One of my first posts was entitled ‘Sanctuary’ and that hinted at a dog. I am a dog lover and despite that post, loved that dog and the dogs I have owned since. The dog from the ‘Sanctuary’ post was named Turk and he… sadly to say… was not the brightest of K-9 companions. However, there were many times that I would sneak away to the corner of the yard and just talk to Turk. There was a corner of the yard that had landscaping and within that landscaping was a hiding spot. It wasn’t visible from the game-room door. Even if it were inspected closer, you couldn’t see me hiding inside.
During the time that we lived in that house, that was my haven within Jack A.’s home. I took great care that he wouldn’t find it and take it away. Back then, I didn’t know what he was… I didn’t know the extent of his (for lack of a better word) evilness. Something inside told me to keep that spot protected. It was like a small cave and I can’t describe how I got to it because that information is lost in the labyrinth of my mind. I remember crying many times… sobbing even… talking to Turk and he would sit there wagging his stub of a tail and he had a dopey grin on his face. Accepting everything I was telling him. Licking the tears from my dirt streaked face.
Turk was a Doberman and he was such a clown. He would get in ‘the pose’ when he wanted to play. Front end down, rear stuck up in the air. His nub just wagging at 90 mph to nothing. Waiting for me to throw the ball.
I felt and still feel horrible for blaming the ‘bite’ on him. He was my best friend, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
When we moved from that house, we moved outside of the major cities and I was given another dog. His name was Spot. He was a blind Australian Shepherd. I still remember Jack A. telling me that he picked Spot for me because of his disability. Jack A. told me that because of Spot’s birth defect, his previous owners would have had him put to sleep.
I am going to back up slightly to a certain point of time. I had already started school in a new city. Suzie was approximately two years old. I had gone to stay with Kim’s mom… Her name was Ruth… during a school vacation. My Grandma was being secretive. She had a smile on her face the entire 1 and 1/2 drive. I asked her what was going on since she was acting different than what she normally did. She wouldn’t tell me. She just had this smile on her face.
We pulled up to our gravel driveway. I jumped out of the car and opened the gate to the front porch. There was this little (very little) white puppy, with two blue eyes, running around. I squealed! Danced up and down. Scooped this puppy into my arms and kissed him. I carried him into the house and with tears in my eyes, thanked Jack A. and Kim for this new best friend. I notice immediately that there was something wrong with Spot. He kept running into furniture when in the house. I looked at Jack A. I asked him what was wrong with Spot. He told me that with Australian Shepherds, sometimes they are born blind. Spot had been born with two blue eyes and that meant that (according to breeding) he had been born blind. Upon closer inspection, I found that there was disfiguration in his eyes. Where there should have been normal spherical shapes, there were squares. Lopsided squares that showed there was something different with Spot.
I didn’t treat him with any difference. I just decided that he needed extra attention. Extra love.
I taught Spot how to walk without a leash. I trained him to walk next to my leg and to listen for my voice. He learned to keep his side pressed to my leg as I walked. When he got older (Suzie was three and I was thirteen) Jack A. surprised my mom with a second dog. She was a blue-tip great dane. Her name was Bess. The story that I remember from Jack A. was that Bess had been abandoned. Her owners didn’t want her. Kinda like Kim didn’t want me. She was a protector. Strong but soft. She gave the best hugs… and she was tall enough to make eye contact with me. This story is about Bess.
There was a day where Bess got sick. Bess got so sick. She laid down and wouldn’t get up. Her stomach swelled. I sat outside with her the whole time. With the exception of running inside and telling Jack A. that Bess was sick. He looked at me without flinching, telling me that we didn’t have the money to take her to the vet. Without knowing that he meant to let her die in the backyard, I went back outside. I sat beside her. I coaxed her from the shed (where I had slept for a week when ‘grounded’) to under her favorite shade tree. She laid there, breathing shallowly. In and out. Eventually, she stopped breathing. I cried and went to tell Jack A. about it. Animal control came and loaded her into their truck. I screamed inside. Screamed and screamed and screamed at the confines of my mind that it wasn’t fair. That someone should notice something wrong with Jack A. He let Bess lay there and suffer until it was time for her to stop breathing.
