Those Damn Teenage Years

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In a recent conversation with my soon to be fourteen year old son, I was reminded of my youth, the choices I was forced to make, and how rough it really is being that age. I like to think I’m taking a different approach to parenting than the approach my parents took with me, I was raised in a wrath of God house by two very devout Catholics with closet human tendencies. Of course, my wife and my style differs from many parents as I’m told. I also get told I’m doing it wrong, the parents are the boss. Before you assume way to much here, I’m not the “friend” parent type. I am the type of parent who has instilled justifiable fear into his children, after all they live in my house, sleep in my house, and scary shit happens when you least expect it. Anyway, I’ve tried very hard to not raise quitters in a society where quitting has become the norm. I believe in self esteem because without it you have little control of your inward or outward emotions. But, we all get to the point where we start asking when is enough going to be enough, when will the madness end, and why can’t this be easier.

We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels.The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.My son explained to me that he was thinking the other day, why does he actually give up? What are his most common reasons and are there any ways to get around those reasons for giving up?

He thinks discouragement is the biggest reason for quitting and failure. No matter what you have decided to do, as soon as you share it with people there will be at least few who will tell you that YOU Can’t Do it and come up with different reasons about why it can’t be done. At that point you may decide to give up the idea even before giving it a try.  Instead of thinking about giving up think about how are you going to prove all those people wrong.  In fact proving those who doubt me wrong has been pretty good motivation for me so far, I have spent a lifetime trying to stay on top of my game. As well, if you don’t believe in yourself you will always be tempted to give up because you won’t believe in your success. The self-doubt will be keeping you from pushing forward.

I somehow thought that I was not strong enough to make my dreams come true, but then there was a shift in mindset which sort of set me free. And it was one simple realization. The realization that none of the people who have succeeded are better than me. They worked harder, they were persistent and they believed in their dreams, but they were not actually better, just approached life differently, as most of us do. These days there are so many distractions… Social media, TV series, and different smart phone notifications not letting you focus on the important things. If you don’t keep focus on your goal you will end up with insufficient results and that will discourage you even further. But, as I discussed with my son, social media didn’t exist when I was growing up, none of this shit did. My social media was friends and family. My internet was called “the outdoors”, I earned my allowance by being a part of the family unit team. Unlike today, parents give their children money to just leave them alone. As it is, in our house we are pretty tight, we do allot together on a very regular basis. On top of it all we have dinner together, every night, without fail. Also, no television is on, no cell phones are allowed at the table, and we talk or play games while we eat, there is fun and laughter, and it is also a time to gather to discuss more serious matters, if any.

That reminds me of yet another reason we, as humans, give up, we give up when we don’t get the immediate results. We all want things to happen fast and it is hard to realize that there are things that actually takes time. One can not have instant on and instant off like the flick of a light switch each and every time. Some things, to include pets and people, are more challenging, they take more time, things like trust and value in a person have to be developed and earned, which takes time. There is no such thing as overnight success so we have to keep in mind that it takes time and to be prepared not to give up.

When I am starting something new I am on fire. I am full of enthusiasm and I am motivated. But with the time things may start cooling off and at some point the self-motivation may not be enough to keep me moving. That is when I may think about giving up, that is when I need to go back to beginning and try to recall the big why. Why did I start that project in first place and what was initially motivating me? That brings me back on track most of the time. But still we need motivation, we still need the allure that there is a prize waiting for us at the end. No matter what kind of life you had, you are used to your own personal comfort zone and that brings you great comfort. Now when you have initiated changes you entered the stage of uncertainty and struggle, which by no means is comfortable. What makes me not giving up in those cases is the thought that once I get where I wanna be my new comfort zone will be a much better one. But, what I’ve learned over the years cannot be taught, it has to be experienced. This is my son’s struggle know, the learning curve, stepping out of the comfort zone, finding new experiences doing new things or with new people. Plus, he is at the beautiful age where he has really realized he really likes boobs. One more thing we have in common.

Anything worth achieving is hard. Yes the easiest option is to just give up, but then, will it be easy living with the regret that you gave up midway? On the other hand I would not say that giving up is something terrible and wrong. Sometimes you may end up having too many things on your plate and that may make you overwhelmed. Sometimes you may need to give up certain things because they may not be a priority at that point. I find myself looking at the details in my own life on a regular basis, there is never room for bullshit, it is always the first into the fuckbucket. What is important that you don’t give up your dreams and the things you want really bad. Don’t give up your passion and never give up on life. I understand living with a person like me is challenging, being a sarcastic jackass is a fine art and we all don’t appreciate fine art. We all have given up at some point. All of us at a certain point have stopped believing that we’ll be able to make it. Some of us have done it often, some just very few times, but all of us know how it feels. The  sad fact is that most of us give up far too soon.

