To Anybody Else With Love

~Prologue~

My name is Angela, my family calls my Angie, my husband and friends call me Angel. I”m 34 years old and the words that follow I attest to being my life in so far as I can recall it. I write these words more as way to cleanse my soul then as any act of revenge or rebellion. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and so my experience”s with certain systems will reflect those institutions. It”s my hope that someone with the proper knowledge and access to proper avenues will read my story and that it will help them to better understand  and maybe even help some other child.

~The End of the Beginning~

I remember well the first day I ever set foot inside a courtroom, though now the exact details of the incident that lead to my arriving there are bit blurry, but I was thirteen years old at the time. The courtroom itself smelled of old wood, the courthouse must have been at least one hundred years old. I remember there was a wooden separator in the room which kept those attending court separate from those that were actually running the courtroom. Rows of chairs lined the room, and lots of people had filled them up.

The judge called my mothers name and another man read the charges. I don’t remember exactly what the charges were but I knew she was being charged for not sending me to school. A charge of course that was ludicrous as she had sent me to school, I simply chose not to go. As such my mother had decided the only way to protect herself was to go to juvenile and charge me with what they call incorrigible charges. She told the judge she had done so and the charges were dropped against her.

The next few months after this are a bit of blur, I seem to have a lot of those, lapses in memory or fuzzy memories in my youth. I do know I was lost, confused, and very angry as a teen. My mom was twenty years old when I was born, Most of my early memories in life are of Family gatherings, or parties, most of those parties included lots of people as I have a very large family, there was also lots of alcohol. I have to admit that most of my memories of life prior to leaving home are not happy ones. I”m the oldest of four girls, the youngest two being twins.

Somewhere around the age of five Somebody, whom I believe to be an uncle, molested me. The problem is I can only remember flashes of this, I don”t remember the face. My reasons for believing it was this certain Uncle were because he was the one who had the opportunity. I only began to remember the event after hearing a speaker tell her story of being molested, at which point I think maybe nobody really believed me, at the age of 15 I was known to tell a few tales. My mom claimed to believe me she says this is why at age five she took me to a counselor, but as far as I know the visit only happened once. I never truly dealt with it, it’s just there.

A few random memory”s of those younger days stick out in my head but I don’t actually recall details of most things. My father, though I’m sure he loves me and always has, was never a big influence in my youth, he was there as my parents are even now still married, but he was never involved very much. My mother ran the roost, and still does.

After those early years my next big memory is the one of which I wrote about already. That first courtroom introduction, was just the beginning of a long road and  many, many, courtroom visits. Most of the time I was charged with incorrigible charges, or as being a runaway. Though I only actually ran away from home twice that I can recall the rest of the time I just didn’t come home at night or when I was supposed to.

In the wake of the early 80s recession in America, my dad lost his job, and my parents were forced to file bankruptcy, due to this we lost our home and had to move. The first home we lived in after moving wasn’t the best place, and the landlord kind of gave us kids the creeps. We only lived there for a little less than a year, then we moved again into some apartments my family jokingly refers to as “the slums”. My parents both tried to go back to school, and were receiving welfare assistance. We lived in those apartments for maybe another year, during that time my Mom found a job at a gas station down the street and my Dad became a night security guard. We found an actual house to rent around the corner from where my mom worked and moved in there. My parents lived there for about 9 years until companies started buying up all the houses in order to build businesses.

I spent every birthday from thirteen to seventeen in juvenile though I wasn’t there non-stop. My parents didn’t spend much time at home they we’re always working, though when my dad was there he wasn’t really. My mom justified her not being there by the fact that she was only working 2 minutes away walking time. My seventh grade year in middle school started out not bad, I auditioned for the school play and did get in, my parents never saw it. I was on the volley ball team, my parents never came to any games. My parents expected me to watch my siblings after school everyday, I understand now as an adult why they needed the help, but at thirteen or fourteen years old the last thing you want to be doing is babysitting every day, and in my opinion no child should be expected to think with the same type of reasoning skills as an adult does. So I started to wonder why I should even bother going to school. Nobody seemed to care about what went on there anyway, and none of the other kids liked me. That is why  I ended up in the courtroom that day, because I refused to go to school.

