Sylvia was an odd duck. I didn’t see it then but in retrospect and given new information, I realized she was a little nutty. My father was a handsome man who had no problem getting the ladies…
Sylvia was an odd duck. I didn’t see it then but in retrospect and given new information, I realized she was a little nutty. My father was a handsome man who had no problem getting the ladies…
There is a concept that most adults live under that pressures them to be more and to do more. Heck, my first word was actually “more” as a baby. It is the heart of capitalism in some ways. Yet, the feeling of “making it” behooves us as we strive and strive for triumph and glory. Or at least to have a big house, a nice car and some accolades to go along with it all.
The first time I thought I arrived was when I moved to Santa Barbara. I lived on Del Playa and I could see like 10 inches of ocean from my tiny kitchen window. I was so happy. But my happiness lessened as I learned how hard it was to struggle to get by as a young adult and I began to feel my feeling of arrival may be premature.
When I bought my first house I thought this is it! It was very small; one bedroom and one bathroom on a corner lot with a 1/4 acre of land. I lived there happily with my eight cats and myself until I was completely broke. I seemed to survive without that house and I concluded once again…I had not arrived.
Oh but my Master’s degree. That was the ticket and I treasured this wonderful piece of paper until I found out there were too many applicants in my field and it would be highly unlikely I would get a job where I was living at the time. I spent $60,000 to arrive and I learned if I am spending money to arrive that it is doubtful I will find that to be enough. Yet, I went on.
Then… Steve, Corey and I became US Diplomats and we lived overseas. This was in the advent of Facebook and I was more than proud of posting my diplomatic status as I moved with ease through the airports and customs lines while visiting embassies feeling part of the community. But it did not take long for me to realize my reasons for wanting to be a Diplomat were simply vain. I wanted to look cool. But I did not nothing to gain this status except marry a doctor. Once again I walked away disheartened. Actually I flew away that time since we were in Africa.
Now people can say that they do not give a poop about what people think. I have said it. But it simply is not true. We do care. We do compare and we do contrast and most of are still on a learning curve towards that “arrival” moment. However, if you look deeply inside you may find that “arriving” is only a social construction of reality we all agreed upon to make us miserable and insecure.
But I still continue on my search and now I know I have “arrived.” There was something I always wanted but never could afford. I did not pay for this it came with the house. But the most heavenly invention in the world has entered my life and I don’t think I need anything else to fulfill my idea of “arriving.”. What is it you ask? Well its beautiful and cold. It relieves me when I need it and it is always there at my beck and call. We share a bond of unconditional love that no ther mortal nad inanimate object could ever share. I see it smile at me when I walk in the room. And I will stay with it in sickness and health to death do us part.
I have finally arrived because I am now the owner of an ice machine attached to my refrigerator. And it has crushed ice and water, too! Love never tasted so good!
It is not the simple things that makes us happy. That is bull. But it can be the simple things at times. We live in a society that is always asking more. But today I am going to sit down and drink my ice water and relish in the beauty of the day. I might do it the next day as well. You know where to find me. The place where I have arrived (for now).
You ask me if there were any happy times in my life and I struggle to answer. The truth is I have had many intermittent happy times throughout my whole life. Happiness is not a rite of passage onto this earth. It ebbs and it flows. It is not “the end all be all” for me.
Happiness comes to me through my relationships; memories that flash through my head like snapshots of which I am able to feel over and over no matter how much time has passed.
You know what I loved? I loved playing cops and robbers at Russ’s house with you and Shelley and Justin. I loved decorating you up like a Christmas tree when we lived in Santa Barbara. I loved hearing “I just called to say I love you,” by Stevie Wonder as Dad walked into the living room, I walked down the stairs and you walked in the door. We all sang in harmony and not a time passes that when I hear that song do I not I relive that joyful time.
I know you say you and I are are always overcoming things instead of getting ahead. If that is so, so be it. I do not question life anymore. I just try my best to live life on life’s terms. I never say “why me” because between the pain I have received handfuls of miracles.
I feel very blessed that we are so close. That we do not even have to speak to know what the other is thinking. We are a team and I love you more than anything on this earth. You make me happy. Paige makes me happy. Bailey makes me happy. Jenny makes me happy and so on and so on.
