In writing my posts and bringing the pain back to the surface I’ve come to notice that at some point in my life, somewhere during one of my traumatic events I stopped living. With each post I’ve cried my eyes out feeling the anguish from each tear. Knowing that these feelings are still running so deep in my body I realized that I’m frozen in time. Letting my abusers and ex husband dictate how I live my life. I held on to the pain, to the negativity, to the hurt and only ended up hurting myself over and over again. If I had said “screw you”, I’m worth it, I’m going to be something great, my life would look a lot different. Till this day I still live in fear of being unloved, unlike and not good enough to be happy. I don’t know how but I need to break the cycle, release their hold on me and start living the life I was destined to live before they cracked my clean slate. Throughout my adult life I’ve taken the safe road. Not risking it because I was a failure and nothing good could come out of me. This might feel true on some levels but the unconditional love of my amazing boys is untouchable. As long as I have them I will understand and feel true love. But it’s time for change, it’s time for me, it’s time that happiness knocked on my door and I welcomed it in because I, yes, I, deserve it!!!! I will no longer settle for second best and I will no longer live my life based on others approval. If I don’t trust you or you’ve harmed me in some way I’m going to remember it, but forgive you and move on!! For Me, Not For You!! I’ve wasted enough of my life, it’s time to take it back.
It feel great to have my eyes wide open but there was so much more I experienced. Stay along for the ride, it gets a little bumpy.
Before I move forward I think it’s only right to let you know that I was no stranger to depression. I can remember seeing my first counselor and being prescribed Prozac for my depression. It’s no wonder that I suffered from depression due to my childhood, not to mention that I wasn’t the pretty girl in school or the thinnest. So I fell prey to teasing from an early age but something was starkly different with my post break-up behavior. I started to feel this battle within myself and the dramatic changes in my mood. For the most part I was feeling severe depression from the traumatic events of my separation. My parents were rays of hope but for some reason no matter how much they supported me, a change was coming and it would forever stay.
One night when I was all alone, and my parents were sleeping due to their work schedules, I started to have these battles within. No matter how much I tried to distract myself with TV, movies and just hanging outside alone on the porch with a divine cigarette. (They were my “drug” of choice.) I couldn’t fight the internal dialogue that was telling me to end it all. Finish it. Stop the pain. After hours off fighting, I finally gave up. I wanted to stop the pain. I wanted to disappear from this earthly existence that seemed to get worse instead of better.
That night the struggle within continued non-stop, and I decided to give in. That night I took a handful of Vicodin, left from a tooth pulling. I laid in my bed and took a sharp knife to cut both my wrists. I watched the blood come pouring out and felt bliss, it’s going to be over soon. This was my time, by morning I would be dead and the pain would be forever gone. Unfortunately I was awakened by my mother who discovered my attempt. She called my family doctor and I was immediately admitted to the local hospital.
At the hospital, I was admitted to the psychiatric ward. There were two parts of the ward you could be admitted to. For me, since I attempted suicide I was admitted to the portion that was totally restricted. In this unit there were empty rooms with only a mattress and a camera for the staff to watch. This was a required stay for at least 24-48 hours since I tried to kill myself. It was a very sterile and sad place. Lonely but watched at every move. I couldn’t even take a shower without a staff member in the room. I felt exposed and vulnerable. In the common area of this unit I meet a resident that claimed to be Jesus and he was going to rape me. He started to scream and shout, not making much sense. So a team of large men came in, dragged him to his sterile room, and held him down while the nurse gave him an injection. This scared me terribly because of my childhood experience. I would lay in my empty room with a mattress and camera and wonder how did this happen to me. I was supposed to be dead. I was supposed to be pain-free. After one very long day and night in the confined unit I was cleared to be admitted to the regular psychiatric ward. I had a room with another girl. I’m not sure what her diagnosis was but she was very intense in her hand washing and repeating her tasks over and over. Almost like OCD. She kept me up at night washing her hands non- stop. In this unit we had a regular schedule. We woke at 7am and started our days with breakfast, therapy, psychiatrists, and crafts. Occasionally we were allowed to make and receive calls and watch movies in the common room. I met a lot of people who seemed just like me. I took comfort in their presence unlike Jesus in the other unit. I exchanged information with some of the other patients. After several days of a ritualistic schedule and doctors appointment I was diagnosed, the words still ring in my head, “You are Bipolar.” They tried to explain this new word to me but everything was still very confusing and foggy. They started me on a regiment of drugs and it was a lot. I couldn’t feel sadness, happiness or anything for that matter when the medicine kicked in. I just functioned as a robot trying to understand what was going on and what happened to my life. Little did I know that there was so much to learn about my new friend.
