RESPECT - R. E. S. P. E. C. T.
Imagine coming home after being away for a few months only to discover that the life you left was packed, discarded and thrown away like trash?
That happened to me 23 years ago.
Why am I writing about this only now?
Because after all this time, it still bothers me and it even bothers me more now that I have a daughter who's at the cusp of the age I was in when this whole mess started.
My younger years wasn't what I would describe as happy. To tell you honestly, they were the worst years of my life.
I was often confused, I always felt alone and betrayed.
So I turned to music.
Music has and will always play a big role in my life.
I found refuge in the lyrics of hard rock and heavy metal bands at that time. Finally, something that sounded as angry as I felt.
"I could relate to this, someone else was feeling the same way I was, same thing happened to them, they were all alone too..."
Thoughts like that would often cross my mind and I was envious of the freedom they had once their music helped them break free from it all. In a way, they taught me how to be stronger. How to endure what I was going through with a "I don't give a fuck attitude".
Seriously, this is no longer teenage angst talking.
I'm telling you, the only way I could cope with everything that was happening to me at the time was to try and not give a fuck about anything. So I did the way a young girl would. I didn't give a fuck about myself, school, family (except for my grandpa and grandma on my dad's side), NOTHING.
The only thing I cared about was music. To get my hands on as much of it as I could.
This began to spell trouble of course. My not giving a fuck ended up with me running away from home multiple times and really god awful grades in school and a sour attitude. It all felt like an avalanche at that time---how one small act of rebellion would snowball into several bigger ones until I began to feel like I had no control over it. Like a loose canon. A bomb that could go off anytime.
Each time I would act out, it would be met with anger (which is understandable and often the norm at the time), but it would've been nice if someone took the time to talk to me and ask me WHY I was doing what I was doing instead of just yelling at me and making me feel like I was a total loser and disappointment with no future. I was 13-15 at the time. GOD.
To cut the long story short, it came to a point where (according to them) "they could no longer control me". So they sent me away. Just like that. I had no time to pack or say goodbye to my friends. Nothing.
I was staying at a friend's house then cause I ran away (again) from home. I was missing for about a week, when they found out where I was, they had me picked up and that was it.
I was gone for almost a year (they packed a small bag of clothes for me).
When I returned, not by their choice. I found all my shit gone. My room was turned into a stock room, all the albums I so lovingly collected, gone. All the rock paraphernalia I treasured, gone. All my shit gone.
I ask you now, where was the respect? Respect for another human being? Respect for what was important to me.
No matter how old a person is, WE ALL NEED SOME LEVEL OF RESPECT.
It wasn't enough that I got ripped away from my life with no warning, I returned with my life waiting for me in the trash.
Did all this help me become a better person? NO.
I got worse, real fast. I didn't waste anytime doing it either.
How did I get better? By myself. When I hit rock bottom. For some miraculous reason (I honestly to this day think that I'm a favorite of Jesus - and no I'm no fanatic, I just can't find any other logical explanation), I decided it was enough and time to try and turn my life around. I say try because it took me another decade or so to set everything straight. But it happens you know, you fall, you pick yourself back up, you fall again, but eventually, you'll get it right.
So for all the other parents out there reading this, please remember this. Talk to your kids instead of punishing them. Understand what's important to them, what makes them tick, what's making them act out. Don't assume and presume.
Do you honestly think it was the kind of music I was listening to that was making me do the things I was doing? "That devil music." That's what they said. To this day, it makes me want to punch all those people in the face, how ignorant of you. Is that how stupid you made me out to be? How shallow? SHAME ON YOU.
I write this at the age of 39. Would you want your kids to still foster this much anger at this age?