Chapter 01: it starts. (birth through divorce and shortly thereafter)

I was born in Philadelphia in the spring of 1989. My mom had recently moved down there for work and my dad had come over from Germany however many years earlier.

  • My mother grew up in the house next door to where we live now. She has one sister and three brothers; one of which passed away in a motorcycle accident less than a mile from their house at the age of 18. None of her siblings had any children.
  • My father grew up in Germany. He has a half-brother from his father’s first marriage and a half-brother and half-sister from his mother’s second marriage. Prior to leaving Germany he had a daughter, giving me an older half-sister. None of his siblings had children either, and to the best of my knowledge my half-sister doesn’t have children.

I forget the story of how they met, I just remember that it was a “whirlwind” romance. They met in December of 1987, got married in the summer of 1988, and had me just over 9 months later.

After I was born, my brother came as a surprise in the late summer of 1990. I don’t recall much from when we were a family. All I really know is what I’ve been told and the stories I’ve made up in my mind through old pictures. My mom was the primary bread-winner, working long crazy hours; my dad trained dogs and was my primary caregiver at the time, bringing me to training sessions and wherever else he had to go that day. It is my understanding that as an infant and toddler I was a “daddy’s girl” – though I don’t remember any of it, I’m almost certain that was the strongest point in time for our relationship.

I’m not sure how old I was, maybe around three, when my parents divorced. My brother and I moved with my mom back to her hometown to live with my grandmother, 6 hours away from where we lived as a family in PA.

After the divorce, my dad spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse. The hurt and impacts of his actions on me as I was growing up are extensive. I only learned of his addiction when I was in my late teens, it was difficult to comprehend his actions, or lack of actions, prior to that because all I had was the twisted reasoning I would create in my mind – nothing based on fact. Since learning about it, and up to this day, I use this knowledge in understanding, not excusing, his failed promises and relationships with my brother and me. He would say he was coming to see us and wouldn’t show; send my brother a Christmas card if they were speaking but wouldn’t send me one if we weren’t and the same the other way around; if we hadn’t talked for a few months or even a few weeks he wouldn’t send a card, call, or email on birthdays; those are just to name a few, I’m sure at some point I’ll end up going into greater detail on some other things if they arise as we go. Currently, after years of not paying child support and accumulated interest, he owes enough to put my brother and me through college twice over.

We shared a small apartment with my grandmother after the divorce. My mom continued to work a lot in order to provide what she considered a decent life for me and my brother. I don’t remember much from this time in my life, but I don’t have any negative memories of it and the stories I’ve been told seem to be generally positive. I know my mom faced a lot of personal challenges during this time. Mostly related to her upbringing and the somewhat bizarre and unfair family dynamics, but that’s her story to tell, not mine.

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P02. Introduction. a way too concise look at who I am today

Before I begin, I’ll give a little background to help paint a better picture and provide a more clear understanding of how I got where I am and what I’m all about. Who I am today is the result of the experiences I have encountered throughout my life and the choices I made in how I would handle them. By giving the basic information on who I am today it is my hope that as you read my story you are able to identify different aspects that could have influenced my development and, in part, have contributed to the direction my path has unfolded.

–          I’m a 24 year old Caucasian female living in the suburbs outside of a small New England city;

–          the daughter of an inspiring yet frustrating mother and absent drug addict/alcoholic father, sister to a 23 year old annoying man-child, and mother to an incredible 18 month old son who I truly believe saved my life;

–          a full time student majoring in Social Work;

–          a 30 hour per week employee;

–          a nearly 2.5 year clean opiate addict;

–          an individual who, despite feeling hopeless and paralyzed at times, refuses to give up on achieving my goals; and an individual who even in the most trying of times will actively seek the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small or hard it is to find.

My story is in no way unique and pales in comparison to the experiences others have had. The struggles I have been faced with may have seemed like the end of the world at the time, but looking back I’m able to conceptualize how small they are in the grand scheme of things. As I write this I will be going into detail about things that come to mind as I go. I am by no means a perfect person, some of the things I have done in the past disgust me and are inexcusable to the regard I choose to hold myself in today. Though I may not be proud of everything I’ve done, I take complete responsibility for my actions and am in no way looking to excuse them. I ask that no judgment be placed upon me as I delve in to uncover the deepest darkest skeletons in my closet. In most situations I was not the only person involved, please keep in mind that you will only be hearing my side of things and that any other party may not agree with my interpretation of events.

My ramblings may be scrambled, as my thinking often is. I will try my best to follow some type of logic, though will not focus on it since this is meant to be a leisurely therapeutic process. If you follow me through this, you will grow to love my quirks and “catch phrases” and empathize with the person I’ve become. I hope you are able to sense my humor as it often sounds snide when speaking, I can’t even begin to imagine how it’ll come across to someone reading. Most importantly, I hope you are able to feel the sincerity of my words as you follow me in this journey.

I consider this project and myself a work in progress. I don’t plan on even attempting to publish this when I’m done, but I would like to put a final product together for myself. With that being said, my punctuation, verbiage, or articulation may be difficult to follow. If there is something that is hard to understand through how it was written I would love to know if you are able to do it constructively. If I start to talk about something and you have more questions about it (why, what happened, etc.) please feel free to ask, I’ll answer the best I can.

As you read this, please keep in mind that putting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions out there leaves me feeling vulnerable. I will appreciate anything constructive, but please be respectful should you choose to comment.

We’ve reached the end of my introduction, my next post will be of Chapter 01. I’d like to take this time to thank you if you have chosen to follow me on this journey. I hope it can be something positive for both of us.

Here goes!!

RoaP

P01. Preface. the how and the why

So it’s Sunday morning in suburban America and I’m writing my first blog to try to release, or at least decrease, this overwhelming feeling of sadness, loneliness, and uncertainty – this all comes with the prevailing feelings of hope and determination, just not as strong as they typically are. I’m hoping that by putting some of this out there that the universe will respond in some way.

I started writing this with an objective in mind: to provide just enough background for an outsider to follow along with where I am now and my most recent difficulties. As I started writing this though, it has changed a little bit. My goal is still to get to what is currently happening, but to not take such a direct route, rather meander my way from the beginning to see what else comes up.

Why now? Aside from pressing difficulties, I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to write an autobiography of sorts since I was a young teen. Despite facing great adversity in my life, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It may seem cliché, and I know a lot of people share that thinking; but every trial and tribulation I’ve faced up to this point has made me who I am today. I may not be exactly where I want to be, or where I pictured myself at this age when I was younger, but each day I learn more and become stronger – even if only by a little.

See you next post. -R.o.a.P.