was able to choose them when I was a child.  I wish I could choose my family now.  I wish it was as easy as walking up to a nice middle aged woman and asking her to be my mother. “Excuse me ma’am, you look like you’d make a great mom and I need a mom, would you take me home and adopt me?”  People always say that I can choose who my family is today thinking it will make me feel better.  It’s always said by people who have always been surrounded by family and friends.  Even if I could choose my family today, even if I were adopted tomorrow, I would still hurt.  I would still ache inside because my heart doesn’t ache only for my present situation.  My heart aches for the little girl I used to be.  My heart aches for the years I went without love.  Being an adult doesn’t mean I get to take a giant eraser to everything.  It doesn’t mean my childhood just goes away.  

What I do get to choose in life are my friends from the people who also want to be my friend.  I can kind of choose my friends but I cannot choose my family.  Friends can be close.  Friends can love you, but friends will never be your family.  Friends will never make up for how much I need a mom.  Friends will never love me unconditionally. Friends cannot be a substitute for a family.  They can’t make up for not having a family--for never having a family.  It doesn’t matter how great of a friendship we have or how much we love each other, friends will always just be my friends.  But even with friends, I can’t make people stay in my life.  I don’t get to choose my family.  I don’t get to just decide to not focus on the things that hurt.  I wish that were true.  I wish I could just turn it all off.  It would make my life a whole lot easier.  I used to be able to do that and now look at where I am.  I turned off my feelings for 20-something years and now I’m drowning. 

I just needed a family.  I’ve always needed a family.  I still need a family and I will always need a family.

All foster children need families.  Group homes should be temporary solutions only.  Growing up in a group home does not prepare a child for normal life.  A group home does give that child love and encouragement.  A group home cannot teach a child how to be in a family, how to be a good wife, husband, mother, father.  How does a child learn to have relationships in a group home?  It’s nearly impossible.  In group homes, relationships are short and constantly changing.  A group home cannot give that child the love and encouragement a foster home can.  Group homes cannot give a child the stability a foster home can.  Group homes are always changing.  From week to week there are different people working and living there.  Staff members leave, go on vacation, and have different schedules.  The children come and go.  Real life is not like that.  Real life is more constant than that.  In real life people don’t work in shifts.  Real life is not as structure as group home life.  Real life does not come with staff.  No matter how much training and experience they have or how loving they are, staff cannot give children what a family can.  Group homes don't have traditions.  Group homes don't teach children values and morals and all those things it takes to grow good people.  The only thing a group home can ever really do is provide food and shelter.  Sometimes that is what a child needs for a little while.  Sometimes a child need to be removed from real life for a little while, but that should never be a long term solution.  A group home is not a home.  

Some group homes even have rules on hugging the children.  Staff were not allowed to huge the kids.  All children need to be hugged.  Human beings are social, affectionate animals.  We NEED to be loved or we die.  There was a period of over a year that no one hugged me.  EVER.  Not one person embraced me.  Not one person pulled me into them and told me they cared.  Children need this.  All children need this.  It doesn’t matter if that child is a genius or seriously mentally challenged, they all need to be touched.  They all need to be hugged.  Every single child on earth deserves to know that someone will hug them that day.  That someone loves them.   Group homes cannot love children like foster homes should.  Group homes are not good alternatives for foster homes.  Children need connections.  Children need love.  Children need stability.  Children need real life.  Children need family.  All children deserve to have their basic human needs met and they deserve to have those needs met by a family that loves them.  Foster children need these things or they can turn into people like me.  They can turn into people who shouldn't be here.  They can become people who don't know how to relate to other people. They can turn into adults that hurt too much to have healthy relationships.  They can turn into adults that will never live up to their full potential or make any difference in the world.  They can end up being nobodies.  Foster care needs to change because it's killing the futures of foster children.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I need you to love me enough to leave me alone


Dear Mama,

You tell me that I ruined your childhood because I was born when you were 17.  I didn’t choose to be born.  I didn’t choose for you to keep me.  I didn’t choose to come so early in your life.  I didn’t choose to ruin your childhood.  You created me.  You gave life to me.  It was your choice.  It was your decision.  I was a baby--your baby.  I needed you.  You tell me that it is my fault that my brothers and sisters were put in foster care.  They were put in foster care because of your actions, your drug use, your abuse, your neglect.  They were put in foster care because of you not because of your little girl.  They grew up without a mom because of YOU.  You blame me for the actions of grown men when you knew what was happening.  You let me be abused.  You abused me.  You locked me in closets.  You starved me.  You beat me.  You told me I was worthless every single day.  I know you are a horrible mother.  I know you are a horrible person.  I know this.  I know this in my very core, but I can’t connect my mind and my heart.  I can’t make myself hate you.  I can’t make myself stop wanting you. 

