Jacques Delille said,
Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.
Someone, please-oh-please tell Fate that I want my money back! I would like to return my relatives. I don’t want to exchange them, I just want my money back. I feel cheated! I have some pretty awesome friends, so I will keep them but … Fate, you gotta take the other ones back! The refund is not to include three individuals (my husband and my daughters). My husband Conall, I have to say that you were pretty spot on with that pick. He picks me up when I fall. He protects me when I feel I need it and even when I don’t think I do. He compliments my rough edges with his softer ones. As far as the two little baby girls… their presence alone lifts my spirits and puts a smile on my face. They bring out all of the ‘motherly instincts’ that I thought would elude me after my childhood. So, I’m going to keep those three and give you the rest back. You can take them. Today. No, I don’t want to wait till the end of the ‘waiting’ period. You can even keep my deposit!
Heinrich von Pierer,
Control your fate or somebody else will.
Fate… I really has a HUGE bone to pick with you on this one. Need I go over the list? I didn’t think so. I think I see a lawsuit coming over the horizon for pain and suffering and anything less than six figures would be insulting to my pride. I will give you thirty days to make good on this before I contact my lawyer.
If things were really this easy, I think that a lot of wounds would be healed… child abuse would become a thing of the past because all a child would have to do is trade in their abuser for a mother like June or a father like Ward Cleaver. I don’t know that I would specifically choose those as my trade-in option but I don’t think that I would have hesitated. Sadly this world isn’t a perfect one and we just can’t make a trade-in for the relatives that have hurt us so deeply. We can’t sue fate for the raw end of the deal. So, who’s to blame? Where is our retribution?
This is a poem from my high school days.
the demons crowd around me in unison
the cry of death is deafening
i’m scared and hovering in my corner alone
the guitar is my battle cry
singing and screaming, siphoning me of all life
my vision blurs and one becomes two combining into four
the razor blades cry my name and the mirror has no reflection
i run from my shadow and blend in with death
i won’t try to argue
the point is clear and the time to dance with the train is near
i can taste your fear as it oozes from your pores
my heart races and the tears fall
statues move and the turtle dances
blood spills into puddles on my clothes
and the dead walk the earth
anger and hatred rip through the flesh and leap as fire towards the havens
cries to god go unheard
a forgotten child plays with the snake
crawling in fear toward hell
the devil shall parish in his own flames of evil
dragons fly across the moon and the pegasus dances on my grave
a forgotten promise flies on the wings of a dove
my name is echoed in the padded room
i shrink down to nothing in this straight jacket
i become the disease of nothing in particular
the hurricane rages in your mind
a photograph is taken and the panther lurks in the shadows
the termite chokes on the splinters and the boat left without the captain
in the eyes of the demons a child cries
for fear of death is blessed by the world
worldly values become figments of my imagination
dreams become the tear drops falling from the sky
at your feet lies the puddle of water that leads to the ocean
lightning flashes and the sky falls
whales fly and the one-eyed cyclops screams in fear
the dance has ended and the piano is out of tune
the demons crowd around me in unison
jostling each other out of restlessness for action
laughter is heard over the screams
it’s a long way down and i’m staying on the ledge
the gremlin hunts the demon of my heart
loneliness takes its toll and the dagger killed the love
the stars dance around my hands
it’s been awhile since death reconciled with life
it was a black wedding for you
and the snake reclaims the child
cold sets in and I’m left to stare at a mirror
it sucks you in and drags you down
in the picture lies the dead man petting his dog
walking the tightrope without a net
i let myself fall
i’m bent in two the wrong way
the guitar plays my song
the ghost dances with its body
the demons cry and my name and i answer with my battle cry of tears
the man in the uniform shot the innocent while i lay in my grave
the ring is from my finger and the telephone sits silent
the wolf howls at the moon where the dragon sits eating the pegasus
memories are where you lay them
buried is the hemorrhage in my hand
you fight for your life and all you get is death in the end
the demons crowd around me
the spell goes unbroken from broken promises
the cat ate the fish and the dog ate the cat
mexico at the dog that had a death wish and crossed the border
the riot rages in the white house where patriotism kills
the edge becomes my interest as i stare at the ants from the ledge
the demons disappear and life becomes death in the end
closing my eyes, i fall and……………
I wrote this April 6, 2003 when there was a possibility that my husband (then boyfriend) was almost recalled by the Army.
Broken hearts and bloodied tears,
Scars that still burn.
The ground rolls with thunder and spears of fire.
Innocence dies in a nameless sea that churns and churns.
As we are all prisoners of war.
A mother cries for her son and daughter.
Little children with scraped knees playing cowboys and indians,
Worlds spread apart by water.