I can’t recall exactly what I was charged with the next time, but I do recall my first night in juvenile hall. I went there drunk, but not because I had been drinking actual alcohol, like beer or wine. My mother and I had a fight and I thought maybe if I knocked myself unconscious or had to be in the hospital then she would feel bad for me or even try to think about where I was coming from, so I stole a bottle of Nyquil off the shelf in the mini-mart gas station she was working at and tried to overdose myself. I didn’t know it would only get you drunk, but the intake officers at juvenile detention certainly found out, because I ended up puking all over the  chairs in the intake office.

It was the first time I spent the night in detention, I was scared to death being made to take shower while some lady watched me. They put me on suicide watch so my room was a big room, with a big plexi-glass window that was next to the desk where the staff sat. I only spent maybe a day and half in there the first time. Most of it was spent sitting in rows of chairs watching television.

Then of course we went to court, and in juvenile for the most part you see a referee, who is a magistrate but not an actual judge, I don’t recall the visit to the referee from that first time, but I know they let me out. I also remember my mom spent most of the time after my release telling me how I made her and everybody else feel.  She spent lot’s of time telling me how embarrassed she was to have to go down there and how I was selfish not to think about other people. I cried, I felt bad I didn’t want to be a bad person. I thought I could pray to god and he would by some miracle help me be a better person who my mom could look at with approval. Well her approval That never happened, I would waste quite a few years of my life trying to get that approval, but it never happened.

Somewhere around thirteen I met a guy, this guy was eighteen years old, but I didn’t care, he flirted with me and was the first guy to ever show me any real attention. So late one night after my folks went to bed I convinced my sister who was about 10 at the time to sneak out with me and go see him. When we got there we hung out in the basement of his apartment complex for a while. Most of that time was spent with me trying to fend him off. He told me he cared about me and how if I really cared about him I would want to make him happy. Finally after a while we went upstairs to an empty apartment across from where his apartment was and eventually I gave in. So the first time I ever had sex it took place in a cold apartment with no electricity on an old mattress. I was so naive that I didn’t even realize that having sex could make you bleed, I thought I had begun my period. It wasn’t great or even pleasurable, it actually hurt quite a lot. Meanwhile the whole time my sister was waiting outside for me. Afterwards when I finally emerged from the apartment she was relieved and I could tell she was angry, but we finally went home. I didn’t see much of him after that.

My mom had never really talked to me about sex, I learned most of what I did about it from babysitters and other friends at school, let”s just say it wasn’t the best in sex education. The next few years we’re a struggle, kids at school didn’t like me very much, I was teased and taunted for the cloths I couldn’t afford to wear, the only advice my mom ever gave me was “ignore them and they will stop”, well it was my experience that  this advice was wrong because I tried ignoring them and they never stopped as a matter of fact it only became worse. School was a place I never wanted to be and as such I found any and every reason not to be there. When I did do something good I wasn’t praised for it, instead I was only reminded that I needed to make a habit of it because I had screwed up so bad before, though not in those exact words.

Somewhere during all this time I had taken to stealing money from my parents.  I spent some of it on “friends” taking us out to eat, and other such things. When you’re a kid everything is very much in the moment, and for that moment I had people who liked me and wanted to be around me. I didn’t take the money because I was out to get my mom, of course she didn’t shy away from telling me that this was how she felt. I remember when she found out I had been stealing from her. She acted so hurt and so victimized, and wanted to know why I would want to hurt her like that. I didn’t realize it at the age of thirteen years old but now I know it wasn’t because I wanted to hurt her or anybody else, I only wanted people to like me and the kids at school had made it very clear that I was too poor to be cool.

I didn’t stop stealing but eventually my reasons for taking the money from my parents changed, I started smoking and of course when you smoke you need money to buy cigarettes. My parents never gave us a regular allowance, the only money we received on a regular basis was lunch money for school. I’m not attempting to justify my actions I’m only stating what caused me to do them in first place, I know that stealing is wrong and I would never do it now, and should not have done it then. But at the time it didn’t matter what my mom thought anyway because nothing I ever did was right anyway so what did it matter if what I did was wrong, because doing things right was was wrong too.

Even in my adult life my mother has made sure to let me know that I needed a lot of attention, as if it was a fault or something I should feel bad for. Children can’t help needing attention and if you feel you can’t give them what they need then maybe you shouldn’t have them in first place. I didn’t want to be given a blue ribbon for everything I did, but I wanted to be given acknowledgment and some praise when I did something right. I think now if maybe the little things I had done that were correct were recognized more, I would not have kept on the same path. Children don’t think in long term and asking them to do so is like asking a pig not to roll in the mud.