This is when I met The Other Side of Me.
Right after he made his grand announcement that he didn’t love me anymore I didn’t know what to do next. My parents happen to be hours away on vacation and I couldn’t stand to be in the same house as him. I got in my dream car, which didn’t seem so shiny and new anymore, and drove around. I don’t know how long I drove but I drove through tear soaked eyes. Once I physically exhausted myself I pulled over in a nearby neighborhood and slept in the backseat of my car. It took another day for my parents to get back home to comfort me. So I slept in my car for two days. Crying so hard that my whole body would shake. I think these initial days were spent in shock because I remember very little except the tears and confinement of this used to be beautiful car but now another symbol of my broken dreams.
I just couldn’t believe what was going on. I gave this man everything. I supported him. I trusted him. I loved him with my whole being which I never thought was possible. And he ripped my heart out and took me back to my painful childhood. A time that I thought he had healed. A time I thought I would never revisit or feel that way again. A time that planted the seed that I was unlovable. And now it was true. I was unlovable. I was damaged. I was worthless. And now I was broken forever.
My parents returned early from their vacation and I started living there. In the coming weeks I had to try to wrap my head around what was happening. I was desperate for things to go back to the way they were but he was gone. There was no hope for a reconciliation so we had to meet and split our property. While I was there I discovered girls closing hanging in the bathroom. Just like that she had replaced me. In his heart and in my home. With every crushing blow I felt myself breaking into more pieces and losing grip on life. I would spend my days at my parents house, sleeping a lot and smoking outside on the porch. At night it would get unbearable. I couldn’t sleep and if I could I had to fall sleep to the sound of the TV. And my mind became my worst enemy. I literally fight with my own thoughts and at times would hear a voice in my head telling me awful things, breaking me down more and more. At this point I was so far gone in my own pain that no one could help me.
She thought she was his fairest of all. She gave her new husband all she could. Resuming their lives in the real world. Working during the week and hanging out with friends on the weekend. Since he was older than her he would enjoy an evening out at a night club with older mutual friends and she was more than fine with that. She never wanted to hold him back or nag him into submission so that she was comfortable. During their world wind 10 months of marriage they kept things spicy and continued to feel the passion. In her eyes he still completed her and she trusted him. It was rather nice to settle in to normal life and put the struggles behind them. But something changed and she couldn’t see it at first but there love-making had lessen and she saw a different, more withdrawn lover before her. One night near July 4th 2000, she remembers this because they just got her dream car, a Toyota Celica. They celebrated but something was under the surface. She eventually approached him and after a heated argument he said “I don’t love you anymore.” Really?!?! After 10 months of marriage, what had changed, what did she do wrong. But it wasn’t anything she could fix, it was him, he met someone during his club outings. Cheating, that’s what it was, and it was happening to her. He didn’t only fall for this scarlet, he cared enough for her to give up on their love. To destroy what they built and planned. But not only did she feel that utter pain and blackness of his cheating but she discovered that her friends who accompanied him to these clubs, knew. I don’t know how much they knew but they knew and didn’t say a word. The pain that came with this news was heart wrenching but little did she know that this betrayal would change her life forever. It wasn’t only a break up, a divorce, it was a scar that would keep ripping her open over and over again. This experience would cause an astonishing ripple effect and take her on a path in her life that no one would’ve predicted.
Once Upon a Time, there was a young 15-year-old girl who fell in love with a boy. She was a freshman in high school and he was a junior. They met one day in the cafeteria while a group of people including her brother were hanging out. She noticed him right away; he was tall but not skinny. He had a darker complexion because his father was Cherokee. His dark long hair came to his chin. But it wasn’t until he spoke for the first time did she fall in love with this stranger. Another classmate handed him a cassette tape that he borrowed and he said “Be Kind Rewind.” Like the tapes at Blockbuster. She thought that was so funny and witty. And that’s where their love story began.
It didn’t take long, but this young couple was falling faster and faster in love. They were inseparable. From meeting between classes and hanging out at his home or hers. He lived in an apartment with his mother, sister and brother. His mother was hardly home but it was clear that she was different and didn’t care for her son’s new love. His sister was only a couple of years younger but had the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. She was very sweet, and his younger brother was a busy boy that hardly ever sat down. All three had different fathers but they weren’t in the picture.
Their love was fast, passionate and free. There was no fear, there was no hesitation. They were each others first and the connection was always electric. It seemed as though they were meant for one another. He completed her and had a way of making her believe in men again. He would write her notes, sing to her and would present her with red roses on a regular basis. If it weren’t for others they hardly knew anyone else was around. They built this amazing, crazy love that no one else could understand but it wasn’t always that way. They had troubles, they had struggles but it felt like they could get through anything as long as they were together.
