Saturday, January 4, 2014

Who I Am

Happy new year everyone in internet land!  In keeping with the spirit of new year new beginnings I have decided to stay true to who I have always been and that is an open book.  Today is not going to be a typical misadventure though I still have those on a daily basis.  Today is about putting the book on the table so to speak and letting you all read my life story.  I am not ashamed of anything nor do I wish for any parts to be rewritten.  Everything I am about to tell you are all the ingredients in the crazy stew that is me!

Let me first start out by admitting something.  My name is Mother Cardinal and I am a food addict.  It took me getting gestational diabetes for me to realize that.  My food addiction started right after I  got clean from the drugs I was using.  I had just found out I was pregnant with Little Miss and could no longer ingest drugs into my system so I started ingesting food as a replacement.  Thinking back the hight of my addiction came pre pregnancy with the newest addition of the Cardinal clan, Little Id whom you all knew though pregnancy as Jelly Bean.  When I woman is glad her husband falls asleep on the couch every night so she can be in bed alone with plates and bowls of food, there is a problem.  Having gestational diabetes forced me to have to change what I eat and how I eat.

Now on to the good stuff, this is the part of the story where I tell you who I am or more importantly where I came from.  I won't be cliche and do the whole "Once Upon a Time".  Doing so would imply that there was a happily every after which I won't know that until it's my time to meet my lord and savior and I don't think even he would say "and you lived happily every after!"

Right from the start I was born damaged.  I am the poster child for It Only Takes One Time.  My fathers first time having sex ever ended with my mom getting pregnant.  She had been on the pill for 6 months that alone caused doctors to peg me as a goner.  They thought my mother would miscarry thus ending my life before I even got to take my first breath.  God however had other plans for me because on August 16th 1978 I was born.

Now getting back to being born damaged.  The meaning behind that involves the fact that my mom didn't really love my dad in that way.  My parents married because of me.  There was also the fact that my mother, who was a talented and gifted singer, gave up a full ride scholarship to UCLA a college that few out of staters get accepted to, to be with my dad and raise me.  Raising a child when you have regrets is not a good combination.  

My parents were only married for 5 years and that was 5 years to long for me.  Even though my mom tried her hardest to make sure I didn't see the abuse she suffered at the hands of my dad, I could still hear.  I heard every smack and slap and slam and scream.  My mom finally decided enough was enough and she left my dad.  The day we left we only had the clothes on our backs and my stuffed Monchichi monkey that I carried with me everywhere.  

On top of audibly witnessing the domestic abuse in my parents marriage, I was also being  molested by a boy that lived in our neighborhood.  He used to tell me things like my dad said it was okay or threatening to molest my cousin that went to preschool with me, all in order to keep me from telling anyone.  I was 16 when I finally revealed to my mom what had happened.  She in turn made it all about her by talking of the guilt she felt working with abused kids in the head start program, being trained to see the signs of abuse in other kids but missing them in her own.

My parents divorce was a turbulent one.  I was glad when it was final and they could both move on with their lives.  I spent weekdays with my mom and weekends with my dad.  I was a lonely child.  In my mom's family I was the oldest with the next grandchild being 4 years younger that me so I really had no one to play with.  In my dad's family I was the only girl until I was about 8 or 9 so I had no girl cousin's to do girly things with.  My one solace was my natural ability to tell a story.  Every year at school conferences in grade school, the teacher would tell my mom and dad how talented a writer I was.  

Because the odds were already stacked against me even before I started school, I was instantly branded with a target that attracted all classmates to pick on me mercilessly.  5th-8th grade were the worst years.  I started puberty in the 3rd grade so in the 5th grade while all the other girls in my grade were just started to wear training bra's I was already in regular bra's.  I was even more developed than the other black girls in my grade and black girls are known for having large chests.  At that age boys associate breasts with the man boobs that overweight men have so I was called fat countless times.

