The Good Man

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I was getting along really well with my parents.  My mom was helping with the kids and my step dad let me know that blood or not, I was his daughter.  I felt good about that and I loved him very much.  I thought I was doing well, I was working, paying my bills, volunteering, socializing with friends.  I didn’t recognize that I was not giving my boys enough of my time.

One Friday a friend of mine called while I was at the hospital doing some volunteering, she wanted me to meet up with her and her boyfriend at a bar near my house and they had a friend with them.  I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend and I’m not even sure why I went.  I decided I would just change my shirt and let my hair down.  I threw on some mascara on the way but wasn’t really concerned about him even liking me.

At the bar when I met the guy they were trying to fix me up with I had mixed feelings.  I felt something on the inside but he was shy and the silky shirt was less than desirable.  Out of the blue he tried to kiss me and I almost hauled off and punched him.  What the???  We barely talked but apparently his friend thought I was “into him” so he should move in.  Ummm what?  I’m not ok with unsolicited touching, hugging or being in close proximity to strangers.  I have to initiate that sort of thing.

We ended up running into some friends of a friend and they invited all of us back to their house.  Now these people are strange in the way of the possible swinging type…I think.  They showed us around their renovated basement and I’m not exaggerating, their porn shower!  You could fit probably 10 people in it, it had a long bench and several heads.  It got very awkward at that point so I suggested we leave.  It was very late anyway.  We walked out and the guy hugged me goodbye, I don’t usually like that but it felt amazing.  It wasn’t a sleazy hug, it felt so genuine and comforting.  I didn’t want to let go, I had never felt so good.

The guys left and I went home.  I didn’t stop thinking about him.  I don’t think I slept.  I know he was driving about 5 hours out of town to sell his drums the next day so didn’t think I would hear from him.  My friend and I got together the next day and told her that I liked him but I didn’t even get his number.  I wouldn’t call him even if he had given me his number, I always wait for a guy to call first.  Shortly after she picked me up her boyfriend called her and asked if we would like to get together that night,  the four of us.  This was a little shocking to me since I knew he had driven 10 hours round trip that day. Of course I said yes and was a little excited.

After our day out I went home and had to decide what I was going to wear.  I knew that I wanted to fix myself up a little more than I had the night before but I didn’t want to try too hard. I decided on jeans and a T-shirt with something written across the chest.  I guess I thought my breasts were the only thing I had going for me.   All we planned to do was watch a movie at my friends house anyway, it didn’t matter what I wore.  However, I did throw on some make up and fixed my hair this time.

Ok, so he barely spoke to me and I thought he didn’t like me.  He must be here out of obligation.  Later, I caught him staring at my chest and doing the thing where you try to accidentally touch a shoulder, leg, hand, etc.  Hmmmm….

I wanted to know him so I decided I would ask him togo somewhere and talk.  He agreed so we drove (separately) to the nearby commuter lot and he got into my car.  He actually talked to me then and I liked him, he was easy to talk to. It was getting late and I needed to get home so I started to suggest we leave when I leaned over and kissed me.  A real kiss and OH MY GOD! I felt a pulse of electricity fly through all my extremities.  I had never felt anything like it and I wanted to feel it again! So, I just told him “Do that again” and he did.  Holy shit, it was amazing! I definitely wanted to see him again.

I can’t remember how but we ended up going out the next Thursday night and again that weekend.  I fell in love with him very quickly and we started talking about the future.  We both agreed on kids, I didn’t want anymore and he didn’t want his own.  Perfect!

Everything was great and he even got along well with the boys.  I was actually really happy until I guess it was the following March, 7 months.  I started feeling antsy or insecure, not sure.  I knew I felt like I couldn’t be with him enough, I lost my mind.  It was too good so I think I was testing him when I had an episode and threatened to break up.  I didn’t want to break up!! WTF? I think it’s just easier for me to act like I didn’t want or need him so he couldn’t hurt me.  In retrospect, this was a pattern for me….as soon as they get close I turn into a demon.  I knew I wanted him and would have been devastated to lose him.  He’s an over achiever…he gave me the diamond he was going to have made into ring.  He should have just broke up with me.  I was poisonous and cursed.

We ended up selling our houses, getting married and moving into a new beautiful home in just a little over a great from when we met.  None of the boys wanted to move but my oldest son was in high school and I understood.  I let him move in with his dad so he could stay in his school, it broke my heart into a million pieces.  I loved my boys so much and I just really wanted the family life.  I thought it would be nice to maybe just be normal for a change.  I was really hurting which upset my husband and he took it out on the boys.  He blamed them for hurting me.  He didn’t physically hurt them, just didn’t get close to them.  His relationship with them was tense from the moment on.

