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The Once Sad Life
Everyone has a story that needs to be told. Some of them are sad, and some of them wonderful. This is my story. It isn’t sad, nor is it wonderful; it’s just my story.
I was an irrelevant little girl born in to a home of seemingly irrelevant people. An irrelevant father, abandoning his only child. An irrelevant mother, choosing to abuse her body over caring for her children. Irrelevant sisters, feeling the same pain I was. Life was not the dream people paint it out to be.
Two years old, I was ripped from the arms of my mother. At least, that is how I liked to look at it. It isn’t fun to say that she wasn’t sober enough to fight back. I was taken away by an irrelevant aunt, who needed to be taken care of herself. I went from knowing three sisters to knowing one in a matter of hours. Life went from bad to worse.
Two years old, and I already knew more pain than most of the people in the lonely town I was doomed to living in. I was just starting to openly talk to the people around me, and they began to talk to me. Unfortunately, the words they said weren’t the most joyful. The older I got, the crueler the comments. I heard grueling stories of how my mother hated me so much that she had to turn to illegal substances to put up with me. That was my sisters’ fancy way of saying that it was my fault our mother had gotten hooked on the drugs.
Of all of the times my sister blamed me, one time stands out about above the rest. I was six years old and I fully understood that my mother had chosen something else over me. My sister came home from school angry at the world, and I was a convenient target.
“Get out of my room, twerp!” She yelled at me. “Now! Get out!”
“This is our room, and I don’t have to. I want to be alone just as much as you do,” I replied, trying to politely tell her to buzz off.
She looked at me with fire in her eyes, but she saw I wasn’t going to leave. I never was good at following orders. “This isn’t really your room. You are just staying in my room until Auntie and Uncle decide to get rid of you just like Mom.”
A fire started in my heart immediately, forcing me to my feet. “Mom didn’t get rid of me! She just couldn't take care of me! You’re the one that was left at the hospital!”
“I may have been left at the hospital for a while, but you are the one Mom couldn’t stand. She smoked and drank a little before you came around, but she only got into the really bad stuff after you came along. All four of her children lost a mother, but only one of them is to blame. Wake up, it’s you!” Her voice was like daggers ripping in to my heart, causing me to feel faint. “Sucks to be the problem child, huh?”
“How?” I asked her. “How can it be my fault? Three girls before me, and some how I am at fault? Explain that one!”
“You just don’t get it,” She told me angrily. “Everything was fine until you came around. Mark was like a dad to us! He made things a little brighter. Oh, and his vision was just fine. When you came along that all changed. He became distant, and things sucked again. Mark went blind. Everything was getting better, and then you came along. After that, everything fell apart. Way to go little sis. You managed to ruin the lives of five other people.”
“You really are a jerk!” I walked towards the door. “I hate you! Why do you have to do that to everyone?” As I finished my last effort to get back at her, I ran out of the room we shared. When I reached the living room I didn’t know where to go, so I ran to kitchen and wrote a note to my aunt. Then, I ran down the street to my friends house and cried with her.
Two insignificant little girls at each others throat just trying to survive. But we weren’t just two little girls. We were sisters, and we were driving each other to insanity. My life was fabulous. My own sister hated me, and I wondered if I should hate myself. I always did believe that if you heard something often enough, it was hard to believe differently.
Okay, maybe having sibling problems wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. Having a sibling hate you for the loss of a parent you’ve never known, is a whole new thing. However, it was the least of my problems. I was dealing with a family that hated me for my mother’s drug addiction, and I had bigger fish to fry as the loner at school. I had no real parents to invite to anything.
The normal kids had parents that came to the school assemblies and to the occasional parent nights. They even had fathers to come to school with them on Thursday's and read to them for cinnamon rolls. I had none of that. I didn’t have anyone to take pictures of me and hug me when I got an award. I didn’t even get a hug when I came home and showed off the reward to my aunt. When my friend’s mother wanted to meet my mom, I was a loss for what to do. I was embarrassed to say that she would have to settle for my aunt, but I didn’t want to dismiss her request.
I lived in a small town. The kind of small town where everyone goes to the same church, and everyone knows everyone else. However, most of the people had lived there for generations. When my grandma had moved there the citizens made quite the spectacle of it, and they couldn't let tradition die. We didn’t go to their church and we were new.Up until the time we moved away, we were outsiders. I even had to work ten times harder in Ballet just to get the second row. Heaven forbid the teacher ever put me in front.