Junior high was ten times worse.  Because of where my mom had bought her house I had to go to neighborhood school instead of the one most of the kids at my grade school were going to.  My only solace there was the fact that my best grade school friend was also going to the same junior high because her brother went to that junior high two years earlier, though I wouldn't call it much of  a solace.  Most of the other kids came from the same grade schools and were good friends with each other so clicks were formed way before school started.  Of course most of those kids came from working class families that made good money so they could afford fancy clothes where as I couldn't.  There were a few girls in the in crowd like me but because they were part of the in crowd from the same grade school as everyone else, it was okay for them to wear Kmart clothes and still be cool but not me.

On top of dealing with the troubles of junior high, I was also dealing with the sexual abuse going on at the hands of the two son's of my moms boyfriend.  At that age I didn't really see it as abuse.  I was just so glad that two guys, older men no less, liked me.  None of the boys at my school liked me.  I now see that what they did was abuse.  

Also during that time my mom was diagnosed with Lupus.  Back then not a lot was known about Lupus and I started having nightmares about my mom dying.  We fought all the time.  Part of it was my anger and rage from the shit that life and already slung at me, and part of it was my suffering from ADHD which I was diagnosed with at the age of 10.  When the ritalin kept me up at night and gave me bad headaches, my mom took me off of it and didn't bother to seek other treatment for it.  A teenager with untreated ADHD is not a good combination.  

When high school started I knew I wanted to go to Saint Paul Central which is where my cousin's attended.  Initially the plan was to use my dad's address just so I could get in but I decided I wanted to live with my dad while going to high school.  That turned out not to be such a great fit.  Things started out well until I started to have a more strong and independent personality like my mother.  That seemed to bring out the mean side of my dad.  This man who had always treated me like a true daddy's girl that gave me everything I ever wanted, was suddenly cold and mean.  That was also when I started to notice his mental health issues.  He used hoarding and squaller as a means to control me.  The rule was I would leave the house to hang out with friends once the house was clean, then he would proceed to live in a manner that left the house in constant filth meaning if there was always a mess to clean, I couldn't leave the house.  His house was the only home know of that had flies in the middle of winter.  

I finally had enough the night I told my dad I was my own person and he beat me severely.  The next day I told my friends I was going to kill myself.  I had to threaten suicide to get out of my dads home.  I ended up spending a week in the adolescent psych unit and Fairview Riverside Hospital and when I was released I returned to my mom's home and since then my relationship with my dad has never been the same.

Moving back to my mom's home was no better.  She had just learned that her fiancĂ© was gay.  Of course she was so caught up in her own feelings about that, that she forgot the fact that I was affected by it as well.  Soon after, she met my stepdad and his two girls.  When they moved into our house there was a bit of normalcy.  we ate dinner every night at 6PM and once a week had families meetings.  When it was my stepdads weekend to have his girls, we did family movie night.  In spite of all that, things still weren't great.  My parents were a little to lax with me.  My first beer was with my parents on a Friday night.  I would sit and smoke pot with my stepdad.  

Unlike junior high where I sat and took it when kids teased me, in high school when kids made fun of me I would fight back in a violent way.  I was constantly getting kicked out for fighting.  

Because I had the body of a grown woman at 16 years of age, grown men were constantly making passes at me.  I of course missing the relationship with my bio-dad, would accept those grown mens attention though inside I knew it wasn't right and not what I wanted.  It also made me feel good that even though the boys at my school didn't seem to want me, those grown men did.  I fell into a deep depression and began to self mutilate.  I would burn myself with the cigarettes I was smoking or take an old flat head screw driver I kept in my room, heat it up and burn my arms and legs with it.  I also started drinking a lot more and smoking pot a lot more.

In high school I was not the most popular person so after high school was done I seemed to come out in a big way.  I partied super hard.  I became known as the bottomless pit because I would drink anything, ingest any kind of pill, smoke anything in a pipe, or snort any kind of powder that was put in front of me.  The one thing I didn't do was shoot up though if I had continued with partying that would have come next.  I caused so much trouble with my partying.  My mom was a former addict and she wasn't stupid.  She knew I was using but she never said a word.  She figured I would come to her when I was ready.  I got caught up in the drugs because for once in my life I was the life of the party though deep inside I still didn't like myself.

