Thinking about why I'm so guarded. I watched a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest and 9 year old Willow Smith. Ryan asked her how she stays so poised under all the pressure and she said.."My mom told me to always say how I'm feeling."
That was so new to me. Growing up, my parents ruled with such an iron fist that feelings were non-existent. As I got older, I tried to voice how I felt but was always overruled without a second thought. My mom and her feelings took up a lot of space in the house. Everyone just wanted to make her happy.
My dad got sick when I was 9. That was the end of my childhood. My brother took off shortly after and it was just me...during summer vacations when other kids played, I took care of my dad...making him lunch, making sure his insulin was fine, making sure he had his pills...he called me his little nurse. No one asked me how I felt about anything. My mom has always burdened me with things kids shouldn't know...what bill is due, what bill is past due, money problems...I took those problems on myself.
I acted out. When I was 12, I stole maybe $1000 from my dad's bank account. I used the money to go to the mall and buy stuff from Claire's to make my room cool. My dad cried when he found out. My mom yelled. They wanted to know why. I didn't know why. I guess I just wanted them to notice me.
I skipped a grade and went into high school at 13. Each incoming freshman had to take summer school so that they could become familiar with their surroundings. I became familiar with a guy who was going to be a senior. 2 weeks after knowing him, I lost my virginity. He didn't know I was a virgin. I didn't care. I just knew that my parents kept telling me to stay a virgin and I don't know...I just didn't want to. Afterwards, his brother tried to get me to give him a blow job. The stupid boy and his cousin called my house asking me if it was true I just gave up my virginity like that and if I wanted to have sex again. Before I could answer, my dad took the phone from me and asked why boys were calling his 13 year old daughter and to leave me alone. Both parents lectured me about boys...meaning they weren't allowed- period. My brother voluntarily went into a group home to escape them. I understood why.
I found out my dad died from church people calling the house to give their condolences while I was doing homework. My mom's cousin called and I corrected her and she was like no, I thought he died today. I called my mom who told me my grandma had something to tell me. I called my grandmother who told me to go to her house. She had known but hadn't found the right way to tell me. By the time I got home, my mom and her coworker were at home. She admonished me for running home. I needed to get out of my grandmother's house. She hugged me and then I went riding around Brooklyn with her coworker to get us some food and pick up her kids.
I didn't really have friends. I was a month into my freshman year in high school. I didn't cry. No one asked me how I felt. No one really called and talked to me unless they were kids of my mom's friends.
The day of my dad's funeral, I was made to wear an ugly skirt suit. My mom wore a silver and black skirt suit with a big silver hat. The ceremony was in our church although dad never set foot in a church the entire time I was alive. Mom praised God. She was such a spectacle. I was made to say words although I begged not to say anything. I bombed, freezing when I saw my dad in the casket.
Things were estranged when we all came home. Mom kicked out my sister from Bermuda out of "her" house...the house my dad built from the ground up with his bare hands because she had a beer. My sisters left me without a real goodbye. They were hurt.
Everyone was a stranger to me. Mom cried. I consoled her. I didn't cry. I was tough. She noticed that I hadn't shown any emotion and praised me, made jokes about it, made comments...never got me counseling. My siblings scattered. No one really called. I focused on school and soccer. I was in the honors program, made good grades, stayed out of trouble and no one questioned anything.
I imploded within myself...I was in pain. My dad, my only real friend died. I was in a new environment. I wasn't cool or cute or stylish. I vowed to myself...I wouldn't make it past 17. Those were the first times I taught myself not to feel emotion. After a while, it just became part of who I am and its something I struggle with now.
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