How many times during a conversation with someone have they said to me, “Damn, you should write a book.” A lot, as it turns out. I ask myself this question every time someone offers this comment to me, “Why?” I don’t see that my life was any more difficult than a lot of people’s lives and in contrast to some, probably quite an easy life. Nonetheless, I hear this all the time. I have finally decided that I am going to give it my best effort, however there are still so many patches of fog I need to overcome first.
I often wonder why, as Christmas approaches, I find myself feeling anxious and nervous each and every year since I can remember. The answer, as it turns out, is because just about every bad thing that happened to our family would generally happen at Christmas time. Let’s see, my dad’s 3 heart attacks and his coronary were at Christmas and my brothers and I were always shipped off to Palo Alto, California to spend the holidays with my Aunt Wanda (my favorite Aunt, thank God) while my father convalesced in the hospital. Then there was the time one of my brothers fell off of a 127 foot cliff and nearly didn’t live. My other brother and I, were again shipped to my Aunt Wanda’s for the holidays. Also the time my mother walked through a plate of glass in a sliding glass door at a neighbors Christmas party (oddly enough the same neighbor’s house at which my brother went off the cliff). It was so clear (and there may have been a bit of inebriation involved as well) that she kept her pace on the way in or out of the house and it shattered and came down around the veins in her neck. This was before the new glass doors were invented so it was one thin pane of real glass. She was rushed to the hospital and my brothers and I were sent to my grandmother’s house for the holidays. Luckily my mother’s mother had moved to the same town lived in so it wasn’t far. And the time I woke up with a helicopter in our front yard because one of my parents failed a suicide attempt. My dad also drove off of the bluff several times (there is a lot of alcoholism in my family) and a couple of those were at Christmas time as well, but for those we were not shipped off for the holidays. When I say we were shipped off for the holidays, I don’t mean that we didn’t have Christmas as a family, we always did that when everyone returned home. One year the tree stayed up until April. Actually some of the miscarriages I had were at Christmas time as well. Wow I didn’t even connect those dots until just now. So it comes as no surprise that I’m a bit apprehensive during the up and coming holidays each year.
I recently wrote about the rape and have had to wrestle with that one for some years. It was because of that incident that I could not carry a child to term. I have had 3 miscarriages, 2 abortions (due to the fact that those fetus’ couldn’t thrive) and 1 live birth. The only way I was able to get my son out alive was to lay on my back and take medication the last 4 months of my pregnancy. This was SO hard but made easier by my friends in the area who took excellent care of me. My son’s father went back to his ex when he found out I was pregnant and my father kicked me out of the family and moved my mother to Arizona when he found out who the father was (which is a huge story all in itself and mostly his doing). He also threatened my brothers that they were not allowed to talk to or acknowledge me or they would be receive the same treatment. Finally, when Brice arrived (and I have my friend Cheryl Dupont to thank for getting me to the hospital in the middle of the night, which was two hours North) he was two weeks overdue and 8 lbs-11oz of “natural” child birth – oey! As I raised my new baby my mother would defy my father and call me and make a special trip back to see me and her new grandson, and so did my brothers (they were actually really supportive behind my dad’s back). Eventually my son’s father and I got back together and raised our son off and on for a few years, but sadly, his drug and alcohol usage had taken quite a toll on him by then. He was suffering from methamphetamine psychosis when we lived on the river bank and we had a lot of problems. One night he came home at 3 a.m. and woke me up out of a sound sleep. He picked up his rifle and poked me with it and said, “Get up, bitch.” I said, “What the hell?” He had just come home and wasn’t in his right mind. I got up as he instructed. He then said, “Get out of my house.” I asked why but he said he just wanted me out. So I got my clothes and coat on and went in to get my son, who was almost 4 at the time, to which he then said, “Leave my son here.” That pissed me off. I didn’t care if he had a gun and was being that irrational, I just couldn’t believe the nerve. I said, “Shoot me, asshole,” got my son out of bed and drove us to my friend Annie’s house who put us up for awhile.
My father died in 1995 of an embolism to the brain, and being that this was right around the same time as I found myself with no place to live, my mother said I could go to Arizona and she would help us out. So with the help of my friends I had a yard sale and raised enough money to travel there. I hooked a 5x8 U-Haul trailer to my little Ford Ranger, put my son in his car seat and headed out for a two-day journey to a place filled with dirt and bushes. I got used to it after awhile, but I still don’t consider it home.
A year after we moved here I found out that my son’s father had taken his own life. I chose to break the news to him sooner than later.
There are so many more things to write about and stories to expand on as those were only the difficult times. I actually had some good childhood memories (not the one where my drunk father threw the dinner I had made from the dining room into the kitchen and shattered his plate and screwed up the kitchen, but the shoplifting incident does hold fond memories for me. HAHAHA). I overcame my long time drug and alcohol use and came to terms with my sexual orientation, and I have to say that now, I am the strongest I have ever been and believe it or not, all the better for having all of that experience. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Yes I will definitely be writing an autobiography…I just hope someone will want to read about my drab and ordinary life.