Thursday, December 31, 2009


Surprisingly, my parents drank a lot.  Surprised? 

Me neither.

Their parties were always something to behold.  Free flowing liquor, wine, and none of the cheap stuff.  I knew a party was upon us when the liquor store mobilized and brought their goods directly to our doorstep.

I loved the labels.  The fancy colors.  The carefully branded shape of each bottle.  Into the corks I would dig my small fingernails.  I have no recollection as to why those corks felt so fascinating.

The nights of these events were the highlights of my worn and tired years.  Free to roam, just out of sight of his lustful radar, I pretended these parties were for me.  A celebration of good grades, an acknowledgement of good behavior, a bash just because I was me.

So many people.  Beautiful and handsome.  Smiling, laughing, pouring, drinking, spilling, expounded tales, more hysterical laughter.  These were the highlights.  Half empty glasses cast aside to make a ring on an unsuspecting table; I would rescue such table by picking up the offending glass.  My remedy: throw my head back and gulp the burning liquid.  To me these glasses were half full.  My eyes always sprung singular tears in response to the fire in my throat.  Glass after glass; these were tears of joy. 

My life grew better with each set of tears.  Wobbly eyes made her look a little happier, him less intense and leering.  My parents looked like the people I wanted them to be. 

From a distance I could see how others saw them and it made me happy.

Ultimately, these evenings never ended well.  When my tired haze could no longer hold its own I found a bed.  But I wasn't the only attendee who was on the verge of bedtime.   Warm from the inside out I would fall into an easy sleep.  Until I found someone weighing heavily upon me.  What should have been scared, instead I did not mind.  It was easier.  I was easier.  My drunken warmth relaxed me and whomver it was slid easily inside.  No mistaken tears, no overwhelming pain, no staggering fear. 

Alcoholic breath breathes deeply into my being.  Sloppy lips bring me out.  A joyful stupor makes me fun.  My smile comes easy.  No faking of any sorts.  I am awake and I am so alive.  I dance, I flirt, I tease, one after another needs are made whole.  Art and beauty are created.

I am Lively.  Fun for now.  A painful child deferred for later.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I have a secret habit.  I actually have many more than just this one but I guess that is why this blog exists; to spell these quirks out in hopes that I am not as bizarre as I see myself to be.

I buy gifts for dead people.  I started doing this the year my mother and sister died.  First on accident; participating in the grief while still believing that they really could not be gone.  Now I do it as a conscious ritual each December.

The sweater that my sister would have loved.  The book that perhaps would have finally been the perfect gift for my mother.  The gift card for my father to use at one of his favorite stores. These are the gifts that would have spawned "thank you"... "I love it"... "I love you".  This is what I pretend in my head.

Christmas was an odd holiday in my family.  More often than not, I didn't get anything.  My mother would cancel my Christmas for the smallest transgression.  Each time I would watch the family open their gifts and wait with anticipation for my gifts for them to be opened.  These were gifts made at school.  Silly, child-fashioned presents.  With no present of my own to open, my waiting time was magnified.

"Well, I guess that's it" my mother would exclaim.  While scooting with her foot my wrapped gift under her antique chair she would say this.  Right on cue my father would begin the clean up of the paper and I would sit there dismayed as my wonky, un-wrapped gifts were whisked away as trash.

Nothing was festive.  Nothing was happy.  We went to my grandparents for the afternoon and evening but everything was perfect.  Robotic.  No kitchen disasters.  No burnt food.  None of the things that make each and every holiday unique.  Nothing that makes a holiday memory.

I guess this is why I have no hidden memories.  Instead I have a perfect sheet of white paper in my mind.  Blank without a family signature.

I am a generous person but giving a planned and wrapped gift is terribly difficult for me.  The unknown, the question of approval or worse, no approval, makes my stomach churn.  I wait until the waning weeks to shop, too nervous to purchase even a few anxious gifts. 

In those same few weeks, I make my dead purchases as well.  No one knows that I do this although my husband will probably catch on in another year or so.  I wrap these gifts like all the others and stash them away in a place that no one will look.

After 4 years of this madness, I have built up quite the pile of grieving gifts.  Yesterday, in the Wii-filled frenzies of my daughter and husband; I slipped away.  I loaded my secret habit into bags and announced that I was heading out to make returns.  No one questioned me or begged to go; neither husband or child willing to brave these selfish crowds.

In my brand new car, alone, and my husband would string me up if he knew this, I headed to the poorer area of our inner city.  This is an area I am familiar with and I was amazed to find even more familiar faces.  I parked and grabbed my bags of gifts.  I locked my car and off I went.  I found a group gathered and without even trying, I easily garnered their attention.

Amidst the dirty faces, I found their eyes that told a hundred tales.  I saw myself in their eyes; we share that same sad reflection of the world.  I gave my hidden gifts.  Gift cards, clothes, books, ornaments, all the gifts that most regard as small and typical. 

And here I must insert and confess, I did not do this with an original, selfless purpose.  I needed to clear out these wasted presents but could not justify using them for myself or throwing them away.  I needed to disperse of a secret; before I was discovered and the questions would begin.

In handing these items out, no one pushed, no one cursed, no one threw out an expectant hand in my direction.  Not knowing what each wrapped present contained exactly; I guessed my best.

What I did not expect was the reaction I received.  The "thank you"... "I love this"... "just what I asked for"... "I have always wanted one of these"... reactions poured out of dirty and even drunken mouths.  The very reactions I longed for from my own birth family were given to me, in response to the gifts I bought for them, that I gave to complete yet familiar strangers.

I did not do this in my family's memory.  What I did do, though, was create a Christmas memory of my own.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


What is a blog in December without a cheery holiday post from a Christmas past?

My blog.  Sorry.

I have spent the last several days attempting to conjure up even one sliver of a Christmas memory to smile and roll my eyes at. The bike I always wanted. The puppy in the bow-tied box. The impossible-to-find-toy found under our tree. The antics of out-laws and in-laws. Something. Anything. Nothing.

I can't remember a Christmas in my past; I just know that I have never enjoyed the holidays. The closest I come is in remembering a school party, candy canes, and trashy gifts.

I hate getting notes sent home from the teacher. Whatever is detailed, asked for, or is changing; those things will be ignored. My face red with shame, I will stand and explain to my teacher why the note was not followed and why I am unsigned, empty handed, or out of new guidelines. My parents are too busy to care or too unimpressed with me to help a kid be a productive member of a second grade class.

I am sitting in the carpool line and pinned to my shirt is a note on green paper asking for my contribution to the class Christmas party. Filled in the blank with curly teacher writing are the words candy canes. I like to eat paper and I would have been better off eating this note. I would be less hungry and my mother would have one less item to concern her hatred with.

Walking to the car, I pulled the note off the pin and crammed it in my uniform jumper pocket. I waited for the seemingly right time to ask... after my sister had presented her own classroom party request and had it approved. What better time?

I ran to my room to rescue that green note from a certain death in the washing machine. I took it to my mother and showed her my own request. Quickly she glanced and returned the note to its original creases. I received a conditional "yes".

Behave, keep your room clean, have good manners, don't talk back... these were the conditions pressed upon my behavior in order to receive my candy cane contribution.

The night before the party came and went. That morning, I asked my mother where my Christmas party requirements were and informed me that they were in my bag. Once at school, I opened my bag to find a smaller bag. Inside was one, single peppermint.

One fucking mint to share with my class.

Humiliated, I am sitting at my desk when I hear the morning announcements. The younger kids are having their parties first. There is my one chance. I twist and fret until the younger parties are finished. I ask to go to the restroom and slip into the other wing of the school. Happy kids are leaving hand in hand with their hurried parents. The classrooms are black as I step into each one to forage for my treats.

