Raine August
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The Unwanted

The Unwanted

Mar 05, 2022

I was born of two cataclysmically broken people. My mother moon, full of craters. My father with his blood-shot eyes, ruled by Mars. Like all those born of broken people, I became a mosaic of those around me, little pieces left behind that they didn't want. I became a collection of The Unwanted.

When you're raised in Foster Care, you get used to the idea that you are not a real person with a nuclear family. You are fragmented pieces of a dead star. You aren't whole enough to keep forever.

My mother was an Aries like me, my father was a Gemini, and for the longest time I couldn't believe it. I didn't know them that well, but from what I remember, the reverse would have made far more sense. My mother claimed herself to be a witch, but she was self-serving at every turn and manipulated every conversation to appear as though she were being attacked rather than held accountable. My father, on the other hand, like me, was full of fire and passion for life. He didn't like being told what to do. While my mother relied on the government to take care of her, provide her food stamps, pay her rent and utilities, my father refused to bend to the will of society's rules. In and out of prison, he didn't believe in paying bills or the stability of a career. In fact, the only thing he believed in, was God. My mother the witch, my father the Catholic, and their daughter the reformed Atheist.

My paternal side made more of an effort - if you can call it that - to maintain contact as I was growing up. During the holidays I got a visit from my grandparents. Then during the summers, all of the McKeans collected at Straw Hat, the local pizza place down the street from where my foster home was. When my father wasn't in prison or roaming the Bay Area as a vagabond, I got to see him under the supervision of a social worker.

After I graduated high school, I stopped hearing from them. I was left with photographs, a family recipe, and birthday cards with the inscription Grandma and Grandpa. Not even a single Love. When people ask me why I like being on my own, it's not really that I like it. I'm just used to it. Anytime I held on to something too hard, it slipped out of my grasp anyway, so I just stopped clinging to things. Everything is temporary.

I didn't meet my Aries mother until I was 18 years old. I was in her presence for six months. Five months and 29 days too long, for I soon understood why I was taken from them. The most adult thing about my mother was her addiction to nicotine. In every other aspect, she was cared for like a child. If no one did it for her, it wouldn't get done, which is why she died with her body riddled in tumors. Screw a doctor when you can play Facebook games all day.

The only other online game she played was "mom" but she never stepped into the role. It was like she deluded herself into thinking that's what parents did, little comments on my posts, reshares of my personal photos. Not that I had a keen understanding of motherhood, but I knew she was miles from the bare minimum of what a parent does for their child. I couldn't imagine making my children feel like that, like they weren't good enough for me to put in the work.

Growing up the only time I felt wanted was when boys touched me and I knew I couldn't say no. I knew because one of my siblings told me if I told anyone else, we would get taken away again. Their hands covered in ink left me with tattoos I could never remove. It took me far too long to realize it wasn't me that they wanted, but the power they had over me. When you love someone, you don't leave them with scars. You shouldn't leave them at all.

But when you spend that long with no one to claim you, you start to wonder… why am I here? My mind became a riot, noise and raw emotion with no way for me to comprehend anything. 18 years with no mother to claim me. Sometimes I like to think she was just a human incubator whose sole purpose was to grow me. I would create my own prophecy of existence. If no one would claim me, I would claim everything I wanted.

Having my own children was not something I ever planned for, but when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew what I wanted. I knew I could do it, no matter how hard I had to work, or the trials I would endure. I would be the opposite of my parents. I would make that child feel wanted.

For awhile, I did. I made him feel so much love. But sometimes that isn't enough. Sometimes you're nothing more than a tattered blanket trying to keep someone warm, with too many holes to keep the cold out.

Someone once told me, "your mother did what she could with what she had" but that wasn't true. My own mother was smart enough to have given me a real life, with or without my father. She was multilingual, understood how to fill out government forms. She learned how to navigate all corners of the internet, surely she could have learned to care about me.

Now my children get half the life I should have gotten, with twice as much effort from me. And it still isn't enough. They have food in their bellies, a roof over their head, the love of books I grew up with. My oldest has a thirst for knowledge and my youngest has an insatiable curiosity of the unknown. But they'll always have a mother that feels unworthy of them, covered in faded tattoos from inky hands in the dark.

The one thing I want for my children is that they grow up without having to recover from their childhood. I want them to grow up feeling whole and wanted just as they are.

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