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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, since there's a time for everything (turn, turn, turn), I guess now's my time to come clean and let you have it. My soon-to-be-bestselling story is about to unfold. But first, some things I should mention: I'm 16, I have three brothers, and everyone in this story will remain anonymous (except me.) I'm not yet recovered from DP, but I think I'm getting there slowly. This isn't the most pleasant of stories, but I'm living it, so it's obviously bearable.

Also, I'm writing a short version, since I don't like talking in real life, but talking to a bunch of electrons in cyberspace is even less interesting. So here goes:

Well, it all started when I was three. It's actually about my fraternal twin. It was discovered that he had Duchenne's Muscular Dystropy (DMD), a genetic disease that one is born with. You can learn more about what it is here: DMD Information. Quite basically, though, it's a neuromuscular disorder which breaks down muscle tissue and weakens the person so that they are confined to a wheelchair for life and have trouble doing normal activities.

My brother has been in a wheelchair for 6 or 7 years now, I think. The disease isn't as horrible as something like Cerebral Palsy, but it sure isn't easy. He has trouble lifting his arms and doing things for himself. He also isn't at all mentally challenged, but rather bright and creative (though he was held back for a second year of first grade, since his teacher thought he "wasn't ready.")

Now, you may ask yourself why I derived some of my DP from this problem that my brother has, since I have never had any of the disorder or any related issue (I was verrrrry lucky.) Plus, I don't have any identity issues that identical twins have like the "loss" or "mixing" of identities with their twin since they are so similar.

Simply put, it's a guilt trip. "Why don't I have it?," "Did I cause it?," "Could I have helped it?," and other questions were my thoughts when I first learned of it. I was so sorry that this horribly unfair situation was here, and I wasn't the one who got the short end of the stick. Sure, it was all genetics and none of it was my fault, but you don't care about something like that, especially at a young age.

Watching him struggle is so hard for me, and that's one of the reasons I don't spend as much time with him as I should. My sub-conscious eats away at me, and I worry for him. I know that my life is limitless, but his on the other hand is limitlessly limited. Life expectancy for DMD sufferers is 20's to 30's. How would that make you feel, knowing your brother or sister had a mark on them?

There's also a big difference sociologically. We're not your 'typical' family, and we never were. We always knew we stood out, but there was never a real problem. We were the "weird" family, not only because of our behaviors and interest, but because of the "kid who can't walk right." Elementary school was hell for my twin. One kid I know and loathe actually pushed him down. Then I had a fun time cursing the kid out, who complained to my mom that I used some words that I shouldn't have. She then replied that he was no sweet, innocent angel himself.

Ahhhhhh, growing up.

One of the other things about my family that stuck us out like a sore thumb after a manicure (or is it pedicure?) was our love for animals (more specifically reptiles and amphibians.) This certainly isn't a bad thing, but our lizard obsession definitely put us apart from "normal people." At one point, we had as many as 15-20 pets including iguanas, anoles, fish, a cat, a rat, a snake or two, some frogs, and geckos. Gotta love the geckos.

Then, around the time when I was four, another blow to the head: my parents' separation, and eventual divorce. Another guilt trip, and although a rising trend in the States, it displaced us from the "normal" even more.

Of course, the big event. You might not want to read this, cuz it ain't warm and loving. In August of 2000, we (my mom, my three brothers, my oldest brother's closest friend, and myself) took our usual trip to Ocean City, New Jersey with my mom's friend and her boyfriend and son. We had been going here for our summer "mecca" every year for about 4 years then. The usual. Fun, and good times. All was well.

Until that year. We were halfway through or week when my oldest brother and his friend (a girl) decided to go for a late-night walk on the boardwalk. The rest of us were back at the hotel, watching TV or sleeping. They were on their way back, but were about 11 blocks away when a man who had been following them forced them onto the beach at knifepoint. He then assaulted the girl, made my brother perform a sexual act on her, and tied up my brother to a pier.

He took away the girl, drove 40 miles away, and repeatedly raped her... again and again. And again. She didn't even know how many times, it was so much. My brother escaped his being tied up and ran back in his underwear to the hotel to call the police. They of course, assumed he did it... and killed his friend. He was questioned and questioned and they wouldn't stop the torturous assumptions.

The girl did make it out onto the road to hail down a passing car who was kind enough to take her to the police station. Thank the Lord for him. She turned up very early the next morning, alive, but scarred. Fortunately she paid attention and kept her cool during the ordeal, enough to read the license plate to identify the guy. The cops got him a couple of days later. He was a trucker in the county, and he was incredibly dumb, thank God.

