My Story- Part 1
A Little Background
I was born in Philly, but grew up in Ny, mostly. I lived with my mom for the majority of the time. My birth father was in the picture for a short time, and my step-dad for a longer time. I love both of them, but my step-dad was there for me in ways I could never appreciate when I was younger, that my real dad couldn't be.
My mother and I moved a lot. Sometimes we lived with other people, sometimes we lived on our own. I never had a steady home, nor a steady male figure in my life, and I think that's really important for development. But, I didn't have the privilege. I have no brothers or sisters, and my mother has a job that she's had for 11 years now, that caused her to be away a good portion of the day. So, I got used to being alone. It's why I'm a loner. A sociable loner, which is a paradox. At the core of me, I am truly a loner.
My whole life I was different. I was usually extra nice to people, even though they would use me for this and that. I went through some strange periods as a child, but, for the most part, I was nice. I had very low self-esteem, which I know is crazy now, because I was such a beautiful little girl. I'm honestly not tooting my own horn, but when I look at my photos from childhood, I just can't believe how ugly I thought I was! Children can be horrible! There were people who would call me ugly, or who would prey on me because of my mostly gentle nature. I was teased a lot. I always got along with the teachers, up through High School, and some people thought I was purposely a "teacher's pet" for it. I simply related better to adults. After taking a psychology class more recently, I found that actually happens often with only children, so there was a reason I was the way that I was.
I had and still have a wonderful mother, who's done a lot for me. She didn't always make the best decisions, and there are some things I honestly resent her for, but I think that she did the best she could. I wish that she had done some things differently, but I have accepted that I cannot change the past. There are some things I wish I would've done differently, myself, but again, the past is out of my grasp.
Anyway, my peers weren't the only cause my low self-esteem. It was my peers, my mother, even though she wasn't aware, and my own mind. I struggled with weight from maybe about 12 until even now, because of a summer that I spent with my dad that my mother is still upset about. I gained maybe 30 lbs or more, because I was left indoors a lot since he was busy working and there wasn't much to do in my Aunt's little Philadelphia apartment-like house. So I ate. I ate and all there was to eat was fattening food. It was the same when we went to my NC family's house. I ate there, too. And my mother never let me hear the end of it.
She disowned me, actually. She didn't know that I heard her say it, but it broke my heart in two when told my step-father that I was not her daughter. I was 30lbs + pounds heavier, probably about 6 shades darker (darker skin is taboo in many Black American households). And she disowned me. Ever since then, she was on my weight like that was her main focus. And I became unhealthily self-conscious. I already thought I was ugly, and then, of all people, my mom made me feel like I wasn't skinny enough, even when I was at a good weight. She once told me "if you lost a few more pounds, you could look like Beyonce." As an adult, I now understand what she meant and what her intentions were, but all I heard as a child was a constant "you're not good enough," even if those aren't the words she used. It did a number on my psyche.
The Move that Started it All
Jump to my mother and I moving to Ga. We hadn't been there long, but I was pretty down and out because, even though I'm usually good at making friends, I had just been dragged out of a comfortable living situation that I'd become well accustomed to, to having to make all new friends and get used to a completely different environment, again. Talk about a culture shock. I was depressed. And then "it" happened.
I was always a very heavy sleeper as a kid. So heavy, in fact, that I would wake up and not know what day it was. Well, I was in a miserable "I'm an awful, ugly person" state of mind already. I was 13 years old, and very unhappy, for many reasons. One day, I woke up, not really sure about the day it was or anything, even though the previous day I'd been aware that my mother's birthday was that next day. I had a problem with reacting way too hard to a situation, and my state of mind didn't help. So I was awake, roaming the apartment, and my mom was like "Do you know what day it is" or something to that affect. And I had just no clue because of having just woken from sleep. My mother says it's her birthday and I tried to play it off by saying I knew that. But instead she got offended and yelled at me for forgetting. I already had felt like shit about myself, and that was like the straw on the camels back. Not the act of her yelling at me, but the act of "forgetting." I felt like a horrible person. I went outside to the railing (we lived on the 3rd level of our apartment building) and i sat on the railing, eyes-saturated with tears, threatening to jump off.
But it's funny, all my mother cared about was if the neighbors saw. She told me to "get down before the neighbors see," literally. She never took me to a psychologist or asked me anything herself. We never even spoke about it afterwards. A clear cry for help, and I got nothing... Guess that's where "God" came into the picture.
And Then There Was Church
We always went to church occasionally, but I never cared much for it. I had "given my life to Jesus" twice already as a younger child, but didn't really understand what that entailed. But that changed.
The church that my mother and I began to attend had a separate church service for the youth. We had a boisterous Youth Pastor, who was very authoritative and loud, but meant well, and believed what he did quite strongly. He wanted us to be "real" and open with out peers. Nothing was secret. We talked, cried, prayed, fellowshipped, the lot of it. I "gave my life to Christ" not too long after. But, that's a whole other story, and certainly required this intro. Stay tuned for Part 2.