Another Exciting Day in My Mediocre Life: The Background This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 21, 2012
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There are times in life where you find yourself stuck. In limbo, let's say. Your life isn't moving forward, and you're getting nowhere. It's frustrating, and after a while, it begins to really wear on you. Hi. My name's Ashley, and I'd like to invite you to:

Another Exciting Day in my Mediocre Life.
Part One: The Background

So, at this point in time, I'm eighteen years old. I was born in July, on that day when everybody blows up fireworks and whatnot. And when I turned eighteen, I honestly thought that maybe things would begin rolling. I thought incredibly wrong. You see, I live in a little town in Pennsylvania. There's approximately six places to work. Four of which are family run and don't really hire outside of family. So what's that leave me with? A Weis market, which I have not only applied at on multiple occasions since I turned sixteen, but is almost never in need of employees, and a gas station, being built right now. Unless you count the ice cream shop, which is only open two seasons of the year and, let's face it, a minimum wage seasonal job isn't going to get me very far. I tried the seasonal job thing, working at the local amusement park starting when I was fifteen. And it was great for how young I was. But the money got me nowhere. Now, I'm eighteen, and I have no license, no car, no job, and, here's the kicker, I'm only a junior in high school and still living with my ridiculously protective mother, who, by the way, is down my throat all the time about a job. So, let me explain why I don't have one out of town, and a little more background on my unsatisfactory circumstances.

My mom has many medical issues and only some have an actual diagnosis. Currently, she is working with a neuroligist, trying to figure out what is the cause of intense and life impairing dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, balance issues, tension in the neck and shoulders, and much more. Not to mention we don't know what the 6 benign tumors on her neck are from. They believe it may be multiple sclurosis, or a rare disease called neurofibromitosis. All of this, added with other factors, means that she cannot promise me that she will be safe to drive me to work out of town. And my stepdad can't promise me that either, because we can never predict when he will be working overtime and whatnot. So I'm screwed here. You're probably asking yourself "Well, why the hell don't you drive yourself then? You're eighteen." Yes, I'm eighteen, and I realize that ordinarily an eighteen year old would have her license. Here's my predicament. I can't get a license until I get a car, because the truck does not currently have full coverage insurance and our car is on a lease. And they can't afford to put me on the insurance. And I can't get myself a car without a job. I can't get a job without a car. So on and so forth. It's a never ending cycle of screwed.

And, on top of all of this, I'm still in high school. I should have technically graduated last year. I'm only a junior. And I'm eighteen. Pathetic much? Yeah, I'm aware. I feel like as much of a loser as you're probably thinking I am. Here's the deal. When I was in kindergarten, all I wanted to do was play. Give me a break, I was five and hyper. But my teacher and my mom decided I wasn't mature enough for first grade and they stuck me in a special grade between kindergarten and first grade, called 'pre-first.' I was five, I didn't realize I had to be mature. And when I was told I wasn't going to first grade, even at 5 years old, I bawled my eyes out and said everyone would make fun of me. And I guess you could say that hold back was out of my control, but it doesn't make it suck any less. However, the second one sucks even worse.

I was eleven years old, in fifth grade at the time in Berwick, PA. It was about the second marking period. One night, my father and a family friend went out, leaving my mom at home with my two brothers and me. It was late, so us kids went to bed, like normal. Then, my father returned with my now stepdad, Bob, who had been staying with us from a recent seperation upon finding out about his wife cheating. And he was drunk. My father, that is. From now on, though, I'm going to refer to him as Jeff. He was drunk off his ass, and I guess he had insisted on driving because it was HIS vehicle. And I'm not exactly sure what all had gone down, so I'll tell it how my eleven year old self inside remembers it.

They came home, and I woke up because I heard screaming. So I walked to my bedroom door because I could view the living room from there, and next to me stood my big brother, Anthony, and little brother, Christopher, outside their bedroom door. And we all watched a scary, and maybe even traumatizing scene occur. Jeff was raging. I'm not sure why, I think he's just an angry drunk. And he was an alcoholic. And he had always been mean, abusive to my mom and older brother and showing aggresiveness to me as well. He was screaming and yelling at my mom and Bob. And when he's mad, he's scary as hell. His face was red as a face can get, and my mom was in tears. Then something made him slam his fist down on a coffee table and that was the shove to push Bob over the edge. So, by now, Bob is freaking out on him because he's doing this to my mom, and my mom and Bob had, if I remember correctly, noticed us watching. I can't remember it all, mostly because I want to forget, and for the most part since that night, I have. Because I made myself. I remember I was crying. And Jeff stormed out, maybe after my mom called the cops, or before. He started walking to town from our house, which was about 8 miles away from our country home. Everything from then on is a blur.

