Monday, April 8, 2013

Foster care and trauma did not create me

Sometimes well meaning people say the strangest things.  I know they say them with good intentions, but it just makes me feel icky.  A friend said something like this to me today when she was asking me about foster care.  She's very curious about it lately for some reason.  I told her about what foster care was like and what it's still like for kids in care and she said, "I'm sorry that happened to you but it has made you who you are today and who you are is a really great person."  I've also heard this in the past, "What happened to you has made you a strong/er person."  These statements are in the same family of "Everything happens for a reason."  Don't get me started on that fucked up statement. 

No.  Foster care did not make me a great person.  I am not a great person because of foster care, or my severe childhood abuse, or any of the other awful things that happened to me.  What if I am just a really great person?  Because I just am?  What if I am a really great, strong person DESPITE what I went through?  Would I be a pitiful weak asshole if I had a normal life?

Foster care and severe childhood trauma did not make me who I am today.  They did not make me a strong person.  I am who I am, because that's just who I am.  Foster care did not create me.  Foster care does not define me.  I am who I am DESPITE the horrible things that happened to me before, during, and after foster care.  Foster care and child abuse hurt me, and made me weaker in some areas.  I struggle today because of foster care.  I suffer in ways I shouldn't because of foster care.  And what about those people who are not doing as well as me?  Why didn't foster care and abuse make them stronger?  What about all those former foster kids and child abuse survivors that make up those horrifying statics?  Foster care and trauma did not make me strong.  I survived because I am strong, not the other way around.

Foster care and my abuse history are definitely part of me and my life, but they are not who I am as a person.  They don't get to take credit for the good things that I am and do in life.  I am the one who makes those choices and does those things.  My traumas did not create me.  I made and continue to create myself.  Foster care and my abuse history often makes it difficult for me to be myself.  I have to make the choices to fight to survive everyday.  Foster care and childhood abuse don't do that for me.  I do that for me.  Foster care and my childhood abuse did not create me.  I am not those awful things.  I am a whole person, independent of them.  I am everything I am, good, bad, funny, sweet, annoying, etc... because of ME.  I make me.  Just like you make you.