My life was good for the most part, but it definitely had its issues. It seems hard times affect us all. I believe I have some sixth sense when it comes to people and their actions. Possibly because I learned to read people as a small child and definitely throughout my teenage years. I was always on the shy, not too talkative side possibly due to anxiety. BUT I didn’t trust people to always be and do good. I’ve seen too much to know. I grew to learn my voice really does matter. Especially for those that are in fear now.

As those that know the game of Jenga is stacking wooden blocks and pegging them out to lay on top and if the creation falls you yell, “Jenga!” I have seen this meme, “when things look like they are falling apart yell “Jenga”! And it got me thinking about the times I should have yelled “Jenga” especially the story I’m about to share.

I want to preface this with the fact, I am not sharing this story to bash my mother, she was dealing with issues of her own at the time that had taken control of her mind. I cannot write about all she shared with me, or why she was that way at that time. I do not judge her. I do love my mother and will always care about her well being. I have forgiven her as I hope she has forgiven me for things that I did to her. I know I made her cry over assumptions and judgments in the past.

On the back roads of North Carolina one night. My mom was driving and my Aunt was in the front passenger seat. My mom had a little too much to drink, my Aunt was asking for her to stop and she could drive. I was about 15 years old. I did tell them both I could drive since I just got a learner’s permit, but I was denied. I was scared to death we would be in an accident.

At the time, my mom had a guy friend, Lynn who was in the backseat with my brother and my cousin who was sleeping beside me in one of those big boats of a car. Lynn reached over the boys to put his hands on my shoulders and tried to bring me closer to him to hug and kiss on me. Drunk people do some dumbass crap. Especially this guy. I had placed my not so little cousin, on my lap and my brother right at my shoulder. He still tried to feel me up. I looked fiercely at him and said to where he could hear, “That isn’t happening!” He did stop cold. I wanted to yell Jenga or worse about something at that moment.

After we finally made it home alive, I told my Aunt in private. She quickly said, “I needed to tell my mom.” I did tell my mom. With her drinking, it didn’t sink in on what happened. She confronted him with the news and all he replied was, “I wanted to test her to see how far she’d go.” Mom started to see just who her friends really were. She was always quick to defend me. Though she was a little woman all of 5 foot and under 100 lbs, when mad (yes, she is a redhead too) she seemed that she could lift the world.  She was working with AA and fixing her habit so that the drinking wouldn’t get in the way.

Do we as parents need to keep a better control over our own thoughts, emotions, and actions? Yes, yes we do. Children and teens shouldn’t live in fear that someone they trust may do harm by them or that they won’t be believed when things do happen. Be aware that things can happen in this messed up world. Take your own precautions and learn defense mechanisms that do work.

Yes, there are some mental children and teens out there starving for attention that do think that someone’s kindness into a sex act but really isn’t. I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t want that kind of attention ever! This is part of knowing yourself and your children. The thing with alcohol is you don’t think clearly. It is a depressant and with the right conditions of a person’s mental capacity, it is just a dangerous combination.

I don’t hate men or mistrust every person on this great planet. I’m not writing this to be another “#METOO” issue of just a woman that was victimized. I know young men that were victimized as well. I was able to stop a situation before it happened. Because I took control of the situation even in the face of fear. Not everyone has that option and unfortunately do get victimized.

I have learned to analyze people and signs to look for. I am attempting to help you to see the signs and protect yourself in a world that you may not get protection.

self-defense is key

One big tip that I will share is learning self-defense. It teaches you great skills. You need to know yourself to know that gut instinct that sends you an alarm that something is off – means it usually is. If you have grown numb to listening to your own gut watch the behaviors in others. Know your own limitations and comfort levels before trusting someone new or even a trusted friend of the family.

here are a few examples of predatory behavior

but know that unless you are a mind reader you will not know every person’s intentions.

* Some people are really good at being perfect or seeming really normal. That is their aim to get quick trust. They will slip up, with a certain glare or look.

* The perverted person will intend to try to take advantage of another by trying to gain trust, give alotted attention, favors, and gifts (usually inappropriate) in getting more time with you. This isn’t starting up a conversation with strangers.

* Often asking the person they’re targeting for favors or developing a quid pro quo: “I helped you with your paper, now you need to give me your time on Friday night.” These are expectations that are sprung on the person who is positioned to feel guilty for saying no.

* When you don’t do his/her bidding (i.e., they are your top priority) they will sulk, stalk you, harass you, demean you, or even threaten suicide. Making you feel sorry for him/her. It’s all society’s fault they are acting like this.

* They will take slight touches to see how far they can go. They are quick for justification or blaming others while they are trying to assess your situation.

*Some even with children have been told they will hurt the parents or loved one if the child speaks up. If anyone tells you to keep something from the people that raised you and love you bells and whistles should go off.

This world, unfortunately, has some messed up people with desires and ways feeling powerful that would sicken the rest of us. You can be kind and cautions at the same time when getting to know someone.

I could have had the hardest of walls of anyone. The harder you keep your walls the less joy you will find in this life. I let Jenga take over.

Published in memoirs

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