I am lucky to be alive.  There were so many dangerous things I did while using.  I would leave the club with random people.  I would get crazy ideas to do dangerous things.  I stole from my mom and from the bank I had a checking account through, to get money for my drugs.  I even went into extreme credit card debt as a means to get drug money.  Finally my mom put her foot down.  She agreed to pay off all my debts if I enrolled in the job corps program.  I agreed but I wasn't really ready to be done with that life.  

When I started Job Corps, things started out good.  Then I met my daughters birth father.  Soon I was signing out on weekends to be with him and drink the weekend away.  I was also meeting up with some of my party friends and started using drugs hard core again.  At one point due to issues between a friend of mine and my ex's then roommate, my ex returned home to his home state of Virginia and he convinced me to go with him.  We returned back to MN after only 2 weeks of being in VA.  

Upon our return I once again started partying and using but this time something seemed off to me.  A week before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I had come home to my grandma's home(my ex and I were living with her) after a night of super hard partying.  I sat on the front steps, lit a cigarette and told god I was tired.  I said I didn't want to party like that anymore that it wasn't fun anymore and I needed his help to not go back to that.  A week later I found out I was pregnant.  4 months later my ex left me to face being a parent alone.  With the exception of a brief few months of attempting to see if me and my ex could be a family with our daughter when she was a year old, he has not been in her life at all.  

After the failed attempt at working things out with my ex, who was also very abusive to me, I decided to give up trying to find a man.  I had a dream one night that I was married and had two more kids besides my daughter.  It was a very vivid dream yet when I woke up I gave it no thought. Every once in awhile I thought about the man I was married to in my dream but it wasn't any type of longing to find him or know who he was.  It was more of a wow that was a vivid dream.  I went about the rest of the year taking care of me and my daughter.  I went to work, hung out with friends and family and did all kinds of fun things with my daughter.  We were living in public housing which is not the greatest of places but it was our own place.  My daughter had her own room and a little yard to set up a kiddie pool in.  Then one night I decided just for the heck of it, to set up a profile on a few online dating sites.  I wasn't looking for anything serious, just someone to see a movie with that didn't have cartoons or the rating of G.  I also wanted to have a few dinners at restaurants with no singing animals or talking clowns.  

In my profiles I was upfront about having a daughter but that is all I said about her.  Most of the men that responded to my profile, got mad when I refused to discuss her so they quickly went off my list of potential dates.  One night this guy responded to my profile.  He asked if he could email me a picture because for some reason the website would let him upload a photo from his computer.  I agreed and nearly had a heart attack.  Staring at me was a picture of the man I dreamt I was married too a year earlier.  I freaked out!  I shut down my computer, unplugged it, then plugged it back in and rebooted it.  I pulled up his picture again and he was still there.  When we talked online again he asked about my daughter and when I told him I didn't care to discuss her yet, he simply said okay and started talking about something else.  We talked online for a few weeks then talked on the phone for another few weeks.  Our online and phone conversations lasted for hours! 

When we were setting up our first date he tried to set it at a time where we could meet for drinks and I wouldn't need a sitter for very long or at all.  Of course because our phone conversations went so well, we ended setting a real date.  I knew on our first date that I wanted to be married to this man.  Me who used to never want to marry and who thought if I ever did I would be a career mom and wife, took one look at this man and heard my heart say to my head "I want to marry this man, have all of his babies and stay home taking care of them in a little house in the suburbs with a white picket fence!"  He was so respectful of my daughter as well.  Until I was ready for him to meet her, he waited till she was asleep to come to my home and he made sure he was gone before she woke up the next day.  When they did meet my daughter took to him right away.  We meant in 2002 and have been together every since!

This is not to say we haven't had out issues.  My husband struggles daily with trying not to be the emotionally unavailable husband and father his own dad was.  I struggle with the demons of my past.  We have been separated a few times but we always come back to each other.  We wouldn't know what to do with ourselves without each other so we keep working at it day by day.  He loves my daughter as his own and she calls him dad.  She is a true daddies girl though he won't admit it. We also have two son's together, the youngest of them was born this past September.

So thats me in a nutshell.  I put the most important ingredients into this.  For me to type out everything in a great a detail as I did this entry would require more time and a literary agent as it would be a best seller.  Thank you thank you thank you if you managed to read through all of this! As for this new year of 2014, I plan to take each day one misadventure at a time!