Part 2 The Beginning and The End and The Yin and The Yang (Sort of)
An outline with emphasis on the dating decisions that helped shape my daughters choices.
The first day of ninth grade Biggest was in the courtyard of her new high school when she saw a sight that changed her life forever. Striding along with confidence, his tall Mohawk evilly glinting with deadly sharp tips. She gazed at his dog collar in shock and viewed his black combat boots in awe, as he proudly displayed his total rebellion against society within the circle of his Anarchy tattoo, her little preppy heart began to beat with terror.....or no ...it was
A shy, quiet girl she was in the throes of being tortured by a group of people she had thought were her friends. Here, there was a way out. Here, she would be safe. Here, they wouldn't bother her, and they didn't, ever again. Here, they couldn't hurt her and no, they never dared.
And that's when we began our journey into hell.
When you read or hear the words "Sudden change in appearance, new friends, different music, falling grades" they aren't kidding. They lined up like dominoes and proceeded to all fall down. It started with a new girl friend. At first I was glad. She had been hurt and lonely. Not for long. I call this friend the Evil One. I don't feel bad for that, I met her mother, she was trying. Next she was all in black and trying to look as scary as possible.
But this is about the boy. The Punk. He was part of the training crew that led this merry pack of little troublemakers along the way to the counseling center affiliated with the school. It was there that this clique practiced their skills in manipulation and playing the system. They thought it was a joke. They compared notes, made stuff up, shared information on what would get the biggest rise out of parents and teachers alike. When they went to school that is. You see my little poem at the top of the page. Sometimes kids are just being rotten little jackasses and their parents have nothing to do with it. Sometimes parents are losers. Like the "mother" who was letting these kids hang at her house and party during the day, providing them with beer and drugs, and trying to sleep with the boys. Some of these kids obviously were living hellish lives. They turned to each other to create family and a sense of love and belonging. They did not believe that parents could really want the best for you. What I find puzzling to this day is that the ones whose families did care fell into this belief to fit in with this group. Some, like my daughter, at first felt pity and being ostracized by their other peers, welcomed the sense of belonging they found there. She didn't have to feel anxious or impress these friends. But to really belong, you had to know that parents and school and even counselors were the enemy. Only the tribe could really be trusted. And this boy taught her that society was crap, she didn't have to take it from anyone. And he was a drummer in a punk band. Who could ask for anything more. The one thing she did learn was to rant and rave. I think she had held in every angry thought for 14 years so she did learn to vent a little bit and express her anger.
My child quickly learned that we have no power. All she had to do was tell us F U and walk out. All she had to do was make some threats, break some stuff. Punch some walls, physically attack and look...There they are. Just like her friends said. The people who don't care about you. They expect you to be accountable. They don't love you for who you are. If they did they wouldn't try to control you. They would never expect you to do something you didn't want to do or try to interfere with what makes you happy. One of the most dangerous signs you can hear from your teenager is this: Their friends call themselves a family and have a hierarchy with parent figures, brothers and sisters. Another is: You expect me to be perfect and what you want me to be. You don't respect me for who I am so why should I respect you. This is a system of behavior that is being used to manipulate teens by other teens and then used on family.
But one story at a time. She dated The Punk for awhile. Then he apparently dumped her. Which caused her already damaged self esteem to spiral downward. She spiraled deeper with it. We took her out of the school. But it didn't stop the problems. Over the next two years things continued to deteriorate. Every time we made some headway we were bashed back. One of the things about a peer group like this is that they don't really care about you. But, if after an extended period of time you are not seen they start to come out. I call them the cockroaches. Just when we would get her on her feet the calls would start. And it would start again. And she met another boy.
The Soul Destroyer. This one was self centered, abusive, and respected no one. This is when the drugs got more serious and really out of control behavior began. I don't judge his mother. She was on her own and did the best she could. She felt guilty for having to raise him alone. But the fact is she held him accountable for nothing. In the years I knew them he never did anything that wasn't really Someone Else's fault. We even tried to help him. Tried to point him in the right direction and encourage him. It wasn't what he wanted. During these years I watched my child turn in to someone I would avoid if I saw them walking towards me on the street. During this time she would sometimes be missing for days at a time, come home filthy, weighed barely 100lbs. Had black circles under her eyes that looked like she hadn't slept in days, sometimes she hadn't.
This is around the time we made our final attempt at having her hospitalized. She was hanging around a lot of street people and drifters. Then she met a different type of wanderer and was introduced to a kinder gentler rebellion.
Just before she turned 16 she ran away again. Well, she said I'm going to a Rainbow Gathering in Ocala Fl. And we said no you are not and she said F U, yes I am and left. We did the usual & went down to report her missing. By that time I think they had a rubber stamp with her name and address up at the police station. While she was there, something weird happened. She had told her friends she had heard about this gathering and they decided to go. They were going there to party. Biggest noticed more than the partying. She noticed a sense of peacefulness and community. She was, dare I say it, embarrassed by her friends behavior while they were there. She started to participate in the event. I don't really approve of everything she picked up there, but..... My daughter walked out of here a Punk, and came home a hippie. Peace and Love dude, well in less she drank too much and you really pissed her off.
The Peacemaker. I call him that because he was the one that allowed her to have peace with her family. I am saving the full story for another post but he fit in better with her new style of dreadlocks, sarongs & going barefoot. She shed the Soul Destroyer. She couldn't safely leave the group for us. With this new relationship they backed off. They went away. Something we had never been able to accomplish. He was older than we would have allowed in a normal world (20), but we weren't in the normal world. And he had a real job and basically normal life. She would report to us from time to time that she heard something about the Punk or the Soul Destroyer. They fell deeper into the pit. One day we learned the Soul Destroyer had been arrested for armed robbery in another state. The Punk, well he had disappeared. Been gone a long time. No one knew where he was. During those 2 years she continued to grow up and grow more rational. Maybe too normal, shortly after she turned 18 the peacemaker ended the relationship. We all felt the loss.
But Then. We had a time of uncertainty. Because of her past there was a real fear of Biggest falling back into the pit. The only people she had to go back to were her old friends. For a little while things were shaky. Then we noticed someone was dropping her off at the end of the road and never coming up to the house. Alarms went off! We confronted. We demanded. She said, "it's Ok. I promise." Not good enough. Who?
No Way. You have got to be kidding me. If he comes in my yard I will shoot him! Well, yes he knows that which is why he is dropping her off down the road. Then we hear a story about how he left town to work for his uncle and got straightened out and has his life together. About how they ran into each other at someones house and found out neither of them really wanted to be around these people anymore but didn't really know a lot of other people who weren't from the past. So they had been hanging around each other instead. And it was really Ok!
"I've heard that song before. You are 18. The 1st time you come in my house wasted you are out on your rear. Do not bring him anywhere near my home."
" But you don't understand. "
"Damn straight I don't."
A few days later an audience is requested. No joke. I want nothing to do with it. My husband walks outside to speak to The Punk, who I notice doesn't have a Mohawk anymore. He's wearing jeans and a tee shirt and sneakers. They had a guy talk. They came to an understanding. My husband said we had to give him a chance. Yeah right! Over my dead body. He could be nice but don't expect me to.
That was almost 5 years ago.
So does anyone have a good suggestion for a blog name for my son in law because The Punk doesn't quite seem to fit?
Nowadays he is more like Decent Guy who works hard at a good trade and likes to go fishing.
When she is angry and ranting and raving about something we like to tease him and say we are glad he came back to take responsibility for what he created.
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