I've been dreaming of starting a nonprofit organization that provides instruments, music lessons, and music therapy to foster children. I started a fundraiser to buy some guitars for foster children for Christmas. I successfully raised $2000 (including the matched donation from my employer). Because I did this and voiced my dreams about the organization, my friend, coworker, and accountant for the nonprofit that I currently work at is going to help me start the organization and establish a 501C3.
I'm feeling pretty excited. I've known the name of my organization for two years, but I don't want to mention it here in case it's successful someday and people go back and see how crazy I am.
My violin and music was so important to my survival in foster care. It gave me confidence, purpose, and an outlet for my intense emotions. It even gave me a college scholarship! I lost my violin every time I changed schools or foster homes until a foster children organization bought me a violin when I was 14. Now I get to do that for other foster kids! And I get to help foster kids who would otherwise never have the opportunity to play an instrument. Maybe this is my purpose now. Maybe this will make a difference. Maybe.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Thanksgiving is a very difficult holiday for me. It serves as a reminder for what I am missing in life. If it were up to me, I'd take a long road trip and camp in the wilderness until this gluttonous holiday is over. I can only really remember foster care after the age of eight. I don't remember much of my time and placements before then. There are 10 Thanksgivings in foster care that I remember. I spent every single Thanksgiving, except for a couple, at a strange table with strange people in a strange house. Every family had their own traditions and quirks. One family made these special cookies with Hershey kisses in the middle of them and everyone had to eat one and say what they were thankful for that year. One family had a treasure hunt. One family played a basketball game before dinner and the list goes on and on. I never got to enjoy these things as tradition because I was always the new person. I was always unknown. I was always just a guest. I was never part of the family. I spent every thanksgiving as an outsider. I observed. I sat quietly and watched families enjoy the time they had together and studied them. I would watch my foster family interact with each other--everyone grazing on appetizers, hanging out and enjoying each others company. This is what family is, I thought. I want this. I want to be part of this. Will I be here next year? Will they be my family next year? Do they remember my name?
Thanksgiving is a day that reminds me that I've never had that kind of connection. It reminds me of what I'm missing. It reminds me that I don't have family. It reminds me of all the Thanksgivings I cried myself to sleep overcome with desire for family, stability and tradition. It reminds me of how different I am from the average American. It reminds me of how undeserving I am of family.
While I have somewhere to go this year, that wasn't always the case. After I aged out, I always spent Thanksgiving by myself but not by choice. When I lived in the dorms in college, the entire dorm would shut down for the weekend. I would be the only person in the entire building. I would run up and down the hallways, check out all the laundry rooms, and lounges on each floor. From my room on the 12th floor I could see a family sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner. I watched them for a little while and made up conversations I thought they might be having. One year I lived with my now ex girlfriend in a dorm room. When Thanksgiving came, she went home and I was all alone in an empty building again. She couldn't take me home with her because her parents were against gay relationships. I know her family is more important than I am/was, but it still hurt.
Thanksgiving reminds me of how lonely I am and how much I fear I will always be. It reminds me of how alone I've been my entire life. Thanksgiving also makes me angry. I'm angry that I've lived in 42 foster placements. I'm angry that I never got adopted. I'm angry that I almost never spent Thanksgiving in the same place twice. I'm angry that most people have families and I don't. I'm angry at myself for not being cute enough, smart enough, special enough to be adopted. I'm angry that no one ever wanted me. I'm angry that I'm serving a life sentence for the crimes and mistakes of my mother. I'm angry that she gets to live a free life while I'm confined and caged by my anxiety and memories. The night after Thanksgiving dinner is also an anniversary that haunts my dreams and thoughts today. Thanksgiving night was the beginning of my three year sentence in hell. Thanksgiving was the beginning of my second long term living nightmare of my childhood.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
I suppose the metaphor is a bit cliché, but most people grow up as precious bulbs in a bed rich with the soil of their ancestors before them. They grow up shielded from the brutality of the real world and nourished not only by the blossoms that protectively loom over them, but also by the gardener who ensures that they have what they need to thrive and weather the storms that come and go. Eventually that little bulb will grow into a hardy plant that blooms with beauty that enriches the life around it when the conditions are right.
I'm not like most people--I was born a weed. I have haphazardly landed in strange soil in bed after bed. I've tried to plant my roots, slowly growing in the shadow of the beauty the looms above me only to be forcefully, but carefully to ensure none of my roots remain, yanked out and thrown away as soon as I begin to show who I am.
Once in a while a novice has protected and nourished me out of curiosity of what I would become, but they would eventually pluck me up with disgust as soon as I had everything I needed and began to bloom. My blossoms have never fully developed to show the world my full value. I have the kind of beauty and potential that nobody wants to infect and infest the life in their garden beds. They worry that I will kill the beauty of the others around me, so they toss me away as soon as they know what I am.