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Author Topic: My Landmark
AchillesHeel
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It seems I that my 2000th post has come and gone, my intended landmark had slipped my mind. I suppose I'll start at the beginning.

My mother was a twenty-two year old waitress and a mother of two boys, my father a forty year old drummer in the house band. He was also a bit of a bastard. After her second child was born my mother was told by an American doctor that he operated a clinic in Mexico, where he could tie her tubes at a fraction of the price. He was not a good doctor. My mother waited to tell my father she was pregnant, unsure of whether or not he would be a good role model. She left the day that he threw a boot at her head while she was asleep.

I was born with a club foot on my right side, when I learned what other deformities and syndromes have been known to happen alongside club foot I counted myself lucky. My deformity was not the only hazard my mother had to navigate, suffice to say that in order to get insurance while she was pregnant she had to assist an internal investigation. The agents name was Andrew and I am proud to be named after him. Not long after my birth my mothers tacit relationship with hard drugs became habitual. I grew up as the youngest of three hungry latchkey kids, in what is best described as a drug filled borough of Phoenix that began in years past as a sick camp. Sunnyslope. Being white in that neighborhood was bad enough but I am... very very German and fair. I learned how to fight while outnumbered and overpowered, at home and otherwise. My oldest brother was born with tetralogy a fallot, a defective heart valve that when he was born was a death sentence and as such he required heavy medical care until he died at the age of twenty-five. In the shadow his fragility I was not raised as one might raise a disabled child, in fact I was not aware that I was handicapped until my tibia touched the ground when I was twelve. I thought everyone was in constant pain and that I was just being a wuss.

Looking back I suppose I was a studious kid. In love with music and memorizing lyrics. Getting up early to watch the national news shows. Spending recess in the library simply obsessing over Eye Spy books and mythologies. I suppose not much has changed. But these traits were not considered when I was put into special education due to my defensive paranoia, I call it being in constant pain and starving. One thing I remember quite clearly is the note "he is offensively defensive" but I was never antagonistic. They stifled my education, repeating levels of mathematics that I had passed and not allowing me to leave the program no matter how well behaved I was or how many "normal" classes I was doing well in. When they would recognize any aptitude I had I took it as an insult, I thought they were condescending.

When I was eight my mother lost her loose hold on the things that allowed her to house and sometimes feed three growing boys of varying ages. My oldest brother went to our grandfather, staying in Sunnyslope while the middle brother and myself lived with our grandmother in Mesa. It was like a different country but I was too young to adapt, I stayed paranoid and fearful of attack. I still am. Now that I was not so visibly unlike the other kids my behavior marked me as different. Funny how that works. In Mesa I settled into my place as an outcast and began taking solace in books, trading Harry Potter and Animorphs for Dragon Song and Ender's Game. Between the ages of eleven and twelve I grew to the size of a full grown man, by fifteen I was the tallest man in the family. Being paranoid, quiet and giant is not really a good thing in a post Columbine school.

When I was thirteen we moved to Northern Arizona to live with unstable and regressive relatives. I spent the next few years jumping cattle fences on my way to the library and repeatedly painting my cd player, I like the memories I have from that time though they were lonely to endure.

It was during this time that I disowned my mother, over the phone. I hadn't seen her in about a years time and any visits prior to that were really quite damaging. Sweeping in to my life only to disappear once my grandmother had given her money or the need was too great. I told her that every time she left I thought she was dead, or else I could do nothing but worry. Over and over I assumed her to be dead, I don't know how many times I quietly mourned her death. She was completely off the radar of the family for two years, came back clean and stable. We have a great relationship these days.