History is re-born behind buildings in shadowed ally’s.
As we are all prisoners of war.
Thunder claps overhead.
They march single file.
Into the face of the unknown they are led.
Being bound by duty all the while.
As we are all prisoners of war.
The proud and the beautiful
With dirt smudged hope.
Their battle cries are heard by millions that stand faithful.
Letters of assurance are written and sent home.
As we are all prisoners of war.
This is another one of my poems from my high school days that I was able to protect from Jack A. Anything that I wrote while under his roof had to be hidden. I truly believe that if he had caught me with any of it, he would have killed me.
Like the Grimm Reaper, I walk a fine line.
Living in the eternal hell of hatred peppered with desolation.
Possessing no illusions and blotting out all consciousness.
The seconds are slipping by like sand through my fingers.
I can hear the seconds ticking and tocking.
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK DING
It’s precision bringing me closer to the end.
Synchronized in time in which we all dance with death.
I dance alone. I know the end is near.
My body becoming a canvas of tortured vessels.
All of the colors are gray and black.
Mirroring my world and it’s inferno of midnight.
Living without a soul and without feelings.
I have become numb, losing all sense of humanity.
He is the pilot of my slow walk to death.
Unable to stop or slow this forced pace.
I can feel the cold hand of the reaper on my neck.
Beckoning me closer to death.
We were running through the yard, playing catch, tag, and hide-n-go-seek. Yelling and screaming and having a good time as kids will do. The grown-ups were inside, split into two groups. Men in front of the TV watching football (specifically rooting for the Dallas Cowboys – back when they still had a chance) and the ‘hens’ in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving Day Dinner. The call to the meal come and we would all run inside, all cram into the bathroom to wash our hands (splashing each other more than cleaning our skin), and sprinting to take our places around the dining table while Grandpa said Grace. My grandpa would be at the head of the table with grandma on his right. My aunts and their husbands (I had three of them), one unmarried uncle, my mother and Jack A, and my three cousins and myself.
On the outside, it would have looked like the perfect family. However, the truth was that grandma and grandpa didn’t sleep in the same room (they still loved each other and I would catch them dancing in the kitchen at times) but they couldn’t stand sharing a bedroom. My one and only blood related uncle was a ‘junkie’ and addicted to every drug known to man. He lived with my grandma and grandpa because he couldn’t hold a steady job. My freshman year, he killed himself. He hung himself in the tree in my grandparents backyard. One aunt was addicted to any pill that would get her high. Another aunt was a drunk. And… the other one was just there. She’s been disabled for a long time and relies on her very abusive husband for support. That has never worked. From growing up in those environments, my cousins were pretty messed up in their own right. They’ve all been to jail and have their own flavors of addiction.
Of the cousins that I got to see on a regular basis, there was only one that I wanted to be close to, which was my only girl cousin Trixie. I remember being jealous of her personality, of how popular she was, of the fact that she did drugs on a regular basis and STILL made straight A’s. I wanted to be her. Trixie got sucked in by drugs and alcohol. I remember talking to her when I was sixteen and in a veiled way I learned that she was prostituting herself to pay the mortgage on the house HER PARENTS rented. Now, she’s an alcoholic working as a bartender (*Sarcastic Eye Roll*).
I was always pressured by my cousins to join in the ‘fun’. To drink and do drugs with them. I was tempted… even went as far as taking money from my hidey hole for an upcoming party they were having. At the last-minute, I chickened out. The thought in the back of my head was… that would be an escape. I could get away from my hell for even a short amount of time. Immediately following that thought was “Would I survive if Jack A. found out?” The ultimate answer to that was NO. So I backed out.
I am happy that I did. I am glad that I stuck behind what I knew deep down was the right decision.
When I made the leap from age thirteen to age fourteen… I silently began to go crazy. When you add puberty to the mix of daily abuse it makes you feel like you’re drowning. Out in the ocean, in the middle of a hurricane, with wave after wave crashing over your head. I knew that if another wave hit me, I wouldn’t have the strength to keep fighting. Then I found an outlet in sports. I put all of my anger, my frustration, and the hatred I could no longer write about into sports.
I played tennis during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. When we moved to the a-fram house out into the middle of no where, Kim and Jack A. sprung it on me that I could no longer participate in extracurricular activities because they needed someone to take care of Suzie.
I was devastated because the thing that I had as my life preserver in the middle of a hurricane was ripped from me. I was back to fighting to keep my head above water.
How was I going to get through the next year? I felt like my purpose for living had just been stollen from me. I was lost and helpless, left for dead. I then had to find something new to get me through until I could legally move out and away from them. I started hiking the woods that surrounded our new house. I found a spot in the middle of a clearing with a large and almost flat boulder. When I needed to retreat from my life… I would go there and talk to nothing in particular. I would cry when I needed to cry, I would scream when I needed to scream, and so that boulder became My Saving Grace.