Digging through cold cups of hot chocolate, sticky red frosting, and squeezed small juice boxes, I find my treasures. Discarded candy canes. I carefully wipe each one off and will the broken ones whole again. I carefully stuff them in my pockets and repeat this process until I have twenty precious canes to share with my friends.

I race back to my own classroom but not before I peer into my sister's room. And there she is. My mother. Smiling, laughing, and enjoying my sister's Christmas party. I hate her at this specific moment.

I return to my seat only to linger a few minutes behind when the recess bell rings. With everyone gone, I retrieve the rescued candies from my pockets and place them on the table with all the other green notes fulfilled.

She didn't come to my party. She never said a word to me. I never said a word to her.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Good.  God.  Where to start?  I said that I wanted to be honest here so here I go.

I am a perfectionist.  Black and white are the boxes I have tried to stuff my feelings, my thoughts, and my life into.  It's not working for me anymore.

I am far from perfect.  Especially when it comes to being a mother.

I smile and say that I'm not angry but rather I am sad, depressed, tired, etc.  Those feelings just sound more polite.  But really, I am boiling over with anger, hatred, rage, and just pure poison.

This morning I fucked up.  Today I reached the point where I truly was not sure that I could be a parent.  Nice.  My daughter is a cute little six year old with the vocabulary of a ten year old, and the mouthy sass of a teenager.  Mornings before school are tough around our house.  My husband leaves before we get up so it is me versus two beagles and a six year old.  I lose most mornings.

In typical fashion my daughter fought me on what to wear, what to eat for breakfast and continued to sass me.  I had been pretty patient but then I lost it.  With the last words of back-talk, I turned around and asked her if she wanted me to go to her Christmas party today at school because she sure wasn't acting like she wanted me around.  Then I said something to the effect of "because I can just leave you and not be around at all"And I didn't just say these things.  I screamed them.

I watched the tears well up in my daughter's eyes and I saw my own painful grimace worn on her undeserving face.  I hurt her and my made her cry before school; two things I swore I would never do.

I salvaged the tears that I could and dropped her off at school.  A few hours later I went to her party and as I walked in she looked up and saw me and burst into tears.  In those tears I could hear my mother's words taunting me.  We talked for a few minutes, she calmed down and I apologized.  But really, how does five minutes do anything but put a band-aid on the real problem?

I'm that problem and I am scared to death.  There are some people just made to be parents.  They are the ones who should be allowed to have kids.  I am not one of those people.  For a fleeting second this morning, I honestly thought that me walking away would be best for all involved.  I hate myself for arriving at that point because I watched my mother flirt and threaten with that point more times than I can count.

After the party was over I got in my car and headed back to work.   I ended up turning around and going back to her school but her bio-father had already picked her up to spend the night tonight.  So I'm fucked.  And worse, my daughter gets to go to bed tonight, in a bed she doesn't really like, turning over in her mind what the hell her mother meant this morning when she said she would leave.

I am sick at my stomach and none of this is OK.  Yet another thing I swore I would never do; making my daughter wonder who will be there in the morning.

I am so, so sorry.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


From The Pliers: The question that occurs to me tonight as I follow the progress of your reclamation project is, What is the singularly most important thing that any given reader of your blog can do for you, with you, or on your behalf as s/he or reads your words?
To be an effect.  To be affected...

There are remarkably unique readers here.  I wrote to another reader that I want my readers to take from my words exactly what they need, not what I want them to need.  That would be rather selfish of me as I have spent a lifetime being told what to feel, what not to feel, and how to feel.  Here is not the place for that.

I began writing here to keep a journal.  One out of ink and out of nosey hands.  I love my family but one member in particular likes to read my spilled guts.  I'm anonymous here and so I write freely.  I have in fact shared printed pages of this site in person but that is as far as I have gotten.

In my writing you will find love.  I deeply love my daughter and my husband.  On paper I am not capable of love.  I believed that lie for far too long.  Love is what drives me to succeed in this; to excel at being whole. 

My love goes beyond those who live in my home as well.  This is a bold love; a love that hopes and believes for the best.  This love hopes that every time my father calls that he will be calling to tell me he has changed.  This love hopes that my mother found the end of her turmoil.  This love envelops hate, consumes despair and braids the three into something fierce and sharp.  My love for my parents cuts and and shreds but loves these imperfect people because they gave me life and they did not kill me; this is the best I got from them.  Underneath the shards of pain, I love them.  Not for what they did but rather for what they didn't.

In these pages the closed mind, the unscathed will find truth.  There are those who hold tightly to a small little world where nothing all that bad happens.  It does.  To children and adults alike. An awareness can be found here as brutal words are wrapped around the perspective of a small child.  It is hard to ignore.

And lastly, for the broken, for the survivor, for the lost; there is hope.  What I write is only my version of hope so seek your hope out as well.  But take from me what you need even if it is just the smallest understanding that you are not alone. 

Because you are not.

For those who are able, take from me the awareness that there are others like me; your neighbors, your friends, the child in your own child's class who forces a smile but carries a frown that is just a little too deep for a tiny face.

What can a reader do?  Please do not waste my woundings.  Take what you need.

Be an effect.  Be affected by love, truth, hope...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It stings.  It burns.  I don't want to take a bath but my mother says that I have to.  Soap makes it worse.

He is home so I need to hurry.  He likes to walk in on accident.  I don't understand how it is an accident when the water is running loudly or why he sits down on the toilet lid and stays to rub his pants.  That is not an accident.  An accident is when I spill my milk and get my face slapped.  I don't get to slap him for this accident.

I wish I could.

I turn the water on.  Really hot.  I am a dirty girl and the hot makes my filthy skin red instead of bad.  I turn the light off and peel my clothes into a pile on the floor.  In the dark I can't see my bruises, my scars, or my filth.

The tub begins to fill and I jump in.  I am standing and I can feel the scalding water turn my feet a mottled red.  The doorknob turns and I pray it's my little sister... or even my mother.

It's him.  His obligatory and surprised "OH" is exclaimed as he slides through the door an presses it shut with his back.  He is not surprised and neither am I.

He flips on the light as he is sneering about me bathing in the dark... how weird it is.  He smiles his toothy grin and rubs his hands together in anticipation of his pleasure.  I feel my stomach drop into my privates and I loathe that all too common feeling.

The water continues to run and the tub is nearly full.  I reach to turn it off as he silently shakes his head "NO".  Instead he reaches down and pulls the drain stopper to drain the water simultaneously as it pours from the faucet.

He is not going to sit on the toilet lid this time as he unbuckles his belt.  He motions for me to step out of the tub and silently I obey.  His clothes are peeled off into a pile next to mine and I do nothing. 

I do not scream.

I do not run.

I do not cry.

I slowly turn around the way he likes.

He is heavy as he works to be inside me.  In disgust he mumbles about me being dry.  My stomach is pressed and pounded over and over into the vanity.  The drawer pull rubs me raw. 

I open my smashed shut eyes and there I am.  In the mirror, face to face with the dirty girl.  I focus on her eyes and then I look away to avoid drowning in her dead eyes.  I see her freckles and her stubby nose.  I look a little closer and then I see it.  I see her smile. 

She is his happy girl and her name is Sara.  She is five and she says she is a princess.  Her eyes come alive and sparkle under her blonde eyelashes.  I love her hair because it is not like my own dark and curly hair.  She smiles again as he groans with pleasure.

She is not happy, I know this.  But she is his happy girl.

