Growing up Blue

I wasn’t always so damaged. I remember being very self confident and optimistic as a young child. Life was really exciting and I had so many friends. I remember being a class favorite; kids would vote for me to be in the school plays and always wanted to play with me during recess. I didn’t realize my home was any different from anyone else’s. 

Having friends over was pretty tough, considering we lived in a very old trailer that wasn’t well kept. There was no central a/c or heat, faulty flooring giving into time, and a washer and dryer that rarely worked. It was eventually when I would stay with friends as I got older that I saw the very subtle differences. They slept in matching pajamas after their mom kissed them good night. Meals were prepared all the time and the family spent time together. They all woke up together, too, getting ready by sharing bathrooms and reminding each other to not forget their bags. I had not experienced any of this, not even once. 

There were mornings where I guess my mom was in a pretty dark place and wanted to take it out on me. She wouldn’t wake me for school and refused to talk to me, drive me to school, or allow me to ask someone to bring me. One time, she watched me get ready for a dance for an hour then laughed when I was ready to go. She just sat and laughed, and I missed the dance. It happened quite often and was completely heartbreaking because I loved school so much. I grew to just love being away more. The worst incident had to be when she took me to a concert. I was fooled to thinking we were going to have a great night. We ended up sitting next to a friend from school. Her grandmother had brought her to see the concert as well. The next morning, my alarm didn’t go off at 6 a.m. I walked into the living room to see my mom sitting on the couch, staring at me with a sheepish grin. “You invited your grandmother to the concert. You little bitch,” she screamed, spit spewing with each word. She hated my grandmother on my father’s side, but the woman at the concert wasn’t her. Wasn’t even close. But I had to suffer. 

I didn’t feel the weight of my life until high school. She never came to my football games and wouldn’t drive me. I would attempt to stand up for myself and get punched in the head. I would miss the bus and was told I should just die. The self confident, happy little girl had disappeared. Friends would all of a sudden stop calling. No one wanted to stay over. I cried over everything. Any sense of disappointment or anything overwhelming sent me to tears. I had to ask my friend down the street to wash clothes at her house for school the following week. I had to ask others for rides to football games so I could cheer. And I always had to ask for rides home. I guess it was too much for some of them.  

College was the brink for me. I drove my car that I was only able to get through a loan from my uncle, and I packed my one bag of belongings from an apartment I rented while still in high school. My first semester, I got in trouble for tapping my pencil and shaking my leg. I was directed immediately to the campus counseling. It escalated fairly quickly to the campus psychiatrist. Depression and anxiety were the diagnosis. No matter the therapy, I still was blue. And I still cried when someone yelled. 
Now, not only do I have to tend to my illnesses, I have to hide them too. Most people don’t get it. I’ve had boyfriends who are supportive, but I’ve had a few that were not. One exceptionally terrible boyfriend thought he could help with YouTube videos about how you just think yourself into pain and medicines were placebos. Such a douche canoe. Just like the guy who sent me this message on Tinder: “As long as you’re not one of those crazy bitches on meds.” No sir, I am not. Just a sad bitch I guess. 

I’m a work in progress. It’s hard to feel like you’re on top of the world when you had the value of dirt drilled into your mind. It’s a process, there is no one fix. The most important thing is to keep taking care of yourself. 

I didn’t intend to bare this much sadness from my heart, but the messages I’ve received since the release of my blog have been utterly amazing; there are so many people like me that need to know it is okay to not have these grandiose childhood stories. I don’t always have something funny to say. My sense of humor came from being not so cute in grade school and the mere need to survive in a dark place. It comes in waves, brought on by days when I can conquer the demons. It’s okay to have hard times and to talk about them. Go see someone and talk to them about it. Ask about medicine. The pain is real and it won’t let go until you can look it in the eye. 

But I do okay for myself. I get by with a shit ton of help from my friends, endorphins from the gym, and live music. My friends know when to ask and know when not to ask how I’m feeling. 

Though, I do often wish I was a different color. 

“How hard it is to paint yourself a different color when you feel so blue

Different shades in varying lights, but when you’re born blue

Turquoise, teal, navy

Tiffany, royal, and baby are still blue

What does it matter when you’re born blue

To have different shades of shame”

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12 thoughts on “Growing up Blue

  1. Murriah says:

    I love you so much! I am so proud of the woman you have become even though you had a rough start. You rose above your situation instead of succumbing to that life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tina Malley Peterson says:

    DeRae I had no idea you went rheough all that from your Mom! I have known her for years, went to school together! You are a very Beautiful Young Lady! I remember seeing. You a few times at Clement and Maries’s house and all I could say was Look at those beautiful curls!!!! Sorry to know that you went through all that and never really had a Motherly Mother that you deserved and desired Forgive your Mother, evidentially she had issues and some illiness! Never saw that in her when she was young! Forgiving will help you to move on with with your life and find happiness in your own life! I know there are scars that are not healed, only you with gods help Can heal those scars! If you have family that is good to you and love you spend time with them! I suggest stay away from negative family members it would only bring back bad memories and pain for you! Always strive for the best that you want for your life ! My Prayers for you is that God completely heals your heart ❤️ and gives you comfort, peace, and LOVE 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaymie says:

    Hey DeRae!

    It’s Jaymie Shaw from high school (well I’m actually jaymie Stennett now.) I just want to let you know that in high school you were one of the nicest people I knew. I knew your life wasn’t perfect but I didn’t know any of this. I just want to thank you for always being that type of person. You are such an inspiration to me that you had so much diversity but have overcome so much. Thank you for being so open and sharing. I hope you are doing well and I pray you will have many blessings in your life! You do ya thing girl and keep on kicking life’s ass!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Audrey N Abrams says:

    It may be because I came from a similar home situation, but I could tell you were different from a lot of the other kids at school. I don’t mean that in a bad way, in fact quite the opposite. I wasn’t the most popular kid in school (I was an awkward child and cared way too much about my grades), but you didn’t fit in any stereotype or popular kid mold when it came to how you treated me or other “outcasts”. You seemed to care about people for who they were, not who they hung out with or how they dressed/looked. I think because there was so few good, genuine people that I encountered in school, the good ones stand out that much more. And you were one of those good ones. You and the rest of the gifted class (aka SAGE). It is funny the stuff I can remember from when I was young. 😉 You have a beautiful soul DeRae and those like us who have been through such a rough beginning, deserve a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

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