I knew that if I had been a better mother they would want to be with me.  My oldest came to visit every other weekend until he could drive then he mostly just hung out with friends.  Our house was not the place to be and the younger boys started staying with their friends more and more.  I was very depressed, my vision of a happy family was crushed.   I started having episodes more frequently again, it really put a strain on my marriage and my relationship with the kids.  I tried to go to therapy but I never told the whole story.  Everyone just thought I was depressed because so many of my family had died, I didn’t want anyone to know that I was fucked up since childhood.

My middle son did very well in school, he got good grades and was very smart.  He didn’t get into any trouble and he even got Student of the Month.  It felt good that he had been chosen out of 800 other kids.  My youngest still did not care about school, he didn’t do his work and I’m pretty sure he didn’t go all the time.  He got into trouble a lot.  My husband was really irritated with him and they had a mutual hate for each other.  When my middle son left for college my youngest moved in with his friends family.

I had been a terrible mother, none of my kids wanted to be around me and my husband was ready to give up.  I kept having more and more episodes until finally he had enough and said I had to get help. He always looked like the bad guy to all my friends, they only knew the fun girl in the mask.  It just seemed like he was the bad guy to everyone.  They couldn’t have been more wrong, he was constantly trying to get me to talk and getting to protect me.  He could have just left but he wanted me to get better.

I went to a psychiatrist that diagnosed me with bipolar disorder, I was put on medication to control the mood highs and lows. My friends noticed that I wasn’t my usual fun self and it hurt me when they said I was better before.  I was doing what I had to.  I had found some other friends through my neighbor and they took me on like we had known each other forever.  There was never any drama with them and it was always a very supportive group.  It helped but I didn’t tell them all of my pain.   I kept taking the medicine for a while but I was still depressed so finally he got me into a therapist in his office.  Is wasn’t a good fit but had to do something.  Over several weeks with her I told her of the marital trouble, kids trouble and then she started asking about my past. I told her about the deaths and my love/hate relationship with my mother.  She kept pushing deeper and one day I just broke down.  I completely lost it and finally just let it out.  I told her my older brother had molested me for 6 years.   She walked me through it but it was so hard to talk about.

The therapist urged me to tell my husband.  I told her that when I told my mother at 15, I was accused of lying and told I was crazy and that it drove me to attempt suicide.  I could not go through that again and what if he was disgusted and left me?  I was sure he could never love me let alone touch me ever again.  It took me weeks before I got the nerve to tell him.  I just rambled it out really fast one night and didn’t look at him.  He did not react at all like how I had pictured.  He was mad, not at me, at my brother but most of all my mother.  He told me he loved me and it changed nothing between us, he would support me and protect me.

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Absent Mother

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Alone.  Better off alone.  I thought I’m really going to just be alone and that was ok because I couldn’t live with a man, I hated the way I felt with men.  I either gave them too much of myself or didn’t really care at all.  I hurt them anytime I felt my individuality threatened but also when they pulled too far away.  There was no happy medium.  It wasn’t love and it wasn’t good for me or them.

I went out with a couple of my ex boyfriends, mostly just ended up at their place “coping” and then back home to be alone.  I was pretty content for the most part, I was working and liking my job and my kids were very busy with their lives.  Most of my close friends had very young children or had moved on with their lives without me.  I decided I would start doing volunteer work in my free time so I spent my time doing that, occasionally going out with my friends and hanging out with my dog. I was ok with that and did not want to be in a relationship.

My ex husband was happier that I didn’t have another man in my life or the kids lives but it still wasn’t a good situation and my kids definitely used it to their advantage.  I was still very afraid they would be taken from me in one way or another.  I cried a lot and screamed a lot.  I was emotionally unstable and the kids suffered.  I wasn’t the strong and healthy mom that kids need.  My kids grew up very fast, they learned to take care of themselves and each other early on.

My oldest son, A, was the man of the house at 11 years old, he took care of the yard, fixed anything that was broken, cooked meals, did laundry and kept up with his brothers, D & E.  A could do anything, fix anything, etc. and he never complained except for maybe cutting grass once in a while.  D was definitely middle child, he was quiet and just liked to do his own thing.  When he did speak he was funny and he was also very lovable, he was very close to me and it took him a while to pull away.  He wasn’t much for doing the man stuff around the house but he did step up when someone hurt me.  He was my protector, he hated to see me cry.  E was a different kid from the moment he was born, very smart and very excitable.  He was very young when his life was turned upside down by the divorce and the ugliness that followed.  He was very independent and hated to be told what to do.  He got in trouble quite a bit in school, he rarely did homework unless it interested him but he could ace any test you put in front of him.  He was a very good looking kid and had tons of friends so he didn’t much care about school or about being at home.

