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Found 89 results

  1. purge

    TW: swearing, anger

    fuck you and fuck your bullshit apology you can shove it up your ass
  2. purge


    and now that it's over i'll never be sober
  3. purge

    TW e*ting d*sorder

    wish i was like you blue-eyed blondie perfect body i've been starving myself carving skin until my bones are showing (beach bunny - prom queen)
  4. purge


    i think i should know, how to make love to something innocent without leaving my fingerprints on L-O-V-E's just another word i'll never learn to pronounce
  5. purge


    so far has not been good it's been shitty
  6. I have trouble with the passage of time. The beginning of last week started out really painful and emotional. I was out of my apartment because of the situation I wrote about two blog posts ago, and I was facing two weeks at my mothers house. I was in a state of complete anger and delusion. I was redirecting all that anger towards my roommate/ex/best friend because he was, "kicking me out." Now, those two weeks are almost up. Things don't feel as painful or emotional and I don't feel as angry and upset. But I am a paranoid person and I know how my mental illness works. Time is fleeting, we experience high's and we experience low's but how does someone deal with the possibilities. Right now, I feel relatively calm and ok with myself. I feel somewhat like maybe I've been dissociating a little bit. But what will two weeks from now look like? It's a paranoid and scary thought that sometimes throws me off my self-care track. I mean, just two days ago I was sitting in bed, on the phone with my ex screaming that I wished I was dead, that I hated myself, that I hated him. No, I am not "normal" but I find myself faced with the polarizing reality of "craziness" and "sanity" and what it all means... I started this week still blocked from talking to my ex. The only mode of communication I had available to me to him was email. He set up the boundary for himself that I could email him when I was ok to talk on the phone, in a non destructive and toxic way. (I know I must be dissociating because I am having trouble recalling my week as I am typing). On Monday he called me while I was doing my classwork, I saw my phone ring but I didn't pick up because seeing his name automatically caused intense anxiety and fear. I knew that picking up the phone and talking would result in me having to display an amount of vulnerability that I struggle with. I knew he would want to know how I was dealing and feeling, that he would be his usual introspective, psychedelic self (the man I fell in love with) and I would find myself constricted at the throat. Completely aware of how shitty I treated him just a few days prior, how there couldn't possibly be ANY way I could express how deeply sorry I felt, how much I missed him and how much I loved him. So I ignored the call and let him leave a voicemail. He was happy and cheerful, he told me he had just taken an E pill and that even though we were experiencing what we were experiencing, he is thinking of me, he loves me and he misses me. That night, I was sitting on the couch watching T.V with my mom and I couldn't stop thinking about him. So I sent him an email, asking, "how are you feeling?" because I knew he had taken the E and was probably feeling pretty good. He emailed me back, that he was feeling great and he asked me to come over for a bootycall (he was joking/flirting). Immediately, it triggered me. I was sent in to an anxious spiral. This is our issue in our relationship. I have known him for many years now, he has never once abused me, taken advantage of me or hurt me... he has been an amazing (though sometimes complicated) man to me. He always asks me why I can't see him and treat him as the man he has proven himself to be, instead of the man I see him to be based off my trauma. So, I was triggered. I started to overly explain why I couldn't, feeling guilty because I didn't want to...than feeling anger for him asking me to begin with. It turned in to a back and forth, him asking me not to take it too seriously and me taking things too seriously. He ended up calling me and through an hour long conversation of me crying, we agreed I would go over to the apartment in the morning in an attempt to have a positive experience between the two of us. I tossed and turned all night, and woke up around 8 in the morning where I composed a short email basically saying I can't come, I'm too nervous, he would be better off if I didn't come. Of course, he was upset, disappointed, hurt... He called me later in the morning angry. I reacted angry too because I hate when people are angry at me. It is a huge trigger for me, every time someone is angry with me (whether I have done something wrong or not) I respond with extreme, volatile rebellion and aggression. We eventually hung up the phone and I texted him, telling him everything that triggered and upset me. His response was sweet of course, pleading with me saying why didn't you tell me these things in your email or over the phone. Truth is, I am not entirely sure. We were overcome by sexual desire and attraction. I did end up going to the apartment. It was nice to be in my room again and it was nice to see him. I did feel a bit strange at first. Worried that I was doing something sexually toxic. He kept telling me that if I wasn't comfortable, we didn't have to do anything. But we had amazing sex, for hours. This is something we haven't been able to do in months. The next day, I went back to my moms. Friday, technically tomorrow, he is supposed to be coming here so we can officially talk about what needs to be talked about. A game plan for how to deal with these episodes, so that they don't hurt and affect him. I am incredibly nervous, because sometimes the actions in these episodes feel out of my control. But, I think I know why I have been feeling dissociative since I left Wednesday. Just like the contrast between crazy and sanity, there is the contrast between intense, emotional connection and being alone. How do I maintain a sense of -being- through sexual intimacy and vulnerability, without becoming scared and paranoid that my personhood is being taken away from me. Every time I have a vulnerable emotion, a romantic moment, or really wonderful sex... I get the overwhelming fear that I am being taken advantage of and the wall is built back up again. Sometimes it makes me mean and cold or distant and away. How does everyone cope?
  7. I can't sleep. Often at night, I get this phantom feeling that someone is touching me. I think its my mind remembering when I wanted to scream "don't touch me!" All those times. Especially the first time. And I can't get peace now. My mind keeps reliving that helpless feeling. I just want to go back in time and have the awareness of mind to say "don't touch me" and get away from him. First comes the shame and self pity then comes the anger. At him. At myself. Mostly At myself.
  8. purge


    when i cried i cried alone and when i begged for help no one came
  9. Writing out these thoughts has been tough, not just because I'm finally coming to terms with a part of my childhood I forso long hoped would just disappear, but I'm having trouble putting it down in words. And I know that at some future date when I am comfortable with the idea of sharing this blog's contents with Ls and Lb, I don't want to hurt them more. Even now, all these years later, I'm trying to shield them from the pain my csa may cause them. I know I'm not responsible for it. I cannot continue to play the roll of preschooler RR, taking care of everyone else's feelings like my own don't matter. If the truth of my experience hurts the people who love me, that is not my fault, any more than any of this shit was my fault. Writing it out has helped me actually define what sexual abuse is. Some of what I now see as csa I just saw as physical abuse at the time it was happening. This seems weird, but I never realized before that an abuser might not be seeking pleasure, either for themselves or for the person they are abusing. They can unintentionally be abusing another person. Or, they can thoughtlessly do it without really considering what harm their actions are doing because they aren't thinking about the other person. Or perhaps they are just selfish. Or maybe they are sadistic and just don't care. For whatever reason, I had never considered that sexual abuse was more about the harm done to the survivor than about the motivations of the abuser. I had pictured the abuser to be seeking pleasure or power. I had assumed that absence of the pleasure seeking motive dropped this action from csa to "just" physical abuse. Even now, explaining it like that, I feel like I'm still a little in denial. Still searching for a reason that explains why she did what she did. I feel like an enabler of sorts. How do you get away with bad behavior? 1) convince people that you didn't do it, or 2) convince people that, while your actions may have been wrong, your motives weren't nefarious. I never realized how much labels effected how I thought. Once I finally saw what my mom did to me in the tub as sexual abuse I had the realization that she sexually abused me, too. I know this might sound obvious but it took me a long time to actually make that connection. I don't know why it took so long, but it did. Maybe I just didn't want to see her as a sexual abuser, too. Maybe it was just too much to handle on top of the physical and emotional trauma she doled out so regularly. Maybe I just compartmentalized it. Maybe what she did to me didn't fit the category of what an abuser does because she didn't do it in some pervy-creepy-old-dude-in-a-trench-coat-hanging-out-in-a-playground kinda way. Maybe in my head I defined what the perpetrator of csa looks like and I defined her right out of the picture because she 1) was female and 2) her motives seemed to not be for her own sexual pleasure. My own assumptions about abusers left me with a blind spot big enough for her to hide in. But it's not just the motivation of the abuser that can define something as csa, it's the combination of the action and the affect. And I CLEARLY remember absolutely dreading the end of bathtime, and knowing that she was going to hurt me down there. Feeling trapped because both of my parents touch me down there in ways I don't like and I can't make them stop. My childhood self, even my teen self and adult self, considered it about as sexual as if she'd been roughly scrubbing salt into an open wound on my arm. I saw her actions as physical abuse, and his as csa. For whatever motivated her to do it, I'm working through this idea right now. At first I thought I must be an idiot not to have realized this before. But I need to forgive my younger self for not knowing, not realizing, possibly not wanting to know. How would I have known? No one defined these things clearly for childhood me. I was young and didn't have the opportunity of hindsight or the logical reasoning skills I have as an adult. I certainly didn't have any type of support system to help me with the heavyness of this truth. I was alone and coped as best as I could. It's possible that the reason I see it for what it was now is because I'm finally at a place where I'm strong enough to handle it. I'm in a safe place where I can actually process this. That's enough for now, RR
  10. I've been writing this blog for a while now and I have a few observations. Some were expected, others surprising. Occasionally (either while I'm just thinking about what to write or, much less often, while I'm actually writing,) when something happens that reminds me of mychildhood - a smell, a sound, etc) I burst into tears, reminded of how I felt as a kid. It's been happening several times a week. This usually only lasts a few minutes. I feel profoundly sad for the young RR. It's like I'm feeling all this now because I'm allowed to feel this now. Sometimes I don't know what the mystery trigger was but often I can figure out what it was. This doesn't happen everyday, and I've talked to my T about it. I think I'm just working through some things. Lol. It seems so obvious when I type it out like that. Obviously I'm working through a bunch of things. 😁 Overall I feel a lot less anxious than I did before I started this blog. I still have anxiety, it's just been reduced quite a lot. In the beginning I was massively worried about sharing. I was worried about well-intentioned people pitying me. I didn't want to feel belittled. That seems kinda silly now, but I was worried about it a lot a month ago. This fear was based on my past experiences sharing parts of my story with people. Some people never look at you the same again when you share details of your survivor story. They said things like "that's unbelievable" and seemed like they cared but really I wondered if they weren't just thanking their lucky stars they never experienced something like that. I think that my concern on this came from not liking to feel like a little kid. I do not like feeling powerless. Others pitying me sets up an unequal power dynamic that makes my skin crawl. I do not like feeling pitiful. Here's the thing though, even if someone says something like that, I don't have to feel like that. I can choose what kind of support I listen to. I can ignore well-intentioned people who say unhelpful stupid things, even if they are not trying to harm me. Just because someone is trying to be nice doesn't mean I have to listen to them. I don't have to take it to heart. It doesn't have to trigger me. I don't have to be worried about that trigger. People will say unhelpful things. I don't have to listen. I can choose not to. That doesn't mean I'm rude. It means I can curate who gets to be on my personal support team. I have a personal cheering section just for me and I get to choose who's on it. If you are well-intentioned but obtuse...sorry, you didn't make the team. Incidentally, absolutely no one on AS has said anything like this. Everyone has been super supportive. So this was an unfounded concern I had. All of the pity reactions I've been subject to have happened in real life, face to face, situation s. Writing for me is a long process. It is kindof a jumbled mess with lots of first draft errors. Because of the aphasia, understanding written words is much harder than it was before for me. I read better and understand more when I read out loud. I also catch my own mistakes better when I read out loud. I do a bunch of writing at night, after everyone else has gone to bed. So often I find myself sitting on my bed whispering quietly to myself as I read and edit and read again, sifting through the mess to find grammar mistakes and homonyms. Freakin homonyms, man! I'm sure it looks crazy, but it works. At first I genuinely hated this. I hated everything about it. I used to be great at writing. I compared my post-TBI writing skills to my pre-TBI skills and only saw what was missing. I judged myself for the mountain of mistakes I found after the 7th, 8th, 9th reading. But then...an unexpected thing happened. In a strange way having to go over it so many times I think has been helping me face it. It's helping me validate my childhood self. Yes, this happened. Yes, it was real. Yes, it's safe to tell, safe to talk about now. Telling it over and over to myself helps me kind of slowly digest it, before I hit the button and send it out into the universe. It's odd because I rarely cry during the actual writing process. I feel vulnerable, hurt, and alone, but I don't usually cry. I think going over and over it helps me