I had a strange upbringing. Stability wasn’t a theme in my life––figuratively and literally.
Most people I’ve encountered have only moved once or twice, others haven’t moved at all, and have stayed at their childhood home and never left their hometown except for college. I didn’t have that luxury. I moved more times than I can count on two hands.
I’m not resentful of it, and the reasons why I had to move. In fact, it has made me more aware and open about the world around me, as well as people that I encounter. Some people don’t get to experience daily life in another place other than “home,” wherever that may be.
I moved a lot because of the work my mom did. I won’t divulge too much into it for the sake of privacy, but she worked in a position that required her to move around because her department had more demand in other places. And if she wanted to keep her job, she’d have to follow them to where she was needed. My mom and dad divorced when I was 5, so therefore my worlds began to change in that moment. That was the first time I moved, at 5 years old, to Arizona (Yuck, never again). Even when I was a child, I believe we moved twice in the same city. I was born in LA, so it was somewhere within this vast city. But the next time though, we moved out of state.
But of course, it seems that didn’t last long. Before I knew it, we were back in Southern California, residing in a brand new sleepy surf town. This is where I mostly grew up, until age 8. That’s when mom, my sister and I packed up and moved to Denver, Colorado. It was a brand new world, with seasons that I never experienced before. It was where I first witnessed snow. Powdered magic that swept me away, the chill that I grew to love. I learned to play on sleds, frolic in the snow and embrace these changes. It’s where I found beauty and serenity in the pine trees and ginormous mountains…. But then something else changed. My sister no longer wanted to be part of it, so she took her leave and moved in with dad back in LA. So I was alone with mom. But then she met someone new, and that’s when I moved again at age 10, back to that sleepy surf town.
I went back to the same elementary school that I had attended before I moved to Colorado, so my same friends were there, waiting for me. Mom and the guy got married shortly after we moved back. Life was strange. My sister still lived with dad. But then it happened again, it was time to move back to Colorado. And I went with mom and the guy.
Now I’ll admit (a lot of the details, the years that whizzed by) that I may be blending together some things out of order. It was a strange time, like I said. Everything was changing so fast, I was uncomfortable and fear is a familiar friend that resided in me. Nonetheless, we moved back to Colorado. I was enrolled back into the same elementary school I had attended the school year before. I didn’t have friends either time I attended. I just remember one girl I sometimes hung out with at the first apartment we had lived in. This time though, we were homeless for a short-while. This is something that I’ve come to realized that I’ve blocked out about 95% of the details. It was a bad time, the fear found the anxiety and they become best friends and lived in me. They wouldn’t let me go. Finally, mom and the guy found a house and we moved in. It was a big house, and I really liked it. It had a giant garage and a giant backyard with a treehouse and a little fenced in dog-run. I had a nice room, and I think that house had 6 bedrooms! It had a large downstairs where I would hide in one of the rooms and play computer games.
But then it happened. The guy and I didn’t get along. I found that I felt more alone each day. Mom didn’t seem to notice all too much though. She ended up leaning in his favor and decided it was time for me to go live with my dad back in LA. I was confused and sad. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t understand why she chose him over me.
So there I went again, moved back to LA. There my dad, stepmom and sister were waiting for me. It felt so foreign and strange. I never really felt at home there. My stepmom didn’t make me feel welcome. My sister was always annoyed by me. But I don’t harbor any resentment towards her, it was that age gap. I was 10, she was 13. Of course she didn’t want to be around her annoying little sister.
I was sad and alone, once again. I was enrolled into a new school district where I had one or two friends. I was made fun of by some kids, but I really liked my teacher, I remember that much. I called my mom often on the phone. My stepmom would be listening and timed my calls. I would cry to my mom and tell her I missed her and that I wanted to go back to her. I got my wish. After the school year ended, I once again moved back to Colorado. This time, the guy and mom divorced while I was gone.
So I moved back to Colorado with my mom. We lived in a little duplex that was by a beautiful lake. I loved walking over there and playing on the playground. I would go alone, my mom worked a lot. That was a big theme growing up- I was often alone. We moved into a different apartment in the same complex later on.
I started school in a new school district. I slowly made a few friends, two that became my best friends. I would always hang out at J’s house, she was my favorite. Her family made me feel so welcome and loved, that I never wanted to come back home to the bleakness that was my life. I never invited people over, I didn’t want them to see the way I lived.
Then something happened again. Mom had had enough of me. One night changed it all, and once again, I got on a plane and was on my way back to LA to live with my dad, stepmom and sister. I felt all these emotions well up inside of me. Stuff that had always been living there, but was now truly emerging. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, but I didn’t know what to do with it. This time in my life is where I truly turned to music, it became my outlet, my getaway from all the chaotic wreckage that was swirling in me.
