Friday, January 6, 2017

The Joy of Pregnancy, Poisoned

     I am sure you know what a serial killer is. I'm sure you're familiar with names such as Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. Could you name a few female serial killers? Like the butch Aileen Wournos of whom a movie was made about but I have not yet seen. Or the three blonde members of the "Manson Family" convicted of the murder the very pregnant Sharon Tate.
     The feminist within says that these women (and the Manson trio I cannot name off the bat) are not what people think of when people hear "serial killer" because women just aren't scary. A woman beating her male significant other? "Bullshit," or "the guy is just a pussy." However, I must inform you that this simply is not true. Women are perhaps more dangerous because most may view them as less of a threat. I have found that I am more comfortable passing a woman on the street at night as opposed to a man. There are good reasons for this; one could say that a man's testosterone is the culprit for a more direct and aggressive attack. Women, however, should not be viewed as harmless.
     The women I mentioned murdered in direct and violent ways, rather unusual as the most common way for a female serial killer is the use of poison. I find this to be quite frightening. Like the grotesque murderer appearing during a sex scene in an 80's slasher flick, just coming into your personal, pleasurable experience and doing the unthinkable. Something about a woman who you loved enough to marry, whom you spent a few happy moments with, would serve you a cup of coffee, a nondescript dinner, or even your favorite dessert with a dash of cyanide makes my head spin with disgust. How anyone could weasel into someone's life, gain their trust and kill them, especially in a way that is usually seen as an act of caring is the ultimate mindfuck to me.
     My father devalues human and animal life. As does his wife. They are both narcissists with psychotic tendencies. I could write many an essay about the instances in which they have tortured and killed their pets. Or how the way that they speak callously of a nephew's death and try to get others to also- as if he had been disposable.
     Recently my mother told me, through the unrestraint of alcohol, that my father had tried to convince her to commit suicide whilst pregnant with one of my siblings.
     I had known that he had choked her while she was pregnant. I knew that he had held a pan of burning vodka over her head. He had slapped her so hard it sent her to the ground and caused permanent damage to her neck.
     I had known all of that.
     He, like many malicious people in the world, had manipulated and weaseled his way through the world, charming strangers and hurting those nearest to them.
     I had already known he was a horrible person. But... how does someone poison their loved one's minds with encouraged thoughts of suicide? While pregnant?
     To me, there is no clearer definition of evil.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

No, I Don't Care

I don’t exactly care about anything. I don’t understand how I can feel totally pumped then suddenly question if I really like anything that I am doing.

Recently, I tried reading the newspaper. Oh my God. So fucking boring. But interesting when I force myself to read it. But am I enjoying it? I cannot tell. Does it matter? Will I remember the stories? Will it affect me in any way?

Of course, it will. I am never not affected by the things I come across in my life.

I hate it. It sucks. I wanna just scrub off the paint and see myself. I want a packet that says, “This is you. This is your dreams. This is what you’re like, who you’re friends with, what your career is.” I want a detailed description- favorite foods, clothing, pastimes and quirks.

I get frustrated. I feel hopeless. Because I don’t know who I am. It keeps changing. Everyday- throughout the day. I want to be able to just shove it down a hole. Or just roll with whatever is happening. Honestly, whenever a new personality creeps in I feel excited. I think, “This feels right!” Then, I blow up into rages over a piece of origami that just isn’t turning out right. I get odd adrenaline surges that make my stomach flutter and my elbows feel weird. It feels as if my body just isn’t right.

So, my mind tells me, “You like newspapers. Read every word of the newspaper. Buy the daily issues.” My body obliges, but in an odd- glitchy way. Its hands tremble, stomach cramps and heart palpitates- It’s just a newspaper, a lot of work goes into them and plenty of people read it. All of my momentum begins to slow and eventually halts, because there is an argument within shouting READ IT! and DON’T! Simultaneously.

I wish I could only listen to one voice. Because honestly, this happens with nearly everything I do. It happens when I bathe, when I read. When I relax. Play disc golf. Cut. Don’t cut. Dance. Don’t dance. Eat. Don’t eat.

