How It All Came Into Existence for Me Being raised in a strict Baptist home had its moments. Add to that the age of my adoptive mother and it was unlike any of my friends parents and homes so I noticed that rather early. My mom was in her 60s when she took me from my birth parents and we moved to Lakeland Florida. I never had a father. I was told my moms husband died years before. [ (Gray, 1979) ] All her children were grown except my brother, Donald, who was nine years older. Therefore, my mom knew time was close that would cause her to be alone again and something she couldnt handle.
Because she didnt do it legally, she had to have family members and friends go to court and swear I was her natural child to obtain a Florida birth certificate. [ (Gray, 1979) ] This took along and delayed my first grade year. So, she taught me at home until I could start school. I knew all the basics a first grader should along with much more. I knew all times tables, spelling, writing, and reading most learned by fourth grade. I couldnt leave a big leather chair every day until I knew my lesson. We never wore pants or shorts, only dresses or skirts.
I wasnt allowed to pierce my ears, or wear my hair down. My mom would tell me daily, if I let her pull it up it will grow faster. So, after our daily arguments about my hair, she always got her way. I wanted long hair as quick as possible. As strict as she was, I was always allowed to walk to the end of our road to the 7-11 to buy her cigarettes every day I was barely 7 years old, yet, allowed to purchase them for her. Our Religious Practices We were very active in church and members of Calvary Baptist. We never had a vehicle my entire childhood, therefore, living a cross from the church was helpful.
Attending church services wasnt an option and we were always the first people there when the doors opened. My mother was such a punctual creature, being 15 minutes early was a must. To this day, I require my kids and myself to do the same. Tardiness is rudeness and what I was taught. Each summer, I was sent to 3 different church camps, back to back. I am thankful for my spiritual teachings; they are deep rooted and have given me the values and morality I live by. Being human, I always error, but, those errors would have a larger scale without my Father God in my heart.
From home schooling, I was given self discipline educationally, as well as, a solid foundation to learn with competiveness to excel. Every test, drill, quiz and competition I had to be the best above everyone else. I always succeeded with top scores and grades. In 6th grade I won the American Legion gold medal for academics, beating out everyone in school. Anything less than first place wasnt acceptable to my mother or myself. My report card reflected that with all straight As. Being so academically driven from my structured upbringing also brought internal battles inside me.
Those have never subsided, only manageable now. The Parental Discipline Style. Maternal instincts or perhaps, controlling issues, my mother possessed, kept me home and not socially involved much at all, other than church. When I wanted a friend to come over, I was never allowed to ask in front of said friend. Everything in our home was private and we never spoke of unpleasant things in front of anyone. When there was a slip up, an hour long lecture along with discipline ensued. I took myself mentally, anywhere I could until I was released from mothers wrath.
At the age of 7, I spent a week in my bedroom after laughing at her over a silly joke. I wasnt allowed to leave that room for anything, not even to use the bathroom. She brought a big pot to the room for me to use. Being so little, the torture of those four walls as my only company was unbearable. Thinking of that time, I can always see myself there and remember the lonely feeling inside that consumed me. Watching the neighborhood kids playing outside from my window, it felt as if time wasnt moving at all for me. Even their laughter made the loneliness more intense for me.
When my punishment was over, and mother opened that door, I can still feel the cool breeze of fresh air hitting my face. Feeling that was something I relive every time I feel the air blow while outside. Surviving Anyway Possible. Being very poor was another way we lived. Government surplus was our constant food and never went far. But, mother always made sure I ate, even if she couldnt. Once a year, we had a special dinner and something I looked forward to, asking if it was time yet daily. We were allowed to eat angel food cake and cream soda. The one dinner that never changed up and stayed the constant.
I wouldnt have had it any other way and one of the few pleasures I knew was coming and gave me joy I lacked most of the time. Growing up and living a different life was all I dreamed of and helped me facing each day. Especially in my teen years when all I knew at home, began unraveling and I didnt know why. By ninth grade, my mothers behavior was so bizarre it became unbearable for me to live with. My grades began suffering and my mental state was in severe shape. The school got involved and a social worker began visits to our home. The options were few and after several attempts running away, I was taken to see the Girls Villa.
If I so chose, they would take me in and help me. My insecurities ran so deep I wasnt able to live with those strangers. I declined graciously, and kept trying to handle my unhappy home life. A week after turning 16, I couldnt maintain my sanity and left for good. My best friends family took me in, and attempted to make it legal. I was a year and half away from turning 18, so the judge emancipated me. The relief of never being abused mentally and emotionally by my mother released all the demons she created within me. Being so young and innocent, I knew nothing of aging and how it affects our brains.
I learned later, she developed dementia, therefore, causing her memory lapse along with strange behaviors. Behaviors I became the punching bag for. She never wanted to be alone and fought my growing up by trying to keep me little forever. Sadly, it took me away forever without looking back. I always swore to raise my children differently. I would make sure were loved properly and healthy. I may have endured a lot of hardships in my childhood, but, the character, values, and morals I gained are the tradeoffs and rewards. I was also taught about loving and trusting in God and my faith is what has kept me grounded and has never forsaken me.
The intelligence my mother nurtured and helped developed within me, brought forth my confidence and self assurance to keep going through tough times. Overcoming what I have has brought me to where I am now in my life, instead of taking me to places I could never recover from. It can be so hard at times, but I was taught the ability to recognize hard times will pass if handle correctly. The journey is important and long, to reach the destination. Walking lifes journey successfully is the key to reach the final destination. For me, that is Heaven, ending my time on earth and finally being with the only Man that always loved me unconditionally.