Everything

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It is not what I see in the mirror that scares me

It is not what I see in the future that holds me back

It is not what I see in my past that haunts me

It is not what I see in the world that brings me to tears

It is not what I see in the eyes of my children that brings pain to my heart

It is not what I see when I close my eyes and sleep that brings me sadness

It is not what I see daily that makes me want to give up this life

It is not what I see around me that breaks me

It is everything I do not see

Darkness

I am not sure about you, but the majority of my memories as a child are not pleasant. Even though the happy times do stand out, they are few. I guess our minds keep those happy times up front, while the harder times have been pushed to the back like pimento stuffed olives in the refrigerator that no one eats. The human psyche is pretty amazing. It guards us from so many memories that will just keep hurting us if they were always on our mind. Things I have seen, comments people have said about me or events I was actually a part of haunt me when I start to dig. I write and bring them to the forefront. It is my personal torture to build me up mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I learn and grow and hope to change these moments from torture to examples and lessons. No one should have to dwell on their past, but we all should never forget what made us the people we are today. Good or bad, something in our past has created that characteristic in you.

Visiting people we see their lives on their walls, and it will show you their family throughout the years. A new baby, birthday, fathers or mothers day, graduation and just moments captured in time with a click of a camera. Books filled with frozen moments that tell a story in their families history. The pictures allow people to bring memories to the surface and share stories. I have no markers of my life as a child that will conjure up feelings or moments of my past. I have an empty canvas that only gets filled in as I write and pull my life from the depths of my vault that we call a memory. I wish I had a few of those memory shakers that can help me remember my life as a child, and not just the dark moments that stand out so vividly for me. I can see a smile on my face as a child, but I can not tell you what was making me happy to remember that moment. Is it my mind working against me, or am I just forgetting those times because they were so few?

Dealing with pain has become a norm for me these days. I am not sure if I am healing those wounds, picking those scabs and throwing a bandage over them or allowing them to scar and become a reminder. I do not mind going through some of these events for a second time, but it does scare me to think that there may be thoughts stored up inside that have been buried deep for a reason. What if I trigger something I do not want to comfront, and what do I do now that I have made it known to myself. I am dealing with those days gone by as if they were babies. I am gentle, tender and loving when I approach these thoughts. I look at them piece by piece so I do not overwhelm myself, but will I ever be done with this journey within?  Will my past ever meet up with my now to show me what is to come?

Family

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There is nothing like the love of family, but you have to have family around to know that love. Even with my family around me I still felt alone. I am not sure why I always felt this way. Growing up there was always family around, which included cousins my age, younger and older but I feel I was not part of them. I wish I had the Brady Bunch situation, but so much of my childhood reminds me of the movie Blow. Smoking, drinking and drugs were the normal situation. I only knew this life, so anything close to normal was created in my head. My parents separated at an early age, so I do not remember much of how it felt to have both of my parents doing that parenting thing in a real way together.

Coming from a divorced situation, and both parents not really there gave way for me to create my own family with friends. There were a few moments in my life that had both my mom and dad living in close proximity. When I was in the 3rd grade I went to a school by the name of Orchard. It was a K-8 school, so there was a wide array of kids. I remember we had the greatest jungle gym ever! It was made of huge logs, and used tires and rubber ramps. It had one of the biggest climbing nets ever. It made me feel like I was in boot camp, and if I didn’t make it to the top I would be thrown into the brig. This was my domain during brunch, lunch and break. One day there was a new kid hanging out on the lone tire swing at the end of what I felt was a wooden ship floating across the tan bark sea! I looked to see if I knew him and his face didnt ring any bells. He was laying stomach down across the tire opening and kicking his feet against the floor causing himself to rotate slowly. Every other turn he would swing a hand at the tan bark swatting a piece to the edge of the playground. He was one of maybe 5 black kids at this school. His color didn’t matter to me, but I could see he wasn’t the favorite of many. Over time I would get to know Johnny really well, but those first few days he was pretty shy and not open to share much about himself.

I lived across the street from the school field, which was good and bad. Being able to walk to school and be there in five minutes was awesome, having everyone see that I lived in an old motel was not the easiest thing to explain. Growing up I didn’t see a problem with how we lived. Moving from motel to motel and never really having a stable place to grow up was normal. I didn’t know how it felt to have friends from kindergarten sitting next to me in middle school and later walking down the aisle to graduation. I changed schools yearly until I was a sophomore in high school. Having a place to lay my head and food to eat was where I called home. There may have been times we didn’t have either of those and lived in shelters, slept in cars and no food to eat, but my dad didn’t let those times last for long.

