Life as a Dysfunctional Teen; Precurser to Being a Birthmother

This story begin’s here:” How to Begin a BirthMother: Chapter 1

My parents probably should never have married.

I think that they were not well matched at all. Married at 23, I think my mom did it to escape her own parent’s house. She never did get very far, always living within a few miles of her own parents house, but she at least, had her own home to rule. This is one of those areas where I have now, as an adult, so many real questions to ask but no one to ask them in order to begin to understand the real dynamics of the family I grew up in. From what I gather, my mother felt like the forgotten child in the middle. Her older brother, my Uncle Mike, was the prized son and her younger sister, my Aunt Lynda, the preverbal brat. I think my mother procured her martyr status in life early on.

It sounded like she married my father in a bit of a rush though I was not born until a socially acceptable year later, so what that rush was I am not sure. I have found old pictures whose dates on the back, if to believed, make the acquaintance and courtship between them much longer than she seemed to recall. I do remember her speaking about not being allowed to go away with my father and met his family and for that she felt sheltered and denied knowledge that might have helped her make a better life decision. I know she worked a full time job and lived with her parents until she married and then my parents bought a house. She spoke once of wanting to leave the marriage and then found herself to be pregnant with me. So she stayed and at the age of 2 months and two days they bought the house that I grew up in, five blocks from my grandparents.

By the time they married, my father was on the police force. Early pictures of him show a very handsome man in uniform with a sparkle in his eye. I know my mother never felt comfortable with her appearance, so maybe she felt lucky to get as fine a man as my dad. I know I was always happy to have inherited his nose rather than her big Italian honker, but I often see her reflection in my face now and it works for me. The genetics on them meshed quite well as both my brother and I are a good blend. We have a great abundance of common sense and will inherited from Mom with intelligence and great testing ability from dear old dad. Maybe that was the whole purpose of their union as it certainly didn’t seem to bring much peace or happiness on any other front. It was not a happy marriage especially towards the end.
When my father left my mom the final time he had a lot of practice.

They had separated once when I was beginning ninth grade for about 6 months.

Then yearly, he would attempt to leave again. It was always January and he always left a note which I, home from school first, would end up finding with a feeling of “Oh, here we go again”. By the time I was a senior, I guess even my mom had had enough and away he went. The war that ensued lasted the next five years until they finally were able to legally divorce. Everything was a grudge match and the fighting was dirty. If there had been any love there it was now pure hate. The hate from my father was not just projected to my mom, but I received quite a portion of the residuals.

The thing that effected me most was that my father took all my college money.

Whatever they had saved for me, he had craftily cleaned out of their joint accounts before informing her of his intent. He then stopped all child support and kept all his paychecks for himself. My mom thought he was paying the mortgage on the house and then found out by fluke that he wasn’t right before it went into foreclosure. She ended up having to go from working part time around my brother’s school schedule to working full time to meet the bills. Needless to say that nothing was left for me.

After not seeing him for months, my father came over to visit “the children”. I remember hearing my mother tell him,“I’m not going to tell her that. You tell her”
It was May. I was about to graduate high school. I was accepted into my choice of schools. My time in suburban purgatory was almost at its end and suddenly here was Dad about to tell me the great news.

“Well you see, there isn’t any college money for you”
“Why. Where did it go. You knew I was planning on this”
“I needed things. I had to buy furniture and rent an apartment.”
“You bought a motorcycle”
“That doesn’t matter”
“What am I suppose to do? This is my life we’re talking about. Most parents are thrilled when their children want to go to college”
“You can go to the local community college”
“And how am I suppose to get there. I don’t have a car.”
“You can take the bus”
“I’m not doing that!! They have a shitty art department. I got into Parson’s and SVA!!. What do you want me to do?? Should I become a prostitute or surrogate mother in order to pay for school??”
“You do what you have to do”

And then he walked out of my room. He went down the stairs and sat on the couch and attempted to read the paper and that complete disregard was just too much. At that moment, seeing how little it affected him, the dam broke and I just lost it. I ran after him and threw myself into the paper, throwing it across the room. I attacked him with nails and screams. I know that I was trying to show him, prove to him how very deeply he hurt me. He did not care and pushed me off. He did not pay any heed to my cries of despair. And then he walked outside to speak to my baby brother.

I stood in the middle of the kitchen, trying to regain composure, yet knowing that he had just destroyed all that I had hoped for, all that I had dreamed, my escape. I heard him talking to Matt and grabbing a knife I went outside. It was pure insanity. I held the knife high, not knowing what I intended and screamed at him:

“You get away from MY brother!”