Since the day I was born, I have yearned for you.  I yearned for you to hold me and comfort me.  I have yearned for you to love me.  I wanted to be yours.  I wanted to be your special girl--your pumpkin.  I wanted to be worthy of your love.  I tried so hard to be who you wanted me to be but I was never good enough.  I always messed it up somehow.   I always made you angry.  You have always hated me.  Remember when I tried to make you breakfast in bed and burned a giant hole in the counter with the frying pan?  You were so angry you ripped my shirt off, little yellow duckling shaped buttons flying everywhere, and beat me with a ping pong paddle.  The welts on my back hurt so bad but I tried not to cry because I knew you didn’t like it when I cried.  I wanted to show you how strong I could be.  I wanted to be strong for you. I wanted to be what you wanted me to be no matter what the cost. 

When you tell me how much you hate me, how much you wish I were dead or that you wish I was never born, a part of me dies inside, even today.  My therapist says that you are mentally ill and delusional.  While I know she is right, it still kills me to know you feel that way about me.  It doesn’t matter that you locked me in closets.  It doesn’t matter that you beat me, slammed me into walls, and watched other people abuse me.  It doesn’t matter that you tell me you hate me.  It doesn’t matter that you want me to die.  You are my biological mother.  The only biological mother I will ever have and I still love you.  I still want you to love me.  I still want my mama. I still want you to hold me.  I still want you to kiss my forehead.  I still want you to be proud of me.  I still want YOU and I still want you to want me.  I want to be a part of your life.  I want you.  Why don’t you want me?  Why don’t you love me? 

It seems so easy for other people to dismiss your words and actions as those of a mentally ill woman and intellectually I know they are right.  I know it’s just the mental illness speaking, but it’s not so easy for me.  I wish it were easy for me to dismiss you and everything you say as the ramblings of a mad woman.  It’s not so easy for me.  I still see my mama telling me she hates me and wishes I were dead.  I see my mother blaming me for things beyond my control.  I see the one person who is supposed to love me unconditionally tell me how much she hates me.

Mama, if you are in there at all.  If any part of you has ever loved me.  If you can bring yourself to care about me even just a little bit, can you please go away?  Can you please stop emailing me?  As much as it hurts to say that I need you to leave me alone, it hurts much more to be reminded how much you hate me.  It hurts too much to know that you are out there thinking about me, and these are the thoughts you have.  It hurts so much more than I can put into words.  I will always love you.  I will always yearn for you.  I will always cry for you to hold me when I am upset, but I can’t do this anymore.  I can’t keep reading your emails.  You aren’t my mom.  My mom has never existed outside my own head.  You’ll never be the mom I have always needed.  You’ll never love me the way I need you to, so if there is any love in your heart for me, even just a tiny bit, I need you to do a huge favor for me.  I need you to love me enough to let me live my life.  I need you to love me enough to leave me alone.


Campbell

little me

Another email from my mother

Removed image for privacy

She loved my siblings.  You can see it in this photo.  She loved them so much, but not me.  She hated me and told me there was something wrong with me.  WHY?  I don't understand.  I really don't.  All I have ever wanted was for someone to love me, my bio mother especially. I just don't understand.  Why send me emails like this telling me to stay out of her life when she's the one who won't stay out of mine?  Why does my own mother hate me so much?  How can someone who barely knows me hate me so much?  If the people who are supposed to love me in life hate me this much, how can anyone else tolerate me?  She's hated me since the day I was born and told me so until the day CPS kept me for good.  What the hell is wrong with me that the person who created me hates me enough to sends me stuff like this?  I'm not supposed to be here.  There is something extremely wrong with me.  God, I can't do this anymore.  It's too freaking hard.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I alredy got my christmas wish this year.  ali and i am very happy you aint in are lives.  we deadicate this to you.

MOM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnRNw4wtZ0g&feature=player_embedded#!

Lyrics to Go Die :
Everything I thought was true, turned into a lie
After all the time we spent, what is there to pry

This is my dawning day the old will change, with haste

Will you let our future fade away?
Lay beside the moonlit ocean, gazing into the sky
Then i cried up through the blackness, waiting for our reply
Its been so long since I saw you, but its been the time of my life
Now that its all over, I want you to go die
die

Reflecting on our memories, I never felt at peace

Why would I be with you, when you are never pleased

This is my dawning day the old will change, with haste

Will you let our future fade away?
Lay beside the moonlit ocean, gazing into the sky
Then i cried up through the blackness, waiting for our reply
Its been so long since I saw you, but its been the time of my life
Now that its all over, I want you to go die
die
Go die, die