There’s no winning, Lovelies.

At least, that’s the way I feel right now.

And then, I won’t feel this way. And I will wonder, “What was wrong with me? Thank goodness I’ll never feel like that again.”

Right now, I don’t know which way is up.

I am like a frozen computer screen. Inwardly, I am clicking like crazy, as if that would actually restore the program and get it back to functioning normally. We not it doesn’t. Then comes frustration and despair. It’s broken. What a shitty computer. And ya really want to just throw it out of a window.
This has been difficult to write. Because I cannot decide if I enjoy doing this or not. I want more than anything to climb out of my skin. I want to shut off for a while.

At moments like these, I drink. If I get drunk enough, I hack at my legs and arms with scissors. I think it would only take one moment of solidity to commit suicide. It’s not a threat- it’s a longing for relief. In fact, a lot of my panic attacks begin with the thought that this cycle will never end. I will never find enjoyment. I will never know who I am. I will awkwardly eek by.

Then I will snap back and feel alright for a while.

And all I just wrote will sound like whiny nonsense.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Twisted Nature of my My Narcissistic Stepparent

I had always wanted to be a Girl Scout. In my earliest memories, I was wanting to join clubs, sports, and general extracurricular activities. (Except for the Science Fair. Screw them and their stupid board displays and judges!)  And I clearly remember seeing the older girls in their green vests and sashes. One girl was working on a freakin' Ferris wheel made of straws! I am not kidding. There were all working on some cool project or chasing each other around the room. It looked like paradise to me. My eyes must have shone from beneath my crooked bangs.

However, no one would help my mother pay the dues. Which isn't much. Frankly, it should not have been a problem. But my interests led me to a dance group at church, choirs and playing basketball. These gave me some of my most cherished memories in life. In contrast, most of my schooling from this time is remembered as one long sitting session.

I was threatened by my father to move in with him. He claimed that if I did not immediately do so, that my brother would be asked instead and I would never be allowed to again. That had made me uncomfortable and even to a twelve-year-old, this sounded ridiculous. Foolishly, I overlooked my better instinct and trusted him to do no harm. Looking back, I feel that I was Red Riding Hood talking to the big, bad wolf. It's about as hopeless as yelling at the illustration in a fairy tale book, "Bitch-You about to be eaten!"

However, as the Yin and Yang will demonstrate, there is a little good within the bad. The spot of goodness from this experience was that I got to join the Girl Scouts. It was exciting! Something I had always wanted to do. I was a blossoming feminist and loved that programs that encouraged female empowerment. The bad was that our troop was not large. And I was the only teenager. And I did not get to go to many events or meetings due to the restriction of my narcissistic step-mom. But hey, at least I had the handbook and vest, right?

Well, this was until I made a lesbian friend and her and I messaged each other on Facebook. For whatever reason, I was not allowed to use the phone. I made the decision to call her while my parents were out anyway. We talked about four-wheelers and an activity called "muddin'," which I knew nothing about. Living under the tyranny of my parents, I very rarely was allowed to visit friends outside of school. My friend invited me to go out with the group to going riding and mudding. When my parents came home, I stayed on the phone. And why shouldn't I? I wasn't going to just hang up on her; I was doing nothing wrong.

That evening, I was called to the kitchen table by my step-mother. She outright asked if I was a lesbian. I felt dizzy. I had not told them anything about what has transpired between me and my friend. I realized that they had been reading through my Facebook messages.

I said that I was bisexual and my father and step-mother laughed at me, said I was "just horny," and went on this whole spiel about how they would maybe except me if I was a lesbian but would not since I had said I was bisexual. I was forbidden from going to anyone's houses now. Their justification was that if I was bisexual, I would just fuck anyone I was with.

Then my step-mother said snidely, "What if I were to tell the troop leader?" She said it as if it was something to be ashamed of. "What if they said, Sorry, this is a Christian organization and we don't trust perverts like you to be around little girls."