We are not defined by critical moments although I choose to share about them now. We are defined by the love we experience. I remember one time I asked you how to keep love in my life. “You accept the love you are given and you give it back.” You replied without a hitch. I was twenty one at the time and I realized at that moment I was not able to accept love. A year later I met my first husband. You helped me evolve so I could be a person that accepts love. YOU DID THAT.
There is so much freedom in humility and one of the biggest rewards is happiness. I have the humility today to share my darkest secrets because I am strong and I am humble. Hiding who I am is never going to be my style no matter how many feathers I ruffle. I will go on being honest, choosing integrity and participating with love and by doing this happiness is always manifested.
You are my memory. That makes me happy. Don’t worry if I felt pain. Pain is part of the picture for growth to develop. Does it make me stronger? I am strong anyway. But love and happiness makes life feel amazing. And I treasure those moments.
And with that said…we are in this together all the way through and that makes me happy because I could not ask for anyone more unique and beautiful as you.
Ten days before I was to graduate, I came to Mr. Waite’s room who taught me Geometry and told him my sob story. He knew I had barely attended his class and that I had no way of passing the final within the 10 days I was to graduate. In fact, I was never even nice to him. Therefore, I was surprised he would even listen to my sob story.
I had basically fulfilled all my commitments to graduate from high school as I had stated but I was struggling and or failing my first period class of Geometry taught by Mr. Waite. Without a pass from him, I would not graduate. Since I have my teaching license now I now can understand the position in which put Mr. Waite. At the time, all I knew was to cry.
When I did hand in homework, I always copied it from some popular , mullet wearing jock named Chris Bowen. He never spoke much. I could not ever get a good read on him. In retrospect, I realize he just did not want to interrupt class by talking to me but I could not understand that then.
But he was a nice enough guy. I had no idea how funny or popular he was until later, but I still was really fond of the silent types: of which he was one to me. Knowing Chris now, I realize he has a brilliant mind and plenty to say but he also shy and most likely had a hard time reading me as well.
Now in sobbing in front of Mr. Waite I was not passing but had a very high F grade. I never doubted I was intelligent. I just did not care. Apathy was always my enemy and at times I still battle with it now.
Mr. Waite proposed that I show up the last week every day on time and try to turn in some past due homework and he would allow me to pass.
But it wasn’t that easy. I had to show on paper I knew my how solve Geometry questions of which I did not. So… the week passed and I had the audacity to actually missed a class on Thursday; the day before the final because I went out to a rock club that night. Yet still… when I arrived on Friday the last day, a little surprise was handed to Chris and I and we were told to walk to the library.
I should mention, Chris and I were the only seniors in that class and we were getting out of school earlier than the other students so we were told to take out final to the library for completion.
We checked into the library and sat next to each other in desks that separated what we could see. Immediately, Chris remarked that there were three scantron sheets and two tests. Due to the fact that Chris had actually done all the homework he began to realize that on the third answer sheet where all the answers were penciled in that the answers were actually correct. Mr. Waite had given us all the answers!
I penciled through that test as fast as I could. I don’t think Chris understood why we were be given all the answers at the time since I had not discussed with him my prior conversation with Mr. Waite but he was happy enough.
In the end I was given a D- grade. But I passed. And without a lot of “help” from Mr. Waite and from Chris Bowen I would have flunked out of high school. Cheers to two people who had no reason to help me at all!
The morning of my meeting with the administration staff and my father, I was extremely nervous: crawling out of my skin nervous. I was in big trouble and it had been chasing me for three years at that point.
Sometimes I wonder how I thought I could ever get away with all the self sabotaging I was doing to myself with drinking,doing drugs, smoking pot, smoking cigarettes, ditching school and failing almost every class.
At the time “the future” and “consequences” simply were non existent to me. And oddly enough, not many people knew how much trouble I had really created for myself. I was told I seemed happy and always positive. I didn’t mean to hide my shame. I just cared more about what people thought about me than I cared about myself. And this was a problem I carried into adulthood. But I digress.
So…we are in Mrs. Merriman’s office: all of us. I felt three very concerned, incredulous pairs of eyes staring at me. The room was small and the walls were caving in. But some how I mustered the strength to argue my case against getting kicked out of school against all odds.
My GPA was non existent: maybe a low low F, nothing better than that. I had 89 credits to make up to graduate: whereas most seniors had less than 45 credits to pass. This was going to be a tough sale. And so it goes…
I presented my poster board (these were pre-PowerPoint days) and I started by explaining in meticulous detail of how I would make up the classes and raise my GPA in order to graduate.