really feel the pain completely before letting it go. Before, I saw this brain injury as a massive disability, but now I'm starting to see it as a series of speed bumps. It's reminding me to slow down and helping me slowly get through all this shit. I have to repetitively go through it or it just wouldn't be readable. That leads me to the next unexpected thing - I never realized just how much shit there was. What I mean is, I had a general sense of having lived through a shitty childhood. There is far more bad and shitty memories than there are good ones. But I didn't really understand the sheer volume of crappy things I've endured. Just a mountain of it. How did I not realize there was so much pain? Possibly this is because I packed it all away in little boxes and chose not to open them all at once until now. It is seriously a lot of shit, just a fuckin lake full of it. No, not an lake, bigger than that...a childhood full of it. I need to be a less judgy friend to myself. My yoga teacher last week had us think about something untrue that we say to ourselves, and then later had us reword it. My thing was "I shouldn't feel...." I scold myself because I think that I shouldn't feel a certain way about something. However, if someone else was in the same position, I'd be gentle to them. My gentler self reworded it to "it's ok if I feel...." For instance, a few days ago I forgot to take a medication in the morning. It's one I have only been on for a few weeks, so it's just not part of my routine yet. I felt awful and just generally lousy. But by the time I realized I had forgotten my pill it was already early evening and too late to take it. Then I started with the negative self talk. I'm such a fuckin idiot... What the hell, RR?... You can't even remember one simple little pill??... The thing with negative self talk is I really shouldn't trust the source. Lol. But really, my negative talk comes from using my depressed brain. My depressed brain doesn't give me great advice. It expects me to be superhuman or something. To never make simple mistakes. And, although I am on the upswing as far as the depression goes I should really just not listen to that voice that whispers shitty untrue things inside my head. The scary thing is that sometimes I believe the things, even though I know they are not true, I fear they might be. Maybe I am a blooming idiot? Maybe I am just a jumbled mess of things I used to be able to do, but can't anymore? A collection of vacuums where there used to be skills? "I shouldn't feel so bad about my struggles." The thing is that I'm a shitty friend to myself. A good friend wouldn't talk to me this way. I need to get better at this. I need to remember to be a better friend to me. So... -It's ok if I feel sad about my TBI and how some things are harder now. That's a normal reaction to a loss. -It's ok if I missed one pill one day. That's still a greater than 95% success rate. 😁 -It's also ok to feel good about my writing. If anything, positive feedback about my writing now means so much more to me because I know the effort I had to put into it. It used to be easy. It wasn't something I had to work at. It's like getting a compliment about your eye color. Ok, it's nice I guess, but I had to put in exactly zero effort, so.....is that even a compliment? Now I actually have to put in the work. Another surprising thing that has happened is I've been remembering a few more good things that happened in my earlier years. Going on this trip down memory lane has uncovered a couple of goodmemories that I'd forgotten. I'm a very visual thinker. Here's what I envision almost every time I hit the "publish" button. Me whispering a secret into my closed fist, then holding my hand out, palm-up, in front of my mouth to blow it out into the universe. The way a little kid blows a kiss. I picture myself sending that secret away. Some of them are heavy, dusty secrets. Some are less so. But always my chest feels a little lighter for having given the secret back to the universe. It's not mine to hold anymore. It's not mine to shame myself about any more. I no longer need to keep it locked away. I can release it. I can set it free. Once I set it free it becomes a non-secret, no longer weighing heavy on my heart and shoulders. It becomes weightless. I've always had some pretty wild dreams, but lately they seem quite metaphorical. I've had this one a few times in this past month. I stand in front of my closet. I take a deep breath and open the door. I stare at the chaos inside. A tangle of clothes and hangers above a jumbled mess of old clothes. Boxes bulging with forgotten memories precariously stacked on the shelf above. Slowly I start to clean out all the old shit that doesn't fit any more. Sorting through boxes and piles of too big or too little stuff, and using some of it to make something useful to me now. Like a denim rag rug made from the memories my body still remembers but my mind had almost forgotten. Now they are flooding back as I dig through the pile. These clear memories of the sights and sounds and emotionsof my childhood. And maybe I will make something useful out of them. Something useful to me, or helpful to someone else. I'm trying to make a quilt out of my old clothes. Maybe it will keep someone else warm? I am trying to use sunlight to turn my pain into beauty. I've got part 2 coming, just don't know how to word it just yet. I'll let it sit at that for now. RR
  11. I've had a rough couple of days. I had Covid for the entire month of May. I've started feeling better; and then I woke up Monday morning barely able to move. My back hurts, pain radiates around my body and into my chest. My ribs hurt, I have pain going into my arms and my legs. I cant take a deep breath, I cant talk very long, or stand up or sit down or I get really bad chest and back pain. I've had issues with my spine for the last 10 years. I've had 2 neck surgeries and 1 lower back surgeries. I know I currently have 2 herniated discs in my thoracic spine and 1 in my lumbar spine.; tr I've been dealing with the effects of the herniated discs for the past couple years. I went back to the neurosurgeon who did all of my surgeries. He doesn't want to do surgery to correct the herniation in my thoracic spine - its more complicated and has a higher risks than anywhere else on the spine. I've been seeing an orthopedic doctor for the past 6 months - trying to control the pain and avoid surgery. I already had an appointment scheduled Monday afternoon. The doctor does Orthopedic Manipulation - he does manipulation, moving bones and muscles to their correct place to relieve pain. He worked on me for a while. He said he did all that he could do; the remaining pain was from the pinched nerve in my thoracic spine. He wants me to have an injection in my back to relieve the pain - I've already had 2 injections - neither helped at all. He has given me Fentanyl patches for the pain. I dont like how they make me feel; they take the edge off of the pain but that's about it. I called the neurosurgeon this morning and left a message; his PA called me back and reviewed my symptoms - she is going to schedule a MIR and follow up with an appointment after the results are received.. I'm just really disheartened; I was just starting to feel better and this suddenly gets a lot worse. I'm really afraid I'm going to get the MRI and go to the doctor and he is going to tell me that there isnt anything wrong with me. I'm going to feel really foolish if that happens I felt really foolish last summer when I went to see him about the thoracic herniation. He told me there was a small herniation but it wasn;t effecting my spinal cord. He told me that he didn't want to do surgery unless it became worse. He did tell me to call him if it got worse - it feels a lot worse since last summer. But what if I'm just imaging it? What if I am just being a baby? I'm going to feel really stupid if that happens.
  12. I'm eighteen. I've already moved out. At this point I'm living in my bf's grandma's house. I come to visit my mom because she says she has something important to tell me. So I drive a half hour over to the house and we talk. She's nervous. We walk casually out to the garden. It's only a few yards from her horse's fenced in pasture. Crescent comes over near the fence to say hi. It's been a few months and I've missed him. His chores used to be my responsibility. I'd bring him home my apple cores or banana peels from lunch at school. My mom stops the small talk and abruptly I understand why she is so nervous. The news she has is probably the most shaken I've ever been, up to that point. Your dad is not your real dad. What!!? I'm waiting by the locker room across the hall from the gym in my elementary school. The school building is shaped like a big letter L. The kitchen is on the end of the short hall, next is the gym. At the end of the hall is the set big doors that lead out to the playground. We're waiting in line to go out for recess. While I wait I'm working on a math problem in my head. I keep rolling it around. I must be doing something wrong. This isn't adding up. Literally. But maybe I'm just doing the math wrong. I'm seven. I know that, even though we don't celebrate birthdays. I know that for sure. But...my parents anniversary is at the end of summer, and I thought mom said it was their 5th anniversary. They had me before they got married. This literally just doesn't add up. I might be making a math mistake? I ask her about it later at home, and her face turns pink. She sheepishly admits that I was born before they got married. I remember being shocked. That was a sin. Jehovah doesn't like that. So I'm standing in her garden, remembering that lie years later after she confesses that he is not my biological father. I mean, it was a lie that she let me assume I was his. Standing in her garden surrounded by rows and rows of veggies and weeds. Crescent was standing grazing in the edge of his field. He is getting anxious, tossing his head around and making nervous horse noises as I grew more upset. I'm pacing now. Looking down at the rows of plants. Being careful of where I stepped. Wanting to smash her stupid lying face in. Asking, trying to understand, the lies - hundreds of them buzzing in my ears. She says that the reason she's tellingme this now is because we had each had a close call health-wise recently. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider, and she had a severe allergic reaction to a medication when she was out of state for a religious convention. She said she thought she might die in that hotel room. She says that she wanted to tell me, but didn't know how and now she's scared and feels guilty. What if one of us had died? I say she lied to me so many times. She denies the lies. I tell her that it's a lie of omission, she says that's not a lie. I ask how many thousands of times she referred to him as "your dad". That's thousands of lies! Thousands! So...who's my real dad? She tries to say he is real, he raised me. I scream at her. She says that she doesn't know. She starts that fake crying thing. Might be two different people. I might've been either two weeks premie or two weeks overdo. I know I was a big baby. She told me that before. I call her a w**re! Scream it. I am livid. I feel so dismissed. I wasn't even important enough for her to tell me my own truth! I feel like she is lying to me about this too but my whole world has just been upended. I feel so betrayed. So abused. So used. She didn't even respect me enough to tell me the truth. What a lying fucking w**re! She knows but won't admit it. She wants to make it half-right, but won't tell me the whole truth. There's something else here...I know it. I can feel it. I storm off angrily towards the fence, careful not to crush the rows of plants. I give Crescent a big handful of clover and a little scratch on his forehead goodbye and I then I get in my car and drive away. Her "guilt" about not telling was so self-serving. And, as it turned out, that was a fucking lie, too. My spider bite and her allergic reaction. Her fear of one of us dying while she still held this secret. It was pure bullshit. Years later I learned that my sister was the one who prompted my mom to finally tell me. Blackmailed her, really. Threatened to tell me herself if mom didn't. She'd added the pieces up. Ls and Lb look like twins. Very similar bone structure. Similar blonde hair and blue eyes. Skin that turns a light shade of caramel in the summer. Nothing like me. I look like my mom, not him. Red hair and dark brown eyes. I was not a sun lover. My freckles get darker in summer but my skin would burn red as a tomato, blister, peel twice and still be as white as my siblings hair underneath. Somehow Ls added this up on her own. Not surprising though, she always was better at math than me. When I was born I had my mom's maiden name. My birth certificate listed only one parent. Later I got my s-dad's last name but I wasn't adopted. My birth certificate got changed/edited to add the missing name of the father. This was not legal. But back then you didn't have to prove paternity to change a birth certificate. My mom stole me from my real dad. Snatched me and he didn't even know he was robbed. He didn't know I existed. I wonder how she saw it. I wonder if she actually thought about using my innocence to pay for her "happy marriage." Did she think about it like that? As a quid pro quo? Sacrificing my innocence in exchange for a ring on her finger. It's hard now, with the benefit of hindsight, not to see it as a swap. I don't know when, exactly, but somewhere along the timeline she traded my pain for her relationship. I wonder what the clerk at the public records office thought. Did they realize that they were assisting in a kidnapping-by-forgery? Probably not. Probably whoever they were they just thought "well that's sweet, a family reunited." My mom probably did that fake crying thing that she does to tell the sob story of how at the time of my birth they were separated and now they are back together and newlyweds and they just want to make this right. Aaahh, what a happy ending. I'm wondering about what the train of thought was behind that for both my mom and for him. He always knew I wasn't really his. I was born before she met him. So is that why he saw me as expendable? As disposable? Was marrying my mom a package deal? Was there abuse before they got married? If there was, did my mom know about the abuse before they got married? Did she really think that he was her best option? That a single mom with a bastard mini-me in tow was such a horrible position to be in that he was her best option? My own oldest turned 21 recently. It's strange to ponder. He is the age I was when I had him. I remember the surge of Mama Bear hormones that flooded through me just looking at him. Knowing I would do anything in my power to protect him. Anything. His cries were a secret code that unlocked my previously hidden ability to feed him. His presence upgraded my body's creation ability. Not only did my body create a person. A whole. magical. living. person, but the mere thought of him gave my body the enhanced ability to turn water and sandwiches and pizza and hotdish into baby fuel. He needed me in a way that no one ever has. I learned his language so I could understand him. His asking for love, for food. When he told me he was hungry, I fed him. When he just wanted love, I gave it to him. I was thinking alot about how my caring for everyone else shaped my personality. Does the abuse define me? Does my reaction to it? How did I manage to care for Ls and Lb with no real example to