It Is What It Is.

Last night, at around 8pm, my phone started ringing in my pocket; I was surprised to see Boo’s name brightly lighting up the screen through the dimness in my lap, playing the custom ringtone “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd loudly to the vibrating beat. It made so many wrong things feel right to talk to Boo on Christmas, last night…

It has been since our dog Ozzy died in late June, that we last spoke. Since we have seen one another, she had a birthday…our relationship truly couldn’t be any more estranged and alienated. The more time that passed by without any contact, the more guilt was stacking up behind each minute spent separated from each other like we have been forced to be. It’s been so, so long this way…inhumanely long. She writes to me often enough, robotic letters that hold no meaning – just words that she thinks she’s expected to write to her Mom at a given point in time. I admit, I have been withdrawn from her; which is inexcusable, so I won’t bother with coming up with any excuses behind this fact; it is what it is.

Last night, we talked for 37 minutes straight! This is by far the longest I can ever recall having a conversation with Boo (in person or on the phone) without some type of major drama or explosion on her part. We are typically like fire and water; and the older Boo grows, the less often have we been able to even remain in the same vicinity for very long without combustion. She is very different than I am, always has been. She thinks that I am a “goody-two-shoes” somehow; this is a truth that still just blows my mind. I’m not sure where she ever got that from, but that’s her perception of me. It is what it is. I think she is a disloyal and conniving, beautiful and intelligent little blonde, long-lashed, doe-eyed creature; who has unfortunately come to epitomize the poster child for the self-imposed cycle of traumatic experience; she wouldn’t even begin to know how to break down that label into anything that made any kind of sense, though…she barely reads. It is what it is.

We talked last night about all kinds of stuff that I wouldn’t have expected to talk about with her. She has decided that she’s gay again – which is a song and dance that she has played with me since she was thirteen years old – for a reaction that I can’t believe she hasn’t learned by now, she isn’t gonna get from me on that score. I always tell her without fail (and I mean it, too) that she can be with whoever she wants to be with and have my approval so long as it’s a healthy and somewhat “normal” relationship. I couldn’t give a shit if she’s gay. It is what it is.

We talked about her caseworker and how useless she is, which led to other conversations that got my blood boiling, as usual, in the context of that good for nothing, stinky bitch caseworker assigned to my daughter’s gig. Boo said, “I wish I could just get myself arrested somehow so I would get a probation officer, instead (of the caseworker)…”; a remark which at first made me cringe, until I remembered having once said the exact same words from a juvenile holding cell…damn…it is what it is.

Something to Chew Around…

BooI would like my readers to chew on something for a few moments upon reading this post:

Boo, who has a very over-bearing and highly involved mother, and always did – from the first day that she entered the miserably broken system – has been treated horribly as a result of being brave enough to speak up about something that she knew was very wrong on some level or another;

Boo has been ridiculed and labeled as a liar and a wayward, targeted by a county-funded, judicially backed agency as a source of trouble as a direct result of being victimized by a child sex predator.

Boo has been moved farther and farther from me over the YEARS since this incident occurred, by the courts – while they totally tried to sweep the whole thing under the carpet for TWO years.

Boo was only vindicated as VICTIM #1 (nearly 3 years after she was called a liar, deemed unfounded, relocated twice, the second time: OUT OF STATE, after the facility up north failed as well due to her inability to feel safe there) when another little girl who was at the place with the pedophile was brave enough to speak up and say something about what he was doing to her regularly.

Boo has paid the ultimate price for the short-comings of the Child Protection Services and Department of Family & Children’s Services: she has paid with her own chances of any real relief in this life.

Now, with those reminders being noted – think about this:

Most of the children in this broken ass system are there because they have NOBODY. Most of them are pretty much alone in a system that operates in the ways in which I have been detailing in this blog…can you imagine what the future might look like for those kids? The ones who have NOBODY to speak up for them, to follow up on them, to stand on someone’s chest for them, to be arrested (seven times and counting) in order to have their needs heard…? I can. This notion haunts me day and night, and always has since I realized the living Hell that these kids are legally bound to by this bullshit, perversely incensed, systematic failure of a court that claims to protect their “best interests”.

Seeing Renee

I saw Renee today; all grown up and covered in dark make-up, hair twisting down to her ass in shiny, sleek braids and tresses; she looked beautiful – sixteen and a half years old already and driving her father’s beat up old blue pick-up truck…

Renee and Boo used to be best friends for like – EVER, in the ‘hood. They went to different schools but played every day after homework was done, took each other on family trips and so on. By the time that Boo had to leave home in exchange for a “residential treatment facility” because of her increasingly unruly behavior, the girls had grown apart for the same reason: Renee is a tried and true “angel”, without a mean bone in her body; Boo is natural-born and rightful Hellraiser.

Seeing Renee today, so happy and full of life and promise and bright futures wide open to her, I have to confess I was stricken by some sort of jealousy or envy – CORRECTION – I was nearly consumed by it.