Can you feel me scream out loud, you left me out to dry


Can you feel me scream out loud, you left me out to dry

Whisper in the ear of yours
dont try to save the night

Its been so long since I sensed you

And its been the time of my life
Now that its all over, I want you to go die
Or stay out of my life

Monday, December 20, 2010

Percolated Ovaries

Some of the keyword searches that lead people to my blog are quite strange and pretty amusing.  Some of them are pretty freaking disturbing.  I've had people find my blog by searching for a creepy type of porn.  I bet my blog is not exactly what they were looking for.  HAHA!  Mostly people find my blog by searching for family, foster care, or gay kids in foster care.  Sometimes they find my blog by totally random searches.  Today someone found my blog by searching for "percolated ovaries."  What?  I want to know what this person was thinking when they typed that into the Google box.  Maybe they meant polycystic ovary syndrome, but percolated ovaries?  That's hilarious!  Is that what happens when you drink too much coffee?

Nothing

I have spent nearly the entire weekend in bed.  The only times I left the safety and comfort of my bed were to take my dogs out because we don't have a yard, and when my gf forced me to get out of bed and buy a new computer.  I think she thought it would cheer me up.  My last laptop was held together by tape and my gf had spilled coffee all over it.  Somehow it still works except for smelling like over roasted coffee and a few problems with sticky keys.  I really like my new laptop.  Normally I'd be so giddy and excited about a new electronic to play with.  I would open it up right away and ooh-and-awe at everything.  I'd be jumping around the apartment asking my gf to look at how awesome every little detail is, significant or not.  That's not how I reacted this time.  I actually really like the computer, but I have no excitement for it.  I didn't jump around.  I didn't open it right way.  I didn't play with it for hours.  I didn't ooh-and-awe.  I didn't brag about how much cooler my laptop is than my gf's.  This new laptop even has a fingerprint lock!  A freaking fingerprint lock! That's way cooler than anything in the apartment or even outside the apartment!  What is wrong with me?

I don’t know who I am anymore.  Not really.  I used to know exactly who I was and exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  I was so sure of myself.  I was witty and sarcastic.  I was smart or at least tried really hard to be.  I was motivated.  I was different and proud of it. Today I’m none of those things.  Today I feel like nothing.  I don’t know who I am.  I don’t know where I’m going or how I’ll get there.  I don’t recognize the person looking back at me in the bathroom mirror.  I don’t look like myself physically or mentally.  This person looking back at me is not really me.  I am trapped inside somewhere.  I’m just a passenger along for the ride. 
Today I can’t sleep or relax.  It’s as if I live in a pit of hungry alligators.  The minute I start to relax I panic that one of them will devour me.  I’m on alert at all times.  I can appear completely calm and happy but on the inside I’m preparing myself for battle.  I’m all over the place.  I’m standing still and smiling but my soul is frantically pacing and mumbling incoherently.  How did I get here?  How did I go from that confident, independent girl that didn’t care that she was without family, the girl who could handle anything life threw at her, to this creature with no motivation to get out of bed and live life?  How did I get here?  How do I go back to who I used to be?  I used to be so confident and so sure I was going to be successful in life.  Maybe college showed me that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.  Everyone else was just as smart.  I really wanted to be a veterinarian, but I got two B’s one semester and gave up because my adviser told me it would be impossible to get into vet school without a 4.0.  It’s not my adviser's fault.  I would have dropped the plan anyway.  That’s how I seem to work in life.  I get these grand ideas and I’m super motivated.  I work extremely hard, and I’m very determined to be a success, but the minute I make a mistake or fail at something, I kind of give up.  When I’m not perfect at something right away I get extremely angry and upset with myself.  I panic and I feel like a total failure.  I’ve had panic attacks over physics math problems.  I’ve thrown up over anxiety about exams.  I gave up vet school because I felt I wasn’t smart enough.  I got a degree in film production, but failed at that too.  It’s nearly impossible to get a job that pays the bills with a degree in film production.  Everyone wants you to work for free in this town.  I lost my plan in life.  I lost my motivation.  I lost myself.

I am nobody without a plan for success.  Every plan I have tried as an adult has failed.  I have failed.  I’m not good at being an adult.  I was good at being a child and a teenager.  I was successful as a child and a failure as an adult.  I was so resilient and strong before 18.  I worked hard and never felt sorry for myself.  Today I feel so weak and irrelevant.  I feel like a waste of space and oxygen. 

I feel so stunted in life.  I feel like such a failure.  My childhood is such a waste.  I suffered for nothing.   I wanted to become someone powerful and influential so I could say fuck you to my childhood.  “Look what I did despite you!”  That fantasy died with vet school and since then I’ve just been floating aimlessly in life, latching onto ideas here and there, but not for very long.  I think this blog might be the idea I’ve stayed with the longest lately and it’s just self indulgent drivel that I’m surprised other people read.