I threw the knife at him.

It missed, but it scared him badly. He ran out muttering about how we were all nuts. He was never big on visitation after that.

Maybe, come to think of it, my ability to freak out unnerved my mother after that.
Honestly, with hindsight, if I was her, I would have just made me deal with the unfortunate reality of our situation. There was no longer money for school and the great Manhattan life I dreamed. Maybe, she just did want to give to me what I so craved or maybe she just wanted to get me out of her hair. In any case, instead of making me understand that I would just have to commute to the city for a year or two until things got better, she actually helped me find an apartment.

The plan was that I would get a place in NY with friends from home. Terri, Ashmi, and someone else I forget now were supposed to be my roommates. When it came time to put down the money for the apartment, everyone had changed their plans and I was the only one moving. Did this stop me? Nope. I had about $3,000.00 dollars and the apartment was eight hundred a month with one month’s security. I figured I would move in anyway and find other roommates from the vast quantities of kids I knew in the NYC club scene. They would pay me back and I would have enough money to pay for my first semester’s tuition which was another $3,500.00.

It was a bad plan.

First there was a couple of basically runways from Jersey. They had no money, but were going to sell some stuff to get it to me. It took about a month to find out that that wasn’t going to happen. So they referred, using that word very loosely, me to another couple from Jersey. Somehow, other friends of theirs, two girls also came to live with us. Money was exchanged somehow and I did manage to pay tuition in the zero hour. I was not eligible for any financial aid because, on the books, my father had money.

The apartment was a fourth floor walk up in the Upper East Side between York and East end. It was a one bedroom railroad flat with a bathtub in the kitchen. Usually there was anywhere between 4 to 7 people there. It got to be the norm that if you had any food or money, it was the place to crash. I don’t know how many people stayed there. It was insane. All kids, no grown ups and no money. Everything I had in the world was there and it was nothing but a huge party with no one to clean up the mess. If we had any cash, we grouped it together and bought cigarettes. A dollar and change could get you a pack or a loaf of bread so we could eat. We smoked instead. We got crutches from the garbage and took turns going panhandling for change. We dumpster dived in the back of drug stores and either sold or took whatever we found. We hunted though the trash for what we could find and tried to sell that. Friends that still lived at home would steal food from the family fridge. We stole toilet paper for restaurants. We lived on noodles with mayonnaise and garlic salt.

It was horrible.

The landlord was horrible. The apartment was an illegal sublet which meant that he was suppose to be living there. That meant that the bills were all in his name and all his furniture and crap was still there. He was suppose to get it out, but never did. He was suppose to show me the phone bills, but never did. He was suppose to call first, but never did. He was a “photographer” . Along with his lousy nasty furniture, in the apartment he also left a nasty array of porn. Pictures of naked women and magazines that were beyond dirty. The man was, quite obviously, a pig. My mother had met him. My mother saw the apartment. My mother made the deal with him for me, her only daughter, just 18, to live there in NYC and be able to support myself and go to school full time with no real source of income and no screening of any potential roommates. What the hell was she thinking??

So much went on in that time frame, it hardly seems that it was only a few months.

School started in September, so I was in the apartment the last week of August. I had packed up my room at home of all my earthly possessions and clothes. Mom had her pseudo boyfriend, Tom, help me move in with his van. I was given a few old pots and some mismatched silverware that my father had left in the attic from his first apartment when they separated years before. Laura and a bunch of friends came over to spend the first night and somehow we managed to invite the whole world to a huge party. I guess we knew in advance that I was moving in and had planned it. I know lots of people were there. Darrin came, and kids from High School. City friends and club pals, the whole crew was in mass. It was the start of my exciting new life.

Well, at least it was a good beginning..or at least a really good party.

Laura still has the photos taken from that night. I was in my hey day, finally the queen of my world. To me, it was an ultimate success because the ever so coveted Bill came over.

Bill was the perfect Goth boy that I imagined myself to be in love with.

Long Island was an incestuous little world especially if you were part of the freakish sub culture. Clubs deemed cool enough and that played “our” music were limited, every school only had the token number of punks and Goths, so we all knew who each other was. There was the innate competition to be coolest, and the best accessory was a super cool boyfriend.

