Like many people, I come from a split family. My mom went through a slew of half-wit boyfriends before she met my step-dad. I was thirteen when they met, and I remember being happy my mom met someone with half a brain (and a job). He was lived across the border in a town called Blaine, Washington (I’m a Canadian Girl); he had two teenage sons, and he smelled like leather and cologne. My mom used to cross the border on Friday & Saturday nights to go drinking at a bar called Bob’s Tavern, and that’s where she met him. Her pre-step-dad boyfriend was a bouncer at Bob’s, and man was he dumb. He lived in a trailer park just down the road from Bob’s T. He was fat, bald, had a grade 8 eduction, and he treated my mom like shit. Side-tracked….
The early years of my mom and step-dads relationship were pretty fun. He came from a big German family; all of whom lived in Canada. We used to go to big family parties where there was food, music (singing/guitar playing etc), booze, and boys. Yep, I had entered into the boy crazed teenaged years, and I did pretty much anything to get their attention. I had major biological daddy issues (probably still do), so I was heading for trouble. As a young vulnerable teenage girl, who was loosing her mother to a new man, I was seeking attention. I drank, developed an eating disorder, slept around, and stayed out all night. My mom didn’t pay much attention, as she was busy trying to land a husband and father for her three kids. I don’t blame her; she was alone and needed help. There was a lot of pretty messed up shit that went on over the years that followed, but I’m not going to get into it. As a teenager, I didn’t realize the extent of the disfunction of my life; it wasn’t until I had a complete breakdown at 30 that I faced the demons of my past.
By the time I was 15, my mom and boyfriend decided to move in together, and they moved us to a small town located in the interior of BC. Coming from Vancouver, the move to a mill/minning community was a huge adjustment for me. I’d like to say it straightened me out, but on the contrary. I had no friends in this new town, and I was still searching for attention. I fell into the wrong crowd, dropped out of high school in the last year, started using drugs, and ran away from home. I was 16 years old and living with a deadbeat, pot head boyfriend. I worked full-time graveyard shifts to pay the bills, while he smoked weed, slept with all my friends, and treated me like I was the crazy one. I guess I probably was at the time. I finally left him at 19, and I moved back to the coast to live with my biological father. I lasted 2 years there, then I met a decent man and got married.
My husband was kind and gentle, but he was also a push over, especially when it came to his family. Near the end of our marriage, his meth-head brother came to live with us. We were too young and ill-equipped to handle that kind of stress on our marriage. I left my husband when I was 31 years old. The end of my marriage is the straw that broke the camels back — I had a complete nervous breakdown. That was the year I was diagonosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I was put on medication, and I eventually sought out professional help. I spend most of my 30s repeating my self-destructive behaviours, but I began to learn why I did the things I did. Slowly, I started learning healthier ways of dealing with my anger and hurt.
I will be 42 years old this year, and I’ve now run 8 marathons, I have a full-time career in human resources, I own my own home, graduated from high school, started university, and I’m living single. I’ve learned to love myself, and I’ve learned to forgive.
This little snap-shot of my life began with the sight of my 74 year old, fat, German, step-dad laying under my sink replacing my kitchen tap. Regardless of disfunction in my family, I love them dearly. I’m blessed to have people in my life who love me and who I can count on. They are not perfect, and they have made terrible mistakes in their lives, but so have I. I’m thankful for my ex-husband for being there when I needed love and security. I’m thankful for my mom for always loving me, even-though she was lost and alone when I was a child. I’m thankful for my siblings for being my constants in life, and I’m thankful for my step-dad for being there the only way he knew how.