We were living in a motel that reminds me now of the Bates Motel. Haha. Very cookie cutter side of the road middle of no where 20 dollar a night motel. Behind the motel, but part of the property was a huge dirt field with cactus and trees and what became the landscape for many trips to new lands for my friends and myself. Some of the kids I was friends with thought it was so cool to have the huge place behind my “house” to play at and do whatever we wanted to do and I do mean whatever. Johnny and I would spend what seemed like days back there though. It felt like it was our own land. No one could take it from us. We built a fort in the furthest back point of the field and used that as our safe place. If we were having issues at home, school or with friends that was our spot to just be. There was a long dirt road that led to the end of the motel and then back up to the street on one end. The road started at a brick wall that was at the end of a trail that came down from the back asphalt parking lot of the motel. We had a huge louquat tree and a few fig trees scattered around. The cactus was all running along the back end of the field. Each motel room in the front had a back door that led out to our praire paradise, but no one ever came out. It was our kingdom and those not invited kept clear.

I couldn’t tell you about Johnny’s family because I never went to his house. I knew nothing about where he lived or if he had siblings, but he became my brother. We were together as long as we were awake, but there were times we slept in our safe place. The funny thing is no one ever came looking to see if we were ok. We created our own background and it was very detailed. We met each other at a summer camp where we learned martial arts and survival skills. We were put together because we had advanced so quickly. Everyone knew this story about us because we told everyone this is how we met and why we were so close. I think we even believed it after a while. People would ask questions about the camp and it was like it spilled out of us. All this information about this awesome place that did not exist anywhere except in our imaginations. We would even talk about it while we were alone like it was real because we wanted our dream to be our reality so that is what we did. We brought it to life.

Our friends were pretty impressed with our stories and they loved hearing them. We had a couple boys and a few girls that came over after school on the regular and the weekends meant sunrise to sunset. I finally had a family that I loved to be around. We watched out for each other and took care of each other, and when one didn’t have the others made them whole. In school, play and through out our days we were all family in my head. I had never felt this before and just did not want to lose it. We would run them all around the back doing karate moves that we made up as we went along as if we were training them. They thought we had learned all this from our summers together in camp and now we were sharing it with them. They were the special group chosen, but they could not share this secret or they themselves would be banned from he group. We went on adventures down the creek that ran behind the motel, and there we would find junk that became our treasure for our safe place. Which not only was for Johnny and I, but Cheryl, Danny, Eric, Shannon and Becky. It was our home. Thinking back to it I feel like it was huge. We had a couch, chairs and a table with books and games. We kept a big ice chest that Cheryl’s dad was getting rid of that we kept sodas inside. We had an extension cord that ran from a shed and had one light from a motel room that was missing the shade they had gotten rid of. We didn’t use it much, but it was there just in case. We also had sleeping bags and pillows from the motel because we had slept in there many times, especially during the summer. It was always hard for them to go home, but for us this was our home and going to our families was the strange place. We created this place and relationship with each other that was more then any of us could really know or understand.

Even with our merry bunch of misfits, Johnny and I were brothers. We had a special bond that that just seemed to grow as the days went on. He would hang out for dinner, be there before breakfast and it just seemed normal. I never questioned why he was always here and never home, or why we didn’t go to his house. My dad always welcomed him into our little motel room. If the door was unlocked it was normal for him to just walk in cause he was home. At school he was quiet and didn’t talk to anyone around the campus. Even his teacher had problems getting him to talk. He did his work and when we all hung out he seemed to be really bright. Knowing how to do so many things and about so many places. It was like he had been there and was sharing the information based on experience. You know how when you talk to someone with personal experience you can almost see what they are talking about. That is how he spoke. Because we had created our own world and background, there was never discussion of our pasts. We just made up the life we wish we had lived. It was a happy past with the perfect family and without any needs. We didn’t create lavish lifestyles, just moments that didn’t show or bring up the hurt and pain that made us who we are. The people we had covered up and pushed deep so we can move on.