I worked a lot and traveled for work so wasn’t home much.  I was climbing the ladder at my company and was focused on that recognition.  My mind rarely went to what that was doing to my kids, I gave them a lot of freedom at an early age.  I made sure they were well dressed and had most of the things they wanted.  When they were sick I shipped them off to my parents house and went to work.  When they needed something and I was working…I called my parents. I didn’t spend much quality time with them, I thought if I gave them material things that it was enough and they would know that I loved them.  I kept thinking that I was doing all of this for them.  I was making sure they had medical care and the necessities, never thinking they might just need their mom.  We all missed out on a lot of time and memories.  I really regret that.  I wish I would have been a better mother and gave them more of myself.

I was just trying so hard to stay busy so I wouldn’t think about my past that I never thought about the damage I was doing to my kids.  I always blamed their dad and didn’t think I was wrong but it was wrong to put so much of my hate on their plates.  I should have protected them from my ugliness.  I never realized how much I leaned on them when it should have been the other way around.  My kids did not have the carefree childhood that I had hoped for them and it’s my fault.

I started getting sick a lot, my depression was manifesting physically.  I was fatigued, gaining weight and started having issues with my female parts.  I would get terrible migraines that lasted for days. I had pain for no apparent reason in every part of my body and felt that I had zero energy.  Sometimes it felt like I was having a heart attack and couldn’t breathe.  I would get dizzy and have to lie down quite a bit.  One morning my kids were moving exceptionally slow and I had to get to work early and I was screaming at them to hurry.  I felt my insides start to speed up and my heart was racing.  I started feeling dizzy and hot all over right before I passed out cold.  I woke up to an EMT poking my chest hard with his fingers then again in the ER, shirt wide open and wires hooked to my chest.  I spent the day in the hospital while my kids thought they had killed me.  Turns out I had an anxiety attack.  A different type than I was used to, I always had what I called “episodes” and others called temper tantrums.

I didn’t know why this happened and just moved on like it hadn’t.  I went back to work the next day and back to the routine of work, work, work, scream, cry, scream.  Normal.

I was an absent mother, not only physically but mentally.  My kids had stuff but they didn’t go places, we didn’t do things, we didn’t have great holidays…we didn’t make memories.

Who’s leaving now?

closed_doors_by_miraccoon-d5rr908My marriage was a shambles and I was more depressed than I had been in a long time,   I was hiding the terrible secret and shame of sexual abuse from my child hood, mourning the deaths of my father and brother and feeling sorry for myself because I was in a loveless, abusive marriage.  I was out of control with my anger and depression, I was having episodes more and more frequently and I felt trapped.  I had so many outbursts and continued to drive people out of my life

Just when I thought it could not get any worse, I received a call that my step brother had been found dead.  I couldn’t believe it, the only “good” brother I ever had.  I felt like a piece of my soul had been ripped from me, he was such a good man, a good brother, son and father.  We soon came to find out that he was murdered by his wife and her boyfriend for the insurance money. He was beaten to death with a baseball bat while his 2 small children slept in the next room.  I was so furious and ached not only for myself but for his kids and my step-dad.  Adding insult to injury, their grandmother (my step fathers ex) took them and refused to let them visit us.  She had always been this way and in fact the other kids from my step dads first marriage had never been allowed to see us and because they never opened their mind to anything but a crazy persons musings, didn’t want to visit.  I didn’t much care about them because they should have been old enough to know better or were a little crazy from living with her. Didn’t know and didn’t care.  I did care about my niece and nephew that I had grown to love as my own flesh and blood.  It was like I had lost 3 people at the same time.

This most recent death had put me over the edge, I finally decided I’d had enough and left my husband.  I moved in with my parents with the 3 kids.  It got very ugly, for a man who never seemed to put much time or energy into being a father, he decided to make it miserable for me and did everything he could to take them from me.  I was in and out of court every time I dropped my guard.  He really talked bad about me to them so I started doing it too and the boys would say some pretty mean stuff because it’s what they heard from him.  It wasn’t long before the kids started to use the separation to their advantage and I was scared to yell or punish them in any way for fear that they would leave me or be taken away.  I lived by walking around on eggshells.

It only got worse when I started dating again.  I actually ran into an old high school boyfriend and he asked me out on a date.  I went on the date and when he brought me home I quickly found out that my ex had been waiting to see who I was with and came at us in the driveway. I apologized and told my date to leave but that was a mistake, my ex was yelling at me and pushing me,  he took my keys and threw them in the yard then grabbed my purse and pulled it with me into his car.  He took off, driving crazy and fast so I tried to get my purse and get out but he refused to stop, he kept yelling at me and driving very fast.  He was out of his mind and I was terrified, I could tell he was very drunk and I just knew we were going to get in an accident and die.  At the stoplight I tried to get out but he gunned the engine and I couldn’t, from that moment he didn’t stop at any lights or signs and sped through the curves so I couldn’t get out.  I started hitting him in the arm, begging him to stop and let me out then he swung back and punched me in the nose so hard that it shattered and was flattened to my face, there was blood everywhere and it wouldn’t stop.  I was having trouble breathing through the blood and he just kept driving crazy, not stopping or slowing at any signals.

