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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2213821-Life-Made-Me
by Intuey
Rated: 18+ · Essay · Drama · #2213821
The experiences of life have sculpted me with many different traits, making me who I am.
I have been various aspects of different people throughout my life. Though the core of who I am has always remained close to the same. My core character has been stretched, molded, turned inside-out, bleached, and freeze-dried, but it eventually finds its way back to the original package.

I'm three-years-old. Mom has packed the car inside and out. I'm crying and begging for her to pick me up, but she refuses. She's in a frantic rush to make sure she's out of the house before my dad comes home. Grabbing me, she puts me into the front seat between her and a pile of mismatched items. Neither of us speaks a word. Pulling up in front of my grandparent's home, she races me around to the other side of the car, depositing me at the end of their sidewalk beside the road. Gravel spews forth as she pulls out. I jump up screaming, and crying, "Momma! Momma, come back!" But my words fall upon the deafness of space. She never looks back.

At a young age, I learned heartbreak. Though I did not understand the word, I realized the pain of betrayal. This experience may have been my first lesson in learning to read people and situations. Even at this young age, I remember knowing exactly what was going on and part of the reason why it was happening.

I'm five-years-old and asking my father if I can go out and play. He answers with a stern no.

"Yes, Sir," I reply.

Happily skipping down the hallway in my bobby socks and black Mary-Jane shoes to the brown leather couch in the den, I sit down joyfully swinging my legs. I'm not upset at all about Daddy's reply. I easily recall the thoughts of reasoning going through my mind: Obey your mother and father, Respect your mother and father, for this pleases the Lord. I wanted to be good. I didn't want to upset my father.

At this young age, I had already come to understand what was expected of me. I knew how to behave, and if necessary, how to act to keep the peace and everyone calm; This is the age I also realized I knew and understood things in a deeper intuitive sense that even my older siblings did not.

The lessons continually happened throughout the years. Through self-preservation, I became wise beyond my years. I studied people and how various actions caused them to react. By ten-years-old, I was balancing what words to speak—how to speak them and what facial expressions should accompany them. I was a mediator between Dad and my older siblings. I had to speak quickly and calmly without being caught in a lie. I had to protect my siblings but at the same time try to mend the broken heart of my father, while deflecting his wrath.

I was highly empathic at this tender age. It was during this time that I taught myself how to protect my body and mind against negative energies. I didn't quite understand but intuitively knew how to do so. Of course, no one knew that I possessed these traits. It would have been unacceptable and considered taboo. If I had hinted that I had so much as a touch of being empathy-sensitive or intuitive, I most likely would have been called the devil incarnate and told very unapologetically that they were right all along. Hell was the only outcome for my soul. So I guarded myself very carefully.

By thirteen-years-old, I have zig-zagged my way through a somewhat chaotic, emotional, at times physically painful existence. Dad was stringent, and back in those days, spanking kids with belts wasn't unusual. When we received spankings, it was harsh. It went on for some time, and marks were left. But as strange as it may sound, it made me tough. It made me smart. Smart because I found ways to avoid punishment. I had to be able to think and speak my way out of any situation at any given time. Situations that brought many hardships to my siblings; taught me to keep my true emotions, which were comprised mainly of surprise and fear, from showing on my face or in my voice. It has been a valuable lesson that has brought me through many trials in my life, which could have turned out much worse for me.

The essence of my core self was well established: Strength, compassion, intuition, empathy, friendliness, reading people, faith, smiling through the pain, self-preservation, love, adventurous, wise, quick learner. But also: conning, a golden tongue (as needed), bullshitter, braver than I should have been, a show of over-confidence (definitely not always a good thing), and of course, just a tad bit of crazy.

Most of these traits I have retained throughout life. I've lost a few here and there, gained a few of them back, and always striving to strengthen a couple, while also making sure some others never return.

By fourteen-years-old, I had already lost my daddy (who was the one who raised me), my grandfather, who I was very close to, a best friend, and a crush (my best friend's brother). My grandfather died when I was only eight-years-old. My best friend died when I was twelve. She and her family died during the night when they had a gas leak from the heater. Only one brother survived. The greatest of all these losses was the passing of my father. He may have been tough; and stern. But he did his best, and I loved him very deeply. It was then I understood that it was truly possible to die of a broken heart. This despair would continually recur throughout my life. I have lost so many loved ones and dear friends. The sorrow and regrets of loss are etched into the very existence of my being. Because of my sorrow, I accept how very mortal I am, but worse is the realization that anything can happen to anyone at any time. I now know I truly have no control over a damn thing in my life. Such are the thoughts that bring on the lesson of humility.

Fourteen was a busy year for me. It poured forth a giant leap of learning brand new lessons. I'm now living with my mom. She's a wonderful person, has a great wit, a whole-body laugh, and quite the charmer. But she also has her demons which transform her into someone opposite. She's a binge drinker. When she starts drinking, she won't stop for a few days to a few weeks. I knew Mom was an alcoholic, though I had no idea of what that entailed or how bad it was. My father never allowed me to spend a single night with Mom growing up. I've only seen her drunk the times she picked us up as such. Mom put me through so many traumas. The couple of years I lived with her, my step-father and four older siblings taught me how to deal with a whole new set of valuable lessons. I grew tough{emdash|in a completely different way than with my dad. I learned to deal with addicts and alcoholics. To notice the looks in their eyes before the shit hit the fan, to deal with suicidal attempts, guns being pulled and pointed at me, and loved ones, and a few life, and death situations, beatings with fists and surviving being kicked out at two a.m. in a bad neighborhood. It taught me new self-preservation techniques. How to think quick on my feet in dangerous situations, and hanging around older people taught me lessons through observation and mistakes. Street smarts were learned quickly and thoroughly, and I found out just what I was made of.

