Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Wabi Wasabi
Richland, Washington USA



I was born in Phoenix, Arizona on the last day of September 1982 to Lisa and Donald Duane Griffiths. They had met years before when Donald was the manager of a Bob's Big Boy and my mother a waitress; it was a fast food romance. They were married in less than a year, and five years later they had their first and only child. Two months after my birth my parents were divorced and my Papa came from Sweeny to take my mother and myself to Texas. My mother and I lived in Sweeny for a few years, I remember none of it and there are no photos from this time period. When I was two my Grandmother, Papa, Mom and I moved to Bay City, Texas. My mother and Papa worked at STP (South Texas Project) as did most people who found themselves in that small town.
My mother met my step-dad, Frank, at a bar where they were celebrating a mutual friend's birthday. My mother said that she had stared at my dad (from here on out, Frank will be called "Dad" since this is what I've known him as most of my life) all night waiting for him to ask her to dance, but he was too shy. At the last song of the night, my mother asked my dad to dance with her. Six months later we were living with him, and six months after that they were married inside our trailer.
My memories begin here, but they are sketchy. I remember Halloweens, Christmases, birthdays and an overall sense of contentment. Many days I spent exploring the trailer park, crawling under trailers, making mud pies and discovering molds, algae, finding turtles, spiders, and other creatures native to South Texas trailer parks.
One night my neighbor shot his wife while their two boys slept in a nearby room. She lived and for the rest of my time in the trailer park, she and her boys waited for him to return from prison. There were many incidents that were nearly as strange; a neighbor girl once took me to her grandfather's and showed me his porn collection, telling me, "this is how he touches me," while thumbing through the pages; a boy further down the street found his father's gun and shot himself in the face by accident at the age of seven; a few park blocks away Moose's house was hit by lightening and the whole thing burnt down with everything his family owned.
We moved when I was six, bound for Mission Viejo, California. We lived in a house there and I started the first grade. That Christmas I got my first skateboard, which I used to ride on my backside down the big hill we lived on. I saw my first coyote there, as well. Six months after moving to Mission Viejo, we moved to San Diego into an apartment. We stayed there through the second grade. The only thing I can really note about that time was that was when I lost my first teddy bear I had ever had. I was devastated and mourned over him for years.
When I was nine we moved to Dallas, Texas into our first two story home. We got a dog, Spock, and lived there until I was 10.
I started the 4th grade in Lompoc, California. This was to be one of the best years of my life. I did well in school, and I loved my teacher, Mr. Hahn. We lived in a very nice house as well. There was a time when my father had to work out of state for a few months, so I had my mother to myself. We watched Rescue: 911 and I slept in her bed every night. I was so happy and so safe and I felt a contentment that I have been chasing ever since.
We moved to Knoxville, TN when I was in the 5th grade. We stayed there until I was in the 6th grade. Later we would all confess that our time in Knoxville was the worst we had spent together. We hated the town, the people, the schools...I made no friends aside from the neighbor boy, Stewart. Stewart and I would play soccer, real tackle football, baseball and basketball every day after school; I was a big tom boy with the hair cut and awkward body type to prove it. Often I was mistaken for a boy and my classmates teased me often, calling me a "Lesbo" and other such business. I had never encountered vicious children before, and these children affected the way I felt at school for the rest of my time in the public school system.
We moved to Kennewick, WA, where we settled. Middle school is a haze, but once again my father had to work out of state and once again I had my mother to myself. We made stick-rice every night for dinner and I would lie in her lap and she would play with my hair while we watched TV in the evenings.
I was a weird kid through my middle and high school years. Family who didn't know me well swore I was on drugs, though I was extremely innocent. I went through a Goth phase that receded into a punk phase. When I was a sophomore my mother was diagnosed with meylodisplastic syndrome and given six months to live. We moved to Seattle so that she could have chemotherapy and then a bone marrow transplant. I lived with my parents in Seattle for the remainder of my junior year. Those were hard months and often I can't go all the way into them. It's hard to see sick people, and it's hard to watch people die. I could write a novel about what I witnessed while I was there, but this would do no one any good. It isn't a story of hope or enlightenment and it doesn't have a happy ending.
My mother survived my senior year. Her immune system was very fragile and she couldn't go out much. Three months after graduation she succumbed to something, pneumonia maybe, but even the people who did the autopsy didn't know. I was and still am shocked that in this day and age someone can die and professionals can't figure out why.
We buried my mother on September 9th, 2001. When September 11th happened I remember reacting very strangely. In the aftermath people were holding signs with pictures of their dead on them; mourning publicly, on television. I resented them all. My mother had just died and not a single one of them cared about that. I felt like screaming it from the roof tops. By September 17th I had started college and my dad moved away across state. My step sister lived with me in the old house for a few months before moving away. I was left there, alone completely, at 19.
The years that followed were painful, horrible years. I managed to eek out an AA degree and went to the local university for my BA. While I was getting my BA I met Greg, and we were engaged in March of 2005. We moved into an apartment together but by June he had broke it off and moved back with his mother. Something about his bi-polar disorder. We're still friends to this day, though never so close as we once were. I keep him at an arms distance; I have the feeling he feels he made a mistake, but I know that he hadn't.
I spent the year after earning my BA and the break up with Greg working at a pay day loan joint. I never thought that I'd be working at a place like that with a BA in history, but that's how it goes. In August of 2006 I met Josh. We met online on MySpace and quickly realized that I could see his apartment from the balcony of my apartment. After a time corresponding back and forth, we met for the first time. From that day on I don't think we spent more than two days without seeing each other. We moved into a house with two other people (who ended up breaking the lease and moving out after about 9 months) and I started the master's program to earn a teaching degree.
That's me now; a few months away from student teaching, living with Josh in a house, finally happy and preparing for the rest of my adult life.
And that's 25 years in a nut-shell.