But now we're all scarred for life. The trial's been over for a year, and the a**hole got 100+ years in jail, no parole. But that doesn't fix our issues.

Then, of course was September 11th, 2001. We all know what happened, so I won't even mention a word about it. I didn't know anyone even near NYC or the Pentagon or in Western PA that day, so I haven't been affected personally by it, per se. But psychologically, it was unbearable for me. I couldn't believe that something like this could happen to America, the strongest nation in the world. All those helpless thousands who had nothing to do with foreign policy died because of Al Qaeda's crusade for Allah.

I have nothing against them, just their actions. But with all this death and hatred and atrocity, coupled with my loss of ignorance and innocence the summer before, caused what I think was the onset of my DP.

I can't even clear THAT as a fact, since before my lifeless DP state, I had no life. As stated in a poll on the previous life of DPSelfHelp.com, I was one of those individuals who didn't even remember my life prior to my DP; I was so young and still developing and my life was filled with such trauma that not only was DP imminent, but my childhood was lost, forgotten, and destroyed.

Now, as I kept mentioning, my family was never the "normal" family. Let me explain that mentality. The media, oh, the lovely media and this wonderful world we live in, sets standards for all of us to live up to. And idols to admire and mimic. You all know that. But if you don't do these things and you aren't "normal" (or as my twin puts it, a "soccer family," who is the portrayed TV family,) you will be alienated.

Alright, take all of these things (twin's DMD + parents' divorce + rape in OC, NJ + September 11th) and add my newest DP factor, which really came to the surface only 3 or 4 months ago (definitively.) Wanna know what it is? My being gay. There, I said it. I'm gay. And you, lucky members of DPSelfHelp.com are the second to know about it; I've only ever told one person before you guys, and that's only because I have the deepest respect and trust in her.

As you all know, being gay isn't the most accepting trait in today's society. Tons of prejudice and so on. I'm also not saying that I'm definitely gay, since I should think it over more in time, but I've never really had any doubt otherwise. It's always been there and not until just this spring did I fully realize, "Oh, wait. I'm not straight." And now I'm realizing what it'll be like living like this, if that's who I really am.

But anyway, that's my story. And I know it wasn't short, but oh well. But I feel better and somewhat lighter. And you just learned more things about me than ANYONE knows, since NO ONE except me and now you know all of them. Lucky you.

Well, I have to go now, since I'm boring you. I need to go worry about existence and stuff like that.

Exponentially,
Grant with an "R"

P.S. On a much lighter note, our cat has a lot of ear hair. In case you care.
 
G

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You're a very good writer, Grant. Excellent rendition of your story.

Here's my assessment, grin....you and that cat have alot in common.

In a household of amphibians, strange and otherworldly, that cat has developed long ear hair as a defense (I am ONLY making a metaphor here, I realize the cat did not intentionally grow his ear hair, lol). See, Cat knows he is different from the rest of the house. And the day he realized it, he probably thought "uh, oh...." (common cat phrase, grin). "I don't fit in....that can't be good. Do they all realize I'm not like them? Should I TRY to fit in better? Should I pretend to be an amphibian? Should I at least try to access my Inner Iquana? I am certainly going to grow very long ear hair to warn me if one of those slithery things decides my ear is a nice dark cave...man, what a hand I was dealt!"

You and Cat. Both fish out of water. Both very very aware of being very very different. Both needed to fit in, for security, to keep love. Both living on the edge all the time. Hoping nobody notices that you are "what does not belong in this picture?" You and Cat can't just go out into the world (when you were a child) and try to find others like yourselves. You and Cat need to adapt, because you NEED the family. But you know...deep down, that you don't belong there.

Make any sense?

Peace,
Janine
 

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Dear Grant,
Amazing and tremendously powerful, sad story. You are a strong, strong guy. I have no clue what to say.

And I'm serious, I'd still adopt you in a second. Not kidding. You are one amazing kid. And I hate to call you a kid, because you are so mature for your age, so bright, so sensitive.

Yes, you are STRONG, you are courageous. You amaze me.

And your "confession" here that you're gay. No apololgies for that, you don't need to apologize for anything in your life. You are a survivor, and will continue to be one. You have a lot to contribute, I have no doubt about that.

Hang In,
L,
Dreamer
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ms. Baker said:
Should I at least try to access my Inner Iquana?
Janine,
How is it that no matter what anyone says you seem to fit it right in with their life? You really are some psychologist. And I really only made that comment since the cat was sitting next to me with a very hairy ear awkwardly looming there. Strange.

Dreamer, can I leave for MI now? It'll only take 2 days to drive there, and I behave well. Mostly. :evil:

-Grant
 
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