I have only Broken real adult laws three times in my life but I did them all as a juvenile, the first event occurred when I guy I was hanging out with convinced me that an accountants office next to his house kept cash in their office. He broke in while I stood watch, the cops busted us and we were both taken to jail. I was charged as a juvenile with complicity to breaking and entering. The other two times were when I decided to take my parents car and we go joyriding with friends. My parents had me charged as a juvenile with grand theft auto. Eventually it got to the point that no matter what type of misbehaving I was doing my parents were calling the police. It started to feel like every chance my mom got she was calling the police. I don’t think I recall her ever actually trying to deal with me. Instead there were numerous counseling sessions which she took me too where I where I would sit and listen to my mom cry about the things I did.

This particular psychologist was a kind person however I couldn’t trust her, how could I trust somebody who would talk in private with my mother who had just spent the past half an hour crying about how horrible I was. The problem was I didn’t really know why I was doing the things I was just acting, without forethought. Having a teenager myself now, I know that this is normal for kids. Children have to be taught from a very young age to think before acting. To be honest at this point I really don’t care what my Mom’s reasons were, for so long I have been beating myself up for being a bad person, I never thought to ask why did it all begin in the first place. Twelve & Thirteen year old children don’t act out as I did without there being some reason.

The one good thing that did happen during this time was meeting the boy who would be my first love. He was different than anyone I had ever met and it was through him that I learned to question the things I had learned in life to be true surrounding religion. We spent a lot of time together, sometimes sneaking out to see each other. I was head over heals about it him. But Like all first loves it wasn’t destined to last. Though there were many times between the ages of sixteen and twenty that I tried to recreate what we had in the beginning, but his heart was never there again.

In the state of Ohio, after a juvenile has been charged with a misdemeanor crime four times, they can and often do, combine them into one felony charge. This was how I ended up spending thirteen months in Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility (The facility is now closed). Though when I was there it was called Scioto village school for girls. Most of us juvenile offenders referred to it as DYS(Department of youth services . I managed to avoid being sent there the first time by lying about having a drug problem. At court I cried to the judge, and told them I had a problem with drugs, it worked and I was sent to rehab.

I didn”t last long at the facility as they figured out I didn’t actually have a drug problem. But it did prolong the inevitable for while. Eventually I was in trouble again, for not going home when I was supposed to, and was sentenced to three to six months in DYS. My three to six month stint turned into thirteen months. Scioto village is in Delaware Ohio and about two hours away from where home was. During my thirteen months there my parents visited me a total of one time, though they did manage to send me a Christmas package. We didn’t do much in the way of rehabilitation, During my time there we had one so called group meeting. I was kept in a “cottage” of about one hundred other girls. I met girls who we”re locked up for Murder, domestic violence, Armed Robbery, and other such crimes. My schedule consisted of  the following:

  • 4:00 A.M. woke up to shower and wash, then I could go back to bed for a bit.
  • 7:00 A.M. we we”re up for breakfast, where we were lined up and counted before being walked the cafeteria building.
  • 8:00 A.M. After breakfast we came back and we”re allowed to watch some t.v. before heading to “school”.
  • 9:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. back the cottage to be counted again and ready for lunch
  • 1:30 P.M. – on some days there was more school, other days we were taken to the gymnasium for exercise time.
  • 3:00 P.M. Back to the cottage again for cleaning and/or t.v. time..
  • 6:00 P.M. dinner
  • 7:00P.M Back to the cottage, more t.v. time and/or cleaning.
  • 8:00 P.M. Showers and bed.
On the weekends the schedule was slightly more relaxed minus the school,  and visitations occurred along with phone calls. That was pretty much it, there we”re no visits to a counselor, no therapy group or otherwise and nobody to talk to but other inmates. There was nobody on your side, you were locked away from the rest of the world and that was all that seemed to matter.

The reason my three to six month sentence turned into thirteen months was because, it was during that time that I heard the speaker I mentioned earlier and I began to remember being molested. Unfortunately I mistakenly accused my father of being the molester. They had to investigate before deciding if in fact they we”re going to send me home or not. Of course they didn’t tell me this at the time so I sat for months in limbo not really sure what was going on. Eventually they decided to let me go home.

