I can remember the exact scent she would wear--like a mix of lavender and vanilla, and whenever she would wear it, it would linger around the house--wherever she swayed gracefully it would follow behind her. Her mannerisms were some of the classiest, and her smile definitely lit up my entire day--even when I was younger. I always felt like my mood would lift whenever she would bless us with a smile--a smile I share actually (thank you genetics). It's safe to say that Meghan Barnes was my first best friend. Sure, I had five older siblings, and one younger than me--and we were pretty close despite the age difference among some of us, but it was her that I had my insiders with (before I knew what they were completely), it was her who got me into books and things of that nature. She taught me my way around the kitchen and secret family recipes that I always promised I would make her when I got old enough to be in the kitchen alone. We had a lot in common to talk about. Especially because I wasn't the most athletic, I didn't enjoy playing outside with the other kids. My brothers included. Why? Because it was always me who would get hurt. Sprained arm, sprained ankle, whatever the case may be. I always felt like the broken child. Even now--if you look at all my brothers they're different than me in stature. I felt like the runt of the litter. Still do at times, but that's neither here nor there.
When I felt like I couldn't relate to the males in my family as much as they could to each other. My two oldest brothers were inseparable, and my dad was just as close to them. My sister was the golden nugget, mainly because she was the only girl---but even she had proven she could do whatever they could probably better if she wanted to. My other older brother wer- Hell, you get the point. Long story short I clang to my mom, and of course my older sister. (Even though Arianne could hang in there with my bros more than I could) Whenever her and my mom broke off to do girl stuff (finally!), I usually tagged along. Using an excuse to do so, just so I wouldn't be side eyed by my family. I always knew I was different in a way, but growing up in the south--I knew--or I thought rather-- that it was not okay. I had enough against me, just because my voice was a bit softer, my personality was vibrant and bubbly--(much like my mom), I was so close to my mom and my sister and felt the most comfortable there. The last thing I was going to do was embrace how different I was. My mom was my safety net. I felt the most comfortable, the most free, the most like Blue when I was around her. She welcomed me. I always think about how my mom may have known I would be her Special child. Looking back on those times I'm almost sure she did. We would have talks about my future, my plans on making it big and famous and getting her that mansion with a stable in the back with the finest horses and things. Call me gullible, but I think she really believed that it was within my means, and I could make it happen. She always promised to be "front and center" and ready to be spoiled by her Jerm.. and I believed her...
The loss of my Mom felt like a bad dream for what seemed like forever. Sometimes, I feel myself still waiting to wake up from a horrible twelve year long nightmare. I don't know why, but I always feel like she'll be standing over me in the morning with her vanilla and lavender scent, and her famous pancakes that I had almost every morning but that's just me refusing to let her go. I was eight when the drunk driver claimed her life (Still wont pick up an alcoholic beverage til this very day), and ripped her from our family. I felt so alone. Believe it or not, I went mute for almost a year--refusing to talk until my mom came back. Therapy sessions couldn't help, I just knew she always promised to be front and center, and my mom had never broken a promise before. So, I waited for her to return as ridiculous as that sounds. At her home going service, I refused to even go up to the casket. I wouldn't accept reality--none of that. Nobody could tell me nothing. I would be going on nine before I finally realized that my mom wouldn't be coming back--and being silent or mute wouldn't fix a thing.
With my mom gone, I felt like that safety net was snatched from under me. I never felt comfortable in my own skin again even still. I began to do things to guarantee I wouldn't be picked on like before, I started to gravitate towards my brothers, taking interest in what it was they were doing. Sports? Learned em. Girls, learned them too. (Even knocked a few down just to fit in. They were bad too.) I would strive to be a "Barnes Man" through and through. I mean admittedly, I was no good at the sports I did learn but I made sure to put forth an effort and to keep up appearances and what not. My soft demeanor had began to wash away--only because I felt like no one would get it or even cared to. What's that one saying? "It's nothing like a mother's love?" That statement couldn't have been more true. I felt so empty without her there with me, and it showed in almost everything I did. Remember that smile I was so proud to say I shared with my mom? I hardly, if ever, showed it after her death.
My once 'soft' but vibrant tone was replaced with sarcasm. I couldn't even be bothered with the idea of dealing with people. Everything they did annoyed me one way or another. My family thought I was a ticking time bomb. I tried not to add more stress onto them, but I couldn't help it. I was mourning and the way I did that was showing out. Countless calls home to my Dad from school officials. I fought whenever I felt the slightest bit disrespected and threatened, acted out and had little to no patience with anyone outside of my family. (Even my rare arguments with my family would get explosive when it came to me). I just felt like I had something to prove, and I now that I'm an adult I could admit that I went about it the wrong way.