follow? Underneath all the neglect am I just a reaction to my situation? Am I a reaction to a toxic environment? Am I the way I am because of having to take on the roll of caregiver so very young? What is my real personality? More urgently, in my thoughts anyways, is this question - Why have I managed to survive my life so remarkably intact? Why has it taken me this long to have a breakdown? Why now? How did I survive? I've been thinking about this a lot, so I talk to my T about it. Where did I spend my first two years? With people who loved and doted on me. Who showered me with love. Who nurtured my personality. Those first two years were critical to shaping my ability to form connections. To be bonded. To have commitments. To know what love was. So in an odd way, even though I have no actual memories of him, at a very basic level the person who had the most influence on me might've been my grandpa. And instead of just relying on nature, I was given nurture too, if only for a very short time. The faint smell of pipe tobacco is a happy memory for me. My mom told me many times I was allergic to cigarette smoke as a baby. Grandpa smoked a pipe, or cigars (I can't remember which). After I was born he'd smoke outside. I think the reason I have a warm fuzzy happy feeling about the faint smell of burning pipe tobacco is because it is one of the first smells of love I ever knew. I was 2 when my mom's dad died. I think I remember his funeral. Not a body or a casket, but a foggy faint memory full of shadows, of us walking up big hard (not wood) white steps, people in dark clothes crying, there was a big table and a line, we were waiting for something, waiting in a line to see a table. Pots or vases of flowers. Lots of flowers, and a red and white striped tablecloth. *************** My 6yr old son and I are volunteering in my daughter's Headstart room. He is across the room reading to a small group of preschoolers. He is reading the book upside down like he does at home with his sister. The headstart teachers are amazed. He's only 6 but already a good reader. My daughter is sitting in my lap while I read the book "Each Peach Pear Plum" to another group of her classmates. I'm sitting crisscross applesauce on the circle rug with my legs folded. A little blonde boy stands up and darts towards me. He grabs the book to see the picture and for a few moments it's not me reading to my daughter, the rambunctious boy, and their classmates. It's me and Ls and Lb. I was big enough to lift Lb onto our floral couch by now. I climb up and sit between them and we explore the story. "Where's the tree?" They point. I flip the page. "And the baby bear?" They point again. "How many bears?" I ask. "Let's count, 1, 2, 3!" They smile. They are happy. We find all the little hidden pictures. The fishing poles, the pie, the empty cupboard. The hats and birds. Clouds in the sky, the water, it's a river... I am lost for a while in this sweet memory, until my daughter, still sitting on my lap, shakes my arm and brings me back to her. ************ My mom was just a bit younger than my son is now when she had me. She moved home. She transferred to a closer college and continued going to school, though eventually she'd end up not finishing. She had a 60 mile drive to school. I'm not sure if she lived in the dorms and came home on weekends or if she drove every day. Either way, my Gram worked as an elementary school cook so it was my grandpa who watched me during the day. I wonder where my mom's Mother Bear instinct was when I was that little. Did she ever have one? Did she hate me yet then? My cute little round face and head full of curls. Was she born with a stone in her chest or did her heart just gradually fossilize to me? Did she see me as something to barter with from the beginning? Was I a hurdle to overcome? Bait for a prospective romantic partner? Or was that just later that she sacrificed her bastard firstborn? Did she know my language? Did she care when I was hungry or just want to shut me up? Did she know when I just wanted to talk? Or play? Did she know when I just wanted love? RR
  13. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and have come to the conclusion that my mother wasn't just merely neglectful, did not just simply "fail to protect me." She actively sexually abused me. I have a knot in my stomach as I write this. Today was the first time I've ever said that out loud. I said it to my T. I've always thought about it in terms of her being mean and rough and slapping me around. For some reason I've never seen it like that before. I've been thinking and thinking about it and can't really call it anything else. There's a word for it. A heavy two word term. I've never classified her aggressive bathtime scrubbing as sexual abuse before, but it was. Here's my litmus test- If I saw her doing that to another child, damn straight I'd call that sexual abuse! Prior to the last few days, I always thought of it like this - He was a predator. He actively molested me. My mom was neglectful. She knew what was happening but failed to act to protect me. She was the one who was physically violent a lot. I've been backhanded off a chair too many times to count. She was emotionally manipulative. She'd fucking fake cry at the drop of a hat. But if anyone would have asked me 5 years ago if what she did to me as a little kid fell into the category of sexual assault, I'd've said no. Hell, if you asked me that three weeks ago, I'd've said no. Physical abuse, definitely. Sexual abuse...uuuuhhh no. Maybe that's cuz I believed the whole stereotypical "csa looks like this" propaganda I've been programmed to believe. I believed that the perpetrator of csa had to be enjoying it. I feel like mentally I didn't want to believe it about her. For some reason I've always blamed hermore for the abuse because as my mom wasn't her duty to protect me? I made excuses like "she saw me as a dirty thing and this was her mental instability hurting me trying to literally scrub the abuse out of me with a hard bar of soap wrapped in a washcloth". What she did to me down there wasn't like applying diaper rash cream to a child with a rash. This wasn't necessary hygienic touch. I would have no problems classifying it as abuse if I walked in on her doing that to my child, to a nursing home client, to any vulnerable person. Why could I not see this before? Does it go back to that she was doing it out of disgust, and he seemed to enjoy it? i guess in the end it really doesn't matter WHY she did it. It happened. It doesn't matter if she thought she had a valid reason to do it, or not. It doesn't matter if she was just jealous of me, or mad, or in some symptom of mental illness was trying to clean me. There was no valid reason. There is no excuse that will cover this. Maybe she was born with a rock in her chest? I feel betrayed and confused. It's weird how giving something a label helps you more accurately think about it. That's all I've got for now. RR
  14. It is a good day. My husb and I are in town at Walmart shopping. I remember we were in a good mood, flirting with each other. Unsuspecting, we casually walk down the deodorant aisle. Like bees we sample some of the offerings, slightly opening the lids just a crack, enough to smell the contents, sharing the ones we liked, then jamming the sticks back in those springloaded deodorant holder thingys. "Do I want to smell like this?" "How about this one?" "Do you want me to smell like this or this? Which one is better?" "I don't know...which do you like better?" I like his smile. We live in the woods at his parents house about a half an hour from town with my FIL and MIL and his sister (SIL). We've been working hard to put a garden in. Squash and tomatoes are flowering and I'm excited about all the life in the garden. It reminds me of my Gram's garden when I was little. Rows and rows of peas and carrots and mounds of cucumbers. We buzz on to the soap section. The sense of smell and memory is like a time machine. Catches me offguard. Suddenly I'm tumbling backwards, transported back three decades to my Gram's kitchen. I was a tall kid with long muscular legs. When I was three I was often mistaken for a five or six yr old. I must have been quite young here. My Gram is holding me. If I was older I would've been too heavy to carry like this. My face is nuzzled into her neck. This is burned into my brain - the smell of irish spring soap, scope mouthwash, and aquanet hairspray. She is cuddling me, holding me on her hip, swaying gently back and forth while she stirs the contents of a pot on the stove. She is standing at an angle, holding me against her with her right arm, cooking with her left. Her body between me and the boiling pot so I won't be splattered. My arms are around her, clasped together by her neck, hanging on like a little monkey. This is a position I will often mimic later with my own children. "You ok?" he asks. It's my husb. He looks worried, like he's concerned about me. "Yup, I like that one. It smells like my Gram." "You wanna get it?" He gestures towards the cart with the box. "Nah, I don't want to smell like that, I would forget what she smelled like." It wouldn't remind me of her if I used it all the time. "I don't want it to lose it's power." He smiles. "Well, how about this one?" I turn towards him and I'm suddenly sucker-punched out of nowhere. I'm standing in several inches of lukewarm water. I am naked and shivering. My mom is kneeling on a woven rag rug on the linoleum floor of my Gram's bathroom. She's just finished washing Lb and Ls. She carefully wraps Ls in a towel, pats her on the tush and sends her out of the bathroom to go get dressed in jammies. Now is the worst part of bathtime for 5yr old me. I have a knot in my stomach. I hate how rough she is with me. Jerking my head around. Calling my hair a ratsnest. Pouring water over my face. Shampoo water goes in my eyes and it burns. I try to hold my breath but soapwater always goes up my nose. I hate how it feels down there when she scrubs me so hard. I wimper and protest but I don't want to be smacked. I try to just hold still. I don't want to slip. The soap stings like hell, but I also don't want to piss her off more. She hated giving us a bath and uses up all her gentleness and niceness on Lb and Ls. By the time it's my turn she has no patience left. She roughly scrubs my "business" with a bar of safeguard soap wrapped in a washcloth. It's hard and it hurts. I must be dirtier than all the other kids put together. I must be the dirtiest kid ever. She clenches her jaw and scrubs and scrubs. Safeguard soap. It is the smell of his skin at night, me laying next to him. The smell of his tattooed chest. Safeguard soap and old spice aftershave. "You ok, RR?" Someone is talking to me. I look up. I must have dropped to my knees because I'm kneeling now. I see my husb. standing next to me. He looks very worried. I realize my face is wet. I feel my mouth and my cheek with my hand and hold it out to see if I'm bleeding. It is wet with my tears and spit. I feel like I can't breathe. I am gasping for air. "It's ok, alright. It's ok." He crouches down and hugs me and I squirm away from him. He's still holding the box of soap that unlocked this horrible flashback. "No!" I yell louder than I mean to. He sees what I mean and quickly sets the box down on a shelf. He's bewildered, but trying to be supportive. I remember we left the cart there and walked back out to my truck. He asked if I was ok there. He made sure I was safe, and went back inside and went through the checkout. By the time he got back with the cartfull of groceries I was feeling much better. "So, you wanna talk about it?" "Not now, later." "Ok" he squeezed my hand supportively. ********************** My mom's shitshow of a job parenting me was probably the biggest influence on my own parenting style. Like an afterschool special narrator saying "Ok kids, here's what not to do." For one thing, I didn't teach my kids to use cutsie little babynames for their private parts. My son knew what a penis was. My daughter knew what a vagina was. They learned the name when we were going over all the body parts. I named it like any other body part. No special significance, except that your butt and your penis or vagina were collectively known as private parts. Those are parts you keep to yourself. It wasn't until I was maybe ten years old that I realized that "business" was not the name of my private part. This was utterly embarrassing. I was a little bit younger when I learned that "winky" wasn't the name for the boy part. That was a babyname. I was not going to have my kids using cutsie little family nicknames for their bodies. Nope. Also, my kids were fairly young when I taught them to wash themselves. I taught my daughter to wash her vagina with just water. And use a washcloth. And do it herself. I would help if they needed it, but by the time they were 3 they were both getting everything clean but their backs. "Your body is yours. All of it. From your head all the way down to your toes. That means you can take care of it. You are responsible for keeping your whole body clean. Not always clean, but regularly cleaned. That means your armpits, behind your ears, in your belly button, between your toes, that crease where your leg connects to your body, your penis/vagina (depending on which kid) and your butt crack too. Don't forget to rinse all the soap off. You don't want to get a rash. If you need help with your hair I'll help you with that. Dry yourself off good. Don't forget all the creases. You don't want to get a rash." You don't want to get a rash. Not once did my mother ever say those words to me. For fucks sake I was maybe ten when I read in a book about babysitting that you are always supposed to wipe a baby from front to back when changing a diaper! Ten! Ten years old and no one had taught me how to wipe. No one had cared enough to teach me not to use soap down there. No wonder I was always itchy. No wonder my underwear always had whitish discharge built up in it. My mom never made me change my undies regularly either, so often that discharge would be there for a few days until it got all cracked like a dried up mud puddle in the sun. I'd be sitting on the toilet peeling it off of my undies dropping it into the water. This was my normal. When I started working as a direct care assistant with foster care kids, I changed up my "your body is yours" lecture. I dropped the words penis and vagina entirely, swapped out for the generic term "private parts." This was the preferred terminology that their caseworkers used and made it easier to cater the lesson to everybody. I also had to teach some older kids how to bathe themselves. I'd stand, fully clothed (obviously), in the bathroom with a doll and a dry washcloth demonstrating proper technique. I remember one little girl would laugh and laugh when I used the term "all the little nooks and crannies" when referring to folds and belly rolls. I had to explain that body odor was a thing. That you wipe front to back so poop germs don't get in your front private part. That sweat builds up in skin folds. That everybody has to take baths. That no, they were not the "dirty kid." That everyone gets sweaty and stinky but everyone gets to take a bath or shower and feel fresh and new again. That you want to dry yourself thoroughly. That you don't want to get a rash. That toothpaste was like soap for your teeth. That using lotion is one way to take care of your skin after you have a bath. That nobody was allowed to touch them. Nobody but themselves. I told them the things that I needed to hear when I was that age.