After some time he finally took me to his parents house and locked me in the bathroom so he could get his mother.  She took me to the ER and begged me not to say what really happened.  I didn’t tell them what he did, it didn’t matter because you could tell I had been punched.  There was a mark from his ring right in the middle of my nose.  She took me home after and left me outside my parents house.  I couldn’t find my keys so had to bang on the door for a while before they finally woke and let me in.  The cops were called right away and told the truth.  He was arrested and ended up pleading it down to a misdemeanor.  To this day he denies what really happened.  My own kids don’t believe my truth.  I wasn’t a very good wife or mother so why should anyone believe me.

Believe it not, that guy I was on the date with called me and said he still wanted to see me.  In retrospect I guess that should have been a sign.  He was a decent guy, he never hit me and was really good with the kids.  We dated for a while but I still don’t understand why he was with me.  He never loved me, I was completed infatuated with him and was very possessive.  I’m sure I drove him away with my crazy, we broke up and got together several times over 3 years and did get pregnant once but ended up losing the baby at 9 weeks.  We had plans to get married, put a deposit on the site and started building a house but he was a wanderer and was always looking for someone better.

In between our breakups and makeups I saw a couple of other guys.  One guy I was particularly interested in was my biggest regret during that time.  I dated him on one of the breaks and he treated me like an absolute princess, wined and dined me and put me on a pedestal.  I wanted to give him my heart but was worried about doing that and so when my ex boyfriend wanted to get back together again I dumped him.  It was a mistake, the boyfriend couldn’t stand the thought of me seeing someone else while we were apart even though it never bothered him to see whoever he wanted when we were together.  It ended without any words, he just showed up one day to pick up his things with his new girlfriends vehicle. It probably the best thing for us both but I went crazy.  I felt so betrayed, he didn’t even break up with me but instead just started seeing someone else openly.  I still care about him but I don’t love him and don’t think I ever did, he was very immature at the time and I just had too much baggage.  I don’t blame him for any of the bad stuff and from what I understand he is very upstanding and good guy today.

I ended up with the house, I wasn’t going to go through with because I knew there was no way I could get a loan or pay for it without help.  My mother insisted that I needed the house so she bought it for me, cash.  I guess it was good for the kids but it put me back under her thumb and she drove me insane.  I couldn’t afford the house, why did she do it?? I was happy to have a nice new home for me and my boys but it was very stressful to try to keep it all together.  Some days I had to decide between food and toilet paper, I was making decent money but was not getting any child support and I was scraping by.  Most weeks I would have to write a check on Wednesday for groceries and hope the check didn’t clear until payday on Friday.  I made too much to get assistance from the state but not enough for the four of us to live normally.  I never wanted my kids to be without so I did.  My parents helped sometimes but I hated asking for help and it would mean I’d always have to answer to them.

I stayed mad for a long time about the broken marriage, the broken relationship and about losing a guy that I truly could have loved if I had given it a chance.  I dated several guys after that but nobody I really cared about.  I started to focus on work and the boys more and I was happy being single.  I was doing things with my friends and doing ok but started hating my job.  I was getting burnt out, I felt like I worked really hard but there was nowhere to go.  The money started getting better and it seemed like everything was going to be ok.  Well, I still was having outbursts and was very depressed but outwardly I seemed to be ok.

I wasn’t looking but I met a new guy, an army guy.  We started dating and soon after I ended up paying all his bills and moving him into my house.  Well, shortly there after he lost his job and gave up.  He sat around the house in his underwear getting fatter and fatter.  I was fed up and told him he better do something, I wasn’t going to support him, I had kids to take care of!!  Eventually he decided to go to school and ok that was fine but I was still basically supporting him.  What the hell is wrong with someone that they want to live off of a single struggling mom?  I was dealing with my inner demons and hating the world, I still hated my job so I decided to get a new one.  It was pretty easy but I had to take a pay cut.  I had to do it, I was so unhappy at my current job.  My boyfriend was going to school and I was making less money so the tension got worse and worse between us and I was so unhappy with him.  I got pregnant again but again lost the baby early on and it was probably for the best because I finally just kicked him out one day and it felt good.  I got by and the company I was with had a future that I could actually see for myself.

