Lost & Found
Trigger Warning: This articles contains references to sexual assault and drug abuse.
I don’t know when it started.
What I do remember is walking downstairs in an oversized Scooby-Doo t-shirt, messy hair, Goldfish in hand going to see my mom -- my favorite person in the world at the time. But it wasn’t her. I saw this mass sprawled on the couch. I looked into its eyes and saw emptiness in its pupils, the size of a pinhead. It spoke to me incoherently; it slurred stammers of impairment.
I don’t know when I lost her.
Maybe it was the day she started to change my life outside of my direct family. I had my friend over in fifth grade. The morning after he spent the night, his parents met my mom; he never came back.
Maybe it was the day she started going to new doctors and bribing them to get more, feeding her addiction at more than just a monetary cost. Her dependency became increasingly apparent, festering into a sick obsession with incapacitation and escape from reality.
Maybe it was the day we told her, “You’ll lose your children if you don’t stop.” And she stopped. But the relapse was what hurt. Narcotics were more important than raising her offspring. It felt as if she were doing it in order to avoid mothering her children; that being doped was better than being with her offspring unworthy of the attention we craved.
Maybe it was the day I screamed, “I want you the fuck out of my life.” And she left.
I don’t know when I lost myself.
Maybe when my mother’s dependency on narcotics developed to allow her to escape from her seemingly distasteful life- the one that featured me.
Maybe when I told him I loved him. When he held me down and fell upon me. He didn’t ask for consent. I was forced to obtain memories which force my skin to tremble under a hand’s touch.
Maybe when I turned his sins into acts of righteousness. When I convinced myself that I had done something to elicit such outrages. When I told myself I needed him and that I would subdue my true self to please him, to make him stay.
Maybe when I began to view myself as sub-human. I wasn’t enough for my mother no matter how much she claimed I was; nor was I enough for him.
Maybe it was when I stopped treating myself like a human since no one else would.
Maybe it was when I thought being gone would be better.
Maybe it was when everything lingered. Depression set in, coming in waves, unwarranted and unstoppable.
What I do know is when I found myself.
I was afraid. I was afraid of losing someone important to me again. I was afraid of expressing my sexuality. I was afraid of what I would do to myself, or others to me.
There are few feelings worse than feeling as if someone biologically programmed to love and nurture you would rather be debilitated than do so. It is painful to have a perception that society, and worst of all your friends, would reject you for being different due to whom you love.
There are few better feelings than that of overcoming and being able to see growth from within yourself. By suffering through my mother’s addiction, I was forced into maturing with great haste in order to carry the responsibilities she was incapable of taking on.
When I informed my closest friends of my homosexuality, I realized that I had courage somewhere within myself, and that it is preposterous to fear anyone else’s judgements. Without these experiences, I would not be who I am today; I would be lacking the ability to view my idiosyncrasies with confidence; I would not have been able to motivate myself to achieve more than what was expected of me scholastically; I would not have been able to live with myself.
The idea of “perfect” I felt I had to be cannot be attained- there is no consensus on the definition. This constant striving to be what society wants you to be is entirely unrealistic; every individual has something unique about them, and one must accept these traits in order to overcome, to be an individual. The fact of the matter is that we all have our own definitions of perfect and this strong, recovering, resilient, scarred version of me is what I'm beginning to see as perfect.
I found myself when I stopped blaming myself for what others found me inadequate for. I stopped searching for someone else to be and embraced my flaws. I still have moments of weakness, where everything comes back, where I am crippled by my experiences. But, I have found who I am- I have not and will not let others define me.
I am Kendrik Icenhour- and that’s okay.
Note: My mother and I are on good terms now- I love her dearly. I have forgiven, but not forgotten.