First I would take ROP which stands for Regional Occupational Program. I could earn 15 credits after school by being in this class. Much to my surprise this class was very helpful to my life because it gave me an upper-hand on how to present myself at job interviews, what to wear, how to fill out the application and shake someone’s hand: all strategies I still use to this day.
In addition, I agreed to take a class at 530am once a week and agreed to work 30 hours a week for 15 credits. I struggled with this class because I was reckless and I kept quitting jobs. Throughout the year I worked 13 different jobs to earn those credits.
As for ditching school, Mrs. Merriman suggested that I spend 2nd period with her helping out at the office. I truly enjoyed this idea and finally became well known to the most of the staff in a positive way.
Next I would go to adult school and make up several classes. This was actually incredibly easy because it was independent learning and did not require a lot of my time.
Lastly, I would take the 45 credits like the rest of seniors were required to do. And in four years I attended TOHS I finally got to know my peers. In the prior years I hung out with people much older than me and I deceived myself that I could care less about people my own age. Actually, the truth was people my own age made me extremely nervous. I felt inferior and I did not know how to have real social relationships so I always tended to be hang-out with people that were older because that sense of competition was not present.
At the end of year, I was sitting in Mr. Coffman’s class surrounded by all the football guys goofing off when we were all handed a performance report. I opened my eyes and I tried not to cry. I was graduating but I ranked 520 out of 540 in my class. That mean 20 other students did worse than me. Furthermore my GPA was an .006 (if that existed!) And in all my glory of successfully fulfilling my goals I still felt like a bottom feeder. In fact, I never told anyone until years later.
Regardless, I was given my cap and gown. I walked across the podium hearing my name being announced and threw my cap in the air with all my peers of the class of 1990! From that point further, I knew if I took action I could probably overcome any issue that came way. And for me that was the safety I needed to go out and live on my own in the great big world.
One frightful day, I returned from ditching two classes, totally high. I was called into the vice-principal’s office. Mr. Eckland and I had met on many occasions but this time was different.
“Where were you for second and third period?” He asked staring straight into my eyes. “I was cleaning my kitchen.” I said and that was absolutely true.
My dad was suffering from some sort of clinical depression and our house was covered with stains, dry hot dog on the counter, vegetables dying in the fridge, and other expired food strewn all around the kitchen. The floor was filthy and even after two hours I still had not cleaned it enough.
Well, this didn’t go over well and I am pretty sure they administration became concerned about my home life. My dad was called in and Mrs. Merriman,the attendance officer, along with Mr.Eckland began to take a hard look at my academic profile.
A meeting was set with my father and me to meet with the two of them. Mrs. Merriman reviewed the facts with my dad that I was not going to graduate next year do to all the D’s and F’s I had in my classes since freshman year.I am sure my father was alarmed because a friend of mine was making fake report cards for me stating that I was receiving all A’s and that my attendance was excellent.
But the jig was up. Mrs. Merriman said I needed to leave Thousand Oaks High School and begin attending Conejo Valley Continuation High School. Now don’t get me wrong. I had plenty of friends at that school but I was honestly scared to attend. I imagined people forcing me to take PCP and classrooms out of control. The school had a reputation for troublemakers and I definitely had earned my spot there, however, I truly thought I was better than that school. It was unimaginable to me to that I would be kicked out of school at all!!!
First, I started brainstorming. I would take the GED. School would no longer be in the way of my social life if I chose that route. But several friends talked me out of taking the test and I was in utter panic.
Mrs. Merriman had put me on a probationary period and I still ditched class so she set up another meeting where I knew it was over.
The class I had ditched in the first place to clean my kitchen was a child learning class taught by Mrs. Williams. I did not like the teacher and she had no reason to like me. But Mrs. Williams noticed the day before the big meeting that I looked exceptionally distraught and she approached me.
I began to cry and told her the dreaded news. She listened and she said nothing judgmental. I thought this was a waste of my time until she said, “I have a plan.”
And her plan was the hardest undertaking of my life thus far.I was two grades behind in credits and I had only attended school 25 percent of the time. But she had far more experience than me and she began to teach me how to negotiate and persuade with concrete ideas and not tears.
