I am approaching my 40th birthday. I’m an old man now so forgive me if this post tends to wander or go on and on and on and on…. you get the point.
Many guys would be disappointed or sad at reaching such a milestone but not me. I’ve survived so much in my short life, its gonna take more than a puny birthday to get me down. To quote Olympia Dukakis, “ when it comes to pain and suffering, I’m right up there with Liz Taylor”. I joke of course but looking back over my life, I am somewhat amazed I made it this far at all.
I’ve only alluded here to some pieces of my life over the years. Other pieces I’ve just plain beat to death. I’ve made mention on several occasions that I was adopted as a child. I was actually born to Wanda Clem and Roy Seymour. My arrival into the world was traumatic and should have been a sign of things to come. You see, my real parents were drug addicts and I was born addicted as well. Two months preemie and weighing not much more than a bread basket, I spent the first 6 months of my life in a hospital. Being born preemie in the early 70’s was a big deal compared to now. Being addicted on top of that, my chances of survival were significantly diminished. But survive I did. In the following 6 months, I was left alone often for hours and possibly days at a time while my parents went out and got high. The fine state of Texas finally intervened and removed me permanently. The day I was removed, the social worker found me in a dresser drawer on the floor with a bottle, a blanket, and a pillow. Apparently, I had diaper rash from neck to toes. As fate would have it, my real mother knew one of my soon-to-be Aunts, and came to her pleading for her to adopt me. Her husband said, ‘Not no, but hell no!’ My soon-to-be Aunt came to her younger brother and his wife on the odd chance they wanted to adopt me. I’m told the wife took one look at me and the matter was decided. No arguing, no decisions, it was just a matter of fact. I’m referring to my foster mom of course. The next 6 years were probably the most care-free and untroubled of my life. I was simply a kid growing up with two loving parents. All the previous stuff was completely unknown to me.
Six months before my 7th birthday, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. She began to decline rapidly. Naturally, I didn’t understand. How does one explain such things to a kid? As my birthday rolled around, I begged my mom to wait until my 8th birthday before she left. I still didn’t get it. All I knew is everyone was telling me mommy was leaving and I wasn’t happy about that. She died 2 months later. I can still remember standing over her grave wondering why they were putting her in the ground. It was my first real experience with death and no one had bothered to explain that that’s where dead people end up when they die. I was confused because I kept hearing about this place called ‘heaven’ and I didn’t realize it was in the ground.
As it has a tendency to do, time moved on. My dad did his best but I know it was hard on him. Two years later, he proceeded to marry my step mother, or Satan-in-drag (SID) as I referred to her. She absolutely hated me. After my little brother was born, 3 weeks before my 10th birthday, that hate intensified. I spent years getting the full brunt of her taunts, insults, lies, and beatings. She was the only person on this planet I’ve ever felt true malevolence towards. I hated her as much as she hated me. The physical stuff was a pale shadow of the mental abuse she put me thru. How my id survived it is anybody’s guess. Of course, there was a time when I was 12 when I almost poisoned her. My dad worked a lot and always took her side when I complained. After all, I was just a lying kid, what did I know? I ran away from home several times. I always ended up coming back like an idiot.
Eight months after my 14th birthday, I came out to my dad. Well I say came out, my dad caught me and my then boyfriend going at it. I’ve never mentioned that here before. I always tell people I just told him but that is a fib. He caught me red-handed, so to speak. My father always had a temper and definitely didn’t believe in ‘sparing the rod’. He beat me within an inch of my life. I came away with a broken jaw, 2 broken ribs, and a body so sore and bruised, I could barely walk for 2 weeks. SID’s taunts and overall nasty behavior increased even more. After what seemed like eternity in hell but was only 6 months, I promptly ran away again. Not before my dad came home early one day unexpected and caught SID breaking my nose. hehehe Oh how the tables were turned. I relished the weeks of fighting between them. Anyway, I ran way again. I always said it was for good but that’s not exactly true either. I lived with my grandmother for 2 years until she passed away. It was 2 blissful years w/o daily anguish and ‘whoopin’s’ from my SID.
Having no where else to go, I went home. But the rules were different. SID wasn’t allowed to whoop many anymore. I referred to her by her first name on the few occasions we actually spoke. She hated it. lol Being completely afraid of my dad , we barely spoke. I avoided him like the plague. I think it was then he started to truly realize what he had done to me. That lasted all of 5 months before I finally left home for good. I moved in with my first boyfriend and his dad. I’m skipping past the bf’s death and my resulting suicide attempt. Too many memories too fast and I’m trying to get thru this with my mood in tact. Needless to say, it was the darkest part of my life. I survived again, thankfully. And again, I don’t exactly know how.
Life improved somewhat after that. It was hard but I was free on so many levels. I spent a couple years living out of my vehicle but that pales to what came before so I don’t feel the need to flesh that out. And as fate would have it, my life has continued to improve since then. I’ve grown up, become a contributing member of society, and matured in so many ways over the years I’ve lost count. I could tell you so much more about all the details in between but that’s a nut for another day.
So here we are back to my pending 40th birthday. I’m ecstatic actually. I never thought I’d make it this far. What came before has only made me appreciate what I have now more. If I’m lucky, things will continue to improve and I’ll die a happy man. I’ve never yearned for fame or riches. My only wish has always been to live and die with my friends/loved ones around me. Only time will tell of course but I am ever the optimist. How can I not be?