It Takes Time to Fly: Part I
Updated: Jan 29
Hey, Tribe! Katie, here. We are beyond honored to bring this anonymous series by "Phoenix" to our community. She went all in, telling the story of her painful, often exceptionally dark, childhood in such an honest and vulnerable way. We are so grateful for the opportunity to share this story, as we know it's one that will touch so many hearts, whether or not they're able to relate to it.
As a mother, every time I read this piece, I end up in tears. We do need to warn those who may be triggered by references to rape, child abuse, neglect, or addiction, that this may be a tough read. But, honestly, it's a tough read, anyway - it's heart-wrenching, and raw. BUT IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT STORY! It's a coming-of-age story for the modern world, & it will empower the strongest among you!
Jessica & I thank Phoenix, from the very bottom of our souls, for this praiseworthy display of courage, for sharing her story so that others may heal. You are an amazingly beautiful, inspiring soul, and we are so glad to know you and have you as a forever-member of the Goddessté tribe, sister goddess. We love you! Thank you! Goddessté! A
Although Phoenix chose to do this anonymously, she has created an email especially for this! If anyone wants to reach out to let her know that her story touched/helped you in any way, or maybe to ask a question, she has made it clear that she wants nothing more than to be able to help others through her story! So, don't hesitate to reach out - she will respond! And, if she chooses to share her identity with you, BE COOL & KIN - respect that display of faith, and keep private information private, please. Don't make us come find you (only partially kidding)! The email is: email@example.com
And, now, I give you: "It Takes Time to Fly: Part I"...
All we want out of life is to love and be loved, right? Even as children. We do not get to choose the family, or life, we’re born into. Mine…well, unfortunately, I was born into addiction, anger, and resentment.
I always knew my grandmother was the person whom I could go to for love, acceptance, and care. My mother worked a full-time job – I mean, she was a single parent of four. She also had a pill problem. My father had weekends, but he also had deep anger issues. Those weekends were, half of the time, cut short because of his short temper with my brother. I can’t imagine the pain endured, but I saw the whelps and bruises on my brother’s back and legs, and I heard the screams from the other room. That was enough, considering I was a child – four-years-old, maybe younger.
There’s so much bad that outweighs the good of my childhood. There was no one there to make sure I got my homework done. No one there to be sure I brushed my teeth. No one there to discipline me. I look back now, and I know that kids, especially very young ones, shouldn’t have to know the things I knew, or go through the things I went through.
I can remember a local police officer pulling me out of class to “ask me about my home life.” Some of the teachers were concerned about the bruises left on me. My brother was angry from being beat on, and he took that anger out on me. I can remember running to my mother’s room, grabbing a kitchen table chair, and putting it up against the door to hold it up, hoping it kept my brother out long enough to call my mom at work to come home because I was scared. The anger and rage built up in him from the beatings he took from my father, and I was, unfortunately, his punching bag.
Doors to a double wide trailer were not that sturdy in the 90’s. It was also terrifying to me, as a child, to hear those doors cracking, and to know that the person cracking them wanted to be doing that to me. Even worse, though, was the fact that that person, my brother, was a child himself. When I would call my mother because I was scared, the person that usually showed up was my grandfather. I’d get in trouble, and yelled at, for worrying my mother at work.
I also remember one of the few times my mom took us to school. I had just started school, maybe first grade. My mom got me up, ready, and in the front seat of the car. My brother was always the last one to get up and get ready – he always fought going. My mom finally got him up and ready. She told him to go get in the car while she ran back inside. She came outside to find him punching me in my back, with intense anger, just because I was in the front seat. I was asleep and had just been diagnosed with a kidney disease that we didn’t really know anything about.
It’s things like that that made me realize, even as a child, my life wasn’t normal. Especially when I would go to school and see other parents there, involved in their child’s life. I always wanted my parents there. Nope, mine forgot to pack my snack in primary school. I was that kid, the one that didn’t have a snack at snack time, so the teacher pitied me and asked all the kids to give me a piece of theirs. Even as a child, it was so shameful. I didn’t understand why, or that what I was feeling was shame, but I know I cried.
