Aug 6, 2010

A Colourful Life (Part 1)

I have lived a very unusual life. Some may say it was scary, or sad, but to me it is what made me the strong woman I am today. All my life I was repeatedly abandoned by my heroin addicted mother. Random people that my mother knew or met would adopt me for days, weeks, months or more; for 3 years I lived with a lady my mom had known for only 3 days. When I was 10 years old my mom was caught scamming welfare for me when I didn't live with her. I was given the choice if I wanted to move back in with my mom and being very young, I chose my mom over stability.

So, I moved in with her and a new step-dad that openly hated me, a new step-brother that liked me a little too much, and my god-father who also had a hated for me for no apparent reason except that I was there, and this guy Rob, who didn't even acknowledge my existence. Very shortly after I moved in, my step-brother, who was a year older than me, began raping me. I told no one because I was afraid that my mom would abandon me again. Instead I took to sleeping in odd places at night so he couldn't find me, or I simply stayed out all night, hanging out at the strip mall down the road and then I slept during the day in class. My teacher Ms. Baker was amazing to me. For my grade 5 graduation she bought me a graduation dress – the 1st dress I had ever owned! It was white cotton with white frills around the collar and down the skirt; I felt so pretty.

That summer I left home for the last time. My mom never called the authorities on me because she didn't want to lose the money she got monthly from the government for ‘supporting’ me. I ran away to downtown Toronto to live on the streets and I kept to myself at first. When someone asked me my name I told them a nickname. I panhandled for change in front of Sam The Record Man. Over time I got to know the people in the strange underworld of street kids. Times were different downtown in those days. On Queen Street the punks ran things and on Young Street, it was the skinheads that ran things. I was one of the lucky ones because I got along with everybody, and was very protected by everybody. In the summer time I got to know a biker and he helped me to go to my mom’s place once in a while by giving me a ride. He was a great guy, never hit on me once.

During the entire time I was on the streets I commuted to school daily. I went to school up until I was 14 and that’s when I got called into the principal’s office, only 3 weeks into grade 9. By this time I had a 2 foot alpine green mohawk, gothic make-up, fangs, wore a kilt, 20-hole Ranger boots, and had a kitten living in my backpack. The principle then explained to me that my step-dad told them I do not live at home, and because I was under the age of 16 and I did not have a legal guardian paying taxes for me, I wasn't allowed to go to school anymore. I was shattered; school was the 'only' stability that I had in my life and I looked forward to it every day.

My mother had a mental breakdown after she couldn't collect money for me anymore since it was proven I didn't live at home. She went to her doctor crying, saying that I was a run-away and she put a ‘Form 1’ out for me. That form tells the police to put that person of concern on 72 hour lock down at a psychiatric hospital. The police picked me up on my way to a camping trip with some friends. I was stuck in the hospital for 2 weeks because I refused to talk to anybody and after 2 weeks they had to let me go. To top it off, months later a Truancy Warrant was put out for my arrest to go to juvenile jail! Lucky for me that the warrant was only for Durham region, so I never went home again since my mom now lived in that area. At least my step-brother wasn’t able to rape me anymore now that I was exiled from that area.

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