Wednesday, November 25, 2009

brain dump #2: freaky four-eyed foster lizard

a bit more than half an hour this time, sorry.


look at it from a 'knack' perspective. people who seem to have innate abilities, aptitudes or gifts. my gift has been materializing people to help, and lately they seem to appear more easily, the depression isn't a constant fog anymore (keeping me busy with the very basics). So much glimmery light and possibility now. A challenge to choose a path, when I can do whatever I want-in small increments of time. (Hard for a person who likes to dive right in.)

my legacy with money. At 16, I lived with one fostermom whose sole pleasure in life seemed to be shopping, acquiring things. My foster parents bought me a beautiful opal ring in one of those pawnshops they frequented. A dainty opal, center-set in yellow gold, with petite accent diamonds on either side. So very fun, the high of picking out and owning nice things. Seeing it sparkle on my finger. The significance doesn't occur to you at the time. It was pretty and they blew some money. Whatever. Commitment? Whatever. A kind of wedding ring. A symbol of change, of commitment, to signify the event. And yet I don't ever recall that kind of conversation. What of this is pure invention, interpretation? My own projections? I wish I knew. I think I do, and where I don't, I won't lie. Or I won't intentionally lie. Because the records will carry their own weight. Have court documents, with dates. Official things. Fuck.

Pawnshops were the junkyards of the city dwellers, and they housed historical and unusual things, old diamond filligree wedding rings, each with a history of its own, but lined up at a pawnshop, it's common thread, decline. We'd head out to the Killeen area. The dad had a restaurant there, and the mom had a good friend whose family owned and operated a beauty school. She ran it, efficiently, so it seemed, with good student output. She bought a tanning booth, and I would use it, not for tanning but for my psoriasis. The doctor said sun was good for it. For lots of reasons, vitamin D, UV rays etc. I became aware of psoriasis in the 5th grade. Small scaly patches that reacted to regular lotion with a sting that would grow into a mad, flaming red. (stress, internalized stress)

Little patches became big scaly patches on my elbows and knees, my toes. It sucked. Itchy and ugly. I tried so many different things over the years, lotions, salves, medicated tape. Psoriasis and the fog both started in the 5th grade. It was the same year that I realized I was going blind. I had no idea that leaves on trees had just started melting and melding into more globular structures. That I was inching closer to the chalkboard in school. So, by fifth grade (age 10), I was a scaly kid, with big teeth and glasses. Like some kind of foster lizard, from a distant desert. Maybe it was the onset of puberty that set it off, but I didn't start having a period until 7th grade (age 12). What I really think is that foster care put me over the edge. Which means stress. HIgh levels of stress affect our bodies in crazy ways. Autoimmune disorders for example, which psoriasis is. That and my weak ankles. The ligaments in my ankles weren't working properly, maybe it started in the 6th grade? I would be walking along, walking along and phfllt, my ankle would twist, often resulting in a painful sprain. So I was a scaly kid, with big teeth and glasses, and my ankles were constantly giving out on me, AND i loved to read. Just call me granny. The doctor who told me that I had tendonitis (my ankle issue), said, this is a disorder we usually see in the elderly. I can't understand why you would have it. (stress, internalized stress)

one of the placements I had was with granny, my bio father's step mom. In the lingo, this is called a relative placement. Though she wasn't related in blood, she was in spirit. Her spirit was tough, but her body was weak. (stress, internalized stress; asthma, diabetes, allergies.) I lived with her for 5th grade and the beginning of 6th. (So, more than 12 months, but I'm not sure how much more. ) With Granny I could not let go. I had to protect her, from me, and so it bubbled out in other ways, forgetfulness, for one. I was such a forgetful kid, I could only focus on what was at hand. and when I was back at my front door at home, when I was supposed to be waiting after school to be picked up, I would remember. oh shit. I did it again. It was not spitefulness, it was just trying to keep up with the tight little sphere around me. Granny didn't realize all kids are challenging at such an age. She thought, that as a veteran 6th grade reading teacher, used to dealing with wacky hormones and attitudes applenty, that she could just 'handle' me. Or so we hoped. I have this vague perception of visiting my bio dad, while I was living with granny that year. She would quiz me when I came home, wanting to know what I had eaten, at his house. I didn't understand that it was insulting to her that my dad would eat steak, while she was subsisting on a teacher's salary, paying off massive debt from her dead doctor husband, and raising me on her own. She was grudgingly supported by most of her family. (They had already given up on me. The apple doesn't fall to far from the tree, they must have thought.) I remember my Uncle Allen telling Granny to save money by recycling the kitchen garbage bags. That we should take the garbage and dump it all in the big outdoor can, returning the plastic bag to the kitchen. Granny, a clean freak, thank god, would not have it. And grumbled about his brand of helpfulness.

In the year between being removed from my father's home, and moving in with granny, I was a stressed out little person, who ranted, raved and broke lamps while living with my first foster family. I was so happy to be with Granny, but it wasn't easy. I knew that I needed to be good because she was fragile. I knew that I had to take care of her too, but bottling all of the anger and confusion, with no place to go? Ticking timebomb, kind of shit. Really. Except I must have been in therapy. Don Johnson was my therapist off and on for so many years. He was often the only constant. But it was a thin thread, that constancy. I want his notes. I need to contact him. I don't remember the therapy as much, because it was a safe place. But I know that it helped, because I'm here today, with a such a beautiful life. I work hard every day to have this beautiful life.

And so, now that I'm safe again, in life, in home, in community, in husband, in children, in dogs, in working, in mothering, in spreading myself everywhere; and being nourished in return. I'm such a freak show, and I have all this crap demanding release. I was a scaly, four-eyed foster lizard. but not anymore. oops, i think I'm missing something from my list of themes, that I'm a success story. It makes me a little sick to hear that nauseating phrase, but it's true.

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