Summer after 3rd grade was the best and worst up until that moment in my life. My first kiss was with Cheryl and she actually became my girlfriend. I didn’t know what that meant, but it happened and I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. She lived in the mobile home park to the right of the motel and I would go over and hang out with her and watch cartoons and play games. Her mom and dad were really nice and Cheryl was an only child so she got pretty much whatever she wanted. It was fun to see and not just imagine how this other side lived. The mobile home was nice. Furniture looked new and matched lol, and they each had a new car and they both worked. Her room was really girly with dolls and a big dollhouse. All these clothes and frilly curtains and bedding. It was like someone beat a unicorn and it sprayed a rainbow all across the room. She had a Fisher price record player and had some music on. She loved to talk about her dolls and even had names and lives for each of them. It was the same way Johnny and I had created our past. Cheryl knew my life. The real life. She seen how I was treated and how I tried to never be home. Even at our age I could see how she would have sympathy for me and bring me lunch to school when she made a lunch. She always brought something to our safe place to share with me. It was a different part of my life and I was becoming used to having things I never would have without Cheryl in my life. Johnny would still be in the back waiting for me no matter how long I would be gone. We would fall right back into our story without skipping a beat. I could see he was bothered that I wasn’t always home any more. Maybe not so much bothered as he was hurt because now he was alone.

By the end of the summer I learned so much about this young redhead and my new brother. I was at Cheryl’s house one day and noticed her dad never came home. We ate dinner with her mom and she was quiet. She kept to herself and when I looked at her she would throw a fake crooked smile at me.I didnt ask what was wrong I was 8 going on 9 and I never thought to be nosey in that way. When I left to walk home that night I noticed her dad’s car was parked toward the far back of the drive way. Her dad wasn’t there though?  Where was he?  It was normal in my family to only have one parent, but Cheryl didn’t know that life. Her dad was always there and loved her so much. He always got her what she wanted and was a hard worker to support his family. Cheryl came to the safe place in the morning and Johnny and I were playing war. Yes card games kept us occupied between adventures and G.I. Joes. She didn’t have her normal smile, she looked in some type of daze. She was looking through me when I talked and hugged her. I could see this was not time for our made up life, but to ask about the reality she was living. She didn’t want to talk about it and at that time I didn’t know about the idea of talking someone into telling me what was wrong. A few hours into the day she couldn’t hold back and took me back to the big loquat tree. We climbed up to the platform that Johnny and I had set up between a few branches. Wood from pallets had become the floor for what was to become a tree house one day. We sat there quiet for what seems like forever until she let out this deep breathe and told me the cops had come and took her dad to prison a few days ago. She was sleeping and heard the talking in the living room and came out rubbing her eyes to see her dad in handcuffs and her mom in tears. She was confused and didn’t know what was happening. Her mom grabbed her hand and turned her around and said dont worry strawberry, that is what her mom and dad called her. Just lay down and in the morning everything will be OK. She got a kiss on the forehead that also had been mixed with her mom’s tears. Her mom walked away and closed the door behind her. Cheryl didn’t know what was happening and cried herself to sleep, but her mom would explain what had happened the best she could in the morning. I didn’t understand at the time when Cheryl told me her dad would touch her in bad places. I didn’t really know what that meant. What is a bad place?  Was she being bad and being spanked? I later found out what that was. Cheryl and her mother moved before the summer ended. She left the school and all. I never seen her again. I always wonder what happened to Cheryl. She was a cute and great girl at the time. We had so much fun that summer beyond a boyfriend, girlfriend situation. We all had our make believe lives and alternate realities that let us be someone else and for Cheryl it let her be just a kid. Where ever she is today I hope she is happy and healthy. 

Johnny was the one person there for me through everything with Cheryl. He didn’t show much emotion or know anything about what was happening, but he was just there for me physically to help take my mind off of things. We dove deeper into our fantasy life and created girlfriends we had at camp that were twins and beautiful. It made my reality disappear and all I could do was think about these fantasy girls we had just come up with. The sadness of Cheryl being taken away from me was slowly disapating. Bit by bit she was being replaced by an imaginary girlfriend that could never leave or hurt me. I create this story and outcome. Johnny started showing up later and not staying so late. I didn’t notice it much until one day he didn’t show up at all. Danny, Shannon, Eric and Becky were still there with me, but it was different. It made me look around as if a part of myself was missing. He was my brother and best friend. He showed up the next day and acted like he had always been there. Like nothing had changed. I asked him about yesterday which we never did. We never spoke about the real world. We just created stories to explain the world and life so they could fit into our perfect land and safe place, but I really wanted to know the truth of his absense. This was the first time I heard about Johnny’s real life, and it made me sad. Johnny lived in a foster home with 8 other kids. His dad was never around and his mom died of cancer when he was 6. He doesn’t know of any other family. He has been in different foster homes since 1st grade. He told me he hoped one day to be adopted by a good family, and all I could do was hug him and I remember telling him I would ask my dad if he could adopt him then we could really be brothers. We both laughed about the thought of being brothers forever and took off running from the back porch. That last couple of weeks of summer was different but we seemed so much closer because we were finally real with each other. We had a new connection. Johnny ended up going to a new foster family not in our area, but my dad told me they ended up adopting him permanently later on. We moved away from that motel before school started to another one on a different side of town. Time to find new friends, learn a new school and wonder if I will ever have a group of friends like I did that summer. 