It was small things like that – every parent had their “oops” moments, but that was my everyday life. It wasn’t just an every now and then “Oh, my mom forgot.” She was never present to even know what was going on. My grandparents always had too much on their hands, too, and, in all honesty, it wasn’t their responsibility.
I knew I wished I could just have a normal home. I knew, once I got home from school, even in elementary school, I would have to wait up to see my mom when she got home – she worked a late shift. If I did wait up, I had a small window to spend that quality time with her – usually, it was about 30 to 45 minutes. Then, it was making sure I got permission slips signed. Sometimes it wouldn’t take that long for her “nighttime medicine” to kick in. She would be nodding out as she was signing her name. I memorized her signature and would grab her hand and finish her name. I started doing this as soon as I learned how to write my own name, so from a pretty early age. I would tuck her in and put my school stuff up.
The nodding out was definitely the norm. I would be watching tv, and my mother would come out of her room, on her off days, and sit beside me on the couch. She’d be talking to me and causally drifting her head down the whole time. She would snap back to it and ask me what I was saying. I never said a word. I ignored it. I would tell her to go lie back down.
All of this understanding, but not really understanding at the same time, spiked my childhood depression. I never wanted to go to school and started really fighting it. I missed so many days that DHR got involved. They sent a case worker to my home. My mother was heavily medicated and nodding out while the case worker was there. I, as a 12-year-old, carried on an adult conversation with a DHR case worker. I tried to assure her that my home life was okay – it obviously wasn’t, considering my mother was fighting to keep her head up while sitting right next to the lady.
I can remember being left alone in a double wide during tornado weather, with no power, crying for someone to come get me because I was scared of the dark. Mother at work, grandparents too scared to get out on the roads, brothers that forgot about their little sister…
Soon my mother lost her job, and that really escalated her drug use. She stayed high, and in her room, 24/7. She doctor-shopped, and basically had her own pharmacy in her purse. The mix of all the different medications caused her to have sores. It was embarrassing that that was my mother. I can remember rubbing her down in Neosporin to keep the scars down. I can remember her calling me in there because there were “bugs in her skin,” and she wanted me to get tweezers to “get them out.” Little did I know, there was nothing there. I can remember her legs buckling from under her, from all the medication, and having to drag her to her bedroom. I can remember having to make sure I had clean clothes, all by myself, and doing my own laundry.
All this happened in elementary school. I felt drained. I wished that, just for one day, I could have some normal version of reality, of what a child’s life was supposed to be.
I did as I pleased and had no repercussions for my actions. You don’t really have to sneak out of the house when you can just walk out with your mom’s keys at 12-years-old. I knew nighttime was my time, because I knew cops couldn’t tell that a kid was driving as easily at night. I was tall for my age, so it was perfect. I smoked my first cigarette at the age of nine. I took my first pill at the age of 13. I was born into addiction, and it was making its way to my life. I was stealing them from my mom. I was getting high, marijuana and pills. I was giving them to my friends, selling them.
I started getting attention from boys, and I hated it. I remember I never cared for their attention, and I KNEW that was not normal. Even in elementary school, other little girls had their secret boyfriends. Not me. It didn’t bother me either. I thought nothing of it. Then again, my normal was not normal, so it didn’t faze me. I met my first boyfriend, at the age of 12, at the local skating rink. I thought it would bring me some kind of “normal.” Two years went by, and as I was getting high and more mature than I should be, so was my boyfriend. He started noticing other girls. I didn’t want to lose that “normal.”
I would never do anything sexual with him when he would bring it up, and the girls he was noticing were known for doing just that. I swallowed my pride and got a friend to take me to his house one night. He lived across town. I snuck in his window and lost my virginity. I didn’t realize that was something that was supposed to be special. I did it to make the only thing normal in my life stay that way. The next night, he got a friend to call me and break up with me. I didn’t cry. I didn’t even cry when I lost my virginity. The lack of emotion from it all… I knew I was not okay.
