by B. A. Lupis
This might be too graphic, but it was allowed at a high school
|My life has not been as easy as most American children. However, I do have a few select happy moments in my life that are few and far between. The first “memory” I have is only of what people have told me.
I’m told I was a happy child and what not, smiling all the time and never wanting to wear clothes or shoes. So, in a neighborhood full of white bikers, a little native girl is running around in diapers and no clothes. An odd sighting, I’m sure, but it’s what I did when I was a little girl.
I never like thinking about my childhood since I never really had one. I was forced to be an adult by the age of five. I had to take care of myself and feed myself at a very young age. From birth until the time I could get into the cupboards and pull out cereal or something, my brothers took care of me. After that, I was left to fend for myself until I turned 13.
It was rough going but I didn’t really mind. I didn’t know any better until I was around ten or eleven. I just kept to myself and was an all out quiet child until I reached around 12. That’s when all hell broke loose.
I fought my mother every step of the way until today, and now I question my actions almost every waking moment. I wonder if I was right in turning her in and removing myself from her clutches or if I should have bucked up and stayed with her instead of having mostly stupid people have command over my life. I regret it most of the time and I miss her all of the time, no matter what I try to tell myself.
My decisions have brought me into foster care and the world of work, then back out. I may still be in foster care, but it’s all different now. I’m in a permanent placement. So, until I can get out of foster care or until I get a family placement, I’ll be staying in the home I’m in.
The circumstances I’m in right now are a lot better than they were when I was little. Now, I can breathe freely of smoke and the stench of marijuana on my clothes. I don’t have to worry about teachers being able to smell illegal substances on me and having to take the rap for my mom or brothers. I also don’t have to worry about being teased because I smell like cigarettes.
Most of my early years consisted of “torture”. I was forced to eat my food, and as a result, I don’t like cheese or noodles of many kinds. It’s not just the taste, which I don’t like, it’s the mental block. The same thing with eggs, which I also don’t like the taste of either. Most people think I’m weird and they judge me for it, so it’s become a insecurity for me. I’ve been teased, called vegetarian because I normally don’t touch dairy products and meat for the most part. So, they see me with bread and veggies. Food is very sensitive for me, and when people poke at my eating habits, I get defensive.
I use to be skinny, but now my weight has become an issue. I’m at a not-so-good weight right now, but I used to have access to very bad nutrition, and that compromised some things, like health. It affected my asthma and inflammation in my lungs.
As a child, I was hardly ever sick, but I was never really healthy enough to do any vigorous child activities. I didn’t play any outdoor sports until I was eight or nine, and then, it was all football or rugby with my older brothers, who just let me run around them and sometimes grab the ball. I never really got to play outside.
I went for walks sometimes. Always alone and usually to the park near where we lived. There usually was one. One time, I went to the park in Gold Bar, where we were living at the time, and I was walking through the bark chips with the heady scent of pine in the air and the faint sound of high pitched voices coming from the little cubby hole under the slide. There were five teenage girls with Starbucks frappuccinos. They saw me staring at them with a slightly lost expression on my face and one girl with long shiny black hair beckoned me over to them. She asked me what I was doing out so late. I didn’t reply. She must have thought I was shy and looked scared, because she offered me a drink of the coffee. Being a curious kid, and also wanting to look like I belonged with older kids, I accepted it. The taste was bitter to my taste buds and I nearly puked. Miraculously, I kept the disgusted look off my face and sat down with the girls. They all smiled then continued on with their talk of who was the cutest boy; they all agreed it to be “dreamy mc-dream dream” Evan Tyler, the star quarterback for the high school football team.
Me, being so young at the time, maybe six, possibly seven, had no clue what they were talking about when they said words like “hottie” or “dreamy eyes” or any of that other mumbo jumbo. I just sat there; acting like I knew what they were talking about without showing I was totally lost in their conversation and how fast they were talking. After a while, I got bored and looked outside to see it was raining. I was starting to wonder what time it was and if there would be dinner if there was still no mom at home. In a flash, I was crying. I hadn’t even noticed the tears streaking down my face.
The girls all stopped talking at once and then all of them were trying to console me and trying to make me at least smile through my tears. One ended up hugging me. After about three to four minutes of uncontrollable sobs, I stopped crying and started hiccupping.
