Thursday, March 7, 2013

Not so Happy Thursday.

Posted by ChristineElaine at 10:53 PM
Today was a very bad day for me. This is going to be a "trigger" blog post, so if you are easily offended, or don't like to read about controversial stuff, you can skip this post entirely. I'm not even sure this blog will have pictures of Camilla or Desoto because I don't want them associated with anything this post says. 

This morning, I woke up ready for another day with my baby and pup when I received a crushing e-mail. I was called "too stupid" for choosing not to follow an organized religion. Yes, I was name called by a grown woman who follows all things Christian. Kind of hypocritical, in my opinion, because I'm pretty sure Christianity isn't about being a jerk to anyone who doesn't follow them. But in some Christian circles, that is the epitome of their religion... and it's those religious zealots (or nutjobs I like to call) like the Westboro Baptist Church that I think organized religion is a scary, scary thing. Not all, mind you. Most practice in peace, others do not. I do not care who someone follows whether it be Buddha, Christ, etc. You are free to worship whomever you choose. However, religion becomes an issue for me when I am dogged for not believing what they believe, and then being called 'too stupid'.

Also, I am opposed to religions that would have their women abused (wives beaten, given no choice, hidden from the world) on a daily basis and daughters mistreated as well, while sons (who treat their sisters and females like utter shit) are raised to be complete assholes and like they are the only living things breathing and feeling. I do not like the religion of Islam. "Not like" is actually understating it. It is absolutely horrid, but it is a good example of what "organized religion" is capable of. If I have differing beliefs from Islamic radicals... they would kill me. If I have an opposing belief to some Christians, I would be called stupid, or "wrong."

Let me tell you a story. It's trigger time.

A child at four immigrates from her homeland to one that is completely foreign to her. She can barely speak an English word, but is left with her Grandmother to be raised while her father is away in the Navy and her mother is fighting her own battles (learning to better her English, learning to drive in the United States at age 29, and getting a job). The 4 year old is scared, being left with a stranger in an even stranger place, but she begins to bond to her grandmother and later on in life, she can see how challenging it would be for an older person to teach and raise a foreign child. It probably doesn't need to be said how difficult it was for both parties to establish trust and love.

Forward to a few years later when the girl is in school, and then gets blessed with a baby sister. One who almost doesn't make it, as she was born premature. Now the roles have shifted drastically as both mom and dad are still always gone and working. The grandmother's focus is mostly on the baby, whom she raised from babyhood. And later on, same with the brother.

The girl is the only one not raised from a baby, and she knows this. It is quite clear who the favorites are and quite obvious that most positive attention goes to her little brother and little sister. It's not fair to her that she is essentially, the whipping boy, the one who gets yelled at for little trivial things. As the eldest child she thought she should help around the house. She remembers with vivid detail one time she thought that she would surprise her grandmother by cleaning up the kitchen and wiping down all the counters.

Being the young child she was, she didn't think to dry the counters, so they were still a little wet-- but this girl was SO proud of herself. The grandmother came in just when the child was finished, and  she beamed at her grandma. 'Look I helped and cleaned for you!' The grandmother looked, and yelled at her -- why the hell were the counters wet? Why the hell didn't you dry them? The girl felt stupid and ashamed, but it certainly wasn't the first time she was yelled at for something so minor. She went to her room and sat on her bed by herself thinking how stupid she was. The truth was, she didn't detest her sister or her baby brother for being the stars of the family, she just wished she had a little more attention. If she had more positive attention, she probably wouldn't have acted out as much and got into the mischief she had. By the time she hit middle school, many of her classmates were already experimenting with drugs, having sex, and partying late into the night via drinking binges in the woods -- but she never not once followed that crowd. She was strong on the inside when it came to stuff like that, but was easily crumbled whenever her grandmother with crystal clarity, treated her siblings better than her.

One of her favorite things to do as a child was go through her grandmother's things with her grandma. To look at all the black and white pictures of her grandma looking young,  and looking at her dad's yearbooks and seeing him as a youth. She remembered all the neat little jewelry items, like this silver Hershey's chocolate kiss necklace that utterly dazzled her. She never asked for it, but hoped someday she might get it. Later on, out of the blue and with no warning, that Kiss necklace went to her younger sister. The girl swallowed that hurt and tucked it away. Now, she loved her sister, and she wanted to see her happy. It wasn't a huge deal to her. Without her sister, she would've been bored and most likely, more destructive. She wanted good things for her sister... but it still hurt. She often wondered, well, why didn't I get anything?

