Readers who live in Florida and have disabled family members should read this with caution. It is with a heavy burden on my back that I’m writing this, and a recent article in the Palm Beach Post tells us that Florida’s guardianship system is broken and corrupt beyond repair. There have been many stories printed on the web, stories involving elderly and vulnerable adults put through a guardianship with someone who is a predator or an abuser. Jenny Hatch was forcibly located in a group home because of her intellectual disabilities, and the guardianship was thrown out because her wishes were not met, yet my family in Florida is probably among predatory family guardians. The biggest issue facing Floridians with disabilities and those aged ones is the possibility that your family member or someone you know could swindle you out of so much to pay for their plush lives, attorney fees, etc. I owe nothing to my parents, yet they feel they are entitled to put me in an inferior position, forcing me to bend to their will. They use opportunities such as training at Colorado Center for the Blind to try and put on a happy face, but when I get there, they put tons of demands and conditions on my being there: get a job, only receive $200 a month, do as they ask, etc. Is this what adult life is supposed to be? How do Floridians and others with disabilities cope with parents like this? Is it obvious that they are abusing me? Yes. It is.
First and foremost, they denied having done any wrongdoing in my childhood. But it is apparent that they did. Damaged. That’s how it feels and not even my fiance is able to validate my feelings and listen without writing it off as repetitive. It is absolutely mind boggling that anyone’s life could be this way. I’m almost 30 and my parents think they have the authority to drop like a hat and make me come home. Well, think about it. Titusville has no bus system except on South Street, nothing for blind people to do and when the shuttle program shut down, guess what? No more KSC (Kennedy Space Center) jobs would be open at all for blind engineers and those in the aerospace industry. It is abysmal to live in Titusville at present. There is no social hangouts for teens that used to be there. I can remember a mall that had stores like Claire’s and JC Penny. Guess what? That mall is gone. So is Cindy’s Christmas shop, so is Dave’s Orange Julius stand, so is all the stuff kids used to do. Barrel of Fun, the arcade that children poured into long ago, has been gone a while. But the worst thing about it is that there is no hope of a blind person finding a meaningful job in a place like that. Miami and Orlando by far are overtaking places like Titusville, and Melbourne and Palm Bay are the only other viable living places in Brevard County to date that a blind person could try. But I know for a fact that both Melbourne and Palm Bay are located around beachside areas, making the property in these spots expensive. Theresa Bradley herself lives in Satellite Beach, an oceanside location, and think about how many bills she pays per month. Not including dog food and equipment, as she is caring for seven golden retrievers, some of them are show dogs, Theresa may be looking at upwards of $500 or more worth of bills to pay on her house and yard alone. Theresa does not work in a high demand job, meaning technology or engineering or computer science. Therefore, she is paid a teacher’s salary. Will Theresa retire with enough money for her property? This is a question all elderly Floridians should be asking.
But due to the expense of living by the sea, Theresa will also face another possibility. She and her husband Bob are happy together, dogs and all, but what will happen when a nice lady shows up and claims that “you need help with your retirement?” Theresa may have a tough choice to make if the prices skyrocket. Case in point, Florida’s Brevard County is not a viable option for blind people on a budget. Most of the low income or section 8 housing options are located in rough places, and the seaside locations are astronomically expensive. With Theresa’s and Bob’s incomes, lord knows what could happen.
With this in mind, Floridians who are elderly like Theresa should keep this handy. All the family of an elder Floridian should never let someone become a guardian for the elder. Theresa has had a rich life, her family having been aware of disability and blindness a lot. However, Theresa may face the possibility that someone scrupulous may want to steal her tropical home and the dogs and then throw her in a nursing home. This is not something I say with any joy at all, Theresa would know that. If she does find herself in that situation, she may end up overmedicated as so many victims of this kind are. She would be confused, Bob not being allowed to see her. A professional guardian overseeing the matter would drain Theresa’s bank account, foreclose her house, and a host of other problems could ensue.
This is what Florida has become. The professional guardianship industry has profited off the backs of elders and vulnerable persons living or having ties to Florida. My parents will probably profit from my misery if I go back, so let’s just say this much: anyone who think my parents are doing what is right should ask them, why is your daughter living in fear? They have couched the abuse in terms of a familial relationship, something that female sex offenders do so often. They couch the sexual abuse of young adolescent or preadolescent boys and girls in terms of a connection, relationship, familial devotion. There are a few composite sketches to check out, one of which is a female teacher mom, no, just a mom. Janice is the name of the sketch’s featured female here. She picked up on the needs of a victim, Shawn, age 15. The boy and her son Riley were best buddies. But then, something gravely wrong happened. When Janice sexually abused her victim, it is written that she excused herself from abuse charges by claiming that she treated Shawn like her sons. Okay, then how do you explain Janice kissing the boy in an adult intimate manner? How can you explain that thing Shawn did after Janice broke up with him at the restaurant? He tried to kill himself. Janice had no empathy for her victim, and so many predators don’t. You may be asking, how does this compare to your parents? Oh, okay, I’ll explain.
It all began with moving to Titusville. My dad by now obtained a job working for the space industry. My mother and dad were both unaware and uneducated on the needs of blind children. Because they moved to Titusville, there were a few questions that had to be answered. None were answered. The questions were about how I’d thrive, gain and make friends who could be forever, that sort of thing. No thought of this came to mind, however, even then I had a few friends in the neighborhood. My mother, however, refused to allow me to go hang out with other people in the neighborhood. She might have been embarrassed by blindness and other issues she herself could not fix.