Why am I alive?  What purpose does my life serve?  I’m not ever going to be powerful and influential.  I’m not ever going to make a difference in the world.  I’m not ever going to be someone important.  Why would someone like me ever be born?  It just seems like a cruel joke.  My life is not worth it.  I’m not worth it.  Sometimes I just really don’t want to be here.  I’m not suicidal so please think I’m going to hurt myself.  I won’t.  I would never do that to my amazing gf or my animals.  I don’t know how or why she’s stayed with me for so long.  It only works because I keep her at a distance to protect her.  She doesn’t need to know about what I carry around.  It’s too heavy to unload on her although I know if/when she reads this she'll say she can handle it.  I’m just so tired of hurting.  I’m tired of pretending that there is someone worth knowing underneath all of this, but there really isn’t anything else in here.  I want to be more, but I’m just this.  Nothing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Consumed

Therapy on Thursday and Friday was so intense.  I finally opened up to my therapist.  Granted I had to do it by showing her a horrible email I wrote to a former foster mother, but I still shared with her and she knows in detail now about something that haunts me today.  I cried and so did my therapist.  I don't know if she was crying for me or herself, but she was crying, red eyes, tears and all.   

I thought sharing this email and this time of my life would make me feel better.  I thought crying about it would release me from it, but it didn't.  I feel worse.  I feel consumed by it.  I feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff, frantically waving my arms to keep my balance in order to stay upright.  My therapist asked me if I still wish I had died when I was 12 and I told her sometimes I really do.  Sometimes it's all I can think about.  But I'm not suicidal so please don't worry about me.

It doesn't help that it's Christmas time.  This is the time of year when my yearning for a family is it's most intense and seeing other people enjoy their family is the most painful.  It's not that I am yearning for a family today, although I really am, but I am yearning for a family for the little girl I once was.  I am yearning for an answer to why no one wanted me as a child.  I am yearning for an answer to why I was never loved--enough.  I am yearning for an answer to why no one ever chose me.  You see, it's almost worse in my eyes that no one chose me because I was a good student and a good kid.  At least if I had been acting out I could blame it on that.  I could say, no one chose me because I was too crazy or I was too difficult.  I can't say that because I tried so hard to be perfect.  No one wanted me despite how hard I tried to be what they wanted me to be.  No one loved me at my best.  How can anyone love me now when I really have nothing to offer the world?  I'm not little.  I'm not cute.  I'm not smart.  I'm not that good little student anymore.  I'm not a violinist.  I'm not an athlete.  I'm not anything special anymore.  I'm just this.  I'm just me. Why would ANYONE want that?

Friday, December 17, 2010

For those who don't believe





"The one extreme is where abused children will project images of "all-rightness" to hide their true inner negative states.  Some abused children will strive to be perfect and excel in school, in a sport, or on a career path." 
 
"Bottom line, positive performance in school or at work, or in any other endeavors is not an indication of a person's true inner state or past family experience."

I have received several emails that accuse me of not being totally truthful.  I am used to this.  I am used to people not believing me.  I am used to people minimizing my life and my story because I don't fit the mold.  I don't fit the statistics.  I didn't and still don't behave in a preconceived way.  I am used to being overlooked.  I am used to having my heart ignored.  After all, I was a good student, a violinist, went to college, have a not so great but decent job and a relationship.  That must mean I am happy.  My childhood must have been okay even if I grew up in foster care because look at how "well I am doing."  There could be no possible way I was working so hard because if I was terrified.  I was smiling but every organ in my body was barely hanging on.  I was was barley alive and fighting to survive the only way I knew how--pretend.  I used to want people to believe I was perfect.  I used to want people to believe my life was perfect.  That was pretend.  That wasn't real.  This is real.  This is real life.

Not everyone reacts to trauma the same way.  Not every foster child is going to deal with their struggles in the same manner.  Those who hide their pain are not suffering any less.  That pain is still there.  That pain still hurts.  Maybe I am better off than the statistics.  Maybe I am better off than my siblings and most other former foster children I have met.  My heart breaks for all of them.  My heart breaks for every current and former foster child.  I know their pain.  I have lived their pain.  Maybe I didn't show it the same way.  Perhaps I choose a healthier path, although I think that is highly debatable.  I have no control over your thoughts or feelings but the stories in this blog are real.  They are mine.  The pain in this blog is mine.  This is me.  This is my heart.  This is who I really am.  This is what I've lived.  This is me, no longer pretending.  Take it or leave it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Socially awkward

Today has been such a bad day for my relationships. I have made every single mistake possible with so many people. I think I may have ruined more relationships in one single day than I’ve made all year. If you’re reading this and thinking this is may be about you, it probably is. I really should not have gotten out of bed today. I should have stayed hunkered under my fake down comforter with nothing but tails, whiskers, a good book, and horrible dog breath to keep me company.