It hurt. I stopped caring altogether. Currently, I am looking for a troop to volunteer with. I love all of the great things that Girl Scouts does. And you know what? They are an open-minded community of progressive women who would have never turned me away. I mourn what I missed out on, but I celebrate what I was able to accomplish despite the abuse and the other erroneous shit that my parents threw at me.

In the end, the only thing my step-mother accomplished was to bully a trusting teenage girl and further alienate herself from ever finding true happiness. In short, I won.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Taking the Power Away



It has been a while since my step-monster has said anything to me. It has been around four years since she banged on the bathroom door because she took offense at me using the hair dryer too long. She had me sit down at the table and in front of my father and siblings said that I was "going to be a good little girl" and not misbehave anymore or she was "going to make my life a living hell."

I have thankfully never met another person that was quite as fucked up in the head as she is. However, I have heard of people with similar experiences on forums on Reddit. It has meant so much to me to share and receive feedback from supporters and fellow survivors.

I began to pull back from the communities because I spent so much time just trying to forget everything that happened and move on. I did not want the most interesting bit about me be the sexual and mental abuse suffered at the hands of my parents. I am tip-toeing back and facing this fear, however. Because this is larger than me. I am a part of the human experience and I feel that for every story that is told, the abusers lose the power that they once had. Of course, my intention is to bring awareness to the cycle of abuse, how to recognize it and protect ourselves. A lot of my regret centers around how much I did not speak out about the transgressions against me and my family when it was happening; unfortunately, I had no idea that what was happening was not normal.

I can't wait to get back in touch with all of you. I do want to hear the stories of those who were hurt, but more importantly, I want to hear where we are now. Abuse does not define us. Abuse is not about us. It may have happened to us, but we are not what others have done. We are more than just survivors.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Letter I Sent to My Father

Below is the letter I sent to my father shortly after I learned that I and my siblings had been abused. It may sound strange to say that I did not know that I had been. However, as a child who trusts their parents to never hurt them, I was always in denial of what was happening.
I wrote this letter when I was eighteen and living with my boyfriend's parents. He stopped talking to me altogether after this was sent:


How could you try and outright LIE to me that James is my half brother?
What father says that his daughter just wants to move in with her mother to "give mother-daughter action to the guy she lives with"?
A perverted one.
You are a liar. To me, you THE liar. You wanted to HURT me.
Guess what? It didn't. You didn't hurt me. You'll never hurt me. And I am not afraid of you or Jean.
How could you allow Jean to call me trash? Are you fucking kidding me? Allow her to call me a whore and say that I dress like a SKANK? Are you serious? Tell me what sense this makes: "You dress like a skank." No, I clearly don't, I never wear shorts and never show my arms or stomach or cleavage...I wear hoodies every day. "Oh, but you wish you could." ...What the fuck? Is she insane?
The only thing I regret is respecting you and trusting you. I should have stood up to you more and not allowed Jean to bully me or my siblings.
You took the opinion of a complete stranger- Lynsey- over your own daughter's...  You did nothing to help me emotionally, you interrogated me over and over until I finally lied and said the twisted things Lynsey had said were true.
Do you KNOW how many times I held a gun to my head while you guys were away? You and Jean tried so hard to make me feel terrible. And guess what? I was stupid enough to listen and it did make me feel terrible. Mission accomplished guys! Great job. It even had lasting effects: sent me to a mental hospital (heart) It fucked with everyone else to, why do you think Dan's suffering from depression for so long?
You're nothing more than a liar. And Jean is a pervert. I often wonder if she was ever molested. You are both perverts. And god help Corinne, Jordan and Ella.
Do you not see that your children come first? Tell that to Jean a few times, maybe she'll get off her laptop and actually spend time with her children.
Those three little girls- they're goddamn beautiful. And you better fucking tell them that every day. You better tell them every morning and night that you love them. You better fucking tuck them in, stroke their hair and smile. No matter what happened that day, you always fucking tuck them in at night.
Your children come first, because even though you fucked up, they're your only chance of doing something great with your life. Don't you EVER allow Jean to hit them again. Were you not there when she hit a seven-year-old, A SEVEN YEAR OLD- slapping her in the face in ANGER? Over and over asking her Baby Girl "WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE" That's fucking psychotic. I regret so much not going in there and holding Jean back. ...Punishments are like constructive criticism. You do not punish because you are angry or if you have a chip on your shoulder.
Don't you see?
Those baby girls and your son James... Take each one of those girls-separately- on a daddy-daughter date. PAY ATTENTION TO THEM. Listen to them, and shut your mouth. See them as a person discovering who they are. You cannot change who they are, you never will. Your job is to nurture them to help them become who they are.
Do not punish them like you did me. Do not drown them out. Give them the affection I desperately looked for in other men. Give them securities. Give them patience and drown them in love. Drown them in hugs and kisses. Do not pry into their lives, but offer to listen to them if they need someone to talk to.
Do not make the same mistakes that you made with Drew, Daniel and me. The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting a different result.
You lost this daughter.
You lost me.
To me, you are the liar.
Be a father to those girls. Make Jean be a mother to those girls. Be parents. That's all you have to do. And you won't lose them like you have lost me.
Love those girls. For god's sake, when's the last time you told them how much they meant to you?
Quit being so prideful and pretentious. Quit being so perverted, racist and ignorant. Something has to change in you and Jean. Something has to give if you're going to be good parents.
You better be a good father to those girls, and if you aren't- if you don't change and make THEM your number one priority, not yourself- I swear that I am taking them away. When they are at the age of consent, I will offer my home to them. No matter where they are in the world- it doesn't matter. I will nurture them into becoming the beautiful, precious people that they are. And if you are good parents, if they feel loved with you two and secure where they are, then they won't feel the need to come be with me.
Don't you DARE make them feel indebted to you.
And Jean, she needs to get evaluated. The more I think about her, the more I believe she has a serious mood disorder. She uses everyone as a scapegoat. She needs help.
You life is the result of YOUR decisions and YOUR actions. Everything that happens to you, including this letter I'm writing, is a result of your actions. If any part of you cares or is intelligent enough, you will realize that you both need to change to secure the raising of healthy, secure children.
Be a father. Be the father you always wanted. Be the father your children NEED.
This conversation is between you and me, I won't tell anyone. I respect your privacy. Please think and stop being in denial. Be a good father, please. For the sake of your children.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Screech

There was a time in my life that I was addicted to crack and heroin. I was also homeless. Being homeless did not mean that I slept on the street, though. I stayed with my then boyfriend in a dilapidated trailer.
The trailer was like what you saw in hoarder shows. They had four dogs. And there was dog shit everywhere. So much that it wasn’t cleaned up. So much that the entire floor of their bedrooms was covered in a thick layer of dog shit. It stank. And if you stayed in the place for a while, you stank too. So bad that people don’t want to be near you.
It was infested with roaches of all kinds. There was just no avoiding them. They were in the fridge. They were in the microwave. They still crawled out when you microwaved something. There was a thick, grainy dust and spots from them on every surface. Even on the walls and the ceiling. They were the most active at night. And the dogs would stomp, snap at and eat them.
Cobwebs from spindly spiders spanned across entire rooms. You could kill seven and five minutes later, more would appear.
The worst part of it all was the rats.
They were fat. They were loud. I had been laying on the couch when I heard something walking through the hallway. It stopped at the entrance. It was huge and brown. It walked away slowly from me. As if it were not afraid.
I do not know how many there were. But they would get in the couch. And they would fight. I could feel them scuffling around inside. They felt like light knocking through the couch. They would squeak and screech loudly. I trembled in the pitch blackness of night. When the roaches came out and the rats were the most active. In the darkness, I did not know if it was a dog that ran across the floor just feet in front of me while I lay exposed on the couch, or if it was the giant, fat rat that had stared at me fearlessly earlier.  
I have post-traumatic stress disorder and the nightmares of this place are frequent and disturbingly real. I am back there and the rats are denning in the couch beneath me. I feel them thudding, fighting, and hear them screeching below.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Mental Hospital