I began to be hopeful. The plan was developed around a presentation on poster board showing what classes I would attend, before school and after school to make up the credits.Yet I wondered how I could ever actually accomplish this painstaking plan she and I set forward in order to graduate on time. I would see the next day if the plan would work or not. My presence at Thousand Oaks High School was wearing thin. Could I convince the administrators and my dad that I found a way to graduate?
We will see…
I am not be highly religious, I may go to hell, I may be part Wicca but I do believe in God. Thankfully, my relationship with MY God has changed and blossomed into place beyond my comprehension or ability to articulate.
By the time I was eleven years old, I had spent four long years going to church every weekday at my private school. I listened to the pastor, I sang the songs, I wrote poems about Jesus and I do believe this was a wonderful foundation in which to be exposed as severe neglect was presnt in my home.
But free will exists and I wanted the California State Flower so bad: The Golden Poppy. I struggled every day trying not to pick one but they were so beautiful even though it was against the law to take one for yourself.
My obsession with this flower grew as I walked home on Gainsborough Road -on my way to and from school. It was a long walk and I distracted myself avoiding the cracks on the pavement or puposely landing on only the sidewalk cracks while singing and making up stories in my head: mainly more distraction techniques.
But the day came. I could take it no longer. I wanted that flower! Waiting until no cars were around and no people, I went for it. I picked the Golden Poppy. And then fear set in. I ran and ran and ran as fast as I could in hopes that the police or the FBI would not catch me. I just needed to make it home and then I could hide this great sin.
Unfornutaley, I ran out of breath right as I turned off Gainsborough and an overwhelming revelation overcame me. No matter what I do or say, or not say, wherever I go, I would not be able to hide from God.
“God knows.” I said to myself. “God knows you picked the Golden Poppy you stupid idiot and God is mad at you.” And fear was replaced by guilt because I suddenly started to remember temptations that I could not withstand: stealing at the grocery store, not wearing underwear under my dress one day at school, running to the Oak’s Mall a thousand times when I was far too young to go alone and not being honest with my parents about these defects of character. Basically, I felt doomed.
For many years I held onto that guilt like a coat of armor. I did not know how to undo what I had done. I had stopped going to church at that point and I just had to live with myself day after day.
But you know what? My concept of the Lord was off-target for a long time. I had a mean and angry God who condemned me in all ways, who would never forgive my ugyl- flower-picking sin. However, God is all-loving and has great mercy for anyone who seeks to do better. It took many more years of life for this truth to be revealed to me.It happened just when I stopped looking. It doesn’t matter though. I learned it and I believe it in my heart.
So repent if you will, have mercy for each other, for yourself and thank God for all the love he pours down unconditionally upon this earth. I am grateful today. I am no longer confused and I have been given direction and many miracles from my loving God.
And I no longer pick poppies, I admire them from afar.
In seventh grade I began to change. My grades went from straight A’s to all D’s and F’s. I would skip school on a regular basis because no one was paying attention to me. Furthermore, I hid all my feelings. I would cry alone and write in my journals about how sad I was every day and I truly believed I had no one in which to talk.
That’s when it started: suicide ideation. I remember like it was yesterday when I started to obsess about killing myself. My life became a movie that I would watch from the sidelines and I began to develop a plan. Cutting my wrist when no one was home would take me away from all this misery.
On the outside, I seemed happy. Adult Children of Alcoholics have a strong ability to figure out what it is people wanted you to feel and then you could dance to their tune before they knew they had one. I hung out with my friends and most of them were doing drugs, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol at this point. There was also cocaine use but I did not find out about this until much later. I did none of that. I was the “good girl” of the group and sort of a outcast. I did not know that either but I learned later,for the most part, I was not among friends.
In addition to being an Adult Child of two alcoholic parents, I also found out that clinical depression and generalized anxiety was just part of my gene pool. I was not the only one who felt this way. But we all hid it well.
I would go back and forth in my journal about why and why not to kill myself. I developed a short pro’s and con’s list. The pro’s were I should kill myself because I was a late developer lacking any form of breasts and no pubic hair and the reason I could not do it were simply Jason and my Dad. I knew this would be devastating to them, plus I was the women and caretaker of the house. What would they do without me? The truth is I was depressed and my brain developed with a low pleasure center which meant I would have to force myself to do act. Finding joy was not my innate ability.