  15. The worst lies I was ever told were the ones I told myself. They were the lies my shame told me - the goal of this lying was to protect myself, to make the situation seem "not so bad." If it was my fault, I could have prevented it, right? I could have stopped it. If I can minimize the awfulness, then it's not so bad. If it's not so bad then really, did it happen? Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe my pain doesn't matter. Some of these lies I stopped believing a long time ago, some versions of them I held for longer and only recently set these false beliefs free. Here goes- Essentially, for me, these lies were categorized into three groups- 1 - it wasn't so bad - there wasn't penetration - FALSE! Just totally false. Fingers count. Objects count. And even so, it's possible to sexually assault a person with no penetration at all. "Well, it was just groping." fits into this category, too. Also, this isn't the fucking trauma Olympics. I didn't place runner-up in a child sexual abuse competition. I don't get to minimize my trauma because I know that others have gone thru "worse" shit than me. I don't get to catagorize my pain out of existence just because I wasn't victimized in a particular act of sexual violence with a specific body part. My broken leg and my friends amputatedfoot do not make another friend's broken toe feel better. Imagining or knowing that someone else had it "worse" doesn't make the horror of what happened to me less painful. My pain is still real. It just means that there's a lot of people with a variety of different things that happened to them, things they have survived. Human beings have amazing coping mechanisms that help them to survive some pretty awful shit. My 10 on the 0-10 scale of what shitty things I've survived is still a 10. Bottom line - My pain was and still is real. It wasn't "just" anything. It was abuse. What happened to me happened because the people in my life who knew better chose to treat me like that. It sucks but it's true. 2 - I kinda deserved it because (a) I was developed at a young age - wearing a D cup bra in 6th grade. And what, this gets someone off the hook for abusing and assault ing me? Geez, listen to yourself, RR. Are men just uncontrollable monsters without free will or control of their bodies? Even when you were cooperative, it was still not your fault. Even if I was a member of a nudist colony, even if I was swimming, even if I was wearing a cute outfit, even if I was wearing makeup, or his favorite perfume, or a tank top that showed my belly button, even if, even if, even if... It was still awful. It was still not my fault. I still didn't deserve it. 2 - I kinda deserved it because (b) I was curious, I initiated the sexual contact. So fucking what? You were a child, your job literally was to be curious and learn about the world. They were your parents, their job was to protect you while enforcing firm loving boundaries and they did not do their job. They literally weaponised your curiosity and turned it against you. Not only that, they left you in a position where, because of your curiosity, you thought it was your fault! Would you say that a child who ran into the street "deserved" to be hit by a car because they were curious? Would you say a child who cut themselves badly while trying to make a sandwich "deserved" to be injured because they were unsupervised with a knife, curious, and hungry? No! No, you would not. 3 - I didn't not consent - here's why I call bullshit on this one - it is impossible for a preschool aged person to consent. That is a thing that doesn't exist. Also, everyone has the right to not be sexually assaulted. This means everyone. Yes, this includes a minor, a passed out person, a comatose person, or otherwise medically or drug impacted unconscious person. Everyone has the right not to be sexually assaulted. Point blank, period. There is no fine print to search for on this one. Lack of verbal rejection does not equal consent. A double negative does not equal positive consent. This is not an eighth grade fuckin math problem, where a double negative means a positive. Nope, this is real life, not algebra. Bottomline - what happened to me sucked. Dear RubyRosie, What they did to me was bad. It was bad. Like bad bad. Like for real really no fuckin sugarcoating it horrible. Like no dancing around it. BAD. Minimizing it doesn't make it go away. And I can no longer hold the secret inside and carry it around with me pretending it wasn't so bad. I will no longer keep folding and folding my trauma in a panicked attempt to make it smaller and smaller, trying to make it disappear altogether. It was bad and I am releasing this heavy secret back into the universe. I will not keep it anymore. It is not mine to feel ashamed about, or judge myself about, or pretend it was something else, or lie to myself about the pain anymore. I will not be the secret-keeper anymore. I will be the teller. 💗, RR
  16. I'm a mom collector. It took me a long time to realize that. I'm super good at collecting sweet caring attentive mother-in-laws. At adopting mother-figures and grandmother-figures. I've been married twice, divorced twice, and have had awesome in-laws both times. I still am very close to both of them. Whenever I talk about my childhood, I give all the credit for raising me to my Gram. I feel like my mom shouldn't get any credit, since almost none of the positive things I've learned have been because she taught me. I learned how to be loving and protective despite her best efforts, not because of them. My mom was quick to backhand us if she felt we were "mouthing off." If she thought I was "giving her that look," SMACK! Sometimes you didn't even see it coming. She had a quick temper and saw us as a burden. The first mom I collected was my first husband's mom. She was kindhearted. I'll admit that as my MIL she was annoying at first, but I grew to love her dearly. My second MIL was sweet. At first I found her to be kinda bossy, telling my husband what he should do, asking how he was going to manage his addictions/treatment, etc. This was her way of showing her love. I didn't realize until later that he had misinformed (read that as 'lied to') me about many things. I thought she was being pushy, she knew that I didn't know the whole story and was trying to let me know before we got married. I love her dearly. It wasn't until I had been married to husb2 for about a year that I actually felt comfortable calling my MIL "mom" and not her name. Before that it'd seemed like an insult to call her mom. I had a mom and my mom was a fuckin monster. Why would I insult my MIL by calling them the same name? The third mom I collected came in a roundabout fashion. If you'd told the 15 year old me that the 40 year old me would have 3 moms, not including my biomom, I would have said you were crazy. Here's how that happened. I'll do the short version now and I'm sure I'll get into all the details in a later post. When I was 18 my biomom told me that my dad was not my real dad. Ffwd a few months and I got to meet my real dad. For the purpose of clarity I shall refer to them as S-dad(stepdad) and R-dad(real dad) for the rest of this post. So R-dad didn't know I existed. Like, at all. My mom never told him she was pregnant. He lived about 4 hours drive away from where I grew up. He was married. I had a stepmom, L, who was nice enough. (I didn't call her mom though, for the reasons mentioned above) She had 2 kids from a previous relationship and she and my R-dad had 3 kids together. Holy crap! I had a whole other family! I had 5 new brothers and sisters! This was kinda mind-blowing. They, my R-dad and L, divorced a bit later, and he moved to Oklahoma. We lost track of each other for several years. Honestly I thought he might have died, because the last time we spoke he was staying in an extended stay hotel and had told me he was going to go into see a Dr about his chest pains. I literally didn't hear from him for years after that. Finally, through his brother (my uncle) I got in touch with him again. He was remarried to a very sweet woman I'll call MomK, for blogging clarity. MomK is awesome. In person I just call her mom. She is my mom. So I've kinda been going through some shit this past year and all three of these moms have been there for me. MomK especially. I told her I've been writing to get some shit outta my head and asked if she mind if I send her some. Her reaction was just what my inner child needed. She said that she was proud of me. I cannot begin to describe how powerful those four little words are. I know I didn't hear them enough when I was little and that's why they have so much weight now, 4 decades later. She asked how I felt now, after writing. She said it was sad and she cried for me, but she read it all and she was so proud of me for writing it. That is why she's my mom. The mom I most closely think of when I say "mom." Because she cares about me, because your real mom isn't just there for the fun stuff, the happy times, she's willing to wade into the muck with you and help you find your way out. She's there for advice and reminds you to take care of yourself. She actually gives a shit about your well-being, physically and mentally. She's willing to see you through the worst and not shame you for it. That is why my biomom got renamed to biomom and my other moms are now just "mom." They are the real deal. My birthmom earned her demotion. Biomom is a more accurate description anyways. It states exactly what she contributed to my life. DNA. Sorry, every living thing on earth reproduces, ya don't get a special medal for that. That's all for now, RR
  17. When we still lived in the city I broke my foot. Well, actually, what happened was I pushed my sister off of my dad's lap. He was sitting on a chair in the living room. As punishment he threw me across the room and I hit the wall. I landed and my left foot felt like it was on fire. Mom told me that I needed to stop crying cuz I wasn't a baby. I couldn't stand up. I missed dinner because my mom said "I'm not going to put your plate on the floor like a dog." I remember I couldn't walk on it. I crawled. They thought I was faking it. It took them two days to decide to finally bring me in to have a doctor look at it. When the doctor saw it he asked me what happened, so I told him. I even included the part about mom not feeding me on the floor. My mom just laughed and said "that was right after we locked her in a closet for a couple days and didn't feed her." The doctor just laughed along with her. I didn't know what was funny. They put a cast on my foot. I remember thatmy toes stuck out of the end of it and it made a clunk clunk noise while I was running around the apartment. I could only wear one sock. I was sitting on the brown wooden kitchen chair, swinging my legs, wearing a yellow dress and my cast on one foot and a shiny black dress shoe on the other, reciting the books of the Bible like a good little girl. "Gen-a-sis, Ex-a-dis, Love-vit-a-kis, and Numbers, too. Doo-ter-onomy..." Like a good little girl. It was Sunday, and I was doing what I was told. **************** When I was a senior in highschool I took a creative writing class. The only assignment I remember was we had to write a 2 page description of where we lived. How to get there, what it looks like, "include a lot of details." I thought I'd be clever and skirt the actual issue by researching what the brain looks like, and adding some philosophical BS about where the mind is in the physical body. A deep dive into "I live inside my own mind." The truth was that I lived in a trash hut and didn't really want to give the teacher or my class the opportunity of a front row seat to my personal hell, so I avoided the issue. Why would I share that the house i'd lived in for nearly ten years had no running water, no sewer, no electricity? No, thank you. Theother truth, the real real truth, the one I didn't even have the vocabulary to voice yet in that creative writing class, was that for much of my childhood (if you could call it a childhood) I WAS living in my own mind. I relied on myself because so often everyone else failed me. I trusted my Gram, my brother and sister. Period. And even that short list had some major exceptions. I didn't disclose the extent of the abuse to my Gram, though she knew or suspected to at least some degree. I figured she was powerless to change it so why worry her. And my siblings...they were younger than me, and I trusted them to act like that. I was more their parent than their sister. ************* When I was in first grade one of those special assembly speakers came to our school. Our teacher, Mrs. F., had us write four sentences every morning and most of us hated it. Usually it was four sentences about what we did for the weekend, or four sentences about the weather, or about whichever holiday was approaching. That last one was loads of fun for the only kid in class who's family didn't celebrate anything. But I was kinda used to that, having a year of experience sitting out the pledge every morning. Being the leftout one was far, far from the most stressful thing in my young life, and was nowhere near the heaviest weight on my little shoulders. Mrs. F. was mean, plain and simple. She didn't like me and I knew it. When a boy in my class shaded in a big rectangle on the top of his worksheet and then used the edge of his pink eraser to erase 'Mike' onto the top his paper, I thought that was very cool. When I copied it I got three letters into my name and was sharply shamed for my efforts. She made me stand up in front of the class and show everyone the "mess you've made." Ugh. Then she made me fix it. She hated me. So we had a special speaker. He was there to talk about the importance of goals. Our four sentences were supposed to be about our own goals. What is my goal for the day, the rest of the week, the school year, and my ten year goal. "Think carefully, think big" we were told. Ugh. I don't know anything about goals, I just wanted to be done with this writing assignment. Hmmm, "My goal for this year is to finish first grade." Haha. That's good and so true. I think and think about what I want my life to be like in ten years. This is hard. Ooh, I have another idea. I quickly write "In ten years I want to be comfortable." Yay! I'm done. I bring my paper up to Mrs. F's desk. I'm on my way back to my desk when she sharply says my name "RR! Come back here!" "You need to redo your ten year goal! You don't understand the assignment." she says sternly. "'I want to be comfortable' is a stupid goal. Fix it." I feel my face turning red. She said it loud and now everyone is looking at me. She shoves my paper back at me and I hang my head as I walk back to my seat. I'm sitting at my desk and peek over a girl's shoulder to see what she wrote. Something about girl scouts. I copy that and slowly walk my paper back up to Mrs. F's desk. She looks at it and says "Much better." She smiles big and I can tell she doesn't even care that I'm not in girl scouts. ************* When I was thirteen I finally said no to my dad. I said no more touching. Still, the physical abuse continued. The emotional manipulation. But when I finally told him 'no' the worst of the sexual abuse stopped. I remember the look on his face. It was fear. He was afraid of me. He was afraid of me? He was afraid of me. I used that opportunity to secure my freedom, and buy my sister's freedom, too. I was too clueless at the time to think that I should include Lb on the deal. I said "no, not any more. None. And you aren't going to start in on Ls, either. None. It's over. Do you understand?!" It wasn't a question. It was a demand. His eyes darted wildly. "Do you get it?!" I asked. "Yes" he managed to weakly say. He seemed so weird. So deflated. This was not the end of the abuse by any stretch of the imagination. It was just the end of the worst of the sexual abuse. But it was the beginning of me using my voice in a way that changed things for me. So many times I tried to tell people how hellish my life was. Told my neighbor we were hungry. Told my teacher I just wanted to be comfortable. Told my doctor I was thrown across a room. I told my story. Over and over. I still have a gnarly bump on the outside edge of my left foot. It didn't heal right. When I was in my twenties I asked a doctor about it. He said that it's a combination of scar tissue and the bone healed funny. I could have surgery to fix it if it was painful or uncomfortable. It wasn't. It doesn't hurt. Its just a physical reminder of what I've been through.