My mom & sister came to get me. By this point my mom had started letting me smoke but not my dad. It wasn”t too hard to hide it from him as he wasn”t that involved anyway. So when they picked me up she gave me a pack of cigarettes. I was so full of anxiety that on the drive home my mom had to pull over so I could get sick to my stomach.

I came home to my basement bedroom having been re-done, she had painted up a table and desk for me her being very proud of what she had done, as if instead of being in jail, I had been on some vacation or off at a private school. Nobody talked about it really. I was put on parole, which gave me a 9:00 p.m. curfew and well it wasn’t long before I was back in trouble again. Eventually I had met another guy who I convinced to run off to Florida with me. We got picked up in Valdosta, Georgia, and I was flown back to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was sentenced to another 3 months in D.Y.S. I did my three months and by this point it wasn’t that big a deal, at least locked up I knew the routine, and I knew what was expected of me. I was released and that’s when I met my  soon to be ex-husband. A girl I knew from school was dating his brother, and she introduced me, I was seventeen and he was thirty-two years old.

Two weeks  after I was released I was to appear at my parole rule hearing.  The referee looked at my record and then looked at my parents and told them, that at this point I was seventeen years old and if I hadn’t learned by now I wasn’t going to so if they wanted to kick me out it was with his blessing, because he was terminating me from the system. I’m still not exactly sure what I was supposed to learn, was it that if your kids don’t do well you should get rid of them? If that’s the case then I guess I still haven”t learned it, because even if my kid was to sneak out I know I wouldn’t lock him away some where. I have on occasion tried to scare him into listening with empty threats of taking him to juvenile, but I would never do it.

So after court I went home that night and began packing my bags, I was moving in with my boyfriend. My mom begged me not go, she told me I was making a mistake and I was too young. I was glad to finally be able to do what I wanted to do and I was glad what I was doing her hurt her. That might sound selfish, but for many years my mother didn”t hear my feelings, they were disregarded. I was told the reason I should behave was because I was hurting other people, not because it was the right thing to do.

I think that one of the hardest things about being a teenager is that people expect you to make grown up decisions all the while treating you like your still a child. The problem with that logic is that teenagers are in fact children. You can’t expect them to process things in the same way that you do, and you should never use guilt to try and make them behave.

Since becoming the parent of a teen I have found that the most effective way to deal with teenagers is listen to how they feel and what they have to say. By listening you can begin to understand how you can adjust your actions and reactions as a parent. Just the very act of listening can instill a sense of self esteem because the child realizes that yes, my feelings do in fact matter. If children were adults and processed their emotions in the same way then they wouldn’t need parents and I dare say indeed we as a society would be pushing them out of the nest at 13.

In the beginning, I acted out because I learned early on that the only way to receive attention was by doing the things I did. Later in my teenage years it became an act of anger, I was expected to think about how my actions affected other people, but it seemed that nobody ever thought about how what I was going through affected me. You can say that I brought it on myself, but as I said earlier, children live in the now, they don”t think about how their actions might affect them later, and they definitely don’t think about how their actions affect anyone else.

Children are selfish from the moment they are born, a baby cries because it’s diaper needs changed or it’s hungry, they don’t care that you might be in the middle of washing dishes or a phone call, they just need themselves taken care of at that moment. People learn to care about other people, by seeing the people around them care about other people. Emotionally I was never taken care of. I can’t say why my mom decided to have me, but I can say that she felt I should take care or tend to her feelings she actually said that too me on a phone call, she never realized that wasn’t my job, it was hers.

Children do not care for their parents well being as children. Under normal circumstances children don’t care for their parents well being until much later in life. My mom felt it was ok to reward my months in jail by redecorating my bedroom. But she never once asked me what it was like to be locked up, did I feel alone, did it make me angry, and she never asked me how I felt sitting alone in a room far away from home.  When my actions were brought up, they were brought up in ways to make me feel bad about what I had done to her or the rest of the family. She waited until I was seventeen years old and leaving to try and sit down and show me she cared, at this point it was too late, the damage had been done and I had learned not to care. She has on occasion tried to apologize for her actions, but it really didn’t mean anything to me, because when she did it she was drunk. Newtons Law applies most definitely to your children. For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.