In Prescott Valley I became something of a boogeyman, big blonde and walked everywhere in a trench coat. I was watched and searched, not just by school staff. On one occasion my backpack was emptied and examined by a student in full view of a teacher while I was in the bathroom, the teacher found the response "I'm looking for his hit-list" acceptable. I had enough sporadic friends to keep me apprised of all the stories about me, none of them were based on fact. That I was a drug dealer, that I had been in juvie, that I had committed murder and would again. And there I was, spending my lunches reading Mercedes Lackey books about talking horses and listening to Lisa Loeb. In time I gained a sense of humor about it all. A few people knew to never involve me in their drug use, I didn't share their youthful optimism. A rare good lesson I learned in Sunnyslope. I never got into fights, though I was attacked a couple of times. I was sober and willing to learn but unwilling to accept the sub-par methods being used to bring up the test averages. I was the worst student to some and a pet to others. Where my freshman english teacher bargained with me to make me keep my opinions to myself my sociology teacher encouraged intellectual rivalry.

In the tenth grade I was taken out of the special education program, for over three years I had only been taking the math course, on two separate occasions I was negligently put into to normal math classes. But that would interfere with my classification as a member of the program and the school would lose that funding. I was told by the school psychologist who I didn't even know existed until then that I had been eligible to re-enter full normal classes since the fifth grade. I was given no explanation as to why I was taken out then, and then told that I had neither the education nor the time to learn to pass the mathematics portion of the AIMS tests. It just so happened that my graduating class was the only one to be required to pass all three tests to graduate despite any other scholastic merits or achievements. My legal guardian was not a part of this proceeding. I saw what they were doing to me and I chose to stay in school if only to gain the education I chose. Play production, media, sociology, civil war history, German, choir. I would have taken more if they would have allowed it. When it came to the core classes I was vocally on strike.

With my spare time free of any worries about grades I found myself as the youngest student of Kaze Arashi Ryu kenjutsu jojutsu and aiki enyo ho. I learned so much about the human body, sometimes it was more of a science than an art, this education helps me compensate and care for my disability to this day. The teachers tempered my paranoia with an extensive knowledge of weaponry, the human body and war tactics. The school and system are meant for battlefields, not just arm bars and how to fall. It was exactly what I needed.

My training translated into a job at a privately owned knife store. I learned how to be a true salesman, give me five minutes I could probably sell you the perfect knife that you would use on a regular basis for the rest of your life all for under one hundred dollars. Ultimately this was a frivolous education.

Then I met an unstable girl, forgive me for not over sharing on this matter. We tried to help each other, we hurt each other. Experimented and overcompensated, learned horrible lessons and in the end I stopped running after her and instead ran away from her.

I didn't graduate high school, though I did stay until halfway through my senior year. On my eighteenth birthday I had an apartment, a full time job and every intention of being a capable and responsible adult. Things didn't work out that way, relationships are hard.

By nineteen I had stopped training due to my degrading physical health and the changes in my life after my oldest brother died. He was the one who taught me to read. To love art in all its amazing incarnations. Being seven years older than me he was the closest thing I had to a father as a small child. I miss him.

I quit the knife store where I was promptly fired for such insubordination. Last time I was there the owner had begun selling nazi paraphernalia. I don't stop by anymore. There was a warehouse job where I was fired at the ninety day mark for having a 98.4 percent productivity rating via the hand scanners.

When I moved back to Phoenix to find work my sole remaining friend from school betrayed me in a quite Shakespearean manner. I found a job working the third shift at a gas station in one of the more actively dangerous parts of the city. Over the last four years I have seen every level of society at their lowest, threatening, bribing, crying and begging. My stance on inebriation has become somewhat inflexible. I've spent this time in seclusion, immersing my life with art and education, looking outward on the world and wondering if there is anything I could do to help.

Currently I am stable but poor and need a second job. My spine and hips are heavily affected by the condition of my foot, I've lost several inches from the bottom of the leg and I work on my feet. After so long with no one to enjoy my spare time with I have found a friend, through a shared love of books and obtuse humor. I look forward to the atheist dinners every month and have my private little library to keep my interest. My job has left me with a particularly sour opinion of going out and being social in the local sense, which is an emo way of saying that I am a nerd who would rather go home and re-watch Battlestar Gallactica rather than go to a bar and introduce myself to women. I really have no idea what my plans are for the future, but I have no intention of going backward.