Things got better financially, I was happy with my new job and was moving up the ladder.  The kids were getting older and got involved in stuff at school and with their friends.  I decided I was done dating anyone.  I went out from time to time but was happy being single.  I only worried about my ex husband taking the kids away which he still threatened to do on a regular basis.  My ex still wasn’t paying any child support but I was making good money so he saw that as an opportunity.  He didn’t want the kids so he could be a father, he wanted to hurt me and get paid to do it.

I was getting along better with my parents and my abusive brother had moved far out-of-state again.  Although I seemed to be happy, it was still just a mask I was wearing.  A day didn’t go by that I didn’t think about the abuse.  I was still very angry and depressed but I was hiding it well and getting by.  I was learning that everyone leave.  Whether they died, left me or I left them…didn’t matter everyone leaves.

 

What else?

I was very busy the summer before my sophomore year with dance team practice and then dance camp.  At camp a senior and I were chosen to be on the national team to perform at the Fiesta Bowl.  This really built up my confidence level and I started really turning into this bubbly, fun and popular girl instead of just acting.  Once school started I had dance team practice for an hour everyday and my regular dance classes Monday, Wednesday and Thursday every week.  I was still doing the figure skating and had joined a few clubs including the choir so I kept very busy and had at least 4 performances or competitions of some kind each month.   My junior year in high school I became the captain of the dance team for the next two years and was selected for the national team both years.  Everything was normal  on the surface, It felt like nothing happened and I just kept pushing the secret down further and further.

My stepbrother KL started coming around, I got to him and was mad about him.  He was smart and handsome and he treated me the way all sisters wish for.  He was the big brother I had always wanted.  He helped me with my algebra homework, he told me jokes, took me for rides on his motorcycle, teased me in the right way and was just the perfect brother.  He would bring his two kids over quite a bit and they would stay with us.  I loved those kids so much,  I would help with them and play games with them.  I was really nice having them around.  In the meantime my brother K had recovered from the paralysis and was walking and working, he had spent a short time in jail for his drug problem but was out and hiding it better.  He met a woman and they got married, she was much older and had kids from a previous marriage that she did not have custody of.  He met her at an AA meeting so I believe this relationship was doomed from the beginning.  I hated to be right but it was in my nature to always look for the worst case and of course they did start having problems.  I tried to avoid them as much as possible.  My brother D and his family lived fairly close by, he had three kids and they came over a lot but I was ok, I loved seeing my niece and nephews and started babysitting for them.  Everything seemed to be ok so I assumed that nothing was happening to them.  The charade continued and I did not say a word.

The summer before my senior year I met a guy that was a couple of years older so already out of school.  I was on a date with another guy and this guy, E, asked me out right in front of my date.  For some reason I thought that was kind of cool but looking back I realize it really wasn’t.  E wined and dined me, he always had  money and brought me flowers everyday after school when he would pick me up.  I met his parents and they weren’t too thrilled with me, wasn’t sure why but I now realize they probably weren’t thrilled with him.  I got pregnant a few months later.  I had to drop out of poms and dance, I spent the better half of my senior year in high school sick and pregnant.  I had to give up my college scholarship because it was for dance so my mom told me I had other options.  I refused to have an abortion and I thought about adoption briefly but knew I would never be able to live with that so I decided to have the baby.  It turns out that was the right decision and I resigned myself to being a mother, I could go to school later.  I got engaged to the father of my baby and had graduated high school so he moved in with us.

My brother K was excited for the baby to come and he went to so far as to request to be the godfather.  I refused due to his drug and alcohol habits.  About a month before my child was to be born I decided to have my hair done, my brother K had asked me to pick him up to bring him over after my appointment.  I didn’t want to but it was on the way so I kind of had to.  I was at my friends mothers house getting my hair done and a phone call came in and they said I didn’t need to go get my brother but that I should come home as soon as possible.  I was happy that I didn’t have to get him so as soon as I was done I went home.

I walked into our house and my mom was sobbing and carrying on.  I didn’t know what else could be wrong now but I soon found out from my step dad that my brother was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.  My mom had gone to pick him up and found him.  I don’t remember too many details of that day, just that I kept thinking I was supposed to go pick him up, maybe if I had gone to get him this would not have happened.  I was my fault because he was upset that I didn’t want him in my baby’s life.  I know that my mom called my OB/GYN and they said to put me to bed with some Benadryl.  The funeral was terrible and once again my mother had an off the wall story about the details surrounding his death.  She said he could not have killed himself, the position of his body and the gun did not make sense and she was convinced he was murdered.  Another death in the family that I won’t be able to properly grieve over because my mom could not accept it.  So I just kept asking, what else can this life throw at me and how much more can I take?

I feel like everything is a blur for that next month until I went into labor.  It was a little boy, A.  After he was born I focused on him and it was easy, he was a perfect baby.  After he was about 2 weeks old, I got a job in a toy store to help make some money to contribute to his needs.  I only worked there a little over a month when my fiancé convinced me to move to Texas so he could go into business with his cousin using my inheritance money.

