Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | (Dis)Connected

Everyone around me had moved on to bigger and better things, and left me behind, stuck in the Dark Ages.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | Connected

For the last several years, I’ve basically been living in a cave when it comes to modern technology. I am 26 years old, which means I fall into the age range commonly referred to as the “Millennials“, and we are supposed to be the generation of technology and social media. In fact, nearly everyone I know, who is around my age and younger, own the latest iPhones, iPads, the latest gaming consoles and devices, play all the latest games, etc. They’re also on every social media platform you can imagine, like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and all those other ones out there that I’ve probably never even heard of. Not me. Not even close.

Did I miss something here? Is 26 the new 40? When did all of this happen, and how did I miss it?

Up until around 2012, when I was 22 years old, I was pretty up-to-date on everything (good lord, I sound old). I had a Samsung Galaxy (yes, those were relevant then), a good gaming PC, and a profile on all of the major social media sites, a podcast, and a large group of friends, who I spent hours talking to on Skype, as well as in the various games that I played. Unfortunately, as some of you already know, 2012 is the year that the long-term relationship that I was in ended, and my life crumbled around me.

I lost my home, my computer, my phone, my internet access… basically everything that people need to function properly in first world countries these days.

First world problems, folks, I know.

I went without internet for two years. Two. Whole. Years.

During this time of living on my own, I was unable to pay for any sort of luxury, such as internet and phone, and spent the majority of my time working at my full-time retail job, and reading. I had absolutely no contact with any of my online friends, and my Facebook and Twitter profiles could only be accessed whenever I was able to get to Kyle’s parents’ house and use their internet (this was early in our relationship, when he was living in Wisconsin, and was only able to visit me every/every other weekend).

I wasn’t able to buy a new phone for a year and a half, and when I found one that I could afford, it was far from an iPhone or Samsung, and it was a month-to-month plan. I still had no internet at home, but was able to use Facebook and Twitter from my phone, as long as I had any sort of signal, or WiFi… which, honestly, wasn’t all that often.

In November of 2014, a month and a half before my son was born, we were finally financially stable enough to buy new phones, and get internet in our apartment, something we had kept putting off due to how often we moved around. I tried to get back into my old routine of social media, vlogging, blogging, and gaming, and reached out to the same friends that had been in my circle just a few years ago… but, unfortunately, it all fell apart. With the arrival of my son, and the overwhelming feeling that everyone had moved on from me, I retreated back into the life of being a hermit, and chose to focus on my newborn.

Everyone around me had moved on to bigger and better things, and left me behind, stuck in the Dark Ages.

By the way, do you know hard it is to dig yourself out of a hole, and get yourself back into the present, when you lack the finances to do so? I’ll be stuck with this 2 year old, knockoff Samsung phone, and this ancient, hand-me-down computer that can barely handle Flash games.

Once again, first world problems… I know.

Anyway. I feel like, at only 26 years old, I’m turning into one of those middle-aged moms who has no idea what the cool kids are doing these days, and tries to join in on social media, despite being completely irrelevant, and only posting things for my 14 followers. Ugh… but, hey, you should all totally follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

I’ll never catch up. I’m getting too old for all this. I guess the good news is, since I’m so disconnected from the online world, I’m more connected to real life than most? Maybe? No… probably not.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | Siblings

“What does having siblings mean to you?”

Talking about my family is, and has always been, a weird topic for me. I’m more than open about all aspects of my life, the good and the bad, but there is something about talking about my family that is weird. I guess I just think my family is a bit weird?

I consider myself as having 6 siblings (some by blood, others by marriage, or something else), though I’ve never really felt a connection with any them. This might be because I haven’t seen any of them in anywhere from 8-18 years (with the exception of my youngest sister, who I saw in 2012 when she was a year old). I’ve spoken to a few of them somewhat recently, but it never seems to go over well. I’ve always wanted to feel that bond that you’re supposed to feel with your partner in crime, your first best friend, your brother or sister. But, it will never happen for me. Get ready, this post is about to take all kinds of turns.

I always claimed to be an only child, despite having a pocket full of sibling-esque people in my life. My mom and my dad had me, and only me, together. During the brief that time my mom and dad were together, my dad cheated on her with another woman, and got her pregnant, resulting in my older half-brother, Dustin.

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Dustin is exactly 8 months older than me, and is now 26 and living with his mom is Florida. He has been in and out of jail several times in his life already, and has two baby boys named Phoenix and Ryker, my handsome nephews, who he never sees, because he is a deadbeat, just like our dad. I will probably never meet them. I haven’t seen Dustin since we were 6 or 7 years old (whenever that picture was taken), and I intend to keep it that way.