I am lost in that mirror looking for a way out of those drowning eyes.  Quickly I am rescued as I am pulled away and dropped into the still scalding water.  Ribbons of burning red stream from where I am sitting.  I wince with pain as he rolls his eyes in disgust. 

He takes my towel, the only towel, and cleans himself.  He dresses quickly.  As he buckles his belt he tells me to wash good because I am filthy.  I know this already. He returns the drain stopper shut and then the door opens and shuts and he is gone. 

I sit there until the water is cold.

My skin is no longer red but my bathwater is pink with shame.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I know we all have baggage.  Some more than others.  Some less than others.

I have closets crammed deep and to the top, a storage unit full, and an 18-wheeler truck full of my baggage that follows me wherever I go.

Last night my husband did something that triggered me beyond reasoning.  He was in the wrong and of course he apologized but this was after nearly an hour of my screaming and even tears. 

Yes, I cried.

I got a hold of myself only when he matched my pitch and told me,

I am not your parents... I am not him... breathe and look me in the eyes...

 Pressed into a corner of the room, it was then that I came back to reality.  Suddenly he didn't look like my father anymore and his words didn't sound like my mother's searing rage. 

He told me late last night, after we went to bed, in the dark so that he didn't have to see the hurt on my face, that he hadn't fully realized just how damaged I was until this episode.  His words cut me to the bone because they were true.

I am damaged and on the off chance that a closet door is opened just a little too far, that baggage tumbles out crushing whomever is standing in the way.  It is times like these that I feel so badly for my family.  They did nothing wrong yet they are getting trampled by my past.  Although not as bad, this is my mother all over again.  Her past knocked me over flattened me.  Damaged me and smothered me under her own musty baggage.

I can't be her.  I just can't.  It is not fair to my family and it is times like last night that I wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I started playing house.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Ten Things I Will Always Tell my Daughter:
  1. You make my life complete.
  2. I have learned more from you than I will ever teach you.
  3. It's not where you come from but rather the person that you become.
  4. Some of my fondest memories are those from when it was just you and me.
  5. "I love you"
  6. How beautiful you are.  Inside and out.
  7. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
  8. The truth of who you are... kind, loving, smart, funny... even when you can't see it or believe it.
  9. Don't be too serious.  Enjoy being a kid and always reserve a tiny corner of your heart that never grows old.
  10. Happy Birthday.  I am so glad you were born!
Today is my daughter's 6th birthday.  She loves her birthday and she loves Christmas.  She says that December is the best month of her life. 

This year she asked for "a private birthday party with her parents".

And a Nintendo DS.

She got both and then some...

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

P.S.  I know that you won't always want a private party with us and that is OK.  Thank you for letting us be cool for however long that it lasts... 

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ten Things I Will Never Tell my Daughter:
  1. I never thought I wanted children.
  2. How terrified I was when I was pregnant with you.
  3. The truth about my parents.
  4. The truth about my childhood.
  5. What a wreck I was the first 2 years of your life.
  6. I bought a pregnancy test and filled a prescription to overdose. You saved my life.
  7. How much hatred I hold inside.
  8. I sometimes resent the childhood you have because it makes me grieve for mine.
  9. The times I cringe when I see his mannerisms in you.
  10. The truth about your father.
Children are not created to carry adult burdens.  I hate my mother for doing this to me.  I listened to her rage, was the brunt of her hatred, and I now carry the shame of her truths.  These are the things I will never tell my daughter.  She deserves better than the truth of who I am and the secrets that I carry.

My mother destroyed herself and in the process, nearly destroyed me.  I carry her woundings and hide them as best I can.  They don't heal; they only fester. 

The inner conflict I feel makes my skin too tight.  I love, I hate.  I am numb, I feel.  I despair, I hope.  My heart blisters and I cut.  My screams of hate are silent lines and hidden scars.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It's all in my head.  The pressure is all in my head.  I have spent the later part of Monday and all day yesterday with yet another hideous migraine.

I get migraines and then I get migraines.  The second version is the pounding, searing, scratching my brain kind of pressure that no medication will touch.  I have tried prescription after prescription for migraines and nothing has ever cured them completely.  Sometimes a medication will stop a migraine and that is a good day.  The rest of the time I endure the pain, counting on someone else inside to work through their unrest to alleviate the mental throbbing. 

Coincidentally, or not, the very day I wrote here about control of my feelings and memories, I ended up floored by a whopper of a migraine.  By Monday evening, the voices in my head had reached a fevered pitch.  With the noise increasing, I began to compensate by telling them to shut up.  That didn't work very well and the tension continued to build.

I spent yesterday sleeping in our closet.  Not my favorite place to sleep and even upsetting for some to spend anytime in a dark closet, but necessary to shut out the external sounds and light.  It was then, and continued today, that I began to actually listen to what the others were saying.  A novel idea...

It is the teenager-types this time; upset about our treatment by others.  My father and his friends specifically.  Almost as if our father grew tired of the monotony of abusing us he invited his friends to enjoy us as well.

Money changing hands.  Hushed words and names spoken.  Our names.  He was telling them how to "work" us. 

Say Sara for a blowjob...  Cooper if you want a boy...  Jasmine if you like to be rough...  Lively if you want a bad girl...  Sissy if you never want a word spoken...

And so they learned our names and exactly how to get what they wanted.  He hurt us so much that he knew that we had different names.  He fucking knew.

They take their turns watching and egging each other on.  Suggestions of what to try.  A fight for who was next.  An invitation by him for all to join in towards the end.

A mess is what we are.  Humiliation is sticky in our hair.  We are dripping with ammonia-smelling shame.  Numbing blood covers our legs.  We are reduced to a heap of fluids, their laughter, their pleasure.  A human hole.

My head is pounding with shame.  The screams speak of silent terror.  There is no medication to stop this pain.  This migraine is wrapped up in silence that is unbearable to hear.  The pressure of the secrets, the pressure of the shame is just too much.

Monday, December 7, 2009


How far does one venture into the black hole of a childhood? 

The more I think, the more I write, the more I feel, the more I allow myself to remember, the more horror I unwrap.  One of my biggest fears is drawing near.

What if I cannot stop? 

Stop feeling, stop remembering, stop hurting, stop crying, stop traveling at light speed face-first into the fist of my past...

I have been this close to facing this fear before.  And then I found convenient excuses to stop.  Or run.  I'm pretty much out of excuses these days.  I am stable; my medications are doing their job.  I have good support.  I am not being abused.  I am not in the midst of any sort of crisis.  All of these positives are stepping stones in the right direction.  Great.

I enjoy writing; I think that is probably pretty obvious.  I enjoy the control.  I share what I wish and I conceal what I do not wish to share.  It works out perfectly.  Or at least I like to think it does...

My husband tells me to just start talking.  I think he's being ridiculous.  No one just opens their mouth and starts spilling their secrets.  When you spill something it is hard to control the mess.  I like control.  What if I lose the little control that I have?

I keep telling myself that I have already been through the worst of this.  But what happens when feeling and remembering leaves a mark?  What if who I find is maimed, ruined, and disfigured? 

Then what?

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Lately, many of my thoughts have been surrounding my mother.  I have never given much thought to our relationship or who she was as a person.  Perhaps wrongly, I have given her the designations of... she was mean...she hurt me a lot... she let others hurt me too.  Beyond that, I have thought very little about her.

I was the firstborn.  I have always wondered how she felt when she was pregnant with me.  Was she excited?  Did she dread becoming a mother?  Was she nervous?  Did she feel much of anything?

She always told me that she wished I had never been born, she should have aborted me, I was the result of an affair, I trapped her into being married to my father, and when my sister died she told me that she wished it had been me.  Not knowing what to fully believe, these things she spoke have defined me as a daughter. 

