I hate my life. I’m seventeen and I’ve been in foster care since I was four years old. I get moved around a lot because nobody wants to deal with me. I have panic attacks, I’m afraid of the dark, I don’t like being around adults by myself, and I have severe depression and anxiety. I’m a fucking walking disaster.
Currently, I’m sitting in a car on my way to some small town to be fostered by some family with five kids. Five damn kids. According to my social worker one of them is older than me but the rest are younger than I am.
They aren’t even usually a foster family but the family is involved with the church and is family friends of my worker so they got called last time I got placed so they could apply to be foster parents for me. They applied years ago but then I spent time in an institution. A long, long time.
It’s been just over two hours since we left when we finally pulled up to a rather nice looking large house.
“You ready, Asher?” my social worker, Rebekah, turned to me and asked.
“It’s just for the school year. We’re really lucky they did this so please try to make it through the year”.
I sigh and open the car door. She leads me to the door and my new foster family all appear to be standing there.
“Hello Asher, I’m Judith Kingston and this is my husband John and our children River, Freya, Forrest and the twins Leaf and Thorn”.
“Hi.” I say quickly. I hate introductions, just tell me where I can hide please.
“River can show you to your room.” Judith says, looking at him expectantly.
He rolls his eyes and my worker stays to talk with John and Judith. I’m not sure how I feel about her, she gives me the creeps and I think I should trust my gut. I follow him down the hall to a room past the stairs.
“This is your side of the room and this is mine. Stay on your side.” He says before he turns and leaves.
Wonderful... Didn’t they tell them about my night terrors and panic attacks? This guy is going to fucking hate me and he’s pretty muscular. He looks like he plays sports so he could easily kick my ass.
Just what I need in my life, more stressors. I feel an attack coming on already. I set my bag down and try to meditate. Rebekah makes her way back to make sure I’m ok and sees me.
“Everything will be fine this time. It has to be. You can call me if you need to talk but try your best to make this work”.
I nod and she helps me calm enough that the panic attack doesn’t happen and then she leaves me here. You’d think being in a new place gets easier but you never know what’s going to happen.
Putting my bag at the end of the bed I take off my jeans and crawl into my new bed hoping I won’t wake up this time. They would likely find some way to save me, again. On top of all my other issues I’m also a pretty high suicide risk as well. I’ve tried five times in three years and somehow I’m such a fuck up I can’t even kill myself... That’s why the Kingston’s applied so long ago. I was supposed to be here but I spent forever in the institution.
Tears flow like always when I’m in a new place. Everyone has different rules and sometimes their rules make me feel like I’m drowning.
There is a quiet knock on the door and when I don’t answer the person comes in.
“Hi Asher, are you hungry?” the girl asks me but I shake my head no.
“Ok... If you need anything let me know. I’ll just be helping Leaf and Thorn with bath time.” I nod and she exits, silently.
I close my eyes, praying again that I don’t wake up, like I do every night. The next thing I know I’m being shaken awake. I fight them off trying to escape but just end up falling hard onto the floor.
“Are you ok?” the unfamiliar voice asks, “hold on, stop moving I’m trying to help you”.
I cried out in pain when I put pressure on my left wrist and again crashed to the floor, it was closer this time so that didn’t hurt at least.
“Asher, stop moving.” the voice pleads.
Suddenly the light is on which is blinding and I see the silhouette of a man walking towards me which just makes me panic more. I back away as fast as I can but I eventually hit some doors. Frantically I open them and get into the closet.
“Asher it’s me, River.” He said as he crouched down to my level.
I hear him but I don’t think I can stop panicking on my own.
“River, is everything ok in there?” A female voice asks from behind the bedroom door.
“Freya, can you get an ice pack and a paper bag?”
A moment later she comes in and kneels beside him observing my freak out. River takes the bag and blows it out and hands it to me. It takes me about five minutes to finally get calmed down.
“What’s wrong with him?” she asks him.
“He was having a nightmare and when I tried to wake him he freaked out and I think he hurt his wrist”.
“What should we do? Should we get mom and dad?”
“No!” I yell, “please don’t”.
I start panicking all over again. Please, please let them just leave me.
“Go back to bed Frey, you have to get the boys up in the morning”.
River hands me the ice pack which kind of knocks me back to reality.