Bill was the long distance best friend of Christopher. Christopher was the local heartthrob who I could never ethically date, as he had broken Laura’s 15 year old heart. While we did share some common boyfriends due to lack of availability, a true best friend did not smarf on a broken heart.
I met Bill for the first time when he and Dave Patti stopped over my house one night in 11th grade. It was late at night and I was already in my PJ’s, but for whatever reason (again..Mom..what were you thinking?) I hung outside on my front porch talking to them for a few hours. Bill was with a girl that night and I thought nothing of him in regards to a possible prospect as I have never been that kind of chick. Unless the guy in question was mine first, I had great respect for previous established relationships. In any case, I was just Bill. I had finally gotten to meet the guy behind the name. I had heard about him for quite some time as Christopher’s friend, but since he lived an hour away in Port Jeff, he was still unknown to me.

In the weird way that life works, the next weekend I ran away from home.

I know that there was some huge family fight preceding my decision to evacuate the premises, but the exact circumstances are in a memory void. I do know that I very calmly made up my mind, packed my bags and snuck them on the bus for school. Once in school, I hid my bags in the auditorium, went to homeroom so I was not marked as absent and prevent the call home to alert the parents to my absence, then called a taxi cab from the payphone, went to the train station and took a train to NYC.

Once in NY, I walked over to FIT and announced my uninvited presence to Bari and Stephen in the Dorms. I don’t think they were all too happy to have to deal with me, but I gave them little choice. Besides, it was Friday and I could do no apartment hunting or job seeking until Monday. What to do, but include me in their plans and that meant going to the beloved Danceteria.

During high school, Danceteria was the be all and end all of all clubs in NY.

Within walking distance of Penn Station and FIT, it was 5 floors and, until it closed under controversy, a wonderful rooftop club. The scene in Desperately Seeking Susan, with Madonna dancing around a nonexistent jukebox, was filmed on the third floor. The third floor was the “coolest” floor and where we all wanted to be. My parents heavily stymied my ability to project ultimate coolness by not allowing me to go to Danceteria. I had to construct elaborate plan to “sleep” over Diane’s house in order to go. It was rather a pain since I also had to manage to get picked up in the am at a friend’s house when I had been out all night. It was seen as a great injustice, though now, I know there is no way would have let my daughter go either. But no one was going to tell me what I could or could not do.

I was as pleased as punch to be going there. Newly freed, independent. And to add to my satisfaction, who walks in but Chris and Bill. Instantly adding to my coolness, I have been seen by those who could report.

It turned out to be a teenage runaways magical night.

After having to remind Bill who I was, “Do I know you?”
“Well, you were on my front steps last weekend”
We spent hours sitting on the freezer in the “kitchen” talking until my tickets back to FIT all went home, Bill missed the last train out and the club actually closed.

Coupled by this time, we tried to get into FIT, rude as it was. Yes, not only did I arrive unannounced by now I wanted to wake them up at 5 am with a boy in tow. No one answered our buzzing and so we end up spending the wee hours left attempting to sleep 8 feet up on the “Eye of Fashion” statue in front of the dorms. In October. It was cold.

Come morning, we did freeload ourselves again on my poor friends. I have pictures of that day still. Bill with his greenish eyes, and bleached blond hair covering his face, Russian fisherman’s cap and the coolest big riding boots that made sparks on the street; I just extremely thrilled to be in NY, free, and found a boy to boot! I think we went out again that night? Eventually he left NY to go home to his fancy prep school due to the coming Monday morning. I didn’t know where I would be next, but I was assured I would see him again.

So I didn’t care all too much when the security guard at FIT started asking questions, Bari’s roommates started getting wiggy about harboring a runaway and Uncle Mike and Sandy came to pick me up.

I went to their apartment in NY and essentially held myself hostage.

Apparently my mother was quite distraught over my disappearance, though my father was nonplussed. It didn’t take them too long to figure out that I was at FIT. I held out, refusing to come home until they met my list of demand: I was to be able to dye my hair, pierce my ears and shave my head without repercussions, was to have my own phone line in my room, and I was allowed to go to Danceteria. I think I must have adding something in there about Bill. Needless to say, they conceded and I went home.

Sometimes, I think I was an incorrigible child, but really it was very sad that I had to go to such extremes to get myself accepted.

I think if they had not, at that time, together, fought so hard against me, I would to have pushed back so very much. I can look back and see that the last common bond that they had in their marriage was the persecution of me. So the next few months were blissful. I had a boyfriend and could do whatever I wanted. I was 17, extremely cool, and in love. And then he dumped me and I became very depressed again.

Looking back, Bill was defiantly a player by today’s standards.