“Good morning,” the nurse flipped the light on, the ugly glare of the Fluorescents, “How are you?”
“Good,” I moved my mouth the way I thought would sound like the word “good” but it sounded more like “screw you” in my head.
I sat up in my hospital bed and self-consciously smoothed my hair down, mainly in the back. My hair was short and notorious for having some really wacky bedhead, but just because I was in a mental hospital didn’t mean I had to look the part. The nurse took my blood pressure and temperature, recorded it and left my room without turning the light off.
“Asshole...” I scoffed and flipped the light off and laid back in bed. I pulled the blanket around my arms to cocoon myself. I had barely slept the night before; not only was I in a new ‘exciting’ place, but nurses constantly shined flashlights in my face to make sure I hadn’t escaped and kept me up with the sounds of a radio and their constant chatter. Moreover, the bed was somehow more uncomfortable than the one at my dorm! It sucked! And I hoped that I could just sleep a little bit longer…
Only then two other nurses burst through the door, flipped my light on and said “You have to get out of your room now. We’re locking doors.”
Sigh.
I pouted inwardly and shuffled into the lobby with my fellow crazies. An ex-marine shuffled around the room sipping coffee from a styrofoam cup. A couple others sat around the table in the kitchen with their hot drinks. I was offered something to drink from one of the nurses but rejected it. Even if I was about to die from dehydration, my pride would not allow me to accept a drink from them. They kept everything- spoons, sodas, cookies, and other snacks locked up from the patients. You had to ask for everything from the snooty nurses, it was like being in kindergarten again! I had to ask them for permission to do everything: Will you unlock the bathroom? May I take a shower? Can you unlock my cabinet so I can change my clothes?
I often felt degraded because of that and when I had an option not to rely on them granting me something, I always denied their help.
I sat in a chair next to an elder woman with short, black hair and a large bruise above her left eye. She looked confused and said to me, “Can you help me find my trailer? I looked everywhere and… this isn’t my furniture. I wouldn’t have bought any of this!” She stood up from her seat and started trying door knobs, all of which were locked.
“Where’s the way out of here?” She asked jiggling the bathroom door. One of the nurses in their blue scrubs told her not to worry, that she would be staying there for a while and led her to the kitchen table.
I looked at the clock and was annoyed. Five in the morning. Everyone else in the geriatric unit certainly weren't there because they wanted to be. It was mind-numbingly boring. I sat. And sat. And sat some more. Waiting for the next five days to be over.

I was nervous going to the Marshall clinic- I mean, I really, REALLY anxious. I hated everything about it. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was desperate, though... I went in and waited to talk to a counselor and tell her that I didn’t feel safe in my own company. I NEEDED to be under surveillance so I wouldn’t take my own life.
Then and the few days while being in the hospital, I kept telling myself that I didn’t belong there. That I was totally fine, I wasn’t suicidal. I don’t need help. I’m just here to excuse myself from the stress of life for a few days.
Once I was admitted they put the plastic armband with my name on it, and taken to the geriatric ward. I would be taken to the adult unit later, but when I came there was not enough room. They took me through security and to a large room with a television and couches, kitchen area, and a nurse’s desk. My heart was pounding and I was suddenly remembering every horrific scene from movies like “The Changeling” and “Shutter Island.”
 
