My Story: Everyone has a Beginning

I decided that I needed to find a way to make this a little easier on myself, in case I should not be able to produce a blurb every week, how would I keep my readers engaged?  Then I remembered that I have been a writer since I was 10.  I have piles of short stories and poems, what better place to start unearthing them than here?  I also came to the realization that in a way, this is still sharing my past because I wrote them ages ago.  That being said, here is the first installment — easy because it is the beginning.

 Any names, unless given specific permission, have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Hi!  My name is Shauna and I am an Overcomer in Christ.  I am a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and verbal abuse.  I am a survivor of physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse in a previous marriage.  I am an overcomer of food addiction, love and relationship addiction, rage and anger mismanagement, kleptomania, co-dependency and people pleasing.

And this is MY story.

Every well written story deserves a look backward to where it all began.  Mine is no different.

My mother is second oldest of six children, born in the early 1950’s.  It is not her story that I tell, but if I were, it would be a dozy.  There is no fairy tale version of the life she lived, and she brought her brokenness with her when she married my father.

My father was the eldest of six children, born in 1950.  He does not talk of his childhood much.  I know that his father worked every hour he could to support his family and that his mother succumbed to cancer when he was just 18.  Any memories he speaks of are usually at his grandparents or a certain uncle and aunt that he grew very close to.  He also carried his brokenness, habits and hang-ups into his marriage to my mother.

I was adopted on April 14th, 1982 two days after being born in a San Jose, California hospital.

I suffered from chronic ear infections and at the age of 4/5 my mother discovered a hearing issue and took me to the doctor.  They learned that I had a nearly 45% hearing loss at the time and had more than likely experienced this level of hearing loss, if not more since my 1st ear infection.  I had tubes put in my ears every year for the next 4-5 years to correct the issue.  Unfortunately, as an infant I had learned to “hear” by reading lips.  Several years into my elementary education I was diagnosed with audio/visual perception disorder.  I believe this was created by learning to “hear” with my eyes.  It causes me to struggle to comprehend what is being said if I cannot see a person’s face to read their lips, or have the subtitles on the television.  Needless to say, talking on the phone is extremely challenging.

After a few years of apartments, my parents finally found a house on ½ an acre in a very rural part of Woodcrest just outside of Riverside, California.  We were completely surrounded by hundreds of acres of orange trees, which the neighborhood kids and I took full advantage of every summer.

Those are some of my best memories; playing in those orange groves. Climbing trees, eating warm oranges on a hot summer day.  Winding our way through the maze of trunks and leaves, the scent of citrus heavy in our nostrils, until we were so giddy and dirty we could barely stand it. The sun would start to drop below the tops of the trees and we would know it was time to turn for home.  The whole way would laugh and scream and make plans for tomorrow.

A neighbor down the street had a little girl about the same age as me and he had built her a huge playhouse.  It had a kitchen and a second story with a balcony.  Many nights were spent sleeping on that balcony under a huge pepper tree with the crickets chirping around us.  They didn’t live there for very long and she moved away before I entered 1st grade.

I didn’t know just how spoiled I was when it came to produce until I moved out as an adult.  Growing up we had so much food growing on our property, and I never knew that this wasn’t the way everyone else lived.  The whole back fence was covered in grapevines.  I remember many summers when my mother and I ate so many grapes we made ourselves sick.  We had one of each: peach, pear, apple, apricot, cherry, macadamia nut, pecan and Asian pear. Every year we planted a garden and my father and I would tend to it.  Tomatoes and banana peppers were a staple.

Tomato horn worms were a big problem and bug spray just didn’t seem to be very effective.  My father taught me how to hunt for them; how to find the holes in the leaves, follow the trail of scat and discover that fat green worm hidden under the leaves.  Once we found him, we’d clip him in half with the pruning shears and leave him for the ants.  Sounds horrid, I know.  But I didn’t think so then and my kids don’t now.  It was an awesome version of the good guys against the bad guys.  If only everything could have stayed this simple.

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