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Some Roads are Bumpier than Others

Many people know that I had some rocky teen years. Group homes, detention homes, juvenile prisons …. But let me point out! This is not a sob story! I came from a good family. Sure, they had some issues, all families do. But my father supported us all, my mom stayed at home and was the girl scout leader. I did ballet and baton, I was taught to sew my own clothes, to crochet and knit …. It was a good life. And I was (am) a super intelligent kid. Which is what made me think I was smart enough to get away with whatever I wanted.

I came from a time when your parents gave you sips of their beer. My dad thought it was funny when I would sneak it. And eventually I started taking it to school in my lunch box thermos. My dad was an alcoholic and my mother left him when I was 11. Which is how I got stuck in this hell frozen over to begin with (New York)! Once my dad was not in the home, I let loose. My mother moved to a new town for a fresh start.

I started smoking when I was 13. Pot and cigarettes. That is also when I lost my virginity to a 17-year-old boy. I lived in the country and would sneak out of my house and ride my bicycle a few farms away, the next town over to stay up all night drinking and partying with kids older than me. 13 is when I ran away from home for the first time. I was found that night or next morning, I don’t remember. And was immediately taken to an emergency foster home. I turned 14 there but was only there a few months before my mom managed to get me home.

My mom moved to Rome, NY to start fresh … again.

I was a unique kid. I had red hair and freckles. I wore a dress or slacks to school till 5th grade. The first time I ever wore jeans to school. So I got made fun of but I had friends. I was a military brat and maybe it was just because I was used to moving around and being around new kids again, but I don’t remember the teasing every really bothering me. I kinda played along with it like an overweight person who jokes about themselves as if they didn’t care. It makes sense to me that this is probably how I wound up in drugs and promiscuity so young. Just wanting to belong.

By the time I made it to Junior High I was a very outgoing person. But outgoing not always in a positive way. I am smart and had to work very little to do excellent in school. This made it difficult for the teachers. I would also come in to classes late, smoke in the bathroom, skip classes …. But how do you punish a straight A student? My teachers tended to love me or hate me. Once a teacher gave me a detention slip for being late (now I was extra angry because it was a hall staff that had made me late). Without a word I tore it up into pieces on their desk. I think it was a he … he moved to write another and I told him I would rip that one up too. I didn’t yell or swear, I was fairly well tempered and mannered, I just did what I wanted to do.

This drew people to me like moths to a light. I would say what others wouldn’t say, I did what others wouldn’t do, I didn’t care about repercussions, I had no fear. Plus I shocked people. Like, I claimed to be satanic. Wherever I led, people followed me. Once an entire party of us ran away from home. We were going to hitch hike to Florida. We stopped at one girl’s house first though and her sister was home sick and called the cops on us. By this time, I knew the drill. My mom knew she couldn’t call me in till I had been gone 24hrs so I knew they didn’t have a missing person report on me. Everyone’s parents came to get them. The police agreed to take me home if they saw me go inside. I ducked down in my side porch, they thought I had gone in. Then I went around, kicked in the glass to my bedroom, packed a bunch of stuff and left again.

Even when I was home, I didn’t behave. I stayed up late taping MTV to VHS (which I wasn’t supposed to be watching) … this was back when MTV still played music…. I snuck out and snuck back in.

Sometimes there were all night parties. Someone’s parents would be away and us friends would step up to act like the parent on the phone when needed. I was 14 but my mom still wanted to talk to my friend’s parents to make sure it was ok if I stayed over. One night my friend was her mom, talked to my mom … yep, going to the movies then staying in, bring her home tomorrow. And to the party we went.

I was drinking Canadian Mist all night. By the way, can’t even smell that now. I’m still 14 at this point. I was raped that night by one or two black boys from school. I don’t remember it, I was passed out. My friend walked in on it. One doing his thing and the other with his dick out, who knows if he was first. They were bounced out and my friend woke me up and told me what happened. Now, I’m not sure if my reaction would have been so extreme if I had been sober but I wanted to die. Please understand, this was 1988 and in the city I lived in, blacks and whites were still very separated. I had friends that were black, I knew these boys, we were all at the same party. But this was something I didn’t think I could live with. I was crying and screaming and trying to get the knives in the kitchen. My friend had her boyfriend running around hiding everything sharp.

