People who extort others to walk in Kelli Stapleton’s shoes make me roll my eyes.
Leaving aside the fact that it ignores the fact that we really should be trying to walk in Issy’s shoes, since she’s the one whose mother tried to kill her, I have walked in shoes very close to Kelli Stapleton’s. And I didn’t hurt anyone.
Short version: My mother decided she wanted foster kids. One such foster kid was very violent. More than Issy is claimed to be even by the worst attempts at painting her as the villain. My mother, claiming mental health, abdicated carer responsibility for this kid and forced it on me when I was 14 rather than, y’know, asking social services to place the kid elsewhere for mental health reasons like a responsible parent. So I was dragooned into acting teen mom for an extremely violent special needs kid for a few years, a duty I shared with my younger sibling.
You do not want to know the shit that kid did to me. I doubt you’d believe some of it if I told you. Suffice to say it tops anything I’ve ever seen in the self-martyring “mommy blogs” out there, I have scars, I still have nightmares, and glimpsing someone who looks like the kid on the street can make me break out in a cold sweat and start shaking.
And I never, not once, harmed that kid. I restrained the kid when xe came at me with weapons and tried to kill me in my sleep, and I cursed in fear, but that’s it. I didn’t hit hir. I didn’t emotionally abuse hir. I didn’t call hir a monster or spread horror stories about hir by name on the internet. And I didn’t try to kill hir. I won’t even identify hir gender, age, ethnicity, or social background here because xe has more than enough on hir plate as impediments to building a happy life without me piling on more shit just to satisfy my urge for revenge (… and I do have it, I admit. I will never act on it, but I do admit that I hate my parents, social services, and that kid for stealing my adolescence and forcing me into a years-long fight for survival. I will never, ever try to ruin that kid’s life, though, because I recognize that someone should not have to be held accountable their whole life for actions committed in grade school, however abhorrent those actions may have been).
I should have never been forced to parent that kid. It scares me that I might have been the best parent that kid ever had, when I was still a kid myself and had no fucking clue what I was doing and had all my attention on not dying.
So fuck you and your, “you just don’t understand how stressful it is to deal with a kid like that!” Fuck you. I do understand. I’ve been there, as a teenager with a mother who would watch TV 16 hours a day and a father who only came home to rant, throw shit, and threaten to destroy all of my things because I hadn’t managed to clean the house and cook his fucking supper while I was fending off this kid’s violence and 4-hour tantrums every day and dealing with bullying at school. I had more on my plate than Kelli Stapleton with less help and less life experience.
Forget being at the end of my rope, I was two feet under it and falling fast. And yeah, I developed mental health problems in that situation, some of which I still deal with. Who wouldn’t?
Yet, somehow, I managed to not try to kill a child. It’s almost like I realize it’s wrong to do that.