Foster care was a brutual teacher, but I learned. My God, I learned.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.”
He can’t be more right with this statement.—Experience can be the most powerful and painful teacher and one sure does learn from it. If I think about the years in foster care, the years with my bioparents, and the years on the streets……my experiences during this time period make up so much of my life’s experiences thus far, and my god, did I learn during this time…
So, what were the top 10 things I learned from all those years…
Posted in no particular order of importance, as they are all important lessons learned.
Experience taught me that people are not safe, that they only care about themselves and what they can get. Everyone is out to hurt and if they tell you otherwise, they are full of shit.
Experience taught me that everyone lies. Some tell lies behind your back and others tell lies directly to your face. I am not sure which type of liar is worse, but it almost doesn’t matter. They lie to you to get what they want and to protect themselves.
Experience has taught me that hierarchy does exist. People always want to be better, more important, smarter, richer, etc than others. And they will do almost anything to be so. They may deny it in your presence, but you can be assured that people LOVE to step on those “less thans.”
4) EVERYONE USES YOU.
Experience has taught me that everyone uses you. People will use you to get what they want no matter how much it hurts others. It could be something as blatant as using you for getting money (like some foster parents who spend the money for their needs and not on the child) to something more painful such as using a child for sex. Those who learn to use others the best get what they want, get ahead, without being caught.
Experience taught me that no-one really cares about me. Not the parents that gave birth to me and not most of the foster parents that cared for me. If they had, my life would have been dramatically different. I would have a family, have support, have healthy coping skills, and have a better life. While some foster kids I met along the way may have “cared,” ~ we were like ships passing in the turbulent night. It’s hard to really care about others when you can barely care about yourself as a kid.
6) I AM A WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT.
Experience has taught me that I am a worthless piece of shit. Never wanted, always a burden. I was told this and treated like this for as long as I can remember. I feel like this every single day.
Experience has taught me that all relationships hurt. Some physically, some sexually, some emotionally, some by a combination of those, and some by all. There is no such thing as a relationship that won’t hurt you. People think only about what they want or can get and not about others. The worst form of relationships are those that trick you by making you believe it will be a positive experience at first, until you get blindsided by the reality….they dump you, they hit you, they laugh at you, they lie to you, they rape you, they steal from you, they leave you….they hurt you.
Experience has taught me that people see each other defined by “labels”..some formal, some not-so formal.. “The foster kid,” “The victim,” “The troublemaker,” “The resource retard (special ed),” “The cutter,” “The anorexic,” “The shoplifter,” “The loser,” “The failure,” “The legally-free child,” “The home kid,” “The runaway,” “The loner,” “The stay-back kid,” etc. The sad fact, many times, you can never shed those “labels” no matter how hard you try.
Experience has taught me that what I need or want does not matter. For example: I needed a family and wanted a family. Nope, never adopted. I needed continuous psychotherapy. Nope, I had very limited therapy. I wanted and needed safety. Nope, had several foster placements that were as bad as my bioparents. I wanted someone to take care of me. Nope, my biomother couldn’t even take care of herself. I needed and wanted food. Nope, I was hungry alot even at times in foster care. I needed and wanted a childhood. Nope, I got foster care.
10) LIFE IS CRUEL.
Experience has taught me that life is extremely cruel and hurtful. The day it is over, will be the happiest day of my life.