I spoke to her for a few minutes about her dad and dogs and whatever other things I could think up to say as I watched her eyes dart everywhere around us, looking for Boo – searching for Boo with so much hope and excitement barely contained behind her eyes. It always goes this way when I see one of Boo’s friends, or better yet: a parent of one her friends – someone who knows very little about me and my daughter’s trials and tribulations – someone ready to spit venomous and projected judgments at me,

I finally shot out my hand and grabbed Renee’s arm, surprising myself with my own sudden decision, and said,

“Renee, you and Boo might be totally different and worlds apart these days, but she’s been MIA on the run for almost 2 months and just found out that her father died; yeah – her father died, yeah, the one that’s been in prison – he died; she just returned from AWOL yesterday morning to hear that news, and…well, you know how she is…she could probably use a friend, a real friend right now…”

My eyes stared down at the concrete where we stood in front of the donut shop, my grasp still tight on her arm. Her response was almost immediate, and painfully sincere; she said,

“I love Boo and always will, but I guess it’s because of that, well that’s why it’s too hard to be friends with her…you know?…because she hates herself so much…”

I choked up, but covered it beautifully behind my dark sunglasses; I smiled down at her, my grip loosening slowly and gently, so as not to imply any offense or resentment towards her. “I know, Kiddo…” I said, “I understand…”

Link

My Featured Letter

My Featured Letter

This blog has a collaborated patchwork of works by different writers from around WordPress, and the blog’s author has asked if she can feature a letter written to Boo on New Year’s Day of this year, a few days after she went missing again.

Beckoning Strength

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My entire existence feels quite strained and stretched past its own ability; my thoughts and feelings have been going through a change that’s so unprecedented and foreign to me, and my objectives in life have seemed to alter themselves as a result. I am going to once more, try to explain, try to describe, to convey in accuracy, my current state of being – without the fear of what someone else might think about it…because the need that I harbor for support and guidance always outweighs the shame and embarrassment….my desire for sanity balances out my habit for unhealthiness.

 

My only child, my daughter, age 16.5, has returned again as of late last night; she was picked up by the local police and then taken to the Emergency Room, as usual – from which, her tragic pattern has proven, she will leave once more and return to the world of Roulette, where she has chosen to live an insane life on her own.

It’s happened – finally…my heart and soul has gone cold and totally robotic towards her now…from so many years of preparing myself to lose her in a horrible, murderous way to some psychopath she’s willingly running around with; all of my tears, enough to fill the driest basin – for naught in the end. She has been dead to me for a short time now, I recognize – hence my current mourning period and the loss that I feel in every ounce of who I ever was. A genetic loss, a loss deeper than anything possible. A beautiful, delicate legacy, lost to the darkness of drug addiction and exploitation, trafficking and human madness.

So many many instances in which I have been the captive – a hostage to the absolutely appalling decisions made by others. It’s time for me to write this out loud, after all these years of chaos, of chasing a normalcy that was elusive, of fighting tooth and nail against the puppets staged to fight me – all while the invisible opponent slashed and cut at my heart from my womb. 

How many times did I save you? How many of your “wolf!” cries did I answer and walk you out of safely? Each time, only to be spat on by you in the end, when you grew bored of normalcy and made the sale. You continue to cry “wolf!” so regularly, even still…unable to see that the effectiveness of its meaning has long left the repetitive noise it creates. Ineffectiveness is a state that is lost on time and effort; and it is a concept that has sadly and tragically come to define our relationship. 

 

I can’t keep swinging back and forth like this – it will drive me as insane as the retched people my daughter lives amongst in the Nether-wastelands she seems to love so much.

Its as if, after helplessly watching her drown, unable to save her, and then, after finally accepting the defeat of losing her – I’m walking away to grieve her loss, only to be shocked by her sudden resurface and renewed plea for my help – help that she doesn’t really want at all. So goes the gut-wrenching cycle that no sooner is she is fitfully dragged to shore and renewed breath, the girl unfailingly belly-crawls herself back into the depths and sinks without a fight. Over and over and over and over.

My own brothers tell me to let her sink and move on…my own brothers!…

my therapist tells me the same thing! A therapist!

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p style=”text-align:center;”>My heart tells me I can’t win, and that I am better just mourning the loss as if its real, because it is.

Runaway Sanity: Statistical Stabwounds

…Stabwounds that cut too close to home…

 

 

Runaways have higher rates of depression, physical and sexual abuse, alcohol and drug problems, delinquency, school problems, and difficulties with peers than juveniles who do not run away.

Many runaways have been exposed to high levels of violence, either as victims or as witnesses.

Juveniles in substitute care (e.g., foster care, group homes) are more likely to run away than juveniles who live at home with a parent or guardian. The chances of juveniles in care running away are highest in the first few months after placement, and older juveniles are more likely to run away than younger juveniles.

Juveniles who run away from substitute care are more likely to run away repeatedly than juveniles who run away from home.

Although they are only a small proportion of the total number of runaways, those who run away from care consume a disproportionate amount of police time and effort.

Those who run away from care also tend to stay away longer and travel farther away than those who run away from home.