Another beating, this time being held down on my bed completely nude from the waist up, my arms are pinned above my head by my step-father's knees; while straddling my chest. His fists plummet my face. Blow after blow. He always took out his frustrations on me when he had the chance. I was left defenseless. He pinned my arms so I couldn't fight back and believe me, I fought back! After a while, one tires of being a victim. When he had enough, he climbed off of me and told me to get the fuck out. It was Saturday night at about three in the morning. This night there was a gang of no-good guys making a lot of noise. There was no way I could make it the three blocks to use the payphone outside of the store. So I did the only thing I knew to do, I took refuge under the house. It's wasn't all bad. I found resourcefulness, safety in unexpected places, resiliency, and an inner-determination that would take me many places soon.

At fifteen, I was independent. I worked, had a car, and shared an apartment. I was self-assured and went after what I wanted. I understood that if I wanted something to change in my life, then I was the only one who could make that happen. If I just sat back waiting and wishing, circumstances may never get any better. If my desire was for a change in my life, then my actions were the only way to ensure those desires.

By the age of eighteen, I had already lived in three states. I had already lived a whole life in my short four years since Dad died. I had many life lessons living in California by myself, then later in Texas. Falling in with the wrong crowd, I quickly found out the life of crime, jail, and not being responsible was not the life for me. I liked having fun and lived the party life for quite a while. But along with age comes responsibilities that include little people called kids. The party life is dimmed way down, and whole new lessons: both good and bad arrive faster and faster. Not having parenting skills by example, I did the best I could. I may not have known how to be a parent, but I knew how not to be. I also taught myself how to make a marriage work, as I had no experience of that either. I practiced self-control, tried rising above situations for the good of the family, how to juggle family, work, and home. Figuring out finances, buying property, building a house, and all the ends and outs that come with growing up and being an adult.

I went through my ups and downs and even lost my faith for a short time. Those were truly the darkest days of my entire life. Not because of the trials and tribulations I went through during that time, but because of the emptiness that enveloped my soul. People around me may never have noticed, but the void within me was total separation from God. This profound loss affected a lot of my actions. I have always experienced the paranormal and dealt with negative energies when I lived with my mom. But the hell I went through and the mental attacks I endured during this time was enough for me to finally breakdown and beg God to fill my life with his mercy, grace, and healing light. He heard me and rescued me. My faith was back stronger than ever before. I now knew what it meant to live without Him, and for me, it was truly hell. Though my faith has its' ups and downs, I pray to God; I never lose it again. This has taught me to teach my kids that it is normal to doubt because we're human, but whatever they do, they need to try hard not to blame God for prayers that seemingly go unanswered. God knows what He is doing. He knows the lessons in life we need to go through to evolve. Life is hard, life is unfair, but life can also be joyful, full of love, and adventure. Bad times will happen, but they will also pass. Patience is one of the hardest lessons of all.

My kids are now grown, and my life has once again drastically changed. My husband of 35 yrs. is now gone, as is just about all of the family of my youth. I have one sister left and an estranged brother out of seven siblings. Many other huge life changes have taken place as well, all within the span of a few months. I found myself not knowing who I am anymore because the woman formed and sculpted from all of my experiences, trials, and tribulations that have made me the person I have been for many years is the person I know very well. One who has spent many hours in prayer and meditation, to keep the person I was, while trying to gain back parts of me I had lost throughout the years. But when all who I perceived myself to be is stripped away in the expanse of a few short months, it has made me question even the core of who I believed myself to be. I must admit it's taken me longer to rebound this time than ever before. I'm not quite old, but youth and physical strength are no longer my companions. This is when a careful reflection of who I still am becomes a life-line, a self-thrown preserver of my very essence of being. Yes, the game has changed the pieces three-fourths of the way in, but the game and player are still the same. So upon climbing my way back to me, I realize, I'm still: Friendly, compassionate, kind, lovable, intuitive, empathic, I can still find joy, I'm witty, laugh easily, my inner-strength is stronger than ever (no matter how wiped out it may have been), I'm still confident enough, maybe just a bit more humbled, I'm wise, I allow others to be their best selves and encourage them. I'm creative, have initiative, am a bit crazier than ever (wouldn't have it any other way), interested in many different subjects, more evolved, enlightened, still learning, more patient than ever (but still a hard one), understanding, forgiving, giving, faithful, animal lover, people-reader. Okay, not all is good: I'm still a bit stubborn, can be a hothead (but takes quite a bit), not as independent as I have always been, a tad bit lazy, procrastinator, can wear emotions on my sleeve, not near as financially independent as I've been just about all of my life, and I do need to keep reminding myself that my life is far from over! Believe good things are on their way, and it's okay to dream once again.

Life is always evolving and changing. Deep down, I am still very similar to the person I was in my youth. I'm striving to regain some of the amazing passion I had, along with the ideology that if I want something, I'd make it happen (within reason, of course). I am constantly striving to be my best self. In the meantime, I hope to enjoy many more friendships, adventures, and dare I say, maybe, just maybe to love another once again.

(2,581 words)
Won 2nd Place *Delight*
Written for Feb Entry into "Philosophical Musings [13+]
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