Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Teenage Chronicles: Part 1

So here we were in a new house, out in the country no less! Phil had a small trailer to the side of the yard that he used as a garage/barn building, it was filled with tools and what not. The house was small, yellow, and had sliding doors rather than regular doors because of how small the square footage is. To get to mine and my sister's room upstairs, you had to walk through my brother's room. there was no door between us. The stairway is unbelievably small and enclosed going up.
But we had a yard!!!!!
No more walking to the park to play!
We could ride our bikes up and down the road all day long. It was beautiful. There is a big hill in the road about a 1/2 a mile west and we would struggle just to get up it, only to come coasting down it with no hands on the handle bars,hands up in the air, feeling the freedom of a warm summer breeze blowing on my skin. Oddly enough, this is about the time when Randy Travis came out with the country song "Look Heart, No Hands".
Phil being 30 years older than my mother- he was only a few years younger than my Grandma-grew up in the depression era. I remember him telling us all kinds of stories about his childhood. Never about his previous marriage though, that was a memory better left forgotten for him.
I was still battling my depression, but for now, with the change of scenery it was at bay. I could breathe a little if you will.
It was a good place to start over, but I was not ready for it. Started my 8th grade year at Central Noble High School, in a little town called Albion, In. I remember that morning of the first day of school. I sat at the vanity that Phil said I could have (it was an Antique thing that was part of his family possessions) and I stared for the longest time, trying to decide whether or not to put on any makeup. I had never worn it before and had always wanted to. I didn't look beautiful, at least not in my eyes. But looking at myself and not being sure of what I saw, I came to one conclusion. If I was going to start over, I might as well start over as me. No makeup was neccessary for that, people would either like me or they wouldn't. That was stuff inside of me, no amount of makeup would alter that any way. And with that thought in my head, I headed downstairs, out the door and down to the end of the driveway to meet the bus.
It was difficult that first year, but not impossible. You remember my 5th grade vow to stay away from boys? Well every year since then, at least one boy would ask me out. It was down right perplexing. my only conclusion was that there must be some joke going on at my expense, I had been made fun of occasionally and I could not figure out what they saw that made them wish to have me be their girlfriend.
here at this school, I had the same issue. But this boy was persistant. He asked nearly every day, even had his friends ask. I refused, I wouldn't budge. It was dangerous territory for me. He was of the "popular crowd" and I preferred the loners. I think I nearly broke his heart.
There was another boy, in the same crowd of friends as far as I could tell who did not like me. He made it well known that he did not like me. I remember going to social studies class after gym and he ran passed me saying, "Ugh, something stinks" making eye glances my way. It was so horrible! I couldn't understand it. Why would someone be so cruel. Years later, when I was out on my own it dawned on me that I probably smelled like cigarettes galore. My mother, Phil, and many many other members of the family all smoke. A nasty habit that I'm glad I never decided to pick up.
But still, this boy was friends with persistant boy and it made me feel even more like it was a big joke. So I stayed clear of anything resembling a relationship, with anyone. Ever.
At home, I couldn't believe how different life could be. We met some of the kids down the street. We had chores to do (that was a first) and Mom loved being with Phil. He let her feel as though she was his equal. And for a while, it did seem that way,but life brings with it changes, and change is sometimes hard to swallow...but we will get to that soon enough.
That year Phil decided we needed to have a barn, a real one. And he began planning what he would need, how much money to put aside, and when to do it. It was marvelous being included in his thoughts and ideas. We would be tearing down someone else's barn that summer, to procure some of the lumber that we would need.
At school, as the school year was winding to a close, my friend Missy was more excited than a monkey on a sugar high. She couldn't wait to start high school, I however could not have been less impressed with the idea. I think she thought it would somehow change things, make the others at school see her differently. But I knew better. Changing grades, changing buildings that your classes were in, change in itself doesn't always bring you what you want and sometimes what you want is not always what you need. To me it was just another thing that I'd rather not deal with.
that summer, we all as a family of sorts, tore down a barn piece by piece. I fell through the roof, Eddie stepped on a nail, and Amy nearly got flattened underneath it all as the barn came crashing down at the end. But it was good work to be doing. A physical activity that let you be busy and not think. No thinking was good for me then. Dwelling on things didn't do nothing but make me cry.
9th grade rolled around. Persistant boy still was asking for me and I began to feel a bit defiant about the whole school thing. Mom and I were always arguing at this point..I even accused her once of not being a good mom, that it must be God raising me and not her because I didn't ever remember her making good decisions. It was probably one of the most shameful things I could have ever said to her.
So with the defiance in hand and being too young to drive myself anywhere just to get away a series of things happened. First off I stopped doing my school work, to hell with it I thought. I had been a A & B honor roll student every year at every school I'd ever been to until then. I didn't give a flying flip what grades I got. It didn't matter to me anymore. An F was F. So what???
The second thing was the uncontrollable depression, I was either sleeping all the time at home or I was crying. Always in my room away from my family, who at that point in my life I began to feel alienated from. I had my twin bed on the side of the room where the window was and I nestled my bed lengthways beside it so that I could just stare up at the stars at night. Thinking. Wondering what I could do to get away.
I also began to draw alot. I still have in a folder, many of the drawings, sketches, and doodles that I did in high school. Since I didn't feel the need to pay attention to anyone else, I plunged full steam ahead into my daydream world. I had always daydreamed, it was a way to escape the horrors of my childhood. But now it was my sanctuary, my only save haven, my only peace.
I stuggled with believing that anybody really cared. So I tried to make myself believe that I didn't care either...
this was also, by the way the year I got grounded for going to church. Yes, I said grounded for going. I had found a nice neighbor who had invited us to her church for wedsneday nights earlier in the year. I was enthralled. They were a pretty cool group of kids, at least on the surface. And I could sing! Well, anyway, Mom and I had gotten into another one of our fights, so I slipped into the bathroom. There's a small window in there. I (thinking how clever I was) opened it up nice and slowly and eased myself out of the window and into the back yard. I skipped all the way to the neighbors house across the field and hopped into the church van that drove around picking us up. I was free! At least until I got home that night...yes, you can laugh. I still to this day have not met anyone else who can truthfully say they were grounded for going to church.
But I was struggling to find a reason to care about things now. I didn't really have any friends at school that I was close enough too that I wanted to share my thoughts with. I felt alone, adrift, with no one to guide me.
It was in my 10th grade year that I met her. A shy, mousy girl who had just moved to the area. Oh my what a riot it has been since then....I introduce to you Triana Pfleidner pronounced (Try-Anna Flight-ner).


Triana said...

Dear World,
I'm pleased to meet you!
~Triana (no longer Pfleidner) Johnston.

Natalie said...

Dear Try - Anna now Jonston, it's nice to meet you too!

Great chapter, April.xx :D