Later, not allowing me to attend a better school with disability services would render my education hopelessly wrongheaded yet I did get literary opportunities. St. Teresa School did not have adequate blindness services yet my parents, selfish in their quest to make all the children Catholic educated, chose this path. No thought was given to exclusion, possible alienation, etc., except that I would be blamed repeatedly for being a bad girl. Uniforms and austere dress code requirements were just the tip of the iceberg. Though there were a few good things, St. Teresa did not educate anyone accurately about sex and the consequences of having sex before marriage. It is like this in most backwoods Florida schools, the Conservative Republican governorship being the problem that it is. It continues to be so, even after Jeb Bush has left the building. Rick Scott does not care one way or the other about the accuracy and comprehension of health and sex information. Maturation issues should be discussed at home in an accurate terminology. At school, it should be a comprehensive education including contraceptives and condoms, but no, Florida kids are subjected to “abstinence until marriage” education, something that does not include accurate information. I am lucky I went to outstanding health educators in Denver who showed me options that are there to prevent pregnancy whenever you aren’t ready. Condoms are great, but think about the garbage volume and the latex’s impact on the environment and your sewer system. Birth control medications could mess up other medications, but of course, because my parents want me on high doses of dope and chemically unable to love and or have sex with my mate, they are having a hard time now that I’m transitioning care to another provider.
This guardianship has ultimately meant that my parents were intruding upon my medical privacy. Privacy and confidentiality is going the way of the dinosaurs. My parents’ thoughtless behavior toward me upon the award they received, the ability to mess me up as much as they want, is the biggest indicator that they are couching abuse in terms of their parent family connection. It is time to tell them the truth. They used this to commit crime after crime, making me miserable. They falsely imprisoned me in 2006 for wanting friends, then committed me to LaAmistad later on, then manipulated the program directors and counselors and staff because they paid the bills. Their insurance was the power grab they needed to keep me under their thumb. I couldn’t even get through college and had no friends, almost nothing to do except Sundays, and even when homework was bad in loads, I was often unable to travel to class because of lack of services. The services I received in my college years was hit or miss, unacceptable for a blind person. I came to Colorado, seeking independence and an end to the guardianship, but my parents would not give up. They are spewing this nonsense that the court finds me incompetent until I am employed. After countless tries, and after hearing about the employment of many blind people having been sacked from them due to employer attitude, poor at best, I am going to litigate the state of Florida with Trenton and his family’s help. My dad claims all this to Trenton, calling us one weekend and I basically have had it. I’m at the end of my rope, writing this entry because Trenton seems to not really be able to understand what it was like to be told what to do when you should be an adult. While in my twenties, I was grounded as though I were in my teens if the parents didn’t like something I said or did. Did they see the misery they put me through? I have a wonderful mate, and for the first time, I’m feeling I can turn to just one person, whether male or female, about my issues. Trenton and I have a close bond, and if anyone wishes to break it, there will be consequences. We have faced internal issues with food and the stamps not being enough to get us through a month and having to pay bills. I’ve personally been trolled by someone who read this blog claiming he wants to help, but at fifteen and without the maturity to see what bad writing he has, I can’t trust him. This troll was lacing my blog entries with attacks and profanity that ranged from calling me the C word to calling my Trenton the N word. And now he’s asleep. I guess I’m not valid because I can be taken away like an object. By having the guardianship, my parents have effectively turned me into an object, an infant, and all the suitors or mates or friends I have don’t matter. It’s all about what they can do and what they as the scrupulous predators they are want. They must look inside this issue and see the flaws in it. They are infringing on people’s right to marry me or befriend me, and they’ve done so many things to keep me isolated and alone. They wrote off advocacy and civil rights for blind people as the Beth being superior syndrome as it is. I’m not superior, I’m not having delusions of grandeur, and I’m no Queen. However, I will laugh my ass off wen all that was done to me gets justice. There’s no justification for abuse, only justice. Justice is blind. When my dad shuts off his cell and so does mom; when they are forced to foreclose their home; when they are living in the rough parts of Titusville; when they get gunned down in the De Leon neighborhood because they can’t afford a safe place; or when they are shown on TV dressed in prison garb, I will laugh my ass off so hard because they didn’t know all this would break or attempt to break their daughter. It is hard to say I’d miss them, but the misery and repeated unnecessary punishment for the reasons of censorship and not being able to understand the civil inferiority of their ways would get them all right. Every morning, they’d be roughed up by a corrections officer, told to shower for an allotted amount of time, then put to work at the yard or activities each day. This would be a very uneventful existence they’d endure for about twelve years. They would see that the mental pain and anguish I felt is translating to their physical misery. They’d no longer be allowed to have phone calls with each other or me or Trenton, their phone calls watched and carefully surveillanced by their corrections officer until the calls are completed. They would only be allowed to discuss small matters but the attorneys working for them would realize how insensitive and damning the charges are. Likely, I would push for an order not to allow them to appeal conviction or sentencing. I’d write a letter to the District Attorney’s office stating that I’d be afraid of retaliation for my pressing charges, so please don’t let them out. If they do come out, I’d tell the Parole board to put all the restrictions on them possible so they can’t retaliate and to keep me the top priority when considering terms for parole. Trenton is sweet, and I don’t want to see him on parole for something he never did. Trenton’s mother thank goodness is going to take care of this. It has harmed me forever having to go through this. I can’t say why but I just can’t talk to my family anymore. Few relatives if at all support me, and those that do may be manipulated by those that don’t. Frankly, I don’t care about the war that might happen or the other things that might ensue. Who cares.
Now I will have to get back to my regular day, so please read this carefully.