A year into their romance his mother killed herself by jumping off a bridge into an inch or so of water. She was schizophrenic. Her parents took all three of them into their home until his sister and brother could be placed with their dads. She could never forget the eerie note his mother left behind with her things and when the police came looking for him to do a photo ID of his mother. Once they had his sister and brother placed with their fathers, they thought that things would calm down and they could go back to being blissfully in love. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only trial they would face. His sister was temporarily returned till she could be placed in another home because she was being abused and neglected by her own father and his friends. Then the awful news that his brother was left alone and involved in a terrible fire. He almost died several times. He suffered third degree burns over 80% of his body. They visited him regularly at the burn unit at CHOP. The burn unit was a horrible place to visit. His brother was so swollen and covered in bandages. If you left you couldn’t get the smell of iodine out of your clothing. It took months and months to get him healthy enough for painful skin grafting and then grueling therapy. His brother survived, but would remained scarred for life. They made it through these terrible tragedies and even planned to marry.
On August 28th 1999 they married in a beautiful backyard wedding and planned to live in the apartment they already rented. Now they began their life as Man and Wife.
To be continued…
I didn’t fully understand what it meant to see the pure innocence of a child until I had my own children. But this understanding also opened my eyes to the trauma that molded me as a person and women. I started off with a blank slate and as I had experiences my slate started to fill with thoughts and ideas that molded me. Of course all people have some level of positive and negative markings on there slate but it’s those traumatic moments in your life that seem to make cracks in your slate.
This is where my abuse left cracks in my slate. After 6 years of sexual abuse I was left with a big crack in my slate and it wasn’t until years later did I get the meaning of this crack and how it shaped my life. My viewpoint on men and sexuality was severely damaged. As strange as it may sound, which who can really understand the reasoning’s behind a persons reaction to abuse, I thought that the only way to get attention from men was to use my sexuality but I felt that my sexuality was a bad and dirty thing. This is obviously very unhealthy and contradicting. It opened the door to boys taking advantage of me and me not getting the connection between self respect and love. And if I loved someone I still felt the negative impact because I couldn’t associate making love as a positive thing. It was a dirty thing. Something that bad people did. And if I wanted to be intimate with someone, I was a bad person too. This crack has impacted every part of my life; from my teen years, my first marriage, my adulthood, my relationships and especially my responsibility of raising my boys.
Even as a grown women, I size up the men in my life and the men I meet and try to evaluate there threat level. Can I trust them? Are they big enough to overpower me? Are they going to hurt me? This leaves it very hard for me to trust men, especially men I don’t know or men that have hurt me, physically or emotionally.
This post has plagued me because of it’s sensitivity and some disturbing details. The only benefit from my abuse starting at the young age of 5, is that I remember things in bits and pieces. At first it started with my first perpetrator, someone close to me that should’ve been my protector. Till this day if you ask this individual about the activities that occurred he would profess it was two people experimenting. I on the other hand saw it all too differently. He was older and he was family. That equaled maturity and knowledge as an older person then I. After a short period of time my first perpetrator was joined by another family member and will be known as perpetrator 2. Most of the time the two would gang up on me while our families were in the next room having parties. I would find myself laying in a bed with my eyes closed tightly while my body was being fondled and molested till I cried out in pain. I was so confused but as the time went by I knew when the offenses were going to occur. I knew when I heard my bedroom door creep open at odd hours of the night or when I found out that a party was planned. I didn’t know what to do other then close my eyes, tighten up my body and wait for it all to be over. Once they were completed with their assault to their satisfaction I had very little comfort in knowing there will be a next time and I was powerless to change or stop it.
After several years, perpetrator 2 was no longer in the picture. This gave me great comfort. I thought that with this change the assaults would stop but I was so very, very wrong. My first perpetrator came up with a new game to play with me, against my will. It was time for perpetrator 1 to bring in his friends and offer up his younger family member as bait. Now the tables had turned and my original torture, which I learned to expect became a new and scary torment. Now I never knew who was coming, when it was coming and how severe the violation would be. I just remember thinking that this was never ending and I was doomed to be someones toy. To feel things that I didn’t welcome, to see things that weren’t for my eyes, and to fear things that no child should know. This is when I believe my view on boys as a teen and even my view of men as an adult was tainted forever. Not knowing what this trauma truly left behind as the perpetrators became bored and moved on. And the paranoia and mental torture of protecting my own children would haunt me.
Even as I write these words I can feel the ache in my gut for the little girl that lost her childhood and gained a permanent scar on her heart and mind forever.