Embarrassed as I was, I couldn’t just get up and run away, so I stuck around for a little while longer. Then I made some lame excuse that my mom was making dinner, which wasn’t true. I walked as fast as I dared away from them to an empty house with hardly any food left in it. I cried some more in a corner, waiting for someone to show up after days of being left alone.
After that, I never really did go outside alone again. If I did, it was mostly with my cousins when riding our bikes over to grandma’s house for a small treat of either ice cream or a chocolate bar. Those were the days that I was slightly less scared and I got a little bit of fat on my bones to keep me warmer at night in our single-wide trailer.
My grandma would give us treats like candy or sugary stuff. Every now and then, I would ask what they were having for dinner. And when I heard the savory things, I think she would see the want in my eyes, but the regret also, along with a glimmer of hope. She couldn’t say no. I got most of my good home cooked meals from her. She passed away around a year and a half ago now. I miss her.
My mom never approved of my grandma, but I hardly ever told her I went to her house. If I did, then I would be in trouble, and my mom would leave and I would be stuck at home without food for another week. I went for a long time without food at points in my life, and once without water for two days. I’m surprised I wasn’t sicker in my childhood.
By the time I was around eight, I was living in Everett in a big red bricked apartment building. I lived across from my still best friend, Holly Williams. We’ve recently gotten in touch again through MySpace. The red apartment building holds four big memories for me in the year or so I lived there.
One of these memories consists of losing my cockatiel, Mel Mel. My mom had had her on her shoulder, and she forgot that she was there. Now, Mel Mel’s wings were never clipped, so she could fly around. One day, my mom had her on her shoulder and had walked outside to check the mail. The next thing any of us hear is flapping wings and “Oh Shit!” from my mom. She turns around, dropping the keys, and screams after the bird that’s long gone. We all cried and stared outside the back railing for a long time that night.
Another of my memories is losing the very first honestly owned 15 dollars I ever made. It was stolen, but my mom says otherwise to this day. I know who took it, and I don’t like her. My mom keeps saying I just lost it, but I know I had it in my little panda change purse. And I know I didn’t spend it, or I’d have had ice cream and a little stuffed animal from Wal-mart or something. It was stolen, plain and simple. I had left my little panda change purse on the coffee table, and it disappeared and ended up in my closet empty. I cried for hours because I knew it was there, and it had been stolen, but no one believed a child over an adult. They were all crack heads.
The third memory is watching in terror as my mom was being abused by my “dad”. A man, who I hate with every fiber in my being no matter what he or anyone says, is forcing my mom to stay in her room and is yelling and cussing at her. The glass breaks and I scream at the top of my lungs for him to leave her alone and he’s stupid and I hate him and I want him to leave right NOW. That didn’t go over well with him at all. There was no noise for the longest time, and then he comes out with a broken Champaign bottle in his hand.
I’m terrified, but this man had hit my mom, so I went up to him, and this is where I thank my brothers for teaching me how to head-butt properly, and pretty much hit him as hard as I could in the side of his knee, because I heard him say that was where he was weak since he was so big.
Then I bit his thigh as hard as I could, leaving little teeth marks. Later, he screamed at my mom for raising such a “little bitch”. I just glared at him and was wishing him to go away and be in as much pain as possible. I knew he was in pain, since he had limped for the next month or so after the head-butt.
My last memory from the red bricked apartments is not being able to get up off my mom’s bed and freaking out. My mom’s bed was really tall, so I couldn’t touch the ground when sitting on the edge. I sat on the edge, then laid on my back with my feet over the edge. I didn’t realize I didn’t have the upper body strength, or lower body strength, to lift myself back up. I panicked. I screamed and cried for my mom, tears just flooding down the sides of my cheeks, matting in my hair. My breath was coming in rapid little bursts as I let out a loud scream for my mom.
