Story of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Substance Use, Attempted Suicide, Depression, Religion, and Neglect (TW)
Well, I would like to start off by letting you know that my various hardships started as early as I can remember- when I was five up to now and I am thirty-two. This is going to be lengthy, and I hope you read because I feel that it may help you. It started when I was five years old. My five siblings: three sisters, two brothers, mother and I were living in poverty. We lived in public housing and relied on the government. Living there absolutely sucked. We were pretty much the only white people there and we were always called racist slurs and it was a weekly occurrence that we would find out someone had been shot in front of our apartment door. We didn’t have a dad to help my mother out because he was put in prison for sexually assaulting two of my sisters. I think that having to take care of us six kids by herself was the reason why she was drinking every day. She was an alcoholic and had gotten pulled over for D.U.I with us in the car a few times before they finally took us from her. It was very bad because my brothers and I got put in a foster home and my sisters got put in another. The people we got stuck with fed us beans and rice everyday. We were there for over a year. They would always lock us up in closets and the garage for no reason. One day they had locked us up and they had stuck me in the garage. Do you know the sound a car makes when you turn it off and the metal starts cooling down? That tinkering sound. At that time I was six and believed in monsters and it scared me so bad. They had a door that led to the outside, but in front of it was stacked full of five gallon paint buckets. I had moved all of them and escaped. I ran up the road until I saw a woman swinging on her porch swing. I ran to her and was crying telling her everything. A week after that my sisters and I were reunited with our mother. She had got out of jail and was doing good and not drinking. She had met my soon to be step dad. He was a retired chief from the Navy. He was staying in the woods for some reason that I didn’t know, but he had got a job at the housing complex where we were living and ended up moving in with us. He was saving money and we moved out of the complex and into a house. Things were going good, however, not for long. They had started drinking everyday and would fight. One day, my brothers and I were playing outside together in the front lawn, when all of a sudden, my mother bursted out the front door with him right behind her holding a knife. She had tripped and fell in the yard and he was hovering over her saying he was going to kill her. I ran over to him and shoved him telling him to get off my mom. They ended up going back inside and when us boys went to go in, he told me I wasn’t allowed to come in and made me stay out all night. I was only seven at that time. The drinking was all the time and the fighting was periodically. They had split up at one point for a month and then got back together. We needed him. My mom had six kids, and two of my sisters were handicapped (mentally retardant). He worked and also got a check for being retired from the Navy. He spent twenty years in the Navy. He saved money and we moved into a different house, and then he and my mom got married. Then, one of my handicapped sisters died. At that time, I was twelve and they were still drinking everyday and the fighting started happening almost every night. It was happening so much I remember lots of nights hearing them fighting till two in the morning and finally he would go to bed, but tell my mom not to come in his room, so she would come in my room and ask me if she could sleep in my bed and I would say yes, and I would sleep if I could for the four hours before we would have to go to school. Sometimes they would start fighting early during the day and I would stick up for her and he would beat me. One day, he and I got into an argument and he pushed me down and he went to walk away and I went running at him and pushed him into the entertainment stand and he called the law and had them take me and I got put in foster care. I was thirteen then. They were always changing me from one foster home to another while I was in there and so I was also always changing schools. It was horrible because it caused me to get behind in school, and ultimately ruined my chances of graduating. I had to get my G.E.D. While I was in foster care, my other handicapped sister died. I was so sad and angry. I didn’t get to spend time with her before she passed. Before I got into foster care, I remember pushing her in her wheelchair to take her for a walk, and helping mom take care of her like feeding her and giving her her medicine. I helped my mom by holding her up in the tub. I was so angry that I cursed God saying he wasn't real. I remember trying to commit suicide a couple of times after that. I had took a whole bottle of aspirin one time and then I tried to hang myself from the cords on my weight bench. I continued to feel as if I had no family and no one who cared. A week right before I turned eighteen, the state had told me I could go back home. I hate that they had done that to me, because if I was in there for that last week I would have aged out and I would have had the opportunity to go to college free with free room and board. They did me dirty and instead I went back home just to get kicked out a week later because it was the same thing: drinking and my stepdad and I getting into it. I was thrown out on the street with nowhere to go. I had no friends to turn to for help. I was always changing schools so I never had time to make friends. I slept outside for a week and finally went to him begging for him to let me stay. He ended up saying yes. Something happened a few days later and he had called the police and I went to jail. I stayed homeless on the streets with nowhere to go. I ended up walking two counties over to one of my foster homes and asking if I could stay and they told me no. While I was walking with nowhere to go, I stopped at this store to see if they would give me some water and the guy working was talking to these two girls and one of them looked at me and started to talk to me. She told me I should come over to her house because they were having a party and it would be fun, so I did. We ended up getting along great together talking and drinking and she said I could stay there. She said I could work for her dad doing roofing. Her dad finally let me work for