Saturday, April 9, 2011

For Caitlynn

To give this post context for those who won’t know what it’s about, I will tell you that Caitlynn is a 15-year-old girl with whom I have a long history (going back to the day she was born, in fact – an event for which I was actually present), although I haven’t seen her for many years. Yesterday, Caitlynn posted the following as a note on her Facebook. My response was too long for the comment section allowed on the note, so I’ve posted it here, below this copy of her own note, and provided her a link.

Here is Caitlynn’s Facebook note:

by Caitlynn [Redacted] on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 6:07pm

A four letter word that holds so much meaning.
Have you ever sat down and really thought about what it means?
I have.
I've lived a life that I hope no one has to see.
A life of drugs and abuse.
No place to lay down at night, no food to eat: nothing.
No mother to hold you close when you cry over things you can't control.
No one to care if you cry at all.
I used to look out the window and want to fly away.
I wanted to fly far away from my problems,
from the people I stayed with, from all my fears, my pain, my regrets.I stopped dreaming for a long time, having nothing to dream about.
My nightmares got worse, more real, more vivid.
There were times when all I wanted to do was die. No one would care, right? No one around to give a damn.
This is the past, now is my present, and I work for a better future.
I think about how we live from paycheck to paycheck.
How I feel like I'm all alone when I walk the halls and see these kids act like just that. Kids.
I feel reclusive because I can't see myself ever acting like that, so I surround myself in schoolwork and teachers.
I get called a kiss up for being around the people I feel like I have more in common with, even if our pasts are different
on massive levels.
I think about this feeling of drowning that I live with when I get news that say we owe more than we can afford.
I'm drowning in troubles, problems, pain, overwhelming things that I can't fix but can't help but worry about.
I can't swim fast or hard enough to reach the surface, I can't breath, I can't stay above the water.
Someone help me.
Tell me I'm not alone.
Tell me everything will end up alright sometime soon.
My tears stain my fingers as I wipe my cheeks, washing away the evidence of my pain.
I put on a happy face to everyone but myself when I'm alone, so they never know what I really feel.
I think about what I want for my future.
I have a drive, a determination to do my best, to succeed in ways my mother didn't.
I try hard in school, keeping my grades up to a point that I can be proud of myself for once.
I want to go to college, have a career, make the money I didn't have a child.
I want to know, when I get there, that if I won't end up where I was at one time.
Homless, staying with a girl I really couldn't stand because she was so much younger than me, even if she was a year older.
Knowing my mom chose drugs and a man over me, even though she tried to find work.
She has her regrets of how our life in Las Vegas, NV ended, as do I.
I know she thinks she has ruined me by what she has done, forcing me to grow up and learn to take care of myself.
I don't know if she has.
I don't think I was meant to be a kid for as long as the others I go to school with.
I think I was meant to grow up, to be independent, to be on my own, no matter how unhappy it makes me.
I want to find someone that can balance me out, that I know won't leave, that I can feel... safe with.
I don't think I can find that someone in high school.
I don't want to "date around" as people call it.
Someone, please tell me I'm not alone in this line of thinking.
Tell me.... that I'm not wasting my years thinking this way.
Someone, please help me dry my tears.
Help me get over the past, help me not second geuss my decision to stay on one path to the future, instead of stopping and enjoying the time "I'll never get back."
I feel like I'm drowning, I can't stay above the surface of this water, the pressure is undbearable.
I'm drowning, someone please.
Tell me I'm not alone.
Revive me.
I'm not comlaining. I love that I'm alive, healthy, and have my mother with me. But why do I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders?

And here is my reply:

Caitlynn - Here is what you don't know.

For years, when someone would get word about Caitlynn, phones would ring all over Phoenix.

Every Christmas, your picture is on display in this house with all the other kids' pictures, and everyone who knows this family at all knows who Caitlynn is.

There was always someone who cared when you cried, you just had no way to know it and we had no way to tell you.

Outside the range of your own vision or hearing, people have fought. Fought with your mother, fought with people in your life, fought with the authorities, fought with each other. What to do to help Caitlynn? What is the best way?

People have driven many miles looking for you, trying to intervene, trying to reach out only to be turned back - you sometimes never having known they were even there.

You have steadily remained a part of a family that hasn't seen you in over a decade, whether you knew you were part of that family or not.

There's always been a place for Caitlynn, "just in case".

While you were wanting to "fly away", out there all the time were people who wanted just as badly to swoop you up. There are reasons why no one could, reasons you couldn't know about, but never because no one cared.

If you only knew how many times your name came up, how often you were talked about, how much you were worried about.

I don't know if everything will end up alright soon, but it will end up alright sometime. It has to. No one can be cared about so much for so long by so many and have it be for nothing.

I would refuse to believe that. You are special, and meant for special things. Someday, somehow, it will all come together for you.

You are loved. Always.


  1. Very moving piece. We all feel for the Caitlynn's of the world. We don't know why you put in such a position for this life, and even though we tell you how strong you are, (and you know, you are)that doesn't make the need for being cared for and secure any less valid. You have something in your spirit that a lot of people don't - It's different from most. It's a blending of sensitivity and strength. Add some knowledge and curiosity to the mix and you'll find that even though you live a hard life, it will never be dull or without support. You may not find it in what you would consider your traditional family, but if you open up to others you'll find other "families" to belong to, like Cheri's
    I so hope she comes here to read your response Cheri. How loving & kind - and how fortunate are those who's lives you touch :)
    Keep reaching!

    KJ the JunkYard Gypsy

  2. Oh, thanks so much for the comment, KJ. Caitlynn did come here and read this - she contacted me on Facebook. And thank you for the encouraging words, too. I can really use them right now. (((JunkYard Gypsy)))