Loop.

This was how it always began, she knew; this was the miserably familiar feeling of progressing – long and far, and with much despair on the way – blood, sweat, tears – only to eventually carry you to the gut-wrenching realization that you’re patterning a circle – a loop, and nothing more. This seat in front of her word processor, its heavy anchor wrapped mockingly around her ankle, her drink to her left and her joint in her right hand – lodged stubbornly between her index and middle fingers; her mind unsettled on the huge task at hand.
This was a painfully familiar routine, a drill that she practiced as if it were her religious motivation; This was the scout to the expedition – the quiet before the storm; this was an integral part of her every day, twice a day – maybe more. The details behind that part are irrelevant, really…the point is meant to be that she knew the truth could never be set loose. This was Déjà vu; she sat down at that over-sized LCD screen repeatedly, ready to unleash those thoughts and feelings in a indefensible barrage of details and recollections; ready to unload her burdens onto the backs of those to which they truly belonged; she’d go into this state of being that she avoided as much as she was able to – impenetrable focus on those people who were responsible for all of the tragedy, so much unnecessary tragedy.
It was somewhere in between the grips of this dark, animalistic, dangerously focused state of being, and that of the next state in this repetitive sequence, that a fiber of her identity was lost each time. The emotional roller coaster that undoubtedly followed this sub-human concentration was inevitable, although manifesting in different ways with each new appearance. Sometimes she’d cry inconsolably out of shame and guilt, or become too unraveled to refocus her attentions on this chronicle at hand; sometimes she would psychologically work herself in a rage so blinding that she would black out and regain consciousness later in the day, without memory of the hours in between; still, other times found her miserable with denial and disbelief at her circumstance – rendering her so frustrated that she would embark on a new expedition via the World Wide Web, in search of a specific legal code, government policy, or the elusive attorney that would be able to get her on track with getting justice for her only child – now grown into a disturbingly sinister young person. She sighed, the hot breath that she released from her mouth reminded her of how thirsty she was, and she lifted her ice-cold drink gingerly to her mouth for a short gulp.

I gotta cut back on this shit…for New Year’s, I will…

Despite the fizzling tingle on her tonsils as she savored the refreshing sweetness of the drink’s bite, each swallow induced a wave of pain that racked through her head like wildfire through a dry meadow.

I really need to get those teeth pulled…soon…

Her mental notes always contained some sort of self-imposed delay attached to them; as she was not so much of a go-getter these days. Her spirit seemed to have just up and decided to fly somewhere else; or perhaps it had gradually just faded away with so much time spent being abused and beaten down, she didn’t know. Physical pain was not even always a surefire way to get her to force herself into the masses, and she would only resort to seeking medical treatment during the most dire of situations, given an exceptionally high pain-threshold. She had no desire left to mingle with the human-mutants that surrounded her – those despicable and savage creatures that had once seemed so different than her. As she sat, tonguing at the sore molars in her mouth for the umpteenth time that morning, her very core was hollow to its deepest fathom of being, and she knew it beyond any doubt. And at that, she would repeatedly find herself at a total loss for…well, for pretty much anything.
Any former plans, aspirations or goals seemed comical to the remaining logic residing within the empty shell that she walked around inside of. Nothing could ever make things right again, no matter what anyone, including herself, might pull out of a sleeve in attempt to force the appearance of true justice.
Justice
This word had long ago, dug its way beneath the tangible consciousness of her being – the vague ghost which her body beheld, and had been buried – at a time that felt like lifetimes ago.
Justice
A folly that remains depicted in every corner of the national court as a foundational concept of law, liberty and decency – the proverbial snapshot of a pair of scales, polished to a reflective, brassy shine, ever-balanced perfectly against one another – affecting the virtuous and the good of humankind. The iconic symbol of trial and judgment: the biggest mockery in American history.

“Because, what a bunch of horse-shit it all is in real life, the scales of Justice?”

she spat bitterly out loud;

“…as if those scales aren’t rigged to tip in only the most evil of fashions against what is TRULY GOOD and JUST – regardless of the matter at hand…”