In 2008, and every few years since, he added me on Facebook and gushes about how much he loves me, and how much I mean to him, despite the fact that we have been nonexistent in each other’s lives since… ever. We talk for a couple of days, maybe a few weeks, before he snaps, and says or does something completely stupid, causing me to sever ties with him. Again. Examples include beating his girlfriend/mother of his sons, stalking my fiance and pulling the “big brother” card (a.k.a. inserting himself into my relationship and threatening my partner if he ever hurts me, etc.), or writing me letters from prison, asking me to “hook him up” with one of my hot friends so he can get nudes. Yeah. The guy is a winner. We’re currently not speaking. Moving on!

My mom met a guy named Larry when I was very young, maybe in kindergarten or first grade? Larry has a son who is two months older than me, also named Lawrence (though we always called him Michael growing up, but he has since changed it back). My mom moved us into Larry’s trailer in the woods very early into their relationship, and my life changed completely. They are still together, but were never married, so we actually aren’t technically related, though I still refer to him as my step-brother. Some days, it was neat having someone my age to play with, except for the fact that Lawrence was a spoiled rotten terror who made my life a living hell most days. Things got better as we got older, after I gave him several ass kickings for being a dick to me. We would watch WWE together, jump on the trampoline, and secretly watch South Park when my mom wasn’t home. We even had a few of the same friends in school, and sometimes hung out together. By the time we got to high school, we were almost friends. Until I caught him spying on me getting dressed one day after a shower by sliding the shiny side of a DVD above my bedroom door. We were 18 and had just graduated high school. I told my mom, who shrugged it off and said, “He used to do that to me when he was younger.” and that was that. Luckily, I left for college a week later. I haven’t spoken to him since.

*Sigh*

And now, for some of the sadder stuff.

In 2004, when I was almost 14 years old, my grandmother came to visit from Florida, and took me to visit my dad. This came as quite a shock to me, because I was not aware that he was out of prison, and hadn’t seen him in several years. What was even more shocking, however, was that he had had a baby with a woman who was just a few years older than me (she was 21 when I was 14), and I had a new baby sister named Desiree.

My dad’s girlfriend, Anthena, also had two other girls named Brianna and Miranda, who were around 7 and 9 at the time, who were from two previous relationships (yes, she had them both as a teenager). My dad and Anthena never got married, but I always considered these two girls to be my sisters, even in the short time we knew each other. I mean, my dad did ruin all of our lives, so it made sense.

In the same year, my dad and the girls were evicted, and moved into a campground. Child Protective Services got involved, and found that my dad and his girlfriend were doing heroin, among other things, and that some really, really bad stuff had happened because of it. The three girls were taken from them, and my dad went back to jail. Luckily, all 3 girls were adopted by the same woman and her husband, who have treated them very well. Miranda and Brianna legally changed their names in the adoption process, but Desiree did not. I tried to see them in 2012 when I went back home to visit my mom, but my grandmother told me that I couldn’t. She told me that Desiree, who was going on 9 years old at the time, wouldn’t understand who I was, because she didn’t understand adoption. Yet, she seemed to have no problem understand who our grandmother was… I was also informed that the younger of the two girls was living in an institution for children, and I couldn’t see her. Both of the older girls have since sought me out on Facebook, and we talk occasionally. I haven’t seen any of them since 2008, when I went to Desiree’s birthday party at her adoptive family’s house.

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And lastly, we have the youngest, Makaela. Makaela is also my dad and Anthena’s daughter, conceived after the other girls were taken away, and my dad got out of jail. And, just like the others, she was taken away after they both violated their probation and sold/did illegal drugs around the baby, after swearing up and down that they were going to get clean. I met Makaela in 2012 when I went to Maine, and fell in love with her.

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Makaela has since been adopted by a loving family. Much like the family of the other girls, her family talks to my grandmother regularly, sharing stories and pictures. My grandmother keeps me in the loop as well. She is 5 years old now, plays soccer, and loves dancing.

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I hope to meet her again someday, though I’m sure it is unlikely.

So, you can see why the topic of family and siblings is a bit of a downer for me. It makes me so sad that so many people take their relationships with their brothers and sisters for granted, when it could be so much worse. I would love to have a positive, involved relationship with all of Liam’s aunties and uncles… but it just doesn’t seem possible.

And now I’m sad.

Thanks for reading.

Jan