Comfort 

After a certain age we look back on the life we have lived and ask ourselves what the hell was I thinking. As teenagers we feel indestructible. Nothing can touch me and I will live forever. We do not see how actions have consequences and sometimes the memories will haunt us forever. Haunt may be a strong word for some and I guess I look at it as something I just can never forget and I see it still like it happened yesterday.

The cold outside because it is 2 in the morning mid November comes through my sweater down to my bones. My feet are wet because my shoes are old and walking on the train tracks I encountered several unforgiving puddles. It feels like I’m in another world and I have no idea how to get out of there. At 13 I was out on the streets basically raising myself, because the homefront wasn’t very stable.

Gilroy wasn’t across the country, but I can not remember ever being outside of San Jose so it might as well have been China. Hanging around with people that were much older and having experience’s that someone my age or anyone for the that matter should never have was an everyday occurance. This all went down before cellphone’s, so when I was out there was no finding me unless you really made an effort. I should have never had the opportunity to disappear like I did, but no one was paying attention so I was a free bird. Jumping on the bus with some friends and paying one dollar for a pass that let me ride all day was how it all started. Friends of friends lived in the garlic capitol of the world, so let’s go hang out.

I was used to taking public transit everywhere because asking my dad for a ride was not in the cards ever. I can remember one time having to call him and ask him to pick me and my then pregnant girlfriend up from shopping for the baby because we had to much stuff to be carrying on the bus and the attitude I got for the next few days was unreal. I now owed him for the ride which he made seem like I inconvenienced him so much, but all he was doing was sitting at home watching TV like always, but that is a whole other story. Taking a bus was like second nature and it was almost a safe place for me. It was familiar, and comforting. The hard plastic seats and tinted windows were an invitation to throw my feet up and watch the world go by. I had my own private shuttle that I shared with everyone else with a dollar, but I could block them out and just be alone in my own world. Watching the power poles and street lights wiz by and imagining a skateboard zooming across the sidewalks next to the bus doing tricks and keeping pace with us. I don’t know when I started seeing this figure preforming for me while I toured the city, but I feel he was always there. Was he following me, or was he leading us and making sure I got where I needed to go?

I’ll be honest, I was not a bad kid. I always had good grades and did well in school, but my family situation put me in places where my friends were never the best people. I was the youngest of the group and of course naive. Being that the group was all older then me, I also tried to impress them when I was asked to do things. Never said no and always put myself out there. Yes it was a lack of self-esteem and a cry for attention because I had none at home or from family anywhere. I didn’t know these things at the time. Many of time I was taken advantage of by this group, but they let me be a part and I was willing to take the abuse for my place with them. No matter how small it may have been.

You never know where a day is going to go, but I never imagined this one going where it did. I was only 13 hanging out with a group that ranged in age from 17 to 20. When I think back, just the idea that they were cool with me hanging out with them should have raised a few flags. Going to someone’s house I didn’t know and stay a night or a few days was normal during this time, so hanging out in a different city just meant a new place to crash. People coming home from work, having kids and being adults was just so weird to me. They were passing me beers and flammable plants without batting an eye. Never questioning me about how old I was. It was just an average apartment I guess, but thinking back it was a kick back for druggies and run aways. Everyone was cool and just did their thing. Traffic came in and out of that place like 7-11. It was non stop day and night. At this time I was drinking, smoking and doing other recreational substances that made day and night overlap and sometimes days. I had been there for what I felt was the weekend, but I learned later it was more like 4 or 5 days. This was the first place I had gone with them that had kids my age coming thru as well. It wasn’t just adults getting drunk and high and teasing me and making fun of me for whatever reason. So much of my anger and pain comes from those years and being mistreated by people for doing nothing more then being a kid.