I am someone's wife and that is good.  I am someone's mother and that is good.  I am someone's daughter and that is devastating.

I have allowed myself to think beyond the surface of my mother.  I remember going into her bathroom as a child and spraying her perfume on myself.  It was Chanel No. 5.  I can still smell it faintly.  Having her scent on me was like a hug.  It was the closest I got to a hug from her.  When she caught me smelling of her expensive perfume, I paid.

But it was worth it for a hug from her.

I remember watching her get ready for a party; I was sitting on the corner of their bed. My mother was a beautiful woman.  Thick and straight blonde hair, fair skin, a beautiful smile... I look nothing like her.  My sister did.  I am the lucky one who looks exactly like my father.  Her hair was perfect, her makeup was flawless, her dress was red, and she was wearing her perfume.  She called out a goodbye as she walked past me and they were gone.  No hug, no kiss. 

So I sprayed my own hug.

It's funny; the smell of his various colognes will still make my stomach lurch or worse.  But the smell of her perfume still gives me a warm feeling.  At best, perhaps his evil was different than her evil.  In reality, it is probably because he gave me too many hugs while she gave me none.

More frequently than not, I have hated my mother more than my father.  I also find myself loving him more than I have ever loved her.  I feel badly about this.  My mother was broken far before I came along.  The remaining shreds of her sanity and dignity my father ripped away.  Pity isn't the right word for what I feel.  I try but I cannot put my finger on what I feel toward her.

I just don't know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


My past is my present. Or more accurately; their past is my present. D.I.D. is a complex coping mechanism where the file cabinets of my past contain dusty files that are old by years but new to me. These files are pulled out and opened in a number of ways.

I have a flashback. Something triggers a file cabinet to open; a smell, a touch, a glance, a sound. A drawer flies open, a dusty file is shoved in my face, and I am in the exact moment. I can feel him grabbing me, I can smell his aftershave, I can see the hate in his eyes, and I can hear the sound of his footsteps. I am there. Yes, this is just a memory but it feels all too real and many times it is new to me. This can happen anywhere and anytime; at home, at work, in a car.

I have a nightmare while sleeping. It seems that these occur more frequently when I neglect the other "parts" of me. It's the same as a flashback; the sensations are real and in the present. It unnerves my husband when I wake up screaming, punching, kicking, terrified and it takes a moment to return to the present.

An alter and I have a conversation. We discuss, matter of fact, their past and it infringes on my present. Suppose you learn that an old friend passed away a few years back. Are you less sad to hear of their death just because time has passed? Probably not. Perhaps you even have a greater sadness because you missed hearing the news and grieving when it happened. So despite the time that has passed, many files are new to me and the feelings, the abuse, and the grief are lived in real time.

I spent years pretending that nothing happened. I thought it normal that I could remember few events of my childhood. I thought it normal to have voices in my mind and an unbelievably poor memory because I missed hours, even days because I was dissociated and someone else was running the show. I ignored the physical scars that covered my body. It wasn't until I was forced to have a c-section because physically I could not give birth to my daughter naturally because of such extensive scar tissue that I began to unravel and participate in my past.

So here I dissect their past and merge it with my own present. In therapy I talk, re-live, feel, and give credit to their work of protecting me. It is a bitch of a process. I get frustrated because I don't feel that I am making any progress. I feel stuck. In the past. However, in my frustration I am learning to see that re-living, acknowledging, and embracing the past is the quickest route to the present.

And even the future.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


A year or so ago, in my city, a young girl was strangled by her stepfather.  After she died the truth came out.  She had been abused for years by this man and there were records to attest to her pain.  In talking with my therapist, he asked me how I thought this girl was probably feeling.  In her life I imagined that she felt sad, alone, hurt, etc.  And in the end, I didn't even have to think.  I knew.  She felt relief.

I am in kindergarten and I love my teacher.  She says I'm good at reading and she gives me stickers.  She doesn't know that I am really a bad little girl.  I am bad and if she knew she would probably take away my stickers.

My mom is sad.  She looks like she will be mad if I keep doing bad things.  I am taking a bath and she is in the other room.  I have bubbles.  I love bubbles.  I can take the bubbles and cover my body up; I can hide my face with them and no one will know who I am.  I can be a man with a beard.  A man with a beard is much safer than I am.

I have to wash my hair.  I have very long hair and I hate when we have to wash it.  So does my mom.  She hates my hair.  She also hates me. 

I am going to help her; I am going to wash my hair myself.  The shampoo runs out of the bottle like honey.  I capture most of it with my chubby hands.  I lean my head back and rub my hands through my hair.  I am doing it right; my mom is going to be happy.  The bubbles grow in my hair and I hear the shampoo crackle in my ears.  My hair will be really clean and my mom will be happy.

But now the shampoo is running down my forehead and into my eyes.

I did not use my baby sister's shampoo and now my eyes are burning.  I am a stupid kid.  I splash water in my eyes; water with more bubbles in it.  My eyes are burning more and I am splashing lots of water.  My mom hears me.

She walks into the bathroom and sees me.  I have made her mad.  She kneels down next to the bathtub and I tell her what is wrong.  She is going to help me.  She leans me back to get the soap away from my eyes.

My head is underwater.  Soapy water rushes into my mouth and nose.  My eyes burn less but I am scared.  Even underwater, I can hear my mother's muffled screams. 
Rotten... miserable... stupid... hateful... ugly... wish you were dead... child.
I try to sit up and I cannot.  Her mommy hands are on my chest.  I lurch forward again and this time I steal a breath.  I can see in color again.

Dead... dead... dead...!
She screams louder and louder.  Color becomes black and white and screams are muffled once again.  I feel my body move with the water and there is peace.  I do not struggle.  I rest.  I relax.

I feel relief.  All I hear is the water and it is a peaceful sound.  Relief means that the pain will stop.  Relief means that I am no longer bad.  Relief is murky bathwater pouring in.  Relief envelops me.  Relief means that my teacher will miss me at school.

My mouth is open and fresh air is invading into my lungs.  The water is cold and the bubbles are gone.  My mother is sobbing in the corner of the bathroom.  My eyes no longer burn.  I shiver but I dare not move.  I feel cold but I feel so much more.

I am alive and I feel despair.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


There are times where beauty surrounds us.  And there are more times where there is little beauty to be found.  I grew up in a cold, dark, and ugly museum.  Those who know me and know even a snippet of my past seem surprised that I grew up in a wealthy family.  For some reason, abuse is often perceived as a lower class problem.  Child Protective Services visited my family on a few occasions and they were met with a facade of beauty. 

Abuse could not be happening here... not in such a beautiful home... not with such a beautiful family.

Bullshit.  It was happening and I believe that our money made it worse.  There was a perception of beauty; a deceitful view.  Beauty really is skin deep.

There is false beauty and there is true beauty.  True beauty is hard fought.  It is foraged from ruins; from devastation.  When beauty does not surround you, you become creative.  You are forced to.  Some of the most gifted and creative people came from despaired lives.  They were forced to become creative; a compensation to survive.

I have a hidden talent.  I am creative.  People are always surprised when they find this out.  See, I am logical and analytical.  So much so that I solve math problems for fun.  Yeah, I know.  But I have a whole other side to me; a side that draws, sews, quilts, crochets, etc.

I discovered my love for quilting a few years ago.  There is something fascinating and soothing in taking fabric, cutting it into pieces, piecing a quilt top, quilting it, and then making something useful out of previously cut apart fabric.  I create my own beauty.  I have had to do this my entire life; previously out of necessity and now because I love it. 