I remember the flies. The flies congregated around Bess after she died. I chased them away. I was angry at Jack A. Somehow, this instance with Jack A. was almost as hurtful as some of the beatings he inflicted. Bess was helpless like me. She was left to die and for whatever reason I survived.
I was washing dishes two days ago and thinking about the recent events and the text message from Kim and what that means. It was like a light bulb went off over my head. Something just clicked. I joked that the light was probably bright enough to be seen from space.
It has ended at this. There are reasons and there are excuses. The difference between the two is that REASONS are why you do something. EXCUSES are reason why you don’t do something. They could be considered opposites of each other. This isn’t a simple way of thinking and has taken more thought and process than my other affirmations. Please bear with me while I give some background these last two days.
My mother, Kim, would give me all of these excuses as to why she couldn’t do something.
Why she couldn’t come see us.
Why I should come see her.
Why she couldn’t be the mother she was supposed to be.
Excuses are negative. They are reasons why you don’t do something. The reasons that my mother had to do things right, could not outweigh her excuses.
I have applied this very new (to me) concept to my life as it is now. It has been an interesting transition and I may have over cooked my brain with this change… but I’m so thrilled with the results. Here is a scenario from this week with the excuse side and then again with the reason side. Earlier this week I didn’t change the sheets on my daughters beds because I was tired. I usually try to do this once a week. My excuse (by way of justification) for not doing it was being tired. Two days later I thought about why I wash the sheets. We have two dogs that prefer the beds to their dog pillows. So it’s healthier for my daughters if I wash the sheets regularly. Their needs and what’s good for them should outweigh my excuses. They are more important.
Now with this example… I understand there are times when I need to take care of me. That the importance to keep a neat house don’t take priority. That then becomes the reason. Why is not washing the dishes important right now? Because taking care of myself is important.
This may seem backwards, but for the things that are important, it’s not. I remember my mom staying in bed and hiding in her room and when I would go talk to her… she would tell me “Not right now. I’m tired.” Excuse. That’s all that is. I refuse to have that indifference to my family. I refuse to have excuses to why I don’t do things with my girls.
There have been times that I have sat and listened to them laughing and playing and my thought was… I wish they would be quiet. I’m so tired. I feel guilty admitting that but I know every parent has those thoughts. Instead, I want to be there laughing with them. I want to be there playing with them. I want them to know that I mean it when I say that I love them.
In the time that I have had this blog I have never had a negative comment… until tonight. So I feel a need to re-state some things about my blog and the purpose behind it.
This blog isn’t meant as an “Oh POOR ME… my life was so horrible.” I am not looking for pity. I am writing about my life publicly because I feel that the more people that come in contact with it, the more people might be able to get through something horrible in their life. Whether it’s past or present… I am trying to show people that child abuse is more common than the statistics. The published statistics are only the reported ones that have come forward. Of course there’s a buffer placed in there for an estimate of ones that haven’t come out. It’s not accurate. The children that survive child abuse and become adults, if they are lucky and able to survive it emotionally, can come out intact. However, there’s a lot of emotional damage that is done that causes severe problems. Multiple Personality Disorder and Disassociation are just two examples. I happen to be very lucky. For whatever reason, I turned out whole. I’m a happy and well adjusted adult. I have a loving husband and two beautiful daughters.
There is another purpose behind what I’m doing. I’m posting these events of my life as a way to let go of them. I have already cut the poisonous relationships out of my life. My mother was the one that let these things happen to me… and my daughter asked me (at four years of age) a few days ago where my mother is and upon receiving the answer, she questioned me further. She asked if my mother was her grandma too. I told her no and my history is why she is not and never will be aloud around my girls. I am biologically related to Kim and had no choice in that and now that I am an adult, I have an obligation to protect my girls and my mother happens to be someone they need protection from.
This blog is not for the faint of heart. This blog discusses the very real events of my life. If you don’t like what I write about, please don’t read. Definitely don’t post negative comments. If you read… great. I can take all of the support I can get. That’s had a huge impact on the things that I have been able to work through.
I have actually started writing a book about how I did make it out in one piece. I’m doing it for myself but possibly for the others that will find something useful in it. I would like to say that the negative comment was easy to brush off and move forward with what I’m doing. I am still forever moving forward but the comment… it wasn’t nice.