Half of me 

My parents split up when I was around 3 years old. There were 3 of us and my mom was pregnant with my brother, when we left our sperm donor. That was it. He never wrote, called, showed up to court, never gave my mom a cent, etc. Nothing. 4 children that were half his and he couldn’t mail a damn birthday card. Jerk. 

When I was 17 years old, I was on meth and a mess. I moved away to my aunt and uncles to get some help. I started to see a counselor. Her name was, “Judy.” She was lovely.  I remember our first session she asked me what my first memory was. I remembered being in a crib. I remembered playing and trying to get a tooth brush (I think) off the bed next to the crib. I remember my father yelling and smacking my hand. I remember him leaving and never seeing him again. I never knew how that one moment would define so much of who I am. I didn’t want people to leave me. I didn’t say no to anyone. I didn’t fight. I was  fearful. I was a pleaser. I would let someone take my soul and not say anything. The list could go on and on. 

It’s funny how our heads work. I have a wonderful mom. She’s been there from the begining. Loving, playful, and full of  fight for us. Why couldn’t my first memory be of playing with my mom? What was it about this one memory that made it stick and be first? Why?  I’ve often wondered why I was left with this memory instead of him just not existing to me. I’ll never know. Just like I’ll never know most answers to questions I have about him. 

I honestly don’t know if a child will ever get over being abandoned by a parent. I don’t know that there’s anything that will ever fill that void or answer so many questions that being abandoned brings. We had a good family that helped raised us and loved us. A power house mom that somehow not only survived, but thrived with all 4 of us. We were never without. I mean, we grew up with a lot less than most. We struggled to make ends meet, but we were never without. We always had clothes, shelter, food, etc. We could have everything, but we still didn’t have a father. Well we did have a father. We’ve always had a father. He may have been a horrible father, but he was ours. 

He ended up getting into a horrible car wreck and survived years later. He was paralyzed, and could barely talk, but he was alive. We received a letter some time after the accident. My mom told us there was a letter for us to read, when we felt ready. A little bit of time passed and I didn’t read it. One day I was high on God knows what and went looking for that damn letter. Big mistake. I read it and put it back like I had never seen it. Boy, I was livid. Before I was sad, hurt, confused, maybe even a little angry, but now? I was shaking in anger. I kept that a secret and just held on to it alone. Never told anyone I read it. He ended up dying. 

My mom asked us if we wanted to go to his funeral. She left the choice to us. My brothers and I decided to go. So we made the trip to Mexico with my mom. I remember my heart racing as we stood in front of the church. I remember being scared. I wasn’t scared of what I would see or the people. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to control myself. I was scared I would go kick the casket over. I was scared I would start screaming in anger and not be able to stop. I saw people crying and mourning this man that I had mourned my entire life. I was so confused. Could a man that abandons 4 children be lovable? Could that man be someone that made people happy? There across the aisle sat a girl with her mother. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably. The girl looked like me. That girl was his daughter. He was a dad? She knew him? Why? Why her? How could she love this man? I was so angry and so jealous. I knew he was a piece of crap, but I was still jealous. Why was she ok to love, but not me? We made it through the funeral. I didn’t kick the casket. I didn’t scream.  Instead, I walked up to his daughter and I told her I was sorry for her loss. I gave her a hug and told her I was so so sorry she lost her dad. 

I read that letter again eventually. Years later. I read the letter sober and as a mother. You know, I like to believe that I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’ve worked hard to try and get over my shit. Reading the letter again, I still have anger and confusion. It no longer consumes me, but it’s there. In the letter he had said that we weren’t his kids. We were my mom’s kids. She raised and cared for us. The thing is that’s not how this works. When you have a child, that is your child. No matter what, he was my father. I was his child. He had that role whether he wanted it or not. I am a mother and I am responsible for the type of parent I am to my daughter. If I were to leave her, she suddenly wouldn’t stop being my daughter. He was a coward and in the letter I felt he was still trying to avoid responsibility. My aunt asked him what he wanted to say to us. He said, “I’m sorry.” My aunt had asked him if he loved us and she said, “He yelled at me as he was pounding his chest, “aquí los llevo!” (“I have them here”). Reading these things in the letter I felt as if I was being lied to. I wondered if a person that can abandon four children and never look back can even feel remorse. He was sorry? For what? Years and years and years and yearrrrss went by. Where he could’ve talked, written, etc. Now he was dying and he said, “I’m sorry.”  It just wasn’t enough for me, but it’s all I received and have. 