Foster care has left me seriously socially limited. I just don’t know how to be with other people. I have relationships in my life but I question every single move I make and thought I have with every single person in my life. I don’t just walk on eggshells around other people; I walk on tiny thin shards of broken glass--each step incredibly painful and bloody. After a while walking seems like a horrible idea. I would rather just stay where I am and not progress any further. I can’t just relax and be with people. I don’t know how.

When I was kid I was labeled with an “attachment disorder (not RAD).” I’ve always thought that was ridiculous but I totally get it now. I am totally incapable of having a normal healthy relationship. I either want way too much from people way too fast or I don’t want enough from them fast enough. I either run into things totally exposed and vulnerable or I don’t expose myself at all. I give too much of myself or not enough. Why can’t I learn to do things in the appropriate amount? Why is that so hard for me?

I never stayed in one place long enough to make lasting friendships. I changed schools so many times and lost so many friends that I eventually gave up. I gave up on friendship pretty early in life. I never learned how to bond with peers. I don’t know how these things work and it creates so much anxiety for me that I always end up making an ass of myself and ruining everything. It happens in EVERY relationship I have eventually.

Maybe that’s why everyone leaves me. I’m impossible to be around. I’m pretty hard to tolerate sometimes. Even when I am trying to make other people feel good, I screw up and create chaos and disaster. I don’t even have to try to mess things up. It’s like a natural talent. It just happens without any thought whatsoever. That’s why I have so few close friends. I have friends, but I wouldn’t say I have many friends that I’m super close with. I have friends who I’ve known for a long time, but they’ve become pretty much Internet and text message relationships. I have friends that are pretty much just Facebook friends even though they didn’t start out that way. It’s just easier to keep me at a distance I guess, but I even manage to mess things up on Facebook and email, and text messages. I am seriously socially challenged.

How does a child learn to have friends when she is constantly moving? How does that child learn to have adult relationships? How does that adult learn not to be so awkward? Relationships in my life have always been temporary. I don’t know how to let things progress naturally. I don’t know how to bond the appropriate amount. I don’t know how to feel about other people. I don’t know how much to love other people. I jump around from extremes in the same relationship, sometimes in just a few minutes. Sometimes I love someone so fast and then I get scared and end up doing something that eventually makes the other person leave me thinking "what a freak.". It never fails. Ever. Pretty much the only constant in my life is that people are never constant.

Foster care is creating a generation of young adults who don’t know how to have relationships. Life is all about relationships. How can a foster child live a normal adult life if they can’t form relationships with people? I feel so disabled sometimes. It IS disabling. Is it too late for me to learn how to be a normal person? Is it too late to learn how to be charming? Is it too late to learn how to be a friend? Is it too late to learn how to be a coworker, girlfriend, patient, acquaintance, mom? How do I socialize without severe anxiety? How do I learn how not to be so stupid? How do I learn how not to be so socially fucked up? Sometimes I am so enraged at myself that I can’t do much more than pace around my apartment thinking about what a freaking idiot I am. If I hurt you today, I’m sorry. Please forgive me…or don’t. It’s up to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'll never get over you

I just can''t shake how much I miss my siblings so I made a really crappy video for them. I just hope that wherever they are physically or mentally that they know how much I love them, miss them, and wish we could be together. I'm so sad that I couldn't save them from our parents, foster care, the system, and themselves.  I would do anything to take away their pain if I could.  If you're reading this, I love you so much and I'm sorry life is so hard!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Santa



When I was eight-years-old, my class had to write letters to Santa.  I think the letters were just put in our boxes for our parents to pick up.  My CASA, Eileen, gave me this letter when I was 16.  I have kept it in my Lifebook since then.  I haven't looked at it in years because every time I do I feel like burning it.  The rest of my class asked for toys.  I asked for a family.

I was one of those kids who asked how to spell every single word, but apparently I didn't ask on every word since I really wanted to be "adoptid."

Maggie and Tim were my foster parents for a little over three years.  I had just moved to their house and I was hoping they would keep me when I wrote this letter.  Earlier this year Maggie found my sister who gave her my information.  She writes to me occasionally wanting to connect.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm not sure what her motivation is.  I can't write about them yet, but maybe I will have some courage after therapy tomorrow.  Maggie and Tim changed my life forever.  They promised to adopt me but it didn't work out.  I'm not sure if that was for the best or worst.  Would I be more damaged or less damaged if I stayed with them?  Maybe I would just be a different kind of damaged.  I guess I will never know. 

