Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Remembering, Part Two - Happy Memories

My last post may have made it sound like I had a bad childhood. I really didn't. I never doubted that I was loved. I wasn't abused or molested as so many people seem to have been. I was just a nerdy, not-so-rich kid who was easy to pick on and maybe didn't have much in the way of role models.  Today, I remember the happy and funny times.

I remember running down the street screaming my head off because my bratty cousins liked to chase me with crawdads, sometimes even throwing them in my hair. Funny now if not then. Fishing for crawdads in the canal...

I remember summers riding in the back of the '78 Dodge Ram my dad bought brand new and still has - it's his baby to this day. Four wheeling at the river, dad helping pull people out when they got stuck, mud bogging trips, tubing the river
and the drive-ins.

Brownie, my dad's baby. The kids and grandkids are still fighting over who gets it...

I remember times spent with my best friend, Amy. She stuck by me through it all. She took me to my first concerts. We listened to Leslie Gore, watched One Life to Live, dated together. She was there through heart breaks and lost virginity.I'm so grateful she is still my best friend.
Amy and me, 20 years later.

I remember sitting under the senior tree as a sophomore - feeling so cool because I was dating a senior - and a bird shit on my head. Again, funnier now than it was then.

I remember finally standing up for myself and not getting my skinny, wimpy little ass totally kicked. Okay, I really only remember her swinging at me and then I blacked out. But I HEARD I stood up for myself pretty damn well!

I remember making the cheer squad during 8th grade and again my senior year.

I remember summers spent with my Bucko - although I'd stopped calling her that by then. Sneaking in late at night and crawling into bed with her, as if she didn't know. And summers spent borrowing my Aunt Katie's clothes and shoes for dates, toting my cousin Amanda where I could, blaring music, and cruising the exciting downtown Safford.

I remember my dad becoming a single dad to two teens and struggling to make ends meet so we wouldn't lose our house. Always making sure I had SOMETHING to drive. Not sure what to do with a teen daughter who got good grades and worked but who didn't always go to school or come home at night.

I remember Knotts Berry Farm with my mom, stepdad and little brothers. And trips to Fort Bragg.

I remember my mom and stepdad also making sure I had something to drive. Like the bug I managed to roll backwards out of the driveway and get to school but then I couldn't figure out how to get it in reverse after school so I could go home. The truck that I had to sit on the edge of the seat and push the clutch in with my tiptoes. My Pinto! Loved that ugly little car.

I remember a long road trip with Jamie to get my military ID and blowing the engine in my Pinto because the radiator ran out of water. We were stuck for hours in the middle of nowhere with just her Chevron card. Thank goodness we broke down near a Chevron! No cell phones or pagers to reach parents to come rescue us!

Jamie and I, 20 years later!
I remember taking my pet rat to the wrestling game to watch the guy I was madly in love with (and would later marry), and reaching over someone's head to hand the rat to a friend when it decided to piss.

There are so many more good memories than bad - I just need to recall them more often.


Mostly I try not to remember. Why is it the bad is so much clearer than the good? But sometimes, sometimes all the memories rush in at once.

I remember starting school in 5th grade and being made fun of pretty much from day one. I was a straight-A, teacher's pet, nerdy little thing whose clothes were very different from everyone else. I also didn't know what a cherry was (climbing the slide ladder in a skirt and someone saying they could see my cherry).

I remember a horrible science camp trip in 6th grade. Too embarrassing to this day to even write about. And being in awe over a boy named Nick who I made a fool out of myself with more than once. That crush lasted until the summer I graduated high school.

I remember my best friend giving me her hand me downs because I hadn't had new clothes in two years. I didn't stain or rip or grow out of my clothes, so that meant few new clothes. That's kind of what I got for being such a prissy girly-girl. My favorite pair of jeans ever came from her. Gray with a zig zag pattern and zippers at the ankles. And being the cheerleader with the generic Keds from K-Mart instead of the real ones.

I remember my best friend turning on me for what I meant as an honest, not judging but warning comment, and then turning everyone else against me by saying I was talking shit about the popular girls. I remember trying to slit my wrists that year because I was so afraid to go to school.

I remember two years of being afraid to leave my house, walk between classes, go anywhere in public without adult supervision. I remember my head being banged against the bus window. Of being shoved, mocked, and chased.

I remember a boyfriend my freshman year inviting me to a dance just to break up with me in front of one of the bullies and then inform me he was going out with her instead.

I remember the boy who took my virginity making fun of me and giving me a complex I still have to do this day.

I remember my first and only fight, when I'd finally had enough after two years of total misery. And the school trying to expel me even though I'd been trying to get their help to make it stop. And that my life was slightly more peaceful after that day.

I remember my first true love breaking my heart and dumping me for someone with the same name but a different spelling. The wild binge I went on that summer to try to prove someone wanted me. And a crazy week together many, many years later that helped me see it was for the best we didn't stay together.

I remember my 21 year old "fiance" dumping 16 year old me at "our" New Year's Eve party to try to steal his friend's girlfriend away.  And trying to overdose on pills but only managed to pass out and feel like shit the next day.  I remember deciding I needed to finally get out of this town.

I remember going to a friend's apartment the summer I was 18. A guy friend I'd known for several years. A friend who said he always thought of me as a little sister since he was several years older than me. And being given drinks in a hot tub. And waking up to him having sex with me, me crying and asking him to stop, and him refusing. Him finishing and throwing me - still crying, bleeding, and feeling woozy - and my girlfriend out of the apartment. Of crying as I drove us both back home. Of feeling humiliated and ashamed.

I remember going out dancing with a friend just last summer and people making a point to come into the area my best friend and I were at to point and try to intimidate me. It was like high school again, except this time I wasn't afraid - I was just royally pissed off.

Tomorrow, or maybe even later today, I'll remember the good. Because there really is so much more of the good than the bad.