“Come on, out of the closet.” he moves back and helps me up, “if your wrist still hurts tomorrow my dad can take you to the clinic”.
“Freya will go with you guys”.
I hug the bag close and go back to bed. I hate being so weak. I silently cry most of the night. I don’t want to be here. I just want to die. Why can’t I just die?
I am almost flunking out of school already because I don’t have anymore will to live. I just don’t give a fuck. It’s yet another reason why I’m here. My worker hopes that bringing God into my life will help me find that fight to live that I had all those years ago, when she first met me.
She may have re-thought that if she knew that I’m gay but I haven’t told anyone because that thought scares me. Moving to a small religious town was probably the worst place for me to be. It’s another reason I want to die. There are so many reasons that date back to when I was a toddler.
I don’t remember everything but I have almost nightly night terrors about it. Things I remember are a man coming into my room and doing things that should never happen to a child, and being found in a puddle of my parents blood when I was four.
Early on I struggled with everything. My parents were drug addicts, Christ, I was born addicted. They are so careful about the medications they put me on because I’m at such a high risk of addiction. That’s also why I’m high risk for suicide. The only medications they wanted to give me for my anxiety and depression made that worse.
When I was six I learned that my remaining family didn’t want me. Nobody wanted me. After that I was in eight homes a year. I ran away or told my worker about abuse but I only told if the abuse was also happening to other kids and lied about it happening to me.
By eleven I’d already tried to take my life two times and by sixteen I’d added five more attempts. At one point the doctor at the institution assumed it was because I didn’t want to be in a home and that’s not false, I didn’t want to be in a home anymore but truthfully, I’m just a failure in everything I do so why bother?
Over the next few weeks River has probably become increasingly frustrated with me, how could he be ok with all of this? His lack of sleep, because of me, is starting to impact his studies and his games. That’s why I don’t blame him for letting his friends bully me. He doesn’t actively encourage it but he doesn’t try to stop it either.
I’ve been in two physical altercations since I came here. It would have been a couple more but Freya saw me and came to talk to me and River’s friends won’t beat up anyone in front of her.
Sunday is the hardest one for me. I have to sit there and pretend I care about any of this shit. If God really exists, why did he let those men and that one woman touch me? Why did he give me such horrible parents? And if he exists why did he make me gay after all this trauma? I’m terrified of the gender I’m attracted to, it’s a real mind fuck.
My parents gave less than no fucks about me. My father traded me for drugs. A little innocent boy, used as payment. The thought makes me sick and it adds on to everything else. At first, I thought it was just something I made up; because surely I wouldn’t remember things from that age but I could tell by the look on my workers face it was true.
She never officially offered up any information but I know it happend. The look of pain and pity made it obvious. She knew right away I’d be her toughest case. I’d been handed off to many other workers but they never lasted and she always got me back.
I remember as a child I asked her why she didn’t keep me. She cried and said she couldn’t because she’s never home. She works so hard to advocate for us and protect us. Every suicide attempt I made killed her a little. That’s why she went out of her way to ask these people for me.
What I’ve learned since getting here is that this family is unfair and puts an unreasonable amount of pressure on Freya to take care of the family.
Her mother leaves her to watch the younger boys constantly and she is not allowed to date. Whereas River has an almost revolving door of girls he brings over and makes out with. He legitimately has no shame.
I help Freya with Leaf and Thorn as a thank you for putting up with me. They are tough kids. Leaf is pretty quiet compared to Thorn. Thorn has no idea how to function in the world. He throws a fit if he doesn’t get what he wants and he does everything without thinking of the consequences.
He likes to play on the stairs and he smashed his head so hard against the wall he left a huge dent. The following morning he did the same thing again and left a gaping hole. John had more patience with them and talked to him but Judith lost her mind. She even blamed Freya which pissed me off.
Freya does everything for these children that she didn’t even have. She’s exhausted and she shouldn’t have to do all this. She confided in me that she’s running far away when she’s done school and never coming back. When I asked why she’d said that her mother has practically arranged her marriage and her whole life.
People still do that? How barbaric. I feel so bad for her. She’s tried to help me at night when I’m panicking but I’ve asked her not to, she has enough to deal with and I’ve always done it alone in the past so I can do it again. I also don’t want to rely on people because when they inevitably leave me I’ll have to learn, all over again, how to take care of myself.