I have started to go back through my earlier posts and with my Sanctuary post, I keep asking myself:
Why didn’t I just tell my grandmother about what my stepfather had done?
Why? Why? Why? Is the mantra that plays in my head. Inevitably that question leads into:
If I had told her, would she have done anything about it?
I’ll never know the answers to those questions and not knowing what her reaction would be, scared me. Jack A. threatened me on a regular basis, telling me that if I ever told anyone and CPS got involved, they wouldn’t believe me. That they would come in, talk to him, and leave and then I’d really be sorry. So, out of fear of the unknown AND the fear of what he would do to me… I kept my mouth shut.
However, this isn’t meant to be a sad post. I have a lot of fond memories of visiting my grandparents. There is this one particular day that stands out. It was bright and sunny with only a few clouds in the sky that looked like white cotton candy. I remember wondering if they would taste like coconut. The sky was a deep aquamarine blue. It was early summer and it hadn’t reached the astronomically high temperatures it can get down in the south. I went and asked my grandma if I could go on a hike and she insisted that I take my pack and a lunch. I took my pack everywhere with me. I was still keeping a journal at this time. I believe I was twelve years old and it was 1995. In my pack was my walkman, lunch, a small blanket, journal, pencil, water bottle, and my reef walkers for exploring creek beds.
Back then, kids were still aloud to run around their neighborhoods and go on explorations without the fear of the boogeyman. So, I started out exploring the neighborhood and I branched out and ended up finding an abandoned secluded beach by the lake. It had a small dock that went out over the water. The dock looked like it was in need of some serious repairs so I put on my reef walkers and went wading. I checked the dock to make sure it was as structurally sound as possible. I didn’t want it collapsing with me on it. So, when I felt satisfied, I waded out of the water and made myself comfortable on the dock. I laid down on my stomach and watched the water. The water was somewhat murky but you could see a good six inches down. There were minnows everywhere in the water. Every now and then, you would see a larger fish swoop to the surface to catch it’s lunch.
I’m not sure how long I sat there watching the minnows dance but it was just soothing to my soul. I had found a moment that was just mine. I didn’t have to share it or tell anyone about it. It was my secret place. I knew that no one could take that memory away from me.
I came across this (also found in The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Known from this point as Courage to Heal.):
People say that time heals all wounds, and to a certain extent that’s true. Time will dull some of the pain, but deep healing doesn’t happen unless you consciously choose it. (Bass, Davis, 2008, pg. xxiv)
Now that this has been pointed out, quite like a smack upside the back of the head, it makes sense. I also came across this:
Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to tell your own story, to relay your history as you experienced it. You can say: This happened to me. It was that bad. It was the fault and the responsibility of the adult. I was – and am – innocent. (Bass, Davis, 2008, pg. xxvix)
When I learned about ‘E‘ (click the link to read the blog entry) from Jack A’s sister, Wilma, and the things that he had done to his children; I began to tell her about my childhood. This was the first attempt I had ever made in communicating my history. All my husband knew at that point was that I had a ‘rough’ childhood. After this initial conversation, several months had lapsed and I hadn’t heard from her.
One day I was chatting with Wima’s niece, Stormy, via Facebook. We were getting caught up and reconnecting. Stormy is the daughter of David (Jack A’s brother). Stormy went through some similar issues to mine in her childhood. While talking to her, she told me that Wilma didn’t believe that her brother would EVER do anything like that. She went far enough as to tell the family that I had lied. I was labeled a liar. Stormy proceeded to tell me that Wilma also said:
What kind of person can cut ties with their family? It’s just horrible that she could abandon her mother and sister like that.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard this nor, I’m sure, it won’t be the last. After talking to Stormy, I sat in shock. Someone that I thought could be an ally, a friend, someone that would understand, had turned against me. My hopes were that we could be each others support system. That maybe we could help each other through our pain together. Instead, fingers were pointed at me and I was labeled a liar.
I was extremely hurt by this and I felt that I needed to remove yet another person from my life. On Nov. 18th, 2012, I made a declaration on my Facebook that stated that I WILL NOT compete for the love of my friends and family. That you either love me for who I am or you don’t.
Anger had set in, as it always does. I went on a cleanup rampage of my Facebook ‘friends’ and deleted anyone and everyone that had issues with me abandoning my mother, my sister, and people like Wilma.
I believe that to be a piece of irony. My mother abandoned me to Jack A’s violence and abuse because she couldn’t step up and be the adult and take the responsibility she should have for the life that she brought into the world.