Tuesday, June 28, 2016


When Mom M gets really angry, she lifts both eyebrows up into her forehead and squishes one down to make a furrow that could rival the Grand Canyon. In a resting state, her eyes are big and beautiful. In an angry state they work independently. One becomes enlarged with a working laser that burns a brand mark on your soul. The one with the Grand Canyon over it becomes smaller and sharp projectiles shoot out of the small opening to slice your ego into unrecognizable pieces.  She never once hit me. I am probably still supposed to be in my room to live out a grounding sentence, but she never hit me. 

Prior to moving into her house, she was my guardian angel. I came to her house with my hair chopped off and she turned it into a beautiful haircut. She always had projects that needed one more pair of hands. She knew, or at least suspected, that I was failing to thrive. Her subtle interventions were nurture enriched injections to help me sustain life.

When the M-Family moved to the Wild Horse house they took my safety net with them. There was no one to keep my step mother in check. No one to see the bruises. No one to drop by to hear the yelling. No one heard the wailing. There was no one who would ask me if I was OK. As long as my step mother was done with me by 6 p.m., no one would know a thing. 

I don't know what caused the M-Family to ask if I could live with them. When Dad came into my room to talk me into it, there was no need for the sales pitch. I wanted him to be sad that he wasn't going to see me except on Holidays.  Instead his sales pitch emphasized that I could see him on Holidays. 

I was grateful, but I arrived into my new home with no family skills and no sense of trust. I needed training in everything from appropriate female hygiene to proper emotional response. 

Mom-M taught me how to be a girl. I had not been treated like a girl before. I was a boy with long hair for my Dad and a caged animal for my step mother. Becoming a girl took great effort on my part. It had to take even more patience on Mom-M's behalf. 

"Look how beautiful you are!" 

I didn't believe her. I loved hearing her say it. I needed to feel her smile at me. It felt like I was stealing someone else's  praise. There was Sissy standing next to me looking like a model out of Teen magazine. I wanted to be pretty like her. I wanted pretty to be as easy for me as it was for her. I don't know how Mom-M could find me beautiful when she had real beauty so close by. My conclusion; she lied. 

What I did accept to be true was her example of how Mothering works. She did not come from a healthy emotional environment, so she did her best to create a good environment for us kids. Only one of us was hers by birth, but we all got our fair share of what she had to offer. 

She was a maker. She made clothes, decorated cakes, cut our jello into shapes, crocheted, made macrame plant hangers and never seemed to run out of things to make. She was always willing to teach us how to make something. We were always receiving pieces of her time in both attention and made things. 

Ah! Ah! Ah!

This means stop dead in your tracks. It works on kids, dogs, cats, and husbands. I believe it could stop a wind storm if she had a megaphone. This is how she controlled two teenage girls and two rambunctious boys. If we didn't comply we got the angry look. 

In many ways discipline had a bigger impact on me with the M-Family than I was accustomed to. It was far less physical stress, but emotionally, my only coping tool was to believe I could never be loved. Every time I got in trouble it was because they could not love me. I wanted them to love me. I did not know how to stop messing up. 

By the time we moved to Helix, the storm inside my head was turning into funnel clouds waiting to touch down. I loved that school. It was tiny. Little brother and Sissy went to one building, while I went to High School in the building next to it. They were attached by a breezeway. 

It was easy to make friends there. New students were rare and the fresh meat lured in everyone looking for a new flavor. It was impossible to disappear into the back of the classroom when there were only 9 students in attendance. Students and teachers saw me in a way I had never experienced before. 

The dividing line between the cliche groups was fluid. I could be a punk and hang with the cheerleaders at lunch. It was as if none of them knew they were supposed to be rivals. It offered a safe place to try on new personalities. 

I was still struggling in school. The disadvantage to a tiny school is that the teachers can memorize your home phone number.   I was smart and it made no sense why I wasn't doing better. I was a great mystery to everyone concerned with my education - except me. 

Why did I need to get good grades?

It was not an act of defiance, though I understand why it seemed that way. If I could go back in time as a ghost, I would whisper in Mom-M's ear, "She is afraid to let you love her. People die and leave her helpless when they love her.  If you stay angry with her, she never has to face that pain.  Do not let go!  She is drowning in her own fear."

After receiving a D in Math, I was grounded for the next 9 weeks. The following report card was worse, in spite of the carrots and sticks. They added another 9 weeks to my sentence. I started to become secretive and stopped confiding in Sissy. I slowly slipped into the mind spinning world of self defeat. I began pulling away from everything that brought me joy the year before. 

Near the end of the school year, I contacted a woman I called Aunt D. She was a foster parent who took in kids for the state. She had an open bed and agreed to pick me up on the last day of school. I packed my things in two cardboard boxes and told the M-Family my plans. 

They called my Dad to let him know what I was doing. I don't know what he told them, but no one tried to stop it. I wanted someone to beg me to stay. I wanted someone to lock me in a room until I changed my mind. I needed someone to tell me they loved me no matter what a failure I had become. 

On the last day of school there was a huge celebration . There were water balloons and music blasting out of the vehicles. The kids were all hanging out on the school grounds. I walked home alone and put my boxes on the porch and waited for my ride. No one was home when Aunt D arrived. I put my boxes in her car and we drove away. 

The funnel cloud touched down. I was ungrateful.