Tammy Perlmutter wrote the seventh chapter of “Soul Bare”. It’s called, “The Waging and the Waiting”.
In her chapter, Tammy writes from a perspective that is rarely heard. The dark nights of a foster kid are soaked in tears no one ever sees. No matter how hard people try, you’re always an outsider. No matter how hard you try, your lack of permanency always makes you a risky investment. The risks range from pages in photo albums to imparting wisdom to someone you’ll never see grow up. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough, like something is wrong with you. It’s hard to feel real because, to others, your existence ceases when you move to the next home. Growing up like that can come with some insurmountable tolls from which many don’t recover.
No one, unless they’ve been there, fully understands how important it is to have someone so tuned into you that they can effectively advocate for you. People don’t know what it’s like to be so unknown that you’re almost completely dehumanized. You’re the child raised on what’s left over and every decent thing feels like charity. Tammy wrote about these feelings and the fantasy she had about her mother coming to rescue her.
“In my fantasy, we all got what we wanted. My mom got Elvis and I got her, and we lived happily ever after” (page 52).
Even in her fantasy she resigned her spot in her mother’s heart, but held her own wide open. The heart of a child….
And this is where I cry.
Tammy is brave to share this with us. She’s brave because she knows as well as I do that no one can take that pain away because no one really gets it.
People who grow up like that can rattle off a shopping list of things they’ve survived. I remember noticing this as a kid. I also noticed a vague sense of competition to have the most exhaustive list. “Yup, I’ve been burned with irons, too. Yup, I’ve been molested, too. See this scar? It’s where I was pushed down the stairs. You ever break a guard rail with your head? That was the unexpected bonus that landed me back in foster care.” But, we don’t tell outsiders these things because we can’t stand the look they give us. It’s too much for them.
Tammy’s story is important because, statistically, she should be repeating the cycle of pain with her own family. If pain is an ocean, Tammy’s hair still has the sea in it. But God controls the heat of the sun during the day, and the tide from the moon at night. He’s keeping her balanced and she’s trusting Him with her story.
Linda Basmeson wrote the eighth chapter of “Soul Bare”. I’ll write my thoughts about her chapter next.