We kept the lights on (most of the time) through Uber + Lyft. When trauma hit our family I stopped Sex Coaching and showing up on social media at all for any kind of work purpose. My entire world became consumed with holding our family together. This looked like intense days and months of tension, fists in walls, loud yells, gut wrenching tears and heart breaking moments, so many heart breaking moments those last few years at the farmhouse. Trauma lives in my old house and we ran like to hell to escape.
Continue reading below.
“You’re running away from family just like mom and dad did. I hope those hard covered toilet seats are worth it.” Or something like that. My little brother’s message said many more words, this is just a snippet. At the time, I felt proud of my reaction and I still feel that way. Instead of feeling triggered in those moments, I felt something else. Though I’m not quite sure what to call it. Pity, maybe? So many words aimed to maim my spirit yet I could see the anger for what it is: A reflection of his own very real pain.
His accusation that I’m running away would be the last time I give my youngest brother space to use me as his personal punching bag.
It’s not hard to see the brokenness in the family I grew up with. Look no further than Yours Truly. I’m the picture of rebellion starting around age 13. I don’t think I behaved out of the ordinary by any means. I wanted to exercise my right to free speech, party with all the boys and try just about anything someone offered me. I think of myself as a pretty typical rebellions teen who grew up drinking religious kool-aid.
I wonder if most young people grow past the rebellion stage with the people who raised them. I’m pretty sure it’s accurate to say I remain rebellious towards Gary and Dana still to this day. According to the dictionary, to be rebellious is to show a desire to resist authority, control or convention. Well, when you put it that way, I rebelled until all those invisible strings severed in one way or another. Even during that last phone conversation I will likely ever have with Gary, I still exercised my right to rebel against the authority he thought he deserved simply because he is my Father. When I calmly stood up for myself, he told me he couldn’t handle this anymore and hung up.
It’s too bad I spent my entire life running after a father who never wanted to be found.
More recently, move in day to Oceanside is another great example of my recent rebellion. The way I see it, Jackie, Dana, and whoever other mystery adults were in that car put out their best efforts to control a tricky situation they created in effort to see my kids. When I realized the situation in front of me, I said, “ Get the fuck out.” And they did.
A cease and desist letter arrived in my mailbox a few weeks later giving me more opportunity to resist the control of others. The letter came from Jackie, my SIL, telling me not to tell the story of my move-in day. If I did she would seek legal action. To be honest, the letter is cute. And not completely unexpected.
The pain in all of us is evident. And tragic. We are all part of the problem in our own way. I see my flaws just as much as theirs, if not more so. I thought about writing a list of what I think are my hairiest flaws but it didn’t feel right. We all nave capacity to be Grade A Assholes. But in the world I grew up in, flaws are meant to be hidden. If caught out in the open, I’m subject to the shame and paying full price for my crimes.
So, long story short, I chose to jump off the crazy train of dysfunction.
Again and again and again I jumped off then back on. Off and on. Off and on. Off and on. I did this for years in the name of healthy boundaries and my ego. I actually believed me to be the hero to bring healing to my broken family. Arrogant, I know.
What my therapist used to tell me is,”You can’t do the work for them.” She told this to me in the context of dealing with Mr. Sexy’s depression and also when trying to rationalize the family I grew up with. Intellectually I could understand I can’t heal someone else’s own trauma. But emotionally, I believed I could.
Running to Long Beach put things in a much more clear perspective for me.
Perhaps this is my greatest act of rebellion yet. Regardless, I know the crazy train All Too Well. I jumped off and am done running after people who refuse to rise to my level.
Yet I can’t get this phrase out of my head, “You ran away just like mom and dad did.” It had nothing to do with my brother’s message, though. I thought the same thing at the beginning of the moving process. This move felt, in some ways, familiar.
In 1999, my parents, my little brother and me left the familiar Bay Area for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. From what I remember being told all those years ago is that we moved for two reasons: too much traffic and too much family. So, they scoured the US, landing on Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as our new home. I felt sad to leave my very best friends behind. I would miss the big crazy family holidays and birthdays. But we would live in a really nice house in a really nice neighborhood. The rest is history.
Now, if I were running away just like mommy and daddy, that is totally acceptable. Don’t a lot of kids tend to follow in their parent’s footsteps? It’s always a little easier to copy behavior and actions we see modeled.
What’s truly difficult is letting go of what and who no longer fits in your life and instead running like hell towards your next era. That’s the story of this move to Long Beach. We had a lot to leave behind.
We moved for so many reasons. The biggest being the poverty lifestyle we found ourselves raising our children in. There are a lot of factors that play into that era we barely escaped from: Covid, family trauma, lack of work, dysfunctional family ties. Day after day we hustled to make ends meet but it was never enough.
We kept the lights on (most of the time) through Uber + Lyft. When trauma hit our family I stopped Sex Coaching and showing up on social media at all for any kind of work purpose. My entire world became consumed with holding our family together. This looked like intense days and months of tension, fists in walls, loud yells, gut wrenching tears and heart breaking moments, so many heart breaking moments those last few years at the farmhouse.
Trauma lives in my old house and we ran like to hell to escape.
You can feel it when you walk inside. I tried to cover the hole in the wall, broken glass on the kitchen door and so many stains on old stinky carpet. Do you know what its like to live surrounded by physical representations of your trauma? Every day in that old house I ate breakfast in the room where our son felt so triggered by school assignments that he started failing. This resulted in a blow up between him and Mr. Sexy late one night. With time, we understood our son’s trauma better and better. But the room where it all took place is still filled with that angry energy.
Every day became unbearable and running felt like the only option.
I don’t know a lot but I do know this; When you’re escaping poverty, which is often linked with trauma, you must run like fuck. You have to do crazy shit to claw your way back into what is considered respectable society. I don’t know how else to say it. I felt trapped there. Every day I thought about my misery and the impossibilities of breaking free from this cycle of life. So I told Mr. Sexy, apply for jobs any where. Anywhere but here. Go where the money is.
And here we are.
So yes, youngest brother. We ran. But not away from anyone. Toward something. And you should run like hell toward your brighter future too.
*Some names are changed to protect those who “would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.”
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