Thursday, July 3, 2014


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my childhood. Not that I particularly want to rehash painful events, but because the totality of my experiences make up who I am. If I were to describe my childhood in a few words I would quote what a teacher once said “She is a very sad and lonely girl”.  The fact that my adoptive parents were not exactly nurturing didn’t help matters. From about the age of 9 I knew I was on my own, when I became ‘damaged goods’ I feel they just lost interest in me. My adoptive mother was my chief tormentor, she systematically took away any friend I made and anything that was important to me. I understand now that she is a Narcissist, and it’s what they do… their modus operandi. My adoptive brother was the golden child in her eyes, the athlete. I was the heavy, dumpy, stupid, special education, damaged goods child that just didn’t get the time and resources that he did.

Grade school was horrible, but it didn’t prepare me for the hell that junior high turned out to be. I knew people could be cruel, but junior high was a whole other level. I had everything going against me, I was heavy, in special education, and not able to stand up for myself. 

8 Months of Black Corduroy

The new school year shopping ritual was never a fun time for me. My adoptive mother who was
naturally thin, really didn't know where or how to shop for a child that was heavier than normal. It’s bad enough as an adult trying on endless clothing that doesn't fit you, but when you are 11 or 12 it’s an exercise in pure torture. Thus, I started my school year with 2 pairs of pants that were my clothing allotment for the rest of that year. Two pairs of corduroy pants, one brown and the other black. During the first 2 weeks of school, the brown corduroy pants got torn, and they were not salvageable.  So a normal mother might take her child back out shopping, since your child is now down to one pair of pants…right? I mean that is what a “normal” mother would do…. But my adoptive mother wasn't normal….   When I showed her what happened, she flatly said ‘well tough luck’ that is what you have for the year, and don't ask me about this again.  I wasn't a careless child when it came to things, and the pants getting torn was just  a freak accident. They caught a sharp edge that was hidden. 

So began my journey of wearing the same pair of pants every day for 8 months straight.

If they had been blue jeans, it might not have been that noticeable… but they were black corduroy, and well it becomes obvious that you've been wearing the same pants every day. Lunch time was the worst, and I took to hiding in the school library during my lunch period. It lasted for a few weeks before the librarian kicked me out. I then sought refuge in the last stall of the least used ladies bathroom.  It was a ritual, instead of lunch I hid away in a bathroom. I’d occupy myself with finishing the homework I didn't do from the night before and pray that I’d get hit by a truck soon, anything to keep me from having to come back to school in the same pants day after day.

About 3 months in, the pants started to suffer from wear and tear. The fabric on the inner thighs was showing fatigue. Small holes developed after they gone through the washer and dryer, so I had to hand wash them in the sink and hang them to dry in my bedroom in an effort to lengthen their life.  At the 6 month mark, say around March, the fabric was really becoming threadbare in areas. I spent hours trying to mend the pants, trying to find ways to patch and sew fabric that was rapidly deteriorating. Towards the end of the school year, my repairs were only lasting one day. I just accepted my dilemma that I only had the one pair of pants, I didn’t not bother asking again for a
replacement…. See I was damaged goods, and the resources of the family were put into more worthwhile members.  Was my family so poor they could not afford to buy me clothing? No.  My adoptive mother had her tanning appointments, hair coloring appointments, and she shopped as an activity. She was never without anything she wanted.   Someone suggested that maybe she was unaware of the clothing situation, which I can kind of give a pass on… let’s say… and I’ll be generous… for the first 4 months of continuous wear. That still leaves you with another 4 months that she just neglected to notice, care, or really have an interest in the lack of clothing I had.  

No, the honest truth is that my adoptive mother told me that I had that one pair of pants for the rest of the year and not to complain. That was what I had, and all I was getting.  So I accepted my situation.  It isn't easy being the target at school for bullies, and coming to school day after day in the same clothing was predicable in the level and kinds of abuse that would be directed at you.  PE class was horrible, we had to change in an open group locker room that had no privacy. I was actually thankful when I fell down a staircase at school and fractured some toes. I was able to get into PE class for those with disabilities.  Even after my foot healed, I just kept going to that PE class until toward the end of the year my Corduroy year my main special ed teacher realized I was still in the restricted PE class and forced me back into the mainstream PE class. I tried to re-injure my foot without success....the things we do when we are desperate.  

 At the time I was 12, and  I didn't have enough of my own money to buy clothing, but I was hiding and saving any money I did get because two years earlier I had been forced to sign over my savings bonds to help pay for my adoptive brothers first car. I was told I’d get the money back, and I did 6 years later after I kept asking about it…  I was told I was making a big deal out of nothing and it wasn't that much money. I don’t know what the amount was, I never counted the savings bonds when they made me sign them over at the bank.   It would have been nice if my adoptive parents would have reciprocated when I bought my first car and made ‘a family effort’ to help me, but as you know  I was ‘damaged goods’ and I actually didn't get a car until after I graduated high school. I worked full time as a receptionist, saving every dollar so I could eventually buy a used car… and that is a whole other blog entry.

After my corduroy year, I started baby sitting and saved my earnings so I could buy my own clothing… I never wanted to be forced to wear the same pair of pants for 8 months again. I never wore corduroy ever again, nor can I stand it to this day. What I am unable to wrap my head around to this day, is how my adoptive mother was able to see me day after day in the same pants and feel nothing.... not an ounce of empathy, sympathy, or common human decency. If she was teaching me a lesson to take better care of my clothing.... don't you think you could say the lesson was learned 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or at 10 weeks in? But 8 months? Only when you look at someone with a Narcissistic disorder can it even being to make sense.... the lack of empathy, or for that matter common decency.  Like in my Red nightmare, a total and complete lack of accountability, empathy for how your actions impact others. 
Adoptees have a tendency to be self-sufficient because we don’t trust people, especially those close to us… since our mothers abandoned us as infants. 
We realize that no relationship, no matter how close is guaranteed, we are disposable.

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