Is there a Santa that a 20-something can write to?  Is there a Santa that can make a family want me?  Family is still what I wish for every Christmas and every day of my life.  It's a void that will never be filled.  It's an ache that can never be cured.  I still dream about waking up Christmas morning to the sound of my family talking and laughing.  I stumble out of bed, in my pj's and messy hair, and tiptoe through the hallway past an array of family photos--family photos that I am included in.  I've never been in a family photo besides a few photos with my siblings and those only happened because my CASA was a hero.  I walk into the living room and watch my family for a moment before I join them.  "Good morning, sleepy head," my mom says and tousles my hair.  It doesn't matter if my family is rich or poor.  It doesn't matter if my family looks like me.  The only thing that matters is that my family loves me and I love them.  The only thing that matters is that I belong to them  The only thing that matters is they are there.  They are mine.  The only thing that matters is they are my family forever.  The sad thing is, I think I might be too damaged for a family today.  I don't trust people who say they love me.  I don't believe people are going to stay.  If someone told me they were going to adopt me today, I would probably run away.

 Dear Santa,
 Can you fix my heart?  Can you make it hurt a little less?  I promise I'll be good.
                                                                                                           Love,
                                                                                                         Campbell

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Secret lives

Just some drabble, nothing more...

I live secret lives. I am the daughter of an alcoholic. I'm a teenage mother. I'm divorced. I have a father who left when I was a child and has been hiding out by the FBI for most of my life. I've had three different sisters played by five different people. I have magic powers, I can see through walls and transport myself from one room to another with a single thought. I once shot a man in cold blood because he raped my sister.  The jury found me not guilty. I have an older brother who came back to life.


I'm more than me. I live secret lives. They're much more provocative than my real life. For years, I've buried myself in this alternate universe, my TV shows lasting long after the last line of the credits has rolled across the screen. I've built enough sitcoms in my mind to fill up thousands of twenty-three minute blocks. I have dozens of families, kids, sisters, brothers, steps, cousins...a virtual smorgasbord of imaginary relatives. One of my favorite families is my 'mother', my two 'sisters', and my 'stepdad'. They're from a TV show, my favorite sitcom. I'm the youngest, the baby of the family, everyone's protective of me. I have heart-to-hearts with my oldest 'sister', pouring out my feelings to get advice from her, sharing giggles over cups of hot cocoa and popcorn. We bonded when our mother was put in jail, and it was either foster care or her place. I didn't speak to her for a long time when she helped get a court order to hospitalize me for a drug addiction.

My 'mom' is a different story. We have a rocky relationship, but one always tempered by love. We're a constant thorn in each other's sides. I'm not the perfect daughter she envisioned (in her false, imaginary mind), and she doesn't always live up to the standards that I've created. But we relate to each other and that's what really matters. She and I share a common bond of trust in each other that never fails.

I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me. In high school, other kids would imagine what their future spouses would be like, what jobs they'd have, how many kids they'd pop out. I never wondered about that stuff. I was too concerned with what situation I could be put in that night, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. As I got older, so did my story lines. My first kiss, my real first kiss was nothing next to my first kiss on TV. That kiss wasn't unsure, no groping hands to fight off, no worrying about what to do when I saw him in school the next day. That kiss was perfect, the kind of kiss you see in movies, where the heroines swoon and know that they're kissing the right person. Still, I know I'm grounded in reality. Other people have fantasies; I'm not alone in this. It's just that their fantasies don't involve shoving themselves into a fictional family. In elementary school, it probably would have been considered having a great imagination. In middle school, maybe a questioning look if anyone ever knew. But in high school, I'd be on my way for a one way ticket to Bellevue hospital. College? Forget it. I've tried to quit, really I have. It's like an addiction, though. I see something on TV that I like and I want to be a part of it. The closest I'll ever get is in my mind. Who am I hurting? Certainly not myself. I realize that it's not real. I know that everything is a figment of my imagination. But when I insert myself into this glowing world that I see on my TV, am I cheating myself out of a real life? Am I cheating myself out of experiencing it for real someday? I don't think so. Of course, that's just me.  I know that this is just a flight of fancy, a long, strange trip right before REM sleep hits, a way to entertain myself when there's nothing on TV worth watching. It's like those games we all used to play as children, House and Office and Doctor. We became someone other than who we really were.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Father

Therapy was okay today despite the fact that I cried a little.  I felt like my therapist finally understood me.  We were connected for a little while, but I can't say what was different about today.  Maybe I was just more willing to accept the connection she's been offering me or maybe she just finally got it-- got me.  Maybe I just imagined the whole thing.  I don't know.