I kicked and screamed and flailed around, but to no hope was I getting off the bed. I was so disoriented, that I forgot to hold my head up when I rolled over, and I started to suffocate in the bed spread that muffled my sobs of terror. After a half hour on my back, and around ten minutes on my belly, face smashed into the covers, hyperventilating and suffocating myself in my own sheer terror, my mom found me after chatting on the phone with one of her so called “friends”. She went frantic and asked stupid questions like “Why didn’t you call for me?” and “Why didn’t you just roll off?” I was so traumatized after that that I never went in my mom’s room again and I couldn’t eat for three days straight with out puking. My mom couldn’t understand how frightening it had been to feel that constriction in my chest and have no one to save me. Since then, I never lay on top of covers and normally only use my bed to sleep, and not just lounge.
I didn’t have very good memories until I was around ten or twelve. And by then, I had acquired so many disturbing memories that the good ones didn’t make a stable hold in my mind. So, I don’t remember any good memories except for getting a whole bowl full of candy from a next door neighbor who was in their sixties and she thought I was the cutest thing she’d ever met. She had only had a boy who didn’t love her back like she did. It broke my seven year old heart to see her 29 year old son treat her like garbage. I spent a lot of time with her, smiling and laughing for a little while. I never liked seeing people unhappy, and I seemed to make her happy. I think she would have liked a baby girl when she was able to have children. I also think she couldn’t just turn her son away since she had a little bit of hope he could still be turned around and be able to love her as she loved him. It never happened, and he ended up being her death. He drove her to a heart attack in her sleep. I wept when I found out. I think I was nine, and we were in the red bricked apartment building, but I can’t be sure. I just know it hurt to have someone I knew dead.
After all of the traumatic things in my life, like the bed spread and the abusive “dad”, I can still see the good in people. This has always been one of my qualities. I have made the best of friends out of all ages. But never a lot of friends, since I was picky about who I kept close to me.
To this day, I only socialize with about five or six people regularly on a daily basis. Most people think of me as a loner, even if I have a bubbly attitude. Or, is it just random? I don’t know anymore.
After a while, I just accepted what was being done to me and I thought it was totally normal. I thought that having scary people in your house and hardly having enough to eat all month long was normal. I thought that having your cousin touch you in the wrong places was normal. I thought that not liking the cops was normal. I thought that moving 30 times before age ten was normal.
I had accepted it for years until I was 13 and fed up with it all. I ran away because I was so fed up with it. I showed just how clever I am. I made it from Moses Lake to Seattle , around 300 miles, with just a dollar. Most 13 year old girls don’t go a mile alone, but I went almost 300. It just shows what kind of person I am; resourceful.
The whole reason I ran away was because I was trying to get my mom to realize the guy she was with was a rotten good for nothing piece of shit. Those are my true feelings about this man. He abused my mom, verbally abused me and always made me cry.
She had tried to guilt trip me for doing it, but I had had the best time of my whole entire life when I ran away, and the only reason I went back was my mom threatened the people who were letting me stay at their house with the cops.
I didn’t want them to go to jail, so I went back home to the abuse and the neglect of my mom. She said she had tried to commit suicide and it was all my fault. I told her I didn’t ****ing care. It was true. That was the very first time I ever swore at my mother.
After that, it all went down hill. We moved to a very small town with a population of 300 and more than three fourths were sex offenders.
I ended up going to a school where I was smarter than most of the teachers and they all failed me because I called them out on their stupidity. I was also tested and they told me I had the equivalency of an eleventh grader, but I was an eighth grader. So they moved me up to ninth grade with only three months left in school. Miraculously, I made up a year of credits in those three months.
After a month of staying in Soap Lake , my mom had gotten drunk almost every day. She stayed out all hours of the night and brought home men who gave me the creeps and it was the same all the time. They were nice and would NEVER hurt us.. Ahuh, yeah right mom. Whatever.
One day, she finally gave me a reason to turn her into the cops.
She locked me outside one night because she wanted to go to the bar. The whole thing started out as my older brother wanted to take me out to see a movie because he felt sorry for me. So, I went to the nine o’clock showing, and my brother brought me back around ten or eleven and hadn’t waited to see if I was able to get in the house. At the time, he lived ten miles away.
I stood outside shivering since it was November and it was raining sideways. I was on our porch that gave some sheltered against the rain, but not against the chilling wind. Since my brother had come on short notice, he had said to just throw something on. So, I had put on a pair of shorts with a flimsy sweat shirt and plain Adidas thinking I was only going to be outside a maximum of two minutes, not two hours in the pouring rain and what not. I’m surprised I didn’t get hypothermia or something.
