|There are three things you should never ignore: |
Abuse, Family, and Love
I haven't really introduced myself to you properly.
My name is Sage, I am 21, I live in South Lake Tahoe, California, and have been here since December 18th, 2010.
I have a love/hate relationship with this town. See, when I was a little girl, I would come up here every summer to see my father and my two little brothers and my little sister.
I LOVED Tahoe! It was beautiful! And watching the 4th of July fireworks on the lake was utterly stunning. The fireworks would fill the sky and reflect off of the big, open lake.
Everyone would cheer their "Ooh's" and "Ahh's" and I could hear someone playing the steel drum somewhere in the background. To see the wonder and amazement in my siblings eyes made me happier than I could imagine.
We spent everyday at the beach, eating, playing in the sand, diving for the best looking rocks, and swimming till our lips turned dark purple.
It was my favorite place in the whole world. I KNEW that when I grew up, I was going to live in Tahoe.
But when I turned 15, I wanted nothing to do with my father or the place that took him far away from me. I hated him. He abandoned me, showed me that I wasn't worth his life. Several times.
Besides, I already had the best dad I could ever ask for. W.
W was, IS, my real dad.
One year later, at 16 years old, I moved from the city to a little mountain town called South Lake Tahoe.
Here was my new "home."
I hated it. Absolutely HATED it. I was in the middle of my junior year of high school, I knew nobody, and all I had to bring me some comfort, was having my brothers and sister around me.
They were my savior!
However, I was not doing so well, mentally.
I was overflowing with anger and depression.
Except no one could see. So no one could help.
I was alone again, surrounded by people.
When my siblings left back to their mom's in Montana, things got worse.
My dad fell into his yearly Manic Depressive episode, and beat my step-mom. Once during Thanksgiving, next on Christmas Eve.
I was done, so I called the police from my school.
My dad grabbed his two pistols and left.
The swat team came to our house and searched for him with no luck. I hoped to God that they would find him and put him in prison forever. I never wanted to see him again.
Maybe I should back up a little.
In the summer of 2011, my dad found me a job at one of the casinos he worked at. I was going to be a hostess and cashier at the second floor restaurant. 8.25 an hour, .25 cent increase after a year.
I was stoked! My very first job!
I made a few good co-worker friends there. Mom's, college students, single, flirty dudes. It was fun.
But my anger and depression kept me from fully enjoying anything, let alone my JOB.
I went through another phase. I dyed my hair bright blue, dreaded my hair, and fucked off in school and work.
I was hanging out with a couple older dudes. Both were trying to screw me, and both took advantage of me. What was worse was that I continued seeing them.
Eventually I was called into school and was told I was failing all my classes and that I was going to have to take the year over, or make all my work up in less than four weeks before the school year ended. I was missing over 12 weeks worth of work.
I don't know exactly what happened, but something clicked in my mind and I knew I had to do what needed to be done.
I quit smoking weed for awhile so I could concentrate. The few friends I did have, left because they couldn't understand anyone who wasn't like them.
I stopped talking to those creepy men, and decided I was going to finish school so that I could get the fuck out of this shithole.
I finished my junior year and transferred to a better school that fit me.
I was still working at the same casino and got my .25 cent raise. And I was seeing somebody!
Things were looking up.
I met this really nice co-worker briefly over a cigarette. We rode the same bus together everyday. He was the I.T. guy and there was something inside him that I could see was there, but I couldn't quite figure it out. So we talked, a lot.
I found out a lot about I.T. guy. He was going through a hard time too. He was just 32, and his ex girlfriend and mother of his two kids, was still living in his house, drinking her life away. She was not being a mother. And he was done. He didn't want his children subjected to her psychotic behaviors and drunken stupors.
He was falling into a depression and didn't know what to do to help himself.
On Halloween when my boyfriend left me, the I.T. guy opened his ears for me. And I asked him to get some coffee with me sometime at my favorite bagel shop.
That day was the first time we hung out outside of work and the bus. When I saw him, he was posted up against the wall, smoking his cigarette like a James Dean poster. Something happened inside me that day.
I got into yet another horrible "relationship." It didn't last long. This is during the same time all the father drama was going on. I was talking with the I.T. guy every single day. We would sit at the beach together, freezing our asses off, smoking cigarettes and talking about life. Being around him was intoxicating.