Finally, I gave it a try. I pulled a knife out of the kitchen drawers, walked up to my bathroom and began slowly sawing at my wrist. Blood came out but it was rather minute. I cried and cried but finally decided I could not go through with it. Some could equate this to the children of the day who cut their selves for pleasure but for me I meant business.
It was not until I began dabbling into drugs and alcohol did I ever feel normal again. Drugs and alcohol are a horrible method to treat major depression but it was all I knew. For we accept the reality we are given until we know better.
Unfortunately this has been a life long problem coupled with alcohol and drugs; the disease within caused me to become apathetic. It would not matter how much information a person would give me, or if I discussed it, my baseline was not to care about myself and I dove deeply into other’s lives.
The day after Christmas, my friend Shelley came up with a great idea. She would call one of the boys from our sixth grade class and talk to him. I was super shy. Super super super shy. They talked for several hours and we agreed to meet up with Scott and his friend at Hendrix Park around 2am. Shelley instantly turned to me and asked “Have you ever kissed anyone before?” I lied and said yes.
Besides never ever kissing a boy another issue abounded that was interfering with my choice to go. The boy I would be with was my best friend’s boyfriend. “She is going to break up with him anyway.” I rationalized and some how my body kept moving while my mind was paralyzed with fear. It was the first of many infidelities to which I would agree to in my life. But I was selfish and did what made me happy back then.
So it was on. The park was only a few miles away. We ran fast. We ducked when cars rode by. Once someone saw us but they did not stop so therefore this had to be my destiny. As we ran down the last leg of the trip we could see Scott and his friend waiting for us. I had no idea what to expect and I knew nothing about the male brain.
The four of us sat on a picnic table and all I remember is Scott’s friend began FRENCH kissing me. I just moved my tongue and hoped I was getting it right.
My heart was beating fast and the friend began to slowly paw his way up to my very flat chest. Hormones flared. Fireworks skyrocketed and I was enjoying what was happening. It made me feel like a big girl.
At the same time, my nervousness had not subsided. I was making decisions about what I would allow and what I would not as we made out on the table. One decision was made for me when I realized I had seriously wet my pants. Not the good wet. The urine wet. And he was making his move downstairs.
“NO.” I said. He said “Come on..” But there was no other choice. It just wasn’t going to happen. Not today.
My powerful “NO” brought everything to a close. It was 4am and Shelley and I ran back home. All I knew was I loved this boy forever. My heart pounded in a different way and I glowed with excitement and pride for facing a gigantic fear.
We seldom talked after that night but I still loved him all the way into 7th grade until “she” showed up. My boy was in love and having consensual sex with a 42 year old woman. I was 12 and I did not understand the magnitude of this scandalous liaison that was before me. All I knew was that I couldn’t compete. She had a car and breasts and I did not. End of story.
My first glimpse into love was a mighty blow for reasons discussed. But on a happier
note, my boy and his 42 year old girlfriend stayed together for many years and I really think they loved each other. Who was I to mess with love?
Sylvia was an odd duck. I didn’t see it then but in retrospect and given new information, I realized she was a little nutty. My father was a handsome man who had no problem meeting the ladies. However, Sylvia happened to be the one love of which he could never let go.
THE BACK STORY
Before I was born my dad was cheating on my mother with Sylvia, therefore when they started dating again, after the divorce, my mother was furious. My mother believed the affair had never ended even throughout their 11-year marriage. To this day I do not know.
Sylvia had certain quirks like she only flushed the toilet if it is necessary. She was obsessed with our weight and would bring small trampolines to our house for Jason and I to jump on while we watched television. And as a hypochondriac, she wore a sling out in public so she would never have to shake anyone’s disease-ridden hands. But most importantly Sylvia was a follower of Ramtha.
Ramtha was a god who lived as a mortal through a woman named JZ Knight. My dad and Sylvia would watch in a meditativej pose videos of Ramtha giving lectures on how to live for RamthaOne. “Your lethargy wants you to go with the flow. Do you have your underground with all preparations that will let you go undetected?” Ramtha would ask and she would end every sentence with a long pause and then the word “Indeed.”
“Face your fears and allow yourself to unmask their illusion.” Long pause…”Indeed.”
Sylvia would pay $1200 for weekend retreats just to speak with Ramtha. One retreat Ramtha demanded that Sylvia move out of Southern California because a crack in the ocean would and that Sylvia should move up north and stockpile ten years of products that would help her survive when doom’s day arrived.