Around midnight, my mom comes stumbling down the road from a bar with one of her buddies, and I’m in hysterics, crying and rocking back and forth. But I hear them and see them and I stand up and start screaming at her that I hated her, I wish she would just die and how could she do that and so on. Nothing very fun. We got into a fight for three hours, screaming and accusing and what not. Then she disappeared into the bathroom to snort coke and rant and rave about what a stupid whore her daughter is and how she should have gone through with an abortion.
After a while I fall asleep on a chair and didn’t know when she came out to sleep on the bed. I woke up before either of them, packed a bag with essentials and left to find a cop or someone who would listen. I ended up at the Shell station asking to use the phone to call the police.
I was safe for a while, and then the cops came, and I showed them my mom’s straw and they got a warrant and arrested her and searched the house for more drugs. I watched, stricken, from the police car, worried my mom would see me.
My heart thumped against my chest and I tried to hide behind the seat. I was terrified of my mother and what she might do. She didn’t see me, and the guilt set in, Then horror from what I had done. I was so scared of what might happen and where I was going now. I had made a split second decision and I hadn’t taken the consequences into perspective. The entire time I was watching my mom, my heart sank, because I could just guess what I had done to her. I broke her heart, but she broke mine first. But I couldn’t bear to see the broken look on her face then the anger replacing it.
I had to sit in the back of that police car for almost a whole hour fidgeting and freaking out that I had made the wrong choice and should have just toughed it out instead of messing my entire life up. Then the officer, who had first picked me up and made friends with me, came back outside, stopped to talk with my mom who just glared and probably cussed at him.
While I was waiting in the car, the CPS person arrived and wanted to talk to the cops.
Not long after that, I was on my way back to Moses Lake for seven months, living in a horrible foster home. I ended up running away from that foster home and getting myself put in a new home.
After that, I went to Ritzville for two months, and then I was moved over here to Forks to be with the rest of my family. It’s all been rough and I’ve second guessed myself almost every step of the way.
Throughout all my moving, I made friends that understand what I’ve been through and can sympathize with me. It’s been reassuring that people care enough to ask about me. I think it’s amazing that people can look beyond their own greed and pride to ask questions that can’t really be answered in a quick yes or no. They stop to listen to your response rather than just saying “Oh, ok.” And go on with their day.
Up until now, I never wanted to confront my childhood, but I knew I needed to, so I pushed through and did what I had to do. This entire autobiography has been very challenging for me and I’ve cried more than ever in my life over the smallest things. All my raw emotion is out on pages and my thoughts and feelings are displayed for all to see. And, I want them to see. I want people to see my life’s story. I want people to know. People need to know.
Throughout these pages, I’ve talked about not having the wonderful memories like everyone else. Now, I think it’s time to say in the past few months, I have had some of the best memories, and I have no regrets about my past. It’s made me who I am today, and I think I like who I am. Even if I have no clue yet who I am, I like it. I have personality and my own mind, and I like it.
I like speaking my own mind, and if others don’t, well, it’s not their minds. It’s their choice to listen to me. I’m going to talk no matter what. I’m going to give my two cents. I like to talk and when it’s appropriate, I do.
I’ve been told I’m a very brave person, but it’s just me, no bravery in my mind and I’ve been called brave for being able to speak my mind. I’ve been called brave for turning in my mom, but half the time, I think it was just me being scared and looking for an easy way out.
I’ve never been one to knowingly take the easy way out. I’ve been called stubborn in my ways, going for the hardest way, and the way with the most work. I like showing off what I can do, and I do that a lot. I can see myself in a man’s job in the future. I can see myself doing most of the work in an establishment because I love to work. I love to know I’m doing something productive. I can see myself being a workaholic when I get older.
I can see myself in college, in a job, helping people. I can see myself doing a lot of different things. I can see myself being a busy body. I can see myself being a baker, an interior decorator, or even a writer.
I want to be all of these things; I want to do all of these things. I want to accomplish all of these things. I want to be proud of myself and make my mom proud of me for something great.
I want to make something of myself. I know I can make something of myself. I won’t let people get me down. My life is all about me. I’m the one that has to live it. I’m the one that has to live with it.