Burgundy couches in the living rooms. A big fence that held pit bulls that would bite if you weren’t quiet when going from the fence to the door. One car after another, because she wrecked every one she ever had. Waves to my family members as I walked over bridges on main roads because she had to get her fix, but didn’t have a car. The looks in restaurants because people pitied you, and thought you had no idea what was going on. The railroads we crossed to get to the trailers. The McDonald’s happy meal that was promised for exchange of silence. The fish tanks that would entertain my time while I was alone in the living rooms. The feeling of fear. Would I make it out of the house alive? Would someone kill her over the drugs? Five years old. I watched her eat pills in the driver seat from my car seat in the back.
But now it’s only flashbacks, randomly. Riding by a set of railroad tracks and instantly remembering riding over them in the back on the car when I was 5, scared to death. Remembering a house we used to go in but feeling so free because now I get to drive by instead on being trapped inside. A feeling of anger, that I got the bad apple out of my friends. The feeling of abandonment as I realized the drugs were more important to her than I was, her daughter. The thought that continuously ran through my head, will she ever choose me? My biggest flaw was never feeling good enough. If I wasn’t good enough for my own blood, who am I worthy of? I would be lying if I told you I didn’t still struggling with feeling unworthy, but we take it one day at a time, and I’ve learned that just because she couldn’t see my worth, doesn’t mean I can’t. Not being able to trust anyone, because if your own parent will leave and never look back, anyone can. Dad working two jobs to try and makeup for her. It was never his fault. He didn’t choose that for us. I cried a lot. I panicked. I prayed. I questioned. But I never gave up. I found comfort. I am not her mistakes. I am not her actions. I am worthy. I am loved. I am my dads biggest achievement. His number 1.
It took me eighteen years to realize it. Good things take time. I broke the cycle, I am not my mother. I am not “just like her.” I am not more likely to become an addict because she is. That’s an excuse people use when they want to have a reason to explain why they act the way they do. You choose your destiny. Not your drug addicted parents. Don’t try the pills, I promise there’s nothing in them for you. Don’t shoot it up, I promise the feeling will never be worth it. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you too, can be different.