I was on the moss green velvet love seat, the kind with the material that you can make it darker or lighter by running your hand back and forth across it when a dirty blonde teenage girl sat on the floor right in front of me pushed herself back forcing me to open my legs and leaned her head back and fell asleep. I seen her the first day there with two other girls. One was a chubby brunette with braces and the other looked just like her without the freckles but also older. I didn’t know her name and why did she come right here. I ended up passing out while mind mind was wondering about this girl. Who was she and why did she pick me to sit by. Did she want to “hang out” or was she just looking for a safe spot and I looked harmless. This was all going on in my head as I drifted away on whatever cloud I had induced. Then blackness……

Have you ever been hit straight in the face? No guard up, or moment to stiffen up knowing what was to come, but a solid fist to your dome? Well, up until that point I had never experienced this pleasure either. This 15 year old girl was a runaway and her dad had heard where she was and came to look for her. Guess whose legs she was between sleeping when he came in? You probably added that equation up before I even asked. Up until this point in my life I had been in a couple fights, but nothing crazy. After this moment I had been jumped, beat up, hit with a bat, shot and shot at. Being woken from a drug laced slumber by a smashing fist to your face is something I can never explain, but the rest was just as bad. Her dad pushed her away and grabbed me by my sweater and threw me down to the geound b toward the door. Kicked me twice in the side and punched me two more times, but now I was covered up so my arms and hands took most of the impact. All I could hear was, “who the fuck are you and why are you with my daughter?” The girl was now up screaming at her dad that she had no idea who I was and was not with me. This statement seemed to upset her dad even more, as if me being a stranger with his daughter between my legs would clear everything up. I got up quickly ran out the door to his son who had a gun. I stopped looked at him and lost my hearing. I got so dizzy and fell against the stucco wall outside scrapping up my arm and face. I later learned that I had done to much of a certain drug that actually caused this to happen to people. I hit the ground and woke up with a foot on my chest. I guess while I was out the daughter explained things to the dad and he understood I had nothing to do with her and her not being home, so I see them walk out he waves to his son and they get in a truck and drive away. I still have no idea who the girl was or they were.

I crawl inside after falling a few times and learning it may not be a good idea to try and stand. I see there is the lady that lives in the apartment, and a couple guys I have never seen before. No one cared about what had just happened to me and my group of “friends” is no where to be seen. This is day four of me being at the house and I heard my people left two days ago. I was alone with no money, no way of getting home and my dad has no idea where I am at. And now we go back to the beginning. Walking on the tracks cold, wet, bleeding and bruised. I have no idea how long I was walking, but after a while I recognized the street the bus came down so I started following the street. After an hour of walking I could see lights coming toward me and I just stood there like a deer trapped hoping to be rescued from this nightmare. It was the first 68 bus heading toward Gilroy from San Jose. An older black woman asked if I was okay and if I needed a ride. I let her know I had no money and was actually going back to San Jose, the lady replied gently, ” I and going to Gilroy taking a break then heading back and she would let me ride without paying. She can see I just needed a break. I teared up and thanked her. I walked to the back of the bus as she turned off the lights and just continued driving down the road. I sat in the back row leaned my head against the window and closed my eyes. A few moments in I opened my eyes and saw my skateboarding friend outside the window keeping pace with us. I felt that comfort come over me, and realized I was finally in my safe place being taken home.

Better with age?….. huh?

Like an old doll, my blog was gaining dust under my bed. Time for me to blow the grime and grit between my keys free and lay a few words down. 

At some point in your life a revelation will come and you will stand and say, “yes, now I understand it all!” Can someone please share this timeline with me. I do not see it coming, and there is no sign that this information is hiding in me anywhere. Are we really suppose to be trying to figure out this play we call life. I call it a play because unlike a movie, a play has several acts and in each we learn more and gain insight before the curtin closes. Which act am I even in? When is the intermission so I can pause this roller coaster, grab a drink, get a bite and relieve myself. 

In everything we do there is a break so we can breathe and regain composure, but in life there is no hold, pause or still button (which I have never found a use for. Moving a single frame at a time just does not interest me) so we can step back and see the bigger picture. We have to believe we are making right choices as we move forward, and when we screw something up we accept our mistakes try to make them right and step forward again. That momentum can not be broken. Every step back is two lost. You can do that math on your own time, it just sounds good for my rant tonight. 