Today we talked about how disconnected I am from my own emotions and thoughts.  Most of the time I have no idea what I'm feeling, I will know that I'm not feeling good, that I'm feeling upset, but I don't know what kind of upset or why.  I don't know if I'm sad or angry or scared.  Usually it manifests itself into anxiety.  I don't know what is making me feel bad.  I don't know what triggers my emotions.  Sometimes I really don't want to know.  Maybe that's the problem.  We talked about why knowing these things is important even if it's not necessarily something I really desire to know.  My therapist made quite a lot of analogies to help me understand her points.  That's really just what she does.  She really should change her title from therapist to analogist.  It's okay though, because I think it's cute.  I roll my eyes in protest every time she launches into a new long, drawn out analogy, but secretly I like it.  I like it because I think it's cute and because it give me a break from talking, and maybe it also provides a little bit of comic relief. 

After a while I felt brave enough to tell her what has really been on my mind lately-- My biological father.  In May of this year I found my biological father.  It's quite a weird story how I found him, but I'll save it for another entry.  Basically I had given up my search for him and then found him by accident.  Actually I found his sister who was super sweet to me.  She remembered my mother and she was so amazingly accepting toward me.  It was a bit of a fairytale and I thought I had finally found my family and it was my REAL family.  A family that I look exactly like too.  There is no questioning if my sisters and I are related.  We look so much alike.  I've never had that before.  I look nothing like my mother and my other half brothers and sisters are all of mixed races so I don't really look like them either.  I was so happy and so scared.  I had dreamed about this my entire life.  I used to talk to my father all the time on my pretend telephone as a child.  We were always making plans to go to Disneyland, or horseback riding, or to swim with dolphins.  I was a little obsessed with "Flipper" reruns as a kid.

Once the paternity test came back positive, I thought it was all going to be exactly what I always dreamed of.  I thought that piece of paper was the answer to everything.  It wasn't.  Soon, as I had expected but hoped wouldn't happen, everyone lost interest in me.  My father is not really that great of a person.  He's been in and out of prison, has done a lot of drugs, and is pretty much the definition of white trash but still-- he was trying and he is my father.  He was calling me once every week or two.  His calls were very weird and a bit forced, but he was putting in an effort.  He talked to me as if he's been in my life from the beginning and I don't mean that in a good way.  He never seemed interested in my life.  He never asked me any questions about my life or my childhood or even the normal generic questions like what's my favorite color or favorite food.  He just was not interested in ME.  We always talked about his life and his job and Nascar.  I don't know anything about Nascar except they drive around a circle for hours.  Sometimes he would tell really racist and homophobic jokes and laugh and I would just listen.  It didn't really matter what he was saying.  It only mattered that he was talking to me.  My father was talking to me.  Despite feeling sad and maybe a little angry about the lack of connection (is this what I was feeling?  to be honest, I'm not exactly sure), he was trying.  He was calling me.  He was putting in an effort so I thought I mattered to him.  I thought he cared about me.  I was thinking about maybe flying out to meet him in person someday soon.  Since finding my father I have also found two sisters, an aunt, an uncle and a bunch of cousins.  They all seemed so interested in getting to know me at first but like everyone else in my life they decided they didn't want me after all.  The phone calls from my father have stopped.  The BBQ my uncle promised to throw me never happened and his phone calls turned to text messages, then to nothing at all.  My aunt was emailing every single day in the beginning saying really sweet things like "I just knew you were ours."  Or "I'm so happy you are ours and we can be your family."  I was really more excited to find her than I was to find my father.  Her emails have stopped.  Her text messages have stopped.  Her facebook messages have stopped.  My older sister from my dad asked me to sign a lease for her and to give her $600 after only meeting me in person one time and when I couldn't, she lost interest in me too.  Everyone loses interest in me.  I don't understand why.  I want to know what is so wrong with me.  Why don't people want me?  Why do people always leave? 

WHY?  My therapist wants to know why it's so important for me to be able to answer that for myself.  I don't have the answer to that except maybe it's because it's still happening to me!  There is not ONE person who has known me for my entire life.  There is not even one person that has known me for half my life and I'm not that old.  Nobody stays in my life for very long.  There is something obviously wrong with me and I want to fix it.  No one wanted me as a child and no one wants me as an adult.  Everyone leaves.  Everyone decides I'm not worth the effort.  Everyone grows tired of me eventually.  No one can love me for very long, not even people who share my DNA.  I just want to know WHY.  I want to know what is wrong with me so maybe I can fix it.  I desperately want a connection with people.  Despite what my last blog post was about, I don't need everyone to know where I came from.  I just need someone to love me and not go away.  I just need someone to decide to keep me.  I just need someone to want me... no matter what.  I just need someone to stay.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Surrounded and alone

Therapy really depresses me.  I have felt so much better these last two weeks I had off from therapy.  I went today and now I’m depressed.  I’m not sure why I’m going anymore.  Is it helping me?  That’s highly debatable.  Why is it that I have so much trouble talking about anything in therapy but I can be so open in this blog for thousands to read?  Literally thousands.  That's how many people read my blog about Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure what made my Thankful post so popular.  It's a bit daunting knowing my blog is now so public.  I don't know how I feel about it.  I'm excited and terrified.  I guess I do know how I feel about it.

