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Found 33 results

  1. Hello, all. Did you all enjoy NOT hearing about my schoolwork? I hope so, because I HAVE enjoyed not bitching about certain classes and papers that I really didn't want to write. Of course, these were for the 'required' classes not pertaining to my social work major and it would only be natural for me to complain about those. I will say though, that when I return to campus in a couple weeks, I'll be TRYING to refrain from giving my (former) Government professor a glare for giving me the only B grade of my last semester - it was a damned B-PLUS, he couldn't have let me have the A-minus???? Hmmmph. I promise, although this blog has SOME (really, just a little bit) to do with what I'll be taking in my spring semester, it's going to be more focused on a bigger problem I'm noticing and realizing that we have in today's world. Perhaps this is the main reason for me not being able to, for the life of me, come up with a good title for this blog entry. It's just...something has been on my mind for the last couple of days, and it's really messing with my ability to come up with something more inviting to put down as a title. What I'm about to discuss has left me mentally speechless in some ways. I'll try to make as much sense as possible, though, so, bear with me, please. My Intro to Child Welfare class's (the one 8am class that I have this semester) syllabus was released over the weekend. Now, you'd think that since I still have just under two weeks' vacation remaining, I'd only glance at it and get an idea of what textbooks I'll need, or that I'd MAYBE get a head start on some of the reading, but no. I've already read through the instructions for the two papers that I'll be expected to write, and it's already been (jokingly, but sadly, also accurately) suggested that I might be FINISHED with these papers before the class even starts on the 21st. (Go ahead and chuckle. I did.) Anyway, my Child Welfare professor has already released all of the supplemental readings needed - the articles that we won't be finding in our textbooks and that we'll be discussing in class. I opened up the document and started reading. It was a compilation of child abuse cases that, sad to say, did not yield a happy ending for the dozen or so children written about. The articles are nothing short of heartbreaking, and his intent, I want to say, is to demonstrate that there are cases that do indeed fall through the cracks, and that there are certainly flaws in the child welfare system, and there have been, for a very, VERY long time. There have been WAY too many losses, and WAY too many children have fallen victim to it. The system is in dire need of rectifying, but this is truly a process and requires for a LOT of corrections along the way, re-writing of policies and all of that fun stuff I'm still only beginning to learn about. One story in particular, I remember very clearly from 1987 - I was eight, at the time. The story of little Lisa Steinberg, a six-year-old forever-angel who was beaten into a coma by her (illegally!) adoptive father, Joel Steinberg, who was at the time, a defense attorney. In a rage, he beat Lisa to a bloodied pulp, to include dealing a traumatic blow to her head, and left her bleeding and bruised and alone before going to some kind of social event. Steinberg's common law wife, Hedda Nussbaum, found Lisa unresponsive, but alive, the NEXT FUCKING MORNING, and called 911. Nussbaum claimed she was also abused regularly by Joel, and that her crime was neglecting to report the abuse of Lisa, who, after this particular beating, was in a coma for three days before being taken off life support. Fifteen minutes after being disconnected, Lisa gained her wings, and the only consolation to the millions who would grieve a child they'd never met, was that her suffering had ended. This was one of the nation's WORST cases of child abuse. It was a MAJOR news story that I remember watching, seeing the headlines and even crying for Lisa, who was only a couple years younger than me. Just a little girl, just like me. And her father had killed her. I was able to identify the piece-of-shit's face without seeing his name - as soon as I read about what he'd done, his face was permanently etched into memory. I remember being more appreciative of MY father, who had NEVER raised a hand to me in anger. I remember thinking, this never happened to me - I wasn't abused. LISA was abused. Child abuse meant beatings, it meant being forced to eat their own feces, it meant being locked in closets, it meant being tied to radiators, it meant starvation. It meant one or both of the child's parents had harmed them terribly, and had put them either in the hospital or in coffins. This wasn't something I'd experienced, so I felt, for lack of a better explanation, unable to fully empathize with Lisa and what she might have gone through at the hands of her adoptive parents. There was always a sadness in me, though, from when I first heard her tragic story - perhaps I understood her pain in a different way, but at the time, I couldn't make any connections. (I'm gonna come back to this....because now there's another thought forming....just wanna finish up on this, first...) A lot of time has gone by. Eventually little Lisa's story had faded, but I'd never forgotten about this little girl - ever. And when I opened this article and saw Joel Steinberg's monstrous face, along with his wife's negligent bit*h-face, (I'm sorry, she's just as guilty as he, if you ask me - she testified against her husband, I think, mainly so she could avoid severe punishment for her negligence!) it all came flooding back. I probed deeper, and did more reading (on my own) on this case - to refresh my memory. In doing so, I learned that Steinberg was released from prison in the early 2000's and is now a free man, living in New York City. What the fuck????? HOW does a monster like this survive a stint in prison after murdering a little girl?? HOW has he not been knifed down in the middle of Times Square? HOW? I know this was a lifetime ago. People forget, people probably WANTED to forget, and as soon as he was put away, (for 29 years? Does that even seem fair?) they considered justice for Lisa served. Life went on, more and different horror stories have emerged, and that face I'd memorized - became DIFFERENT faces. I also have to consider that the Lisa Steinberg case is probably one that most of my classmates don't remember, as it occurred long before any of them were born. I remember it, though, and I remember Lisa. It is my hope, though, that when my classmates hear her story for the first time, that they, too, recognize just HOW flawed the child welfare system is - just HOW unnecessary it was for these beautiful children to die, and that we're just going to have to do better, to keep MORE children from being hurt or worse. And now the other thought...I did tell you I'd get to it.... When I was still young, (maybe 10ish?) I remember the Oompa watching One Life to Live. I may be wrong on the name, but I knew that it was a cheesy soap that, I think, is still being aired today, despite said cheesiness. For some reason, I was home from school - and was sitting in the living room with my mother while she watched her soap. There was a rape - on the show. I remember the man pinning the woman to the bed, and the woman fighting him. The man also struck her a couple of times. I asked my mother what was happening, and she said, 'he raped her.' "What does that mean?" I asked her. "It means the man forced the woman to have sex with him." "Oh," I said. I probably went back to whatever I was doing, but do recall that graphic scene on television bothering me. Not to the point where it was triggering anything, but it is something I STILL remember. Perhaps it is because I'd have an experience a few years later and I'd mentally come back to it, but, who knows? That was the day that I learned what rape was, by my mother's definition. Granted, I don't think a child my age would have been able to handle elaboration on what ELSE rape was, but for the moment, I knew what it looked like. I was able to recognize my own sexual assault at 17 as a rape - based on my mother's definition. The man who did this to me - forced me to have sex with him. It wasn't verbatim with what happened on the soap opera, but it involved force and it involved violence. My own situation - there was no question about. My perpetrator hit me, pinned me and I fought for as long as I was able to. He had sex with me, and I didn't want it or ask for it or give my permission. That was rape. There was no question in my mind about that. Following so far...? Ok, good. Moving on. I now had my definitions of what child abuse and what rape were, without expanded understanding of the more serious, the more silent/unseen and potentially, the more deadly forms of both abuses. It's the same with Domestic Violence. I'd always thought that it meant one spouse was physically abusing the other - and gave no second thought to the gaslighting, the mental, the verbal and the emotional abuse my own husband was dishing out - that, I thought was because I was a miserable wife, I was too damaged to be what he wanted me to be. I wasn't even considering that one isolated incident during the end-stages of our marriage, when divorce was already in progress, when he'd had sex with me AFTER my telling him that our physical relationship was over. In my mind, it was more helpful to consider it a 'last hurrah,' and that we WERE still legally married at the time, so....what's one more time with the father of my children? This wasn't rape - it didn't happen like it did in the soap opera, it didn't happen like it did when I was 17. This didn't count. But....guess what? Yes, it does. It counts. And even though I was never beaten by my parents, there was still child abuse...there was abuse by someone else, and potentially my mother's relationship with denial, that left no visible marks. There was abuse of my mind, also leaving no marks visible to the naked eye. At least, nothing ever was confirmed, on account of my having no memory of anything that could be submitted as evidence that it was truly CSA that happened to me. The CSA, I felt existed solely because of my behaviors as a child - a child who wasn't exposed to sex or sexual activity at a young age likely would NOT have behaved in the same way. There is plenty written about my story in previous blog entries, so if you'd like elaboration on this or on the rest of it, feel free to look for the blog entry titled "Installment One: The Formative Years.' Even though there were no beatings from my husband, there was still domestic violence. I was still afraid of him, but not because of what he would physically do - more so what he'd say, how he'd manage to make me feel two inches tall using just his words. I'm no longer married to him and no longer live with him, but he STILL holds an element of power and control over me, where he needs only make one statement, and over and over again, the things I want to and have said, are reduced to mere whispers that no one can hear over his higher-than-thou opinion. He's always right, I'm always wrong, even though we're not having to make joint decisions on things having nothing to do with the kids we share. Friends - we as a society, are in trouble. If 'trouble' isn't the best word, then at the very least, we have a very serious problem. I told myself a long time ago, (okay, it was perhaps not that long ago, as my own realizations manifested and sunk in only a few short years ago) that I wouldn't lie to myself anymore, and that I was going to do the best I could in encouraging others to not discount, dismiss or make light of any of their experiences, because - they all count. ANYTHING that has made us feel badly about ourselves - counts. We MUST take a few minutes to re-define what all is involved in this trifecta of abuses. Every day, there are survivors questioning themselves and their experiences, even invalidating themselves when it's, in all honesty, not fair to themselves to be doing so. Perhaps you've also been told what something was - your definitions were obtained without elaboration on what ELSE it could pass for, and you've had to take someone's word for what child abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence truly was. It leaves WAY too much room for misinterpretation and self-doubt and that is, I believe, what makes it MORE tragic. Maybe our abusers, themselves, forced a definition onto us from an early age? (For example, CSA doesn't always physically hurt - sometimes it doesn't go beyond fondling and inappropriate touch, and this child might have been told 'if I'm not hurting you, how can this be bad?,' or 