I was staying with my boyfriend during this Christmas Chaos, but I woke up to him on top of me, trying to have sex with me while I was sleeping. I ran out of bed and screaming at him. He got all defensive and followed me around the house. I ran to the bathroom so I could be alone and take a shower. I was barely in the shower when he busted in and pulled his pants down and he pissed on me in the shower. That was the day I left him and I never saw him again.
I met up with the I.T. guy at our usual spot and talked to him about everything that was going on. That was the same night my dad beat my step mom and ran off with his pistols.
I was sitting down in the kitchen really late at night staring at my phone.
I contemplated what to do. I wanted to call the police but not right now. I was exhausted.
Instead, I called the one person I felt truly cared about me: Mr. I.T. guy.
I told him what just happened and that I wasn't coming back home for awhile. Not until things cooled off.
I had no where to go for Christmas, so he invited me to have Christmas dinner with him and his family.
I couldn't sleep that night because all I could think about was him. The way his voice sounded. The way he crouched when he talked to you about things. How he looked into my eyes, like fire melting my cold, dead insides. The way smoke swarmed around his face when he exhaled his cigarette.
I dreamt of him for the first time that night.
The next day I went to work but couldn't concentrate on anything. All I could see and smell was him.
When I'd see him walk on the casino floor, I would blush and hide my face away.
That was the toughest day at work.
After work we both got picked up and off we went for Christmas dinner.
I met his kids for the first time. I met his parents and his brother. And I met his ex girlfriend.
I could immediately tell she was not pleased with my presence.
That was the very night I knew I loved him. And he knew it too.
I went home that night because no one was home.
Laying in bed, I fantasized about kissing him. Or grabbing his hand so I could finally feel his fingers. Putting my hand through his hair, my ear to his chest...I wanted to hear his heart speak.
Then I felt strange. This was wrong. He has kids! I enjoyed his kids, a lot, but this was too much. Was it?
Two nights later he told me the same thing. He said that this was not a good idea and we should just be friends.
He looked sad. Defeated. And I wore the best smile I could fake. I said I understood and I thought he was right. And he took my chin in his hand, brought it up to his mouth, and kissed me deeply.
It was cold out, but we were so warm. And I was.....confused!
Didn't he just tell me this wasn't a good idea?
Didn't I just say that this was wrong?
So when I got back into my car and headed home, why did it feel so right??!
I thought about not talking to the I.T. guy anymore.
But that made me feel empty.
I thought about seeing where it went, but I am an impatient person!
So I decided that none of it mattered. I fell in love. Simply.
There was nothing to it.
I was his and he was mine.
Nothing else mattered.
When my dad found out I was the one who called the cops on him, he kicked me out.
Now I was homeless at seventeen. I packed everything I had into some plastic trash bags and threw them in my Chevy Blazer, and left.
"Get the fuck out of my house!" He told me.
I stayed in my car for a few days. I'd go to school, do all the work I could, and after school (which ended at 11:15am) I'd leave and find the next place to park my new home. I thought about him a lot. And our kiss.
When he found out what happened with me, he took me in. His ex was out of his house by then.
So in I moved. Me and my four black trash bags.
His kids welcomed me with open arms and for once I felt sorta okay. Cared for and wanted.
I had a comfy couch to sleep on, food to eat, a shower to get clean in, kids to make me happy.
It only made me adore the I.T. guy more and more.
And I could tell he was crazy about me too.
What was happening to me?
As you may have guessed, the I.T. guy is M. And M helped me through absolutely everything. He helped me graduate high school, he helped me find another job, he brought my confidence up, kept my mind sane, and best of all, he loved me. He let me be apart of his family. Which, at the time, I didn't realize how deeply it would affect my life.... (more on that later)
I'm 21 now, turning 22 in August. He is 36 turning 37 in October. His daughter is now 13 and his son is 12.
They have a baby brother who is only one year and three months old.
This is my family.
No matter how it was created, this is my family and it was meant to happen this way. Taboo as it may be, it is not as uncommon as you think...trust me.
I am the most grateful for the life that I have, and it's only going to get better.
M by my side, baby in my arms, and two preteens following our trail. We're going to show them how to live life courageously and beautifully, and to love absolutely, no matter what.