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Monday, March 30, 2009

Screwed Up: Road Trip


To start from the beginning, please go here.

Part VIII


I remember my step dad's and his wife's words clearly, "Hey, here's a change of clothes. We're going on a family vacation!"

I couldn't believe it! We were actually going on a vacation together! My stepdad and his wife enjoyed traveling and I was excited to get to with them. I wasn’t allowed to go with them hardly anywhere. My stepdad’s wife constantly complained that I spent too much time at home and that she needed her space. She would make her point by telling me that I needed to have more friends and spend time with them, rather than spend time at home. I always felt uncomfortable around her, and yet I also desired to please her and make her proud of me.

Being accepted and loved by my family, whether it was my stepdad and wife or my mother, was a persistent desire. At times I acted out to gain their attention. Once, at school, I acted like I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake. This fakery backfired when the school nurse suggested to my stepdad’s wife that I was using drugs when I actually was clean. Other times, I told them I wanted to be adopted by them. I thought that if I told them this, they would accept me as one of their own and spend more time with me. Although I was never adopted by anyone, the notion of adoption was also a way for me to feel like I was accepted into a family.

It was during those months that I lived with my stepdad and his wife that I became obsessed with a family in my church ward that I looked up to and I thought of as the perfect family. I habitually thought of them, went out of my way to befriend their daughters and sit with them at church, and I wrote down comments they made of me in my journal. I compulsively looked forward to seeing them at church on Sundays and Mutual activities on Wednesdays. When I was invited to a sleepover with their daughters at this family’s home, all I could think of was how much I wanted to live with them. When their dad told me he liked my fingernail polish, I wrote it down in my journal. They were the perfect family in my eyes and they sure beat my stepdad’s and his wife’s quarrelling.

My stepdad, his wife, and I headed out from Indianapolis going west. I tried to guess where we were going, "Are we going to Nauvoo?" I thought perhaps we were vacationing in Nauvoo as I had just gotten back from a church Young Womens trip there and I had talked so much about my experiences that I was sure they wanted to go also. No, we weren't traveling to Nauvoo. My stepdad and his wife kept telling me "it is a surprise" and to "quit guessing." We drove south once we got to Illinois. After asking what probably felt like to them a million times, I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke around midnight when we pulled in to purchase fuel at a travel center. I had to use the restroom because I had been drinking cokes the entire trip, and since I knew my stepdad and his wife probably wouldn't stop again for awhile, I decided to use the restroom inside. When I stepped outside the car, I immediately felt that the air was warm and muggy, much different from the weather patterns we were experiencing in Indiana. I really thought we were on vacation. Perhaps we are in Illinois or Missouri somewhere, I thought. After all, there are other Mormon Church historical sites in those states. I just knew my stepdad and his wife wanted to visit a church historical site as much as I did. However, something just didn’t feel right.

After I finished using the restroom, I walked up to the clerk. An inner voice kept telling me that I really had to find out where I was. I could feel my stepdad and his wife weren't going to be honest if I asked. The clerk gave me a puzzled and concerned look when I asked him what state I was in.

It was his answer that made me realize that I was not on vacation at all. His answer:

Arkansas.

To be continued...


A True Story
By Allie Van Wagoner

5 Comments:

Karen said...

Oh Man.....that isn't cool. I hate being lied to. HATE IT! Were you headed back to Texas? I know, I have to wait.

Lynne said...

I'm getting hooked to your story and now I'm more intruiged since I'm actually from Arkansas...you must have gone straight down 57.

Charli said...

Ready for more! Post the rest! Post the rest!

Stephanie said...

I am angry at the cruelty of it all.

Danielle-lee said...

I seriously want to puke. I'm shaking. I'm getting angry. Arkansas?? No, no, NO! I am so sorry every adult lied to you and hurt you. I am so thankful that you didn't push God away, that you went to church and found some positive, warm times with that family.
I can't stay up any later and keep reading your story tonight, but I will be back in the morning, to finish.
Also? I convinced my friend Holly to open up and tell her stoy, and she did. She is lovely, strong, smart, silly, & I admire her. I am seeing the same characteristics in you....
you might enjoy conversing w/ her on her blog....www.whymomdrinksrum.com

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