Saturday, April 10, 2010

Church Camp

It was hard to  make sense of  my world at 12.  I was grieving my grandparents and my understanding of my mom was in utter chaos.

One night as I was laying in bed, my mom came into  my room and sat  on my bed. Wtf.

I just sat there. What. does. she want.

"Are you excited about going to Church Camp in the morning"?

"No, I'm scared".

"You'll be fine... and...I have good news...when you come back  Pothead and I are getting married".

Silence... crickets... I don't get it.

"Um... is that why you're sending  me away this  week so you can be with your (insert 12 year old smart-assy-ness here) deaf pot smoking boyfriend LOVE"?? This was one of the first times I can remember consciously trying to manipulate my mother. I usually was a soldier at trying to please her, but the window was  opened so I jumped through it.

"No, of course not! I think you'll have fun". She tried to hug me. Such a rarity. I stiffened my body. 

Now I lay in bed wondering why... why was she smoking pot, why was she marrying a non-church-member? Yet, at every opportunity she was speaking "Church speak" and etc etc.

The next morning she dropped me  off at the Church so we could head  off to camp. I was not a child who was comfortable in her own skin and definitely didn't do well with change.  I needed what was familiar even if it was bad. Shy and awkward I got into the van. Most of the girls in the van were from two different families. Each family had like 421 children. I was always curious how these righteous girls' fathers could not only afford a gazillion kids, but they all lived in beautiful homes and had the nicest of things. On one income nonetheless. It  must be because they were righteous, I assumed.

I nervously twirled my Choose The Right ring as we pulled up into Church Camp and read the sign that said "Mt. Zion something something". As we got out of the van, I quickly scanned the surroundings. Up on a far away hill was a beautiful lodge and opposite were several medium sized cabins. One of the particularly pretty, but bossy girls told me  to grab her luggage and bring it to the Lodge. I was new and it was tradition.  Fury swept over me in a flash and I kicked her suitcase over as her dumb ass flew up the hill giggling with her friends.  Eff her. Second thought. Turn the other cheek.  I trudged up to the Lodge carrying my bag (leaving hers) when the girl looked back.  "If you don't have MY bag, why are you coming up to the lodge"?, she sneered... "YOU sleep in the Cabins. You're a first year"! Ooooh, that BITCH. So  much for Jesus touching your cold heart. Another faker. I'm sick of them.

I turn around and head back towards the Cabins and am directed to the correct one by some older teen wearing a camp t-shirt.

I hugged myself with a little Jesus talk and summonsed the courage to go into the cabin. My temper had cooled by the time I got there and as always I got over myself as quickly as I got mad. That just meant I wasn't mad, not that Ms. Priss and I would be friends.

I had wasted time getting into my cabin and was left with a top bunk. I was not a fan.

I put my belongings on there and climbed up. I would just listen  for the night before I acknowledged anyone  or talk. The girls tried to talk to me and  I just looked at them.  I couldn't speak even though I knew it made me  look rude.

We had supper in the cafeteria and got ready for bed. I climbed into my sleeping bag and let releasing tears of anxiety slip quietly into my pillow. Crying  made me feel better and  I fell asleep hoping a spider didn't crawl on me in the night.

The next morning I woke up slowly. No one else was in the cabin. As my senses came to me I felt a stickiness between my toes and noticed that several differently colored circled stickers we all over me. I must have been OUT.  In my bed were little colored puffs with eyeballs. Cute. I didn't mind that they had put toothpaste between my toes, but I was pissed that my sleeping bag was now sticky and I didn't know how I'd  get it clean. Pain  in the ass.

One of the girls  ran back  into the cabin to grab a hat and noticed I was awake. "Hi, come on, we're going to prayer".

"What is this"?  "Node kisses", she stated.
"What are...nodes"?, I asked feeling stupid.

The girl picked up one of the fluffy balls and held it up... "Nodes... every year the nodes come and kiss the girls in camp and one girl is chosen to be the Node Princess. She is absolutely covered in kisses. Hurry and get ready and come see." she said smilingly as she hurried back out the door. Maybe I'd make a friend.

(*Edit: I somehow learned to cope with abuse, but it nearly took me down when people were nice to me. I don't know why I feel the readers need to know this, but in re-reading it, I felt I should say that). 

I got myself out of the sleeping bag and cleaned up the toothpaste the best I could. I dressed quickly and went to find someone to tell me where they showered and to ask  how  to clean my bad. The staff showed me to the shower and kindly took my bag to wash it.

Let me tell you about this shower. In a word, G R O S S. I tentatively crept up on the cinder block building which had several shower stalls with shower curtains covering each stall. It was dank and dark and dingy. I grew up on a farm, but I at least had a door  to shut when I bathed. I checked the corners and walls for spiders and thanked God for flip flops. I decided I wouldn't get "nekkid" and would just wash my legs off and make sure I had a bathing suit on next time I came to shower. I just couldn't get undressed in  this open building. As I left the shower building I looked up at the lodge and hoped I could stay there the following year.

I made my way to the rest of the group who was done praying by now. They were heading off to breakfast and then crafts. I liked crafts. Later in the week we would go rafting. I don't like open water. So that's going to be  a problem. I also don't like hiking or exercising. I would really like to just swim  in the  pool and do crafts, but we stay together as groups for the week. I finally make it through the week and it's  time to go home. I didn't make friends. It wasn't that I didn't want to. I was just too awkward in my own skin and my own mind.  I climbed back into the van for the return trip and just resolved myself to letting life happen to me.


Anonymous said...

i have always wondered why some people live a life like you did and why others have it so easy.

i have yet to figure out why that is.

i love your blog, as a foster mom it is of great interest to me

Babs said...

I figure every one has a story :) Thanks for reading!

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

I've spent a good amount of time catching up with the "Then" side of your blog. You ought to think about putting it into book form. As the step-mom of two traumatized children (whose story we know only bits and pieces of), your story helps me to understand what it's like to be the "older sister" in a rough (to put it mildly) world.

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

Oops...I forgot to hit the little "email follow-up comments" thing.

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

Oops...I forgot to hit the little "email follow-up comments" thing.

Babs said...

LoL Tara, Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Amanda said...