~The Road to Reality~

I was Seventeen years old and he was thirty-two, he already had two kids from a previous marriage, but I thought things couldn”t get any better. I was living in my own home with my boyfriend. The truth was things had only just begun. One thing I began to notice was that he drank quite often, but I really didn”t think much of it because, I had seen my mom drink pretty often and it was never really a bad thing, it just put her to sleep and too be honest it made her a nicer person. He said he loved me and couldn’t live without me, and well I was in love with the idea of being in love.

I don’t recall how long after we had been together that this first incident occurred, but One evening after making dinner (keep in mind I hadn’t had many cooking lessons in juvenile detention), his true colors first appeared. I don’t know exactly how the argument got started, but he threw the plate of chicken(which was golden brown outside and pink inside) at my head, it missed me, but the plate shattered into many little pieces.  It caught me off guard and I began to cry, I was scared and didn’t know what to do. I begin picking up the pieces of the plate and once I had cleaned them up, I went into the bedroom and lay there on the bed crying.

Of course he eventually apologized, he told me he was sorry and begged for my forgiveness.  I forgave him and we moved on, but this incident was only the first of many to come, He became a very abusive man. The fighting started to happen more often but for some reason I always managed to justify it. When we weren’t fighting I was thinking about getting pregnant, I wanted a baby. I mean it was the logical thing I was living with my boyfriend, and playing house so why not have a baby. Eventually I did get pregnant. I was Seventeen years old and I discovered I was pregnant after he and I had a fight where I had pushed him and he turned and kicked me with a steel toed boot. The kick landed on my wrist. I went to the hospital and as a female whenever they proceed to do x-rays they ask if you are pregnant or think you might be. I said I thought I might be so they did a pregnancy test, and it came back positive. I was overjoyed finally I was going to have a baby. Seems crazy doesn’t it, all the while I’m fighting with this guy and being hit, I was wanting to get pregnant. I know now my reasons we’re selfish, I thought having a baby would make me feel loved and would make me feel better.

When I was six months pregnant I turned eighteen years old, The day after my birthday we married. It wasn’t anything fantastic, just small ceremony by a justice of the peace ceremony that took place in his living room with his wife. My Mom and Sisters came, So did his mom, sister and brother. Afterward we went back to my mom”s house, and everything seemed fine, until he and I got into another fight where he was drinking again. Eventually he left and I spent my first night as a married woman alone at my mothers house. Of course I again forgave him, and soon enough we were back together.

During my pregnancy we decided to move to Indianapolis, where his aunt and uncle lived. One thing I can say about him is he had an uncanny ability to find under the table jobs and make money, though I was collecting food stamps  and welfare, as well as being on a medical card, for prenatal health care. The place we moved to had at one point been a garage, but the landlord had remodeled it into being a little cottage. The first floor had three rooms including the kitchen and a bathroom with a stand up shower, there was single room upstairs which we used as a bedroom.

I was due to give birth on February fourteenth, valentines day, however my son had other ideas. By the end of February the doctor decided to have me come into the hospital so that they could induce Labor, For twenty-four hours nothing happened, I wasn’t in full labor and I wasn’t dilating. during this time my parents and sisters had made their way up to Indianapolis. After breaking my water and waiting two hours the doctors finally decided they would have to do a c-section. I wasn’t surprised as my mom had needed a c-section when she had the four of us. My son was born at 12:02 A.M. March second 1994 and he was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, to me he was absolutely perfect in every way.

Well it turned out having a baby didn”t fix things. Actually things seemed to get worse, we were fighting more and he was drinking even more. I can’t count the number of times I had to put him to bed because he was so drunk. When my son was about two weeks old I had taken him out of the bassinet beside the bed and laid him in the bed next to me between myself and my husband, who was of course drunk again. I can’t recall exactly what happened but I remember smacking his arm and the next thing I know he had reached over our son and punched me in the face. Blood was everywhere, and the only thing he could say was he wouldn’t have done it if he would have known I was going to bleed so much. I was hysterical and in tears and I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I calmed down and fell asleep, I tried to forget about what had happened.