  18. RubyRosie

    5 - Loopholes

    My whole life there has been a safety net underneath me put there by mostly well-intentioned people. The thing is that my whole life the safety net has had some major flaws in it. Holes big enough for me to fall through. One of the tenants of good touch/bad touch education is to empower kids to not keep the secret of csa to themselves. A major problem with this is that some "bad touch" was ok. How do you explain in a clear way that an exam by a doctor is different than the "tickling secret" you have with your creepy uncle? Again, we are back to spanking-yes, Rubbing-no. How do you empower a kid to break the silence when they have every reason to stay quiet? When their parent(s) have made it crystal clear to them that "telling" will change everything. Not just the one bad thing but EVERYTHING. That telling will ruin the family. ************** When Ls was little she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She was a fighter and very strong. My mom took her for treatments 2 or 3 times a week for a long time to the big city with the children's hospital in it. This left a lot of times when it was just me, my dad, and Lb. Ls missed a lot of school. Whenwe were older (in our 30s) we were talking about how this led to some pretty major fears for Ls about doctors/hospitals/needles/blood tests. She told me a story about mom flat refusing a nurse and doctor to do a swab on her to confirm a yeast infection/UTI. She said it was "too invasive." She was "just a little girl." My mom wouldn't let them swab her, just give her the medicine for it. For me, this was triggering. I started sobbing. Ls was confused. She didn't understand. I said she (mom) was never that concerned about me. Never cared if I was going through anything "invasive." She used me like a prop. She asked "what do you mean?" So I told her. ************** When I was between the ages of 4-8 we lived with my Gram. One day I got home and my mom was in a panic. She was yelling and screaming and crying and packing all our stuff in the truck. Muttering about how it wasn't safe here and we'd have to leave to be safe because Gram was a liar. My Gram had gone for a few days to visit my uncle and auntie and my cousins. Mom and dad were going to leave before she got back. There already was plans to move eventually, before this happened. We had a shell of a house on my mom's land. The frame was done. The roof was on. The outside under-siding stuff was on. But Gram told mom that she was going to report my dad's abuse and my mom wasn't having that so we left. The five of us we're basically fugitives for the summer. We slept on the floor of cramped trailer houses, in a barn for a while, in different "cousins" places. These were not cousins I knew before this. There was one nice place. It had a big green yard and a tire swing that went out over the water. I liked it there. One day we were at another cousin's trailer and I was sleeping on the floor between the couch and coffee table with my sister. My mom came and woke me up. She shushed me firmly. I was not to wake up Ls. I ate a bowl of fruit loops at the kitchen table. The lady/cousin who lived here was scrawny and as tall as my mom and smelled like cigarettes. She had a quick temper with her kids and cracked her knuckles a lot against the table. She did give me a "woody woodpecker and friends" coloring book, but I didn't trust her. She was trying to console my mom. "I know, I know, but you have to prove she's lying." What the heck were they talking about? I knew better than to ask. So we go and get in the truck. My mom says we have to take me to the doctor. "But I'm not sick." "I know, you are just fine." "Then do I have to get a shot? To make me not be sick?" I didn't like shots. "Umm, I dunno...Just be good ok." It wasn't a question. So my mom takes me to the doctor building. There's a lot of waiting. Finally a nurse comes and does the weight and height and all that. She says "you're really tall for your age." I know that already. I'm almost the tallest kid in the school. We go to the little room. I look out the window. It's the second floor. It seems kinda high. My school, my Gram's house, our framed up shell of a house, all of them were only one floor. The apartment when Lb was a baby, that was four floors, and lots of stairs. But it's been a long time since we lived there. Now, two floors seems really high up. I sit on the crinkly paper on the bench table thing. The nurse gives my mom a folded bedsheet. She says "have her change into this." Then she leaves. My mom tells me to put on the bedsheet thing, which turns out to be an adult shirt hospital pajama thing. It is huge and I put it on backwards. My mom tells me to quit "fuckin around." I don't know what she expects, but I have a weird feeling about this. She's nervous and taking it out on me. The doctor comes in and I don't recognize him, but my mom knows him. He says I look just like her when she was that age. He pinches my cheek. I hate that. So he says "I was your mom's doctor when you were born." The only thing my mom told me about that was that I was a very hairy baby when I was born I had red hair all over and the doctor didn't like it when my mom had said that I looked like a monkey. Also, she said my freckles made me look like I had more hair than I really did. Ok...so you were my doctor way way long ago. And you didn't like that my mom insulted me.... Then he says "I was also your grandma's doctor when your mom was born too, did you know that? I delivered your mom." How would I know that? But my ears perk up at the mention of Gram. I know that my mom was my Gram's youngest baby. I miss my Gram. But mom is mad at her now, so I know better than to bring that up. Then he turns to my mom. "How is she?" My mom bursts into tears. She says that Gram is crazy and trying to ruin our family. She says she needs him to look at me. So she has proof that Gram is a liar. At one point she cry's her crocodile tears and calls Gram a "lying bit*h." The doctor shushes her and says "not in front of her, ok?" He's trying to shelter me from the bad words. Finally he says, "ok, let's have a little look, ok?" Again, it wasn't a question. It was a direction. My mom tells me to "lay down." I know what they are trying to do now. They are trying to prove my dad never touched me. They are looking for fingerprints or handprints or smudges or something. The doctors rubber gloved hand is cold. My mom tells me to "lay still." I don't like him looking down there, but he says he needs a better view and turns on a light like they have to look in your mouth at the dentist. "So far it looks alright." He says. I hope it is done soon. He picks up a silver shiney thing. I think it might be a light or something, because he says "now...let's get a better look." HE PUSHES IT INSIDE ME! I freak out. The crinkly paper crinkles under me as I try to squirm away. My mom yells at me to "hold still so he can see." The silver thing is cold. Very cold. What?!? Why did he do that?!? The doctor pulls it out. He looks towards my mom and says that I am fine. "Her circuits look fine. No scarring." My insides still feel cold from the silver thing. I am so confused. Why did the doctor have have to do that? Couldn't he see the fingerprints? Not once did he ask me if my dad touched me down there. Nope. No one. Not the doctor. Not the nurse. Nobody. My mom is crying tears of relief. I feel cold inside. I feel like I did it wrong. I feel like my bladder is made of ice. My mom is weeping with a smile on her face. I am her prop and she doesn't care if my circuits are fine or not. She just cares what the doctor said. What the doctor thinks. We get into the truck and she says "I knew she was a lying bit*h!" The doctor is not here to shush her now.
  19. When I was little, I think about first or second grade, I came home from school and asked my mom and Gram what an ox was. Gram said "it's like a cow, but bigger." Hmmmm... Mom asked "where did you hear that?" "At school. There was a play." "Was it Little House on the Prairie?" "No, they're saying about good touch and bad touch and don't let nobody touch your privates and stuff like that." "What does that have to do with an ox?" "They said your privates is what's covered by your swimsuit. So they said to tell somebody if someone touches your privates or your butt-ox." My mom laughed, she laughed and laughed and then made this little headshake like she thought I was dumb and just walked outside laughing at me. I was confused. What was funny? Did I say it wrong? Did I remember the word wrong? Did I do something wrong again? I asked my Gram "what?" And she said "honey, that's just a doctor word for your butt. Like the doctors have special words for all of your bones and muscles. Special doctor words. And the muscle in your butt is called a buttox." "Well, why didn't the play people just say butt then?" "I don't know honey." *************** The next year there was another good touch/bad touch presentation at my elementary school. The play people had us line up and sit on the bleachers in the music room. It was a small school. K-6th was was probably 40 or 50 kids. I remember walking past the students artwork pinned up on the wall in the hallway. Coolwhip fingerpaintings on large pieces of black construction paper. "Paint what the music feels like" was the guidance the music teacher gave before she started the record player and it belted out a happy upbeat orchestra piece. We did the same assignment in kindergarten, too. But now we were big kids. Old enough to go to the big kids presentation about touching. I remember being told that sometimes the "bad guy" will trick you. Don't take any candy from strangers. Don't go with anyone you don't know. If someone tries to grab you when you are walking on a sidewalk, scream and run away. (That's easy, I live in the country. I live in the woods. There's no sidewalks here.) Sometimes the bad guy is someone you know. Sometimes the bad guy will ask you to keep a secret. Don't keep the bad guy's secret. Don't let nobody but a doctor or your parents touch your body. Someone raised their hand -"what about getting spanked?" A mixed confused look flashed on the presenter's faces. Spanking was ok, rubbing was not ok. Spanking-yes. Rubbing-no. Ok then...yup...that was perfectly clear. *********** My two cousins were taken away from my uncle because my uncle didn't take care of them right. For punishment he'd handcuff them overnight in their underwear to the bumper or side mirror of his truck to teach them to listen. The next day they were covered in mosquito bites that looked like a bad case of the chicken pox. So they told somebody at school and then some people from the state came and took them away to foster care. The thing is though, thatmy two cousins who were rescued had two little sisters. The sisters were allowed to stay. This one little fact wiggled its way down into the base of my brain. If I said something, if I told someone, someone might come get me and take me away from the groping hands of my dad and my mom's temper. Someone might save me from my life. The state people could come and swoop in and save me and take me somewhere else...but my siblings, what would happen to them? ************** Ls (little sis) and Lb (little bro) were sheltered from the worst of the sexual abuse. By sheltered I mean I was the shelter. I kept them safe. The physical and emotional abuse and manipulation came down like rain on all of us, though. I tried to shelter Ls from my dad's affections. My dad used my protective instinct against me. He would brush Ls's leg or arm. I would tell her to go out and play with Lb. Then I would stay inside with him. Sometimes he'd just threaten her in front of me. He did this to gain my compliance. He'd say "maybe RR should go outside with Lb." I knew what he meant. I'd whisper in her ear to go out and play in the treefort with Lb. "Don't come inside til I come get you." ************ Childhood sexual abuse hurts everybody. I was 19 and married and had moved a few thousand miles away from my hometown before I was able to admit to my husband what had happened to me. He was in the military and after a long day of training and drills would come home often very late and he liked to sleep spooned behind me with his left arm lying over my chest, his hand cupping my breast. He especially liked to fall asleep like this after we'd had sex. To me this position made me feel like I was going to barf. It was as if someone was taking sandpaper to the base of my brain stem. Like chewing on a fresh stick of chalk. I'd move his hand down to my stomach, turn over so I could be the big spoon, lay flat on my back, just get up and go to the bathroom, anything to get away from him. Anything to get out of that position. Finally, one night he snapped at me to just let him hold me. I exploded. I furiously told him everything. Told him how much it made me want to scream when I was in that position. How it made my skin crawl. How I wanted to barf. He was in shock. He wanted to kill him. My husband was furious but it kinda seemed more like it was a personal insult to him that I'd been violated and an insult to him that it had taken me two years to finally tell him. He was pissed that I didn't trust him. He was pissed that he'd had the "guy talk" with my (step)dad and been given a lecture about how to treat me. He was insulted. ********** Childhood sexual abuse hurts everybody. When my sister was 18 she came to visit me. I used the opportunity to ask her a question I dreaded hearing the answer to. I was scared but I asked anyways. "Ls, did he ever touch you...like that?" She burst into tears. My heart sunk. How did I not protect her from this monster?? "You can tell me, it's ok." Ls "No. You don't understand." Me "Yea I do." Ls "No you don't." Me "Ok, then tell me..." Ls "Whenever he would do that to you, I was so glad it wasn't me. Whenever he touched you, I was glad it wasn't me!" She is sobbing uncontrollably now. Crying so hard I can barely hear her words. "I was glad, I'm sorry, so so so sorry. I'm awful. I was happy it wasn't me." Then I told her it wasn't her because I told her to go away. To go be safe. I looked at her and said "I'd take a bullet for you Ls. Dead fucking serious. I'd take a bullet for you." Ls "I know. But do you forgive me? I'm so so sorry." *********** I was a horrible murderous person. In third or fourth grade we learned about the respiratory system. We learned not to go inside old refrigerators or freezers or whatever because there's not enough air in there and if you breathe up all the oxygen then your lungs can't get oxygen to your blood cells and you will die from not enough oxygen. The same kind of thing can happen in a fish house. If it's sealed up tight and you have a stove in there going too, you and the stove can breathe up all the oxygen and then you would die. My teacher also taught us about heart rates, and how your muscles and your body use way more oxygen when you are doing work then when you are "at rest." Your "resting respiration" does not demand much oxygen. Your "exercising respiration" demands a lot of oxygen. She talked about scuba divers having only so much air in the tank, this was a good example since they have to keep track of how hard they are swimming to not use too much air up or they will die. Lightbulb moment. I am little. I am big for my age, tall and muscular, but compared to my dad I am little. I will kill him. Well, more accurately I will wait for him to kill himself. I tell nobody of my plan. When the ambulance people come to take his dead body away I will say nothing. I will wait for him to run out of air. There's only so much air in a room, right? I am little and I only need a little air. He is so big and breathing so fast. He is sweaty. He is snorting and out of breathe. I am looking at my mother's alarm clock. It is gold with two bells on top and a little gold hammer between them. It has an off-white face. It has gold Roman numerals around it. I think the Romans must have liked straight lines. Their numbers don't have curves and curls like our numbers do. No 6s, 3s, or 9s. Nope. Just straight lines. I and V and X. All lines. No curves. I breathe in slowly and hold my breath. I hold it for a long time. Then exhale. Then do it all again. Inhale, the second hand reaches the 1, hold it til the 2, exhale slowly until the 3, inhale again. I count and count and count as the seconds tick by. Inhale slowly for 5, hold for 5, exhale slowly for 5, inhale for 5, hold for 5, exhale for five. Four breathes a minute. The second hand goes round and round and round the clock. I am awful. I am a horrible hateful person. I am waiting for him to die. I am waiting, taking hummingbird sized sips of air, while he unknowingly, greedily sucks down big gulps of it. He is sweaty and breathing fast, and I am so little. He doesn't even know it. He doesn't see it coming. Soon there will be no more oxygen in this room for him. Soon he will breathe it all up and I am little and I do not need a lot of oxygen, and he will die and I will survive.
