I had a real hard time getting along when I was a kid. I was pretty much always a loner. I wasn't like the other kids I grew up with. I didn't think like them, I didn't dress like them, I didn't belong to the clubs and cliques that they did. I wasn't rich. I wasn't part of their parents social gatherings.
I was that weird dirty kid in your 6th grade English class who never read the assignments or did his homework. I came to school with black eyes, or wearing sling on my arm. I stole a knife from my neighbors garage and carried it around with me at all times. I kicked the windows out of Mr. Macks classroom because he said I'd never amount to anything (then he got a brain tumor, ha).
My home life was a wreck. My mom was out of control, a raging alcoholic and whatever else she was, and my dad was just a mean bastard. I dealt with abuse, both physical and mental, at the hands of both of my parents. As a result, all these years later I still grind my teeth in my sleep and require an acrylic night guard so I don't cause anymore damage to my teeth.
I missed out on the fundamental teachings that are passed from parent to child. I didn't learn sports. I didn't learn how to shave. I didn't learn to clean or cook or take care of myself. I learned violence. I learned how to lie. I learned how to put my conscience aside in any situation. This was my eduction.
I took my teachings and went off into the world, ready to show anyone and everyone what I had learned. By the time I was 22 years old, I was covered in gang tattoos, sitting in a maximum security jail cell facing a max sentence on 3 felony charges. The thing of it was, after blowing my savings on a lawyer and beating those charges, I still hadn't learned my lesson. I went back out into the thick of it, right back into the line of fire. The damage was done, and it took me a long time to unlearn what was so deeply ingrained in me.
Somehow I survived, and a few years later I would meet the Sainted Newbold family. This is the point where my life would completely turn around. They didn't look past my problems and issues, but rather looked inside of me to see what was causing me to act the way that I was, and offered a solution. Really, they were the first people who truly cared about me and my well being. (I know all along that my friends who I came up with cared about me, but not one of them was making an attempt to stop me from doing the things I was doing, probably because we were all cut from the same cloth.)
The Newbolds became my family. My mother, father, brothers, sister, and my friends. I owe a lot to them. They taught me how to treat other human beings, regardless of what they had done to me or what they thought of me. I think the most important thing I learned was that I was still able to be myself, keep my anger and my frustrations, but turn them into something other than violence. People will always judge me for what I've done, but I can accept that, as I've become accepting of myself.
This weekend, I again took my new teachings into the world, and I put all the loneliness and hurt behind me. I met the one. The girl that I get along with 100% comfortably. I met her and I fell in love and we got married. With her, I don't have to worry about what she might say or think when I tell her something about my past. She loves me unconditionally. It really puts me at ease knowing that. Knowing that I don't have to hide my feelings or my anger. I don't have to hide who I really am. I am sad to leave my friends and family in Philadelphia as I embark on my new journey/life in Chicago, but I know that they will always love and be there for me.