The last two days I have found myself saying more than I need to that people should judge me for who I am, not what some second rate gossip site run by people who can’t live without drama has to say about me.  But, who am I?  I have a very hard time answering that question when I have to fill out a biography on a social networking site or for a writers bio.  I am many things…

  • a mother
  • a homeschooler
  • a self professed geek and nerd
  • a Trekkie
  • a freelance writer
  • an avid book reader
  • a fan of all things vampire EXCEPT Twilight
  • a die hard Billy Idol and Avenged Sevenfold fan
  • a punk
  • a soccer mom’s worst nightmare
  • the girl you really don’t want to take home to meet your parents (there’s a story behind that)
  • disabled
  • a Simmer (one who plays the Sims)
  • a Magic the Gathering player
  • an activist
  • someone who doesn’t understand Nine Inch Nails fans

There are many words that have been used to describe me over the years including eccentric, weird, kind, caring, blunt, unfiltered, and freak to name just a few.

While I am all these things and so much more, what I really am is the sum of my experiences.  I am what life and the people I have encountered over the years have made me.  I am what the world has made me and what it needs me to be.  I have faced my share of tragedies, disappointments and obstacles.   Some I handled well, others not so much.  I have learned something from every one of them.  Some of these things have jaded me, others have made me cynical while others have made me a better person while other things almost destroyed me.

While I can make lists to state my interests or to describe myself, that doesn’t mean that someone is going to automatically like me.  I might be too blunt for some people while others may be at moral odds with me because we share different ideals.

So, I am going to start at the beginning.

I was born an Army brat.  My dad was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.  Both of his parents immigrated to America from Germany at a young age.  My grandfather died an illegal alien at the age of 92.  At the age of two or so my parents got divorced so my I didn’t know my father or anyone in his family growing up.  At the age of 34 I would finally find him and meet him two years later.  He turned out not to be the evil person my mother made him out to be.

Somewhere around the age of 4 my mother remarried.  She met my step-father through some dating service.  I remember the first time I met him, she introduced him as my new daddy.  That was the kind of woman my mother was.  She never considered that it might not work out or anything like that.  I suppose if it didn’t work out, I would have had a number of “new daddies” parading through my life.  For the life of me I will never understand why people fall for the people they do.  Sometimes it makes perfect sense because you can see how wonderful someone is.  Other times it makes no sense at all.  My step-father falls under “makes no sense at all”, but I will get to that in a bit.

It became apparent early on that my step-father’s family was an issue.  My mom didn’t like his sister or her kids, his brother or his wife and kids (she gave them a box of 1000 condoms as a wedding present thinking she was being funny), or his uncle.  Personally, I liked most of these people.  Who I didn’t care much for was my “grandfather”.  Now, I will give him this, because we spent so much time over there, he did make sure that I met kids in the neighborhood and that I had a bike to ride.  Beyond that, he was a constant thorn in my side.  I was always treated as second rate because I was a girl.  My “cousins” who were really okay to be around when they weren’t trying to impress their friends, were all boys.  My grandfather much preferred boys.  So did my mother.  No one ever let me forget this.  My mother told me from as far back as I could remember that I should have been a boy, that she wanted a boy and not a girl.  Basically, because of my gender I sucked.  My grandfather couldn’t even be bothered to get my  name right.  For years he called me Georgie no matter how many times I would correct him.  He knew I hated it and continued to do it.  No one else did that to me.

My cousins came with their own set of problems.  One of them was my age, the other a year younger.  Several years later their little brother was born.  From day one M never let me forget that I was adopted by my step-father.  As we got older M & P weren’t so bad when they weren’t trying to impress their friends or show off because other people were around.  When they were in show off mode there was a good deal of sexual harassment that went on and just downright cruelty.  M was somewhat resentful that I had a huge crush on one of his friends for the longest time and that another one of his friends had a thing for me that he actively perused.  I finally discovered that M had a thing for me and that was what a lot of this came from.  It made things very weird.

My “grandmother” introduced my mom to bingo and what would become a gambling problem that would later lead to filing bankruptcy and our house being foreclosed on that my maternal grandfather built for us.

My mom’s side of the family was something.  My grandfather, who was actually my grandmother’s second husband, was pretty awesome.  I didn’t know my actual grandfather because he died from some cause that no one would talk about.  It’s one of those family skeletons that is going to go to people’s graves with them.  I was my grandmother’s favorite…unless one of my cousins were around.  Then I was the scum of the earth.  She really did treat me as different as night and day compared to everyone else.  I was never as good as my cousin Ginni.  I was always being told how Ginni did this and did that and how it was so awesome and how I should be more like her.  The same thing with one of my other cousins that I didn’t know all that well.

The only person who seemed to accept me for me was my great-grandmother, and it was probably because I was genuinely interested in her and what she did (she was a hobby artist, an author and professional astrologer) and my grandmother’s second husband.  He was probably the only real male role model in my life and he was defiantly the only man in my life who cared about me while growing up.  I really miss both of them.  When both of them died, I was told 2 years after the fact.  My great-grandmother told me when she died I would get all of her books.  I never got them, my grandmother burned them saying they were worthless and not anything that anyone would want.  She also threw out all of her at saying it was worthless.

