ok… here’s my essay. warning though: i’m really not a very good writer at all lol
Getting a Chance
My mother struggles with addiction. She drowns herself in alcohol to cope and she ignores the rest of the world. She stashes containers of wine in her closet and she fills bottles of vodka with water. Slurred words, empty promises, manipulative “I love you”s, rehab centers, drunken, angry rants, and hospital visits… all of those things consumed her, me, and everyone around us for years. Not only did alcohol control her every thought, but as time went by, it began to control mine as well. Worrying what state my mother would be in when I arrived home from school. Wondering where she could have possibly hidden the bottles of alcohol this time. Stressing about keeping my problems, thoughts, and feelings to myself because I feared that sharing any of those things with my mother might push her over the edge. Fearing that it would be my fault. And it was because of this addiction, that I ended up in the foster system for more than a year.
However, I was one of the very lucky few that was allowed to stay with family; my sister and brother in law were my legal foster parents. I was living with them, along with my four year old niece. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Unsurprisingly at this point, I entered the foster system because it was determined by health and welfare that living with my mother was unsafe, and I needed to be removed. Despite the abruptness of it, it’s an event in my life that for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, I think will have a major impact on both my future and who I am as a person.
I remember the day everything fell apart. The memories are vague, yet somehow also incredibly vivid… they’re memories I’ll never be able to erase, or forget. My mother was on another one of her usual, angry, drunken rants. Yelling at her partner about god knows what. I was sitting in my bedroom, watching Law and Order in a hopeless attempt at distracting myself. An attempt at escaping. I tried to stay out of the argument, out of the way. But somehow, I must’ve ended up being forced into the middle, because I remember standing in the kitchen doorway, watching my mother scream and defend herself, claiming that she hadn’t gone on a binge drinking session–which was blatantly false, anyone could tell that in an instant–and that she hadn’t drank in a while.
Long story short, the authorities were notified, and I was picked up by someone who worked in health and welfare. It was a woman, and she was nice enough. She drove a green car… it was a dark, forest green. The only thing I remember about the drive was glancing over at her hands on the steering wheel, seeing thick, white lines scattered randomly over her arm, and feeling my breath catch in my throat. They were scars from self injury.
At that point, I don’t remember feeling anything, at all. Nothing. Just complete, soul crushing emptiness. It was almost as if all of my organs had dissolved and every drop of blood had been drained from my veins. It was the type of emptiness that weighs you down. The type of emptiness where you can feel it, physically. In your mind, in your heart, in your bones…
I sat in the health and welfare offices alone for hours, desperately wanting just to see my sister, and finally settle in to the place that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would become my permanent home. Anyway, I was sitting in a chair against the wall, in a children’s room. The walls were white, there was a tv in the upper right corner, and there were toys cluttering the floor. I think there were a couple cliche-looking signs (such as “live, laugh, love… etc.) and it was dead silent. You could hear a pin drop. I was given a couple books to keep me entertained, and my sister was texting me. She was checking on me, asking how much longer I would be there, if I was doing alright… things like that.
Earlier, I mentioned receiving a neon pink drawstring backpack from health and welfare. It was filled with a lot of mundane and average things: deodorant, toothpaste, granola bars, etc. When I got the chance to dig through it, I distinctly remember wondering why they felt it was necessary to give those away to the children that go through the system. If they felt that the home they were placing a child in was safe, shouldn’t that home have those things? I thought that if foster parents didn’t have or couldn’t provide things like food, or common toiletries, they shouldn’t be placed in that home. That was just the beginning of my discovery of the dysfunctional and flawed foster system that we currently have.
For the next thirteen months, I would be forced to have visits with my mother (which would cease after a few months, and a long battle against health and welfare’s core rules and procedures), I’d be pulled out of school for appointments at the courthouse, and my vexatious case worker would visit every couple of months for routine checkups, which were strange to say the least. She had to come by the house to ensure that I was alive and safe, yet the only thing she really ever inspected was my bed sheets. Apparently, making sure that foster children have sheets is prioritized more than knowing that they had food, clothes, or water. That also describes the system pretty well, in my opinion.
However, on September 11th, 2017, I was officially placed under the permanent care of the only people I’d come to trust; thanks to something called guardianship, which is similar to adoption.
When I’m living with my sister and brother-in-law, I actually have a chance. I have a chance to do well in school, to maintain good relationships with my friends. I have a chance to make stupid decisions, and be completely reckless. I have a chance to be like everybody else. I get a chance to be… me, and figure out just who that is in the process.
For the first time in a long time, I’m living in a stable environment. I know what I’m coming home to–I know what to expect. There’s a routine. There’s a sense of safety. And I think, because I moved in with my sister, my life is going to turn out to be a lot different than if I’d stayed where I was.
You know what I want? As we’ve established that humans are a race of terrifying omnivores - eaters of chillies and coffee and chocolate - I want Earth alcohol to kick space alcohol’s butt.
Like I want aliens to be up there going like Winky on buttobeer. Sipping on their malt wine and fermented grains/berries. And sure, they may have great tolerance for that stuff, maybe it just gets them lightly buzzed and then they come down to earth.
And at first they find it very amusing. Earthlings, getting drunk off downing a couple of very teeny glasses of some clear liquid. Then one of them makes the mistake of trying vodka. and it knocks them the fuck out. Like waking up in your bathroom with a new tattoo and feather boa on kind of knocked out. And after that humans become much more terrifying.
“They make alcohol out of everything”, one alien whispers to his stunned friends, “and then,” He pauses to create a suitable air of horror “They mix them together.”