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Stages of Life

I recently became interested in human development and the stages of life. There are a few theories out there and some seem very practical and reasonable. It got me thinking how my life has gone through so many changes and I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write down those stages.

When I reflect on my life, such as it has been so far, I see very distinct periods. Periods that are always ended or created and joined by major life events. I have given a word (or sometimes two) to each.

Stage 1: Childhood
I was born into a sometimes loving, sometimes dysfunctional home. My parents were both very controlling and my (step-)father was extremely authoritarian. We were also very poor and my parents undereducated to the task of raising children. I think of my childhood as a form of bondage because I wasn't allowed any freedom. I was given the choice to make my own decisions so rarely that I'm surprised I have any imagination at all. Or perhaps it is the reason I have such an active imagination. By the time I entered early adulthood I was completely incapable of standing up for myself and unable to make decisions of my own. This was all complicated by the fact that my biological father, a crazy man, loomed large in their minds and crippled their ability to make sane, rational decisions.

Stage 2: Awakening & Survival
The first moment of my adulthood, first moment of true consciousness came when I was thirteen. I had been given a cassette of a punk band (The Offspring). It was the first music I had ever listened to that my step father did not. I absolutely loved it. It was so different, it had emotion, and I related to it so thoroughly. I listened to it over and over. It was on one of these occasions when I had the epiphany that my parents were not infallible gods, but people. Just regular people that make mistakes. I realized that my misery was a result of their inability to do a good job. In essence I came to the conclusion that my step father was an authoritarian jerk and a dumbass, my mother had abandoned me and that Christian story didn't add up.

My step father and I did not get on well after that. My mother had disappeared. I was "permanently" grounded for reasons I don't remember. I do not remember breaking any rules. I wasn't allowed to use anything that he had ever given me (including all gifts as he had officially taken everything back). I wasn't allowed to use the computer I bought from him. I overpaid for it (it's nice that he took advantage of his own kid). I wasn't allowed access to laundry and eventually I wasn't allowed to eat any of the food in the house. My own brother became a mouth piece for him.

Stage 3: Freedom
Fortunately I had gotten my first job at Burger King. I was only 15, but that place was like heaven to me. I hated home so much. I worked at that place constantly. Between work and school I wasn't home much. Eventually my friend Mike asked me to live with him and his mother. It was hard to say yes, but I knew I had to.

I was free now and it felt wonderful. I was finally able to take life into my own hands and live my own life. Sort of. I was crippled by my own inability to make decisions and without a proper education growing up I found I was unable to make decisions even if I wanted to because I lacked the knowledge. I regret a lot of the things I did and said during my 20s, but I forgive myself. I did the best I could. I had no one to guide me and I learned as I went.

Tough as it may have been, moving from house to house, renting from people who would continue to take advantage of me because I was powerless or putting up with abusive environments simply because I had no choice, I enjoyed it. Sometimes. There were parties. There were friends. There were few in the way of worries. I had no future so what did it matter what I did? I stayed away from drugs and alcohol and I was much too awkward for sex, but I had friends, things to do and at least a couple of people who cared for me and weren't selfish about it. That's one thing I hate, and still hate, about the "families" that took me in. They did it for themselves. For the credit and the feel good. So they could say to themselves, 'yep that success story is all because of me'. But when it came to helping me out, giving me any emotional support, or even loving me there was none of that. So in a fantastically rare event on this site I reserve a hardy Fuck You for them.

Stage 4: First Love
I was in Dallas. My first love was firey, strong, and screwed up. We were a perfectly matched couple. But between my naivety and her cruelty I wasn't very happy, but in love. It eventually ended when the truth about her came out and I learned that she cheated on me. While she did damage me in ways you can't imagine, I have gotten over most of it and I now mostly consider it a training session of sorts. Now I know better!

Stage 5: Happiness
I rebounded, then met the second love of my life. She was wonderful. We related, loved each others company, and spent all our time together. We fell in love quickly, and soon she was pregnant. The pregnancy came too early I think, but we were keeping the baby and we were going to make things work.

Then we lost the baby. Mid to late first trimester. Yes, happens all the time. Then our relationship fell apart. About a year later I was borrowing her cell (I was out of a job) and she called me to say she wasn't coming home anymore and that she would get her stuff.

Stage 6: Journey
I was crushed. We had plans to get married. I was going to spend my life with her. What was I going to do now?

I wasn't sure. I'm still not sure. I have spent that time, the last six years, contemplating myself. Improving, fixing, upgrading. Hoping to finally be complete. To be fully working. I've made a list of everything I'd like to change, everything that a human being can and should be. Like an android I'm slowly replacing, tweaking and rewiring each section of myself.

Stage 7: The Future
I'm not here yet. I don't know what it holds. I have ideas and goals, but I can't move forward until I've fixed the past.

I think it's working. I'm not happy, yet. But I'm getting there. And each goal I accomplish gets me one step closer.


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