How To Be Tops In Your Teens
I was a teen once. And I raised teens. And I have Teenchildren. Face it, I'm old. But I do remember being a teen and not fitting in, heck, I still don't fit in, but I've gotten used to it.
Once Upon A Time
I think I was born a teenager. I don't remember anything before I was 13.
I ran away from home when I was 13. I was the oldest girl of 5 children in a disfunctional family before it was called that. Everything that was wrong was my fault. It was my fault my father (parents?) drank. It was my fault there wasn't enough money to feed all these kids. It was my fault my Dad worked in the mines and they were on strike. It was my fault my older brother beat me up. It was my fault he stole a car. It was my fault my mother had a nervous breakdown.
I ran away with a girlfriend. She was adopted. She was an only child. Her parents wouldn't let her have fun.
We hitch-hiked to a town 50 miles away. We had $1.60 between us. It was enough to buy a room in a sleazy hotel. The bathroom was down the hall. The fear (I didn't realize) I was feeling caused my bowels to be upset. Going down that hall all night made them worse.
The next day my girlfriend talked me into going shopping. We didn't have any money! We'd open a charge account. She wasn't successful in her try, but I walked out of a store with a pair of shoes and a payment book.
She suggested we hitch-hike to another town where she had 'family'. As we were walking down the street to head out of town, we were stopped by a policeman. I told him I was Pamela Johnson, but I stumbled when he asked me my Dad's name. I said, 'Steve Johnson', but he could tell it came out unnaturally.
He said, 'Come with me.' and walked us AROUND A CORNER to the Police Station!
They put us in a jail cell. Oh, it was funny for a while. We sang songs... 'We're in the Jailhouse Now....' Pretty soon we ran out of songs and got pretty quiet. At least we didn't have to go down the hall to go to the bathroom. I hid the box of shoes behind the toilet.
Three hours later, the girl's parents and my Mother showed up to take us home. They had us in what I thought was a hallway with an officer of some sort up on a podium type desk. They did the 'paper work' and sent us on our way. Walking down the hallway, my friend and her parents ahead of us, I stopped and blurted out. 'I'm not going!'
'You're WHAT?' my Mother demanded.
'Dad will beat me.' I said. 'I'm not going.'
'Fine!' she said, and marched me right back to the Magistrate (I've come to believe it was) and told him what I'd said.
He looked at me and told me they would have to hold me (read: put me back in jail, alone this time) and the Sheriff would have to come and get me. He told me, 'Your Dad will not beat you.'
I looked at him and thought, 'Yeah, right. Promise?'
He didn't. But what I got was worse than a beating. He was sitting at the kitchen table eating split pea soup when I got there. Mind you, I hadn't eaten for 2 days. He berated me, called me names, made all sorts of threats. He finally called me a whore, which I didn't know what it meant, and said I'd probably get pregnant and have to get married.
I knew what that meant. I stood up and glared at him. 'I won't give you the satisfaction!' I said, and walked out on him.
About a week later, I was home alone for some reason, and a Sheriff's Deputy came driving in our yard. I stood near the door and he walked over and said there was a pair of shoes found in the jail in that town we'd been to. What did I want to do with them?
'Can you take them back to the store?' I asked. He nodded and left. Whew!
The jist of the story, though, is... Nobody, but NOBODY, ever asked me WHY I ran away.
Go With God
I chose to be baptized at 13 also. I suppose this was after I ran away from home. I don't remember a lot about it, except I had gone to Church Camp for 2 weeks and the last night we were there I was compelled to go forward when they gave altar call.
I imagine the Minister and/or members of the church were aware of it, and the next Sunday after church we went out to an area lake and a man, don't think it was the Minister, walked me into the water about waist deep, put a handkerchief over my nose and dipped me backwards into the water.
I thought this was a little over-bearing, but my soul was cleansed... what I really remember was later, for most of the summer, I would be walking home and feel as though I was floating. My cares really were lifted. Or maybe more realistically, my family laid off me for a while...
I really look back to that time a lot lately. For one, I am alone. I am not lonely, but I am more aware that God is always with me. God is not some Pie in the Sky... he is right here in my heart, guiding me and bringing me miracles! This is true... I have seen many!
And I'm telling you now, because I really wish I had understood this back when I was a teen and so disoriented...
I just wanted to be popular. I'd go to the Teenage Dance on Friday nights... and be a wallflower. I came across a booklet in a magazine, How To Be Tops in Your Teens, and I ordered it. It was about 5 X 7 with maybe 20 pages, and I have no idea what the content was now. But I went to Google, and lo and behold, there it was! You see the picture at the beginning of this page.
I did stand up for myself some, but not enough. Refusing to go home, sassing my Dad and walking out on him.