At the age of 16 she began to work for her neighbor for extra pocket money. You see, not all teenagers get everything handed to them on a silver platter (like some certain teenage boys) so as orchestrated by her grandma, she was to work for her neighbor, who we'll call, hm... Mr. Neighbor. She did hard, grueling work, like lug giant piles of lumber into a lumber shed, worked a lumber saw, and even learned to operate a back ho. She had fun getting dirty and even though she was paid a meager $5 an hour, she had fun doing the strenuous work. Until one afternoon. He began to ask her questions. He was a typically jovial character, but some of his questions started getting a little too... personal. He'd asked her at her age of 16, if she had a boyfriend. Well, she did. She was in her first real serious relationship with a boy, so she said yes. He then asked some other miscellaneous questions, but then diverted the topic back to one of red flags. He asked if she'd ever had sex. She said, "Umm, no." Clearly she was uncomfortable, but his questions didn't stop. He then asked some very disturbing, very disgusting questions. Ones that will not be written on here for the sake of this blog. Basically, this neighbor was a wolf in sheep's clothing. He was a pedophile, and he had targeted this girl. He told her not to tell anyone of his behavior or questions.

She immediately went home, terrified, and felt embarrassingly uncomfortable. Mr. Neighbor lived right next door. If she told on him, who knows what it meant. Mr. Neighbor had a big family living in the neighborhood, too. But the girl just didn't feel safe. Crying, she went to tell her grandmother who looked shocked, but immediately said, "Don't tell your father. Don't tell anyone. We don't want to make waves. Just avoid him from now on."

Don't tell anyone that a pedophile is living next door. Don't make waves for the sake of being good neighbors. Keep this burden to yourself. The girl was charged with keeping a secret even from her own dad, about the real man the next door neighbor was. She went to her sister and warned her to stay away from him, without going into further detail. Mr. Neighbor was not a man to be trusted. And until the age of 19, she lived in moderate fear of him, and of the neighborhood. She could not look at his face when he popped in for a visit, and could not look at him when she'd pass by him in her car. He was a bad man, simple as that, but her grandmother didn't think much of it. She even asked the girl maybe she was just over-imagining things, maybe she mistook his good intentions for bad ones. The girl at 16 was baffled-- how could anyone mistake a question regarding sex and body parts as good intentions? She realized how much her safety meant to her grandma then and there, and she was forced to drop the issue. It was a crushing blow to her spirit -- Mr. Neighbor should have been reported. Mr. Neighbor should have went to jail. But for the sake of being neighborly, he still lives there to this day. If the girl was happy about one thing, it would be that at least it happened to her, and not her sister. It could've been much worse, but the girl saw the huge red flags for what they were, and that was that. It is very unfortunate that Mr. Neighbor is living scot-free, and the girl felt unsafe and uncared for, but maybe that is the repercussion of having not been raised from babyhood. Does she not share the same blood as her sister and brother? The brother, whom had a $10 an hour job for a split second but refused to work in the dirt pulling weeds because he didn't want to get dirty and he was scared of the possibility of worms, the boy who calls his older sisters bitches because they don't cave into him like everyone else, the boy who keeps having seizures and ambulance rides to the emergency room because no one is making sure he is taking his meds.

If that is being Christian and a good person, then I am very proud of not being a Christian. If you guessed the girl in this story is me, then you would be correct. This is something I have never even told Josh.

I am a good person. I am not perfect though, I have definitely made bad, horrible decisions in the past and will spend my life living with the guilt from pain I've inflicted on others. I don't deserve Josh--he is obviously too good for me, and I know that. I don't know why he is still with me. Why he puts up with me. I have my battles with self-esteem and I have enough baggage and issues to fill this entire house, but I can say with pure tenacity I will do my absolute best to raise Camilla right. If Camilla ever has siblings, they would all be treated the same. If we adopted an older child that came to live with us, you can bet your ass they would all be treated the same, and our love for them would be exact. I also say with vehemence that if an incident like mine happened to Camilla (which I hope with all my being that would never happen) I would not simply look the other way. The party in question would be terminated. If not by justice, then by Josh. Or me and Desoto. People like that in this world do not need to exist. They do not deserve to walk this earth, and you have chosen to let the monster who targeted me get by without so much as a shrug because, what are good neighbors for? A granddaughter's safety apparently has no matter. Whatever. It still hurts to this day, but I am mostly over it. What gets me is that he still lives there, in that neighborhood, where other children are. Who knows if he's preyed on anyone else. But like that matters, right? Who cares if he has done what he does to someone else, because getting involved would probably be unchristian and making waves is not nice.

