I never allowed my emotions or goose bumps to intuitively put me in safe situations in dating as a orphan. I just ran through the fire barefoot and naked and waited for no consequence. I dated men ten to twenty years older than me as a teenager. I was homeless at times and slept in strangers homes. When it came to dating it was always a mess. I could never afford the right clothes to wear and when I did find an outfit it usually didn’t paint the right picture. My manners were outrageous and my hair was never tamed. I rarely told anyone when I was going on a date or hanging out with a new person. It would have been very easy for me to disappear without anyone noticing until it was too late.
Meeting my date’s parents was always a trip. I could categorize them right away if I was going to be a good or bad egg in their home by the way they would tighten their hands once I mentioned my mother was a prostitute that had paranoid schizophrenia and committed suicide leaving me in foster care. Most of those hands escorted me right out their front door and the ones that didn’t wanted to take care of me like a brand new baby doll. Dating was no fun as an orphan let alone dealing with the marriage part.
Once married, I was told to not talk about my life once by an in-law. I was told to “let old dogs lay dead” and that I was “White Trash”. There were family “meetings” on how dangerous and free- spirited I was. There were even talks on me being “nice” but because I was not any religion I wouldn’t be going to heaven and they were not happy about their son affiliating himself with a “girl” like me.
Being a human being with a background like mine can make it hard for others to understand. They won’t ever meet “my side” of the family. They don’t understand that I never finished college but I get paid to speak. They say why would someone pay you to speak and listen to you, you are not college educated. They don’t understand what it is like to be abandoned and left as a child or what it was like to go through three identities while trying to graduate high school with no parents. The lack of acceptance and understanding only tears us further apart and creates pain when there is no need for it.
As a society we are so judgmental and it is understandable to be protective in this day and age. However we have to be open with compassion, empathy and understanding. Not one persons family is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. The love and guidance we can give to one another without fear that our backgrounds are different will rise us to new horizons. If we could come together understanding trauma better our whole universe would shift. It is my days work to help connect these dots.
I wouldn’t go back and redo any of my life, but if I had a caring family member watching over me in my formative years I wouldn’t have had to struggle as hard as a child or as an adult, always trying to guide myself into the right direction. When you don’t have good consistent “parents” all of the lessons are much harder and more confusing to go through.
I am strong but I am weak because of being and orphan. It is not just the ones going through it that need the support. It is the older orphans/fosters too. Which once again makes me realize why I had gone through what I did – because someone has to relate, connect and understand to help and support the ones that are the same.
It is my lives work to create art to create change, to speak and connect, to write and share, to learn and grow, while balancing this awesome act we have called life. Take care of yourselves and reach out when you need to, there is always someone there to help. They may be a needle in the haystack, but they are there.
With all my heart,