The heat in her face became a noticeable burn across her cheeks and forehead, and the tiny wisps of baby hair at her light blonde hairline stuck there from the increasing layer of sweat, despite several attempts to blow it away. A loud bang sounded following the rap of her hand heavily against the desk at which she sat, struggling to find any useful weapon within her once highly impressive linguistic arsenal. She hated thinking about these things – as she knew all too well what the result of her brooding would be – stagnancy and frustration, despair and self-loathing beyond description; just more of the same routine that her life seemed to be defined more completely by everyday.
This, is the Juvenile Justice System’s very essence: confusion and perpetual lack legal articulation. The agenda in this hideous arena remains increasingly different from ‘Truth or Accountability’; the so-called ‘Home of the Brave’ is chock full of the world’s biggest chicken-shit trust-fund fed politicians and useless financial backers and/or holders. Yes, ‘the Brave’ being those in positions of power and action, congressional and legislative ring-leading clowns, community social workers and those that oversee their actions, judges, psychiatrists and medical doctors, varying “specialists” of the intrinsically heinous legal arena – a collective of those “brave” enough to steal the very light from the eyes of a child in need of her mother – to disgustingly and unashamedly make a buck off of the very families to which they claim the service of Justice.
Justice… the word made her stomach do cartwheels and the cavity-borne headache return. And, this was how it always played out for her. She became venomous then, an emotion so familiar and easily recognized by her character that its appearance onto the scene of her chaotic existence hardly attracted attention anymore; she forgot to breathe for a few, drawn out moments while she stared blankly at the screen, waiting for the right words to come; waiting to finally begin the report of despicable truths that had ultimately ruined the lives of her immediate family.
Nothing…nothing…
The anger began its bubbling within her every nano-particle, frustrated and exacerbated by the lack of stimulus. She allowed the thoughts to come to her awareness, knowing from experience that the attempt to shut them out would be a futile one; experiencing the anticipated rush of a variety of uncontrollable emotion and perception, unleashing the memories intentionally now in feeble hope that the raw force associated with them would somehow miraculously be guided onto the screen – that this release will open the gateways to her collected verbal arsenal, the most lasting of any known weapons of war.
In a former life, she had been a poet – a spotlight verbal violinist in the most well-known operas – somebody who was able to change things, touch people, and create inspiration and awe through her exquisitely procured and ever-growing vocabulary. The details that her stories offered were vast and all-encompassing; each piece’s poetry was a feat that she carried, attached to a tether at the end of stick –exacting complete control over its every directional move – she contoured its path, essentially; so influential and dominant was she in the play of words in written form, that sometime – long ago, but for reasons unclear to her now – she began to take the gift for granted. And now, that gift had all but left her totally without. She had stupidly allowed herself to slip into the realm of self-righteousness: an unforgiving and deceptive place from which a human with a spirit will return without anything at all to love, to be loved for. Hollowed out and superficial, she had returned to write the chronicle at hand – the most important one she could ever create. The expressive art that she had beheld since her first memories began did not return along with her, however – leaving her in a perpetual state of the most torturous deficiency and need.
Need…
The word made the corners of her navy blue eyes wrinkled as they shrunk tightly into a squint, with all of the co-dependent implications attached to its ugly, four-letter face.
THIS NEEDS TO STOP…
Tomorrow is another day, and if she sees tomorrow – she will return to this drill and try again.

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Reflections of an Erased Identity: Before

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One thing that I have always found to be highly annoying and socially antagonistic for those of us who struggle to make the simplest of ends meet – is the fact that community-based programs for children with behavioral issues are so out of reach to the targeted population who need them most.
My daughter had been displaying severe and notably precocious behaviors for more than three years before I was finally able to push my way through the proverbial red tape and connect both of us with the government equivalent of “treatment” resources; and then, upon finally being given the necessary “referrals” to track down such elusive “treatment”, I was very disappointed to learn that it consisted of little actual treatment to speak of. The available resources were mostly programs and that I had already tried without success.
The “Treatment Plan” provided through the resources made available to me after YEARS of searching was nothing more than a hodge-podge of various interns who needed the hours spent on my family’s problems in order to receive a degree:
1. A non-English speaking psychiatrist who saw my child once a month for a half-hour session, strictly for the purpose of prescribing the ever-changing array of cutting-edge psychiatric medications to my then six-year-old child.
2. A weekly support group for each of us in which we could separately share our experiences with peers in “similar situations”, and receive feedback and support (This was the BEST part of any services I’ve received thus far).
3. The installment of a “Wrap-Around Team” as a family maintenance tool; this was a cocktail of several community programs that involved having one or two social-work apprentices coming into our home at least three days weekly, for approximately four to five hours each time.
NOTE: The “wrap-around” team provided during this time consisted of the following revolving appearances by five different people; two of whom we had been assigned to upon beginning services through Eastfield Ming Quong, Families First AKA EMQ and/or EMQFF – the same entity as the residential treatment facility in which Boo was later sexually assaulted by a staff person.

