All Goes Away
My mother and I moved to our forth or fifth apartments on the nearby road when I was four or five. The apartments are still there though they and many things around them have changed. This was after our summer in Texas, and my mother was out of options. She had to bring me back to Atlanta. She needed support.
We moved into a second floor, two-bedroom, one bath apartment. My bed was against the wall, next to the window. I’d watch her out the window from my bed at night. I’d cry for her not to leave me when she’d go out. “Stay home with me! Don’t leave,” I’d scream as I banged on the window. I wasn’t sure if she was ever coming back. After sobbing, and self-soothing myself to sleep, I’d wake up in a wet bed and in a panic. I was anxious to find her, but also afraid of her reaction. It didn’t stop me from looking-I always went looking- down the dark hall, little feet on brown shag, heart-pounding fear in my night gowned chest.
Her response was never good, hair-pulling and screaming through gritted-teeth, “Shannon Dina, I told you not to EVER WET THAT BED AGAIN. God Damnit! Do you hear me? Do you?” I would’ve rather suffered the consequences than feel alone. She’d grab me by the arm, dragging me down the hallway by my wrist. The sheets ripped with a snatch, and I’d be back in a sheet less bed, or with a blanket thrown down. She’d slam my door and leave me in darkness, but I didn’t care, she was home. I cried at her rage, yet felt comforted by her presence.
She slept a lot, and I spent many waking hours alone. One morning there wasn’t much to eat. I opened the refrigerator and saw only a few slices of wonder bread and a stick of butter. I ate butter sandwiches until there was nothing left. I spent the next two days hungry while she slept. When she awoke, she was angry with me for eating all the butter. She was bi-polar, an addict and only 23; she was also a single mom with a four and a half year old child-an enormous responsibility. It’s hard to admit that now, but it’s the truth.
I was the casualty caught in the middle of her manic spiral. I don’t think she set out to purposefully hurt me. She was only doing the best she could at that moment in time, or until she knew better. It doesn’t replace my pain to admit that, but it does gives it room to move around. I’ve held it for so long, and have continued to let it harm me by continuing to be that victimized child.
In that space I gifted myself, I’m making room for change. I have to be willing to strip it down to nothingness like a bulldozed house. First my house-my shell- has to be torn apart, the walls ripped down, my door- frames as the victim must cave in and collapse. Next, the clutter has to be removed before flattening my ripe ground. My old dirt has to be carted off before the new installation of me can begin to take shape. A new basement has to be dug, a foundation in place, and a house of integrity-my owing of my stuff- designed before a new home for my soul can be built.
There’s a lot of work to be done but I have the willingness, the courage, and the motivation, and that’s what it takes. It has to start with me.
This is the beginning of book 2, my second transformation.