NOTE: Originally posted August 11, 2012, just months after I started this blog, and won the coveted Freshly Pressed award. Yay me! When I revamped this site and removed all the painful posts about my lesbian anguish, I accidentally deleted this post as well. It deserves space on this blog and among my writings. I’m very proud of this achievement and this piece. So there! 😉 And yes, I still have lesbian anguish lol, but the shit was killing me so I stopped writing about it. For now. And no, this is not my weekly post either. That will come later today, but while writing this weeks post I wanted to link back to here and saw that my beloved post was gone! GASP! So “Voila” It’s back! 🙂 ❤
“It takes one a long time to become young.” ~Picasso
Back in the days of “free love”, Martin Luther King and JFK, when everyone was fighting for civil rights and the abolishment of racism, prejudice, and war, there was an equally innocent and alarmingly growing population of people who were left undefended. Invisible for all intents and purposes. Uncared for, unwanted and unloved. Without a voice and without rights, they were born into this world not by choice, but by the careless whisper of seduction and the accidental meeting of ova and seed.
Orphans. The Forgotten Children.
I know. Because I am one.
We were housed in homes that neglected us, abused us and only took us in for the government cheque issued once a month for our care. And if no home could be found for us, we were placed in government-run, impersonal, dehumanizing, inhumane orphanages. I have experienced both and the memories are not kind.
The 60’s were not enlightened, protective times for abandoned children. Like a strange breed of cattle, we were cloistered, tagged, and herded behind dark and angry walls. Dressed in ill-fitting clothes, fed three squares of slop a day, and left to sleep on questionably clean, threadbare cots made of metal coils and cold steel frames. Crushed side by side in neat little rows, we led anything but neat little lives.
I think the worst days for me were the ‘begging’ days. The days when a comb was run through our hair; our shirts, pants and skirts straightened; spittle and thumbs used to wipe that smudge of dirt off our cheeks and then forced to smile as we were put on display. Paraded in front of any and all prospective ‘parents’ who, with a cursory glance, had the power to own us or leave us to our fate; their biological brats sitting pretty and clean and pious, eyeing us and despising us for even thinking we had a right to their life.
On one such occasion, my new family was in attendance. A tall, dark-haired man with kind, laughing eyes would soon become my ‘dad’. A small, quiet boy, 3 years younger than I, with a shock of blonde hair and big blue eyes, would soon become my ‘obnoxious little brother’. A plain looking girl, 3 years older than I, with curly brown hair and sly green eyes, would soon become my ‘sister’. I sensed she was going to be trouble. I was right. And the woman I was soon to call ‘mother’, seemed to look right through me. Strange that I have no clearer memory of her at that moment. It’s just sort of…blank.
They had come to take me out for the day and the staff had warned me to be on my “best behavior”. This could lead to me being chosen if I “played my cards right”. They told me to smile. More. I tried. But my face felt stiff and my heart rock heavy. I had been through this all before. Many times. I always had a hard time smiling on ‘begging’ days. On any day for that matter. I think my smile disappeared just around the time I discovered it. There hadn’t been time to fill the proverbial halls with my innocent laughter. No time to revel in the joys of becoming a carefree child. By the time I was 6 years old, I understood what it felt like to whore myself, and my child withered up and died.
27 foster homes. In Neverland.
5 years. In systemic failure.
Faceless. Among the many.
Abandoned. Unwanted. Unloved.
These harsh realities.
Had all but erased me.
I smiled anyhow. Big and bright and wide. It’s amazing how deep you can dig inside when you have to. And I had to smile. I had come to understand the alternative. Permanent residency in Neverland. That was not an option. Shades of Hook blocking the sunlight. That was not an option. Lost Boy bullying. That was not an option. Abuse. Was no longer an option. It never touched my eyes though. Once brown and sweet and trusting, they had turned black and cold and angry. I tried not to look bitter. But it was hard. Very very hard.
But in the end, I must have played my cards right.
Eventually. I was chosen.