After my usual twenty to thirty minutes of uncomfortable silence my therapist suggested we email each other in session.  That would be so strange.  I can't email my therapist with her sitting right in front of me!  She asked, "What if we weren't facing each other?" OMG.  I can't do that, plus therapy would be even slower and stranger than it already is.

Eventually we talked a bit about how my GF can't read my blog or hear about my childhood.  I don't know how I feel about it and my therapist says it would make her angry and a little lonely.  I told her I've always been lonely.  I'm surrounded by people and totally alone.  It's so hard to find anyone that I can connect with in life.  I can't find anyone that truly gets it.  I want someone who knows what it's like to be me--to grow up the way I did, to carry around what I do.  Someone who knows what it's like to feel so alone in a room full of people.  I don't know why I suddenly find myself needing that kind of connection when for so long I tried to stay away from anyone with a background similar to mine. 

I started this blog so I could express myself in a way that I can't in real life, to tell my story and let people know what it's really like to grow up in foster care beyond statistics, to help other former foster children and future foster parents, and maybe find someone I can connect with.

I feel like I can't really connect with anyone in life.  Not beyond a superficial level anyway.  I cannot connect with people with anything to do with family.  I really can't.  Someone shares a story about their childhood or their family with me and I listen and try to relate it to something in my life but I usually can't.  I can't connect with other gay people either.  When gay people talk about what it was like coming out to their families, I have nothing to share.  I didn't have to come out to anyone because no one was there.  No one would care.  When gay people talk about how their families deal with their sexuality I have nothing to share.  My gay friends don't know what it's like to be a gay kid in foster homes or group homes.  My gay friends don't know what it's like to sign contacts or to be afraid your roommate will smother you at night if you act too gay that day.  My stories are always conversation stoppers.  I always stress about what I can and cannot share with other people.  I don't want to be the person that never talks about herself because than I'll never connect with other people, but if I do talk about myself I make people uncomfortable.  My stories make people uncomfortable.  My stories drive people away.

Even among other foster children I feel totally alone.  Most don't believe me or my story, or think I must be exaggerating.  They think I must be making up the number of placements I lived in or they believe that I couldn't have had it as bad as I say because I appear to function so well in life.  On paper, I'm functioning better than most of the statistics and other foster children I have met.  I'm a "foster care success."  I'm a college graduate with a long term job and a long term relationship, what more could I possibly need in life?  This is how other foster children look at me.  These things are all true, but I wish they could see me beyond all of that.  Sometimes I wish I was able to wear my pain on my sleeve for everyone to see, like I do in this blog, so that maybe someone could finally understand who I really am.  I feel like most people see me for who I am not rather than that who I really am.  I'm not a total fuck up, so I must be a success.  I'm not extremely mentally ill, so I must be okay.  I'm surrounded by people so I must not be lonely.  I seem to have everything I need in life, so I really shouldn't be hurting.  None of these things are really true.  None of these things are really me.  I'm just a master of pretend and emotional trickery.

I want someone that can handle my life--all of it.  I want people who can hear my stories and still be able look at me the same way.  I want people who can hear my stories and not feel sorry for me.  I want people who can hear my stories and still see me for the person that I really am.  I want someone who truly understands what it's like to grow up the way I have.  I want someone that knows what it's like to be shuffled from home to home being rejected by family after family.  Who knows what it's like to be unwanted.  I want someone who understands what it's like to age out of foster care with no one and nothing.  I want someone who knows what it's like to graduate at the top 5 percent of your high school class despite attending seven high schools, moving homes every six months, and have no one notice or care.  I want someone who understands what it's like to put yourself through college without any family or support system.  I want someone who understands what it's like to feel nothing when someone tells you they love you, well--nothing positive anyway.  I want someone who understands what it's like to be twenty-something or thirty-something or forty-something and still want a mom.  Someone who still dreams that someone out there will adopt them, that someday they'll finally have that family they have always needed.  I want someone who knows what 18 years of foster care does to your soul.  I want someone who knows what it is like to grow up alone.  I just want someone who understands because I don’t want to be alone anymore.