Badassery Magazine November 2017 Issue 18 - Page 63

R ecently on a podcast interview (yet to be aired!) I was asked a question: if you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, what would it be? I had never considered this question before, but as soon as she asked me a specific memory popped into my head. I was six years old and had just received a really cool bike for my birthday. It had a Goofy flag on the back of the bike (literally the Disney character, not just an adjective in this case) and a new bell to ring on the hand bars. But this isn't a happy memory. I never met my father; he aban- doned our family when I was still in my mom's belly. She went through a messy divorce with this verbally abusive deserter all while carrying me. I'm not sure if there is any research to back this up, but I believe that I struggle with depression and anxiety be- cause those conditions wracked my mom's body while I was inside. How could I not feel my mom's suffering? I believe they are deeply ingrained in me now. She remarried when I was five, and I was on top of the world. I was so excited to have a dad, and so I started calling him "dad- dy" (pronounced "deddy" in the South) right away. This time in my life was full of surprises and confusion. Even though I was delighted to "get a dad for Christmas," I didn't actu- ally meet him until literally the Halloween before. Then, after the wedding, my mom and my new dad disappeared for what felt like forever - I didn't understand that they were on a honeymoon, or what a honeymoon even was. I also don't remember packing up our things from my grandma's house (where we had been living my entire life), but I do remem- ber the night they loaded me and my sister into a car and drove us away to a new house with a new sister and a new dad. They had picked us up on their way back into town after the honeymoon. My sister and I had a new bunk bed in this new house and there were new toys on the bed to buy our love. That May came around and I turned six, and got that new bike. My new dad knelt in front of me and put a new helmet on my head and, when he buckled it, the plastic pinched the sensi- tive skin under my chin. "Ow," I cried involuntarily, tears spring- ing to my eyes. MY NEW DAD LOOKED INTO MY EYES COLDLY. "THA PL(