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My name is Ivy, and I am nearly 27 years of age. I started writing so I could share my story but, I never realized how many people would resonate with it. I'm the daughter of two drug and alcohol addicted parents, the survivor of childhood abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence, a suicide survivor, and above all else I myself am a mother trying to heal from a broken past.
Won't you come along for the ride?
I am the black sheep. I am excluded from family events. Birthdays, weddings, holidays. I am talked poorly about. A teenage mother. College drop out. I am forgotten at birthdays. No card. No text or call. I am unclaimed. Not his daughter. Not her daughter. I am the black sheep. Generally, the black sheep of the family is the weird uncle who was convicted of child molestation. The cousin who is addicted to drugs - the one who never seeks help and disappears. The father who is an alcoholic and takes his anger out on his wife. The mother who cheated on her husband and got pregnant. Not the daughter who grew up, realized her trauma and is freely speaking about it. Not the niece who set a healthy boundary and left when the lines were crossed. Not the sister who moved her sibling in, when they had nowhere else to go. Not the daughter who dropped everything on the dime, to drive 259 miles in an "emergency". Funny how that works, isn't it? You're always the antagonist in the story, while they are the victim. All because you recognized the signs of a narcissist. You realized their patterns of abuse. You were conscious of their motives and their actions. They are always quick to tell others what you did wrong. Yet they can't take responsibility for their own actions. And so, you will forever be the antagonist. The unwanted. The black sheep. I'll be the first of them to admit that I've made mistakes. I'm flawed, just like any other human being to walk the face of this planet. The reason I can admit that is simple. I tried, they didn't. I went to counseling, I did the work, I forgave things I shouldn't have forgiven. Now I'm the black sheep for walking away; for bettering my life. I am the black sheep. For giving my children a better childhood than I ever had. For not allowing negativity into my life. For putting my children first. For setting healthy boundaries and enforcing them. For growing as a person, attending counseling and healing from my trauma. For telling the truth. For speaking out about my childhood. For connecting with others who've experienced similar things. For not forcing my children to be in the lives of people who talk poorly of me around them. The list goes on and on and on. I'm the black sheep for speaking my truth and telling my story. In the beginning I'll admit I was terrified. Then I realized that they are still out there proving my point today. My "mother" still a drug addicted, alcoholic nut case. My "father" still a narcissistic, ego driven asshole. I have nothing to be afraid of. I refuse to let them shame me for healing, telling my truth, and living my best life. Because I am the black sheep... and I'm proud. Sometimes the black sheep, is the only one telling the truth.
Aside from introducing myself, I'm really unsure of where to begin. This probably isn't the beginning of my story but it's definitely a start. Have you ever heard someone say, "I had to grow up too quickly" or "I didn't have a childhood"? Those simple statements are the literal definition of my life. At 9 years old, I didn't know how to be a child. I never played with friends, went to sleepovers, or had birthday parties. I was too busy taking care of my two younger siblings. Making bottles, getting them dressed, changing diapers, cooking meals, giving baths... the whole nine yards. I was raising children that I didn't create. I was raising children as a CHILD. My "parents"? They were drunk. They were high. They were fighting. They were passed out. They were somewhere else. One of my earliest memories includes packing lunches for my sister and I before school. We lived in a little trailer in Powell, Wyoming and we walked to school every day. Rain, shine, snow, sleet. We walked. One morning on our way out the door my sister asked for popsicles. Being a child myself, I grabbed us some popsicles and tossed a knife inside her backpack so we could open them on the way to school. Here we are two young children probably 6 & 9 walking to school, eating popsicles and minding our own business. That is until we finally arrived at school and my younger sister's teacher decides to go through her backpack in search of something - but what she finds instead is the knife. Landing my kindergarten sister in the principal's office. Before long the school officer is involved, my parents are called and all of us are sitting in the office. I can remember the tears rolling down her face as the school officer explains how serious this is. Little does he know, I'm the one who put it in there this morning. As he scolds my sister, I can feel the rage welling up inside myself. Because I know it was my fault. The only other thing I remember about that day is getting whopped later that evening after school. It was "MY responsibility" to get us both to school. It was "MY responsibility to make sure she was safe. It was "MY responsibility".... But I was 9. I was supposed to be the child, not the adult. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to set an alarm. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to wake up my younger sister and get us both ready for school. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to begin with. However, looking back now I realize I'd gladly take that beating all over again because it meant that my sister wouldn't have to. I was forced to grow up early. I never got a childhood. I was "mom" to my siblings. I was the adult in my home. Even though I was only 9 years old...even though I was a child.