A conversation about shoes took us to my school days. We talked about how I went to 15 different schools before graduation. We talked about foster care and homelessness as a child, about culture shock when entering public schools, and about setting my desk on fire my junior year in high school. When we talked about the fire he said with a stutter…”You….you…like, on fire… set the desk on fire?” Yes. Real fire… flamage. My hippie-Christian foster mother asked if I was protesting something. I said no. It was an impulse. Instead of tossing the idea out of my head I followed through.
I got suspended from school which meant at the foster home I was grounded….. which was confusing to me. I thought, you mean grounded like a real kid, in my room and I can’t come out until meals? Really? I was like, I should set stuff on fire more often. I had a great room, a private, quiet, dry and safe room. That was the best year of my life…. It was certainly confusing because I didn’t understand this different reality. I didn’t know how to fit in to a family who kept their hands to themselves.
A real kid….. I wasn’t a real kid. I wasn’t real. I didn’t feel real. I just responded to situations the best I knew how. Not once did I stop and think, hey, I’m a person with feelings. A real kid….. a human being who should be treated with respect, afforded dignity and spoken to only with age appropriate conversation. I know millions of adults can relate when I say I didn’t feel real at all.
There is a bit of anger associated with leaving that good home. I was happy. I was adjusting. I trusted the situation…..then I had to go back with my mother. I said in a few posts back that I have forgiven my mother. Even so, I am still angry about some of the specifics, especially this one. She took me from a warm safe place and had me live with her. Everything I had was packed in the car. We stopped for just a minute, my mother left the keys in the car and it was stolen. I lost everything I owned. Within days I was back to freezing. I woke with a light layer of snow over my blanket.
Dr. D asked how I felt about going to 15 different schools before I graduated. How does a rubber ball feel as it bounces from one wall to the other, off the table then on to the floor? Does it feel anything?
Back then going to so many schools meant nothing to to me. Nothing was concrete in my life. We moved all of the time, sometimes with just a day or two notice. My belongings were with me one minute then the next they were left behind as she moved us again. I didn’t know at the time that I have multiple personality disorder but having that diagnosis confirmed, I can see that not even I was the same from moment to moment. What difference did it make if the rubber ball changed schools, too?
I can answer that question. It was food for my already growing disconnection from reality. When I lived with my mother there was no home base, no safe bed, nothing the same in the morning or night that I could count on seeing. There was nothing to ground me in reality, no roots to steady my natural growth. As an adult I tend to have unnatural attachments to inanimate objects. I fear abandonment by my friends. I want a piece of them here in my house, something small, insignificant to them but a dab of glue for my shaky sense of connection. Having no real grounding back then meant my reality was whatever my mother said it was. I believed her.
Changing schools to avoid prosecution and to fuel her insanity was another stone removed from what should have been a solid foundation for growth.
I’ve got to take a nap, but first a bit of tea. When I wake I’ll have a late dinner of lemongrass and curry over chicken with a bed of left over Basmati rice. I’m having sauteed peas and store bought naan. Of course there will be more tea, there’s always tea.