Life wasn’t easy but never hard. Raised by a single mom and a father - both with what can best be described as PTSD from family and other sources - who were separated, was difficult though both did there damnedest to make sure none of their burdens landed on my head as a kid. Both kept me well fed, clothed and taught me many things both good in bad.
I kept my nose clean…ish, got in a few fights but kept it in house, did some stupid things with some gang bangers but got pulled out before it got too deep by Jeff (step-dad) when he married my mom, though I doubt he knew. I kept my nose clean but always knew things weren’t right. I never liked my maternal grandparents - they never had much time for me, the black sheep son of their black sheep daughter, and now my aunts don’t trust me all that much anymore. I’m seen as a loose cannon with my mom’s wit and temper and my dad’s penchant for violence and quick fuse. Plus I’m a combat veteran and a Marine which to them is like working as a field hand or second class citizen. Someone in the family told me that people like “us” don’t join the infantry - which made me want to do it more. (I haven’t told them I’m getting a Harley I can’t wait to see the collective bricks they shit). I always feel side lined in family gatherings. My cousins were (and are) more successful (in their way of thinking) by way of college, and are also more easily manipulated. I never understood that, I was raised to be independent by my parents and would never live at home like my cousins do. I’d rather be broke on my own than still living at home. I was taught by both parents to have a low tolerance for bullshit in all forms and to not take any. And as I get older I realize how much that is a two edged sword growing up. By 15 I lost the respect most adults feel they are owed by children and had trouble both in school and with my family. Grades suffered because teachers didn’t like my lack of desire to please them and relationships with the more controlling members of my family deteriorated, I guess refusing to dance to other’s tunes and take their bullshit does that. To the point now at 21 I hardly talk to anyone from my family except my cousins and my parents. I realize now looking back at Alex (maternal grandfather) that he probably realized I couldn’t be controlled cause he knew neither parent would be either (my dad almost knocked him out) and therefor I no longer existed. He loved my cousin until he dropped tennis, which was Alex’s favorite sport, and started baseball. Still to this day whenever I see my aunts and uncles I feel like they’re surprised I’m not some knuckle-dragging ape - and am actually smarter than they are, I can talk guns and things like that, knock back beers and shoot pool like they expect from “guys like me” (i.e. white trash) but I can also talk shop about structural engineering, discuss the pros and cons of the two party political system, formulate ideas and thoughts on Machiavelli’s work. Sure they all say they are SO PROUD of me but they’re also proud of the dog for knowing how to shake hands. Heh even on Alex’s death bed I had nothing to say to him, because what do you say to a stranger? I see now the little jibes they gave my mom over the years, the outright hostility they showed my dad and the fear I see when I talk about living on my own like I’m some propaganda minister preaching INDEPENDENCE - like I’m telling people that murdering puppies is fun or something else depraved. I go out with my dad to bars and have fun. I talk to my mom at least twice a month and see my brothers at least once every month but I’m my own person and fuck them in the ear if they can’t take that.