I was abandoned before I had even taken my first breath.

As the product of an affair, my biological father denied my existence.

He was a married man with other children; serving our country.

Also, knockin’ up someone, who was not his wife, was against regs. (Can you say, “Hello Leavenworth?”)

At the time, my mother was a single parent; already raising two children (my half siblings). Now, here she was pregnant with me.

In those days, I was the quintessential “black sheep”; the “bastard” child born out of wedlock; a tainted product of an affair.

OY!

My mother was not always flying solo. She had been married for a few years before I came into the scene.

Her first husband, my half siblings father, would later become my stepfather, when I was four.  He came beggin’ and well, she did have another mouth to feed. Those military benefits would do us all service.

Like before, their relationship was froth with problems, and it wasn’t shocking to discover that adultery was one of them.

I only know of my stepfather’s wrongdoings, because, in my eyes, my mother could do no wrong.

It was not that I saw her as saintly; I just did not think she was capable of drawing outside the lines.

SIDEBAR: I was not told how I “came to be” until I was 31 years old which was 6 years after her death. I took the news much like a child would. I felt betrayed, and I was angry with my grandmother (my mother’s stepmother) for telling me. If my mother had not felt the need to do so, what gave this woman the right?

I did not understand why my grandmother felt it necessary to spill the beans when both of my parents were long dead!

Thankfully… with hindsight being 20/20, I learned to appreciate my grandmother’s honesty.  It definitely explained a lot of the actions AND choices I made during my teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. :D

Anyhoo.

My mother divorced my stepfather when I was 13 (even though, I advised her to do so when I was 8 [old soul]).

Once again, I felt abandoned by a man. I had been closer to my stepfather then I had been to my mother, and I really wanted to go live with him when they parted. But my heart told me to stay with my mom. I somehow thought she needed me more than he did and would feel betrayed if I chose him over her.

WELCOME TO RESENTMENT CITY.

Being the only child still at home, I began acting out.

I became sexually active; only boys and men to get in, but not go all the way.

Spinning ever more out of control, I added shoplifting to the shit pile. Although, I was only busted once, and could have done an overnight stint in the slammer, I kept acting out.

On the surface, I did not look “angry”. However, below it all was a simmering hot mess.

I would continue to withdraw… and not care.

At 16, my mother married quite the character.

He was as country as country folk can get.  He talked loud (due to severe hearing loss); he drank Old Crow (a cheap-ass whiskey); and he smoked like a chimney with its chute shut.

But he loved my mother, and I believe she loved him (or at least thought him much nicer than her 1st/2nd husband).

She was a country girl turned city snob who fell for a simple country boy.

So cliché.

They were married 8 years… until ’92 when she crossed the rainbox bridge at 49 due to Lymphoma.

Abandoned again.

Me, me, me.

I learned early on that people come and go.

It was easy for me to form friendships; it was also ridiculously easy for me to walk away from them.

I know the pain that comes with abandonment all too well, and I know that I hurt a lot of people whenever I left and never kept in touch, even though I said I would.

I have never thought about the pain that I caused them because I was too busy dwelling over my own shit.

I was only concerned about my feelings. So, when they chose not to stay in touch, I actually had the audacity to feel wounded, and abandoned by them.

WTF?!? ISSUES!

Because I often played the victim whenever anything went wrong, I never put myself in the “responsible” seat. I was so busy blaming other people for the pain that I felt from what they were doing that I allowed this pain (blame) to control my life.

However, this realization of playing the “victim” was something I chose not to acknowledge. I never took the time to look for the root cause of my issues. The reason being is I did not want to face the truth because it might actually make me out to be the person “at fault”.

And goodness knows I was not emotionally equipped to handle the truth!

While playing victim, I never took into consideration my mother’s feelings of being abandoned while pregnant with me during a time when unmarried, black, single and pregnant women were considered taboo.

I never thought about her emotional state of being. I am sure she was more than likely very scared; very ashamed; and feeling VERY alone.

So, if her emotional state were unhealthy, what would stop those emotions from finding their way into my psyche? Her fears; her worries; her anxiety; her anger; her resentment; and her lack of trust… all being passed down to me through the umbilical cord, for me to heal.

But what if my issues went even deeper than I have portrayed them here?

My mother also had her own pre-birth drama to process.

Her biological mother (whom I never met) attempted to abort her. Obviously she failed, but the damage was done.

What does a child do with that?

How can one possibly wrap their minds around the fact that their own mother tried to get rid of them then spent a lifetime years being pissed off at them because she failed?

SIDEBAR: I know the pain of abortion because I had one in ’96… and the pain haunted me for YEARS.

I can only imagine what my bio-grandmother’s emotional state must have been in 1940s segregated Georgia.

I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a divorced, black, poor, single mother and pregnant with your third child.

SIDEBAR: History being passed down from one generation to another.

Like my mother, my grandmother already had two children (by my bio-grandfather) to raise on her own when she got pregnant with my mother.

Since I do not know the full history because nobody talks about anything in my family, I can only speculate as to how she became pregnant with my mother since she was no longer married to my grandfather. He must have come to visit, and well… the rest is herstory.

I have often wondered how far back, in my lineage, this pattern travels.

How many women faced the same door, only to have the same experience?

The face of “abandonment” runs really deep in my veins.

I understand my mother now more than I ever did when she was “alive”.

I also have a deeper appreciation for her mother… and the women who before her.

I inherited so many wounds.

Thankfully, I also inherited the immense strength of these remarkable women.

Today, I no longer feel abandoned because I know things happened as they were meant to happen.

Thanks to these experiences, and the women who came before me, I am strong!

And all is well!

 

{Written: April 2009; edited: December 2015}