Much like a quilt, I have been cut to pieces.  I will never be the original fabric I was created to be.  But now I have the chance to piece my life into something beautiful and useful.  It is an amazing opportunity.  Quilting is a painful process; needle pricks, calluses, and punching through multiple layers make the process hard.  It takes patience.  And love.  The thread pulls and holds everything together and what else could that be other than love?  My thread is those in my life who love me, contribute, stabilize, encourage, inspire, and create a beautiful and intricate quilting design. 

I could not do this without my thread.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It is interesting what a life of its own this blog has taken on.  I originally began writing here because my husband continually found my written journals in the house, read them, and then became very angry over the content.  Anger is not something I handle well. 

So here I began to write.

I have taken a few breaks here.  Once because it became too hard to spell this shit out; it hurt too much.  And another break because of some internal conflicts I had within myself.  Those conflicts led me to this conclusion of honesty.

Writing from an honest place has been very freeing.  Some of the secrets I have held  close, I have shared here.  Those held even closer, I have not.  Yet.  When I write I am writing from raw place. There is no order, rhyme or reason to my posts. It just is. I do not see that I am any sort of writer simply because I sensor and edit what I write very little. I write for myself; to purge the poison I feel inside.

I struggle with self-esteem; I have very little of it.  I walk around thinking "if they only knew...", positive that "they" would hate me, despise me, be shocked or even disgusted by me.  However, I have learned my lesson here and it is the opposite of what I believed I would learn.  I have not had one hateful comment here or even a single hateful email.  The things that horrified me the most, horrified me for the wrong reasons.  I am not all that horrible.  The kindness shown by others here is amazing to me.  Perhaps it doesn't surprise the average person who believes that generally people are good.  However, that has not been my life experience.  But that is changing now.

The last surprise this blog has revealed is the help and awareness it provides.  Like other survivors, I have asked "why" over and over and never received an answer.  I still do not have a complete answer but I am beginning to believe that what I endured might possibly help another person.  Selfishly, I cannot say that it makes it all worth it though. 

Maybe someday.

So here I write.  I have good days and I have bad days.  Some words are what I think and wrestle with.  Other words are spilling what has happened; previously unspeakable words.  Writing is a way that we all communicate but there is a certain power in the spoken and audible word.  I have been encouraged to read outloud what I write here.  Verbalizing what I write scares me.  But just as writing has been an exercise in freedom; my wish is that speaking these words will take the sting and power out of the tragic while giving life to what is good and hopeful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Four years, 18 days ago my sister shot and killed herself. 

Four years, 22 days ago my mother overdosed. 

Four years ago I stopped sleeping with my father stopped raping me.

Nearly four years ago my father fled and I haven't seen him since.

Four years ago my daughter was almost two and I barely knew how to be a mother.

Four years ago today I met my my husband.

What an amazing four years these past four have been.  I have gone from being virtually alone to now where I have a family; a small one but still a family in every way.

As I am writing this, I am looking out our study window and I can see my daughter riding her bike with friends and my husband hanging Christmas lights, something he has been doing since this past Sunday.  Yes, he is that guy.  If you had told me four years ago that this is where I would be today, I would have probably told you to fuck off and I definitely would have laughed at you.

Four years ago was pretty much my rock bottom.  Just when I thought that things couldn't get any worse; they got better.  Quite literally as I lost my family, I met my husband.  The most toxic people in my life were gone and I met one of the healthiest people that I know.  Looking back, that was no coincidence because had I still been surrounded by my family, there is no way I would have ever allowed my husband into my world.

I have much, very much, to be thankful for.  My husband is perfect for me.  My daughter is thriving.  It's a risky thought but it is very possible that I am thriving too.  Things aren't perfect and yes, I still struggle but things are so much better than four years ago.  I have a family to love and I have a family that loves me.  I have a home, not just a house, and we are raising our daughter with the example I always dreamed of for myself. 

My daughter made this toilet paper wedding cake today for no particular reason and it struck me as funny that she knew what a married couple looks like.  Had I made that cake when I was her age, God knows how I would have depicted a married couple; perhaps with punches being thrown and broken glass topping the cake.  It made me smile to see her model a healthy family.  Something... lots of things... are finally going right. 

We are indeed a healthy family and I am immensely thankful for that.

P.S.  I love how creative my daughter is; she came up with this all by herself!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ Proverbs 13:12
Hope is an oddity to me.  It is a double-edged sword.  Just enough keeps one going.  Too much can leave one in despair.

Throughout my life I have struggled to sustain a suitable balance between hope and despair.  The two seem to be interrelated for me.

There were days, even moments, where I had hope that my life would improve.  I saw a way out, I found someone who seemed to care for me, I made it through an entire night unharmed...  These things gave me hope.  I was hopeful.

Then there were other days, even moments, where I was filled with despair. My hope was lost.  My heart was sick.  There was no way out, everywhere I turned I was met with hatred or disbelief, I was torn apart at night only to be met with "nothing happened" in the morning...  These things destroyed my hope.  I was hopeless.

My inner struggle between hope and despair kept me alive.  I firmly belive this.  This same struggle keeps me alive, even today.  Too many times I have thought that there was no way out so I surrendered myself to dying.  But over and over hope has surfaced. 

So I fought.  Sometimes I fought against hope.  Sometimes I fought for it.  It was a sickening cycle.  Some days, even now, it is with a sick heart that I press forward.

Today it is with a sick heart that I write.  The enormity of my past is weighing down upon me.  Normalcy seems to be nothing more than a fleeting hope. One step forward, two steps back.  Hope and then despair.  My head is screaming once again.  It seems that everyone want their say.  Everyone wants to be heard.  I am one and they are many.  Today is a day where I am screaming at them to shut the fuck up yet no one hears me.  They drown me out and I feel powerless.

Today that dirty, sweaty man is in every corner, no matter where I turn.  He is smiling, licking his lips, and he is laughing at me.  I tell myself that things are different now; things are better.  He laughs harder.  Despair is setting in and I am feeling myself surrender while keeping one eye slightly open on the off chance that hope is in another corner that I just can't see yet.

Today is despair with a sick heart.  Perhaps tomorrow is hope paired with desire.  One can always hope...

Friday, November 20, 2009


My strength.  My balance.

"I hate you! Both of you!" I scream at my father and mother. Watching him break a chair over her back has pushed me beyond my childish reasoning. Her screaming. His rage. Broken pieces and broken children.  They didn't even know I was standing there.

With the sound of my voice, she fell quiet. He turned and fixed his eyes on me. His blackened stare makes my pajama pants warm with urine. He notices and his feet are swift. I am backing up until I feel the wall. I press my back into the wall praying to anything or anyone that I will blend in and he will lose his sight of me.

He snatches me up by my shirt and slight shoulders.  My head meets the wall but I do not disappear into its violent cracks as I had prayed.  I see the stars that my favorite cartoons show and those stars are no longer funny to me.

"Focus.  Focus on me.  Look here at my eyes."  My friend is here now.  His name is Elliot.  E-l-l-i-o-t with only one "t".

A hand cracks against my face.  Once.  Twice... his fists rain down on me.  My face... my stomach... my back.  I cannot find my Elliot.  My face is dripping hot but I am not crying.  That familiar and sickening bloody metallic taste is in my mouth.  My mouth fills with excess saliva and I know that I am about to puke.

His meaty hands snatch up my hair and I am traveling another direction.  I forget about the puking.  I frantically search for my friend and I see him running after us.  My teary eyes beg him to hurry.  I am not crying, it's just that everyones eyes water when their hair gets pulled.  I don't cry.