My stepmom still never let me feel comfortable or welcome. She never let me have computer time, and if I did have it, it was always for an hour. The rest of the day she hogged it for herself. Dad was gone at work all day, then when he came home, we’d just eat dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep. They’d smoke cigarettes throughout the day in their garage. I remember my stepmom would always make my sister and I do their laundry, and our own. We also always did the chores, with minimal effort on their end. I felt like Cinderella. I hated it. This was the first time I would stay in the shower longer than I should’ve. I would sit on the shower floor, knees to my chest, crying and trying to ignore the painful thoughts swirling in my head. I’d often think of Spider-Man and his heroic adventures. I would try to hold onto the courage he had. I wrote letters to my mom and talked to her on the phone, once again saying I wanted to come back. And once again, I got my wish. After that school year was over, I moved back to Colorado with her. But life truly changed this time around.
I already wrote in a separate post that at the age of 13 is when I became a cutter. My whole persona changed. Everything from my clothing, my music, my view on life. My new friends matched my persona, and I loved them dearly. I created someone new because the girl I was before was dead and gone. I didn’t want to be associated with her. I gave up on her. I lost her along the way. I still can’t find her within me, no matter how hard I try.
I spent another two and a half years in Colorado, then mom decided she was tired of Colorado, and we ended up moving back to the sleepy surf town within two months of me beginning my sophomore year of high school. I left behind my best friend, and my favorite choir teacher, everything I had already begun to build and love disappeared.
So there I was again, back in the sleepy surf town. Mom enrolled me in the local high school, and thus began my life of rebuilding my world. It was hard. The first year is always so hard. But slowly and surely, I made new friends. These friends are still my best and closest friends and I’m so beyond grateful to have them. They’ve saved my sanity more times than I can count. I found my first boyfriend who became my whole world. For 5 years, that boy taught me so much about myself. I wish I could explain and thank him for what he endured with me during our time together.
But then something changed, AGAIN. 2013 is when my life completely changed. In late 2012 is when my first boyfriend and I split up for good. But soon after, I found my second boyfriend. The man who destroyed my life, but didn’t win in the end. I moved to Philadelphia in 2013 and stayed there until January 2017. My life there was… a rollercoaster, is a relative way to describe it. I lived and I died. Every day was a battle. Every fucking day I wasn’t sure what waited for me. The poison, the pain, the unstable sanity in me had become a friend and enemy. My world was turned upside down and right back up, only to flip over again within the snap of a finger. However, there was a few months in 2015 where I escaped. I packed my car up and drove to Seattle. I lived there for 4 months with my best friend and his boyfriend. I left and went back to Philly because I was blinded by my love and poison-laced devotion to the man that tore me apart. But then in 2017 is when I said goodbye forever to that life, and I haven’t returned.
I packed my things in my car and drove across the country back to LA. And here I am now, typing this blog post in the presence of my sister and her boyfriend. My sister and I’s relationship has since beautifully grown since our childhood. I finally feel safe and secure in our home that the three of us share together. Not to say that the damage that was inflicted on my life has faded away, because it hasn’t. I’ve learned to cope with what happened. I’ve sifted through the wreckage and have identified my triggers and how I can manage through them. I don’t always win, but I do my best.
Throughout all these moves, I’ve moved into different houses as well, while living with my dad and my mom. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many different houses/apartments I’ve lived at in my life. It is an EXCESSIVE number. I’ve been to 9 schools, I think. I have attended two of those schools upon returning back to said state. I’ve made friends and lost friends. I know that’s part of life, but it was such a huge part of my life.
The emptiness of my world encompassed me and swallowed me whole. The uncertainty of tomorrow and fear of the unknown drowned me every day. I became someone new to escape my reality. I may have changed certain things about myself, but those memories have engrained themselves as scars on my DNA. My mind is still a clouded mess filled with darkness, fear, and white noise. Not to say I don’t have good days, I do. I’m not Doom And Gloom 24/7. But Doom And Gloom is there, watching and waiting. She attacks when I least expect her to.
This is heavy, and I imagine is exhausting to read. I am exhausted typing all this out. I was struggling to figure out what to write, but here we are, a bit of my life’s story laid out before us.
Stability was never part of my life… But now I’m slowly trying to invite it in, for my own sake. It’s not an easy feat, in any sense. Stability doesn’t want to reside in me. Maybe it won’t ever fully rest inside me. But I’m still trying to compromise with Doom And Gloom.
I hope one day Doom And Gloom and Stability can sit across from each other and smile, knowing they could co-exist together in harmony.