You know how beautiful an old patchwork quilt can be? It has a story to every tear mended and each new fabric added. That is how I see my life. It is beautiful. It has been torn, drug through the dirt, left damp a few times, seen a bit too much sun, and needed much mending. And I am not even close to done! I have experienced a lot in these short 35 years I have lived, and each bit has added a colorful memory, an interesting twist to who I am.
I was born to a single mom, I am the oldest. I have two younger sisters that I was raised with, one older stepbrother, and one younger brother who I wasn’t raised with. We had a hard life at times. There was physical, mental, and sexual abuse in the house when I was between 5-7 years old. My mother took us all and fled that horrible environment. I told a lie to the police while we stayed at a shelter to help our escape. At seven I knew that we could just not go back to that man. My mother struggled, we moved many times throughout my younger years. I don’t know how we got by. I know it wasn’t easy for my mom. She has depression. We eventually landed in Shoreline, Washington in 1992, in a trailer park next to a small lake. I played so hard as a child, often times coming home just after dark with dirt everywhere and new scratches on my arms or legs, and holes in my clothes. My imagination went wild while I was a child, I can’t really say its changed much. I had a hard time making friends when I was young with kids my own age. I either hung out with my little sister and her friends, or adults. Both seemed to be able to accept me as I was and not make fun of my way of playing.
As I approached adulthood, I sought out the company of people who lived an alternative lifestyle. Hippies. I moved across state to Spokane with my cousin a few months after my 18th birthday. We had a lot of fun, but we weren’t being very responsible. We went to Barter Faires, and stayed out late. I am thankful that we didn’t find ourselves in more trouble. I also fell very much in love with a man. I had only dated boys before that, and I was still only 18. He was 22 years old and already had two young children. We were only together together a few months, but as I left my apartment behind and stuck out my thumb, I knew I wasn’t over him.
That summer, my cousin and I hitchhiked down the west coast and east into Arizona. I was headed to my first National Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes. The trip down the coast was a blast in my opinion. I rarely felt unsafe, even climbing into stranger’s vehicles, or sleeping just off of on ramps to the highway. Mostly I traveled with a guy named Cylindrian, who I had met in Spokane. He was only 16, a run away from Canada. He was generally very soft spoken, but when needed he could play the part of a protective boyfriend. We talked for hours, not that there was much else to do, and I really enjoyed his company. We arrived in the Sitgreaves National Forest right as the sun was setting. My cousin and her boyfriend had left in a different car just before we entered Arizona and we were to find them before setting up camp. Cylinder and I didn’t even have a tent, or blanket. We fell asleep cuddled under a big velvet skirt I had made from an antique dress, on the rocky ground. It was so dark, we had no idea where we were and it was cold! In the morning, I think he and I woke at the same time to someone nearby shouting “Welcome Home! We Love You!” and the echo of hundreds of “love you’s” moved in waves around us. It brought tears to my eyes. We stayed there about a month.
Cylindar found fairie camp and I only saw him one other time, covered in glitter and paint.
After a few more months of traveling I came back home. I felt disconnected from my life and started to make rash decisions. I got pregnant that fall and moved in with my mom and sister. I got a job and started planning how I wanted to raise the child that grew inside me. It was a lonely experience being pregnant for the first time. I felt more love for her than I had ever felt for anyone, ever. But I was afraid and sad also. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t have anyone by my side throughout it all. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I felt a lot of pain with the changes my body was going through, but I had hope. My mother and my sister were there for me and I treated them badly. When I was home I was either sleeping or yelling at them to leave me alone. We survived though and they were at the birth of my first child.
The first six months of her life I struggled. I was new to being a parent; of having someone depend solely on me. I breastfed, used cloth diapers, and sought out to connect with other young moms. In that first year I think I felt the most loved and yet most alone up til that point in my life. I lost most of my social life because hanging out wasn’t as much fun as it once was and I just thought about my baby girl the whole time.
Around the time she turned one, I was taking us both to a nation rainbow gathering in Montana. That was quite an adventure.
I will update and finish this at another time, just want to get it out there!