It could all be so much worse and by being rational and considering the rights of others I have improved my life a great deal. I feel very silly for looking back on my life at only twenty-four, knowing just how little I have accomplished. There are things I have chosen to exclude, they are private and sad moments that I don't like to dwell on. If there is anything I would say in my defense for my life it is that I have never attempted to hurt anyone, no matter what they had done. For all my malcontent and seemingly natural violent responses I have never thought it glorious or fair to infringe on another persons right to live peacefully. My one good lesson.

Thank you for reading this, it was not easy for me to share. And thank you all for being my unwitting teachers and bad examples.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Thanks you for sharing...it makes me want to hug you and get to know you better!
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SteveRogers
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If it isn't too forward to say, it sounds like the turmoil of your early life has given you a deep resevoir of strength which will see you through your current troubles. I see this even in just the strength it must have taken to share this with us, and I thank you for doing so. It takes a lot of inner fortitutde to so starkly share elements of your soul with anyone.

In my interactions with you on the forum, I've found you to be quite the stand-up gentleman. If nothing else, I will say you should take solace in knowing you aren't the only person on this forum who has led a troubled life and turned to art and literature for a safe haven.

And I will also say this: Keep fighting the good fight, man.

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AchillesHeel
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Hehe, I made Stone typo on a one sentence post!

Thank you Steve, my physical response to that was quite unmanly and will not be shared here.

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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Thank you Steve, my physical response to that was quite unmanly and will not be shared here.

Though for different reasons, I know what it's like to struggle. But if the sun keeps rising, then I intend to struggle with all my might because it's better than just giving up.

That's the best advice I can give in such situations.

And truly, I thank you for sharing this. It's given me pause to reflect again on my own life too.

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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
And truly, I thank you for sharing this. It's given me pause to reflect again on my own life too.

Yes, thank you for sharing.

This paints a little deeper behind the scenes for some of your other threads (e.g. the problematic gas-station customer and the atheist club threads).

Also, thank you for introducing me to The Guild mini-series (I believe it was one of your threads that first alerted me to it a few years back). [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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Powerful stuff. Not only are you a talented writer, but being able to reflect and gain perspective on so much of your life through so many trials at such a young age is quite remarkable.

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to bear so much of your soul to the community.

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AchillesHeel
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Wow, really? Thanks Lyr.

Psssst Anthonie, there is a new season of The Guild going on right now. In case you didn't know Felicia Day has actually made a whole youtube channel. There is tons of really creative shows on there.

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SteveRogers
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I think it was a recommendation on here which finally convinced me to watch The Guild too. Well worth the time.
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brojack17
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Thanks for putting yourself out there. It's never easy.

I second what Steve said, given what you have been thru in life, it would be easy to be an a-hole to everyone. Especially in the anonymous world of the internet.

Keep on trucking. I don't want to just say "it'll get better", but you being self sufficient and content with your life the way it is will help. Being content doesn't mean settling either. You are obviously intelligent. Sorry, I'm rambling.

Great handle.

Thanks again.

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AchillesHeel
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Yeah, it works as double reference on here. I particularly like the Card pronunciation, Ah-sheel Heel.

Believe me, I am not settling for a life with no insurance. Healthcare or otherwise. I know just how fragile my situation is and I'm working on it, I hope to get a second job soon that can lead into a profitable and sustainable life soon. Each convenience store I have worked in has had at least one person older than my mother making less than nine dollars an hour, casually with under forty hours a week. I literally cannot afford that life, my foot would give out long before my fiftieth year. I just have to be careful about it, I have nothing to rely on besides a relative with an open couch. I can't afford to burn my bridges while I'm still standing on them.

Thank you everyone for responding and being so considerate.

[ December 18, 2012, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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