He also had a tendency for being enamored with what he perceived as somewhat exotic. At least that’s what he was impressed by and looked for in female companionship. He had an ex of whom he fondly remembered the cat’s paws tattoo over her shoulder. I believe she was older and her name was Jared. I went with him to his Prep School’s Winter formal wearing a dress made out of a black vinyl raincoat and my hair sticking up 9 inches straight up. He was fond of Asian women and had a long time girlfriend whom he cheated on, unbeknowningly, with me named Lily Lin. She and I eventually became friends in the V.I.P. room of the Ritz after he was gone, mostly, from both our lives.

I was forgettable as a girl in her pajamas in the night air of Long island, but fascinating as a teen runaway vixen hiding out in a club. When we were dating I was more of a troubled ultra needy girl stuck in the mix of a marriage’s turbulent death.

My thrill was gone and soon was Bill.

I guess I was able to redeem myself by pulling off the amazing super party in my new NY apartment, for Bill stayed the night of my party and I felt that, for a brief time, the world was perfectly alighted.

I have a lot of trouble remembering what happened in the next few months in NY.

There is no time line, no beginning thread, no end; just fleeting images, snapshots of my life.I must have had the job right away as I never recall looking for a job. I worked part time as the receptionist and I went to school at SVA. I was 18 and loose on NY.
***
I remember arriving in the apartment one day after classes and being so relieved that there was no one home. By this time there was anywhere between 3 to 6 people living there, so I was shocked to have the apartment empty. I immediately went to take advantage of the situation and have a bath. Remember the bathtub is under the kitchen counter. The door to the apartment is in the kitchen The door faces the tub.I am in the tub. Naked, of course, and in walks not only however many official roommates I had, but a bunch of friends too. With pizza.The only thing I could do was ask for a slice.
***
Cigarettes were $1.25 then. So if you are broke, but you have a dollar and change..you could either buy a loaf of bread and eat or buy a pack of ciggs and smoke. We always would opt to smoke.Sitting in the apartment, stomachs growling like nobody’s business, chain smoking like there was no tomorrow. Heaven.
***
Tuna and pasta. That was the main dish for months. One can of tuna, room temperature, drained over a bunch of cooked pasta. If you got it, season with garlic salt. On paydays, we splurged for some Mayo. We would just shovel it down, fast and furious. It didn’t taste good, but quieted the stomach.Took me years to be able to eat tuna again.Never, ever will I eat anything with both tuna and noodles together. For some ungodly reason, my husband likes Tuna casserole. He doesn’t understand why I will not let it even be made in my kitchen.
***
If you don’t have money then you don’t buy necessities like toilet paper. Any good punk rock kid knows that you steal it from public bathrooms, preferably by the roll.
My first set of roommates was a couple named Ted and Diana. They were the ones who were going to sell something to get the money to live there, but couldn’t, so they set me up with Joe and Maryanne. Maryanne and I would go on the “paper patrol”.
Normally, as you went about your day you would scope out the public restrooms and grab when you could, but when there was nothing left, then you had to go on a mission.

Now NYC is still a place where only customers can use a restroom. If you can’t even buy a stupid roll of toilet paper then how can you buy anything else that would establish you as a customer? And if you are two girls in the attention getting garb that was our uniforms, then it was no small feat to sneak into a coveted restroom in order to flinch the wad of paper.

Once we went out, her and I, and got into a bathroom on to find that we could not figure out how to get the roll off the holder. It would not open up. So, what’s any good punk rock grulz to do? We ripped the whole damn roll out of the sheetrock wall and took it home like a trophy. I can still see it sitting in the toilet closet on the floor…paper and holder and the bits of the wall still clinging on. Even after it was used up, we still hung on to that holder and the wall. It just sat on the floor, empty, under the holder on the wall, usually empty.
***
I had a book called “Steal this Book” by Abbie Hoffman. It was borrowed from my friend Bethany and since Bethany was the daughter of Peter, Paul and Mary’s Peter, the book was actually inscribed by Abbie Hoffman. It was the bible on how to live, eat and exist for free, hence she thought we needed it. When the apartment went to crap and all my stuff was lost, someone stole the book. I still feel guilty. Sorry Bethany.
***
“Steal this Book” got us into Dumpster Diving. Dumpster diving is one step beyond Garbage Picking and Curbside Treasures.
We already knew to drag back to the apartment anything that looked remotely useful from the wealthy curbs of the Upper East Side, now we went in search of things.

