None of us gets to choose how we start out in the world. That is chosen for us.
At 16, my mother found herself pregnant and scared. My father was known as being very promiscuous and her family came from deeply rooted Hispanic roots. Marriage was forced upon them and my story begins.
I came into this world with a deeply broken family. I was used as bait for secrecy and held captive by family members who wanted to hurt my mother, but her story is for her to tell, this is mine. I was never hurt, in fact, most of what went on was hidden from me. My father, grandparents and mother made sure I never saw their true colors. They made sure that my perceived reality was never tarnished.
It wasn’t until my grandfather came home exceptionally drunk that my world started unraveling just a little bit. I remember being shoved in a closet, after all I was the prized granddaughter, and my grandfather demanded to see his granddaughter. I remember wondering if I was going to die. I can still hear the screams and my grandmother pleading to let us out of the closet. Minutes felt like hours and we were finally let out. I saw my grandfather in a new light, there he was holding a gun. Waving it around while chugging his Lone Star Beer. I stood there, trying to decipher what just took place until my mother grabbed my arm and rushed me out. That night was never spoken about again. From then on their bedroom doors stayed closed at all times. Sadly, most of my memories of my childhood are like these. Glimpses of corruption, leaving me lost and wondering what just happened.
All I knew, was our family was broken. I never knew why or how, but it felt broken. We never went to Disney Land, we never took family vacations, we never did anything as a family. Family gatherings with my father’s relatives were uneasy, as my mother was an outcast. My grandmother blamed her for my father’s lack of success and was sure my mother intentionally got pregnant. In my father’s family, we were the outcasts. I remember seeing my grandmother being so sweet and loving to my cousins, they would call her granny and smile. When she spoke to me or my sisters, it was colder, less inviting. I wasn’t the treasured granddaughter, but yet, my eyes remained blindfolded to the corruption happening all around me. I don’t know if I was scared or naive, but I never chose to investigate. I choose to keep the blindfold on. Fast forward to 35, in walks in my midlife crisis.