A story is always nice to hear. Some type of moral at the end brings it all together and wraps up everything in a cute little bow for you to share later with all your friends. Usually the highlights are what we give from a good story. There were some peaks and valleys and oh yeah that great twist we did not see coming. What are the highlights in my life reel that will be shared?  The few stories I have shared in this blog were never even known before. Does it really matter that much to me that my story has some type of dynamic moment? The humble person in me wants to say of course not because it is not about me, but wait! This is my life so it is a little bit about me. Isn’t it?

Who am I looking at?

When our teenage children look at us they think we have no idea how it feels to be there age. It sounds like they think they are the first to ever have heartache, peer pressure, be a loner or not sure where they fit in. I’ll be honest, I never went to my dad for advice about life and how to deal with things I just learned as I went through them, and as you can tell I turned out perfect. Haha, but I wanted my kids to come to me with questions about life and sit and have those Folgers commercial moments. You know the ones where the coffee smell woke up the father with a smile and he came down to his kids sitting around the table with smiles to talk about life. Well at least that is what I imagined. I always tried to get my kids to talk but they never opened up and I know it is because I was not the easiest to talk to. I wanted so bad to be that super dad and I missed that mark by a few feet. I didn’t want to be my dad so bad that I never learned how not to and thought I could do it on my own. You can not change the path of life if you never learn how you got there in the first place, or ask for new direction. Children go through things and it is part of growing up, and all I ever could do was let them know that I was there. Even if they never used that hand it was always there. When I think about my children growing up I have a huge smile and a heavy heart because inside I feel I wasn’t what they wanted in a father. I know I can not go back and change what has been played out but I acknowledge what I was and hope they can come to me for advice as parents one day and I can impart into them what I know I did wrong and how they can change that for the better. It was never a lack of love, but a lack of knowledge of what a parent is. As teens we did not see what our parents were going through to deal with us, but we felt our problems were so much more. As parents we say your problems are nothing compared to those of adults. Food, clothes, a roof over your head, a car to get you around and don’t forget about everything else you want. Those are adult problems, but the biggest is figuring out how to be a good parent to an ever changing and grow teen. Nothing is more difficult then that from both aspects of the teen and parent. I’m not sure where exactly this rant came from but my heart must have been heavy with it and now it is out there for all to see, or at least a couple.

Parents do understand

I have had the opportunity to be home with my kids during the day and take them to school and pick them up and help out in their classes and field trips since they were in kindergarten. Working the 3:30 to midnight shift allowed me that opportunity. I feel blessed to have been able to do that for them both, but when I was I school if my dad had to be called for something it was taking him out of work In turn meant he was not getting paid and this may be an issue. So at all coat I tried to avoid him having to be called or asked to come for a meeting at school. I actually had no family at me graduation because I was somewhat tricked into going. That is a story for another time. This brings me to a time in my freshman yeah, which was pretty crazy because I was kicked out of one high school and had to go to school in another district. I was used to going to school in a pro dominantly white are because at that time they were busing us from the downtown area to the white schools and vice versa. I bet some of them white parents were pissed about that. It wasn’t a choice we made we were told where we would be going. Half stayed half went, but I was fine with it and got used to it over my middle school years. By my freshman year it was the normal situation, but then I was made to go to another school in an area that was totally white and did not has a segregation situation going on. 2600 student with about 10 to 12 of us being of color. And in the end we were all friends. I had never dealt with racism I my life. It was late 80s early 90s and I was in California. We had it all and it was okay cause we got along. With my new friends in the land of snow it was fun being popular in our own way. The kids stared at us like we were diseased but the faculty talked to us like we were not good enough and a waste of time. I’m thinking about one specific time when I came in to school like normal on a Monday. I took several buses 2 cities away to get to school which means I’m getting up at 5:30 and leave by 6 to start at 7:30. Sitting in first period and the teacher is walking around lecturing about what he likes and dislikes about the youth today. Long hair, ear rings, jewelry and this hip hop music is disruptive and he would never allow it. As this is being spoken everyone in class is looking at me because what he should have said was anyone that looks and acts like him is a waste. I had long hair, my ears pierced with my gold chains and a yellow Sony Walkman blasting Eric B and Rakim. Oh well I knew this was the perception people had of me here but it was shocking to have him be so blatant about it and in class. As the class went on the teacher spoke about how the school had been vandalized over the weekend and they were trying to get to the bottom of what had happened. About 10 minutes later I hear my name announced over the loud speaker along with the other 9 of my ethnic friends. Sitting in the front office against the wall waiting to be taken into the principals office and I was not even sure what was going on. As we waited our parents started walking in the office and sitting next to us and all I kept thinking was please God I hope they could not get a hold of my dad. I hear the door opening and I turned to look and it was my dad and he was not the happiest of campers. He sat down asked what did I do and as I started to answer he said be quiet and we waited for the next 10 minutes in silence until we were called in. The principal invited us into his office where an officer sat and after sitting down himself began his interrogation. So what made you do it he asked. I was stunned and stayed quiet because I had no idea what he was talking about. You had to have known you would be caught? Again I stayed quiet and my dad spoke up asking what was going on. Over the weekend we had someone come onto campus graffiti on the walls and break windows. What makes you think my son had anything to do with this? Well before him and his friend joined our campus we had never seen anything like this so we came to them first. My dad got this anger over his face and said your telling me you called me from work because you think my kid did damage to your school because him and his friends aren’t from here? Are you really being this racist right in front if me? The principal tried to calm him down and the officer spoke up saying he wasn’t being accused just brought in for questioning. My dad turned to the cop saying where are the white kids? The officer looked at him bewildered and replied what? Why aren’t there any white kids out there? Are you charging my son with something? Their reply was no because there is no evidence who commutes this and my dad grabbed me and picked me up saying come on. The principal asked where he was taking me and he replied home because you guys have no idea what your doing. When we walked out my dad told the rest of the parents what was going on and they all got up with their kids and left. The next day returning to school we had gained a new reputation as rebels for going against the administration. As we left I looked at my dad and said thanks for believing in me and he said he knew I wouldn’t do something like this and was upset I had to deal with that. I knew my dad would always be there for me and after that I had a new love and respect for him. The funny thing was that was not the only time something like this happened at that school. I will have to share more another time. Even though I was afraid at how my dad would react about being called from work he was okay with it if it meant backing me up and showing they were wrong. We are the biggest backers of our children and have to let them see that. I love my kids and would be there for them at the drop of a hat.