Somehow or another, Joe went in a dumpster behind a pharmacy and got some pills. Don’t know what they were, but we took them anyway. They weren’t much fun, but they would zonk us out. Helps if you’re too hungry to sleep.
Now by this time, other roomies had come. I can’t remember their names now, but they were two girls, older than us. One of them had the distinct pleasure of being THE official groupie for the Sex Pistols. Like actually part of their entourage, she really knew them.IE she slept with all of them. She also still received royalties for her character in “The Great Rock and Roll Swindle” and because of that, I got to speak to the infamous John “Rotton” Lydon on the phone. Once. He was pretty rude, but at least she was legit.
It did make the apartment quite crowed. Remember it was a one bedroom.
So, Joe and Maryanne had the pull out couch in the living room. I and whomever else was about had the pull out in the bed room. While the two girls had the “loft” over the closet. I don’t think it was really meant to be a bed. Can’t remember if it had a mattress even on it, but there was a railing of sorts and I guess a ladder to get up there.
What I remember best about it though, was waking up in the middle of the night, after taking these stupid pills and Cat, yes, her name was Cat!, had fallen on us ( who??) in our sleep. We were all doped up and as I recall, perhaps Cat had woken up to pee, but couldn’t, didn’t get down in time. So she fell on us and peed at the same time. And everyone was too drugged up to do much except to go back to sleep. In the pee. Nice.
***
The other definite memory I have with Cat and her friend was all of us going to see “Sid and Nancy” on opening night. Sid and Nancy was a very big deal to Cat as she “loved” Sid Vicious. Now this was ’86 and they were both, at that time, long dead, but she was full of memories and anecdotes about her life with the Sex Pistols, so the movie a much featured and anticipated event.We went someplace by 42nd Street. I remember getting out of the theater and taking the subway back. Cat had made all her black eyeliner run from crying and we ended up crying with her. It was the night that the Mets won the World Series and as we got out, all of NY was erupting in joyous celebration. In the middle of it all, a group of sad, nasty and smuggy kids cursed baseball and the death of Punk Rock Icons.
***
Then there was the big bags of weed that someone’s friend had found growing in some field and ripped off. Huge stalks of the stuff, stuffed into Duane Reed bags under the kitchen table. We would dry it out in the toasted oven to smoke. Make tea with it. It was too cruddy and mouldy to sell for anything, so we just used marijuana like parsley.
***
Crutches were found in the garbage. So we would take turns bundling a foot in many socks and panhandling. The entrance to Central Park was only four blocks away and made a nice place to beg. Got to have the money for the cigarettes and tuna.Though I must have had money. I bought art supplies. I went to endless concerts. I had bus and subway fares. Maybe I hide it from them?
***
One time, a friend, whom I think might have been Mike Waste came over with a whole granny cart of food. He still lived at home and his folks made a ton of real beef stew and sent over loaves of bread. God, it was amazing to eat real food again.
I wish I could recall who this kid was. I know I had a crush on him at one point, but I’m still not sure if he was Mike Waste or who Mike Waste might have been. I know, according to my date book, that I had lots of fun with Mike Waste. We hung out, drank beers, even went to his birthday party. I can see this kid in my mind’s eye. He had a beautiful Mohawk that he would come over and I would literally iron it “up” for him. Head on ironing board, no joke. Didn’t have much food, but we always had lots of Super Extra Hold Aqua Net in the white can. We must have stole it. I still always keep a bottle of the stuff in the house. You never know.
***
Visions of taking the 2nd Avenue bus downtown alone at night to find friends and drink beer. Going back, alone at 3, 4 am on the 1st Avenue uptown bus. How I never ended up a statistic, a mugging, a rape, I don’t know. I use to carry around a riding crop, of all things, to keep me safe. As if THAT would keep the freaks away from me. Maybe it just made me look like a freak too and it scared everyone away. Maybe they saw me as one of their own and gave me space and respect. I was a tough little thing then, big boots, big black leather jacket, huge mess of black hair, hiding behind tons of makeup, worlds of black eyeliner. I would growl at anyone who looked at me wrong “Don’t Fuck with me!” Something worked. I lived to tell the tales.
***
Going to FIT at 1 am after a hysterical call form Laura. They had all taken Ecstasy for the first time and then had deemed that Laura was too messed up to club. I guess she was since she kept rolling around in the mud. Anyway, drugged up and alone, I set out to rescue her except that for some reason I took an uptown bus on Lex rather than the downtown. Figured out I was going the wrong way in Harlem and had to wait another hour to get back. Eventually made it there and got her back into a good space, waded out her high with her. What are friends for?
***
Somewhere in this all was school. I had classes and assignments. Though it was all that I had wanted in life, the reality of going to SVA was much different than I had imagined.

