This will be the first blog I have ever written, that has been for anything other than personal venting on social networking sites. Although it feels a little strange, I have always felt more comfortable writing than I ever have speaking aloud. When I write out my thoughts, the paper doesn’t interrupt, the page does not give off body language that it is not listening, it just lets you… go. I don’t even know who will be reading this, but I kind of like that feeling, it makes me feel freer. Without wanting to bore anyone with useless knowledge (which I am full of), I suppose the first stone on which to step would be to tell my story. Well, the quick version. Though I have been breathing only a small handful of years, I have lived a very, very long life.
I grew up in a seemingly normal family. My parents were divorced. Boo-hoo. Whose parents are really together anymore? When I find families whose parents are still happily married I think to myself, “how retro.” So I guess when I say I grew up in a normal family that would be entirely correct. There were custody battles, there was addiction, there was abuse, there was fighting, there were doors being slammed and tears being shed. So yeah, pretty normal standard stuff. At least that’s what I always thought.
I was always the most messed up, but always the least willing to admit it. I mastered the art of shoving things down, burying them really deep so nobody could find them, not even me. I know how to hide what I’m really feeling, like nobody’s business. That really worked for me for awhile. I just really wanted to be a normal kid, to feel normal and to do normal things. But after awhile, normal teenage activities stopped being able to distract me from my sadness and pain. I needed something stronger. I needed something that would REALLY distract me. I couldn’t get that feeling out of me. I just always felt empty and didn’t know why. It was ALWAYS there, that empty feeling. So, I began seeking out distractions.
These distractions can come from anywhere. It can be drugs, it can be music, it can be sex, it can even be cheetos, or an obsession with china dolls. I chose drugs. I don’t even remember at what point I really fully gave in to that world and said, “I’m gonna do this”, but I did. I fell hard and fast, as if I had sold my soul to the devil. I gave up everything I ever cared about. I quickly gave up anything that had ever mattered to me in search of the magical substance that would take away that empty feeling I had carried for so many years.
Ironically, plunging myself in to a reality I wasn’t prepared to handle only gave me more memories and confusing emotions which made the empty feeling grow at an exponential rate. There are so many things inside my head I wish I hadn’t seen. I put myself in a lot of dangerous situations. Unsafe living conditions, stuff with cops, I put my health at risk and my rights at risk. I did many things I am ashamed of, and I let other people do things that I feel I should have stopped them from doing. I carry a lot of weight on my shoulders for the events which happened during those few years. I put my family through a lot. I almost lost myself completely.
The good news is, I met some pretty amazing people along the way. I found a new kind of family. I found comfort in finding people that were like me. We never talked about the empty feeling, but I sensed they had experienced something similar. I had found a place in the world where I was never judged for being weird. In fact, I was embraced for it. I have been through a lot with these people. They have saved me in ways of which they are probably not even aware of. I feel this way also about many of the old staff at “Change Now”, the youth drop in center/shelter that unexpectedly closed down in June 2007. That place was like my second home during some of my darkest days. There was a sense of love there, a sense of care, and for those of us who weren’t getting it anywhere else, there was always a dinner at 6.
to be continued...
Posted on Wed, February 22, 2012
by Cassandra Sheppard filed under