Down the endless hallway we go; it always feels like forever when my small feet are trying to keep up with my hair's big steps.  He opens the spare bedroom door and pushes me into a corner.  He growls at me not to move.  I don't.  I know better.

In a teary blink, he is gone.  My head throbs with pain and fear.  My life hurts me so.  I feel my friend's strong and steady fingers lace through my own trembling fingers.  I am suddenly sleepy but then I hear his heavy footsteps and then the last board in front of the door creak under his angry feet.

He has an old and wobbly stool in one hateful hand and rope in his other sadistic hand.

"Look at me.  Find my eyes.  Stay with me." my friend says.  He holds my hand as he steadies me on that wobbly stool.  I hold his hand tighter as I see my father sink into a chair to admire his handiwork.

I am shaking with fear as I feel the rope around my neck while perched perilously on that stool.  My father growls at me something about standing straight or I'll choke my lovely neck.  I step down into the corner as I watch my friend through my puffy eyes, strong and steady, balance for me. 

He winks at me as if he's telling me that we are going to be OK.  I try to wink back but my eye is winking closed all by itself.  I lay my heavy head on the floor as I shape my bloody lips into a tiny smile because I am safe when my friend is near.

Hours later for Elliot, I jolt awake as I am crashing to the floor.  That stupid old stool was just too wobbly.  The rope is still around my neck and my father is roaring with laughter.  I am a stupid little kid.  I fell for his joke he says.  My face is hot with shame as I realize that his rope was never tied to anything... but my neck.

Elliot says that my father tells bad jokes.  He's right.  If no one laughs at your joke but you then it's not funny.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


My response to a past comment  "... my mother. I cannot fathom the shoes she filled and how those shoes seemed nailed to the floor for so many years. Many, many times I have found myself more upset with her than with him."

As a mother myself, I consistently feel more anger towards my mother than anyone else.  I see my daughter grow and at her age of nearly six, I see my own timeline unfold in everything she does.  It is then that I realize that I was years into my abusive childhood by the time I was her age now.  I simply cannot understand how my mother allowed such monstrous things in our home.

My mother was a sad and tormented person.  She had a very difficult upbringing from what I gather.  My grandmother, my mother's mother, is still living and I maintain next to no relationship with her because she is just so hateful.  I am sure that my mother drew my father to her; he preyed on the weak even as a young man.  My mother married him to escape the hell of her own home.  I married my ex-husband for those very same reasons but her footsteps that I follow stop there; I will not raise a child the way she raised and allowed me to be raised.

My father terrorized my mother.  He fine-tuned his gaslighting skills with her and was a master by the time he got to me.  I can still hear my mother's voice and it is shrill and loud.  She was always screaming and ranting about something.  She fell in lockstep with his abusive ways; I know betrayal from the deepest depths because of her.  Looking back, I secretly wonder if she was relieved when I was born and my father began his games with me.

I was her way out.  She would never leave him.  But she could leave me... with him.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


One of my first recollections of someone near; someone who loved me was in a closet.

It's hot outside. It is summer and I have no school. My mother said that I went on vacation. I didn't.

It is musty and stuffy; a single coat hanger is my toy. It is dark except for the crack at the bottom of the door. That crack is my lifeline. It tells me when I am alone; it tells me when it is night; it tells me when someone is coming; when feet darken that crack, it's not a good thing.

I trace the texture on the wall with my small, dirty fingers. In the beginning, the texture is just that; texture. After three dark cracks of night the texture begins to come alive. I find an elephant, a giraffe, a balloon, a heart. I close my eyes and they dance beneath my eyelids.

The crack is darkened by two feet. Am I getting out? Is there food? The door flings open and my eyes throb in the light. It is nighttime but the night is still brighter than the dark. It is him. He scoops me up in his arms; my skin tingles with his touch.

He lays me down on the bed. He sweeps my hair out of my face so he can see my "pretty eyes". He begins to rub my legs and it feels good after sitting cramped for three dark cracks of night. But then he is pushing his weight upon me. I squirm and twist but nothing stops. He is no longer touching me with care; he is rushed and selfish. He tells me I am a dirty girl; that I smell. I can feel my tears in the corners of my eyes but I blink them away quickly.

I close my eyes and find my elephant. I trace it in my mind over and over. He is heavier and heavier... elephant, please don't go... I can't see you... I need to see you. It hurts. A drop of his sweat lands on my lip and burns my chapped and cracked lip. It hurts but he hurts me more.

I am now on my stomach and I can't see him but he is still heavy. I escape to the corner of the room and watch my small child self with him. I find my texture balloon and float away with it. He doesn't stop but he doesn't stop me from drifting away. He doesn't know I am gone and he doesn't miss me.

I am warm and safe as I rest in his arms. He dries my missing tears. His eyes are kind but tired underneath his small glasses. He has graying hair and a gentle frown. He is sad and he tells me how sorry he is; how sorry that I need him. He holds my heart and sings me to sleep. His name is James and he rescues me from him. He takes my place when I float away with my balloon to look for my elephant.

James is not real but he is love to me.


I am a little better today. It seems that simply allowing the possibility for "others" to talk has released a little internal pressure. The collective "I" keeps a lot of secrets. I was raised to keep my secrets and my family's secrets. I have done a superior job.

Tell nobody. That was beaten into me. So I told Nobody.

In my child mind, I told Nobody. She kept my secrets and she kept the secrets of the others too. She is crass, bitchy, abrupt, and one of my best friends which probably sounds weird to those on the outside looking in. I would imagine that her traits are due to the enormous weight and burdens that she bears.

I don't know how it happened exactly but after Nobody, I told Somebody.

And then I told Anybody.

And eventually I told Everybody.

I internalized my secrets and I believe it is a big reason that I survived. I wanted to scream from the rooftops what was happening to me but I knew better. So I was creative.

When you look at it, DID (dissociative identity disorder) is quite creative. It's a coping mechanism of a small child typically. Before the age of 5, our personality is developing, changing and blending into one. I didn't have the safe environment to do this. So angry got a name, sad got a name, scared got a name, rage got a name... you probably get the point. And then situations got a name, types of abuse got a name, daily activities got a name...

James, Elliot, Sara, Sam, Nobody, Anybody, Somebody, Everybody, and many others became "me". And they protected me from more than I could handle. It worked well as a child but now these broken pieces make life difficult, interesting, odd, and sometimes even funny.

So today is a better day. I have come to the realization that I have already survived the worst. Honesty sure does go a long way.

Monday, November 16, 2009


It's time. At the risk of sounding crazy, I will tell you that I am crazy. I have written here and have managed to string together thoughts that are mostly cohesive. In this black and white, it looks fairly believable and even easy.

In color, it is not.

Color is my real life, played out and carefully hidden from most who know me. I thought I could write here and portray my version of black and white; the sterilized version.

But it is not the real me.

"Me" has hundreds of facets. And the more I try to hide those facets, the more I struggle. I am on the brink of checking myself into a hospital. I don't write that to sound alarming because it's not. Not in the traditional sense that is...

My head is loud, even screaming at times. My husband doesn't really understand it. I don't know that many do and it's no ones fault either. But it is loud and I have nearly reached the point of talking myself into getting inpatient help. I am not suicidal; I know how hurtful that is firsthand. But I am in a great deal of pain. Mentally, emotionally, and even physically.

I originally began writing here for me; a place to collect my thoughts and assemble my feelings. But in this black and white, I have shut out the rest of me and that was wrong. I was able to purge here and then click that little "X" in the corner and close the window of my feelings. It was easy to do because I am only one facet.