As I proceeded to envelope myself within the realm of mental health advocacy for my only child, who struggled quite obviously with self-control and impulsivity issues, I found the process for special education and the acceptance of an I.E.P. (Individualized Education Plan) to be exceptionally daunting and near impossible to navigate.
The task of getting an Individualized Education Plan accepted and assigned swallowed up an entire year of time during my girl’s fourth grade school year. I am an intelligent human being who is well-spoken, written, and read; with prime communication skills and am very capable – and I was shocked at the realization that it is likely that parents of average or less-than-average intelligence would be completely unable to make his or her way through such a diabolical and detail-born administrative routine – to the detriment of his or her struggling child.
After the two entire school-year calendars that it cost out of my child’s once promising educational career, she was finally deemed eligible for the services of an I.E.P. by the middle school administration when she was eleven years old. By that time, her behavior and basic traits had developed into a calculating, manipulative, and unreliable adolescent.
Her behaviors at school were continuing to escalate to dramatic levels on a steady basis. The constant shame and embarrassment began to take over my own life, as well; in response to the unnecessary and excessive lying she did to her teachers and counselors about me and our home lifestyle. The tall tales and dramatically exaggerated dialogue became a regular hobby for her – because of the instantly gratifying reactions that she unfailingly received from telling them. Often times, the school officials would summon me to the school for emergency meetings and conferences because she had said some off-the-wall things again that were simply just too bad for them to ignore – the way that I like to believe they would of done if her crazy stories had held any truth.

It’s very difficult to try and describe to another human being – the spiritual and psychological tolls that become taken on the parent of any child who is similar to mine. As the survivor of a near-fatal marriage, the only thing that comes close to the circumstantial chaos of a battered woman’s mind state, in my experience, would undoubtedly be that of a diabolical, unruly and explosive child. Take that factor and add to it the fact that I am a single, low-income, rehabilitated heroin addict-mother who works full-time to try and get myself and child by from day to day – and the outcome of our story seems undoubtedly clear, in hindsight.

Of course, life usually goes that way for me if I’m going to be honest with myself…and that is surely part of the reason that I have become so frustrated and impatient with the entire world around me – because I can’t help but to harbor awareness, no matter how distant and vague it may be, that when all is said and done and I am burying my only child, I’ll look back on this all and be able to see the creases and wrinkles of the unfolding tragedy.

I vividly recall the day that I received a call at the tax firm where I work from my daughter’s sixth grade core teacher; he asked me permission to be frank – which I promptly granted him with my heart in my throat – before he sympathetically spoke again over the line.
“Listen Ms. X, I don’t know what you do for a living…it’s none of mine or anybody else’s concern or business, really…” his words came nervously yet his voice remained calm and his tone quite matter-of-factly. “…but Boo seems to have the compelling need to share things with class – along with the parent-aids who may happen to be there on a given day – that you are a stripper –“ he cleared his throat quickly twice; “…an erotic dancer or what not…” Silence on the line. “…whether you are or you aren’t a dancer, Ms. X, I just feel like you should be made aware of the talk on the playground these days; forgive me if I am out of line or inappropriate for calling – believe me, it’s quite embarrassing from this end to discuss with you –“, his voice trailed off to almost a whisper, “…keeping the lines of communication open, as you requested, that’s all…”.
Now, when it comes to psychological warfare, my daughter’s arsenal has been stacked like a WWII bunker since the approximate time she was old enough to begin to grasp such profoundly baffling concepts. Her disturbingly keen ability to manipulate both her own relationships, and the relationships between others became apparent and undeniable when she entered school. Seeing her interact with her peers in a consistently conniving manner also alarmed me deeply; her overbearing bossiness and passive-aggressive behavior began to etch quite the chameleon into her fundamental traits – those that would be with her all of her life; those that make her who she is.
A blatantly dangerous impulsivity began to surge through her veins, all of the time – day and night; being the root cause of the evil that her choices started leave her holding in her lap. Her self-absorbed nature began to define the proverbial spoiled brat without consequence; the enabled, obnoxious and snot-nosed Shit from next door. Adults and children alike avoided interaction with her; they grew wary of her constant stream of shocking and destructive actions. Accountability or anything remotely similar to it is an issue that continues to stand, untouched and unacknowledged by her to this very day. My daughter seems to have always been unable to pay consequences for her own decisions and the effect that her choices might have on those around her.
The DFCS, as the legally bound entity charged with her “care”, has inarguably enabled this characteristic in my daughter’s perpetual self-denial; and has done so to a sickening degree.