Where does all this leave the conversation I was having with my son? Well, he was never actually clear as to what he was thinking about quitting. And, I’m not altogether sure we were even talking about the same thing. Later, while talking with my wife I was informed that a girl he knew in school, friends but not inner circle friends, had committed suicide last week. There was no clear reason why, she left no note, gave the parents no inkling that she was distressed, same with her two sisters, teachers, and friends. Except for one person, who came forward to “confess” to her parents that he knew why. You see, they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She wanted an exclusive relationship (at 14) and he wanted to play the field. She took it had, it killed her self esteem and self worth, and according to him, as she told him, she didn’t feel she was worth the effort of having his love if he was not willing to commit to her. Granted, this is the opinion of a 14 year old boy, and this story was also posted up on Facebook, so I don’t really know if it actually ever happened. But, after going back to my son to talk, he said that I did answer his question of “why people quit” without even knowing that was what I was doing. We talked more, we talked about the cruelty of emotions, especially in a teenager. But suicide is not an easy subject, simply because there isn’t an actual answer to give. The only person who knows is dead.

I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad. I do know that I have been in my sons shoes before, knowing a person who has had her self esteem crushed on a daily basis for “fun” by others. But, that is another topic altogether, since bullying seems to have become so evermore popular these days, or its just more in the public eye these days. As a parent I try to teach my children to hope for the best and prepare for the worst because the two survive together hand in hand. One may think they are just words, but others take those words to heart. As uncomfortable as I was talking with my son about suicide and how I personally believe it should never be the answer for anyone, I was also proud of my son for wanting to sit and talk to me about life, emotions, feelings, relationships, and family with me. It takes courage to begin a conversation with your father when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Both of us feeling a little bummed, we invited the rest of the family to go out for ice cream. Ice cream? Yes, the one thing on the planet stronger than any drug, stronger than and alcohol, stronger than any words, stronger than any bond, it is a time of peace for a troubled mind or a troubled soul. Its a time to take a break from the crap life offers and just enjoy a bite of ice cream.

Yes, I know, ice cream doesn’t solve all problems, but it does give the opportunity to step away from them, not to quit them, but to take a break from them. Everyone needs a break, we all take breaks or celebrate in our own ways. In the end I learned from my son that I should keep my past close so it can be accessed and shared. I never knew my life, in general, would be an education tool for the youth in my family. But then again, we do learn most of what we know from our parents and family. Having children has been the best challenge I never quit. Try something new, get in your child’s head today, give them a nice tight hug, a big smile, and a peck on the cheek. When they ask why just tell them it is because you were thinking about them. It scares the crap out of them. I know from experience that life isn’t easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. We don’t evolve within ourselves if we are not constantly challenged. Don’t let life discourage you, leave that to the people around you, you know, the people who don’t want you to succeed because they don’t care about succeeding. Until we “meet” again, remember to eat it everyday!

Broken Wings Of A Fallen Angel

Broken Wings Of A Fallen Angel

Charity’s parents were both killed in a head on collision with a teenage drunk driver at the age of 13. Charity had what she called a normal life up until the day they were killed. She attended public school, she was a girl scout with her friends, and enjoyed attending church with her parents every Sunday. She recalls she was named Charity because her parents believed she was a gift from Heaven. Her dad’s nickname for her since she can remember was Angel because she was always told she was daddy’s little angel. Little did she know that her world had just been turned upside down. She was picked up from the babysitter late that night by a social worker who sadly but coldly broke the news to her. When asked, Charity was unable to provide any next of kin, as far as she knew there was none. She spent the next day being processed into the system which she was soon going to be calling home. Later that afternoon she would be greeted by Mrs. Robinson who was going to be taking Charity into foster care. The Robinsons lived in a very nice house, a mansion by comparison to her parent’s house. They went through the very painful ordeal of going to her old house to gather as many of her things that would fit in the van that Mrs. Robinson was driving. It was very fast, the way they moved throughout the house, she remembers that there wasn’t much she wanted to get, in fact she wanted to not take anything because it was going to be an instant reminder of her parents. Right now, at this point, she wanted to forget what was happening. When they got back to Mrs. Robinson’s house she was greeted by Mr. Robinson who seemed to be very quiet and kind of creepy to her. She felt as if he was looking right through her as if she wasn’t actually there. For the following days she got that same feeling. She kept wondering how long she would be here and what was going to happen next. In a quick manner she was put back into school, in fact it was the same school she was already going to. Nobody knew anything except for the assistant principal who arranged for everything to happen. That Saturday she went to the joint funeral for her parents. She slipped a note into her dad’s hands which read, “now you are my Angel”.

