Alright kids after much deliberation, I have decided to post the introduction to the book I am writing. It is not Biographical although it may seem that way from the introduction. It is heavy and I hesitated posting it because it is only partially edited and very revealing. My biggest concern is that some of you may see me seeking pity as a motive. However there is no reason for pity. What you soon will read in my opinion has been the most valuable time of my life. I would change nothing. I have thanked and continue to thank the Lord for these experiances. I see them strictly as blessings and count myself fortunate for them. Furthermore I have suffered no negative side effects from this. With the exception of a dis-taste for insects ( you'll see what I mean). This fact, relative to many of the stories I have heard is a miracle. Which is yet another reason I have to be grateful. Thanks go to Katie Barnes for helping me with the Editing. If you see a grammatical error it's because I didn't let her scourer it yet. The name of the book is "Raising You" I'll explain the meaning of the title in a later post. I'm not afraid of any comments so don't be afraid to post them. Enjoy.
My childhood unfortunately was very much like any child’s that had drug addict parents. My father was never around which left my siblings and I to the fate given by my mother. A good woman, with the intent at an early age to be a loving mom. A few poor decisions changed that. As she progressively got more involved in drugs she progressively got less capable of raising children. Most commonly was a beating for waking her up. It hurt but we got used to it. I learned how to turn so that when she hit me she would strike my back and arms, the pain was less there. If it was just that I think it would have been relatively manageable. It was not it however. You see when you are high on meth for a week when you eventually come down there is a lot of sleep to catch up on. When you sleep, for four days with a house full of kids, there isn’t any food cooked. We would eat what was there but before long what was edible would be eaten or rot and then what was rotten would be eaten too. I don’t remember much of this I can only think of one instance where I found a piece of moldy bread on the side of the fridge which represented the last thing we could eat. I remember being teased by canned food. Knowing full well what was in the can but not knowing how to use a can opener. I remember the filth admittedly caused by us kids that compounded on itself for weeks and months at a time. With that came thousands and thousands of roaches. My sisters and I found some amusement in the fact that an entire colony of albino roaches had broken out so that house looked like a bunch of moving salt and pepper crawling on everything. To this day I only have one phobia, roaches. There was nothing more disgusting to me than to wake up to feel roaches crawling on my body. The good news is that we finally lost that house. The bad news is our next option was to live in a camper shell in my Aunts back yard. We kept it next to the Garage where the washer and dryer were. The washer wasn’t hooked up to plumbing so the dirty water would drain into the back yard and stagnate there. We were there for more than a year four feet tall, five feet wide and six feet long, my mother, my three sisters and I. We didn’t have the convenience of bathing every day so we tended to stink. I didn’t mind going with out a bath that much really. I was a boy like most and didn’t have a problem being dirty. But I was scared of bathing because if I once got the bathroom floor wet and my mother accused of me of urinating on the floor and threw me half way through a wall.
School wasn’t much better, when your clothes are as dirty as the rest of you and you stink and have lice you don’t make a ton of friends. Sadly as you could imagine I was mocked for my appearance. Nothing too harsh, no where close to what was said at home. I will not give much detail on that as I feel it is inappropriate to state. I will say though I have never heard in any movie, on any street corner, or amongst the vilest of men any string of words so offensive and hateful, said with such disgust as was the words that my mother said to my sisters and I. I remember my mother emptying a revolver on the car my father was driving and my father subsequently taking an axe to my mother’s belongings and destroying them. I remember being on the other side of the front door when my father kicked it down. The police were called that time along with many others, but I knew what had to be said and knew they would leave us to more of the same. I remember the day I came to the conclusion there was a God. I was 6. I screamed as loud as I could all day long for my near by grand mother to get me and take me for the weekend. I screamed so long and loud that I actually woke up my comatose mother long enough to beat me for waking her up. When she went back to bed I went back to screaming to God. Sure enough that evening she came and picked me up, while my mother slept. I could go on and tell you more of mine and worse stories of my siblings but I think enough has been said. I will say that this is nothing, nothing at all compared to the whole of it. This continued until I was ten, when I ran away and I never came back.
During this time I could think of two fond memories of my childhood. The first was Sesame street. My Sisters and I watched it everyday and it took our minds to Sesame street where kids were happy and learning. It took our minds away from Allwood Dr. where we got the Hell beat out of us.
The other was visiting the home of my Great-Grandfather Vic. My Mother didn’t have very much family and even less that she got along with, but she adored my Grandfather. He only lived about an hour away from our family in southern California, but it was rare that she was in any condition that she’d let Vic see her in. About twice a year my Mother would fix herself and us up enough for a visit with my Grandfather. For the most part our visits would be stereotypical. He’d take us out for pizza, to walk his dogs, play checkers and with other toys he kept for us, and taught me how to write the alphabet. However there was one thing that was out of the ordinary about our visits. Every time before my Mother, siblings and I would leave I would go to hug my Grandfather goodbye. Without exception before I received my coveted hug the cheery casual countenance of my Grandfather would change to something very serious. He would then grab me by my shoulders and shake me, then would follow those words, those words that alter every aspect of my life, “Travis, you need to know that you are special, that there is not anything that you can’t do. There is something great inside you. You’re special Travis, don’t you ever forget it.” That was quickly followed by a rigid hug that would squeeze the breath out of me.
Now there is an easy explanation for why my life has been in my opinion, amazing. It is the same reason I have had success financially and otherwise. It is the same reason I feel that every facet of my life has been blessed and continues to be more and more everyday. The reason is that the words my Grandfather said were spoken with such conviction that I believed him. You see what I wasn’t aware of then, that I have since figured out was my Grandfather was savvy to the way Mother was raising her children. She would often make remarks while coming down from drugs about how miserable we all were, that we ruined her life, that we were worthless. Although those words hurt very deeply as you could imagine; every time she would scream those words I would hear his words instead, every time I would feel her fist sink into my back, I could feel my Grandfather’s hands on my shoulders, and I knew she couldn’t reach what was great inside of me. And again I’d hear the words “You’re special Travis, don’t ever forget it.” Then in my mind I would think, “This woman has no idea what she is talking about, she doesn’t know that I am special.” No matter how loud she’d yell those colorful words, she could never top the conviction of my Great-Grandfather Vic. Since then I have come to realize two things. First my Great-Grandfather was right, I am special. I took his advice; I never forgot it and I never will. Second I have learned I am no better than anyone else. So as you read this book I hope that you will let these pages grab you by the shoulders and shake you and tell you that you are special. That there is something great inside you. I pray that you will allow the words you read stare deep into your eyes and instill into you that there isn’t anything that you can not do. My desire is that this book will do for you what Grandpa Vic did for me. Help me believe what is already true. That you are special. www.travisalexander.net