him. I went to work for him and he worked me that first day, paid me at the end of the day, and didn’t have me work anymore after that for some reason. I went back to her house and she said that I should get her some pills with that money I made. So, I gave her the money. I had no idea she took pills till then. I ended up getting a job at McDonald's a week later. When I got paid she wanted me to get her pills again. I gave her the money. At this time, it had been a month since I first met her and I liked her, but I didn’t want to be with a drug addict, so I left. I had nowhere to go once again and I was on the streets. I called my mom and told her I have nowhere to go. I don't know anyone and asked her what to do and she told me about homeless shelters. I started to look for one and there wasn’t any in the area I was in and the closest one was across the state line, so I went there to find out that I couldn’t stay there. They had a rule that I had to be a town resident before I became homeless. I didn’t know what to do. When I had called my mom I found out that my brothers were in the military. I called one of them and found out that they were both stationed around the same area and he said I could come stay with him because he had just got married and was living off base. I went across the country to stay with him. I had put in applications for jobs, but no one was calling me and my brother started telling me I had to go if I didn’t get a job. It had been a month since I had first arrived at his place and he ended up telling me I had to go. The next day, I finally got a call for a job, but I didn’t have anywhere to stay. I slept outside, but I went to work. I eventually told my boss I had been sleeping outside and they let me stay with them long enough for me to save up to get a place. Plus, she said I was working really hard and that she was going to give me a raise, but not to tell anyone because I would be making the same as the others that had been there for a long time. I stayed and saved and two months later I got my own place. I worked there for two years and I would hangout with all the other workers outside of work. I liked them all. It ended up becoming a problem because this one coworker wanted me to hang out with her at her place, but I had plans to hangout with one of the other ones, so I couldn’t hangout with her. The next day at work, she told me I was stupid for hanging out with them because they were always talking about me behind my back. I told her I don’t care and she started calling me more names and wouldn’t leave my work area, so I went to the boss and told her and she said if we can’t get along she would fire us both and that made me mad, so I quit. I wish I hadn’t done that, but I did. I wasn’t thinking and let my anger get the best of me and it really screwed me because my lease was up that month and I had nowhere to go and no job. I was twenty-one at this time. Then, I found out I was a father. The girl that I left that was taking pills had a boy. I was told I had to pay child support. I tried to get back with her, but she was with another man that she also had a child with. Since then, I have been homeless. I keep on trying, but it is impossible for me to get a place and a job. I went to many shelters, but they only let you stay for two months and I had to get a job at the same time, but it’s not enough time for me to save up enough to get a place because I have to pay child support, which takes half of my money and I can’t save for first month’s rent, last month's rent, and security deposit. It’s too much money for just me. I have been homeless for over ten years now. It has been horrible. I’ve got behind on a lot of child support because of it. I have lived with depression, high anxiety, and stress every waking hour for all these years. I had started hearing voices the last three years. The doctor told me that with depression getting so bad, it caused me to be schizoaffective. I also can no longer stay focused no matter how hard I try. My mind is all over the place thinking about everything. It has actually been hard to write this. I now get social security. It helps with child support, but after child support I only get four-hundred dollars a month. Nowhere can I get a place with that. I’d have to pay rent, electricity, and my phone bill. I don’t see any way to ever have my simple dream, like having a place, food, and a family. Really, I stopped thinking about it recently. I have learned to be happy despite all of the hardship. I have learned the important things in life. I’ve stopped being angry, saying “why did I have to be born to a life like this”. I had my opportunity and screwed it up for having all that anger buildup. I’ve learned to love. My stepdad is no longer alive. I forgive him though. He was actually a good man. He took a woman and six kids in and took us out of the public housing. My mom, I don’t know where she is today. She is a good mother though. She raised six kids with two of them handicapped. That is a lot of work. I feel very sad for her because she has had a rough life too. We all have rough lives that cause us to be imperfect. We tend to take our pain and sorrow out in negative ways like anger, drinking, or drugs. I learned to appreciate what I do have. The beautiful skies, seeing the sun coming up in the morning, and the stars at night. The beautiful trees and flowers, the amazing animals, the ocean, lakes, and rivers. I’ve learned to appreciate what my life has created for me. It made me the man I am today; I’m loving. I’m appreciative. I’m a hard worker. Even though I see no end in sight, I am still trying hard. I am trying twice as hard than most- I have to. It’s horrible not knowing when the next time you are going to eat or have a drink of water. I have run out of places just asking for some water. Most of all, I am closer to God. Even though I have done the most horrible thing to curse God many years ago. I know he forgives me and is with me and that is what matters. We all are going to leave this world one day and I want to go knowing I have done the best I could. I know I can’t take anything with me when I go. I can’t leave behind anything materialistic for my son, but I can leave behind some knowledge to him and others. No matter what negative situation happens, the main thing that matters is to live by God’s word. Be humble before God and never forsake him. Never give up no matter what. Do the best you can do, and never allow your heart to be hardened.
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