In less than 2 months all the money from my inheritance was gone and I was barely eating so I could feed my child.  My fiancé was never home and I thought about suicide again but my son was a reason enough to live regardless of how unhappy I was.  We went back home to get married and it was a mistake but we did it anyway then went back to Texas for a few more months before moving back home.  I got a job right away we bought a home with help from my parents.  We did ok for a little while and we had a second child, a son.  I had complications with my pregnancy and had to quit my job. I found a new job and four days after giving birth I went back to work.  I was resentful, I wanted to stay home with my baby and I wanted my husband to work more to help.  I started school to hopefully get the skills for a better job.   This was the beginning of the worst for our relationship, we fought verbally and physically all the time and I didn’t want to be with him.

When our second son was only 5 months old I got pregnant again.  We could barely get by and I got very sick so had to stop working again.  I left my husband for a little bit and went home to my parents.  My husband did everything he could to convince me to come back home and eventually I did.  I thought it was better for the kids.  When I gave birth to my third son I decided I needed to do something to make a better life for them.  I went on several interviews and got several offers for work but there was one place that was not many hours but was a great company and I wanted to get my foot in the door.  I accepted their offer to start work for 20 hours a week.  They paid pretty well even though the hours were few but I had more time for school and the kids.

After two months I was asked to supplement my hours in another department so I would be full-time.  I accepted and was able to get benefits which meant we could get off state aid and get the boys proper medical care.  I loved my job but it meant I had less time for school so I quit when the semester ended.  I was making good money but my husband was going from job to job and not really contributing.  We started fighting more and more and I had no interest in him sexually. He fought with me the same way men fight with each other, he did not take it easy on me.  I had bruises on the outside and even bigger bruises on the inside.  He was so hateful and I was sure he was cheating on me with multiple women.   I wanted out but I stayed for the kids.

 

CONFRONTED

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I seemed to everyone to be doing fine.  My masquerade was working, everyone except me thought I was great.  I had a lot of “friends” or so I thought.  One night I went out with a group of girls from my school and met a boy from a nearby high school, we exchanged numbers and he asked me out on a date.  He was a little older and had a car, I don’t really remember his last name and I can’t remember the date but the next Monday at school these same girls accused me of doing some sexual things with the guy.  It was very strange because I didn’t remember doing anything, I told them I didn’t but they wanted me to know it was ok, they were cool with it and would still be my friend.  What the HELL did that matter, I was furious! I wasn’t even sure if I did do it and didn’t remember or if someone, probably him, made it up.  I never spoke to him again and my “friendship” with those girls suffered.  I didn’t stop hanging out with them or stop talking to them but I didn’t make it a point to try to be friends with them.  I still had L & G, they were my best friends and the others were just part of our crowd.

On Christmas break I was on the verge.  I was very depressed and consumed by hate.  My brother, D, and his family came over for the holidays.  It felt like a slap in the face, I sort of thought I would never have to see him again because he had moved out-of-state for a while.  I through one of my notorious tantrums and fought with my brother and his wife.  My mom got involved and everyone was against me, I spontaneously blurted out that he had sexually abused me when I was younger to all three of them.  Of course, he denied it, my mother and his wife both shouted at me that I was sick and crazy, that I was a LIER!  I couldn’t believe that I had finally said something and nobody was on my side.  I punched my brother’s wife and pushed my mom and started kicking at everyone.  I completely lost it and I eventually closed my door and laid down from exhaustion.

After they left I snuck into my mothers bathroom and found a prescription in her cabinet.  I didn’t know what it was but I didn’t care, I took them all (about 20 or so).  After a little bit, I started feeling really strange but not like I was expecting.  I expected to fall asleep and never wake up.  I went to get some water and to try to take something else but my brother K was home.  K was a drug addict and alcoholic so he immediately recognized my state.  I think at that point I passed out because then I remember the ambulance and being slapped in the face, I don’t know who slapped me but I passed out again and woke up in the hospital, they made me drink some black liquid and I threw up then they stuck a tube down my throat sucked out the rest.

I stayed at the hospital and the next morning was packed up and shipped over to the adolescent psych ward to spend another day and night in a glass room because I was screaming and kicking.  I stayed in that room until I calmed down, about 24 hours.  I had to spend 30 days in this facility or longer if I didn’t try to get better.  They asked me why I did it but what did anyone care.  I was a lying, sick, crazy teenager and it didn’t matter what I said.  I told them I was depressed that my dad was dead, it wasn’t a lie, it just wasn’t the whole truth.   I also told them that my mom and step dad had my father killed because maybe they would get in trouble and I could get back at them.

