My Life in Words
I love to talk. Being vulnerable helps me heal. Documenting it is cathartic for us all.
He had different plans...
I am now 12...almost finished with 6th grade and in a twisted way, life seems to be falling into place. Never in any real world would the life we lived be viewed as normal, but it was ours. I made a few friends...even one with a Dad in a wheelchair like me. We were making it work. His sadness wasn't gone, but better for the moment. Then it happened. Nothing about life is simple at 12 and our story was certainly complicated.
I grabbed a few things to go visit my grandparents. They lived right down the street. He had some "things" to take care of and he'd come pick me up later. He never returned.
He was out of money and the truth was he couldn't afford to keep me and his "habits". The next details will shock you, but it's important I share them.
He owed a man named Jeff in Ohio a lot of money (those are the only details I knew). That man would call at all hours of the day and night threatening me. He'd tell me he'd take me away if my Dad didn't pay. I was terrified to sleep. 12 years old. Terrified to live. Yet my devotion to my Dad was unshakable. I wasn't going anywhere. Dad would try to reassure me that all was ok, but even I could tell he wasn't certain that was true.
After school one day the worst happened. I was walking home...when a green car pulled up slowly behind me, the door flew open and a man grabbed me. Until that day I had no idea what I was capable of physically. My mind knew this was a moment I had nightmares about. It was him. He followed through on his threat. His grasp was so strong on my arm. I screamed and kicked and punched. Crying out for help. I can still hear my voice shrieking. Kidnapped. No. Absolutely not. I squealed and fought with all I had...then by the grace of God he dropped me and spead off. This wasn't how my story was going to go. I ran all the way home. Mortified. I called my Dad at work and explained the details. I didn't call the cops or my mother. I just hid in my closet until my Dad got home. We didn't discuss it. He apologized and we ordered pizza. Seems normal right?
Now you can see why he never returned to get me from Granny's that day but I just knew it was my fault. That he'd left me because I made him angry or that I wasn't a good enough daughter. That wasn't it though. He knew it wasn't safe for me to stay. He couldn't make it work. He chose. The drinking and drugs and strange characters all hours of the night...it was no place for any 12 year old. A child. Especially one that was now being used for randsom. He did this to protect me. I say these words now with certainty but then his actions crushed my soul. My spirit. I didn't see this coming and I wasn't sure how I'd survive. I often wondered what would have happened if that man had taken me...in my heart I know God has a bigger purpose for me so I try to leave that experience where it belongs. In my past.
My grandparents countlessly saved my life over the years. So did my mother and step father. At the time I couldn't see that, but it's absolute truth. So, Mom came to pick me up and again I'm left with zero closure. No goodbye or explanation. He did things this way, I believe, to protect us both, but I felt exposed and torn apart. Abandoned. So I returned to my mothers defeated. Welcomed with open arms but it's not at all what I wanted. Who would protect him? Care for him? Order his supplies? Grocery shop and get the rent check to the office? To boot I found that my step father had taken a job over an hour away and we were moving. The world I had known was crashing down and I couldn't stop it. This all taught me resilience. It also began a terrible habit of striving for perfection. I'm always actively trying to put that habit down.
I didn't hear from him for what seemed like years. We had relocated and I was trying to start over. I didn't want to make that move, but you have to know...that move changed my future. It's the reason I'm writing this now. My step father provided us with love through consistency, stability, discipline, and most importantly God. My Dad knew this was truth, but his jealousy was the driving force of sabotage. Over the next few years Dad would pop in and out. He'd leave a wake of destruction every time. My brother and I were confused and often hurt. Left in tears because of empty promises. It was a constant battle. A wound left wide open. One I'm still tending at 32.
During these years Dad was homeless. I don't know what he really did for money or food and I worried everyday about him. Every. Single. Day. He was lost. Spent many months in jail. We stayed in touch but each encounter during these years brought pain and chaos. However, my love never changed. He hung the moon. Period. Fast forward a couple of years, the chaos exploded and I had to start making decisions...