'this is how I show you love.') See what a clusterfuck that can cause in one's mind??? And furthermore, what damage it can continue to do, should we allow ourselves to believe the definitions that others want us to believe? Rape isn't always violent. Sometimes it's silent, sometimes the word 'no' is NOT even uttered. Sometimes it's done as a result of coercion, so that one doesn't have to deal with confrontation or with making their assailant angry or hurt their feelings. Oftentimes, rape is committed because we simply don't fight it....and for whatever reason we choose not to fight, we MUST know that there was a deep, meaningful, VALID reason for it and that it doesn't, in any way, make it okay! If it wasn't wanted, if it wasn't one THOUSAND percent agreed to with an emphatic 'YES,' then it was wrong. And, this is a new one for me - but even within a marriage, mutual consent should always be given. If crystal clear, conscious, SOBER consent was not given, we should ALL be allowed to consider that it was the wrong thing. PLEASE remember all of this. PLEASE expand your definitions, friends, because your feelings DO MATTER. CSA doesn't always hurt. Child abuse goes beyond beatings or starvings. We can't always see child abuse, whether we've experienced it ourselves and suffered no physical pain - or we know someone else who has experienced it. The system continues to fail SO many beautiful, innocent, PERFECT children. Consider the ways the system has failed YOU - because it has. It's failed me, too. I'm sorry to all of my friends who were failed as children - this, I understand all too well. Tell yourselves that it doesn't necessarily have to hurt, and that this was NOT love, even though someone you trusted may have told you otherwise. That's a truth you deserve to know, too, and a truth you're ALLOWED to recognize and adopt as your own. And how about that wife whose husband tells her (you may place me in this category) that if she's not having the shit beat out of her on a regular basis, then she has no reason to complain? She has everything she needs - a roof over her head, a spouse that provides, what's she got to complain about? When in reality, she has a lot indeed to be upset about, that initial definition of domestic violence, that definition that doesn't quite apply, is blocking any and all rational thought beyond what you've already defined. If this is you, and you're also that person dealing with a verbally abusive spouse, please know that you're in JUST as much danger as you would be if your spouse is throwing punches - and you don't deserve that shit! You DON'T, no matter how much they may make you feel that you do. I'm also realizing as I embark further onto this journey into the helping profession that there is so much anger within me - that this line of work I've chosen is either going to make or break me. On one hand, I'm not going to be able to become too emotionally invested in any one child's (or survivor's of rape, domestic violence, etc) case - but on the other, I'm going to see and hear a whole lot that pisses me off and I'm going to be finding myself increasingly disgusted with our broken system and frustrated that I'm just one piddly cog within the whole of it. And because I have experience with pretty much every form of abuse under the sun, I'm going to have a deeper understanding of why things are second-guessed, why there are suspected 'gray areas' (and I'm not saying they're there - I'd rather say they DON'T exist because to say there is one, allows for more room for self-doubt) and why certain things are a constant, continuous struggle and why healing seems so complicated at times. I know this Child Welfare class, once in full swing, is going to take a toll on my emotional state, mainly because I'm going to be reading about actual cases of abused children and in learning more about the variety of ways they were failed where they could have been HELPED, where they could have been SAVED, I'm going to hurt. Over and over, I'm going to find myself either crying for them or wanting their abusers to pay a bigger price for their crimes. If these pieces of shit are not on death row, scheduled to be executed, then they're not paying and they'll NEVER truly pay for the innocent life they've destroyed, but that's just my opinion. NO ONE who hurts a child, or abuses another person in ANY WAY, deserves a mere slap on the wrist or to be walking free...but that is not my jurisdiction nor my choice to make. This, like many other things, is out of my hands. My primary focus will be on helping those who HAVE suffered abuse at the hands of another - be it physical, mental, verbal, emotional, medical, elder, or sexual - and capitalizing on how I can help them to heal from these wounds. It's my goal to show them that none of these marks, be they visible ones or otherwise, are their fault and that there is NO justifying abuse of any kind. There's NO excuse for any of it. My mission is to keep reminding others of that. Every day for the rest of my life, if need be. One man, woman, child, day, email, phone call, blog post at a time, in hopes that those cogs that surround me that are still grinding and stuck, will eventually begin to turn again, and that this system that is so fucking miserably broken will start to work as it should. I'm sorry this blog entry was a bit on the deeper side, tonight - I just didn't expect to be re-acquainted with Lisa, and those children with stories like Lisa's, so soon. Or maybe I did. I AM going into social work, after all - did I really think this was going to be easy? I guess I just need to brace myself because I am starting to see a whole lot of ugly that could have been prevented and need to be prepared to have these horror stories repeatedly thrown in my face. Shit's getting real, and I'm hoping I made the right choice. I can tell that this is just one of many future rants I may make on broken systems and perpetrators who deserve to die. In closing, a little advice for those of you who have been reading up until this point...(thank you, by the way!) Don't doubt yourself. If it feels wrong, it was wrong. Don't minimize, or allow anyone else to tell you that what you've experienced was 'no big deal,' 'small,' or 'insignificant,' because that's NOT true. Take a minute (or a few) to self-validate, to re-define, to tell yourself (repeatedly if needed) that your trauma was 100 percent real and that you deserve to be believed. You deserve for your voice to be heard, no matter your age. I know I said I was starting my 2020 eat-healthier plan this week, but that's going out the window; at least, for tonight. I barely touched my dinner earlier, and now that I've purged all of the thoughts of the last couple of nights onto this page, I'm wanting to comfort-eat - and so, I shall. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to sleep tonight - it's been a battle with the tossy-turnies all week. While I'm tired, I'm still not sleeping as well as I should be. At this rate, going back to school could be easier to adapt to - or harder. We'll see. On that note, I'm wishing you all a good day/evening - depending on what part of the globe you're tuning in from. My love and hugs to you all! - Capulet
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Ok so I posted a tiny bit and I didn't die. So far. My anxiety has been high, so my body definitely thinks it's going to die, but it's a false alarm. I haven't been sleeping well at all. Even with an as needed anxiety med, and a sleeping pill, and some bedtime tea, and some CBD oil. Don't worry, I didn't overdo it. Just one of each. I just want to pass the fuck out and turn my brain off for a while. Writing what I did made me remember a few things, like the glass pudding dishes. Like how I knew the taste of my mother's fury when I was so very little. It tasted like a penny in my mouth. That was probably because getting backhanded often also lead to getting a split lip. Her temper was the taste of my blood. No wonder I fucking hate her so much. If you asked me three months ago, do I hate her? I would have said no, I just don't want to have anything to do with her. She hasn't earned the right to be in my life. This is why my kids never knew her as a grandma. But now... Now I guess some things were festering. I feel like a shitty person because I honestly wouldn't be sad if karma caught up to her. I don't want her to suffer a long agonizing death, per se... I just wouldn't think the world would be a worse place without her in it. For a very long time I held all the anger in. I didn't want her to do anything but ADMIT that she believed me. I mean for fucks sake she walked in on him touching me so many times. How could she deny it? Then after my Daughter was born I moved back to the state I grew up in. We were going to be within 30 miles of her. I knew I had to confront her. For the sake of my kids. I had to draw a clear line. (Though looking back on it now, damn near 20 years later, I had grounds to cut ties with her based solely on the physical abuse alone.) But I was young, and hopeful thatshe'd somehow want to change. So we met for coffee. Just a small tourist diner, the lot was filled with trucks pulling fishing boats. I walk in and see her and the waitress comes over and says "oh wow, this must be RR, well you've grown haven't you." The irony is that my mom picked this place because she wanted someplace not in her small town and not in mine. I think she was hoping to not know anyone. The second irony is that aside from having hair the same colorbut several shades darker than hers, we look very much alike. There is no denying the family connection. Not at all. So I tell her that absolutely my stepdad (the one from the previous post, yup I called him my dad in that one- I didn't know he was my stepdad until I was 18) is not allowed to have any contact with my children. None. She gets huffy about this. I say if she wants to come see them she's welcome to come to my place and see them. It's not who you trust with your kids that matters, it's who they trust. She gets pissy cuz she knows I just implied she might allow them to be eaten by a pack of wolves. She says "what do you want me to do RR? Go home and kill him and spend the rest of my life in jail?" I say " don't be ridiculous, I just want you to believe me." "And if I believe you, then what? Huh? I go home and kick him out and spend the rest of my life alone? I'm not going to do that to myself." The place was about half full. Not too busy. I remember my face felt hot. She chose him over me so many times. Sacrificed my innocence to keep him in her life. She knew that any decent person who believed the truth would be morally obligated to act. She knew. And she was deliberately chosing to remain in denial. She knew the truth. She knew the truth! I stood up and pulled out my wallet and fumbled around for a 5. I was shaking. Finally I said, loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear. "Ok, well I hope you have fun sleeping with a child molester for the rest of your life!!" And turned around and walked past the waitress, handed her the money, and walked out to my car. I was shaking. I was so mad. Not that I ever had any doubts about how she felt about me. I was a nuisance. I was the unwanted surprise baby. I was her bastard firstborn. I somehow drove through my tears and then I thought, "that was cruel, I can't just leave it like that" so I pulled off. She was driving behind me and pulled up a few car lengths behind me when she saw me pull over. I got out of my car and she got out of her truck and we were both crying. She came over and have me a hug and I said "I'm sorry mom" "I know, I know" "I love you" "I love you too" "But I'm not going to let you hurt me anymore. Goodbye" She stiffened and turned and walked back to her truck. She drove off around me, back home to him, the one she chose. I sat there in my car crying for a long time, until I finally told myself to suck it up. Then I drove home to my babies. The thing about it is I had a head injury like 10 years after this confrontation with my mother. My memory for certain things anymore is just shit. I can't remember what I ate for breakfast, where I left something. I always have to write down my to do list or I'll forget half of it. Before I had a decent memory. But now, not so much. Why couldn't the part of my brain that got damaged have been the part that remembers the smell of my mother's lipstick as he smeared it on my lips, the taste of his tongue in my mouth? The smell of safeguard soap and old spice after shave? The sound of him brushing off his foot with his hand before he put his socks and boots on? Why couldn't that memory have been the one erased in a car wreck? RR
  13. 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.