I didn’t really cooperate with the program, I just pretended that it was all just a fluke and I was getting better there.  I met some other “crazy” kids there and it sort of made it like a really fucked up summer camp situation.  The entire thing  was total bullshit and I totally snowed them into thinking I was fine.  I guess I sort of was because I didn’t want to kill myself anymore but I also decided to pretend that none of it ever happened and just to play along with the perfect family front.

I went back to school and I think everyone sort of knew that I tried to off myself so everyone was really nice to me for a while.  Eventually I “got over it” and put on my mask again.  At the end of the year one of the senior girls on the dance team told me I should try out for next years squad because I was a good dancer, she was the captain and thought I would be a shoe in.  Ok, I was still going to dance 3 times a week but why not.  The try-outs were the following week and I killed it, the older girls were impressed and excited to add me to the team.  I thought it was cool and was very excited for it to start-up.

 

 

And then the MASK.

mask

K got sick, he fell because he couldn’t feel his feet.  They said he had a disease called Guillain-Barré which is a rare condition caused by an illness that weakens the muscles due to an attack on the central nervous system.  The disease progressed until he was unable to use his legs or hands and he had to be in a wheelchair.  He couldn’t do much for himself, he couldn’t even light his own cigarettes.  We had to switch rooms because he couldn’t get the wheelchair into his room and my room was closer to the bathroom.  I was very mean to him, I would taunt him and call him all sorts of names because he couldn’t get to me.  Our older brother, D, was no longer living at home and I was thankful for that but I was still very angry and depressed.  I took it out on K and my parents.  I guess I wanted to punish the rest of the family because nobody did anything to save me.

After I completed middle school my parents decided we needed to move to a larger house that was also handicap accessible for K.  My parents let me pick out the biggest room aside from theirs and got me a rescue dog to try to cheer me up, it didn’t work and the dog didn’t really take to me anyway.  One day my mom took me to enroll in my new school.  It was so far out in the country or so I thought.  I was floored when I saw it, it was the smallest school I’d ever seen and it had a gravel parking lot.  When we went in I thought we must have traveled back in time because the kids clothing and hairstyles were seriously out-dated.  I was used to a large suburban school full of yuppies!  The guidance counselor was shocked when we told her where our new house was, she wondered who was moving into the mansions up there.  What??  Anyway, all this gave me an idea, what if I transformed myself and put on a different personality when I started this new school?

That’s exactly what I did.  I somehow convinced my parents that they should turn over the check from Social Security each month that came for me because my dad had died.  I don’t remember how but it worked and I immediately went shopping for a new wardrobe.  I picked up all kinds of designer stuff, trendy clothes, several watches, tons of shoes and all new makeup and Chanel perfume.  I practiced being a different person, having imaginary conversations with potential popular friends.  Coming up with an interesting back story of my made up popularity.

I walked into school on that first day as a total stranger to myself.  I had on makeup and complete designer outfit down to the piece de résistance…trendy tennis shoes.  I held my head high and smiled at anyone I thought was “cool” or “cute” in some way.  Of course, I didn’t really know who I was dealing with, the kids there were different from the ones at my old school.  Within hours of starting my day a girl accosted me and threatened to beat me up.  She told me that I thought I was hot stuff and called me a whore.  This statement sent me in a spiral of anger and depression, I ran away to the bathroom until the bell rang and wiped some of the makeup off.  I thought maybe she could tell that it was fake and that I wasn’t a virgin and maybe I was a whore.

I had to go to the gymnasium with all the other freshman to do some testing.  I was freaked out, I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure who I was going to sit with.  I was looking around and out of the blue a girl waves me over to her table, she is there with a few other girls but I didn’t really notice because this girl was the prettiest girl I had ever seen in person.  I went to sit with her and she introduced herself, L.  She started talking to me about moving back there and so she was kind of new too.  She talked a lot and asked a lot of questions.  I felt compelled to be myself with her but I also tried to stay positive and “bubbly” like her.  I didn’t know it at the time but she would become my best friend.

Later that day I met another one of my best friends.  G was in my algebra class and it was split by lunch so she asked if I wanted to eat with her.  Turns out she knows everyone and she is pretty and cool so I said yes.  We hit it off and it made me feel a lot better to have someone to talk to at lunch instead of sitting by myself.  She was in a couple of my classes so that made it even better.

I quickly became friends with many of the kids in my class as well as some upperclassman.  I went to school events and joined some clubs, I even had a date for homecoming.  I truly believed that people only liked me because they didn’t know the real me or what happened to me.  Everyday I would go home I would start to feel depressed and angry.  I continued to act out at home and treat my parents terribly.  I tried with all my might to keep anyone at school from seeing the real me.  I became very anxious about everything and I never said anything but I always felt like I was on the edge of a breakdown.  I made everyone at school love, I made them laugh and think I was strong and confident.  It just wasn’t real.

