Recently I confided with a relative about a time in my life that was a little bumpy. I was a teen in Germany and not that interested in school. Back then, DoD (Department of Defense) schools did not know how to deal with, or had heard of, ADD and dyslexia. So I ran around with a group of similar kids causing trouble. Nothing major, no drugs, violence or things of the like. It was petty vandalism and truancy. We got caught. The group was punished but I was singled out, I think it was because my dad was the lowest rank of the group of dads involved. Instead of the curfews and restrictions the other kids got, I was sent “home” to the states to live with my uncle. This is where the real trouble began.
Imagine you were a teen in the 80′s. Rock and Roll, Vans sneakers and “Rat Tails” in your hair. You had traveled the world, played in 800 year old castles along with major metropolitan cities. You had freedom to travel by bus and train to anywhere you wanted to go. Now imagine being sent “home” to a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. You are the new guy in school in a town where there were never any new guys. Girls liked me, I was from a place way farther that the county line and that meant I was exotic or something. I wore ripped jeans as was the style, the hole in the ass that barely showed my undies was a huge hit with the ladies, guys hated me because of that. I was threatened in school, fights were scheduled that I would never attend because 1. I couldn’t get to the place and 2. I didn’t want to fight. I was set up by supposed new friends as a dope dealer when caught smoking a cigarette with them. It was called a joint, but it wasn’t. I got in house detention along with the other “friends” I was with. I was soon labeled a snitch. So school was hell.
Home life wasn’t much better. My uncle could not abide someone living under his roof with a “rat tail“. You remember? Even if you had short hair, you grew out a long Jedi Padawan like bit of hair and braided it. It was nothing like the down to my ass long hair that I would have in later years, but my uncle could not stand it. He forced me to get it cut off. Not a big deal really, but without ANY freedom to do or go where I wanted, it was my only way to express my individuality. I soon became majorly depressed.
We had gone to a Flea Market/Swap meet one day and with the few bucks I had bought a cheap machete. I had always loved blades, still do. My life became empty. I would go into the woods and chop on old stumps until I cried. I started staying in bed all the time. For three days straight I slept. My aunt would wake me up for school and I would mumble “No.”. On the fourth day, she took me to the doctor because I was either on drugs or had Mono. It was neither, it was depression. I am still curious why I was still considered a druggie after that. They took blood, something would have showed up.
I was talked down too because I wasn’t the perfect little children my cousins were, had no freedom and was a drug addict! I never touched hard drugs until I finally moved back to America in my 20′s. Sure I had smoked a bit of hash in Germany, but that is on the level of smoking a joint here. They are basically the same thing! Hash is just stronger. I was labeled unfairly because I would not conform. Thank God they eventually gave up on me and sent me back to Germany before I killed myself or something.
Once back, I went through all the same punishments the other kids did. They had finished theirs by that time, so I was alone in that, but I was still more free that I was at my uncles house. Many years later, dad retired and we moved back to the same area. The same uncle convinced my dad to invest in a computer store. Dad and mom had saved up a considerable nest egg and sunk $50,000 (approximately) into this store. This was the time when computers were moving from 386 to 486. WOW! So prices were astronomical for a new computer. The only one who knew anything about computers was my cousin, I was learning but this whole store idea was centered on his ability. Needless to say, it failed. It was supposed to be a 50/50 deal, but dad never saw a penny. He went to his grave heartbroken that his own brother did him that way. I would hear him and mom late at night talking before bed about it. That and his loss of being a military man weighed heavy on him in his last days. It was almost exactly one year from retirement to death for him. Yes I was on the road of addiction before my dad died, newly on the road.
I had confided this story with a relative recently. Yesterday I get a message, that I just now got because my cousins are not on my friends list, degrading me and defending her father. I just wanted to let her know the real story. Her last words in a PM, words I will not answer directly because after my father died his side of our family deserted us, were “When I was a little girl, I thought you hung the moon. Reality is such a bitter pill.” Yes it is, especially when you know the truth.