I want to die — but am thinking how the “Hippie Foster Parents” taught me to survive.
So, I am really depressed and want to die. It’s times like these that my therapist has encouraged me to try to think of positive things. If you read my blog, much of it is written remembering sad and hurtful experiences in foster care, because there were so many. However, I have written about some positive experiences as well — such as my time with Ms. Liz, my first foster mom, and about Sara and Bill and my first Thanksgiving; and about a couple of good Christmas memories; and about good CASAs. Admist the horrible times, there were some positive times…
Today, in my attempt to think of “pleasant things,” I thought about the foster parents that probably had the most positive impact on my life, when I was a teenager…. I refer to them as “the Hippie Foster Parents.”…. These 2 people shaped alot about me and taught me skills that helped me survive…although at the time, I did not realize it.
First, you need to recall that I was a city kid … my bioparents lived in the inner-city..in a shithole. I lived with them in a housing project surrounded by shit, empty buildings, barren dirt and weed-filled fields, and an inner-city life. No beauty. When I was taken into foster care, I was moved around within the city and sometimes moved out of the city into neighboring “sub-burbs” —- but I had NEVER been so far away from the inner-city until the day I was delivered to the Hippies.
The Hippies lived far away from everything I knew. They lived where crickets chirped, flowers grew wild, and no city-lights distrubed th night sky. They lived where there weren’t gangs, or gunshots, or whores and drug dealers hanging around. They lived in the FAR SUB-BURBS. When I arrived I was already a “hardened long-term foster kid” and a teenager with a ton of issues and an attitude.
I didn’t know what “Hippies” were really— I just knew these people were “different.”
There is something called “testing” — and man, did I test the Hippies. I cursed them, ran away, didn’t listen, told them to fuck off all the time, broke their record ALBUMS, and pretty much did everything possible to get them to “send me back.” But they did not for a long time—instead they used creative “punishment” like making me plant flowers with Cathy (foster mom) or building a bird house with Steve (foster dad). They didn’t hit me, lock me away, or isolate me —– they engaged me.
I think that the Hippies were the first people that I actually saw “in love” — no hate or violence in their relationship at all. I really do think it was the first time I ever saw “love;” although earlier foster parents had decent relationships, I don’t think I was ready or safe enough to see the “love.” It was the first time, “love” was more than sex….and wasn’t about pain. It was quite fascinating to me as I watched them interact in their relationship.
I really think it hit me one day when I cut school— and I walked home to the Hippie house. I walked into a house where some stupid Hippie song was playing, dropped my bag, and almost………just almost walked into the kitchen. But I stopped— because embraced and dancing to the stupid Hippie song, was Cathy and Steve….. looking “in love” …. looking “at peace”…. looking, well, almost magical. I watched, unnoticed for awhile. I don’t think I had ever seen anyone dance so lovely and passionately and gently….and so “in-love” — I think I “saw” LOVE.
Being a teenager and a pissed off one at that, I opened my mouth and said — “You guys make me puke. Take it to the bedroom.” — but clearly those moments of watching made an impact on me.
The Hippies did not have alot of money; Cathy was a stay-at home mom for their biological son; and Steve worked but I have no idea what he did….. The house was small, there was not alot of extra “stuff” except for Hippie record albums; and we did mostly things in the outdoors that were free; like going to parks, hiking, camping, etc..
They taught me about nature …. how to love and respect the land. They taught me about the amazingness and beauty and about the givingness and FORgivingness of the land. They taught me about respecting all creatures, great and small…so that to this day, if there is a bug in my apartment– I catch it and carry it down the stairs to let it go free….
….they taught me which plants I could eat and which were poisonous; they taught me to boil water from streams and lakes and creeks, so that I could drink it without getting sick; they taught me to look at the stars to find my way; and they taught me to build a fire without a lighter or a match in any weather.
To this day, I can build an amazing fire and get it started in no time at all.
They taught me about music. Before I met them, I don’t ever remember “listening” and “hearing” and “enjoying” music. They opened my ears. Yes, it was all stupid Hippie music — Dylan; Janis; Jimi; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Chapin; Cat Stevens; Gordan Lightfoot; the Stones; the Beatles; the Doors; the Dead; Joni Mitchell; Joan Baez, Carole King; James Taylor; CSN&Y, Ravi Shanker, etc —– but it was music.
They danced, their son danced, I danced….
“Feel the music, LT, feel it all over. Let it into your heart.”
“Dance LT, dance. Let the feelings flow with the music.”
There was no right or wrong way to dance with the Hippies. It was just about “feeling”.……. There was never a time that the Hippies laughed at any dancing….they just accepted it all…
…….the song that they were dancing to the day I came home and watched them is called Both Sides Now. It’s beautiful….. Here, have a listen…
From the Hippies I learned to like and hear all kinds of music…..ranging from Hippie generation music to music of my generation, to world music music, etc. I learned to dance and let myself “feel” the music. When I was homeless – I danced on the streets, I danced under the stars, I danced in the woods, I danced on the beach, I danced in abandoned buildings, I danced….and many times I didn’t even have music playing (no electricity, right) — but I HEARD IT.
At the time I was living with the Hippies, I thought they sucked. What teenager wants to “learn about the land” or listen to Hippie music– Right? Teenagers want to bike and play video games and talk on the phone and goto the movies, etc……but I survived on the streets because of them. I could build a fire in snow, rain, or sleet or on the coldest days when I needed warmth– I could figure directions by the stars— I boiled water so I could drink — and I could find things to eat or flavor water with from plants and berries and barks —- and I watched the clouds….
Those Hippies dumped me too — changes occurred and there was no room for “the foster kid.” — When I look back on it now, it was really hard on me and I was mean when I left….. I wanted to be a Hippie.
Although they dumped me, they left me with some things that have helped me survive for many years ... and for that I am thankful.
…….And they showed me for the first time that “love” didn’t always hurt…..
and most importantly—
…………. they left me with the ability to dance and “feel the music”
—— and for these experiences I am a grateful….
Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: aged-out foster kid, CASA, dancing, deathwish, depression, Foster Care, foster kid, foster parents, Hippie foster parents, Hippies, homeless, i want to die, living off the land, music, nature, suicide, thank you foster parents, what I learned.