It’s no secret that kids can be cruel. I had to learn about that the hard way. I was the victim of child-sized cruelty until I turned 9. The only reason it stopped then was because I was sick of being the butt of every joke. I toughened up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the new tough kid act meant getting in to fights. I never got caught, but it killed my self-esteem. I began to think it was the only way.
When I was 7, my aunt decided that we needed to move. Unfortunately, she only wanted to move thirty minutes away. There would be no changing schools, and there would be no having to write letters to my friends. My worst nightmare was coming to life. I would be pegged as the coward. everybody would look at me as the girl who ran away from her hometown. Little did the residents know that nothing about that town felt like home.
Sure, I had lived there since I was three. And maybe it was the only place I had ever known, but I was far from being sad to leave. After all, school was torment, and I can’t forget having to punch somebody to walk down the street without being hassled. It was just an irrelevant little town, and it was filled with irrelevant people. The fact of the matter was that I could never be relevant in such an irrelevant place. My dreams could have never come true living in a small town.
When we moved, I started to get a little lazy. School hardly mattered. My aunt saw the weakness in my heart, and she didn’t know how to deal with it. She did what she felt she needed to, and she sent me away. She didn’t send me to a boarding school or boot camp. She sent me to Hawaii. Sounds great, right? Not so much. I moved in with an Aunt and Uncle who weren’t expecting to be parents to anymore children. I went there and tried to enjoy being away from the family I hated more than anything else. It failed to work.
I missed my friends, and my sisters more than I could have anticipated. After six months I requested to go home. They honored my request with hardly any hesitation. However, the day before I left the shared some haunting news with me.
“Before we put you on that plane tomorrow there is something we need to tell you.” The looks on their faces told me that what they had to tell me would shatter my world.
“What happened? I can tell something is wrong! What is it?” I shouted confused thoughts at them, hoping for a quick and painless answer.
“Sweetheart, you need to sit down for this,” My aunt told me, in a close to silent voice. I couldn't pretend to know the effects the words I would soon hear could have on me. All I knew was how scared I was.
I looked back on how the aunt that had raised me had been having trouble breathing. I remembered the traumatic hospital visits with my grandpa. I remembered every potential danger possible. My reasoning was frightening. I knew that it wasn’t just someone else in the hospital. I tried to hide it, but I knew someone had died.
“Grandpa Ed got worse after you came here. They did everything they could to save him, but nothing worked. He passed away a week ago,” My uncle told me as calmly as possible.
“My grandpa has been dead for a week, and no one thought to tell me until I was going back? Everyone in this family is the same way, and I hate you all! How could you hide something like that?” I shouted angry words towards my aunt and uncle. I couldn't hide my anger towards them, and I threw untamed fists in their direction. I hit them multiple times before my uncle grabbed my arms and pulled me close to hug me. I had been too angry to cry before hand, but as soon as the fury subsided I couldn’t hold back the tears.
The next day I got on my plane with tear-filled eyes and headed back to Utah. The pain I had felt before was only going to get worse. I knew it would only be harder when I saw my Grandma without him. Life was becoming much more difficult for me.
After a couple years of desiring to get out of the house, I realized school would be the best chance I got. One day I stayed after school for a drama club meeting, and it had gotten cancelled last minute. I had to go to the locker rooms to get my phone. There was no way I was staying by myself at that school for three hours. I immediately went to my locker and began to fumble with the lock. Little did I know, I wasn’t alone.
A guy followed me in, and his intentions were far from pure. He came up behind me and told me to be quiet. I was at a loss for what to do, so I obeyed. I listened to all of his orders, and performed them to the best of my ability. I listened as he told me to lay on my stomach, and I listened when he told me not to tell anyone when he left.
I used the school shower, grabbed the rest of my stuff, and waited for the activity bus to show up. When I got home my aunt asked me what was wrong. How could I possibly tell her what that creep had done to me? Would she have believed it? I couldn’t answer those questions, so I lied. I told her it had just been a really long day. She chuckled and let it go. Over a year would pass before I told her the truth.
The pain I felt over what had happened pushed me to drink. I found it amazing how numb it made me feel when I would add alcohol to my soda. I began to pay people for cigarettes, hoping they really relieved stress. When that wasn’t enough, a razor blade was my only other comfort. I began to do what I had so easily belittled others for doing.
It was another day full of arguments. We argued about how I thought she never paid any attention to me. She told me to give her one good example, so I told her. I told her what happened that day in 7th grade. I had made a big mistake in telling her. She told me I was lying, and dismissed it as some kind of petty game. I would spend the next year of my life trying to prove it to her. I told her that she could take me to a doctor and they could tell her the devastating truth. If only she had agreed.