I never asked any questions I had. I never screamed and let it out. I never attacked him, while I sobbed as I had envisioned so many times. I realized I had everything I was going to get from him. Long lashes, issues, and my brothers. 

He had substance abuse issues (alcohol and drugs).  He was a liar. He was abusive. He was selfish. He hurt my mom. He hurt my brothers. He hurt me. He hurt everyone. It would be really easy for me to be just like him. I can’t tell you how terrifying that is. I have everything inside of me to follow lead. I have to fight like hell so that side of me doesn’t win. Today I write this as a 32 year old that is still angry and hurt. My father died and we never made peace. I was never given the chance to love my father.  I feel like that will probably be with me forever. Just like he’s always been with me forever. Whether he wanted it or not. He was there.  

Freak of nature 

I grew up with three brothers. I have two older brothers and a younger brother. Let me just tell you all, these guys are good at everything. I’m not just saying that, because they’re my brothers. Give them a couple tries at anything and I promise, they will be better than most. They’re fast learners and even more importantly they’re eager to learn. They’re incredibly smart and it just so happens that they’re also incredibly good looking. Ugh, I know. I hate them. You know what else they like to do? Be healthy and exercise. So annoying! Of course, we all have our flaws. My brothers and I all made our mistakes. Some bigger than others, but we all made them. Growing up we drove each other mad, but I always remember looking at them and being jealous. I was jealous of how easy it seemed to be for them. Jealous of how they could do everything. Jealous of their normalcy. I’m not talking about a spiteful jealousy. I was a chubby scared little girl watching my brothers be larger than life.  I’ve always admired so much about them. I wanted and heck, I still want to be like them. If there is anyone in this world that I want to be proud of me, it’s my mom and my brothers. Of course, I want to be proud of myself and I know my husband is proud of me. He married me, but to have my siblings and my mom be proud? That’s been my goal for years. 

I made bad decisions. I lied. I hid. I messed up. I hurt people. I didn’t have any regard for my life, much less for anything or anyone else. When I decided to come clean and get help, I knew I had a long road ahead of me. Not just with having to learn how to be sober and make good choices, but making amends with my family. I remember telling my family that I was sorry. I also told them that I knew it meant nothing. I didn’t want to say I was sorry anymore. I knew my words were cheap and abused.  I didn’t want to sit there and give them my reasons or excuses as to why I was a drug addict or did the things I did. I asked them to please watch me live my life. I wanted them to know my actions. All I could show them was that I was living an honest life and making good choices over and over. It was all I could ask for. It’s been years since I’ve told my family that and to this day, sometimes that’s what pushes me to be better. Them. 

I know people say not to compare yourself to others, but really what else do we do? I had three siblings. Of course I was going to compare myself to them.  I compared myself to my brothers, cousins, friends, randoms, etc., my whole life. Even now I feel like that’s what the adult life consists of for most. Keeping up with the Jones. Comparing what you have versus what your neighbor or that blogger has.  Comparing our body versus that body. Our child versus that child. We all do it. I do it daily, I’m sure. I just don’t do it to myself anymore. I know now, that I am a freak of nature. I will never be like anyone else. What works for everyone else, will probably not work for me. The way my brain works will never be the norm. I will never be part of the norm. That was a hard pill for me to swallow. Once I was able to accept that, I was able to stop comparing myself to others. Now I just compare my husband, my kid, etc. Oh wait, sounds like I’m pretty normal after all.  

This played such a big role on my journey to getting body and head right. I finally let go of everyone. I had to do this my way. I had to find my path. You know what I found out? I’m like my brothers. Those guys that I was jealous of? Yes, I’m like them. I can be with any of my brothers and feel like I am home. I wouldn’t say I like to exercise, but I like to be healthy. I wouldn’t say I’m smart, but I’m quick just like them. I’m not traditional, but neither are they. They’re larger than life to me and I’ll always see them that way. They’ve driven me in ways that they will never know. To go work out, to stay off dope, to be an honest person, to be myself. I’m forever grateful for the very best friends anyone could ever have. 