The reason I say this is that in a way, growing up like this has opened my eyes to how hurtful and destroyed a child's feelings can be when a sibling is so obviously more favored. Basically, I grew up learning a How-To-NOT-Raise-Your-Child manual. I love my daughter with all my heart. I would throw myself in front of any obstacle just to protect her -- yes, children will eventually grow up and lead their own lives, but I will cherish her and any siblings (if it ever comes to that) adopted or biological, I will love them and treat them all the same. If Camilla cleans the house randomly out of good nature, you can bet your ass the first thing I wouldn't do is criticize her work. I wouldn't yell at her for doing something wrong. Hey, at least I tried. Jason doesn't even lift a finger because he assumes his 81 year old grandmother likes to take out the garbage and likes to do the dishes. And he is treated like a king.

I digress, I guess. I guess I am just more aware now of the little things that really trigger a child's destruction of self-esteem. I don't know why I'm writing a blog about this, I mean this is very personal information. But I guess if it helps anyone else out, then that's great. I don't mean to demonize anyone here, but it's just something I think about often... how I basically did not feel cared for that much. How different me and my brother are -- but he can do no wrong.

I love my Camilla. I would do anything for her. Will she be spoiled? Probably a little bit, yeah. But there is no way I would allow her to back-talk, to be lazy, and I wouldn't ever EVER call her stupid. I might say, Cam, the choice you are making seems pretty stupid, you are definitely going to regret that bright pink and purple mohawk (hahaha), but I would never call HER stupid. And if she chose to lead a Christian life, I wouldn't stop her. It's not God that I am against, it is what some people do in the name of their God that I have an issue with. I may lead an agnostic lifestyle, but that does not make me a bad person. I am simply... me. A girl who grew up un-cherished and even targeted by a sick man whom got more protection than she did. I guess I should say thank you, for teaching me how to not be. How to not raise a child. Protecting and loving my children will be first and foremost for me, and I hope I can give them a wonderful childhood.One they'll fondly look back on.

Let me be clear, I didn't not like my childhood. I did like it. And I love my siblings, and I loved growing up with my sister. At times we didn't get along, and at times I was mean to her, but as we got older we clung to each other. We were close and are still very close. I love my sister SOOOO much. I was just raised completely different from my brother and sister. My dad was in the Navy during my growing up so he was rarely home, and my mom was always working on her career and settling into American life, so she was rarely home too. So when my dad was home, he was very strict with me. Very strict. I believe I was the only child that ever was punished by standing in the corner and getting spanked by a belt. As older children and teenagers, my sister and I had rules. We were to be in bed by 10. No video games or computer after 10. We were to eat what we were given. Basic kid rules, there. Now my brother -- no rules, refuses food, plays video games all night long since there's no bedtime rule for him. He doesn't get good grades, and probably doesn't even stay awake in class since he's up all night. Doesn't take his medications, and is being taught not to trust doctors.

Me, my grades weren't great. But with what I was going through, could you really blame me? My sister go straight A's, and was smart as a whip. I'm very happy  for her that she at least got the positive love and attention, but also rules and boundaries--and that right there was the perfect formula for a good child. A mark that has missed me, and quite clearly missed my brother. But whatever.

Today was a very funky day for me. I was in the slumps most of the day because of that horrible horrible email. It got a lot off my chest though, and I feel lighter. If anyone is still reading at this point, thank you for sticking with me this long. If there's one thing I've needed it was an ear to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. I will never let Camilla (or any other children we may have) forget that I will always be in their corner. I will do anything for them. I will make damn sure they know that they should never be scared to come to me with a problem or issue. If I had to jump into a pen of tigers or bears or into shark infested waters for them, I would. I would do anything to protect and love my children. It's a shame that some children have to grow up without that sentiment.

Good night, all. 

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