I have an official diagnosis; one that I would be horrified if most around me knew. Here, I am somewhat anonymous which is good and bad. Bad because I can filter what I write; good because I can actually be honest.

So here is honest: I have dissociative identity disorder combined with major depressive disorder. I'm not Hollywood-like, I am not "Sybil" or "Eve", and no, my head doesn't spin or my face contort. Like my blog name, I am shattered. We are all born like a fine china plate. Most parents love and protect their fine gifts of children. All plates eventually have chips and dings while others are fractured.

Then there are others who are shattered.

My china plate was dirtied by abuse; think dried, stuck-on, or greasy food. It's hard enough to clean a dirty plate that has been neglected and sitting in the sink for a few days. It's even harder to clean a dirty plate that has been broken into many pieces. Most of us would throw away such a dirty and broken plate.

I have worked very hard for nearly 4 years to clean and glue my pieces back together. It's a hell of a process. Broken pieces are sharp; they cut the hands of those who handle, love, and care for me. In times of crisis, I even cut my own hands in my frantic efforts to gather and sweep my pieces away... to make myself "look" better. My hands are cut, figuratively, right now.

I will stop for now but I did want to take a moment to be broken and honest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So I got my ass kicked in therapy the other night... I got a not so subtle push from my therapist to get moving in the right direction again. I guess I have been at some sort of a plateau as of late but sometimes I don't see that as all bad either. However, the longer I stay in one place emotionally, the more I realize that where I am is not where I want to remain.

It's almost sad; I am in a better place than I have ever been in my life. I have a great husband, an amazing daughter, a home, a job, food, and even a great dog. But the other night when my therapist asked if I was happy, as much as I wanted to answer "yes", I knew that my answer was "no". How much of a spoiled brat do I sound like right now? Probably a pretty big one.

Where my feelings diverge is where happy and grateful form a fork in the road. I truly am grateful for what I have. I am safe for the first time in my life. Seriously. But in my mental peripheral vision, I have blind spots and shadows. My depth perception and judgement are clouded and compromised. I have a lingering sadness in my heart.

I'm great at faking. I fake my way through my work day. I'm a VP at one of the largest corporations in the world and I do my job very well. I keep my husband laughing when we are together. I'm also a pretty good mom. But I'm a faker and I crumble when no one is looking. I could probably go through life continuing to fake my feelings but I don't think that would yield the relationships that I desire. Good but not great.

I have homework this week. Spend nine minutes telling my husband how I feel. Literally saying the words "I feel ______". He gets to listen and say nothing and then after those nine minutes, it's his turn. He is good at this assignment; I am not. That's why it is my homework and not his.

Feelings are messy. The first night we did this we got into a fight. We rarely fight. I also rarely share my feelings. I hope that is merely a coincidence and nothing more. I get nervous talking about how I feel. I'm afraid I will say something that will hurt; I'm afraid I will get hurt.

Another side effect of this assignment is the horrific nightmares and flashbacks I have been having. More intense than usual and the images stick with me long after the nightmare or flashback has finished. I guess that untapped feelings = untapped memories. I've tried all this before and after a few days I would quit. The feelings and memories were just too strong. This time however, I'm stronger.

The larger point in this exercise was for me to learn to express my feelings. But what I didn't expect was the growth in my relationship with my husband. Today was day four of the assignment and I can honestly say that I feel closer to him and more loved by him than ever before. I didn't expect this result but it makes me want to keep going.

Day five is tomorrow and I am almost looking forward to those nine minutes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


So, I started a new job last month and I actually made a friend in my office. That may not seem like much of a feat but for me it is because I have a distinct lack of friends in my life. This new friend left work suddenly the other day. About an hour later, she calls me and she is sobbing. The short story is that her mom tried to kill herself. My friend was following the ambulance to the hospital when she called me.

She doesn't know me that well or my background. Why she called me, I'm not sure. What I do know is that I'm probably the most ill-equipped person to talk someone else through a situation like this.

Her mom is fine now and is mad as hell at my friend. I've been in her shoes as the daughter of an angry, suicidal mother and it hurts to watch her go through this. It hurts almost too much to be considered a supportive friend. I have since told her that I have been through situations similar to what she is going through and I honestly thought that would be the end of my help for her in this ordeal.

But it didn't stop there and now I'm walking through this with a friend I hardly know, albeit I'm getting to know her better, and my own feelings are so strong that my chest hurts. I haven't been able to actually sort out the exact words for these feelings; all I can say is that suicide is an awful solution to any problem. It doesn't just hurt the person who is making the attempt...

Almost selfishly, this events of this week have pulled a few of my own scabs off. I want to tell my friend exactly what I think about her mother's actions but I know that would not be helpful or healthy. But as I type this I'm surprised by my anger towards my friend's mother and I wonder why I can't seem to be angry about my own situation.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


At the risk of sounding completely crazy... I see dead people. I know there's some sort of psycho-babble term for it; "ghosting" or something of that sort. So if it has a term then perhaps I'm not completely crazy. Right?

My most confused and contorted feelings of recent years are in regards to losing my sister and my mother. I like saying that I lost them; like we were all at a shopping mall and we got separated within the clothes racks at Macy's. But we didn't. I actually didn't lose them at all. They left.

It's been nearly four years since my baby sister ended her torment on her own terms. She always refused to confront the truth about our childhood, our home, and our family. Instead I was the crazy one; the angry sister; the disgruntled daughter. She and my mother routinely joined forces in an attempt to cover my truth and twist them into lies. It hurt. Hurt like it did as a child when I was told that even if I did tell, no one would believe me. In the end it was lies that killed my sister. My mother too.

My sister shot herself in the head. I have since learned that that act is uncommon for a female to carry out. I think it shows the enormity of her pain. She lingered in this world for a few days. Long enough for me to sit by her side and listen to my mother spew that she wished it had been me in that bed. Long enough for my father to make passes at me; at the fucking hospital of all places where my sister, his daughter, was approaching death. Sarcasm: my family reeks of appropriateness.

My mother exited this world a few days later. Overdose. The hateful part of me wonders all too clearly if she just couldn't stand to be upstaged by my sister. I went from a painful existence within a family to nothing. I was alone with my daughter and I couldn't get away from my father fast enough. As ugly as it sounds, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had a real chance for a life.

I went to work the days after both their deaths. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't wrap my mind around who to grieve for first. Do I do it in death order? By age? By who I loved the most? I've been told that those feelings are referred to as complex grief. "Complex" is a polite word for you have a fucked up family and now they are dead.

What they did is called a suicide cluster. I can't lie and say that I wasn't tempted to join their exclusive little group. I saw that their problems went away. But in reality their problems might have disappeared but a whole new set of problems were pushed onto me. Ultimately, I knew that I couldn't pile my own problems upon my sweet daughter.

For nearly a week I have been seeing my sister. Not as I would like to remember her either. She stands there, holding a piece of her skull, brains, and blood in her hands. She is asking me to fix her head. I can barely stand to look at her and the ugly part of me wants to tell her to fuck off. Nice, I know. But she did it to herself and I am so very tired of cleaning up messes that only hurt me more in the end. I told her the other night in therapy to go away because I couldn't help her. My therapist said that I did good a good job. She left but I am still struggling with my response to her.

I always took care of her. I brought my father upon myself to keep him away from her. When she was very young, I would get her out of her own toddler bed and put her into bed with me. I wasn't more than 6 years old but in my child's mind I believed that we would be safe together. We were until he came in and moved her over to get to me. But when he was done, at least I knew that she was with me and he would not be walking into her room next.

