The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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My So-Called Holidays

I don’t really celebrate holidays. It’s not because I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s because I’m in the foster care system. And the system’s the place where every holiday seems the same: a bottle and a blunt!

Those of you in the system probably know what it’s like to share every birthday with people you’ve only known for a couple of months. And then there’s the family situation.

How about the tale of the forgetful mother, my mother, who didn’t remember what day it was when her own son called to thank her for giving him life? At least I got a good cake a week later, when my group home finally realized they had missed the day. On my actual birthday, I only had my good old pals, a bottle and a blunt, to keep me company.

Or how about the time I was banned from my family’s Christmas dinner? My grandmother was mad at me for arguing with my moms. They said I was free to leave, or else I had to stay on the top floor of my house.

Everyone came to visit. Aunts and uncles I hadn’t seen in years. Yeah, I saw them—out my window, while I was getting drunk.

It’s funny how the weed spots stay open all Christmas Day. So when my family began to feast, I went to the store, found my boy Young, picked up my boys Garcia, Vega, and Chocolate, and we had our own last supper (minus the food). I still got a plate of fixings from my moms when it was over. I was just too drunk to enjoy it.

These are just some of the reasons why, whatever the holiday, I won’t be celebrating. To understand more fully, let’s see what the holidays mean to me one by one.

New Year’s Eve: A day when everybody who is quiet as hell goes to Times Square to be cold, loud, and drunk. For some reason, I usually end up in some type of trouble. One time I ended up with the highest THC level, and my group home sent me on a trip to rehab. But at least I got a free vacation to ring in the New Year, right?

image by Melanie Leong

Valentine’s Day: How much love am I feeling when the only people I see are paid to watch me? So you probably know by now where I turn looking for love.

Good Friday: For me Good Friday doesn’t come around just once a year. I celebrated Good Friday every Friday for the past two years. Only the palms and oils I used were weed and Bacardi. So you know I saw the Holy Ghost! But this time it was the pastor who sent my ass to rehab.

Mother’s Day: She’s tried to kill me at least five times. Should she still get a card?

Father’s Day: I remember every time I got beat for no reason, but he’s changed now. He’s the perfect father—to his new kids, that is.

Independence Day: It was my first holiday in the system and just because I was contained to one floor doesn’t mean I wasn’t glad to see the fireworks of freedom…on TV.

Thanksgiving: My family all gathers. I may or may not be there. I feel uncomfortable around people I’ve known all my life when we still don’t know a thing about each other. I wait till it’s over and either get drunk, high, or drunk and high to help me deal with feeling out of place with my own family.

Christmas: Thanksgiving times two. But at least last year Santa brought me a bottle of Smirnoff, Bacardi Gold, and some kosher grape wine. Thanks, Santa!

I’m so sick of people telling me to cheer up, it’s such and such day. Just give me a bottle, some sweet potato pie and trust me, the holiday won’t be wasted.

P.S. Don’t do drugs.

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