  20. So, before I jump into this I should ask you, the reader, if you'd like to respond, to please just sit next to me. I'm actively afraid of sharing my story and being belittled or pitied. Please remember that I survived. My earliest memory is lying next to my dad in bed. I am three years old We are in our apartment in the city. My little sister is in a room we share down the hall. I'm pretty sure that my mom is heavily pregnant at this point with my soon to be little brother. She is in bed too, sleeping, I think, on the other side of him. I am curious about my dad's body. He sleeps naked. He has a winky and I've been told it is a boy part but it is so different. I've showered with my mom before. Seen my sister's diaper changes. Seen my own body, obviously. But I still am curious. I reach out and touch it. It moves. How weird is that! I pull my hand away. He takes it and gently brings it back and says "Its ok, I like that" in a voice barely above a whisper. Several months later I remember lying in my own bed. My sister is sleeping next to me. My little brother is across the room in his crib. I'm am wondering if it is possible to get awinky of my own. I think that must be why my dad is in charge. That must be why my mom babies my little brother and is mean to me and my sister. I wonder what about it makes them special. Something is wrong with my mom. She never gets out of bed except to use the bathroom. Or to storm into the kitchen and scream at me for making a mess. Or scream at me to keep my little sis (Ls) and little bro (Lb) quiet. She can't stand the crying. I tried to change Lb's diaper, but got poop on the kitchen floor. My mom backhanded me across the room. I was startled and afraid, but it was my fault. After that I changed it in the bathroom, and wiped it up with toilet paper if any went on the floor. Lb is 6 months old now. Dad works all the time. Mom pretty much never comes out of her room. We are Jehovah's witnesses, so we go to the kingdom hall (church) kinda often. I sit on the couch reading the story "Each peach pear plum" to Ls and Lb. The couch is floral tith brownish red roses (I think) on a tan background. We are hungry, so I put my shoes on. I carry Lb down the stairs and Ls walks beside me. Our apartment is on the 4th floor. We walk, well, Ls and I walk down the stairs and go outside. I am carrying Lb and tell Ls to hold my arm because we have to cross the street. We are going to Rusty's house. Rusty is an Irish setter. He's very nice. He has the same color hair as me. The lady that lives at his house has a bunch of boys that live there too. And sometimes their friends are there. They are her kids but they look like grown ups to me. They yell to her "mom! Angel and the babies are here!" Ls doesn't like being called a baby. I climb the stairs. The lady takes Lb and walks into her kitchen. Her table is round (the one at our apartment is a big rectangle) and she uses a big flour sack towel to tie my brother to he kitchen chair so he doesn't fall off. At my apartment we have a highchair, but we only use it for suppertime because for breakfast I sit on the floor in front of Lb with his back to the cupboard and give him food like that so he doesn't fall bckward. I'm not tall enough to put him in the highchair. We eat at Rusty's house. Sometimes pb sandwiches, sometimes Mac n cheese, sometimes chocolate pudding out of these little glass dishes. The lady is nice. I dropped a little glass bowl on the floor and she didn't hit me. It didn't break but chocolate pudding splatted on the floor and she wasn't even mad at me. She said it's ok, rusty will get it. And he did. We are done with lunch and go back to our apartment. I carry Lb again and make Ls hold my arm again to cross the street. When we are back on the other side we turn and say bye to the boys. We cross the gravel parking lot to go see the train tracks on the back of our building. Sometimes I tell Ls to put little rocks from the parking lot on the track and we check later and they are just dirt, no rock left. When trains go by we step back to the edge of the parking lot, away from the train. I warm her that trains are dangerous. It could kill us, but we just need to stay back when it goes by. We get tired and go back inside the apartment. We climb back up all the stairs. Mom is still in her room. Lb has a wet diaper, which is easy to change. I put him on the floor in our room and hand the yucky wet one to Ls to throw away in the kitchen garbage. When she gets back I tell her to close the door. I climb into the crib to get Lb's blankie, then climb back down. Ls gets her blankie and I get mine. We sleep on the floor. I sleep next to the door so I will wake up if Ls wakes up and tries to get out. Or I will wake up if mom tried to come in. We are safe and sleepy. I keep us safe, even when we are sleeping.
  21. First of all I should say that I feel like I'm going to puke right now. Maybe I just won't send this. Yea, maybe. I'll right it and read it and just delete it. No one's pushing me to tell this now, just my head feels so full of constantly analysing and going over and over everything. Can I delete it if I don't like it? Later, I mean. Can I come back and erase it if I feel like I've just gutted myself in front of you all? Everyone just gathered around with a disgusted look on their face, pinching their noses and looking down at the gross wiggly slime covered things I've been carrying around inside of me for almost 4 decades now. Things that have been eating me from the inside. The thing is that I was open about the abuse when I was younger. I'm in my 40s now. In college I spoke several times on survivor panels (where we were invited to share our stories and sometimes asked followup questions). I was involved in 3 different performances of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." I worked as an advocate at the campus women's center. I was a member of our campus GSA (gay/straight alliance). I was openly a survivor and willing to talk about it and told my story to a lot of people. But then something changed. I moved back to a small town to help someone in my family and have had to basically shove it all under the rug again. This family member has never shared their story of childhood domestic and emotional violence. It's a tiny town of maybe just over 1000 people. Everybody knows everbody, so it's not like I can share this part of my life with a new friend and trust that the rest of the people here wouldn't find out. And then they will either assume my siblings were abused too, or assume I'm lying because my 3 siblings do not talk about such things. So back into the closet I go. Basically I'm scared of sharing because I can't share in real life and I don't want to be pitied online either. And I'm scared of not sharing, because that's like lying to myself. When I think about what's stressing me out it's because I don't know if I can trust people not to pity me. It's because sometimes ordinary things trigger me and I can't really talk about why I'm having a PTSD moment. Can't talk about why I'm having a panic attack. "Oh you poor thing." Is I think the most demeaning sentence in the English language. It makes my stomach hurt. It dehumanizes me. It makes me think that they don't really care about the pain, they're just thanking their lucky stars it wasn't them who went through it. Enough for now, Maybe I'll delete this in the morning. RR
  22. Hey, everyone. It’s been a while. Well, longer for you than it has been for me. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago and never posted it. I guess I was ashamed of the content in that blog. I thought it was something I wanted to talk about but, I was wrong. Having one of my closest friends tell me how wrong I was…that didn’t help. So, I didn’t post it, but I DID write it. For me, I had just released all my pent-up energy and I haven’t had much else to write about. Not until now, anyway. Things have been…alright, I guess. They’ve been better, but they’ve also been worse. I think in the midst of the global pandemic, all of my anxiety is just doubled. My stress levels are through the roof! That can’t all be blamed on COVID-19 though. There are plenty of other factors at play here. Two weeks ago, on Thursday, I went to my morning T session like normal. It was an 8am appointment so I woke up bright and early and headed straight there. It was a fine session. Not life-altering or anything, but I left feeling better than I went in. Isn’t that the point, anyway? After that, I had to go sign papers to refinance my car. It took FIVE-ever, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I didn’t have to be at work until later, so I had the time to kill. I decided after that, I would continue with my adult responsibilities and I would go to get my oil changed. Exciting, I know. I had to run home first and grab a punch card from my dad before heading to the shop though. When I got home, that’s when everything changed. My parents dropped a bomb on me. COMPLETELY unexpected. It was like a punch right in the gut. I had my hand on the door handle to leave and my dad tells me he needs to talk to me for a minute. I had time, so I walked back over to where he was. He proceeds to tell me that he lost his job the day before. If you stay up to date with the world, you know that the oil field is really not doing well right now. Gas prices are low, which, is great for some people, but for those of us with family working in the oil industry, it’s a nightmare. My dad was one of the unlucky ones. After about 5 rounds of letting people go, they had to let him go. This was a shocker in and of itself. I was stunned. But, this wasn’t the part that shook me to my core. I hadn’t even thought of what this would mean for me. Not until my mom said “so, we’re losing our insurance.” I’m sorry…what? LOSING insurance? My heart sank. No more therapy? How was I supposed to NOT go to therapy? Something I had come to rely on so much. I was supposed to just…not go? My parents aren’t fans of me going to therapy. In fact, until this happened, my father and I had never even spoken about it. I knew that he knew about it, but it wasn’t talked about. Not between us. My mother refers to it as my “appointment” because it would just KILL her to admit that I’m in therapy. They don’t know about my trauma so they couldn’t understand what I was really doing there. But, this was fine with me. As long as I could bill this to our insurance, I was fine with it being an unspoken rule of the house. My mom proceeded to say that she didn’t know what I was going to do about my ‘thing’, but it was up to me. They said we would have insurance for 30 more days before it ran out. They also said that even though my dad had a new job lined out, insurance through that job was not an option. I tried to play it cool in front of them, but my stomach was in knots, there was a lump in my throat, and I could feel the threat of tears stinging my eyes. What was I going to do? I left the house shortly after that so I could 1.) panic in private, 2.) call my friend, and 3.) get my freaking oil changed. I pulled into the parking lot next door to the oil change place and called my friend. I told her what happened and that I was terrified I wouldn’t get to see my T again. I finally let the tears fall. Panic and worry were consuming me, I couldn’t think straight, and I felt so defeated. Having my friend there helped. She talked me down and helped me come up with a plan. BEFORE giving up and wallowing in self-pity, I needed to look into the insurance my job offers. I mean, that’s logical – thanks, friend. After that, I could decide on the next step. Either sign up for insurance, or look into other options, and talk to my T. So, that’s what I did. I got the dang oil changed, went home, changed clothes, and headed to work. I was anxious to get there so I could just look at my options. As much as I knew I had ’30 days’ to get this under control, I was still nervous. I just needed to see what I could do. I get to work and tell my mangers I need to talk to them. We talked about insurance and, of course, my job offers the most obscure insurance that no one has ever even heard of. I knew my T wouldn’t take it. I hadn’t asked her yet, but I knew she wouldn’t. We talked about options, but everything was so expensive. I didn’t know how I would afford it or make it work. Ah, there they were again, those pesky tears rolling down my cheeks and threatening my pride. I just couldn’t help it. I felt like I was running out of options. After talking a little more, I came to a decision – something I thought would work. IF I could get my T to take my insurance. I leave the office and send a text to my T. I asked if she could please call me. I told her it was really important and that I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t. She said she would call me before her 4:00 appointment came in. Alright. Begin the waiting game. Finally, the phone rings. It’s J – my T. I rush into an office and close the door to take the phone call. The first thing I asked was how much a session would cost without insurance. The answer? ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I know it could be worse, but I also knew there was no WAY I could afford to pay $100 a week to see her. It wasn’t an option. She asked if I was worried about losing insurance and I told her what I had just found out a few hours prior to the phone call. And…there it was. Again. I don’t know how many other ways I can word this, so I’ll just say it – I started crying. She mentioned another option to look into, and I told her that I still had insurance for 30 days. We had time to figure it all out. But I still felt like I was running out of options. Nothing was working out in my favor. We hung up, and I headed to my computer to start looking into the individual insurance options J told me about. I won’t go into detail about numbers and deductibles because honestly, it’s confusing and no one cares. So, I’ll just cut to the chase and let you know that individual insurance was a no-go. I couldn’t afford it. I was better off just paying out of pocket the $100 a week! I was hitting wall after wall after wall. NOTHING was working out. I was exhausted, I was worried, and I wanted this to just…NOT be happening to me. Unfortunately, avoiding it wasn’t going to do me any favors. The problem wasn’t going to just disappear. I was going to have to fight for it if I wanted it. I sent my mom a text just to be sure that I needed to be looking into health insurance for myself and she said yes. I also wanted to confirm that I had 30 days, but she said no. They thought we had 30 days, they pleaded with the insurance company to give us time, but they said no. I was told that our insurance was terminated immediately. Immediately. I was never going to see J again. My heart dropped further, the lump in my throat grew, but I held back the tears. I had to stop crying! I took a break from looking at insurance. I was tired and I was kind of out of ideas at this point. I needed to sit down with my T and talk about options. I needed help. It was during my break that we were hitting the 5:00 mark and everyone started going home from work. I work until 6, so it was down to my friend, Cassie and me. We worked together until 6 every night and she’s one of my best friends. After we were alone, she asked if I was okay. I told her no – I wasn’t okay. Not at all. I told her what was going on. Hot tears pouring down my face, sniffling between sobs, and trying to catch my breath. I had been crying all day, but this broke me. Talking to her and knowing I was alone with her and no one else would see me…I was done. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. She was sympathetic, but she didn’t have any ideas either. I sent J a text and told her that the insurance was done. I needed to cancel my appointments because I could no longer afford it. She told me she would see me the following week for free. She wasn’t going to throw me away. I felt a little better knowing I had one more session to wrap things up until I could return to seeing her. I wasn’t happy – not at all. But one more session was better than zero more sessions. I left work feeling tired. My heart was so broken, my mind was tired from racing, and my face was puffy and red from all the crying. Then, The New Guy calls me. He had something else he wanted to talk about because of something I said to him via text the day before, but that didn’t last long. Then I told him I had a horrible day. He asked what was going, so I told him. Every detail. I even told him the boring stuff about deductibles and prices. He listened, but he also didn’t have any options. He apologized to me profusely. Not because he did anything wrong, but because he knew I was hurting and there was nothing anyone could do. I wanted to fall into his arms and just be broken for a while. That wasn’t an option. I did cry on the phone with him and tell him how much this all sucked, and he agreed with me. It DID suck. Before we hung up, he reminded me that I wasn’t a throw away, and he told me he loved me. I held on to those words for days after this because it was what I needed. I wasn’t a throw away. This would work out – it would be okay. I wasn’t a throw away, and I was loved. That was what I needed. I get home and, well, some things had changed. Great. More news. This was better news, though…sorta. Our insurance had NOT been terminated, but we didn’t have 30 days either. We had until the end of March. That included one more Thursday. I could go ahead and let her bill me the next week and if she was still offering a free session, I could use that the week after. This was better. What wasn’t better was their attitude about all of it. They were claiming that once the oil field goes back up, my dad will have his job back and we will have insurance again. I didn’t doubt that. At the same time, though, I didn’t know when that would be. A month? Two months? Six months? No one had an answer to that. My parents encouraged me to go without insurance until he was employed by that company again. We didn’t know when that would be, but they are very confident that this is a temporary set back and things will be back to normal soon. I trust them, I do. But my therapy is really important to me and they don’t understand that. They knew that this was my unspoken worry – that I would have to stop therapy. This time, it was my mom that brought it up. She asked if I could just take a few months off – it wasn’t a big deal. Her exact words were “haven’t you learned enough…coping mechanisms by now that you’ll be fine for a few months?” She barely had the words out of her mouth when my dad chimed in, agreeing with her and saying I needed to suck it up. It was ironic because going into the house, I was determined to tell them how important therapy was to me and that I knew they didn’t understand it, but to me, it was a big deal. Needless to say, those words never left my lips. I digressed quickly. It was clear to me that they would not understand it and I didn’t want to argue. This was something I was just going to have to deal with in private, on my own. With the support of my friends, of course. I do have a few good people in my corner that have my back. The New Guy, Cassie, and the friend I mentioned in the beginning of this post. This is kind of a side note, but I talk about the other friend in my posts frequently and I haven’t given her a name yet…I’m going to have to work on that. She deserves a name here. I’ll think about it and get back to you. By the time I left their bedroom and headed to my own, I was exhausted. Completely drained both mentally and emotionally. I changed clothes into something a little more comfortable, watched some mindless TV while talking to my friend, and laid in bed. When I finally stopped and just let myself rest, silent tears rolled down my face onto my pillow. This was the end and it was all out of my control. I had exhausted all of my options and there just wasn’t anything that anyone could do. I was defeated and heartbroken and just…sad. I eventually fell asleep and put that day behind me. The next day, I had a new determination. I was going to figure something out. I made it to work and immediately started looking over the insurance paperwork again. I knew this wasn’t going to work, but I had to do something. After all, I needed insurance for more than just therapy. I had to decide if I wanted to take the risk of not having insurance to go to the doctor, or if I wanted to pay for insurance until the end of the year when we did open enrollment for our 2021 benefits. That’s when I saw it. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This was where I found J to begin with. That’s kind of a story in and of itself and I’ve already been pretty long winded, so I’ll try to keep it short (if you want the full-detailed story, let me know in the comments!). The EAP offers 6 free counseling session to employees here. When I started looking for in-person counseling and EMDR, I thought I would do 6 sessions with J and that would complete the EMDR process and I would go back to just online therapy with the other person I was seeing. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I continued to see her after the 6 sessions and now it’s been over a year and I’m still seeing her. When I saw the tab for the EAP, it got me wondering if the sessions from there would renew, or if it was 6 sessions per employee for the life of their career here. I looked at all of the FAQs on OUR website as well as the EAP site. I didn’t find an answer, so I decided to call. The lady I spoke to was very kind and when I asked if they would renew, she wanted to look at my profile. I gave her permission and she looked it up. She asked who I was seeing because she wanted to make sure she was still on their list. I told her, and sure enough, she was still there. She said since it had been over a year, they could renew the 6 sessions. SIX MORE SESSIONS! This was great news. I know it doesn’t fix everything, but that meant a total of seven weeks before I had to worry. During this seven-week period, I decided that I would start saving as much money as I could. I would stash money in my currently empty savings account so that when the seven weeks ended, I could afford to pay out of pocket for at least a few more sessions. Hopefully. I know that is a temporary fix – a band-aid on a bullet hole – but it gives me time. Maybe this will give me enough time for my dad to get re-employed and get us insurance again. Or, maybe not. It’s not a long-term plan, but it’s what I have for now. That’s enough for me to hold onto right now. I have one of those seven weeks down, and six more to go. I won’t lie, it seems to be going by fast, and that worries me a bit. I’m just trying not to focus on that part, not now, anyway. J brought up a good point, though. When I renewed the sessions, they asked what I was seeing her for, and I said trauma. J said that when my six sessions were up, I may be able to tell them I’m having a separate issue (depression, stress, anxiety, etc.) and it may let me renew the sessions again. I don’t know if this will work, but I’m going to try it. I’m taking what I can! Until then, I’m alright for now. I’m just focusing on short term – it helps. That was the first of many things I have adding to my stress right now. The insurance has caused a lot of problems. The past several weeks, my T has been urging me to get back on my medication. I didn’t listen at first – I told her I felt fine. She kept telling me that I was GOING to feel fine for a while, but that the medication would wear off and eventually, I wouldn’t be fine anymore. I thought she was wrong. I had been off my medication for a month with no issues so I really didn’t think it would get bad. As you probably guessed, I was wrong. If I wasn’t wrong, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing about it. Things started getting bad around the same time I found out about my dad. While I think the stuff with my dad contributed to how lousy I was feeling, I really don’t think that was the only cause of my slip back down. It couldn’t have been. That all happened on a Thursday and I had it (mostly) sorted out by Friday, but I was still…not good. I decided that J was right and I needed back on my medication. The only problem was, I had been off my meds for over a month. I didn’t know if I could just go back to the same dose because I was on such a high dose. When I first started the medication, I had to work up to that dosage. So, getting back on it, I didn’t know if I would have to start at a lower dose again. I REALLY didn’t want to call my pdoc and ask. I didn’t want to hear the lecture about not taking them or deal with them being rude because I messed up again. J had told me to call that day, but with everything going on with my dad, I forgot. I really was going to suck it up and do it, but I didn’t think about it. The next day, I remembered. It was about 4:45pm and I thought they closed at 5, so I was just in time. I called, but I got the message saying that they closed at 4:00pm. Great. That meant I would have to wait until Monday. Things got progressively worse over the weekend. I started cutting again. Which, wasn’t super new, but I had been trying to stop. I just didn’t see many other options. I was overwhelmed and I felt alone and…well…I don’t know. I do it a lot when I feel alone. I felt hopeless. Monday came and I remembered to call. I asked them first, how much an office visit would be without insurance. I don’t know what I really expected, but I wasn’t pleased with the answer. She told me it would be $140. There it was – another wall. How am I supposed to afford that? A hundred and forty bucks to sit in a chair while someone writes me a prescription? No way. I can’t do that. But, my next appointment isn’t until May so I’m not too worried about it right this second. I’ll worry about it later. I can only focus on one thing at a time and that’s not on the top of my priority list. Then, I confessed what I had done. I told her how long I had been off my meds and that I wasn’t sure if it was okay to start back at such a high dose. I THOUGHT I was prepared for the backlash. Apparently, I wasn’t. She was so rude to me. Her tone, her words…the way she belittled me and made me feel stupid. Honestly, the medication got screwed up when I went on vacation. I just never started it back when I got home. And aside from that, does this not happen a lot? Am I the ONLY person that has felt better and thought they didn’t need medication anymore??? J has told me that the doctors are used to this. It happens a lot, especially in patients with mood disorders, like me. Things get better, you think you don’t need meds, you quit taking them, then things get bad. It happens. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but I don’t think she had any excuse to be so rude to me. Anyway, she told me that she would have to call my doctor and find out and they would call me back the next day. I wasn’t upset about having to wait on a phone call, but I WAS upset about how I was treated. I already felt worthless and stupid and she just added to that. Confirmed all of the negative things I felt about myself. I was done. All I could think about was hurting myself. To top it off, I got in a fight with my friend. The one I mentioned up there that I need a name for? Yep, that’s the one. It was so dumb, and I know it was my own fault, but I just felt miserable. I felt like I had no one. I decided then that I was going to finish everything I had to do that day, and then I was going home, and I was going to slit my wrists and kiss the world goodbye. It wasn’t a passing thought. I had this made up in my mind. I wasn’t going to change my mind. There was nothing anyone could say to make me want to live like this anymore. I wanted out. I wanted the thoughts to stop and I wanted the ache in my chest to go away and I wanted to escape this thing we call life. I was done. I was messing everything up anyway, so, why not? No one was going to miss me, things would be better without me, and I would be free. After I had this made up in my mind, I posted on AS. I didn’t want anyone to find out about my death and think it came out of nowhere. I felt I owed some sort of…heads up. Not really an explanation, but a warning. I posted that I was done living, and that was that. It was almost over. I finished work, went to my piano lesson, and went home. I skipped dinner. It was kind of late, I was in my room, I was alone, and it was time. This was the end. I started to cry. Was I really going to end my life? Was this really it for me? At 23 years old, my life was going to be over. Unmarried, no children…but I was done. I decided to check AS before doing it. Curiosity got the best of me. When I looked, it seemed like no one thought I was serious, or it really was just that no one cared. In fact, I got a PM that made me feel even more like I was screwing everything up and making people miserable. I logged off, put my laptop down, and grabbed a blade. Then I got a text. It was the friend I keep mentioning that doesn’t have a name. Let me clarify a couple of things here. She and I talk nearly every day. We hardly ever miss. At least one message to check in every day. It’s just…how it is. I’m usually the one to reach out though. If I don’t message first, we don’t talk. Usually. It’s been that way for… a while. So, when my phone went off and I saw it was her, I set the blade down. I wiped the tears from my face, and I responded back. We kind of talked about this night after it happened, but I don’t think she knows that she may have saved my life that night. I didn’t want her to think my life was her responsibility, so I didn’t tell her that part. We talked for the rest of the night. We put everything out in the open and worked everything out. Just like we always do. I went to sleep that night and I was safe. I was alive. And for the first time that day, tomorrow didn’t seem so bad. I could make it another day. I never heard from my pdoc the next day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. But I did have therapy on that third day. I told her about Monday night (as recommended by that one nameless friend) and I told her about the pdoc. We agreed at this point that I needed the medication. With everything that happened just a few days prior, I actually WANTED to be on the medication again. I even told J that. Regardless of what I wanted though, they still hadn’t called me back. I felt stuck. I had about 10 minutes left of my session and J said she would call the pdoc with me in case they were rude or unhelpful. So, I called and put it on speaker with J right next to me. I’m sure you guessed this, but I’m going to tell you anyway. They weren’t rude at all. I mean, of course not. J likely thought it was all in my head! They gave me the answers I needed and we moved on. Maybe it all worked out for the best. J asked me if it was close to time for me to refill my prescriptions. I told her that it should be about time, but I never used any of the ones I filled last time. I have an entire month’s worth of medication sitting in a bag in my closet, untouched. She said even so, I should refill them before I lose insurance. She’s very smart. I did that and it was pretty easy. No pain in that process. When I picked them up, I asked the girl at the pharmacy how much this would cost without insurance. If my co-pay was $45, I wanted to know how much it actually costs. She told me that ONE of my three medications, is over $1,700 without insurance. WHAT? That’s just for one of them! Altogether, the three medications will cost over $2,300 a month. I don’t even make that much money! I have a little over 2 month’s worth of meds. After that? I have no clue what I’m going to do. Not any idea. Even as I write this, I have no solution for that. If you have any ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments! I welcome any and all suggestions! With no insurance, I have no way to afford T, pdoc, medication… nothing. I was just starting to get back on track with all of this. Then the universe was like ‘LOL, you thought’ and now I’m a puddle of overwhelmed cluelessness and questions that don’t have answers. Maybe that’s what has been causing my recent slip. Maybe… You see, I started self-harming again almost a month ago, but it wasn’t frequent. Maybe once or twice a week. Maybe less than that. Somewhere along the way, it started becoming more frequent. I couldn’t stop. Something about etching red tally marks into my hips became intoxicating again. Once I have the blade in my hand, I can hardly put it down. I don’t know what makes me stop every night. I guess that’s my point. I’m doing it every night. My hips are trashed - nearly unrecognizable as flesh. I’ve been dreaming about red baths and stitches. With the slightest upset, my first thought is cutting. When I feel alone, I tell myself not to worry – I still have my blades. They’re always there. They never leave. I can rely on them. I can trust them. They’re safe. How ironic is that? The very thing I use to tear my flesh apart is the same thing I call ‘safe’. That’s what all of this is, isn’t it? A big, heaping plate of irony. This whole story, everything I’ve poured out on this paper today, the words fleeting from my fingertips…it’s irony. The fact that I was feeling safe with J and then the world came crashing down and I don’t know how much time I have left with her? Ironic. The fact that I wanted to kill myself, but I was saved by a text from someone I was fighting with? Ironic. Let’s not forget that I finally decided to try medication again and it isn’t even in the BALLPARK of being affordable. Ironic. I know, this took a weird turn and became super negative. This is the most I’ve spoken about how much I’ve been cutting though. No one, and I mean NO ONE, knows that I’m doing it every day. It’s like part of a damn routine. I’m still deciding if I want to tell J any of this tomorrow. I’ve kind of enjoyed keeping it a secret. Well…it was a secret. Until I typed it here and started shouting it from the rooftops. Well, friends, this is where I am right now. Before you ask, no, I’m not okay. I’m trying to act fine, I guess with hopes that in time, I WILL be fine. But right now, I’m not fine. I’m a mess. And I’m dealing with it in ways that I shouldn’t. Hopefully, the medication kicks in soon and everything will be better. Maybe in a short amount of time, I will have answers to all of these floating questions, and I’ll have solutions to all of my detested problems. For now, I’m just going to not be okay. I’m going to keep forcing a smile until my cheeks are sore and I can’t any longer. I think at this point, it’s all I really can do. With all my love (I still have some of that), Poppy
  23. J_123


    im new here, and idk where to begin. less than a week ago i went to a party with my friend who is a girl and i was drugged and raped by my ex boyfriend. I woke up with no clothes on and i was next to him. im so hurt and scared and idk who to tell
  24. This post has some strong references to ED behaviors. Please don't read ahead if you are not in the mind to do to. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. I stared at this blank page for HOURS last night trying to decide how to start this blog and honestly debating on if I even wanted to post it. Time was fleeting, and I was struggling. It seemed as though all of my efforts to try to collect my thoughts were in vain because simply put – this is hard to write about. I tried to find another topic to write about today – I really did. But there was nothing going on that was worthy and being written down and this has been pressing on the forefront of my mind the past several days. I guess that’s my mind’s way of saying it’s time to deal with this and get it out in the open. It’s a funny little thing called emotional abuse. I know I spoke about emotional abuse in my last blog, but I didn’t really delve into everything that goes on in my household that constitutes as emotional abuse. I talked about how I have dealt with emotional abuse from my mother, but not so much what came from my father. My mother had more of an emotional neglect sort of abuse. My father… well, I’ll tell you about his. I’d like to say I’m very resilient and that words don’t affect me, but I’d be lying. Words hurt me more than physical abuse ever has. It has taken me a very long time to call this emotional abuse. My T has tried to explain emotional abuse to me several times, but I always deny that that is, indeed, what this is. I guess part of me bringing this up this week is because I’m finally admitting to myself what this is. I’ve always had a fear of talking about this – especially here. It’s hard to look at my situation and believe it has the same damaging effects as some of the trauma that people here have gone through. I was told growing up that I wasn’t allowed to be sad or upset because my biological parents are married. Because for some reason, that meant my life was perfect. So how could I possibly call this abuse when my life was so perfect all the time??? I developed an eating disorder when I was 15 years old. I was formally diagnosed with bulimia when I was 19. Part of me wants to blame this on my father, but part of me knows that he may not be the sole cause for my eating disorder. I know that I have other issues that factor into this, but I can’t help but think he planted a seed somewhere along the way. My mother and father both exercise regularly and eat healthy. I don’t. Not as consistently as they do. So, for that, there’s always a bit of shame around me for being heavier than them and for eating more fast food than they do. And any time I eat out, I get an ear full about it. About how I need to stop doing it because I’m wasting money mostly, but there’s also the underlying reason of ‘because you’re fat’. My dad wasn’t always the fit man he is now though. My dad was a lot heavier at one point in his life. One day he buckled down to lose weight, and he did. And ever since then, it’s been a lecture to me about being fit. But not only does he “encourage” (I use that term loosely) me to live a healthier lifestyle, he also makes unnecessary comments that drive me to a state of starvation and purging. One of my favorites is when I’ve not eaten all day and it’s 4 o’clock on the afternoon. I wander into the kitchen looking for some sort of sack or meal and I get welcomed with a, “Hey, little piggy. Coming to belly up to the trough?” To which I respond with a polite ‘no,’ and walk away hungry. He uses that one a lot. There was a time not too long ago that I had dropped a lot of weight. It was the smallest I had been in YEARS. But I was hardly eating. I was on an exercise program, but I was never hungry and furthermore, I wanted to be small. It was easier to not eat. So I would come in from a workout and grab something small so my parents would see me eating. But then it became, “Are you just eating that now so you can go eat in your closet later?” followed by an eruption of laughter from both him, and my mother. That comment lead into several jokes about eating in secret and purging. They thought it was hilarious. They had no idea that I was already hardly ever keeping any food down. There are more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Anything about food results in me being called fat in some way, shape, or form, or it leads to a string of jokes about bulimia. I can’t eat a proper meal without being judged. But my father gets mad if I talk about being nervous to eat in front of people. How does he not know that HE instilled this fear in me? The other half of his “jokes” aren’t any better. They’re more about how I also wasn’t the smart kid. His favorite line used to be “you’re a fat, stupid, loser,” but he hasn’t said that one in a while. Sometimes he just calls me ‘stupid.’ There was one day I was laying in bed, had just woken up but had my bedroom door open. He walked into my bedroom called me a ‘piece of garbage’ and walked away. All I did was exist. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet. While I realize these are all minor instances, when it goes on for years, it’s hard to “brush it off” and move on. To know that my dad feels so ashamed of me for being overweight and to know he thinks so little of my self-worth that he could actually tell me I would never amount to anything, hurts. I was never physically abused by my father. He’s never laid a hand on me. But his words have hurt me. So, in closing, I guess I should say that I don’t forgive him. Not yet. I’m still trying to fix the pieces of what HE messed up. The parts of me that he shattered with his words and his shame. I am trying to learn that I’m still valuable in some way or that I have some worth and hopefully one of these days, I will see that. Until then, I’m going to eat my pizza, and I’m not sharing. Hope you’re all doing well and thank you for taking the time to read. Hopefully next week I’ll have something a bit more exciting to write about! Sending happy thoughts, Poppy
  25. music24

    I'm lost

    I'm so lost idk what to do. Trigger warning! A few months ago i was sexually assualted. A little background on me I come from an abusive background as a kid and i am not good at expressing my feelings. So To clear my mind I go for walks usually at night when my mindset gets really bad. I really am not able to tell people this part, i'm suicidal. and I have had this mindset since I was 13 and Im 19 now... Going back to what happened a few months ago, I was at my university and it was around 1 am and i was feeling really low and down and like I was going to do something that was irreversible and i was alone. My roomate was hanging out with her friend. so i went for a walk and after that I was never the same. what happened ill never forget. But I couldnt remember for the longest time but recently i remebered all of it and im in a really bad place. I was walking across campus to go to a spot that I usually sit at and im going to just fast foward to when it happened. I was walking and I saw something and my headphones were in so I turned around and i saw a sudden movement so i got scared and started to turn away and Then someone grabbed my leg.. I was so fucking scared. and then i looked and there were two guys and They started grabbing me and trying to take off my clothes and then i kept trying to get away but it hurt when i resisted. so i shut down mentally and then itwas in flashes what happened next. Then there was only one guy and he was grabbing my boobs and trying to take off my pants and he was kissing me an d I wanted to die. Then he licked the side of my face and the smell of his breath... I can still smell it sometimes... then he shoved his hands down my pants and put his dirty disgusting fingers in side me an d it hurt so much. His nails were chipped and then his pants were unbuckled. And then i guess someone yelled something and he turned and then i was running and i couldnt stop running. I tried getting help later on but no one seems to give a fuck. and i cant do this. I cant live with this. there are too many other things going on right now.
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