My mom began packing up our stuff that night, only what was necessary and would be mostly unnoticeable if taken. And the next day, we left, to stay at Bob's brothers house. I remember Jeff calling the next day, and asking to talk to me, along with my brothers. I didn't want to. And I was crying. Anthony gave me a hug, told me it would be okay, an unordinary sign of affection and consolation but in a time of horrible need of it. For the next few days, we went back to the house when Jeff was at work, packing and getting as much out of the house as possible. And searching for a new house. I believe it took us two weeks, and in that time we had been staying at our own home at nights and leaving during the day, trying to stay away as much as possible. Two weeks until we found a house. A new home, fresh start, in a safe environment. Now mind you, all my details are not exactly right, and if you happen to have been around when all of this was happening (Mom, Bob, Christopher, Anthony) I apologize, but it all really is a blur because I tried so hard to forget. We were at Bob's brothers house when my mom asked me the one question that would change our family. "Ashley, how would you like to live with Bob?" I was eleven years old. Both of my brothers had said it would be awesome and they would love it. And my eleven year old self answered "No. It will change everything." We all moved into the perfect house together anyways, in the small town we live in now, still 7 years later. From the moment of seperation that we all started going back and forth from one house to Jeff's, Jeff began playing head games and saying all sorts of horrible things to mess with our impressionable heads. I remember, clearly, him threatening suicide on multiple occasions, and at one point holding a gun to his head. I know now that it was only a BB gun, but at the time I didn't. And it was scary as hell, and traumatizing. Now, I kind of wish he would have done it. But I will get to why later. After all of this, by the end of sixth grade, I was so messed up and as stressed and tired as a twelve year old could be after having gone through all of this. It was far too much for a little girl to take, not to mention I was constantly worrying about my brothers and my mom. Oh, God, she was a mess. Incredibly scared that he would show up at any time and try to harm one of us, or her or Bob. After all of this, I ended up failing sixth grade. And I was so incredibly ashamed, and horrified, and devestated. Now, I'm not using this as an excuse, because in no way was me failing not my fault. But that's why I'm only a junior, at eighteen years old.

This isn't supposed to be a sob story. I mean, I had a pretty happy childhood with my mom and brothers. I mean, if you take out the abusive, alcoholic father, who I remember on many occasions watching hit my big brother, or chase him. There's still a hole in the wall where he went to punch him but missed. Yeah, there were a lot of traumatizing things that I saw and dealt with growing up, but nobody really knows about any of it. I'm incredible at acting like things were okay when I was growing up, and, with my mom, things were. She was amazing. She always showed us love and care and tried to have fun with us, get us out and do things with us before she got sick. My mom was and still is my role model. She is so incredibly strong. Long ago she could and would have given up, and many people wouldn't have blamed her. But she didn't, for us kids. But all that good doesn't make the bad just disappear. There was a lot of traumatizing memories that I wish I could erase on behalf of Jeff. I wish I could have helped, but I was too young and too small to do anything. I remember clearly one time Jeff had gotten mad for some reason and, I don't remember how young I was but I was young. Before ten years old young. And Jeff got mad, and a shoe was thrown. It hit me in the face. And Anthony went after him. My one friend, she was making excuses for this girl who has a hard life at home with an abusive father and I looked at her and said about how I had an abusive father too, and she replied "Yeah, but he never hit you." That makes a difference? It hurt just as bad to watch him hit my mom and my brother. I could feel every single hit, smack, and the fear they had. And had I stuck around long enough, it would have been me he hit. He was going down the line. No child should ever have to grow up in fear of a parent, or watch their parent in fear constantly. And so many people who think they know me, they never really hear about this. They don't know anything all that bad from my childhood, mostly because I don't want them to. I don't want pity. I'm a strong girl, for the most part. Everything that I went through with my family has made me a stronger person with high self respect and morals because I don't ever want to get into a situation like that.

So, yes, I am the biggest loser I know. I have no idea where my life is going, and I feel like I'm stuck in limbo. I have nothing I want, and it feels like I'm not going to get anything I want. I appreciate what I have, but I'm certainly not satisfied. Eighteen has so far not been what I was hoping it to be. But that's just the thing, isn't it? Hope. It's a curious thing. It's just an accepted state in which we are in denial of reality. And I try not to have hope, I just try to stay realistic and try not to look too far ahead because I will grow expectations and hopes and usually that leads to disappointment.

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