The odds of me growing into an adult with morals and values and then being a contributing member of society were slim at best given my formative years. I know this. I have seen my life played out in an alternative universe and it was grim, not just boring or blasé, but dark, gritty and GRIM.
There is a thing about me you don’t know yet, and once you do you are either going to run screaming in the opposite direction or you are going to get a cup of tea and settle in for the long haul. It never goes another way. There is no middle ground. Middle ground is boring anyway. Fuck middle ground. Are you ready, Here it comes!
I was raised by wolves.
If you are still here you might be confused. Does she mean that she was raised by a pack of fuzzy, cute canis lupus? Is she at all related to Mowgli of Jungle Book fame? I am sorry if I misled you or if you are gullible enough to believe that a human girl could be raised by a wolf pack and still survive to write you this story. If you understand that I am using WOLF as a metaphor and would like to know more please keep reading. If you are STILL confused, bye bye – see you next year in the self help section.
Okay, that should have taken care of about a quarter of the people who just aren’t going to get this. The rest of you, you know who you are, I suggest you fasten your belts, have a barf bag and some Kleenex ready, from here the ride gets kind of bumpy. I will try and hold your hand as much as possible but I have to be honest, I am not always going to have time to tell you when a BIG bump is coming. Sometimes they still take me by surprise. That’s life for you kids. Sometimes you have warning and lots of support and sometimes your ass gets kicked.
The wolves I am referring to of course are the human variety. If you are old enough to have owned a pair of acid washed jeans and had a New Kids on the Block poster on your wall (in a NON ironic way) than you already know that this wolf-human hybrid exists. They walk around us all the time looking like goddamn normal people, just like the human sharks, human sheep, and the vampires.
Actually, I am afraid that I am doing a disservice to wolves, who are actually sweet loyal creatures who look after their own, but I didn’t come up with the saying so bite me. Of course my story isn’t all that unique. My wolves didn’t get that way overnight, they were made, shaped, and moulded by wolves of their own.
I was raised by people who didn’t know how to put the needs of children above their own. People whose demons were so pervasive they could not possibly act outside of their own pain and torment. I know that some of those wolves loved me, but not all of them. I know that some were just doing the best they could in the circumstances. I also know that a reason isn’t an excuse. I was failed by the adults who were supposed to protect me and saying that is just a fact, it’s not a betrayal of them or their memories (OH my therapist would be so proud right now). I was raised in the midst of the chaos of alcohol, addiction, and violence. I was hurt by adults who used me is pawn in their battles against each other. I was a physical and emotional punching bag for grown ups who could not break the cycle of violence and recrimination in their own lives. I witnessed things that no child should ever have to, but is sadly all too common. Trying to deal with these things has made me a hot mess of an adult. I am chronically depressed with major anger issues. I don’t know how to argue with my husband because I did not have that skill modeled for me. I thought I was successful because I never throw things at him or physically lay hands on him, but as it turns out I am an emotional bully who escalates to DEVASTATING BLOW with little provocation. The difference is I am ready to be the last wolf in my family line.
I am ready to stand here and tell you about what that life looked like, how each nip hurt me, and each howl shaped me into the woman I am. I am ready to stand here in my wrongness and tell my husband how sorry I am and that I will do better. I don’t have all the answers but, unlike the wolves who raised me, I am ready and willing to change, to recognize my failings, and step up.