By my teen years I could tell that I wasn't the same Blue Barnes I was when my mother was alive. By now people in my community had labeled me a problem child. The same kids that were picking on me when I was younger definitely held me in a different regard now. Some respected me, some feared me, either way it was better than getting picked on. I hated everything about Houston during this time. Marijuana was the only thing that kept me calm outside of my house. I found myself in and out of juvie and even talked about dropping out of high school. I was spiraling way out of control. Thankfully, my father saved my life. Assuming he was fed up with the route I was going, he took me and threw me in a boot camp that would last all summer and put things in perspective for me...
Getting myself together wasn't really the easiest task. I was stubborn and set in my ways. The drill sergeant was a long time cop friend of my dad, who had full permission to whip me into shape. He was harder on me than all the other guys. He knew who I was deep down inside, he seen me around my mom. He seen me at my happiest, and he knew this angry teenage boy was just a shell of who I was. He let it be known that he would make me who I once was. Along with the boot camp, I had mandatory therapy while there (again? I know right.) --and this time I figured I would take it serious instead of fooling around like I did last time, and what do you know.. therapy really works if you're actually taking it serious. By time I got out of boot camp, I had changed--not completely--but enough for my Dad to look at me and not be scared for my future.
So.. if this section is about getting myself together--why is it still called "The ugly?"
Glad you asked. Well, it's because I was still very much fucked up in a way.
At seventeen with anger no longer at the forefront of my mind, school not being much of a problem anymore, and violence not being the immediate way I handle conflict. I had something else to deal with. Something I always battled with on the inside. Something that was the first major internal conflict I had before the loss of my mom, and that was my sexuality. Of course, by seventeen I had already managed to take a few of the baddest down in Houston. (What can I say? Girls really love bad boys. smh) But were they just trophies? Things I could show off to my brothers and my friends and brag about what I did and how I did it. Or did my heart really beat for the beauty of a female, and the softness of her hands and the warmth of he-nevermind. You get the point. I felt like I didn't know. There was a guy at my school, his name was Sam. Sam reminded me of myself kinda. He was angry, and misunderstood for a while. And we bonded over that.
I even bought him home, and claimed him as my best friend. At first, that's all he was. It was true. We got along because a lot of people didn't get us, and how we dealt with things. But since I had finished boot camp and therapy I called myself trying to help him. Sometimes he would listen, sometimes he wouldn't. But I'll never forget the night my life changed--I'll spare you the details-- but I thought that moment would answer questions that I had all my life, but all it did was confuse me more. Whatever it did-- me and Sam were comfortable without the labels. We hung out on the regular, fooled around just as often, and gravitated towards each other. However, the last thing I wanted was love..and especially with another man. So I began to distance myself from him, and that didn't sit too well with Sam. Despite us both being undercover, his emotions drove him way more than mine did. (I hardly have em.) It began too close to comfort, he even begged me to talk to him and professed his love for me, and that did nothing but scare me. So can you guess what I did? If you guessed moved from Texas to Ashwick Valley after my high school graduation. to get away from him then you guessed right. Blocked him on all my social media, changed my number, and never wanted to see him again.
Do you get why it's called the ugly now? Oh, but I have more.
Life in California was easy. It was a fresh start. Harding University was looking quite promising. I didn't have to walk the very streets that claimed my Mom's life. I didn't have to be labeled as the problem child here. I also didn't have Sam stalking me every second of the day. However, I still had questions I needed answers for. What was Sam? I mean aside from a secret my siblings could never, ever, know about. I had to do something. Something to make me feel better about myself. So yep, I was back to knocking down every lady who had smiled my way, or showed the slightest bit of interest, but no matter how many women I took down I couldn't bring myself to forget about the nights that I would have in secret with Sam. It was clear I had to take an extra step. A step to prove to myself that I was straight, and narrow. As straight as they came.
That's right. I got someone pregnant, on purpose. Completely for my own selfish reasons. Surely, knowing that a girl was carrying my seed would help me with these thoughts about another man--and sadly when it didn't.. I didn't want no dealings with the chick, or her baby. But it was too late. So now I had a baby, and a baby mama all for the wrong reasons. And honestly, I think it's best if I just avoid that whole situation all together. Being responsible for an entire child is scary. And I don't know if you noticed or not, but when things scare me. I retreat.
So you see. I came along way. My past wasn't a light one, or a good one. And I still got much learning to do. Luckily for me, I'm only twenty. So I have more than enough time to make mistakes and to figure out who I truly am on the inside. Sadly, I'm not in a rush. No matter who I hurt in the process.