A few months went by and one night after he had passed out in the bed I packed up as many things as I possibly could into our car, including myself and my son. I didn’t have a drivers license only a permit, but I didn’t care I was leaving. The problem was I only had one place to go and that was back to my mothers house. It wasn’t very long before she told me I had to go. I ended up back with him. This happened quite a few times, I can’t tell you how many times I left and went back. At one point I ended up living in my car, with my baby. I couldn”t have my baby living in a car and I didn’t know what else to do, so I asked my mom to keep him, her home became his for the next thirteen years. Eventually I was able to leave him for good thanks to a good friend, we moved in together and things were fine for a while. My divorce was final two weeks before my twenty first birthday, not even old enough to legally enter a bar and I was already divorced with baby.

~Take Two~

I eventually met another guy, he was a singer and a year older than my ex-husband had been. He also had kids, three from a prior marriage. He was living with his sister and we rushed into getting a small two room apartment together. Within a few months I was pregnant, with my oldest daughter. When we found out I was pregnant he accused me trapping him, and planning it. To ask him I got pregnant on my own, with no help at all from him. But eventually he stopped blaming me and we stayed together for six years, We also had a second daughter together.

During this time I spent time with my son, he would come to my house and stay with me, and I would try to do things with him. But life wasn’t easy My boyfriend wouldn”t hold a steady job and I was still depending on welfare. I tried to work, getting a job at Arbys and thank goodness for the Managers who worked there. Not only did they became good friends to me, but there were plenty of times they should have fired me and never let me come back. But they did and I for a while I was working a minimum wage job still receiving welfare while trying to support myself my two kids and a grown man.

At one point I was living at my moms house (one of the many occasions where she had not thrown me out yet). My parents had a computer and the internet, also at this point I was constantly depressed, I couldn’t sleep well, and I was trying to learn to be an adult on my own, My boyfriend wasn’t welcome at my parents home they couldn’t stand him and so If I was staying there I was on my own. It was at this time that I met my current husband, It was probably about 3:00 A.M. I was playing bingo on bingo.com when he I began talking. With both he and I in a relationships at the time, we just became friends. We would hang out at night playing games and talking. I lost contact with him for a while, because my mom threw me out and I didn’t have access to the internet.

For a while I tried to make it work with my boyfriend. It came to the point where we had nowhere to go and no money to get a place to live. We found a shelter to stay in, it was here that social services came to talk to everyone. The told all of us at the shelter they didn’t just take kids away they can also help get you on your feet, so I decided I would ask them for help. The shelter only allowed you to stay there for thirty days, so the social worker gave us vouchers to stay at a hotel, we we”re supposed to be getting jobs and working towards independence, but we couldn’t stop fighting long enough to even move towards that.

Eventually I decided to leave him and the hotel and go back to my mom’s house. I got a job as a waitress working third shift. My Mom, Dad and I split watching all three of the kids as we were all three working. My youngest sisters would also watch them sometimes.  The social worker set me up with counseling and I was diagnosed with depression. The psychiatrist gave me some pills but they didn’t really seem to work.

Well I did not progress to getting on my feet fast enough for the social worker. Suddenly there was discussion of her taking my kids. A cousin, someone I didn’t know very well, offered to keep my girls for a while, so that I could get on my feet, she said her lawyer had advised her that somebody else should take custody of the kids to get them out of the system, because the system was considering removing my kids from me. Well because I didn”t want my girls to go into the system I agreed to this.  I was unaware that my mother was encouraging my cousin to do make this move.

A few more months had passed and before I knew it My cousin and her husband decided that they were going to adopt my girls. I DID NOT want this to happen, but I had no money, I had no way to stop it from happening. My mom kept telling me it was the right thing to do and maybe for the girls it was. They are happy and they do know I’m their mom, but I still feel like I never really had much of a chance at doing the right thing. I couldn’t get my head on straight and hadn’t even begun to deal with all the hurt I was and had experienced in my life.

Eventually the Section 8 housing fund came through that I had been on the waiting list for, but now I had no kids. Section 8 paid for a part of my rent, leaving my rent at a total of eight dollars a month. I ended up moving into the apartment with my boyfriend and the father of my girls, believing that I was on the way to getting my girls back. I thought now that I had my own place, they would be given back to me, but this never happened because it was during that time that my cousin and her husband had decided to go for adopting my kids.