In some ways I was so smart. But in most ways, I was just a little girl. An actual little girl. I never told my mom, family, authorities….. because I was 14, drinking, and had lied to my mom about where I was. I was more scared of getting in trouble. I am well adjusted now. It may sound funny, but the the one aversion I have now is I can’t drink from black straws. They make me think of black penis. I am pretty sure nothing even went near my mouth, lol. I don’t know why that sticks with me to this day. And black guys scare me a little, lol. But it is very low lying and I understand where that comes from and you would never be able to tell by seeing or meeting me.

I wound up running away from home shortly after that. I was in Utica for a long time first. I slept in the basement of a parking garage. A friend of mine lived out there too. I couldn’t stay in his place, it was something in the Y, so he would stay with me often. He was 18 and protecting me. I got food from various churches and I don’t know what you would call them. Places that gave free food to homeless people. My shoes fell apart and I stole a pair of sneakers from a car that was left unlocked in the garage. They were too big for me but they covered my feet. I shoplifted clothes and makeup (I was 14! Yes, I was still concerned with makeup) Once my friend had bought some ham and bread for sandwiches. We hid the food behind a bush. By the time we came back it was covered in ants ☹ I was hungry. I wiped off the ants and ate it anyway.

I had a necklace I was attempting to sell for some money. I walked up to people on the street asking if they were interested. One man said yes he was interested but I had to come with him. He would buy it if I did. I wasn’t that stupid. The area of Utica I was in was not a good one. I often got stopped to ask if I was a hooker. …. I never did that!! …. But I needed the money for this necklace. I went with him and he asked me to wait in the car while he checked in the house. While I waited in the car I positioned my knife I carried to be open and just up inside my coat sleeve. The man came back and told me to come in. He didn’t try to touch me, I followed him. The house was completely empty. We went to a room that had just a chair in it. He started asking me inappropriate questions …. Had I ever kissed a black man, why not, would I … I asked if he was going to buy the necklace. He told me if I watched him jerk off he would buy it. I pulled the knife. He stood up from the chair and I held the knife out in front of me and just circled around the room well out of his reach, backed out of the room to the stairs, turned around and ran. (yep, I used to be able to run!)

I didn’t look back to see how close he was, I just know he was moving. I was out the door and running through yards and between houses as fast as I could. I did see him shortly after that driving around. I have no idea if he was looking for me, didn’t matter. I was a run away, what was I going to do? Go to the cops? I was in an area not mine and I just went back to my parking garage. That necklace was eventually stolen from me.

So yes, two very scary sexually abusive situations and all while I was still 14. They weren’t the worst.

Actually, the worst is hard to explain why it was the worst. I was not raped. It was the intention though. I think it could have been because I knew the person and actually liked him. Maybe because it was the first time I was hit by a man. Maybe it was because I was awake and never felt more helpless. It was an ex boyfriend. He was an ex and I was refusing to sleep with him (yep, I’m still 14. And a runaway). We were at his aunt’s house and he asked me to come out into the hall so we wouldn’t wake her. Once I was out there, he grabbed me and put me to the floor. He was 16 and a more solid, bigger type of boy. I struggled and he was groping me and kissing and licking me. I was fighting and he slapped me. I immediately stopped. I had never been hit before. I felt stiff as a board. I let my head roll off to the side so I wasn’t looking at him and I just quietly cried. He noticed I was crying and he stopped. He stood and held out his hand to help me up. He told me, “Wow. I was going to rape you. And it would have been your fault because you’re so hot”

Now, of course I did not believe any such thing would have been my fault. But that was the most emotionally traumatized I had ever felt .. up to that point. I never had to come across him again. But that man, years later, was arrested for forcing his way into a woman’s home and raping her. He was a rapist. Even at 16. A good looking guy too. One of those guys you would never think would need to do such a thing. Again …. I never told anyone that should have known.

I almost am not sure if I should tell these stories the way I do. I mean, sure its good for you to know that you can find normalcy in life again. You can be a strong person … mentally and physically …. Despite these things you might have endured. But its almost like I’m saying, I never told anyone, I dealt with it and I was fine. That isn’t the case. I lived a very tumultuous, emotionally stressed, risky life for a long time. It finally came to a head and I had to deal with it for real. But I did! And things got better.

That is yet another story.

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