When my aunt pushed me away, I reached for my biological mother. I had gotten her contact information from my sister. I kept talking to my mom, and before I knew it, I was living with her. We talked, and laughed. It was the best time of my life. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
After a month of the best time I could have asked for, disaster struck again. It was October 8, 2009. I had just recovered from a cold, that I had passed on to my mother. She was suffering with her asthma, and the cold constricted her breathing further. She laid on the couch for hours, just trying to feel a little better. Her efforts proved to be to no avail.
“I’m going to die,” she told me, and I assumed she was kidding.
“Don’t be so dramatic,” I joked back with her.
“Fine. I am gonna go check my email. Get dinner started, okay?”
I laughed and said a quick, “yes ma’am” before getting up and taking the pork chops out of the fridge. After dinner was done, I asked my stepfather to tell mom it was ready. He reported that she had fallen asleep, so I ate dinner with him.
After dinner dishes were done, I was ready to lay down for the night. The sound of the television put me to sleep quickly. I had haunting dreams that night, but none of them could prepare me for what I would wake up to.
“Katie!” My stepfather yelled to wake me up. “Get up! You need to move your bed out of the way.” I jumped out of bed to see the paramedics standing outside our door. I grabbed my air mattress, and I threw it backwards on to the couch.
“I’m scared!” I yelled, over and over again. I was so fearful for what could be wrong, but I never guessed that I would never see my mother’s face again.
One of the paramedics came out of the bedroom, his face flushed. “I am so sorry.” The words stabbed at my heart like a sharp knife. I didn’t know what I could say, so I remained silent. Phone calls we made as soon as the paramedics left, and the rest of the family entered a similar shock to my own.
It was only weeks later that I found myself visiting my stepfather. My family had reached a general consensus that I needed a father. I went to stay a couple of weeks with him, and even that soon became a nightmare.
It was three days in to my visit. I was laying on the ground watching television when I fell asleep. I woke up with him laying next to me. This hadn’t struck me as odd because the floor was more comfortable than the couch, and neither of us were able to face the bedroom. It happened shortly after I closed my eyes again, in a pitiful attempt to get some sleep.
He rolled on to his side, which seemed normal enough. It only took him seconds t pull my face to his in a kiss. I sat there, limp. What could I say? What could I do? It only took three more days of deliberation for him to go further. Out of fear I stayed silent as he crawled on top of me. I remained silent as the painful memories of middle school rushed back to me. I remained silent as he violated me, day after day. I didn’t know how to escape his grasp, so I began to embrace it.
I talked to him regularly, and visits became more frequent. I clung to him as though my life depended on it. He continued to use my body for his pleasure, and the depression I felt became more obvious. My grades suffered, and I didn't care. I just had to keep pretending.
In light of my new behaviour and lack of motivation, my aunt and grandmother arranged for me to spend time with people from our church. I packed my bags, and headed in to the unknown. I felt a sense of looming disaster, but I had to ignore it. My birthday was approaching, and I knew that would be the end of all of my pain. I just had to hold out for two more months.
The next few weeks were a blur. I still felt the pain of my mother’s death, and the dread of my stepfather’s actions. Somehow it all seemed a little less significant. The couple began to ask about the possibility of me staying there permanently. The thought was ridiculous, but I wanted nothing more than that. The first day of March marked a new beginning in Christ, but I couldn’t help feeling worthless.
On my fifteenth birthday, I found myself standing in the bathroom. The bottle of pills I had kept hidden were in my hand, and I knew what I had to do. Before I could talk myself in to it, I seemed to black out. When I woke up, I was standing over the toilet. As I looked down, I could see the dissolving pills sinking. Since my mother’s death, suicide had been the plan. I just couldn't follow through.
The failed attempt at my life gave me a revelation. I knew what my new mission had to be. I began to focus more on what I had at that moment, though Satan tried to convince it wouldn’t last. The fear in me made it so hard to give them what they deserved. They deserved a child without any baggage. They deserved a child of their own. That isn’t something that I could ever give them.
They didn’t want a clean slate, or a perfect child. It was me they wanted. It would be a lie to tell you that my heart doesn’t still ache. However, it wouldn’t be fair not to share the whole story. While the pain still hovers, I don’t have to deal with it on my own. Loving parents have made all the difference.
Like I told you before, it isn’t truly a sad story. I wouldn’t call it marvelous either. It’s just my story, and I felt it needed to be told. There are worse things that could have happened, and I’m glad it stops here. It isn’t the end, just the start to a brand new chapter.