Words kill from the Inside out

Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But names will never hurt me…
This is one of the biggest loads of crap you can fill your child up with. Words can damage you far more then what any doctor can possibly fix. Some are short term, but then a few will carry on your whole life and torment you when you think about them. I know bringing up the bible can push some away but in proverbs 18:21 it says the tongue has the power of life and death. What we speak can affect others in a positive or negative way. As a parent this is sad to think about because looking back I know I was not perfect but some of the things I said still kill me inside. I grew up with my dad because my parents divorced at an early age and I decided to go with him. It was my dad, older brother and myself living where ever we could because I had an alcoholic father that found it hard to find a steady job. It was never an easy time growing up when I think about it but my dad always did what he could to keep us taken care of with shelter and food. Even when it was an actual shelter like our runs at Agnews hospital because we were homeless. I remember being dropped off in the mornings at my moms to get ready to go to school because we had to be out of the hospital first thing in the morning and had to be back by night time or we couldn’t get in. Well look at those times I can see how hard we had it and how much my dad really tried. Well back to the storyline sometime within my high school years we were living in another motel in a bad part of the downtown area but I was used to it. It was a single room for me and my dad because my brother had moved on a longtime ago and had begun his life and family. Well I would get ready and leave for most of the day to hang with friends and go to school. I was always trying to get out and stay away so I found girls to hang with and get close too. I was seeing this one girl and spent a lot of time with her but I was always embarrassed to bring her to see where I lived. I was getting ready one day and it was nothing special but my dad looked at me asking where I was going and I told him I was going to see a girl I was dating and he was a bit drunk and said yeah right you don’t have a girlfriend. It shot right through me like really my own father believes I can not get a girl? I again ignored his words and questions and he said well why haven’t I ever seen this so called girlfriend and I said yeah why would I want to bring her here it’s embarrassing. His face went blank, I had just touched a nerve that I had never seen before. He was hurt by my statement and then turned it into anger slamming stuff and yelling how I was embarrassed of my dad and what he was providing. I just left making it easier for both of us and by the time of my return he was already passed out never to bring it up again. Those words had done something inside of my dad because he did all he could to provide and I had shot him down and that was his manhood. I never apologized for those words and until this day it still hurts to think of the pain I caused him. A cut could have been healed but my words scarred him more then I ever knew. I love you dad, rest in peace.