Don't ever let anyone bully you... EVEN ADULTS! I think I was bullied more by adults than any of my peers. There were a few, but it was mostly adults. My parents. Teachers. Other family members, an aunt, my Grandmother. I was ALWAYS at fault.
My Brother stole a car and ended up in Salina, Kansas. I don't even know where that is, but it sure in hell wasn't Minnesota. Everybody went to bat for him. He got 5 years probation, but he could have gotten prison time. The Preacher. (He never even went to church!) His Track Coach. My Grandmother. My Dad. He was perfect. It wasn't his fault.
But me... it was my fault he stole that car. I don't quite know how they figured that out, but they did.
I think I discovered Yoga
Of course, I didn't know it until I've analyzed it recently, but I went to Church a lot as a teen, especially after I was baptized. I think this was to 'prove' to my family that I was PERFECT like they wanted me to be. I did have perfect attendance for 2 years, and I didn't even know they recorded it.
But what I would do during the church service, was ACT like I was perfect. I would be 'prim & proper'. I would sit STILL with nothing moving but my eyes. I never really listened to the sermon because it was boring. But my mind was busy... far away... pretending I was perfect. And for those hours I WAS perfect. Nobody could reach me then, and I think I probably had my own way to worship God and not have to think about my family.
Part of the time, I sang in the choir, and they would pass communion just before our performance, so I took communion because they served grape juice (not wine) and it cleared my throat so my voice was at it's best.
Then after church, me and my 2 little sisters would walk to the Tavern my parents would be at. Then I got to play the juke box... begging for quarters, or at least nickles... and get lost in Country Music that was not available on my radio.
I guess you could say I lived in my own little world. Or I began to live in my own little world... because I still do.
I Grew Up In Spite of My Parents
I've already mentioned my Mother had a nervous breakdown. Actually, she had 3. The first one I was too small to remember, about 2 or 3. But she had 2 breakdowns when I was in my teens.
Once before they sent her away, she screamed at me, 'My Mother was crazy, I'm crazy and you're gonna be crazy, too!' At that point she slapped me HARD across the face. Before I could respond, she slapped me again on the other side...
I reacted. I slapped her back!
She turned to my Dad and said, 'Are you gonna let her get by with that?'
He drawled... 'I think you had that coming.'
Well, that was the end of it. She slouched away. But her words came back to haunt me, when I was in my 20's and mother of two little kids. I thought I was going crazy!
You realize this is the same Dad I was afraid was going to beat me when I ran away from home. He certainly was not consistent.
I took a real beating when I was 10... gee, I guess I was not born a teen.
I watched my Dad whittle on a 2 x 4 chunk about 2 1/2 feet long, until he brought one end to a near point and rounded off all the edges. It was 'THE STICK'. He perched it above the doorway to the dining room, where he could reach up and get it when anybody needed a licking.
The day I got it, it was not a licking, but a beating. He had me over his knee and brought it down with full force, while I yelled, 'Ow, Daddy, Ow!' He kept up because I didn't cry. I ended up with 2 inch high welts on my butt for 2 weeks after. My brother, who was with me doing the same thing I had disobeyed, did not get THE STICK. It was ONLY my fault.
"If you will change, everything will change for you." ~ Jim Rohn
Don't drift. If things are wrong in your life, you have to become aware of them. Analyze them. Change them. You change them by starting with yourself. You CAN'T change anyone else. I couldn't change my Dad. I couldn't change my Mother. I went to church and meditated. If I had been aware of what I was doing, I would not have suffered as much as I did. But nobody told me I could CHANGE.
Change your habits. Maybe you don't go to church. Start going. Or maybe you are uncomfortable in church. Quit going. Take a walk. Listen to music. Learn to play music. Plan your future... beginning with the present!
Read books. The first (self-help) book I read, and this was not until I was in my 30's, was 'How to make a Habit of Succeeding' by Mack R. Douglas. I still have the book. It's all highlighted. Let's see...'Motivate yourself. "Men are motivated by what they believe. What do you believe?" Or.... 'Develop energy. "The longer I live, the more deeply I am convinced that what makes the difference between one man/woman or another, between the weak and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy, invisible determination, a purpose..." Gee... I could have said that!
Then I went on to read every self-help book I could get my hands on...right on down to today... and today we can get seminars on You Tube... my favorite is 'Wishes Fulfilled' by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. Look it up! It's an hour and a half long... but I have watched it at least 20 times, PLUS... I HAVE THE BOOK! (My sweet Daughter gave it to me for my birthday.)
One thing I want you to realize is YOUR life has just begun and you can do anything you want to. If you do not get encouragement or praise from your family and friends... give it to yourself. You are awesome! You are amazing! Have a hell of a life!
Tiana Dreymor - November 29, 2013
If you have any questions, ask me in the comments below. I will answer you as honestly and positively as I can. I love you.