Guest Blogger …. My Daughter, Amanda and the story she so truthfully tells.
There is a darkness out there. Roaming, weaving, whispering to me. It cackles in the daylight and snarls in the night. Some people have the will to ignore it…others are destined by it. I was imprisoned by it. I’d like to say I was one of the lucky few with this curse. But, it isn’t luck I’m drawn too- it’s experience.
Life is one long string strung up with all the beads we’ve collected over the years. Some people are lucky enough, rich enough, or sneakier enough to get the pretty beads. I didn’t care for pretty beads. I chose the deformed, uncolored, and ancient beads to weave my tale. For I was not a kindred spirit to those others.
And they and all my dysfunctions certainly were not a kindred spirit to me. When I was little I carried my beads with me everywhere. Hanging out for the world to see, because I was proud of them. They were me in essence. Plus, no one anywhere had beads like mine. I felt special. As if I contained a secret no one else did. I treasured them, clutched in my small hands like rubies until one day, and many more after that, I was rebuked for them. My beads weren’t pretty, they were ugly, old, used up, and so very stupid.
I was devastated. And so, I began to hide my beads. Too afraid to show them to anyone.
As the days turned to months that turned to years I had begun to resent them. I resented them and resented myself and especially the world for not accepting the beauty that was crafted in my beads as old as time.
I was now the outcast. I had few friends who talked to me occasionally, but I was still “the weird one.” I began writing at a young age. Angry poetry and dark stories. I read more books than I can name and started to obsess over things that I felt understood or made me in a way. An escape from reality. Each year I masked my resentment and indulged in a different kind of self-destructive pattern. The first when I was little. Dinosaurs. Then, space. Then, Japan. Then, Scotland. Things I could never hope to see and places I felt I could never go. It didn’t matter that all the kids could now make even better jokes at my expense or that my brother and sister were always teasing me or angry with me for taking so much of moms time. I had found my quiet place. I had finally picked back up my beads.
Of course, that wasn’t enough to help me through the storms to come. My step-father, though real-est father I’d ever known was called back to Iraq for the second time. Not only that, but my mom wanted us to move to Charles City my first year of High School.
I forgot all about my beads. All about everything. And was sucked into a darkness so deep, so terrifying, and so full of hatred no one wanted to be around me. I ran away once. Then, the second time the cops were called and I was sent to a psycho-ward for seven days. By this time I knew how to cheat the system. I’d been in these white rooms with white doctors who repeat the same questions and all you can do is smile, take your pills, and promise not to hurt yourself or anyone- many more times before. I was a teenager in crisis, and suicide wasn’t something I didn’t consider. This time I had thought to be like all the others. But, I was wrong. They were sending me to Teen Challenge. A 15 month rehabilitation center for teens in Kansas City, Missouri.
15 months later, one divorce later, one mom almost committing suicide later, and dad back home later…. I was vulnerable. Scared. And still fuming with hatred. I was now a Senior. 17 years old. Just when I thought I’d escaped it all the Devil looked down at me and smiled a Cheshire-smile. Stupid cat.
Things were getting worse at home. I’d gotten my first job out at Arbys and was working a lot. I also met a group of people who saw my beads. And accepted them. Wrong crowd. But, what did I know? For the first time in years I didn’t have to be afraid of letting other people see who I was. I didn’t have to hide my beautiful beads. I felt acceptance from those who desired to be around me.
It wasn’t before long I started sneaking out, drinking, and started doing drugs. It had gotten completely out of hand when in January my mom and dad call me downstairs to their “Yahtzee” room for a talk. So, I went. With dread. Already having an idea of what it was going to be about. My mom talks, she’s always talking, she cries, she’s usually crying, my dad sits there like he’s made of stone….but they didn’t know we were all three sitting there far past our breaking points. My mom finally heaves a sigh and looks me, I squirm. “You graduate in 5 months. We will give you your car and gas just for school and back. You stop talking and hanging out with your friends, you help around the house, and spend time with your family….or get the fuck out of my house.”
I was infuriated. Infuriated and hurt they weren’t going to let my addiction continue here. I wanted to stay, wanted to beg them to help me. But, I smiled. My addiction was stronger. And I was just tired of it all.
“Fine. I’ll start packing.”
The next 4 months are a blur. I’d done almost 20 different drugs, slept with many more men, and wasn’t going to school. I lost 30 lbs, was always trying to steal money. I- I was a wreck. I wanted to die. In my addiction I was gone from the world, I didn’t remember it in those drugs. What I didn’t know was that in my addiction when I’d shown my precious beads those I called friends were making fun of me…in their own drug addict way.
Only, then I was too blind to see it.
April 28th, 2011… Jericho fell. As my mom puts it. I’d been on a meth binge for a week and a week prior to that she knew she was losing me. Losing the battle of her little girl. So she prayed. And God told her to turn to the story of the Bible about Jericho. She went so far as to march around the apartment complex I was staying 7 times for 7 nights.
The 7th day my four “friends” and I were arrested and spent the night in jail. I have never been so terrified in my life. Though we made the most of it, and were under 18 I got slapped with possession of drug paraphernalia. Then, with our heads hung low, with no desire to quit, I went home with the girl Id been staying with. The police left our drug of choice on the table because its technically legal and we snorted a whole vial before I finally worked up the nerve to call my mom and beg her to take me home.
Its been 11 months since then. By grace and trial, I graduated from high school, and after detox, have been drug free ever since. I’m learning to bring my beads to light the right way. No, they’re not pretty. Yes, they’re old and ancient. But, they’re my beads. I’ve embraced them.
My Mother and I … moments after my graduation.