She remained in the Robinson home until right after her 15th birthday. The contract with the Robinsons had expired and the state was no longer going to pay them for keeping Charity. She thought this was her home now and the Robinsons were now her parents. With the closing of the car door that was all gone once again. Due to her age she was going to be required to be placed in a group foster home which she quickly found out was also a halfway house from addicts and runaways. She didn’t like this place. The first night she was cornered by an older boy when she was returning from the shower room. He quickly shoved her up against the wall and whispered in her ear that if she made one noise he would kill her and then fuck her bleeding body while it was still warm. She remained quiet, emotionless, and tried not to squirm as she had her virginity raped out of her. When the one boy was done, he let her go and she just hit the floor where she rolled up into a ball to hold herself tightly. She tries not to think about the pain, she tries to block out what just happened. When she opened her eyes there were three more boys standing above her. She tried to get up to run but one of them grabbed her leg and dragged her back. This time she was forced into a storage room. They took turns raping her, two of them would hold her down at a time and then they would switch off. This went on for hours. When they were done with her limp lifeless body that fell to the floor they all began spitting on her at first, then they all began to piss on her face, her heard, everywhere. The ugly one with the scars on his face told this never happened and to make sure it stays that way. If it didn’t, one threatened, that she would simply disappear and nobody would even miss her. She went to her room, bleeding down the inside of her legs, the rest of her dripping in cum, spit, and piss. She decided right then she wasn’t staying here one more second, she was done. She quietly changed clothes and shoved some other clothes in her pack. When the moment was right she left the house and never looked back. She had the $200.00 that Mrs. Robinson had given her for her birthday and she planned on using that money to get as far away from San Antonio as she could. She went to the bus station and found that she could be on a bus to Houston in under an hour for only $38.00 so she bought her ticket. She went to the rest room to clean herself up, she was a mess, inside and out.

She slept the entire way to Houston. She was able to hang out at the station in Houston most of the day. She was able to find food and she was able to sleep a little here and there. After dark the police sweep the station for vagrants and troublemakers. Charity was escorted out of the station and sent on her way with no problems. She was determined to keep her head down low and not draw any attention to herself. She lived on the streets for the next year or so, doing what she had to for food, money, and a place to sleep. She spent most nights going between shelters for woman as she never wanted to be at one place to long. Her first real trouble came just before she was to turn 18 when she got caught shoplifting at mall. However, the manager felt sorry for her and didn’t call the police. The manager made arrangements for Charity to keep the clothes she had stolen by giving her a part-time job to pay it all back. She continued to work there even after her debt was paid so she would have some money to hopefully get out of the shelters. She had made friends with one of the other girls over time and they eventually became roommates. They used to go out trolling for horny guys that were leaving the strip clubs in the area. They would be half ass drunk and be brief sloppy sex but it was helping to pay the bills. Eventually they both entered Club X to see what it was all about. Club X has active recruiters walking the floors and Charity and her friend were soon on the radar. After they were approached and whatever agreement was made they sat around a bit at the bar, watching, taking mental notes, and forging a plan on how they would make their money.

Soon enough the patrons of Club X were introduced to Angel and Persuasion. They were a big hit, new blood, and a whole new show. Almost immediately these two were breaking the rules. Instead of declining offers of money in exchange for sex from the patrons they began accepting them. They were warned of their suspect activity and if they were caught by the management then they would have their jobs terminated. They didn’t head the warnings, they acted as if they really didn’t care about the repercussions in regards to their extra sexual activities. They knew how to fuck better than dance eventhough they also had a great time dancing. They were enjoying the money, the drugs, the liquor, and fucking these dumbass into returning more often so it could start all over again. Ninety-nine percent of the time they would both be having sex with the same guy at the same time. At first it was for safety but after a while they just like it that way. One night Angel (Charity) came into work alone, she began asking around for her friend but nobody had seen her since they left together the night before. A few nights went by before she was approached by two detectives. They spoke for a few moments and then they all three left the club together. Two nights later Charity returned to the club. After her shift of dancing she sat at the bar to have a few drinks and eat a salad when she, out of the blue, began to tell me about a 13-year-old girl who lost her parents in a horrible car accident. I was a little dumbstruck to say the least. What does one say? The conversation didn’t end here tho, she had more to tell about her good friend and room-mate. The two detectives had taken her to the morgue to positively identify her friend. She was found naked in a dumpster with her throat cut and many other knife wounds to her body as well. There was evidence of sexual activity prior to her death but that is all they would say. They said they contacted her because when they found her belongings they also found a driver’s license which led them to their apartment. According to the management Charity was the roommate and could probably be found at Club X dancing. The night she returned to work was the last time anyone saw or heard from Charity.

I have waited a long time to tell this particular story from my time as a bartender because it is a sad story and sad stories bring me down. However, due to the mood I have been in lately I saw no harm in going ahead and writing it all the way out. I am reminded that life for each of us is just a little bit different. Many people have lead a sheltered life and don’t realize that there are troubled people everywhere who have been handed a raw deal in life. I am also reminded that not every story ever told has a remotely happy ending. It is because of this that I enjoy writing because my personal passion is writing about life around me. Part of that life was while I spent many years working at the strip club. I can’t, won’t, and don’t want those memories to go away simply because they remind me not to bitch because my life isn’t so bad.