As for my step-father, he ignored me as much as possible.  As I got older he would only interact with me if I did something to piss him off.  I remember him beating me once and doing damage to my wrist.  When people asked what happened no one would take me seriously.

So, in a nutshell my family was pretty screwed up and I was a disappointment because I didn’t have a penis.  Yea, that screwed with my self-esteem quite a bit.  I also became a tom-boy.  I refused to wear dresses, I played with Star Wars action figures instead of dolls.

When I was in third grade we moved from the suburb to the country.  The area that we moved into was somewhat exclusive and I went to school with the children of millionaires.  I was now the scum of the earth for another reason, my family didn’t have the kind of money that everyone else had.  We were considered the “poor people” and therefore subject to scorn.  I had a hard time making friends and dealt with a lot of the crap “If I am your friend than so-and-so won’t be my friend anymore.”  Many of my teachers didn’t like me for whatever reasons.  I hated elementary school.

Junior high was a bit better because there were kids coming in from other elementary schools in the district and not everyone was so stuck up.  I ended up making some very good friends.  One of them was a girl by the name of Shelly.  I will never ever forget her.  She wasn’t afraid to be herself, and she was very very different than everyone else.  She thought for herself and wasn’t a follower.  She dressed differently, she had crazy hair, she listened to different music than most people.  She tried to be friends with everyone no matter their social status.  She stood up for what she believed in, and did it loudly.  I wanted so much to be like her and she did end up rubbing off on me.

Then it happened.  If I thought things had been bad before, the got worse over night.  It was as if Atlas got tired of carrying the weight of the world and asked me to take over.  I nearly crumbled under the weight of the burden I was expected to bare. First, my step-father became increasingly more violent.  I would come home from school to find the kitchen trashed where he broke things, punched walls and so forth.  My mother would end up with bruises on her from him. I had no idea how to deal with this.   If that wasn’t bad enough…

There was a rule in the house that any mail that was set out on the coffee table I was allowed to read because it came from family members who lived in other states and was for everyone.  Well, someone screwed up and left something out that they shouldn’t have.  It was a letter to my step-father from another man who he met via the back pages in some magazine.  I learned things that day that I shouldn’t have known anything about.  More and more things quickly came to my attention.  My step-father was not only into men and pretending to be straight where he would be accepted, but he liked wearing women’s underwear.

I learned something else.  Word traveled fast in our neck of the woods, despite being in the country.  Everyone knew everyone else’s business.  Suddenly my friends weren’t allowed over any more because of my parents.  I was more than welcome to go to their houses  though.  Despite such a dysfunctional family, I didn’t get anyone’s pity.  I did get their ridicule though.  I had a few close friends who remained my friends through it all but they weren’t much of a support system because they didn’t know how to deal with it all either.  The best advice I was given was “go talk to the guidance councilor”.  One of my very first boyfriends broke up with me because of it all.

Despite all of this, maybe to have a place to get away from everyone talking as well as to put on appearances of being normal my parents bought into a private campground two hours away in PA.  This was one of those places where you paid a monthly membership fee to belong to it and only members could get in.  I loved the place for reasons I can’t name.  Maybe it was because I liked being outside.  I don’t know.  I just liked it and something about it welcomed me.  The bad part out this campground was it was in Small Town, USA where everyone knew everyone else and their business.

We returned from our second weekend there over memorial day and I was hit with something horrifying.  Shelly had been killed by a hit and run drunk driver.  I cried for a week.  I cried so much I was throwing up.  My mother wouldn’t let me go to her funeral because “it wasn’t healthy”, yet at the same time I had been drug off to funerals of family members I didn’t know.  No one in my family had an idea of what healthy was so I have no idea how they could say what was healthy and what wasn’t.

We ended up spending every weekend at this campground as well as my step-fathers vacation time for the next two years…even in the winter.  My parents spent those weekends going out to bars and my mother went from having a gambling problem to being an alcoholic.  It was at this time she decided it was cool to have affairs.  No, not just one boyfriend, but a number of them in the following years and she flaunted it.  She would come home and tell my step-father what happened in detail and tell him that these guys were twice the man he was.  She would provoke him and he would hit her and she would justify cheating because she was abused.  It was one f’d up cycle.

Being that this campground was in Small Town, USA, there wasn’t one person who didn’t know about all this.  Again, the actions of my parents made me an outcast.  People who I didn’t know openly ridiculed me.  I had few friends and spent most of my time talking one of the lifeguards there.  We are still in contact and I consider him to be a very good friend.  In fact, much to his embarrassment, I am of the opinion that is he probably the most awesome person on the planet because, at the time I needed a real friend, he was it.  He helped me keep my sanity when I was ready to snap.  He encouraged me to be me despite what everyone else thought or how they treated me.  He was good looking, popular and he wanted to be my friend, not because he felt sorry for me, but because he didn’t care what others thought, stepped outside of the bullshit and took a few minutes to get to know me and decided I was really an okay person.  For that I will always be grateful.  At what was the worst time in my life he was an angel.  He also let me know in no uncertain terms when I was being an ass…

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