What happens next…

FB_IMG_1459883574804-1As I got older I continued to stay on guard, not letting anyone in.  The girls that lived around me never came to my house but I had one friend that was a boy.  He came over quite often and we played mostly outside but there were times when we played inside.  I think something happened to him but I can’t be sure so I won’t speculate on that here.  I tried to go to my friends houses to be away from home after school until my dad got home.  If I could not go to a friends I would visit my great-aunt and uncle that lived near us.  They were quite a bit older as they were my dad’s aunt and uncle but I guess nobody really thought that was weird because nobody ever said anything.  Their kids were grown and gone so I played cards with them or played with their dog.

The older I got the more things I found to do away from home, I was already going to dance class once a week since I was 3 years old but once I was old enough I started to stay after school for baton, ceramics, track, extra dance classes, figure skating, etc.  I would go to my friends houses to spend the night, I didn’t want to have anyone to my house out of fear that something might happen.  I had birthday parties at my house but that was safe, nothing would happen with a group and nobody spent the night, not yet anyway.  Around 5th grade I had started to become close to a girl in my class and I invited her to go camping with us, my brother had to work so was not going.  After the camping trip we started hanging out a lot on the weekends, roller skating, shopping, etc. One weekend she came to spend the night and I never should have let her.  Nothing happened that I know of but my brother asked me to see if she would let him do things with her.  I didn’t ask her but I told him that she said no and I think that was the end of it.

My brother started having me bring notes to the neighbor girl and every time I went to her door I got so embarrassed.  I really thought she knew what he was doing to me because she always said no.  I didn’t even know what he asked her but it didn’t matter, in my mind everyone knew the truth and hated me.  I just kept on doing what he told me to and I kept on having outbursts in school.  I was bullied a lot in school, I was quiet and shy so only had a couple of friends that I talked to regularly.  I was very thin with long, skinny arms and legs.  I had to wear Keds tennis shoes, special buster brown shoes (all the other kids wore Nike, Addidas and clogs) and my clothes were all little kids styles because I was so little.  Kids were cruel and I sunk further into depression and became more and more backward.  As I got older I became even more self-conscious of my clothing, I was scared to ask my mom for the clothes the other kids were wearing.  I continued to get bullied about my clothes, my size, etc.  I didn’t do well in school at all and I kept getting into trouble.  I hung out with my one and only friend from grade school.

My parents split up while I was in junior high and I didn’t understand why.  No explanation just one day they tell me they are splitting and dad was moving away.  Now I was more scared than ever.  In the back of my mind I thought somehow my dad would find out and protect me from this terrible life so I wanted to live with him.  I couldn’t of course.  Now what? Thankfully my brother met a girl and they started dating.  She became pregnant soon after.  My brother never touched me again after that.  I thought things would be different for me now, I could finally be ok.  It was over and I would never tell anyone.

I saw my dad every Wednesday night and every other weekend.  We would go to the movies, eat pizza and go on short trips to my cousins near Branson.  My mom reconnected with an old boyfriend and they started dating.  I was NOT going to replace my dad and I didn’t want to have anything to do with this man.  Of course my dad could not stand it and would ask me all kinds of questions.  I felt caught in the middle of their hate.  I didn’t understand, everyone loved my dad, my mom’s parents and in fact, he was living with my mom’s brother!

Right before my dad and I had scheduled to take a motorcycle trip to Branson my dad died in a drowning accident.  I was awakened by my uncle (mom’s brother) and told my dad had died and I wouldn’t be able to see him anymore.  I was completely devastated, even with what I had been through, this made me feel like I could die too.  I became extremely depressed, my brother married the pregnant girl and I was made to be in the wedding.  They were living in the basement so I had to deal with that  and then my mom married her old boyfriend a few months later.  I couldn’t believe it!  I hated them, I was convinced they had my dad killed or something.  My mom kept telling me strange stories surrounding my dad’s death and telling me he can’t really be dead because they wouldn’t let her see the body.  She also told me that some strangers came to the funeral but left as soon as it started and that my cousins (the pallbearers) told her the coffin was empty!  She even went so far as to tell me that when she looked into it she was told there was no record and he didn’t even have a driver’s license so she concluded that he must be in witness protection.  Really???  What the hell kind of mother tells her grieving daughter this?  I believed it all and now I’m not sure she didn’t make it all up!  I stopped doing any of my work in school and even missed so many days that I was forced to repeat all my classes.  I could have gone to summer school but I didn’t care, I refused to go and didn’t care if everyone hated me and didn’t care about what would happen as a result.

I tried to make my mom and step dad’s life a living hell from that point on!