  14. I had never experienced a complete lack of appetite like this before. At first my stomach burned, but after a week the sharp empty pain in my belly let up. I knew I needed to eat, I wasn't trying to die, but I didn't feel hungry for anything. I forced myself to eat once a day. No biggie, I thought to myself. It's not like I don't have belly jiggle to lose. Who cares if I lose a little bodyfat? That's not what happened though. The ache in my belly was replaced by a burning in my legs. My thigh muscles felt like they were on fire. My calf muscles have shrunk. A pair of thick knee-high grey and red wool socks that used to fit snug around my calves now sags down around my ankles. I've lost a major amount of muscle. Glutes, thighs, calves. My legs have gone missing. I didn't care enough about myself to care that I was hungry or uncomfortable. It was more like, up 'til now I took care of myself as an afterthought or while I was in the process of caring for others. I'd stopped cooking. I was so chronically exhausted that I just ate canned food. Most of the time I didn't even bother to heat it up. Cooking had been an act of love. A way to show the people around you that you care. Feeding others was one of my go to ways to show love. The realization that I never really learned how to value myself. I never learned how to love myself enough to care that I was wasting away. I didn't love myself enough to care that I was so deeply uncomfortable. To care that the muscles in my lower body were shriveling up and dissolving away. My once strong legs were now shakey when I did get out of bed. Walking to the bathroom felt like running a marathon. I felt unsteady and fragile physically and mentally. The shame of not knowing how to love me. Of never having learned how to love myself. I was a fraud. Thinking with a depressed brain made this feel worse. It magnified the shame. I was a fraud and I am a fraud. I have cared for babies and kids, old ladies and teenagers, but I don't know how to care for me? Well, just look at me. I'm a trainwreck. I wouldn't trust me to plantsit right now. I'm too deep in the muck. "You can't love anyone else until you learn to love yourself." Yea, that saying is BS. You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself first, sure...ok...I'll buy that line. But love, no. It's totally possibly to love someone and not really care that much about yourself at all. To not have ever learned to love yourself. I call bullshit on that saying. I hated goals, they seemed so pointless. Why have a goal if it seemed like whenever you really wanted something, had your heart set on it, it was the job of every adult to put up hurdle after hurdle? Don't get me wrong, I still accomplished things, I just thought capital G Goals were for someone else. They were for little girls who had moms who dressed them carefully and did their ponytails before sending them off to girl scout meetings. I thought of myself as endlessly more flexible than that. My own superpower was that I adapted to anything. I rolled with the punches. I changed plans suddenly when I was unexpectedly left in charge of Lb and Ls and about a hundred cousins. "Don't worry, RR can handle it." My mother's voice rang in my head. And you know what? I did handle it. Because I had to. Because who else was going to do it? Goals were stupid. My goal that I wanted to be comfortable was stupid. When the fuck was that ever going to happen? Why did I even think it was possible in the first place? For a long time now I've considered myself a cautious optimist, my glass is two thirds full to allow for expansion due to freezing. Lol. Ok, it's a Minnesota joke. But it's also a joke about my only slightly positive self protective outlook. Protective because I expect people to let me down. I have to be the stable one for me and for the little kids. They needed me. I had to be strong. I trust very few people. My lack of trust is my protection against abuse and disappointment. It protected me from the million broken promises adults made to me when I was younger. It protects me from men who break their "rock solid" commitments. It protected me from a string of fake friends who were there for the sunny days and nowhere to be found when the downpour started. It helped me to protect Ls and Lb from my parents repeated broken promises. I knew they would probably fail us. I expected them to fail us. And they did, spectacularly. I was disconnected from my own body. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to blink and vanish from existence. I didn't want to die. Really, I didn't. I just wanted to never have existed in the first place. But I can't do that. I don't have the power to blink myself out of existence. Slowly I realize that obviously I need something to take care of, because I am not enough. Look at my chain of jobs I've had since as far back as I can remember. Taking care of Ls and Lb, my cousins, kids I babysat, clients at the nursing home, daycare kids, my own kids, kids at the school when I was a para, the tenth graders I tutored, hospice patients, the foster care kids I worked with, Alzheimer's patients, developmentally disabled clients at the group home, the kids on the school bus, my nieces and nephews... I literally have taken care of people from birth to death. And, somehow, I don't know how to take care of me? I don't know how to love me enough to care that I'm not taking care of myself. I am on the phone with the crisis line, the lady on the other end is talking me through the panic attack this realization triggered. I feel deeply deeply like a fraud. How the fuck can I not know this. It's basic shit, but I don't know how to love me. "Give me a puppy, a house plant, ANYTHING, and I take care of my basic needs as a necessary step to taking care of the other thing." I say. She says that she thinks I'm being too hard on myself. She is probably right. I say I hate goals but this is my short term goal, this is what I will do for me - when I am hungry, eat. I will do this for four days. That's all I feel like I can commit to. Four days of paying attention to if I'm hungry, and feeding myself. Four days of paying attention to my most primitive feelings and taking care of me. I say it's stupid. She says no, it is not. This is a perfectly attainable goal. It's good. Four days isn't too long. It's achievable. I say it's stupid and I'm stupid for having to even have this as a goal. "No, it is not. It is important." She has me repeat my goal and then use positive words to lock it in my brain in a positive mindset. "My goal is easy and attainable. My goal is easy and attainable. My goal is easy and attainable." If you'd asked me about basic hygiene being an act of love, I'd've said no, it is not. I have given baths/showers to maybe a hundred different people. Maybe more. As part of my job. But, if you really look at it when I first started helping Ls & Lb it was out of my love for them. My want to take care of them. To protect them. At the same time, my own self cares were so I didn't get smacked, or called stinky. So I wasn't physically or emotionally abused more. And mom was teaching me how (not) to love myself. How to (not) value myself. And S-dad was teaching me that I was not in control of my own body. I didn't get to use my voice to change things and make them better for me. But I did get to take care of Ls & Lb. I had a choice - lay there and listen to what the programming and the depression playing in my head said, or... don't. Or, instead, get up and do something for me. Brush my teeth, my hair, take care of this body that had for so long taken care of me, but I'd neglected for the past three months. Taking care of myself became a radical act of self love. It went against all the abuse. All my earliest programming that taught me how to think about me. All the teaching me that I wasn't worth it. So, slowly, I crawled out of the black hole I was sunk in. It's been a year and a half, and I'm still working on it. I told my siblings how bad it had gotten. I asked for help. I did physical therapy and saw my doctors. I did counseling. I feel like I'm not really quite "there" yet, but I'm working on it. Things are slowly getting better. A radical act of self love indeed. 💗 RR
  15. 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
  16. Alice24601

    Masquerade

    All these years I thought I was strong. I thought I was able to handle anything life threw at me, if I was just strong enough. So I played the role. And I believed it. I believed I was okay because the only other option was too hard to deal with. The truth is, I don't think I was strong enough to process everything I had gone through. So I threw it away. I got rid of my past and I made myself into someone else. The only problem was that I didn't know who I was. I still don't. I didn't forget my past, not entirely. I just choose not to remember it. Everytime I recount my history to someone, I speak about it as if I'm am reading facts from a textbook. That's all the past is anyway, right? Just facts. I only met myself feel emotions regarding my trauma a few times a year. And even then, I only let myself feel sadness about missing my dad and my childhood. I didn't let myself dwell on anything else about that situation. I was too busy with the present anyway. Struggling my way through middle school after moving states, and with my mom recently diagnosed with breastcancer. Living in an apartment with just her, trying to get by with money we could get from the state, since she was unemployed. Even after that chapter of my life has passed, and I had graduated from high school, I was still careful about what emotions I let myself feel. I have no real reason to be sad anyway, right? And what do all those emotions help with anyway? I know bottling up emotions is bad, so I wouldn't do that. I would dive in to books, or movies, or my own daydreams. I would let myself feel for those characters. I would immerse myself in those worlds, and let myself feel. Somehow, I was able to make all this work for me. Everyday life is so hectic anyway, so it was hard to tell there was anything wrong under the surface. I didn't even realize there was anything I was covering up, that's how good I was at it. So yes, I thought I was strong, and was still feeling that way until recently. Now, though, everyone is in quarantine. Life isn't so busy anymore. Those monsters under the surface, that I had hid even from myself, have started making waves. Of course, I noticed. "Oh," I thought. "There are some things I need to process. I can handle that. I have all the skills I need. I've been through so many forms of therapy, I don't need any help now. I can work through this on my own and be fine. This will be easy. I'll just work through it, and I'll know what to do as I go. This probably won't even hurt. I know what I'm doing now. Plus, everything happened so long ago, how could it hurt me now? I'm not afraid of my past. That all happened to a little girl. I'm an adult now. This will be no problem." So I went to face my monsters. I started out okay. It seemed like I could make this work. I kept going. I hit a wall. My brain is aware of what I'm trying to do, and won't put up with it. It gave me one small memory as a warning. It wasn't even much, and I had been expecting much worse as far as the content of the memories. I wasn't expecting the feelings that would come with them. The memory I received was enough to make me shutdown what I had been doing. "We don't want these memories," my brain tells me. "See how ugly they feel? See what I'm protecting you from? You're going to stop now, right?" But I don't know what to do now. If I'm having issues, I should deal with them, right? This is still recent, so I haven't unraveled the rest of my feelings about it yet. Hopefully I'll make another post soon. If you've read this far, then I would really appreciate it if you would comment below if you relate to this at all.
  17. I don’t expect anyone to read this. About two years ago I realized I didn’t make it up. The feeling can all at once and it was overwhelming. Terrifying. Horrifying. I was filthy, dirty, disgusting, used goods and completely ALONE. I couldn’t cope so I pushed it back down, but I couldn’t make it stop. It was always there. Dull-fever pain. You can live with it, but it makes your life miserable. Back and forth. It resurges and I push it down. I get triggered and I ignore it, or I trigger myself and sit with the pain for hours. I had a box in my mind. A maybe-rape box. A box that I told myself I made up. I joined AfterSilence yesterday and read some of the forums. I read stuff from 2004 and 2006. At times I gasped alone and jerked up in shock at how exactly I could relate. These people feel what I feel. I know they do. I know they do. I got some courage and texted a hotline. The lady told me it probably didn’t happen and now I am questioning everything I had learned to accept. Two years of trying to make peace with it and now I don’t know what to believe. Am I going crazy? Am I doing this to myself? Why would anyone do this to themselves? This is tourtue. I hate it. I would never choose this. Someone make it stop.
  18. All last night I had the same dream, over and over. The man who abused me as a child suddenly got charged (by another one of his victims) and was going to trial and I was called to testify before an entire room full of people. One of the jury memebers was someone I knew. The judge kept asking me for details. The whole room was silent, listening to me and I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even look up. I was so ashamed. I didn’t know how to tell them I had no evidence//that I couldn’t even remember. The judge wanted to know what he did and for how long. I knew what he did and sometimes during the dream (I had it repeatedly) I would be able to nod my head yes or no when asked these questions, but mostly I was just frozen. I had someone sitting next to me. I don’t know who. I couldn’t see his face, but he was a comforting presence to me. I would bury my head in his arm and when I could speak, I would mumble and he would repeat it louder for me. I felt so small. So small and helpless and stupid. I felt like an exhibit at the zoo with everyone watching me. I couldn’t tell them because I didn’t know and I felt like I didn’t belong there. Even if I did know how are you supposed to admit to these terrible things?
