Communities exist to offer support and a means of connection with others in our lives. We tend to look for communities and or groups where the rules are laid out in front of us. There are all kinds of communities out there, and some of them are not always positive communities. These provide vast opportunities for social interactions, building relationships etc. Often our first introduction into a community is through our own family. For most celebrating our familial background is important, while others like myself do not even know what their backgrounds are.
Each and every one of us belong to some kind of community. In this essay I will be discussing what I learned from my family in regards to community, and also the community I joined since being at the community college. When we are born, we are born with a set of values and expectations, so we learn them from our parents or the adults that raise us, primarily. We learn not only through these adults teaching us, we learn by examples and by watching/ observing. Everything we know about human behavior suggests that the family is the institution in which most children learn about character and morality.
That’s why the quality of family life is so important. Going back as far as I can remember as a child in a white community, I had no sense of knowledge about other people around me except that we were all not to be trusted. Growing up I was in what society would consider lower class. My family wasn’t poor but however we were far from even being well off. I was born into an already broken abusive home where there was domestic violence, and drug abuse/ addiction. I was taught early on that the cops were not anyone that you were to talk to. I was told not to tell our family business to anyone.
I was a loner kid, and I didn’t have many friends at all. I was constantly in some kind of trouble at my mother’s house. Looking back I think that my mother would keep me grounded so that I wouldn’t see that what I lived in wasn’t normal? Even when I was sent to my biological father’s house every other weekend I was treated pretty much the same way. Well when I was at my mother’s house it was domestic violence, and I was physically, emotionally, and mentally abused. At my biological fathers there was domestic violence, addiction, and abuse in every form including sexual abuse.
I truly felt growing up and well into my adult life that being beat by your mother and sexually abused by your father was the norm. I was shown by the reactions that I got when I confessed to my elementary teacher about the abuse that no one truly protected children. I remember always being so frightened and feeling as though I must walk on eggshells. I was taught that at no cost was I to communicate or being around an African American. I was however allowed to go and spend the night at my grandma’s house, and I vividly remember questioning if something was wrong at my grandmas, or my house?
Being at my grandmothers was way different than at home. My grandma took me to church with her, she didn’t cuss or call me names. She never screamed or yelled at me, we sat at the table for meals, and even prayed before each meal. I remember feeling comfortable there like I didn’t have to have all kinds of clothing on, I felt truly safe. But even my grandmother I couldn’t count on because she eventually found out what was going on at home and in my life and did nothing to protect me and remove me from the situation.
It’s devastating to have to say this but I was never taught respect, loyalty, togetherness, a sense of belonging, structure, or anything like that. Enduring all of the things that I did growing up helped to lead me down the wrong path in life, and I have suffered a great deal because of it. After 5 children by 5 different fathers, and fifteen years going in and out of prison, all the drug abuse, as well as the un healthy relationships that I was in I’m pleased to say that today I belong to an entirely different community. This community is still foreign to me, it’s the total opposite of what I was used to.
After almost two whole years I still feel that I do not belong. I’ am married to the most amazing woman one could ever meet. I have a huge loving family that knows all about me and my past and still loves me. I have all five of my children actively apart of my life. I have two gorgeous grandsons. I have been clean and sober for 3 ½ years and I’ am off parole. Today, I go to Woodland Community college, which has a community within the college. I am an active participant in the LGBTQ community at the college, as well as the Human Service Community.
The community that I’ am in these days is one that I would consider being close nit. Everyone is so caring and compassionate. Today I have lots of friends that I can call on no matter what. I continue to go to concealing because I have not dealt with a lot of the traumas I endured as a child. I’m actively involved in the community of the First Baptist Church of Davis. Although I know I have a long ways to being alright within myself at least today I know deep down that I do fit in. Do to the dysfunction that I dealt with as a child, and well into my adult years I just need to stay put, and keep putting my best foot forward.