It ain’t no fun…

Thinking about my day and what my teenage boys are up to sends me back to a time when I was a care free teen. I have to think back a ways to find the time when I had my first taste of so called freedom. Freedom being no parent to worry about or looking over my shoulder asking me what I was doing. Growing up with my parents separated gave me the opportunity to roam free at an early age. Dad was doing his best to support me and keep a roof over our heads but that story will come at another time. At 12 I had some how became friends with a group of guys that were more in the 17 to 19 age bracket. I started smoking and drinking and experimenting with other drugs that I really do not understand why people enjoy them. These guys were my friends and I enjoyed being able to do things I couldn’t have done on my own because these guys were older. The brothers were 19 and 17 and lived two house from the railroad tracks. There parents were the only couple still married out of all our parents and seemed to be pretty well off. The oldest a wanna be rapper and his brother who was just crazy. That’s all I can say about him is that he was crazy. Then there was the kid from New Jersey with dirty blonde kinky hair whose dad was an under water welder and they bought the house on the corner. The dad was a single parent of two boys and a girl and wanted to start of fresh for his kids and came here. Little did he know what they would get into. Then there was the grandmas boy who lived above the pharmacy with his grandmother and looked a lot older then anyone but was 19 himself. This was the group of guys I hung out with daily and became really close with. From 6th grade to freshman year these were my boys and I learned what kind of friends I really wanted based on these relationships. I lived in a shared housing situation with my dad. They took these old Victorian homes and made each room into a rental and we shared the bathrooms and kitchen with 10 to 12 other people. Privacy was not an option when you lived like this so a lot of the time I wanted to be out. I left with the sunrise and got back in time for bed. During this time I was more of a cigarette smoker and drinker then anything else, but the guys smoked a lot of weed, cocaine was a weekend luxury and pcp was a drug of choice if they had a choice. If you have never experienced this drug please do not start now. Having your friends girlfriend start screaming because foam has started coming out of his mouth is something I will never forget. I was probably 13 now and we were partying at a friend of a friends house right across from mine and feeling like everything was perfect. For some reason I believed this is what life was all about. Growing up with this as part of your life made it seem even that much more normal. The oldest of the group there was in their early 20’s and had a baby asleep in the room. It was a little apartment with a connected kitchen and dining area. A small bedroom where the baby was and a little bathroom with a shower and tub combo. Reminds me of a cheap motel by the freeway when I think about it now, but this was a place to party with no worries. We filled the place with music, random mixtures of smoke and plenty of alcohol and laughter. I had some random girl sitting on my lap because there was no more room to sit, but you know I didn’t care. A hand on her thigh as I drank whatever I had in a cup and a couple friends started pouring some white stuff on the coffee table. Rolling up dollar bills and chopping it up with a drivers license or ID card they were about to do some lines and started telling me to try it. At this time I had only smoked weed and that was as strong as I got, but with a girl on my lap and a drink in my hand I felt like what the heck… It can not be that bad. You look back to instances in life and just say why but why is not my question. I really wonder how I never became addicted to all these things I had done in my past. Take that half a line up one side and then finishing it off in the next I had no idea what to expect, But I carried on like a big boy. I noticed the oldest brother get up and go in the bathroom which pissed off everyone because it was the only toilet in the place and he was in the for a while to smoke his joint laced with pcp. His girlfriend was very clingy and always right by his side so of course next to the bathroom door there she stood as he smoked away. After 10 minutes I had forgotten about him and was wrapped up with my own feelings being brought on by whatever I had hoovered into my face canal like an idiot. Her scream is what woke me up from my day dream and I got up and went to check on her to see my friend laying in the bathroom. I had never saw a dead body in my life, but if I had it probably would have looked like him. Clammy and pale with white lips and not breathing. Who knew what to do? I was just helping pick him up and his brother yells through h in the shower so we did turning on the cold water and hoping like a dying plant it would revive him. After a minute or so he shook and opened his eyes upset for us wetting him. What the heck? He is still high eyes barely open and slurring his words he begins to claw his way out of the tub and gets up walking with his girlfriend outside. She is yelling crying at him and he pushes away taking off down the stairs which amazes me he made it down and into the street where a car hits him. Again his girl screams and we run out to see the car taking off and he stands up stumbling around but walking thank god. We bring him back into the house where the mood has now changed because of all the excitement and people left so he laid on the couch and fell asleep. You would think after this crazy night and him sleeping it off things would be fine In the morning right. Well it probably would have been just fine if when he woke he didn’t have a broken leg from getting hit by the car but we didn’t know cause he was so high he didn’t feel it. I can say a broken leg isn’t that bad compared to what could have happened that night. I do not know what any of those guys are doing these days but I do hope like myself they found their way after being through so much and seeing things I will never forget.