After four years of being touted the “great artist” of my school, I was aching for more. I had exhausted every trick and technique available from my two high school art teachers and was aching to be challenged. In my dream life, I was taught by brilliant professors and told that my work was terrible. I would be mentally stretched and prodded to find the true art in my soul.

Reality was that, as freshman, we were grouped together in little clusters and we all had the same classes at the same time. My dear friend from High School, Christine was in my cluster, as well as Ashmi. Why I had worked so hard to get in became a mystery, for Ashmi decided to go to FIT at the very last minute and we all donated materials to her portfolio as she pretty much sucked. Also In my cluster, was Joe Figg, who is actually a real artist now and Khara, still a friend. The most insulting of all was the Mandies.

The Mandies were these three girls from Jersey who were not either cool or artists. They were three loud, gum cracking, manicured mall rats who didn’t know what to do and “Daddy” sent them to art school. I was insulted to be in the same room as them.

I was annoyed beyond belief that there was no one to challenge me. The only person who was better than me was Tristan. Tristan was this small, interesting elf like guy who lived on the Lower East Side with his mom. He was blessed enough to go to Music and Art. If I had known that Music and Art had existed, I would have made my folks let me live with my Uncle Mike in NY so I, too, could have attended Music and Art. M&A was one of NY’s specialty public schools. You had to apply to get in, but once you were in, it was Mecca. Four years more, had Tristan, of intense technique. Some schools had math, at Music and Art, he had Shadows techniques. I would have thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Tristan, was then, and is now, an amazing illustrationist with incredible detailed, realistic hand and eye. He was exactly what I wanted to be and yet, he too said
“I don’t have more talent, just more training”

So here I was, living in hell, sleeping in pee, eating nothing but tuna, and for what.

Painting class was not teaching me real oil painting techniques. I had no idea what I was doing, but either did anyone else, except Tristan. But twice a week we sat there and painted the model. So I painted this naked woman with incredible huge nipples, not knowing a thing, and was told “very good”.
No, not very good!! Correct me, fix me, make me better.

The bloom was off the rose and my interest in SVA crumbled.

I suppose I should have given it more time. Perhaps if I had done the commute with Christine and Joe and the rest every day, then I would have stayed focused, but add in the insane life of the apartment, the lack of all else normal…I was out all night, easy to skip a class and sleep. I think I only went to the photography class once. Doomed to fail and so, knowing too that I would not have the funds for next semester, I dropped out.

That was pretty much the beginning of the end.

The other part of the end was the end of Bill.

As I said, once I was re-made with the apartment he returned.

I think it went like this:
“I ‘ve been thinking”
“About what”
“About you”
“What about me”
“I think I miss you”..or something that was cheesy enough to make me swoon.
I let him back into my heart full force. A million years later, it was hardly a relationship of any significance, but I sure didn’t know that then. I can’t remember the issues, or the fights. I know I frequently felt unloved, but that was my nature, that is what I knew myself to be. I know I once tried to get him jealous and I actually went and slept with Joe Figg, but he didn’t seem to notice.

When it came to an end and over what, I have no recall, but I do remember where I was and most of what happened next.

I was friends with a 16 or 15 year old girl who lived with her folks a few blocks away. Pamala Gross was shorter than me with a prominent tush. She had lovely bleached blond hair and, come to think of it, is probably who bought me many a concert ticket.

I was also friends with Ana Noel Rockwell. Ana was entered into the group when she started dating Bill’s best friend, Christopher. Ana was also a trust fund baby from California in NY to attend Parsons. The trust fund part had alot of quirks. She had the most amazing apartment on Indian Row / East 6th street. It was a triplex..with three bathrooms, three fireplaces, and a sauna. She had the upper bedroom and whomever was in her good graces got to rent out the basement apartment. I think Pammy genuinely liked me and took care of me. I think Ana only hung out with who was deemed very cool at the time.

For a short period of time, I was friends with both. The night Bill broke up with me, they were instrumental.

I know Bill and I were on the phone at Pammy’s. I know that it was not going too good and I demanded alcohol. Pammy provided me, or maybe I had brought it myself, a big bottle of Khlaua. I drank it all. There was another friend of Pammy’s there as we had plans for yet another concert. Had to meet Ana at her apartment at some specified time. I do know we got to Ana’s and I was still walking myself. I remember her opening the door and declaring that men are all asshats..and then, I remember nothing for hours.

