Keep your eyes on the road- sophomore year

Sophomore year started out with my detached feelings growing. The feeling of being inside myself, but outside myself is absolutely the best way I can describe what was going on inside my mind.

I was still a white girl in a Black girls body.

Being away from Rushford hadn’t taught me a thing about being Black. I had finally been around some Black people, but I didn’t really interact with the Black students at UB. My encounters with the men on the streets of downtown Buffalo during my internship who would try to talk to me frightened me. I didn’t understand why they were approaching me. Didn’t they know that I wasn’t little and cute with long hair? I had never learned what was attractive to Black men. I had never learned how to interact with Black people at all.

I was confused but didn’t have time or ability to confront these feelings now. I was living in a white girl’s world with my white friends and they accepted me. In college I never had to be confronted with the constant “othering” that I had been subjected to in Rushford. My friends at UB never said anything bad about Black people. So they never made me feel different about being Black. My friends were from all over the world and of all races, so there was no racism amongst our group.

The only issue that I was wrestling with was one that wasn’t of the making of my friendes or even that anyone would have understood, even me. I had been socialized as a white person, but I was Black. So this meant that I was accepted by my friends for who I was and what I was. Except for the dating issue , I could stay in this world and not feel weird.

But even at this point, I was on a destructive path. I was out to destroy myself. Somewhere inside myself I guess it was easier to do that than confront what was creeping into my conscious mind and forcing me to confront my past and my issues. I wish I could say it was one thing or the other, but as I continued down this path, my behavior would only increase my issues and cause more problems later. I was forced to go to counseling after my suicide attempt. Perhaps if I had had a counselor who was trained in adoption issues and especially Trans racial adoption issues, some of my destruction could have been circumvented.

Instead, I had some fresh-out-of-college-pie-in-the sky, “the sun will come tomorrow” if you only wish better things into your life counselor. And all I wanted to do was serve my time and be free. So I could pretend pie in the sky – I have learned that life is worth living – song and dance. And I was free.

So instead if getting help working through my abandonment issues and my racial identity issues and my body image issues, I met Erv.

Erv would be the next boy I would obsess over. And this time it wasn’t a “I want a boyfriend” obsession. This was the “I feel so worthless about myself and I know you’ll push me over the edge” obsession. And he did. He was the epitome of the bad boy I was looking for. Reckless with no regard for what anyone thought. Absolutely perfect for my mindset at the time. When I read my journal entries I am astounded by the complete and utter disregard I had about myself during this time. That I actively sought people who would drive my madness to its apex. It’s also amazing to me that someone who could occupy so much of my thoughts and influenced so many of my actions could become a mere background player by the next year. But for now, he was about to take center stage.

The year started out with me and my best friend Elaine rooming together on the Fresh Fourth in a quad (four person room). Our other roommate was an Anthropology major and we didn’t get along real well in school. But I think she’s a really cool person and I’ve always admired her a lot. Plus anthropology is just cool too. I wish I had her wisdom at a young age and had did a major like that. But in 1989 Sara was not wise, Kellyne was. The fourth roommate changed fall and spring semester. So for he fall was a Freshman who was pledging a sorority, so she was never around.

Most of the people who lived on the Fresh Fourth were people who knew each other from the year before. If they didn’t know us, we all became family real quick. One of the first things we did was have a party for my friend Jen. Jen give me a book to write my poetry and is one if the reasons I still have record if my thoughts and feelings there. She lived in Richmond too but on a different floor.

My home life was chaotic with my parent’s son having still been gone, having kidnapped his two year old son and no one had heard anything from him. So I didn’t want to be there at all. My Grandmother was getting to the point where she was going to have to be put into a nursing home. And I didn’t want to be around for that. And plus Rushford was, well…. Rushford. I was not going to go back there.

About that time, my friend Jim and I and his roommate took at trip around the Great Lake – just for something to do. To get away for awhile. His girlfriend at the time was really angry and I didn’t care. I always was involved somehow in turmoil in Jim’s relationships. And I never cared.

And that was the same time that I met Erv. And my chaos increased.

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About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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