I finally know the difference between going back and going home.
With one bar of stolen wifi from the neighbors down the street (who use to beat the shit out me when I was 13) I’m starting this blog from the dining room table of my dead mothers home. This weekend served as the first time I had been in this house alone since the doctors punctured her colon during routine surgery, allowing her body to become a cesspool of her own feces.
This house and these items are what remain of that life.This house is all that remains of my life here in this city.
I attended school here from the third grade to my freshman year of high school as part of a class with 14 people in it. There was no room to blend in here. Therefore, being a kid who always managed to standout, I often found myself the focus point of Moran’s 562 residences.
I learned everything from how to multiply to how it felt to be kissed in this tired, country town. However, I think the most important lesson I learned while a part of this tiny township was that privacy generally will attract a crowd. I can remember being asked the following question throughout my time in school. I also remember how much these questions discouraged me from enjoying the company of my peers. To this day, I harbor insecurities installed in me due to this forgotten town and the throwaway people that keep it from dying.
- Is mom was a lesbian? No. She was not. While my mom was not nearly as feminine as most people suggest a lady should be, she was not at any point a lesbian. In hindsight, I believe this assumption probably stemmed from the fact that my mom was not only in fields commonly associated with being male, she always was every bit as hard of a worked as the guys she worked beside. In a close minded, bigoted community, something like this could easily be viewed as being a dyke. While I can currently see just how silly this thought process is, as a kid, being asked these questions made me extremely resentful. Over time, I developed a very uncontrolled temper which drove a wedge deep into my mother and I’s relationship. This wedge would eventually split us in two, leaving me in a group home and my mother on a list of people I wouldn’t speak with for nearly a decade. Her untimely death makes that wedge the biggest thorn in my paw to date.
- Are you a Fag? This one has actually followed me almost everywhere I have gone. I have always had a tendency to linger away from the norm in terms of the way I look. Now, I’ve never been the goth kid or the kid wearing makeup at prom. Yet, considering my childhood I honestly have nothing but respect for the strength of those kids. To show up to school everyday knowing you’re going to be the subject of every whisper and every rumor shows nothing to me but spine.
From the time I was 13 to about 19, I wore a leather jacket and ripped jeans everywhere I went. I use to tie flannel shirts around my waste. I had big, spiked hair and sported combat boots. I stood out in a crowded hallway of kids wearing z cavaricci jeans. I did not however dress like this for attention. I dressed like this because the jacket belonged to my grandfather and I wanted to be just like him.
I can remember being pinned against the shower wall following a basketball game I had played in the seventh grade. As I changed, sliding my jacket on our starting point guard (6 foot, 150 pounds) slammed me (5 foot 2, 100 pounds, maybe) against the wall screaming, “Why the fuck do you wear that stupid jacket? Are you trying to be tough? Are you fucking gay? Should we worry about you showering with us after the game?” Then punching me in the stomach. Unprovoked.
This was my life day in and day out every day until I left South East Kansas. I have no understand of what causes people to react this way. I do know however, that to this day, the results have cause me an extreme amount of insecurity in the way I look, act and dress. While I haven’t changed a thing, I seem to walk on eggshells everywhere I go. I am endless stuck feeling like I am being judged in every situation.
- Are you stupid or something? I have this memory that pin points the exact moment when I knew that my teachers did not believe in me. I was in Mrs. Barnett’s 8th grade English class. We had been given an assignment in which we had to write a simple poem about an item that had been placed into a brown paper bag. My bag had a happy meal town in it. I wrote a piece (which I can not remember) discussing how as a child, the simplest things can bring us a happiness that feels somewhat impossible to find as an adult. I spent the entire class scratching out phrases and reworking structures until I felt like the 9 lines captured the exact complications I was feeling inside. When the time came to read the poem, I stood up proudly and recited it to my peers. Everyone clapped. Mrs. Barnett however, did not. She spoke five pointed words at me: “See me after class.”
As everyone left to go to gym or lunch or whatever was next on their schedule, I sat their motionless in my seat. The guidance counselor wandered into the room and the two of them began grilling me on where I had heard the poem. “I wrote it,” I replied at least 5 times. However, their opinion never changed. Instead of encouraging me on what should have been a life altering realization that I could be a writer, they gave me detention and a 40 minute lecture on plagiarism.
I didn’t write again until my Junior year of high school.
Coming back here and seeing this town, I find it nearly impossible to believe that I came from this place. It is hard for me to understand how anyone could have stayed here. While I complete acknowledge that I have done only a handful of things to escape the scars this town has left on me, I have done something. I packed my things and searched for my place. I wish the same for everyone.
I want this blog to serve as my reminder to do continue to do that. I have never in my life been honest about who I am on a public level. I do my best to hide my flaws and insecurities. At times, I am completely dishonest about who I am, due to a fear that the real me while be treated like I was at 13. Therefore, this will be my healing tool. It will be public. It will be posted on both my facebook and my twitter.
I will learn to be comfortable being me.
If this works I will be able to say that this cold-hearted town finally gave me something.