One of the most vivid and scary memories of my life, is waking up or coming too in Ana’s bed.

Ana was sitting on me and Pammy had one hand held down and her friend had the other. I heard a weird noise and realized that it was my own voice and I was screaming. My body was still thrashing about almost of its own accord. I had superhuman strength and could push all three girls off me at once. Immediatly, on being free I was pulling at my own hair, ripping out chunks and scratching my face with my nails. And though it all, screaming at the top of my lungs just guttural sounds of anguish and despair.

As I said, I came to..a lucid moment..where I realized what I was doing, and yet, I do recall distantly thinking “This feels so good. I am mad but I like it” And I allowed myself to slip back into insanity again.

Hours later, with more friends in assistance, they began to get really concerned.

Concerned enough that I would not stop, that they called Bellevue and the police. I remember being carried downstairs and listening for the sirens to come. Still mad, still being held away from myself, still slipping back and forth into insanity.Then the police arrived. I don’t know why, perhaps since my dad had been on the force for so many years, perhaps it soothed me and comforted me, but on sight of the uniformed cop, I went still. It was over. I asked for a cigarette and stopped all shenanigans. I talked to the cop and assured him that I was OK. I did, however, pick up a potholder that remained by my side all weekend. I didn’t need a boyfriend, I would say, I had a potholder.

Anna kept me all weekend. Cared for like a sick or unruly child, they brought me food and made me eat. I went to some concert the next night with all them so I could be watched.

Sometimes, I felt it come back. Sometimes, I just felt my mind leave me again. A few times at the concert, I had no idea where I was or how I got there. I went out for cigarettes once on Sunday, and I got lost. A search party was sent out to find me. I forgot where I was supposed to be, who I was with.

I do believe I descended into some form of madness that night..whether it was alcohol induced or just helped along, I don’t know. I do firmly believe that that it was one of the most inhibiting feelings I have ever known and it would be only too easy to sink back there again. I know I do not want to be insane and so I will not be, but I can tell you this.

It really felt so good.

All of my worldly possessions were in that apartment. So trust was a big issue. My life was open to allot of people. People I didn’t really know from a hole in the wall despite living and meeking out a survival with them.They say all good things must come to an end, well all bad things ,too, must come to an end. Eventually, the meager existence at the apartment could no longer be sustained. The final catalyst, a locked trunk and a pair of tights.

Joe and Maryanne had a trunk that locked. I guess they had all their worldly possessions there too, but the lock inspired some distrust.

We all had the habit of sharing and borrowing clothes and such and Maryanne had borrowed, I believe a pair of my green tights. And I couldn’t find them. And I wanted to wear them. And I could see them hanging out of the locked trunk. And so, I pulled them out of the trunk, prying it open while I did so.

Now, maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do, but to me, then, it was my right as they were my tights and I certainly couldn’t sit in my underwear patiently waiting all day for them to return home and open the trunk. It’s one of these visual memories in life, where you can still see in your mind’s eye what happened. I can remember being so angry and working that trunk, pulling those tights out, bit by bit and, perhaps finding something else of mine in there too.

Needless to say, the action did not go over big. Perhaps there were other issues that I, naive as always, was not aware of. Perhaps, there were goings on behind my back, plots and such, tensions high. Perhaps it would have been something else that would prove to be the catalyst, but when I returned home later that day, after my still innocent job at the law firm, it took me a few minutes to register the scene at the apartment.

At first I thought that we had been robbed. The place was in total disarray, but, the front door was still locked. Then, slowly, I came to realize that most of my possessions were still intact, but anything that belonged to anyone else was, in fact, noticeably absent.

Maryanne, Joe, Cat and the other girl were gone.

I do recall that it was the end of the week. I had the weekend in front of me and then, come Monday was the first of the month. What month? I think we were looking at November. Needless of when, the loss of the roommates under whatever circumstances was an action that induced panic in me, I would not be able to produce the much needed rent money on my own.

I know I called the terrible landlord, Jerry and explained to him that I was not going to be able to continue to live there. That I would move out and clean up the apartment all weekend and he could have it back for the first of the month. He was not pleased. I know he yelled at me, telling me that I could not do such a thing to him, but being that it was a month to month agreement, I really could. Not that I had much choice anyway. I know that my mother became involved and she managed to calm him down. We reached some kind of agreement. I think that I would continue to be there and show the apartment while I cleaned up? It’s all muddy now.