Women’s March 

Why did I march at the Women’s March? I had actually believed that the march was to unify women and empower us as a whole no matter our race, sexual preference, or anything else for that matter. I was hopeful and feeling inspired. Here was this women’s march being promoted everywhere we look. Talking about power, unity, and fighting the fight. I’m a woman who was raped, I’m a woman who has girlfriends from third world countries, and I am a woman who also believes that something’s need to change. I thought I was part of this group.

Then, the day before the march I read about the Pro-Life movement being denied a part in the march. Upon reading about this, I immediately felt alienated and confused. I thought this march was about supporting ALL women. I thought this was about being one and equal. I thought this was about women sticking together so we could be more powerful. To say that we will not be raped, belittled, and pushed to the back. I thought this march was to say that there are girls being trafficked in our backyard and we, women, can help them! I thought this march was to help oppressed women anywhere. I was left uneasy and unsure, if I would attend the next morning. 
The next morning I started to see pictures of the marches going on in other cities. I started to feel anxiety and some panic set in. I saw the signs bashing “my God”. I saw the signs bashing some of my views. I saw WOMEN alienating me. I was confused and immediately thought that wasn’t a place I belonged or was welcome. Even though I’m clearly a woman, I felt unwanted and like the enemy. I talked to a couple friends and my mom in hopes of some guidance. Ultimately I made the choice to attend the march. I tend to have anxiety problems so I thought I was looking for a way out. I wanted to be brave. I should’ve listened to that little voice inside. I should’ve stayed true to myself. I should’ve stayed home. 
I went to the march and at first I was moved. I saw waves and waves of people marching peacefully. They were united in that very moment and you could feel the power. As I started walking up to join the march, my excitement started to turn into anxiety. Little by little, as I read the signs and looked around, I started to feel lost. The march itself was fast. Then, they held the rally. That’s when it hit me hard. I am lost. I was jam packed here in masses of people. I kept looking behind me, to the side, in front, anywhere for me to get out with my stroller, giant husband, and two year old. What the hell am I doing here? They aren’t talking about changing anything. They aren’t giving ways that we can stick together and be stronger. They aren’t talking about accepting everyone. They’re aren’t talking about respecting each other and other women. Giving money to PP shouldn’t be the only way that women should be told to help. Is this all that women’s rights is about? We’ve managed to pack women’s rights into two categories now? Pro-life and pro-choice? That’s it? That outweighs girls being trafficked, girls be raped and married off worldwide, women being forced to be suicide bombers, while carrying their infants? 
I left. I saw hundreds of posts following. I saw pictures, read signs, people mocking the march, women bashing women for going or not going, people loving the march, etc. We all saw everything. It was everywhere. This huge nationwide Women’s March was taking place and I was a part of it. Why did I feel so bad inside? Why was I embarrassed that I went? Why did I feel even more alienated than before? 
Days have gone by and I really had to take the time to process everything. I had to take the time to get back to being true to myself. I had to ask myself hard questions about my beliefs and where I stand. The truth of the matter is that I have known and continue to know what I believe in and who I am. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed and still succumb to peer pressure whether it’s intentional or not. I too want to feel like I’m a part of something and belong. 
I am Pro-Life. I am a woman. I should not be alienated for my beliefs. I should not be excluded. I should not be made to feel less of a woman. I should not be guilted. I am NOT Pro-Choice. This one detail of my beliefs should not and does not dictate the type of person or woman I am or the type of life I live. It’s MY belief and just that. I’m not asking you to follow it, I’m not asking you to understand, I’m not asking you to educate me, I’m not asking you to question me, I’m not asking you to be a part of it, I’m asking to be respected. 
I’m not telling anyone that they’re wrong. I’m not telling anyone to change what they belief. I’m not telling anyone they aren’t welcomed. I’m not telling anyone that they need to be educated, because of their beliefs. This march was a slap in the face to so many woman and yet that’s ok, because they don’t think the same and “people are angry.” This march alienated and oppressed women just like women have and will continue to do so day in and day out.  
We want to hold women’s marches screaming that we are oppressed and demanding equal rights. How about we hold women’s marches screaming that we have the power to help thousands of oppressed women in the world and demand it be done whether your pro choice, pro life, gay, straight, white, black, democrat, republican, liberal, American, Middle eastern, Asian, etc.? 
Get your opinion and judgment out of other people’s beliefs. It’s none of your business. There isn’t one way to be a good person. There’s tons of ways. You don’t need to have a certain set of beliefs to be a good person. We can all be good people, even if we believe different things. Can you believe that?