Back in the early 90’s when we moved from the Midwest to Florida I finally gathered the courage to run away from home. When I left I gathered all the clothes and shoes I could carry and literally ran past my father on my way out the door dropping a shoe as I ran for my life. I couldn’t go out the bedroom window because he had screwed it shut. Initially, my twin sister left with me but she returned home after 2 weeks because she was scared.
Eventually, as a runaway I was able to settle into a somewhat normal life. I had a couple part time jobs under the table and roommates. I even had a couple friends. There are good people in this world that will assist a person in my predicament. Things were okay and everyone treated me fairly for the most part which was a nice change. Then came the knock at the door…
I was home alone that night and I didn’t hear the police radio nor was the knock hard and strong so I figured it was safe to open up. When I opened the door there was the sister who originally ran away with me. My first words, “How did you find me?”. Her reply, “Dad is dead. Everybody flew down. You have to come home.”. I scanned the sidewalk and porch behind her assuming this was some sort of trick. Surely, she was making this up to con me into coming home…
Turns out it was true. Apparently, the old man fell ill of cancer and it was so aggressive he died within 2 weeks of diagnosis. I always knew some kind of demon was eating up his soul from the inside out and it finally finished him off.
So I went to the funeral…he was cremated per his wishes. Outside of the obligated extended family and a few old men from the American Legion (my dad was military) not many people showed up. They played Amazing Grace. I wasn’t sad he was gone but I do remember feeling sorry for him. He wasted his life and he lost the opportunity to get to know a really fun amazing person: me.
Posted in abuse, adventure, childhood, survival
Tagged adversity, child abuse, death, inspiration, motivation, runaway, survive, tragedy, triumph
When people hear that I left home at such a young age their reaction is always something like, “Oh, my gosh! Where did you go? What did you do?”. They have this intense twinge of pity and fear in their voice that I find incredibly naive. I say naive because they always forget the simple fact that you don’t know what you don’t know. In other words, I didn’t realize how bad I had it being alone in the world as a child because I didn’t know any better. Besides, you should never under estimate a 12 year old. I was extremely resourceful and adaptable beyond measure. I was ready to survive and I had nothing to lose. I would not have messed with me and knowing my mind set as I do that would have been a very wise choice. When I left home I had a feeling similar to how many people feel when they’re about to board a plane for a fun exotic long over due vacation. I was escaping such a horribly oppressive environment that I was over joyed! Add to that the sheer innate ignorance of youth and I just thought I was bullet proof. Never mind that I didn’t have any money or that I had very few connections and even fewer people I could trust. I was free! For the first time in 12 years nobody was calling me stupid or kicking me around. It was and still is one of the greatest times of my life! I had no fear of what was out there because I had already walked out of hell with my life, my sanity and my self esteem intact. Naturally, there was the latent anger but over time that slowly dissipated. I did have a few close calls but I handled them well. After spending 12 years with a parent who was violent and unpredictable my intuition was well honed for those with bad intentions. Since that time I have been fearless. I guess it’s true what they say, what does not kill you makes you stronger. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always a cake walk but it was always worth it. Frankly, the children of today generally seem like absolute pansies. They have no idea how to fend for themselves, earn a respectable living, work a room or make a sale. I highly recommend a spell of adversity for self growth.
I grew up in a household with a functional schizophrenic for a father and a mother who had a debilitating case of denial. This is sorta like going skeet shooting with a serial killer while wearing a target on your back.
Now that I’m a grown adult, I find myself tremendously annoyed by the stereotypes society maintains regarding the children of abusive households. It’s actually false that growing up in such an environment causes adults to become abusers themselves but somehow we naively assume the opposite when assessing the character of others. I know for a fact from my own life example that surviving abuse actually causes you to become much more empathetic and caring towards the plight of others…especially children. How is that for a silver lining?
In my childhood home the abuse had gotten so bad that at the ripe age of 12 I actually decided to remove myself from the situation by running away from home. Anybody who’s ever been called stupid by someone who’s opinion matters to them knows how awful that feels. Well imagine being called that by your parent several times a day and sprinkle in a couple of strong kicks, a sock in the jaw, a burn here or there and a few strong shoves along with a weekly bloody nose and that was my childhood. Trust me you would’ve left to. I was afraid if I didn’t make a run for it I would’ve ended up either dead by the hands of my father or on an episode of 60 minutes explaining why I stabbed him to death from a prison cell. I do not have a propensity towards violence but a human soul can only be backed into a corner for so long before it lashes out.
Boy am I glad that’s over…good grief Charlie Brown!
Oh, and that leads me to another stereotype thrust upon adults with abusive childhoods. I do not date abusive men. Actually, I can spot them coming the same way an eagle in the sky spots a mouse running through a corn field. This is another false stereotype that does not hold water. It’s constantly assumed in our society that if a woman had a bad relationship with her father she will seek out bad relationships.
Well let me stop you right there because I know PLENTY of women with heroes for dads who have spent way to long with horrible abusive men. The pattern I’ve seen in myself and most other abused women is that we actually seek out quality men capable of forming a real connection with us. I’m not saying we have it all figured out but I am saying that by and large we don’t repeat the cycle nearly as much as antiquated stereotypes would have you believe.
In the words of the immortal Forest Gump, “that’s all I got to say about that.” More later stay tuned…
Do you consider yourself adventurous? Are you a wanderer? Or maybe you wish you were but don’t know where to start or what it takes? Well stay tuned and hang on to your hat! I am going to take you on the ride of my life! Oh, and what a fun ride it has been! It’s not over yet either! No ladies and gentlemen, the adventure has just begun…
By following this blog you will learn how a farm girl from the Midwest became homeless at 12 years of age but turned a negative into a positive by overcoming the odds. I am that Midwest farm girl. Now a grown woman, I became a world traveling, confident and well educated leader despite my circumstances. Those of you who have also had to make your own way in the world will revel in the connection of a kindred spirit. Everyone else will appreciate the inspiration. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good story?
Posted in abuse, adventure, childhood, stereotypes, survival, travel
Tagged abuse, adventure, inspiration, motivation, survival, travel