It pushed me further into drugs. At 14, I was steadily drinking, smoking, popping pills. I can remember being with two older guys in a truck. We thought we’d go “drifting,” in a two-door pick up, on back roads. We were all high off pills (Xanax, lortabs, definitely been smoking). Next thing I knew, the truck was on its side. I didn’t know what faith was then – today, I fully believe God makes thing happen. I was so out of my mind, I crawled out of the truck and dropped straight to my butt. My depth perception was gone. Luckily, my brother’s ex-girlfriend was coming down the road, noticed that I wasn’t okay, and took me home.
All of this was going on, and my father was oblivious and nowhere near present. My mother was at home, but nowhere near present. She was so messed up – I was raising myself. I was missing school, not caring, just doing as I pleased. The sad part was that I was so good in school. I reached advanced classes on my own. I always made As and Bs, always finished homework before I got home (when I did go to school), so I could do as I pleased when I got home.
One thing, to this day my mother still has no idea about… I FULLY struggled with this, trying to make sense of it for years. I imagine that drugs had a lot to do with this particular incident. I had a friend over, and she wanted the guy she was seeing to come over. OK! Mom’s passed out, so she’ll never know. And, if she finds out, chances are she won’t say anything anyway. But the guy she was seeing didn’t come alone. He had one of my brother’s friends with him and one other guy. I snuck into my mom’s purse that night and got enough pills for everybody. I took way too much and smoked a lot of marijuana on top of it. My brother’s friend was texting me all night, trying to talk to me, but that attention just bothered me. Any male attention, at that, bothered me. I never gave them any idea that I was into it.
I had gotten so high, and it was so late. I told everyone I was going to bed and to lock the door if anyone left or stayed at the house. I went to my room and got in bed because, at this point, I was so out of it that I was getting tunnel vision and nodding out. I heard the door open and lock. It was my brother’s friend, who was pretty messed up, too. He kept begging me to sleep with him, and I kept saying, “No.” He ended up on top of me, and all I remember is telling him to stop and to get off of me. After it was over, I was disgusted with myself. I looked at him, and said, “I said fucking no!” He just said, “I’m sorry,” gave me a bullshit hug, and left.
I got in my bed. No thoughts. It was only my second sexual experience ever. The first wasn’t great itself, and I still wasn’t proud of it. I debated on telling my friend the whole time, as I was taking the sheets off of my bed and washing them. I went and got in my mom’s shower and just sat in the floor, trying to make sense of what just happened to me. I didn’t want it to be what I was questioning it to be. After that, I got dressed and got in bed with my mom for a while. I just stared at her, wishing that, for a split second, she had her shit together. After that, I put the sheets on my bed. I told my friend to go to my room and, when she did, I told her what happened. She said, “He wouldn’t do that.” That was that.
Fourteen became the age I blanked out completely. I was so numb after that, and the numbness made me even more careless. To this day, my mom does not know that she was in the same house as me when that happened.
I look back on SO much, and there is just so much. This is a very small amount of the messed-up things I endured and experienced as a child. These are just the first things that come to mind when someone asks about my childhood. I used to avoid that question. It made me feel ashamed. The other kids’ parents didn’t want to drop their kids off at a trailer. I didn’t have what other kids at school had, in ANY aspect. I look back now, and I don’t blame those parents. I look back now, and I realize that, even at a young age, I mean the youngest I can remember, I never had the thought process of a child. It was always the worry of what was coming next. How do I handle it? DO I handle it? Now, when people ask me about my childhood, my answer is just this: “I grew.”
I was so bitter for so long about it all. How could you have children and just let them fend for themselves? Why would God give me this life? What did I do to deserve it? I stopped asking those questions, because it wasn’t changing the facts – that WAS my life. It didn’t end there, though. The mistake and reality of my life just REALLY unfolded from there, and it got worse.
It shaped me and molded me into who I am today. Every diamond is rough until it is cut into something beautiful. I want everyone who reads this to remember that as you continue to read. It does get better…
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