When I first got the apartment, I asked my landlord, who as it turned out, was the same landlord who had owned the slums my family I had had lived in years earlier, if eight dollars a month was really a big deal and could we just forget about it, he said yes. I, however, made the mistake of not getting this in writing. So a year later, being the slumlord he was, he decided to evict me, and there was nothing I could do about it. I ended up living back at my mothers house again, by myself. It was at this time that my boyfriend and I were finally over for good, I just didn’t have a good reason to continue supporting a forty year old man who couldn’t support himself.

~A New Beginning~

I was checking my email, and discovered an message from my current husband Mark. In the recently sent email he said he was wondering what happened to me, and how I was. I wrote him back and we began talking again. Things weren’t going so well with my family as normal, and again my mom told me I had to leave. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I called Mark and I told him I had nowhere to go. He was now in California visiting friends, but he told me I could come out see him. Neither of us knew what would happen, but I knew I really liked him, so I asked my parents If I could stay long enough to get the money for a bus ticket because I was leaving for California.

Leaving wasn’t easy as I was leaving my kids too, but I think now it was probably one of the best things for me. Mark and his family helped me heal and helped me learn to look forward instead of behind me. Eventually He and I moved to Washington which is where We live now, my son lives with us and he is happy and healthy. I have been married for five years, and no it hasn’t always been easy. But I can say this, being here away from the place I grew up in has given me a chance to heal, to walk away from some of the hurt and pain I have felt in my life. I stayed in constant contact with my son while I was gone, not so much with my daughters, until recently, it was always hard to get in touch my cousin and her husband, they seemed to always be busy. My daughters now have gmail and thanks to this I am able to talk to them on google talk and email them.

Things at my mothers house didn’t go so well for my son, when my parents moved the new house it wasn’t in the best neighborhood. As my sisters got older took to partying more, drinking and drugs and such. My sister who is 2 years younger than me still lives at home along with one of the twins and her husband and kids.  My mom picked up on her drinking and partying as my sisters got older as well. My son started to feel very lost, between all the drama at my mothers house, the partying and the lack of attention, his grades weren’t the best, and he basically became an unhappy boy. All the while he was calling me and telling me how unhappy he was. So I decided to do something about it and began talking to my sister & mom about having him come out to live with me.  He had told me he wanted to live with me, so it only seemed logical to try and make this happen.

It took us awhile to get the money together to get a plane ticket to fly him out here, and somewhere in all that my mom decided to ask another cousin (this sister of the cousin who has my girls) to take him. Kenzie didn’t know them very well and wasn’t too sure about going out there, but since I hadn’t told him I was trying to get him out here yet (because I didn’t want him to get excited before things were set in stone), I just let it happen without making a big deal to him about it. I did however let my mom know I didn’t want it to happen.

Kenzie was at My cousins house for three months before he finally told them he didn’t want to be there. So he went back to my moms house for about a month or two and at this point Mark and I cashed in on his 401K and we finally had the money to bring him out here. That was almost three years ago, and in this time Kenzie has done very well, his grades are good and seems very happy.

~Epilogue~

I live a very low key life these days, there isn’t a lot of drama accept when my family calls. Today I’m learning to let go of the past and move forward. Unfortunately I think for me that means that I need to disassociate from the people who are suppose to care for me. Because things are still the same there, my mother still insists on not taking responsibility for her part in anything. She allows herself to be put into situations that’s she is unhappy about, and even now she still holds my actions as a child and young adult over my head. My life hasn’t been as hard as it could have been I have met many people who have had harder lives, and even today I still have my struggles.

Today I’m dealing with Graves disease and I can’t walk so well, due to muscle deterioration caused by it. But emotionally I have come full circle, because I now realize that I don’t need the approval of anyone else to be happy. All I need is to be happy with me, and believe me when I say that it wasn’t easy figuring this out. I hope nobody else ever has to face the pain of figuring it out in the manner which I did. I know that now I am in control of my actions, but for a long time I was a product of my situation and couldn’t even begin to grasp what steps I needed to take to move forward. Removing myself allowed me to heal, and that is what I have done.

So today on this thanksgiving in 2009 I am thankful for me. I’m thankful I had the strength to carry on and learn from my mistakes. I am thankful for my husband who has allowed me to heal, and helped me work through the pain I’ve had in my life and taught me how to let it go. I am thankful for his family who showed me that no matter what family still loves you and goes to bat for you. I am thankful for my children who love me no matter what, and who I never needed to prove anything to

 

Angela J. Dallemagne(Stover)

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