The County Department of Family & Children’s Services entered the picture when Boo was almost out of sixth grade, upon her second release from John Muir Children’s Psychiatric Hospital within two weeks’ time. She had returned the second time for physically attacking my mother during one of her regular tantrums for not getting her way about something; only this time, she followed up by opting to kick her grandma in a healing surgical wound only several days post-op. I was at my wit’s second end by that point, and had exhausted any and all of the public resources available in the area of trying to find a working solution to the out-of-control behaviors of my child. My options ran out and I was forced, through the pits of desperation, to involve social services – as much for my own sake as for my daughter’s by that point in time.
I remember having days in which I would feel something very close to disdain for my only child because of her embarrassing, encompassing and incorrigible ways; I had many days spent thinking about how much better things may have been had I not given birth to this extremely defiant, highly unlikeable little creature and shit away so many thankless years in trying to correct her incredibly incorrect behaviors.

Life as a mother, for me – was pretty much a constant three-ring circus in Hell’s ghetto during the summertime: nowhere to cool off and wild, angry animals trying to bite your face off with every turn.

Once she had been court-ordered to residential “treatment” by the local juvenile court system, I actually felt like there was some substantial hope of a better future relationship between the two of us. Unfortunately, the way in which the courts are designed is severely flawed and perverse in its ability to safeguard parents such as myself: parents who were not the underlying purpose for the court’s involvement with the family.

This was where things first part of our case went awry, as a result of the incompetence associated with the shadiness of state and local child protection laws. I was unknowingly labeled incorrectly way back then, by those involved with the course of me and my child’s future, and never given a second thought after that point in regard such a mislabeling of my character and priorities.

 

Justice For Boo – PART I – The Discovery – 2009

BOO’S STORY:

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The restaurant was dimly lit and the mood was calm and easy, hushed voices whispering stories to one another throughout its interior. It was the place where we had celebrated my daughter’s past few birthday dinners, at her request; she had taken a liking to seafood as she grew up. Personally, I don’t care for it too much, but like most things in motherhood, that factor washed out the window with my child’s stated wishes. There we sat, talking about school and her wide array of “frenemies” there; her face randomly becoming lit by the shadows of light dancing around the archaic candle at our table – her increasing beauty affecting a slap in my face from Good Ol’ Father Time, I recall.

“Can you believe you’re already thirteen?” I teased her across the table, snickering and rolling my eyes in an effort to provoke her into a response.

Our relationship had been heavily strained leading up to this night: her thirteenth birthday – an estrangement that happened as a result of the local courts and child welfare agencies. We had been separated for nearly a year at that time, the very first year of our two-unit family’s still unrecognized, yet inevitable demise; the very first of a long string of years lost down the drains of time.

An imposing wedge in the form of a gavel had been forcibly squeezed between us with a shoehorn. We had suffered a trauma to our daily lives when she had been court-ordered to “residential treatment” at a nearby facility for children who suffer from behavioral issues (which Boo most certainly did).

“No…..it feels like I should be turning sixteen already…” was her response from across the heavily lacquered shine of a redwood tabletop, her large, hazel doe eyes shot up again to meet mine “…feels like I’ve been gone forever…”Boo’s reply was not one of anger or bitterness, as is often the case when it comes to the things Boo says.

And so it goes: A simple observation of Boo’s reality regularly and innocently transforms into a crushing blow to my own.

I reached over and grabbed her greasy hand, locked my fingers tightly around the little fingers so likened to my own, and said, “This’ll all be over before you know it, Kiddo…hang in there, we’re almost done.” Boo smiled, a smile that has the ability to melt away every bad notion that’s ever entered my mind, body or soul, and simply said, “I know, Mom.”

The rest of our dinner had been eaten without incident; and when the waiter and some random servers from other tables came around with a slice of cake topped off by a candle and an obnoxious level of un-harmonized singing, she happily accepted the attention and dessert offering. It was during this last part of her birthday meal that everything changed forever.

She began to talk about her counselor, a man with whom she had grown very fond of and close to over the time she had been at the facility the judge ordered to go to; a man in whom I had always secretly harbored a deep distrust for and could not put my finger on exactly why that was. The details remain blurry but the end result stands out like a black sheep among newborn albino lambs:

–         My daughter proceeded to absentmindedly and unintentionally (by attempting to show off how mature she was becoming while away from home, I believe) spend over twenty minutes describing to me in a bragging-like manner (because she was not yet old enough to even comprehend that a crime was being committed against her) – the gut-stabbing realities that defined a new direction being taken in the “relationship” between she and her “one-to-one counselor “at the facility, and it was anything, but acceptable.

This was the true beginning of my own Living Hell, making the time and ALMOST the life I had lost to Boo’s father pale in comparison to the grief, despair, hopelessness, helplessness and injustice that accompanied this night’s discovery of a pedophile on the county payroll, counseling children in a facility to which 90% of them are court-ordered to be.

 

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