  19. It's been a rough, ROUGH few weeks. I'm not really wanting to rehash on things and put too many details here, but I did want to let everyone know that things have been stressful and difficult as of late. I'm still around, though, no worries!!! It seems that no matter what's happening in my life, this remains my safe space, the place where I feel most comfortable, and where I 'escape.' I know I've been extremely neglectful to my blog, my and to my kitchen sink, among other things. I've managed to autopilot through, though, and am starting to see some semblance of normalcy; it's been a while since there has been 'sunshine,' both literally and figuratively speaking. Some of my closest friends here already know a little bit about what's been going on in my life, and they have been absolutely amazing. My heartfelt thanks to those of you who were never without a kind word and those who have checked in or sent pick-me-ups my way. I'm a very fortunate woman, to know you and to call you friends! So, when it rains, it pours...there's a hell of a lot of truth to that statement. And when it's pouring out and things keep coming at you like those balls being whipped at you in the batting cages - you learn to compartmentalize and to recognize what you can handle now and what you should tuck away for later. Now that the storm has passed (somewhat) and the weather is becoming nicer and more bearable, I'm taking a peek at what's been in the back pocket of my brain for a few weeks. There's not TOO much in there due to my trying to tackle everything else that was coming at me at once - some things couldn't be put away. As many of you know, I'm finishing up my junior year at the University (been back for a year, after taking a hiatus!) and I'm just a few classes shy of my bachelor's in Social Work. I'm taking a Child Welfare class and it's taught by an excellent professor. The guy is knowledgeable, he engages, he's not boring, he keeps our attention - and that's not easy to do at 8 o'clock in the morning. Anyway, in preparation for our midterm, he was kind enough to reveal what one of the essay questions would be. "Identify the four types of child abuse and describe the indicators and signs that point to each." I mean, some of this - it's a no-brainer. You have your physical abuse cases (seeing burns, bruises, welts and spiral fractures on a child's body and the child's account most often not being consistent with the story the marks tell), there's neglect, which is marked by the child's appearace at times - the child who rummages through trash because they're hungry and are in search of food, the child who is unkempt or inappropriately dressed (flip-flops in December?) is likely not getting what he or she needs at home. Emotional and mental abuse struck a chord for me for obvious reasons - although I was older when experiencing this type of abuse at the hands (and mouth) of my husband, it would be easy for me to spot signs of emotional distress in a child. The emotionally abused child will often verbally put themselves down, chastise themselves, minimize their self-worth, all reflective of what they perhaps hear from adults they trust. I paid the most attention to the fourth 'type' of abuse - sexual abuse. I've not said much in class during these discussions - I'd chosen to just sit, listen, observe. I was fearful of what I'd hear were indicators of this - because for a long time, I've been holding onto the belief that I was sexually abused as a child. I'd LOVE to not believe it, but based on what I do know of myself and my behaviors as a kid, I can't discount any of it. I wondered to myself - what signs was everyone else missing? What was ignored? Was I that good at hiding secrets, that even as a child, I showed no indication that something was wrong? The professor did talk about physical signs - those signs aren't always accurate, though - some can be confused for physical abuse (not that sexual abuse isn't physical, because it is - but a flinching child or a child afraid of an adult could truthfully point to either) and some can be attributed to one of the other types as well - and as children don't normally show up to school with their private areas exposed, sexual abuse is by far one of the most overlooked of abuse types. There is one indicator, though, and according to the esteemed professor - it is the number one sign that a child has been sexually abused. Anyone care to venture a guess as to what that sign is? Okay, I'll tell you. I didn't get it right away, either, for the record. I guess I never really sat down to think about it because I never had to - but in preparation for getting my degree, I've had to take a good, hard look at a lot of things. I wasn't planning to pursue working with children, and I think I'm understanding now why there might be some (unconscious) hesitation there. It all makes more sense, now. Without further ado - the number one sign is - 'a child who has an advanced knowledge of or is demonstrating sexual behavior at an age where they would not normally have it or do so.' I wanted to shake my professor's hand at the end of class and say, "I can't tell you what for, but thank you!!!!" He validated me and he doesn't even know it. Although I still have no memory to support my suspicions, he made them a little more true. I'm still not sure what to do with this - perhaps it's going back into that pocket from which it arrived, especially now that I know and understand that these signs weren't missed...they were ignored. My mother saw them when she witnessed (and scolded me for) behaviors that she told me were 'inappropriate' and dirty. I was seven. Or eight. How the hell else would I have known the things I was doing if something hadn't happened? A kid doesn't learn these things without some sort of exposure. A social worker saw the signs, too, when the 'dolls' did sexual things to each other. She asked questions, there was an investigative process but nothing came of that, either. I dunno, guys. I kinda hoped that there was some truth to me being a 'dirty' child. Or that I was just crazy and imaginative enough to make things up. Even being a kid that had something wrong with her was an easier concept to grasp, because it would mean I wasn't a bad kid...and that the REASON I did these things was because I was crazy, or just...smart enough to 'discover' certain sexual behaviors on my own... Anyone I've spoken to about these things is most likely a survivor themselves. "Something did happen," they all say, "you didn't make this up..." Don't get me wrong - I do believe it - but there was always that tiny sliver of hope that I was wrong and that there was a misunderstanding or misinterpretation somewhere. To hear this information from a non-survivor (as far as I know) and a professional....a teacher TELLING future social workers what to look at when trying to identify child sexual abuse...this has made it....different, somehow. Surprisingly, I'm not triggered. I'm almost relieved, in a sense. It's a very hard feeling to explain, but perhaps I will be able to at a later time. I wanna say I'm angry, but it is not yet at the point where I'm feeling enraged. It's still a feeling of fizzing disgust - and mostly at certain people who were in my life, saw these very obvious signs, and did nothing. I've already, in my mind, held those 'players' accountable - even if I've not said anything to them (and with good personal reasons for not doing so) or shared with them what I DO remember. My suspected abuser is dead, now. Perhaps this can be looked at as an act of divine intervention - as I'll never get any confirmation from a pedophile who was buried last summer - maybe this was something I needed to hear in order to make peace with it, even in a small way. I will say though, I'm glad social work professionals today are smarter and more thorough than the ones that existed back in the 80s. It's RIDICULOUS how much was missed, or even ignored back then. I've just received word that my spring break has been extended another week due to the University's taking precaution over the mass hysteria caused by the COVID-19 outbreak - they are still having faculty come in but delaying students' return until March 23rd. Staff will be exploring the possibilty of continuing classes remotely if the need arises. So, the week that I mentally missed, (I still went to classes even though my head wasn't with it, but that was strictly for attendance purposes) I now have back and will utilize it in order to catch up as best as I can. I'll be spending some time with my word processor, research engines, and $25 bottles of hand sanitizer. So - back to the grind on the two papers that were due when we returned from spring break. No extensions have been granted on those as of yet, so I'm back to working on those under the assumption that they're still due on the established due dates. I did want to post something here, though, as it's been a while since I let my words flow. It ALWAYS does make me feel a little better when I've done so - and as expected, I'm feeling calm and more able to focus on the things that are still sitting in front of me. I'm hoping everyone is doing well and is staying safe and germ-free!!! My thoughts are always with you! Peace, love and hugs, - Capulet
  20. teleah

    The case against me

    Everyone says not my fault she is gone but they do not have my mountain of evidence. Exhibit a, I let my mom gaslight that she was overemotional, flighty, not sick. Exhibit b, I believe I was entrusting her to a capable father, I assumed he had the capacity to help her, I let my fantasy that he was a Prince fool me into believing he could take care of her, which he did not, Exhibit c, I let my jealousy get in the way of seeing her pain, of seeing her traumas. Exhibit d, I believed when she told me she wasn't drinking that much, that she was eating because of my brokenness because it was easier than telling her dad, facing the fact she had a non pedophile dad. This mountain of evidence points to me, points to my negiliance causing her death at 32. Everyday I look at this evidence and it leads to harming and hating myself for the case against me.
  21. This post contains very graphic references to sexual abuse. I ask that you would not read ahead if you are not in the mind to do so. Please proceed with caution. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Poppy, this isn’t a Friday! Speaking of Friday, where the heck were you this week?’ My apologies to everyone that keeps up with my blog entries weekly or those of you that were looking forward to a post from me. I was taking a small break from AS after some events that transpired and caused me quite a bit of emotional and mental pain. I don’t feel that I really have the liberty to go into much detail, but I was very hurt, and I needed some space to heal. I am back now and hoping to be as active as I was before my mini vacation. I’ve missed you all! Now, there isn’t much to update on as far as my dieting endeavor. I have lost more weight, though, so I am headed in the right direction! My glutes are also very sore right now and I’m tempted to stand up while I type, but… my laziness outweighs the pain so, seated I shall stay! Aside from that, I have no more lighthearted news to fill you in on. This weekend has been a lot for me to process and I’m hoping that by typing this blog, I can get some big chunks of this stuff processed and I can feel better. There have been some new realizations coming to light recently, and it’s been a lot for me to take in. I started seeing a second therapist this weekend. The reasoning for two is that my main therapist specializes in EMDR and my new therapist is really experienced with DBT – both are therapies I need right now. So, I am seeing the male therapist as a supplemental therapy along with my main therapy. I know – I’m all kinds of messed up. I was very nervous about meeting with The New Guy. I already knew him and his wife before I started seeing him for therapy, and I was already pretty close to his wife, but still – I was so nervous. Also, seeing a male kind of freaked me out. I have personal issues with most men, especially men that are in some sort of authoritative position, so I was very apprehensive to tell him about everything. I was so nervous, in fact, that when we first spoke about me doing counseling with him, he mentioned that his wife could be present if I wanted her to be and I immediately said yes. I found comfort in knowing that she was sitting right across the table from me. She already knew most of the information I gave, but not all of it. The conversation took an unexpected turn and I told him things I never thought I would tell anyone. I will get to that stuff in just a minute. I’m going to go ahead and insert a trigger warning here for references to sexual assault and CSA. Please don’t read ahead if you don’t feel like you are in the mind to do so. You can always come back when you feel you are in a better place. My appointment was set for 1:15pm. I arrived at the building and parked my car at 1:14pm. I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be there, but I saw other vehicles and got nervous. I was texting The Wife and telling her I was nervous because of the other vehicles, but she didn’t respond. At 1:20pm, I finally worked up the courage to go inside. I got to the door and it was locked. I called The Wife and she came to let me inside, then proceeded to tell me what office The New Guy was in and that she had to use the bathroom. I mean, of course she did. My only source of comfort was leaving me so she could pee. I walked into the office, which was a conference room with a long table, and The New Guy told me to sit wherever I liked, so I sat across from him. A safe distance and The Wife could sit on the end to next to me. We started on preliminary paperwork and The New Guy says he can’t sit so far away from me and moves to the seat I had reserved, in my mind, for The Wife – my safety blanket. Had she not decided she had to pee, she could’ve already been sitting there. I inch a little further away because, well, a male presence so close to me made me more nervous than I already was. The Wife finally comes in from her potty break and sits across from me. Although I had named her my source of comfort, I was immediately MORE nervous. My legs wouldn’t stop bouncing, my hands would stop shaking, and my breath was shallow and rapid. I finish all the paperwork and The New Guy says to me, “So, what’s up?” I had no words to use to respond. I mean, what do I say? Do I just spit out all of my secrets, or do I say, ‘not much?’ What answer was he looking for? I responded with a “you have to ask something more specific than that,” and he did. He asked why I was there. Truth is, I was there because The Wife said she thought he could help me. I told him that and he asked why she felt that way. I darted back an “I don’t know, ask her,” and, well, he didn’t. Instead, I told him that the first 5 sessions with main T, I barely said 4 words to her, and he said he didn’t want that to happen here. He switched gears a little bit and opened up an actual conversation. I don’t remember exactly what he asked, but I remember it got us on the topic of self-harm. I told him that I am a cutter and have been since I was 10 or 11. He asked what happened to me that made me hurt myself for the first time and why I was doing it. We talked about that for a little bit and then landed on my eating disorder. After that, we moved to alcohol abuse. This is where things took a turn that I didn’t expect. He asked me about the rape. He already knew I was raped, but he knew no details of it – just that it happened. He asked if it was violent or if there were weapons involved. I said no, but that I was very intoxicated and possibly drugged and consciousness was drifting in and out. He asked if the monster that did this to me, also took my virginity – I told him no. I lost my virginity when I was 11 or 12. He seemed taken aback by my response. I guess because I was so young when it happened. He asked if the boy was my age and if the sex was something I had thought about before or if I had been exposed to any pornography or anything else like that prior to my sexual encounter with the boy when I was 12. I told him he was my age, but it wasn’t my first sexual experience. He asked me to describe my other sexual experiences to him. This is the part where it gets pretty graphic and uncomfortable and BELIEVE ME, I was BEYOND uncomfortable when I had to talk about this out loud. I was also really ashamed. This isn’t a part of my past I wanted to relive. I proceeded to tell him about the boy I knew in 4th or 5th grade. The boy that wanted me to sit with him in the back of the daycare van after school and give him handjobs. The boy that would convince me it was okay and knew I couldn’t say no. The boy that only talked to me to get his fix. The New Guy asks how I knew what to do. I say I don’t know. Then he asks if this is my first sexual encounter. I tell him no – but the other one was with a girl. He asked for details. I told him about the girl I knew when I was 7 that was mt best friend at daycare. I tell him that we were watching TV while the younger kids napped, and she leans over and asks me if I’m horny. I tell The New Guy that 7-year-old Poppy didn’t know what that meant, so that girl explained it to me. I told her I didn’t feel that way, but she said she did. We went over to lay down beside the vending machines in the corner. I tell The New Guy that we put coats over ourselves and touched each other. I don’t remember if I told him that this became a regular occurrence, or perhaps he knew from the way I spoke about it, but this became something we did every day at naptime. It was routine. Prior to this, I had told him that I didn’t remember anything from before age 6. I really don’t. My memories there are completely blank. He thinks I may have been sexually abused before then and I just don’t remember. There were more situations like this when I was young that I negated to tell him simply because it didn’t matter. He knew the base of what he needed to know. I didn’t tell The New Guy about my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter when I was 10. I didn’t tell him about how she was much older than me and when I shared a bed with her, she would give me candy to kiss her and let her touch me. I didn’t tell him about how no matter how many times I said I didn’t want to do it, she pleaded with me to say yes. I didn’t tell him about how we got caught, and she didn’t get punished. I didn’t tell The New Guy about the other guys that I obliged with handjobs and lap dances and sex. I kept to myself all the other girls that touched me because I touched them back and I knew that meant it was consensual and it didn’t matter. The New Guy tells me this was all sexual abuse. That I was abused and taken advantage of and that people have been using my body for my entire life and it makes him so angry. He said it infuriates him. I told him that I told my other therapist about this and she told me it was normal. It was normal for kids to explore like this. The New Guy says, “it is not normal for 7 and 8-year-olds to be doing things like this,” and I was confused because I was told that it WAS normal. The New Guy says even now, my body is being used as an object for other people’s enjoyment or pleasure. I’m hurting all over right now. The weight of his words sits so heavily on my shoulders that I can barely hold my body up. I didn’t know that any of this was wrong or that I was abused – I thought it was normal. I feel dirty. I feel disgusting. I feel broken. I feel so, so alone. I’m too afraid to try to uncover the memories before age 6. There must be a reason why my mind has blocked this out. I thought it was because I had a crappy memory but now.. I don’t know. I never thought much of this stuff until The New Guy asked me how I knew how to touch the boy on the daycare van. I can’t remember if he told me what to do, or if it was my idea, or if I just ‘knew.’ I don’t know where I learned it – I only remember doing it. I don’t remember if at 9 years old, that was the first penis I touched. I don’t remember if the boy was old enough to get hard, but I knew he wasn’t old enough to cum. He couldn’t ‘finish,’ so we would stop when we got close to being at the daycare. I had several memories come back to me while I was typing that out. I had to put the writing down for the rest of the day so I could process. I am here now, and I’m going to share the new memories I have. Funny how that happens, right? New memories just come flooding in. Anyway, here’s what I remember now. When I was typing about the boy on the daycare van and how he couldn’t ‘finish,’ I was thinking about how there was no ‘clean up’ to get done before arriving back at the daycare. That made me remember that there WAS clean up to be done, but it wasn’t cum – it was my saliva. At 9 years of age, I was giving a boy blowjobs on the daycare van. That thought didn’t sit well with me. In fact, it made me so uneasy that it brought back another memory almost immediately after. For a while, I couldn’t remember if this was something I wanted to do or if it was something he told me to do. I know I’ve already mentioned that, but now I remember. I remember that every day I would get on the daycare van and hope to God that the boy wasn’t there. If he wasn’t there, I was free. On the days he WAS there, I remember my heart sinking to the bottom of my chest and holding back the tears because I didn’t want to touch him, but I felt like I had no choice. I HAD to do it, or he would be mad at me. I have always been a people-pleaser. My whole life has been about making other people happy. Aside from that, I HATED getting in trouble. I have always been a rule follower because I hated it when my parents were disappointed in me. This is another reason I KNOW that there’s no way I would have voluntarily put my hands on his organ in the back of a daycare van. It’s another reason I could never tell anyone and I lied about it when my parents asked me what was going on. I didn’t want them to be mad at me. I was talking about this with a dear friend of mine last night because I was trying to process everything. It seems the more I try to process, the more parts come back to me. It was hours after I decided to put the blog down, but there was another new memory. I remembered that not only did this boy want me to put my hands and mouth on him, but I remember that he put his hands down the front of my pants and into my panties. I can’t remember if I wanted this or if I asked him to do it. I don’t know if he thought he was being nice because of what I was doing for him. I don’t know if my 9-year-old blowjobs were too stale for him and he needed a little extra play to get himself going. I have no idea if I protested this. Perhaps that will come to me later along with more puzzle pieces that I can fit together to get a full picture. I don’t know if The New Guy was right. I don’t know if this was sexual abuse. I don’t know if I can claim that I am a survivor of CSA or not. Maybe this is something I’m rejecting because it hurts or maybe I still haven’t fully processed it. I DO know that I would not like any comments to reflect that it was NOT sexual abuse. I will gladly accept the support or your opinion on if you think this was, indeed, abuse, but I don’t need the invalidation right now. This is all still very new to me and I’m still processing things. My mind is too fragile to accept any negative feedback as it will impact my thoughts too heavily right now. I feel like I should go ahead and end this post because I could probably type all day. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every person that read this and is sitting here supporting me. Your kindness means the world to me. I’m happy to be back on AS and to be surrounded by such wonderful people. Thank you all for everything you do. Soon, Poppy
  22. teleah

    Goodbyes

    My daughter is moving out soon, as in a week to live with her boyfriend, this has triggered so many memories of goodbyes. My first goodbye I can remember was my safe grandpa passing, I was not allowed to say goodbye because it was my job to make sure mom was ok while my dad played the role of concerned dad taking us to a park and telling not to cry or we would get it later, so I smiled and played with my brother all day. The second goodbye was my dad walking out the last time, before that he had stormed out but the final time was when I split into one of me, TW, the last time he walked out, he was furious, my mom had sold his boat for a dollar and threw his stuff out window after she found he was taking his affair to the lodge . He came over, went in the garage, stood my grandpa's pipe wrench, I was in charge of making sure he did not steal her stuff while she was work, he grabbed my hand dragged me into the bedroom, then he slammed the pipe wrench next to me, jumped on top of me, TW..... Then he proceeded to rape me, take my virginity then he left, telling he was finally free of his retarded daughter. The next goodbye, I remember is the last time I saw my grandma at a nursing home and her last words to me was to warn me my dad and brother were bad men, then she passed a year later. My next goodbye was my loss of my Angel Hannah Renee, I had a TW......medical abortion because she had no skull, I was 30 when I lost her. Three years ago, I said goodbye to my mom on the phone before she passed, leaving me alone to process her and my dads abuse of me. Now my daughter is moving out and the bpd monster is growling, gnashing it's teeth, you can go, you are no longer a mom, you can go and I am trying really hard not to be her goodbye.
  23. Also posted in Share Your Story: Installment One: The Formative Years I was born on a snowy winter morning in 1978. Originally, I wasn’t planning to reveal my age – but felt there was some importance in divulging the time frame. I DO believe that there is FAR more awareness now than there was back then. Maybe, just maybe things would have turned out differently. Maybe it would have set off an entirely different chain of events. Maybe I wouldn’t be writing this, now. As life is full of too many maybes and not enough definites, I’ve decided to chuck the what-ifs into the (digital) trash where they belong, because regardless of what the maybes are, they’ll never be proven and we cannot dwell on them. My mother was a schoolteacher. She’d been teaching kindergarten up until shortly before giving birth and my father worked in insurance. They married young. I’d learn years later that I was not their first child – before they married, my mother, at seventeen, had become pregnant with my brother – that pregnancy was terminated, likely for a number of reasons but two main ones stand out – one – they were young and not yet engaged – and two – although my mother claimed she was ambiguous and would have birthed my brother, my father was of the mindset that they weren’t ready to have a child, yet. So, they’d made the decision to terminate, and didn’t have me until eight years later and after they’d already been married for seven of them. When I was six months old, my parents noticed that I was not responding to loud noises or to my name being called. I think an investigation was sparked when my father set off the smoke/fire alarm, alerting all tenants of the apartment building we lived in, (I must say that his cooking has not improved) and I slept through it all. There was enough concern that they brought me to have my hearing tested. The audiologist took out a cowbell and stood directly behind me and rang it. My parents could hear it. The people in the office next door likely heard it, too. Hell, the people outside probably could have heard it. I, however, did not. I remained stationary in my seat and unfazed. “Your daughter is deaf.” The diagnosis rattled my parents to their core. They thankfully didn’t waste time seeking out second or third opinions – they’d likely have gotten the same responses. They liked this particular audiologist, too, and felt comfortable with her and her advice to get me fitted with hearing aids as quickly as possible. “What happened?” They did ask her. I am the only one in my family history to have a hearing impairment, so they knew this was not genetic. After discussing any and all possibilities, the one theory that seemed most likely was my mother’s (while being pregnant) having come into contact with a student of hers that had come down with the measles. Another way that ‘back then’ was different from today – there wasn’t so much stress on the importance of vaccinations and kids were showing up to school with brewing illnesses and sharing them with their friends, or in my mother’s case, with their pregnant teachers. So, the reason that’s been put down in all of my medical charts is, ‘birth defect.’ It was also explained to my parents that I’d likely never speak, having never been able to ‘hear’ proper speech. It’s been suggested, although never confirmed, that I was born with a severe hearing loss and it had rapidly declined into a profound loss by the time of diagnosis. It was recommended that I be taught sign language as a primary language – which would have meant that both my parents, who combined, didn’t know a single word in sign language, would have to first learn it themselves in order to teach ME to communicate. The sign-language route wasn’t an option that my mother was willing to accept as a primary plan. It quickly became a secondary, back-up plan as she decided to quit her teaching job and to focus on taking care of her special-needs child. I’m unsure if it was due to her strong background and focus in education, or if it was a personal mission of hers that she undertook at this point, but early intervention was her mindset and quickly became her obsession. If speech training could not be implemented into my day-to-day life, then they’d revert back to Plan B. EVERYTHING was a lesson. A learning experience. I am partially glad that I have no memory of this, either. The way my mother tells it, every waking moment was spent teaching me. Every time she spoke to me, she’d place my tiny hand onto her throat so that I could feel the vibrations of her voice. She’d also say the names of things she’d pick up, and make sure I was looking at her when she did, so that I could see how they looked on her lips, and put the image together with the words. Cup. Ball. Book. Toy. The list goes on. And the colors….this is red, that’s blue…etc. There were flash cards, too…she’d cut out photos from magazines and make these herself. She would eventually be able to say a word and have me point to the picture. She didn’t do all of this, herself, though. She also took several trips into the city, sometimes as often as three times per week, where trained professionals would also work with me on speech and language development. Being at home was just a constant continuation of all of the work they did there. In addition to being my mother, she became my first and most important teacher. My father wasn’t as involved with all of this. I’m not sure if this was where they started having problems or disagreements, but they were divorced before I had any memory of him living with us or being a constant within my very early childhood. My mother was given sole custody. My father didn’t fight her. While I know he loved me very much, he was clearly happy with having her do most of the parenting and he’d take me on weekends and holidays. I was 2 when their divorce was final; Mom and I moved out of the apartment that my parents shared. My Dad would remain in the same place for the next decade. As she needed time to get onto her feet, she moved in with my grandmother for a little while. My grandmother owned a house that had been in the family since HER mother bought when SHE was a child. It was a brick, two-story place that had been converted into a two-family home when my mother was still a kid. Now it was the very early 80’s and my mother’s brother and his ‘friend’ (a male roommate/his best friend/possible lover?) lived in the upstairs apartment while my mother and I lived in the downstairs apartment with my grandmother. This was only meant to be a temporary arrangement, as my mother, following her divorce from my father, had returned back to work. As soon as my mother began to gain a steady income, (along with my father’s child support) we moved out of my grandmother’s house and into a small basement apartment just a few blocks away. My mother, until she eventually re-married, made sure to stay close to my grandmother – and also my uncle. You see, she needed help with getting me to my appointments into the city for continued speech therapy. I was not yet in school, so my uncle, who was not working at the time, was tasked with taking me back and forth via city subway. There was a train station literally behind my grandmother’s house and it was one train from there to the city, where my uncle would bring me for my appointments while my mother worked. On days I didn’t have appointments, he was my babysitter – and would watch me at my grandmother’s house until my mother got home. A pause here, to tell you a little bit about him. He was (I suppose I shouldn’t say ‘was’ as he’s still alive – but my grandmother is not) my grandmother’s eldest. My mother also had an older sister, who at the time was married with a couple kids, lived elsewhere (although not too far) and had her own issues at the time – so was unavailable to help out. My uncle had joined the seminary years before I was born. I’m unsure if doing so had to do with his sexual orientation – or guilt and confusion relating to it. Either way, he became a Roman Catholic priest – and still lived with his ‘friend,’ a man I knew for my entire life and adopted as a second uncle. From when I was born, he was there. I’d never known my uncle to be without his ‘friend.’ To this day, they are still living in that apartment, even though I think now, he’s moved downstairs and is occupying the space that used to be my grandmother’s. But, anyway – I rarely saw him in anything other than the black pants, black shirt, priest collar. He never confirmed that my second uncle was anything more than just his friend, and no one wanted to ask. We all just went along with it, not wanting to know what went on behind closed doors. None of that was our business. My uncle was the equivalent of the ‘housewife’ while my ‘bonus’ uncle worked a regular nine-to-five – so unless it was a weekend or Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s or a holiday or family gathering, I rarely saw him. While we lived within walking distance from my grandmother’s house, my uncle would walk over in the evenings to ‘say goodnight,’ and usually that consisted of him telling me a bedtime story and tucking me in. Usually it was the same corny story. He would put me in as the main character – he would also insert my cousins, (my aunt’s kids) but always make me the heroine. There was no doubt that I was his ‘favorite’ and he made sure to tell me often. I spent a LOT of time with him when I was between the ages three to five. When I started elementary school, the trips into the city had lessened from three times a week down to two, and they’d likely be after-school appointments. He would still take me to those, as my mother’s work schedule often consisted of after-school tutoring, to earn a little extra. All that being said, let it be known that I have no memories of ANY of this. I only remember all of the above as that’s how it was told to me. By the time I turned six, my mother had just re-married. My new stepfather was a decent guy and a hard worker. My first sister was ‘baking,’ my mother had become pregnant shortly after her wedding. My father had also remarried within months of my mother. I now had two ‘bonus’ parents aside from my biological parents – I still lived with my mother, though, and we’d moved into an apartment further away from my grandmother’s house – meaning my uncle could no longer walk the distance to ‘tuck me in’ at night anymore. I’m not sure how this came to be – it might have been suggested that I was struggling socially in school, but my mother eventually decided to put me into ‘play therapy.’ It was church sponsored and free – but being six, I didn’t care about the ‘therapy’ aspect of it all. All I cared about was the fact they had a Barbie Dream House in one of their playrooms, and I LOVED the idea of being able to go play with it for an hour. There were a WHOLE lot of toys to pick from…blocks, puppets, stuffed animals…but that Dream House was all that I’d go for. They had a range of Barbies that I could play with, too, which only made it all better. I remember a Dream House of my own being added to my Christmas list, but it never did show up under the tree. Damn that Santa Claus! That’s where my memories start. I remember nothing before going to play therapy. I, however, remember THIS particular afternoon at play therapy where I clenched a Ken doll in one hand and a Skipper doll in the other. This is where it gets fuzzy. I don’t remember what the dolls were actually doing. Perhaps I’m not allowed to remember. I DO, however, remember the lady waving her hand to get my attention, and then when I looked at her, asking me who the Ken doll was. What was his name? I could have said, ‘Ken.’ Even back then, I’m sure I was a smart-ass. I did know that was the name of Barbie’s boyfriend. But I didn’t. In this representation, he wasn’t Ken. Instead, I named my uncle. The lady told me I could play for a little while longer. She would be right back. I didn’t care that she left me alone in the playroom. Thinking back, I’m sure she was going to speak to my mother and properly ‘reporting’ what had just been said. At the time, though, nothing registered. I was oblivious and uncaring, as long as I had a few more minutes with the Dream House, I was golden… I never saw that woman or that playroom again. I think I was more disappointed that I never saw the Dream House again, either. Shortly after my last play therapy session, two women showed up at our apartment. They sat on either side of me on the couch. My mother was there, too, standing across from where we sat. I remember her telling the women that I was deaf and I needed for her there to interpret, in case I didn’t understand them. I remember vaguely one woman beginning to speak slowly. She started out with some simple questions. What was my name? How old was I? What was my favorite color? What was my favorite toy? When she was sure that I could understand her without my mother’s help, she put down the clipboard she had in her lap, and slightly opened her legs. “Do you know what this is?” She patted her own crotch. It was quick, a pat-pat when the word ‘this’ was said. I remember looking at this lady as if she were bat-shit crazy. Of course I knew what THAT was. I had one too. I knew the name, but I called it a ‘private part.’ I remember there being a brief dialogue between my mother and these two women. My mother was someone that there was NEVER any issue lip-reading. The person I had NO choice but to understand. She was suggesting to the women that she’d spoken to her brother and he’d disciplined me because I was being ‘fresh.’ He’d admitted to swatting my bottom. Additionally, maybe that was why I was confused, and THAT’s what he’d touched, instead of where Ken had touched Skipper. I assume that is why they asked me what (pat-pat) ‘this’ was. ‘This’ and my bottom are not in the same place. In hindsight, even at six, I knew the difference between that was in the front and what was in the back. Why would I deny this, though? My mother was the one person I knew I needed to obey. Whatever she said was the truth. One of the not-so-good things about her being my first-ever ‘teacher’ – I took every single thing she said seriously and as being the truth. She was right about everything. Whatever she knew, I was supposed to also know. And like most students try to do with their teachers – I was eager to supply the right answer and to make her proud. I wanted to please her, I wanted to be right and not wrong. So, when the women turned to me and asked if that was what happened, and that my uncle had spanked my bottom, I nodded. Yes. If Mom said that’s what happened, then that’s what happened. I DID remember him doing that, after all. Not details, but I DID remember being warned by my mother not to give my uncle a hard time on the subway. I was six, of COURSE I was going to get out of line a few times. The subway had poles in the aisles and I’d love spinning around them…he’d probably complained about that and said I’d misbehaved. I’d probably been swatted a couple times because I didn’t listen. It wasn’t something done regularly. I suddenly felt very afraid. Of what, I don’t know. Maybe it was of these strange women and them being here and asking weird questions. They’d seemed friendly when they arrived. Now, they were just intimidating, and I wanted them to leave. I’m not sure how much longer we were talking but to an anxious six-year-old, time drags and it’s hard not to get restless. “I made it up.” Yes. I said it. I said it so they would leave. Sure enough, shortly after, they gathered their papers and clipboards and left. My mother let them out and said nothing more of this. Ever. Not a single word. You’d think something this serious would be followed up on. It would be something that I’d need facts on. Something that would be too hard to ignore, but it’s something my mother had too little difficulty ‘forgetting about.’ I do think, though, my uncle was spooked, and if there was indeed something going on, it stopped here. I did always remember that meeting with those women and telling them I’d lied and that I’d entirely made up what Ken had done to Skipper was always in the back of my head, bottled and stored in a place that would remain undisturbed for the next a decade and a half. It perhaps stayed in the back of my mother’s mind, too, but unlike me, she’d never get around to re-opening this bottle. I’m not sure if the behaviors began before or after this meeting with those two women. I remember nothing from ‘before’ I started to believe that I was a liar, for having made up something so terrible about my uncle. And now, looking back at the behaviors I remember so clearly, I was having to believe that there really was something wrong with me, too. I remember beginning to take my own baths at the age of seven. My sister had been born shortly before I turned seven, and my mother was now often busy with an infant. So, every night, I would go into the bathroom with my bucket of bath toys and take a bath on my own. This next part is one of the hardest things for me to admit – but I will do so anyway, as I’ve promised not to hold back, not to kick certain details over to the side because they’re too shameful or embarrassing. It’s important. It’s another huge, significant, blinking question mark when it comes to the whys behind it. Another black void that I truly cannot shine a light on, to see what started it. But – at age seven is when the masturbation started. Water was how I did it, mostly with the shower head/spray. I don’t know if this means of masturbation was ‘discovered’ by accident or it was a previously introduced method, but it regardless became a routine. At the beginning of ‘bath time,’ I would turn on the shower head and let the water hit me ‘there’ until I couldn’t anymore. I had no idea what an orgasm was, but there was a point I needed to get to – a point where I could no longer spray in that spot, because it was throbbing too much. While a child knows nothing about masturbation – certainly not the proper term for it - she somehow knew that it was how to arrive at that ‘feeling’ at the end. To experience that feeling soon became a bath time obsession for me. While it was something I had grown used to doing, and I am ashamed to admit I enjoyed, too – I also knew, deep down, that it was wrong. There was something about it that didn’t feel right – and I ignored that nagging feeling. Instead, I hid this from not only my mother, but from everyone else in the household. It was my secret, something I never told anybody about. A few years in, my mother did eventually realize what I was doing when she walked into the bathroom and caught me in the process. She’d confirmed my fears – it was wrong, it was a sin and it was disgusting. And because I’d become so intent on doing it, I felt even more so that this meant that I was not normal, I was a bad person, I was a disgusting, vile human being. It was something she would tell me that I needed to confess to our parish priest (we were Catholic…I only say ‘were’ because I no longer follow the Catholic) before receiving Communion at Sunday mass. So, every week, I’d shamefully admit to the priest (the face-to-face confessional was how I had to do it) that I touched myself. I’d grow increasingly ashamed of it, and of myself, as I got older. An addendum to the whole ‘confessing my sins’ bit – I wasn’t thinking to add this as I was almost finished writing this installment when remembering this part. As my mother insisted on my going to confession before church, and her brother was a priest, she would sometimes have HIM listen to my confessions. There was a room in his apartment that he’d made a mini-chapel out of – he had an altar, his statues, the communion dish, the wine goblet, the incense thingy…there was a single pew where we would once in a while hear him say mass. Or it was where I’d sit next to him and avoid eye contact while I told him the same things I’d tell our parish priest. He would absolve me of my sins every time, and then give me my three Hail Marys or two Our Fathers to recite as penance. I never really thought about how messed up this was – not until much later. I can’t help but wonder, looking back, what HE was thinking when hearing me say these things? Another behavior that also began when I was very young was soiling myself. This, I cannot explain the reasoning behind. I would literally ‘hold it’ even if I needed to go to the bathroom – and usually would have soiled underwear at the end of the day. I’d taken to hiding them when I took them off, fearful that I’d be yelled at. My mother would indeed yell, but usually it would be when she either realized that there weren’t too many pairs of my underwear in the laundry or when she’d find however many pairs that I’d hidden when she ‘cleaned’ a certain place in my room. She also knew about my soiling – she’d shame me for that, too, telling me I smelled, and that nobody would want to be near me. Perhaps, deep down, I knew that. Either way, this, along with the masturbation, was likely one of the several reasons I met my first therapist when I was eight years old. Dr. M had her office in the basement level of a brownstone in downtown Brooklyn. She was a Jewish lady with an 80’s perm, glasses, and a fondness for saying ‘what do YOU think?’ whenever I asked her a question. Her office had a playroom, too, but alas, no Barbie Dream House. She did have wooden building blocks, plenty of paper, crayons and other crafting supplies. Most of the time, we’d converse while I drew pictures or built something out of the blocks. I don’t recall what we talked about, but I do remember wanting to know more about her. How old was she? What was HER favorite thing to eat? It would piss me off to no end when she would smile and ask what I thought. I’d tell her, “I dunno. That’s why I’m asking you.” I saw her for once per week, for one year. It became something I looked forward to – it was hard, at eight, to view Dr. M as a therapist or to wonder why I was seeing her. Mom would later say it was because I was having trouble at school and that I was imaginative. Hmm. Imaginative. Meaning, I guess, I was a liar, and that was just a nicer word for it. I think she also threw in “well, your being deaf was making it hard for you to make friends at school.” That doesn’t quite top the ‘imaginative’ reference, but it was also true that school SUCKED for me. Kids were cruel, I kept to myself mostly, and shied away from as much social activity as possible. Not that seeing Dr. M improved on that – school was a nightmare all through middle school – being deaf was simply what was wrong with me now, and what would be wrong with me for the rest of my life. While the other stuff that was wrong with me was a secret, this wasn’t one I could keep. There was constantly attention being drawn to my disability, and my classmates, not being mature enough to be able to see past it, would be merciless and consistent with their bullying. To me, Dr. M was a kindly lady who talked to me, who drew with me, who let me tell her stories. Perhaps those were imaginative, too? I honestly have to wonder if any of my ‘stories’ raised any red flags, because suddenly, one Saturday morning, I was prepared to go for my therapy session and my mother informed me that I’d not be seeing Dr. M anymore. “It’s too expensive,” my mother said. In hindsight, I cannot imagine that being the case, as my father, who has always been comfortable with money, was funding all of this. That’s basically his role in all of it. My mother would tell him what she needed – money, take me to this appointment, pick me up, drop me off. Dad never questioned anything or the cost of anything – he just did it. She said to jump, he’d ask how high. There was never any closure with Dr. M. My mother stuck to the story that her services were too expensive. I remember being disappointed – sad, almost, that I would no longer see my ‘friend,’ Dr. M, but almost as quickly as it became a routine, it became a thing of the past. Life went on after the discontinuation of therapy. My mother and stepfather eventually had another baby. Another sister. My father and his wife remained childless; Dad always insisting that his one daughter was enough for him. I was with Mom most of the time and spent every other weekend with my father. Family gatherings continued to be held, most of the time at my grandmother’s house. We did all of the holidays – Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, birthdays. My grandmother was a non-driver – as my uncle too, never got his driver’s license, either. So, we always went to her house, as to simplify things for my grandmother and uncle – and us, as if we wanted them elsewhere, someone would have to pick them up and then drive them back home. My grandmother, up until she became sick, would insist on our visits on Sunday. Without fail, we went there on Sundays for dinner – even if it wasn’t a holiday. She wanted her family together – it was what she loved more than anything. This, I’m realizing, was something she passed down to my mother – I am finding that this family closeness is what my mother wants, as well, but it is, unfortunately for her, not how it unfolded. Still, life went on as if what had happened when I was six – had never happened. My uncle was no longer my babysitter, but he remained a constant. He was present at all the holidays and birthday celebrations. He would, on occasion, take me to movies during visits to my grandmother’s house. He didn’t seem to begrudge me for what I do remember having gone down with the dolls, and like my mother, he said nothing about it and carried on as if it was nonexistent. I will never know what was said between brother and sister – and what the plan was between the two of them – perhaps because keeping the family together was of paramount importance to my grandmother, it was decided that nothing would become of any of that – especially if I wasn’t remembering it…or at least, giving off signs of remembering. After all, as I entered adolescence, the abnormal behaviors (the bath stuff, the soiling) ceased and stopped. My mother had gotten her wish – I’d ‘forgotten’ about it. It no longer existed and it had effectively been swept under the rug. I carried on as ‘normal’ a relationship with my uncle as possible and ignored those little things that I would randomly remember for no particular reason. He has a birthmark on the knuckle side of his right hand – situated between his thumb and forefinger. His favorite breakfast cereal is Puffed Rice. Whenever I’d pass the Puffed Rice in the supermarket, I’d think to myself how much I hated it. He would call me ‘baby girl’ (his nickname for me) and I realized as the years went on, how much I hated that, too. Still, I said nothing, and would shift my thinking whenever any of these things came up. Several years went by without a mention of anything. Still, I remembered, but mentally, leaned more toward the theory that because I couldn’t remember any actual details, then I probably was confused and DID lie. I did, however, see less and less of my uncle, as my grandmother eventually became much older and too weak to host the weekly Sunday dinners. I know that this particular installment is really only supposed to discuss what I remember of my childhood and my young adulthood doesn’t really fall into this category. I however, need to fast-forward for a moment, to when I was twenty-two years old. This took place after I’d been raped at seventeen – after I’d moved out of my mother’s house, after I’d already given birth to my son and married his father. After a series of poorly-made choices that I’ll get into detail on in installment three. It was after life had succeeded in deepening the cracks that were likely made in childhood. My grandmother, sadly, had succumbed to osteoporosis and other health issues, and died in her sleep at home. A day or two following her funeral, my mother and I stopped by her house to sort through some of her things to see what could be kept, what could be donated, what could be thrown away. The minute I walked into her house, I was hit by a feeling of dread. Of unfamiliarity. My uncle let us in, and we saw that he’d already began to ‘move on.’ He (or the ‘bonus uncle’) had transferred all of his religious statues from his chapel upstairs and there they stood, wrapped in protective plastic, in the bedroom that used to be my grandmother’s. He told us of his plans to relocate his chapel downstairs, as well as take over my grandmother’s part of the house for himself – as his knees were declining and it was becoming increasingly difficult to climb up the flight of stairs every day. He was already beginning to fix the cracks in the floors by replacing the rotted wood squares with new ones. It was like a flip was switched. For the first time, I became angry. Grandma wasn’t alive anymore. I no longer had to pretend. I looked again at my uncle and realized how much I fucking hated him. I hated the sight of him. The smell of him. I hated the ‘baby girl’ every time he saw me, I hated seeing that ugly fucking birthmark on his hand every time he reached out to hug me. And he didn’t look like my uncle anymore. Not the uncle I’d been telling myself for all of these years, was probably innocent and that I was a lying piece of shit for having put him through that investigation that nothing ever came out of. No. Now, a look at his face made me want to insta-puke. All over his Jesus statues and new floors. Floors he could have had installed while my grandmother was still living and might’ve had the opportunity to enjoy them! Her body wasn’t even fucking COLD yet, and you’re redecorating!? I’d also, by now, experienced a sexual assault five years earlier – so I am thinking that, combined with the passing of my grandmother, was what made possible the swift, rude uncovering of those bottled-up suspicions that had been collecting dust in the back of my mind. It became harder to believe myself when that tiny six-year-old voice said, “I made it up.” Nothing made sense anymore. I had more questions now than I had answers. Guess what I realized on that afternoon, other than the fact that I hated my uncle? I didn’t make this up. Something happened. Something so horrible, that my brain will not allow me to remember it. A six-year-old kid doesn’t pull this shit out of thin air. Where the hell would she get it from? This started somewhere! I have seen my uncle only a handful of times since my grandmother’s passing in 2002. I cut him out. Completely. I wanted nothing to do with him. I wanted my KIDS to have nothing to do with him. I refused to attend any family gathering where he would be present. I no longer invited him to ours. I had to suck it up at the weddings of both of my sisters – he was there, and I’d had to be polite as not to arouse curiousity. I’d say hello and goodbye and avoid any interaction beyond that. There was a time during my mission to remove him from my life when he’d been hospitalized with an infection, and my mother, thinking he was going to die then, insisted I go see him – the hospital was, after all, just down the street from where I was living at the time. I’d told my husband to leave the car running and took the elevator up. As soon as he saw me, he broke down into tears and blubbered, ‘I didn’t mean for us to be enemies.’ Not knowing what the hell to do with that, I left minutes later, saying that there was no parking and they were waiting for me to come back down. That was as good enough to a confession I was going to get out of him, and I left the hospital that day further convinced that cutting him out was the absolute best choice I could ever make. THAT was what convinced me whenever there was question, whenever there was that moment of doubt. My mother, who, for many years, had seen me ‘carry on’ as if everything were normal, eventually began to ask me why I was so angry with him, why I no longer called him ‘uncle.’ Why I snapped at whomever dared mention his name or sing his praises. Why whenever someone said ‘he’s a priest!’ my face would scrunch as if I’d bitten into a lemon. I would never be able to say anything more than that initial feeling I’d gotten when walking into my grandmother’s house and seeing that he’d gutted it and been so quick to ‘remove’ her from it. He’d treated his mother like shit, he’d likely been anxious for her to die, so that he could redo her house and conform it to his selfish needs. Additionally, I added that he’d cheated my mother out of her inheritance – something I’d find out not too long after. Yes, she would have more reason to be angry with him over that, but it ‘fit’ and it was something more to add to my list of what to be angry with him for…but whether it was enough to hate him was probably unlikely. I also realized that I was becoming increasingly angry with my mother. This, though, was tricky and I couldn’t help but feel incredibly guilty each time I looked at my mother and felt periodic bouts of anger, mixed in with bits of hatred and disgust. To this day, I cannot hug her with my heart – only my arms. I believe this is only because the physical affection was obligatory – a greeting, a farewell, a special occasion – all those things that require hugs and shows of affection – those were easy, mostly because there was usually more than just one person to greet/say goodbye to/congratulate on whatever. I find it sad though, that I cannot hug my mother to show her love. I cannot go to her for comfort. I cannot trust her. But I do love her, in my own distant, detached way. My mother was the one who supposedly loved me the most, the one who molded me into this greatly improved version of what they told her I would be. She’s been there whenever I needed her to be. She helped us financially in the past, and she continues to, if she sees us struggling. She genuinely (and probably) does more for me than she does my sisters. While I’ll always appreciate what she’s done, I’m stuck on what she didn’t do. What she refused to see. For that reason alone, I’d chosen to not tell her about the things that would happen afterwards. My thinking on it – if she failed to help me when I needed it as a child, then she certainly would fail to help me at an older age. She had her chance to help me deal and cope with the aftereffects of abuse, whether it was child abuse or abuse I’d suffer in adulthood, but she failed. I’m unable to find it within myself to give her another chance. Especially now, in adulthood, where she continues to inadvertently insult me by repeatedly throwing her brother into my face. Especially now, that his health has severely declined and he’s actively experiencing end-stage congestive heart failure on top of not being able to walk or do much for himself without assistance – and she’s made efforts to get me to mend fences, even if by way of a greeting or