Jason and I were afraid to bring our friends home given the two of them at any moment would be meditating, watching, and or discussing Ramtha. It was not normal
In the end, she moved to Weed, California, and stockpiled ten years’ worth of canned goods, toilet paper, clothing, and whatever else she felt was needed under the house. She bought hundreds of llamas and peacocks because they would be her new friends. Often, she spoke about Mount Shasta and believed that it was a portal where different beings of consciousness travel to alternate universes. We would visit the mountain. I never saw a portal but we came and we left many times.
The last time I spoke to Sylvia was when my father died 16 years ago. She went into a diabetic coma and was bedridden for months. I am assuming she is no longer alive. Yet…one never knows what will happen next. And as the story goes. Indeed.
There was one good thing about Jackie and many bad. First of all, Jackie began dating the manager of Tilt, our local arcade. This gave me an upper-hand with making friends because the manager, Eric, would allow my friends and I to play after hours for free!!! And to this day I am one of the finest champions of Ms. Pacman: let that be known.
However, Jackie lived in our house and the only space for her was the den. The den was a room, however, it was missing half a wall and no matter what curtains she put up, we could still hear her and Eric having sex. I hadn’t ever heard sex before. Audio sex is not like visual sex- at least not to a virgin.
Visual sex actually looks very awkward to me. Two people: rocking, engaging, legs flying, sweat dripping. But audio sex is where the secrets are unveiled. I could hear her giggle, moan and beg for more. He would huff and he would puff until he blew the house down. They made sounds that were not words but both understood and for the most part what they meant and they seemed happy. On the other hand, I was horrified.
Then, for some reason unknown to me, Jackie got fired upon my father’s return. Unfortunately, Jason and i still needed to be supervised and in walks Dan with his dog Tanner. Dan was an odd person, he lived with his mom after he was released from County Jail where my father was also serving his time and he agreed to be our nanny.
Naivety really clouded my understanding of Dan and I was wickedly cruel to this man. I ordered him to take me places, make me food and be my servant at the very least. I am quite sure Dan hated me. One time I listened in on his phone call with his mother and he endlessly complained about “the girl.” However, it did strike me as odd that he referred to Jason as Jason. Maybe he had a softer spot for Jason…I did not know.
The truth revealed itself in a very ugly manner one warm spring day. I am not sure why, but Dan was talking to Jason about something serious and then to my amazement, Dan pulled Jason’s pants down! Jason was a smart kid and he ran. When my father returned I thought I had seen the last of Dan. I knew I did not feel safe and I was extremely protective over Jason and felt a sense of relief when I could believe I would no longer see Dan.
But no! There was more. Dan returned to our house when my father was home, completely drunk and declaring his undying love to my dad. My father was a tall man and he handled it quite well. “Go home Dan. I am calling the police right now. Never come back here again or you will see big trouble!” My father yelled authoritatively. Dan cried and begged a little more but finally unhinged our gate, driving away with Tanner: a very lonely man.
to be continued…
When I was ten years old my father ran over the neighbors mailbox, splitting the car in half after taking too many sedatives. My parents just separated and I did not understand why my brother and I were left with my father who clearly had a multitude of problems. Basically, we were left alone.
I found my father flat on his face with blood dripping from his legs. I discounted what I was seeing and seriously believed he was just tired and had spilled ketchup on his legs. We needed to get to school and Jason comes roaring into the living room yelling “the car is totaled. The car is totaled.”
I yelled back that dad was tired and he spilled ketchup on himself. But Jason was keen enough to know that our greatest concern was to find a ride to school. The Morris’s lived up the street and while I was not friends with them I asked their mom if she could drive us. I did not tell why. I did not know how.
When we arrived home my dad had already gone to treatment and we were stuck living with our nineteen year old nanny who my father knew through drinking with her mom at the local El Torito. Jackie, our nanny, did not like us.Her judgments were clear as she relished on talking about how my dad had to go to jail instead of returning home after rehab. She put us down constantly and she humiliated me in front of my friends saying “your dad forgot to pay the power bills because he is locked up.”
I did not know that my life had completely changed forever. I did not know I would be own from that point into adulthood. Had I known I may have been reluctant to keep trying. However, I was resilient and I would never give up.