For those unfamiliar with my story, Screwed Up: My Life, please start at the beginning here. The purpose of me writing this intimate account of surviving a difficult childhood is explained here. This story in its entirety can be found at Blurb.com and is available for purchase for $12.95 plus shipping and handling.
In some ways, knowing that I was only going to live with this family for a few months was a good thing. It allowed me to mentally and emotionally not get too close to them from the beginning. The thing that hurt the most about living with the families in Indiana was that I had allowed myself to become close to them right from the start. Being close to them emotionally, even if I didn’t show it, made it extremely painful when it came time for me to leave. I felt torn because I loved them and yet I also knew they no longer wanted me.
So, here I was living with a new family in Texas, in my old ward in Irving, and I knew I would soon have to move somewhere else when the end of the first semester of my senior year of high school was over. I would not have Christmas with them and I would not celebrate my birthday with them either. I didn’t know who I’d do those things with and I didn’t know where I’d be when those events took place. It hurt just thinking about where my life take me in a few months and I felt angry knowing that most of my friends would never have to deal with this—ever. I had no one who truly understood my life.
While living with this new family, I did not make my main focus be on making friends. I had a few friends at school, but no one I was really close to. I didn’t want to be close to anyone as I didn’t know if I’d still be attending that school come the end of the year. Generally speaking, I was happy living with this new family and I did my best to be upbeat about living there. Of course, I still struggled mentally with the idea of not belonging to a normal functioning family. However, what could I do? I really had no where else to turn. As someone once told me—beggars can’t be choosers. I was a beggar.
Daily, I observed how this family interacted with each other. I longed for the relationships that their children had with their parents and I envied them immensely. Occasionally, I would become angry when I saw their mom talking with her daughters or their dad showing fatherly affection to his daughters. I wanted to scream my emotions to them, but I did not. I felt that I had to be strong. I had to act tough and doing so made me feel less feminine. That toughness came off to others stubbornness. I pretended acting that way didn’t bother me that first semester I live with this family.
I got out of school early each day to go to work. Since I had enough credits at high school, I was granted Early Release as my last “class.” It really wasn’t a class, but a reason to get out of school early to go home or go to work. I usually went to work. Each day I got out early, I took the DART bus home, grabbed a snack and then went to work. I had met a nice guy while riding the bus and we quickly became unlikely friends often discussing religion, school, and our plans for the future. It was strictly a platonic relationship and we were never anything more than friends.
One day, I arrived home as usual and attempted to unlock the door. I fitted the key into the doorknob and turned it. Then I grabbed the doorknob and tried to let myself in and realized I could not open it. I tried to push and jiggle the doorknob several more times. I opened the door about six inches and then the door quickly pushed shut once again. I couldn’t figure it out. I could hear the family’s dog on the other side of door and so I pushed the door open again. This time to front door opened four inches and saw their dog on the other side looking at me and then the door slammed shut again.
I was getting annoyed and anxious as I had to use the restroom. I just couldn’t figure out why the door would not open. Just when I thought I was going to make it to the restroom if I couldn’t open the door, the door easily opened completely. I ran to the nearest bathroom. I kept thinking to myself, Thank God and I am so glad I made it! When I finished, I walked to my bedroom and threw my backpack on the floor in front of the window. That’s when I got the ominous feeling that something was not quite right. I hated that feeling. I walked out of my bedroom and into the den, dismissing the open planner with missing credit cards. Instead, my eyes locked on the back door which was standing wide open with the door jam partly broken off. Suddenly, it hit me—I had just interrupted a home burglary.
Sudden fear and anxiety immediately consumed me and I ran into the back yard as fast as my legs would carry me and leaped over the six foot fence with strength I had never possessed. I ran through the parking lot behind my house and straight into my place of employment at the theatre. I told my boss everything that had just happened and he dialed 911 and had me speak to the operator.
After that day, I was scared to enter my bedroom. I didn’t tell anyone immediately, but I had nightmares for weeks. I dreamed I was in bed and a burglar would break through the large window in my room and see me in my bed. Then, he would try to hurt me. I wanted the family to think I was brave and so I didn’t tell them about how I was scared. One night, after one of these nightmares, I went to their daughter’s room, and slept on the empty bed in her room. Before she awoke the next morning, I snuck out and got back into my bed. I hated these false fronts I felt I had to put on for others.
Too soon, came December and I had to find somewhere else to live.