Very few runaways are homeless and living on the street. Most stay in relative safety at a friend or family members home. However, some runaways lack safe living arrangements and stay on the street, in the company of a predatory adult, or in another situation lacking responsible adult supervision. Police and policy makers are most concerned about this group of juveniles, commonly referred to as street kids, because of the potential for victimization and criminal activity.

The triggers underlying a runaway episode from foster care or a group home may be different from those underlying a runaway episode from home. When juveniles in care do not have strong emotional ties to their caretakers, they often find it easier to leave. The reasons they leave are:

  • return home or to their neighborhoods to spend time with friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, and family;
  • get attention or provoke a reaction, to confirm that caretakers care about them and they are wanted;
  • escape crowded facilities or to seek privacy;
  • protest inadequate service or attention from social workers;
  • protect themselves from bullying or sexual harassment by other residents;
  • escape abuse by staff;
  • resist imposed limits, particularly given that many juveniles in care come from homes with few limits.

Those living on the street face hazards that are self-imposed (substance use, consensual high-risk sexual activity), inflicted by others (victimization and exploitation), or driven by the need to obtain food, shelter, and money.

Juveniles living on the street develop survival strategies. Sometimes they access shelters or emergency care facilities; other times they are forced to settle for riskier arrangements such as staying with strangers who have apartments or living in abandoned buildings or on rooftops.

  • Juveniles may shoplift, panhandle, steal, threaten, or use violence to get money from others.
  •  Although there is no consensus on whether the practice is widespread, some juveniles also engage in survival sex, meaning they trade sex for food, shelter, drugs, or protection.
  • Sometimes, survival sex involves statutory rape, which has obvious implications for police. Some acts of survival sex are consensual; however, some runaways living on the street are exploited by predatory adults and become involved in prostitution, pornography, and drug dealing.
  • In addition to being a precursor to running away, juveniles are often victims of physical and sexual assault while they are living on the street.
  • Runaways living on the street jeopardize themselves by using drugs. Illegal drugs are very accessible to those on the street, who tend to use them both as social lubricants and to self-medicate.
  •  Large numbers of juveniles on the street also engage in unprotected sexual activity.
  • These behaviors, coupled with the harms inflicted by others, create serious physical and mental health issues. Physical illnesses result from poor nutrition, poor hygiene, and exposure to the elements.
  • Given their high levels of intravenous drug use, shared drug paraphernalia, and high-risk sexual behaviors, juveniles on the street are vulnerable to HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Finally, their stressful lives coupled with their troubled backgrounds make them susceptible to suicide, depression, and other mental illnesses.
  • Many runaways living on the street constantly fear victimization and struggle to meet their basic survival needs. Very little is known about the experiences of runaways who do not spend time on the street. In general, runaway experiences are not all bad. Some juveniles feel independent, autonomous, and free and are relieved to escape the pressures of family conflict and school. Being away from home often provides time to think and is useful for sorting out problems. Unfortunately, running away does not improve juveniles’ emotional lives nor does it address the issues that made them want to leave home.
  • The risks runaways face are endless: Malnutrition, psychological disorders, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, robbery, and sexual and physical assault have all been found in high proportions among these young people. One study found the rates of major depression, conduct disorder, and post-traumatic stress was three times as high among runaway youth as their peers.
  • HIV may be 2 to 10 times more prevalent among runaway and homeless youth than for other adolescents.

 

Today’s Harsh Realities:

This morning I woke up to see a text message from a +1 phone number waiting on my cell phone’s screen for me…

When I open it, I see my only child’s face staring back at me through hollow and soulless eyes – a “selfie” she took and sent to me for whatever reason – no message, no text; just a reminder of her lasting beauty and dwindling potential. She’s been missing again for 5 days, today – after returning from what I believe had to have been her most near-fatal “adventure” on the streets of our over-populated and world-famous busy city. She was lucky to have made it back alive last time…

The number she text from traced back to an escort service about 30 minutes south from where we live – again. She holds no respect for herself at all; and always finds the most degrading and self-destructive circumstance available to her. She is perpetually on self-destruct mode.

PAIN = your only baby on earth, in whom you have poured every last drop of your being and energy – gradually growing older to defy the idea of nurture and sway to the side of nature – becoming someone too much like her father, who nearly killed you before your escape from him.

FAILURE = your only child, your “legacy” to the world: slowly fading away to the Dark Side of life happily and willingly. Your only child has no original ideas, dreams, goals, opinions or standards; her existence is the epitome of “simple”, requiring no morals or empathy as a human being to function properly. She is unable to even feel for her own mother for Christ Sake…she is lost and seeming to loving it. I try so hard to relate but can’t.

REGRET = your worst decision ever: the girl’s father, who you spend every day of your life regretting in every possible way – shining brightly through the smile and eyes of the daughter you had belonging to him. Despite the fact that he has never spent more than an hour with her as a young baby, she has grown up to resemble him uncannily. I must have been Hitler or Genghis Khan in a former lifetime…maybe a cruel slave owner or a Spanish Inquisitor…just fucking shoot me already please!Image