I know I was now scared of him. Before he had just creeped me out, Asking to take photos, not wanting anyone in the apartment when I had to meet with him to pay rent. Things that made me feel that he was a sexual predator and he would try something. I had had male friends wait on the fire escape when Jerry, the creep, came over and that was bad enough. Now, he was mad too.

Somewhere in all this, I was to meet with him and go over the bills that still came in his name being the illegal sublet situation. Because he was a creepy madman, we arranged to have Monica go with me to the apartment.

Monica was the youngest sibling of Marina, Sondra’s sister. She was a few years older than me, another wild child who hated to brush her hair. I always liked Monica and was grateful that she would stand guard and buffer me from Jerry’s wrath.The presence of Monica, instead, inspired more temper from Jerry. Maybe because he, then, could not push me around and intimidate me, but whatever the case, he began to go off on a tirade about who I could and couldn’t have in my apartment. I know he gave my mother the business, who, at least did have a backbone. If nothing else you did not try to strong arm my mother for any reason. If she felt violated at all, or unjustly persecuted, she would dig in her heels with the veracity of a bulldog. The battle began.

Whatever the agreement was, all bets were off when Jerry waited for me, unannounced after work one night.

Leaning on the hood of a car parked outside my door, I had no choice but to let him follow me up, alone. Once there, he began to freak out like a mad man. Cursing and screaming, I don’t even know anymore what his true issue was, but I know I was terrified.

Gone was the pretentious NY wild woman of the world, I was a scared little girl who became to weep at the intensity of his anger.

Another vivid memory: Having Jerry force my head and upper body out of the fourth floor window. Staring at the brick courtyard below. His hands rough, his voice screaming in my ear. Tears running down my face, snoot coming out of my nose.

“Where is your mother!!! Get your mother on the phone now! I want you OUT! and if you are not out, you will be dead.”

Being roughly hauled out of the window frame and thrown into the other room towards the phone.My mother was not home, but I tracked her sown at my grandfather’s house, having a nice family dinner.

“Mom, Jerry is here now and he’s mad and he’s frightening me!” breaking into uncontrollable sobbing.

She managed to calm him down again. New agreement somehow, I went back to Long Island, returned to the boring, but safe haven of suburbia. I think this is where I ended up returning to my high school for the big Homecoming football game between Berner and Massapequa high school. I remember Laura and I sitting in the cold bleachers, seeing everyone who had returned home for the big game, and feeling so utterly failed. Having to smile and sound like everything was “just great!” but knowing that nothing had worked out like I had dreamed.

We returned to NY, maybe Sunday night, with mom’s kinda boyfriend Tom and his van to scoop up my things and get away from the insanity of Jerry. And he had changed the locks of the apartment. All my things, all my clothes, all my art was inside, just beyond the locked door.

As I said, my mom was in her fighting mode. I gather it was initially for a phone book, but we ended up over Pammy’s apartment to use the phone in pre cell phone days and speak to a locksmith. Thank goodness for Pammy’s folks who exchanged Mom’s personal check for the hundred dollars cash that the locksmith required.

Met the man, and got the door opened up. He was rather surprised when we negated to have a new lock put on. My mother’s revenge, we were going to leave the apartment open to all of New York. I think this was originally left out of their initial conversation and made the smitty feel his ethics were questioned, but she smoothed that out.

My stuff was hurriedly gathered up and shoved into boxes and bags. We had, in better times, constructed a huge mural on the kitchen wall of pictures and clippings that I liked and that was quickly removed leaving a nasty mess of sheetrock, We did not spare any time in the way of cleaning up after ourselves as we wanted to avoid Jerry at all costs.

Maybe it was here as we gathered what was left of my life that I noticed certain things were absent or maybe it was right after the roomies all left, but I defiantly left with less than what I had come in with.

Too many people had keys to that place, and some specific articles of clothing: my great black bondage skirt with seven little buckles down the butt, my fabulous chain and conch belt that Laura had bought me, my optical skirt, all my photos from high school..these are the things I still mourn for..were gone forever.

Continued here: Downward Spiral to a BirthMother

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

2 Comments on "Life as a Dysfunctional Teen; Precurser to Being a Birthmother"

  1. Great blog candid painfully truthful and eye opening to the persuasion and deceit of adoption. It gives the everlasting gift of pain, confusion and regrets to many birth mothers and other related parties. This is particularly true to birth moms who’s pain abd stories are swept under the rugged to be forgotten and masked with the ideal perfect American family-the American dream.

  2. This is a great outlet and firm for openness and understand of the many faces of adoption.

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