a brief conversation with him before his (long overdue) death. Her efforts have failed, and will continue to fail, for he’s been dead to me for years, already. He ‘died’ on that afternoon in his house when that bottle of memories that I’d tucked away for years, was suddenly knocked off its shelf and had shattered. The idea of him had died. My connection to him – dead and severed. Unfortunately, his physical body has not yet died, despite a heart attack, a quadruple bypass, diabetes, obesity, knee and hip replacements, arthritis, that infectious disease he’d been in for when I’d visited him, and countless bouts of pneumonia and other respiratory issues. I swear, this disgusting, vile, rancid, sorry excuse of a person has more lives than my five cats combined! Anyway – I’ve seemingly gone off course. This installment was supposed to deal with just childhood and what I remember of it. It just seemed pertinent to discuss a little bit of my more recent attempts to reduce contact, especially since some of you have seen me bit*h and complain and moan about my mother and about having to be at the same family gathering as my uncle as recently as a few months ago. In closing, I think that it is safe to say there were many victories within my childhood. I succeeded where kids like me who didn’t have the extensive training did not. I was always ‘ahead’ in language, vocabulary. I thrived in the ‘hearing’ community, when it was told to my parents that the likelihood of that happening was very slim. I’d be more likely to graduate high school with a fourth-grade reading and vocabulary level – but that didn’t happen. I’d learned to function within a hearing community, and I wasn’t that . Granted, my mother had gleaned most of the praise for my accomplishments – having done all of the required foundation work. Perhaps that’s another mother-issue to analyze in another piece of writing – it won’t be done in this one. As there were successes, there were also several failures. Most of them, though, were not my own. Those two ladies who came to our apartment? They failed to persist, to follow up, to see through my mother’s version of events. They believed my mother when she said that I likely misunderstood. I was easily confused, and probably didn’t understand the difference between bad touching and a spank on my ass. So, they let this go. Dr. M? She failed, too. Maybe she had been getting close to uncovering what had really happened. Maybe not. Either way, she’d later tell me (more on that in a future installment) that there had been no resolution, as my mother yanked me from therapy at nine years old. My father – although he is someone I think my mother constantly lied to and therefore the person I truly believe was the most clueless of all of them, also failed by not assuming a more active role. Him, though, I’ve forgiven and don’t begrudge. My mother is a powerful force – and a master manipulator. She knows how to cover things up, how to lie, how to sway a child’s thinking. How to self-protect. Next to her brother, who also quite obviously failed me, she was the one who failed me the most, and in the worst possible way. And for years – I failed myself, too. Even unintentionally, I did so by denying, by burying, by ignoring things, by keeping silent. By lying about what I thought, even if they were lies by omission. By allowing someone else to speak for me, to tell a story that didn’t feel accurate. To always agree, because I was a liar and it didn’t matter what I said – it was wrong. By also giving in and accepting the idea that there was something wrong with me and that was the reason for all those ‘abnormal’ behaviors. Well…no more. It’s time to make this right. Make those things I thought were lies, a truth. Although I cannot correct what others have or haven’t done, it is time to turn my own failures into a victory - even if I do it here, first - behind the safety net that I know will remain intact and where I know I'll be met with the love, support and validation that I truly need. I do not know if I will ever be able to tell this story outside of this forum or to confront those responsible, but to be able to do it here at this time, is a freeing start. - Capulet
  24. as i sit here and contemplate if i am going to even try to put words down today. Its like i dont know how to express myself anymore. i feel so lost and so alone anymore. i am still trying to cope with the loss of my brother. this loss has been devestating for me and im having trouble as to where i do go from here. i really only have the support of my therapist, thats my support system, thats a lot of people huh? i cant turn to my parents for help because i put them both behind bars. its not like i had a choice they did what was inappropriate and they have to face the music now. i watch my little girl sit there and wonder did i ever get to be as content as she is as a child. i dont remember even being cared about outside the relationship my brother and i had. and being loved was not in the cards with my mother. i ask myself what or who i would be if i didnt go through the events-traumas that i had to go through. then i realize that those events have helped mold me into the person i am becoming today. so would i change it.. hmm that one is tricky. i guess its kind of 50/50. i wish nothing happened especially the first time with my mother. however that is the single most painful trauma i had to face, but it taught me the kind of mother i wanted to be and learned then and there what being a parent is not. i was talking to someone i guess will just call a "friend". i was told about a person who downloaded child porn. this hit a nerve but i was going to hear them out. my friend said that this person deserved a second chance because its not like he touched a childed. they then proceeded to tell me that its not that bad also because its not like he committed murder. the was the end i blew up. really??!! in my opinion especially after all i have seen is just beccause you dont touch a child or act on the impulse you are still very much in the wrong. that child went through hell and you download it so you can watch, seriously, come on people. i was then asked cant you just feel empathy and forgive them. i flat said no way in HELL would i ever. i dont get people in the world today they seem to be more and more disgusting. well almost time to go get kiddo, hope all is well with others.
  25. As promised, the update on yesterday's family gathering - dual birthday party for my nephew (5) and my niece (1). I meant to update earlier but a status update seemed more appropriate - admittedly, I was a ball of nerves, and my mother wasn't helping matters any. There was much to say, much swirling around in my already-busy brain, but I figured, lemme get through the day, first - let me recuperate (with or without Lucy's 5-cent therapy) and THEN I'd write on this. To backtrack, my sister decided to invite my mother's brother to a birthday celebration for her kids - he is a person who, just hearing his name, sets me off into a fit. We all know that she tried to get my father to chauffeur him home from the birthday party - as he would have to pass through the town the Uncle lived in on his way home. I was put in a very uncomfortable position when this originally came up and had no choice but to drop it at the time of discussion. It was either that, or open up a can of worms that I wasn't ready to open. I agonized over this upcoming party for two months. Over seeing him, over what would happen after seeing him, over the what-if-I-lose-my-shit-publicly question. In that two months, I've had enough 'other things' happen that this just seemed - STUPID - to think about. It wasn't an easy couple months - we lost a pet, we've hit some financial hard times, and we've had to refocus on the positive things in order to make the time go by faster. The only problem with that - this party crept up quicker than I thought it would. After my sister texted me to ask me to show up an hour early to help 'set up' for the party, I texted Oompa to ask if I'd be walking into any surprises. She'd mentioned briefly (or she might have mentioned more but whenever she says ANYTHING about her brother, I develop amnesia and out comes the usual response: 'oh, okay...') that he was back in the hospital sometime last month. I will gladly admit to you all that I HOPED this meant he wouldn't still be coming, being unhealthy and all that. Regardless, she responded to my text with, "what do you mean?" I asked her flat-out then, "is L going to be there?" She confirmed yes, he was still going to be in attendance. And then followed up with, "do me a favor and please just say hello to him. Then you can ignore him for the rest of the afternoon. And have the kids say hello, too." I didn't like this AT ALL, but said I'd wave. I didn't say though, that he'd see me wave. And I told her I was NOT going to ask my kids to say hello to him. He was nobody to them - (and not for nothing, the daughter barely says hello to people she DOES know!) - and it didn't matter to me whether or not they chose to say hello - it was up to them. She probably didn't like that at all, but said nothing more. We arrived at the party early enough to help my sister set things up. When he showed up, J made sure I was clear across the room. And my J had been asking me for weeks already - why am I even going to this thing? That kitchen confrontation between me and my parents should have resulted in a firm 'if he's going to be there, I will not be going.' And, to a point, she's right. If this was anything BUT a birthday party for my autistic nephew who would likely have been disappointed if I didn't go - I probably would have made that statement. So I said I'd go for him, for my nephew, whom I have no intention of ever disappointing - and that I'd do everything in my power to avoid my uncle and focus on the kids instead. Which I did manage to do yesterday. I didn't say hello, I didn't make eye contact, I didn't wave, and when I saw him being 'led' around (he can't walk without assistance), I simply walked into the opposite direction. (HUGE shout-out to my cousin who unknowingly rescued me from his path by asking me if I wanted to get a cup of coffee from the dessert table! Well-timed, and well-played, cousin!) There were times when I'd glance at him - at how pathetic he was. He looks disheveled, dirty, unshaven. Don't get me wrong, he was ALWAYS disgusting looking - more so to me than to anyone else, perhaps, but even more so now that I am grappling with whether he is responsible for the things I understand on a very deep level but cannot remember. Everything I find disgusting about him is amplified, a hundred-fold. Even the daughter wrinkled her nose at the sight of him - and the son was heard (even if only by J) calling him 'the molester' and questioning why he'd been invited. I responded to them both to simply ignore him if they wished - that was what I was doing. My guess is - they'd been told by the wasband that he was an unsavory sort and simply didn't care to ask their father to elaborate. They kept their distance, though - which was relieving. I waited until he'd left the building before using the bathroom, which was inconveniently located behind where he was sitting. Holding my bladder for a couple of hours, to me, was WELL worth it! After the party, we went to get some food at Applebee's. Oompa texted me when we were waiting to get our check. "Did you say hello to your uncle?" I stared at my phone for about five minutes. No, I hadn't. I had made sure to avoid contact, simply because I didn't want to see him. I knew that a 'hello' would have turned into a conversation. Rather than risk saying something I didn't feel was best said at a kiddy party, I had decided against even the wave. I didn't want him even LOOKING at me, which I'm sure couldn't be avoided. For a few minutes, I considered telling my mother that I had waved but didn't think he saw me...but why lie? She'd only ask if he saw me wave. And we'd end right back up at square one. "No, I didn't," I decided that the truth was better, and texted back. She came back with, "Yet, you said you would say hello for my sake." The idea of telling her I waved but he didn't see me, once again paraded through my mind. Instead, I said, "I didn't want to end up having a conversation with him. I have nothing to say to him." "I didn't ask you to have a conversation with him," she said, "I just asked that you say hello. You know that when I ask you for something, there's usually a reason." "Oh, yeah?" I shot back, "What was the reason, then?" She said she couldn't discuss it then. She likely had my sister's nose peering over her shoulder - or she was on the phone with him, and he was probably bitching about that niece (and her kids) who didn't even acknowledge he existed. Either way, I very honestly don't give a shit. There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever that would make my saying hello to a pedophile, a good one. I AM sure I'll hear about it when she comes to visit in a couple weeks - J and I have already discussed what possible reasons there could be - maybe his recent hospital visit has revealed that he's finally going to be dead soon? * Side note - I just had a nice mental image of him bending over, looking into the hole that will become his final resting place - and me walking by, kick-shoving him into that hole and continuing on my merry way....yeah, just thought I'd leave that there. It is one thing that made me smile yesterday amidst all the mixed-in bouts of anxiety. But it certainly conveys how much I've been looking forward to hearing that he's another step closer to the eternal fires of Hell. Anyway - when that 'reason' (Oompa's reason, that is, whether or not it matches the one I'm fantasizing about) is revealed - I'll be sure to let you all know as I'm sure you're all as curious as I am. For now, though, I can only assume that he's not doing well, health-wise, and my mother is trying to eliminate any 'guilt' on my part for not having been cordial toward him when I saw him last. This just further confirms that Oompa is completely clueless. And ANY thoughts of someday telling her MY reasons for hating this man are now further away from ever being made a reality. There is just NO way that I can trust her with it - all I'll be left with is even MORE invalidation....and really, who wants that? Show of hands? Yeah, I didn't think so. In the meantime, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who rode in my pocket yesterday. I felt you all there, and love you all. This'll be a short-ish entry tonight; I'll be back later this week with an update on the 'other' stuff. There's lots to share, but for now, I wanted to just clear this off of my mind. As always, comments and thoughts (and guesses on the 'reasons') welcome - we could probably get our bets in before Oompa's visit during the first week in April and it might be fun to see who's right!? Either way - I am sending you all love and hugs and plenty of well wishes. Hoping your weekend went well! Until next time. - Capulet
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