I fell in love with one of the elderly patients in the geriatric unit. Her name was Mary. Mary, Mary quite contrary. And she was a riot!
When they first brought her, she was asleep on a stretcher and snored loudly through most of the day. The next day, whatever drug they had had her on was wearing off and she kept getting off the stretcher against the advisory of the nurses. Soon after, they discovered just how contrary Mary really was.
Mary had seen the bruise on the confused woman’s brow and became very pissed off. She had been reading a Bible when she noticed the bruise and she shouted, “Hey! This woman’s wounded! Get off your fat asses and help her or you’re fired!”
The nurses laughed, none of them were particularly fond of Mary since she hated all of them. Mary asked the woman, whose name was Sylvia, how she’d gotten the bruise.
“I…,” Sylvia felt her head and the poor thing looked very, very distraught, “I don’t remember.”
“Did the nurses do that to you?!” Mary asked and then looked at the nurses, “Did those fat asses hit you over the head?”
“I know someone hit me in the head,” Sylvia paused in deep thought, “I don’t remember who it was, but I’m sure it was someone dressed in blue.”
I laughed inwardly; it was sad that Sylvia was so confused, but I found it funny that Mary was inadvertently convincing her that the nurses had hurt her. She had been admitted with the bruise on her head.
Mary kept complaining and telling them all that they were going to be fired for hurting Sylvia. Then she started quoting the Bible. One of the nurses said snidely, “You know Jesus said ‘Peace, be still and know that I am God.”
Mary stared at her for a moment, scowling, “Shut the fuck up or I’m going to ram my cane up your ass.”

The adult unit was very crowded and very small. It consisted of a hallway with a classroom on one end and a room with a bunch of seats facing a television. And that was it. I didn't have a room to retreat into on this floor, so I was forced to either mope in the classroom, walk the hallway, or stare at the television. I sat in the classroom and talked to a few others who were closer to my age. Maybe in their thirties. Two girls and a guy talked about weed. Another woman told me she used to be a meth dealer. A forty-some-year-old asked me if I liked to smoke pot. They were all pretty cool, but I realized something was off about them. The guy who was talking about weed abruptly left the room. A few moments later some loud THUD! THUD! came from where he had gone. He came back in the room and said "I've got a problem... my roommate busted holes in the walls and now I'm going to get blamed for it. I can't pay for that shit!"
We just looked at him and one of the recreational therapists told him that they would take care of it. He stared at the floor and went to tell a couple nurses at the nurse station. They ignored him and continued doing whatever it was they were working on. Well, that pissed him off and he started yelling at them and kicking their counter. They kept ignoring him nonetheless. That pissed him off even more and he lifted a giant water cooler above his head and slammed it against the ground. After that, a group of nurses sprang into action and held him down to sedate him. After the injection, he was basically a zombie. I shuttered and a thick, slimy feeling dwelled in my stomach. I wanted to go home. I don't belong here, I thought.

"Do you find it hard to make eye contact with me?" My therapist mused, and I awkwardly forced myself to look her in the eye.
"No... it's just...emotional." laughed nervously and squirmed in the little chair.
She leaned back in her chair, with a pen in her hand, looking at me, sizing me up. And said, almost to herself, "You're going to amount to great things..." I moved uncomfortably. I can't take a compliment, and I am definitely not used to someone consoling me. I'd always been told to get over it. Life's a bitch. That sort of thing... and I didn't know how to take what she was saying, so I just said thank you.
The small woman sat up in her chair and perched on the edge of the seat, "You look like you are full up to here," she raised a hand up to her neck, "with all of the shit you've had to put up with." I listened. "You've got to let it out! And it's okay to! It's okay to cry; it's okay to vent!"
I smiled and laughed again, adjusting myself again.
"Listen, do you know the definition of insanity?" She asked and answered for me, "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
That's when the lightbulb went on: my ah-ha! moment. I'd heard that quote dozens of times, but I never realized that it could apply so deeply in my life. I realized something needed to change, and things wouldn't get better until I changed them.

I still battle with depression; I was more accurately diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder a few years later. I never knew I was until my boyfriend at the time told me he was concerned about me. I had been crying every night and had no motivation to do anything.
Every day I learn something more about PTSD and BPD. They are both disorders that are crippling and can be fatal. It is very much a real thing.
I was becoming more and more careless. I had went days without feeling any emotion. I was losing my ability to feel affection. And I didn’t care. I wanted to die.
I got a pistol from the gun cabinet and loaded one bullet.
Then I heard my boyfriend call for me to hurry up, that I was going to be late to my first class.
I went to the Marshall clinic that day.