I need to stop here because in many ways, I still feel that in her death the ultimate statement was made that I failed to protect her; failed to keep her safe. I'll pick this up later when I can string my words together in a sequence that makes sense because right now, everything is getting very jumbled up...

Friday, July 17, 2009


Break. Brake. Stop. I needed a break; needed to apply the emergency brake. I needed to stop. I don't know that I'm a person easily overwhelmed because I can truly say that I juggle many items/issues/people/jobs everyday. But sometimes I do get overwhelmed and it's ugly when that happens. It's something of a breakdown; or brakedown. Either way, life comes to a screeching halt.

I always resurface but I can't really say that I'm refreshed. I ran hard in the other direction but here I am, in the same place, still being forced to face all the voices that tell me that I'm not good enough, undeserving, ill-fitting...

Spring and Summer are hard for me. Beginning with Mother's Day, followed by my late sister's birthday, Father's Day and then my father's birthday; all reminders of what is missing, what has been lost.

I struggle with wanting to fix what is broken and cleaning up messes that I have no business even touching. In this process, I lose myself. I don't take care of myself and then, before I know it, the brake is being pulled and I am caught in some sort of mental purgatory. It is a tough place to be but it does motivate me to press forward because I sure as hell know that stopped is not where I want to be.

So, I'm back. I can't say that I'm new and improved but I am more determined to heal and become a version of myself that I can be proud of.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I have been grappling with a handful of memories that are particularly troubling. The nature of my childhood in general is troubling but when I look to specific memories, I'm pained and confused. There were times that I was treated as a boy; as if abusing a girl was not enough. I was not enough as a female.

Is there something masculine about me? I already carry loads of guilt around feeling as if something in me or about me attracted the abuse. And now, for some reason, I feel doubly guilty.

As I relive these moments, I can feel they physical sensations. I suppose that might sound weird to some but this has always happened to me. I hate it. It is like watching a movie while acting in it at the same time. Many times, I can remember watching myself being hurt from the corner of the room where the wall meets the ceiling. I could float up and beyond the pain. It was happening to someone else; many times a boy so that could not possibly be me. But it was. It is. And now that I am grown, I face the task of reuiniting the memories with the body.

Did he prefer males? I know for certain that he preferred pain. He delighted in my pain and he delighted in making me who he wanted me to be. In that these memories still dominate my mind, I am still exactly who he wanted me to be. Fucked up.

I don't like carrying a diagnosis; I do not like the labels. But I do believe that he knew what he was doing. He created chaos in our home, in my life, and in my mind.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


God, I hate anxiety. I sincerely believe that panic and anxiety can, at times, be more crippling than depression. I tend to swing back and forth between severe depression and severe anxiety. My depression is treated, my anxiety is not. Rarely do my anxiety and depression co-exist at the same time and so I've been told, that is why it it difficult to treat my anxiety symptoms.

I'm on the anxiety upswing right now. I wake up at night in a cold sweat with my heart racing. My brain quickly follows their lead and my thoughts start spooling up without me knowing how they will unwind. I can't stop it. I lay there awake until I am sure that my pounding heart is going to wake up my husband.

So I get up.

I clean, I read, I sew, I crochet, I play with the dog, I watch TV, I write... We have the cleanest house on the block. We have a maid and in my worked up state, I retrace her steps.

I'm not bipolar. I've been down that road with one too many shrinks and I am confident that the last one was correct.

I don't handle stress well. Actually... let me correct that. I don't handle stress at all; I stuff it. Eventually I run out of places to stuff my emotions and it explodes. At that point, I'm either depressed or anxious as hell. It is miserable. At times I feel paralyzed while sinking in quicksand when I am on anxiety overdrive. That is where I am now.

Like I said, my anxiety is not treated with medication. I self-medicate instead. Last night I washed my antidepressant pills down with vodka. It that isn't the picture of health, I don't know what is...

I'll be OK, I always am. Despite how this all sounds, I am attempting to deal with my anxiety in healthier ways. I will go to therapy this week and actually talk; I will also write more. The weather is nice and hubby suggested, as he watched the vodka/pill display last night, that we start taking a walk in the evenings. I can do that too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The impending doom of the letter "Z".

That's what is on my 5 year old's mind these days.

She is a bright little girl; she's been reading since she was 4 and she thoroughly loves her pre-kindergarten class. However, she has been expressing that she is nervous about starting kindergarten in the school with the big kids. Completely understandable. Hell, I'm nervous myself!

This year, they have a "letter of the week" and they learn the sounds the letter makes, words that start with that letter and then words that rhyme with those corresponding words.

Lately she has been not wanting to go to school and especially dreading a new week. Last night we finally figured out why. She announced over dessert that the letter they are working on this week is the letter "Y". Next week is the letter "Z". And then... she's doomed. Yes, she literally said "doomed".

Evidently, on the playground her classmates and her have collectively decided that upon ending letter "Z" week, they will promptly be dropped of at the elementary school doors to find their classroom and fend for themselves amongst the big kids. We tried our absolute hardest not to laugh and I think we managed really big smiles instead of laughter. We did our best to explain to her that that would not be happening and that she had the rest of this Spring and then the whole Summer to get ready for kindergarten and then we would take her to school. She seemed pleased with our answer and was actually excited to go to school today.

This morning I took her to her classroom and the second she walked through the door she announced to everyone, "guess what, kids! We don't have to leave after the letter "Z"! We get to stay longer and then our parents will take us to kindergarten later!". The kids who heard her stopped and clapped their hands and giggled... then they all hugged each other.

Of course the teachers looked confused and I explained the impending doom of the letter "Z". They got a good laugh out of it too and then promised to do a better job of explaining the transition to kindergarten.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


When my daughter is nervous, she says that she has knots in her stomach. Today, I have knots in my stomach.

My step-kids were born 2 years and 1 day a part. Today is the birthday celebration. We have seen very little of them this month because they spent Spring Break with their mother. But tonight begins the usual routine again and I'm a nervous wreck. I have actually gotten comfortable in my home again and I am so afraid that comfort is going to all disappear beginning tonight.

Hubby, my daughter and I went birthday shopping for them last night and it was quite honestly, a miserable experience. And no, those weren't the words coming out of my wicked stepmother mouth; they were hubby's words. The kids typically hate anything we buy them. Nothing is good enough. Their typical responses are somewhere along the lines of, "is that it?"... "but I really wanted _____"... or the worst, "can I exchange this for cash so I can get something I want?". The last response was said at Christmas to their grandma, my husband's mother. We were mortified. We do not raise our kids to be ungrateful and spoiled. We correct the behavior but it always continues because somewhere over the years, a sense of entitlement has developed and been nurtured by the home they spend the most time at.

The gifts, our home, our love, our care; none of it is appreciated or good enough. Soon enough, our home will be a war zone once again; filled with teenage temper-tantrums, backtalk, screaming, rolled eyes and tears. I hate having such a negative perception. However, when I look, hope and pray for the good, it's kicked in my face and I am more disappointed than if I had just expected the "norm".

It's a sad situation we find ourselves in and it breaks my heart to watch the very home that I longed for as a child to transform into a place filled with anxiety and stress. I wish I had an answer but I do not. No one does. Professionals have told us that they will realize the truth when they are older and that's all fine and good. But what about the rest of us who know the truth and the actual truth of our circumstances today? What happens to us when we are older after living years of this stress and hurt?

I truly am the most sad for the kids. All of the kids. I would be lying if I said that I don't worry about the impact this could have on my daughter. I grew up in a stress-filled home; albeit much worse but this is still not ideal for her. What if she has knots in her stomach now and what if they don't go away? And what about the other two kids? What is going to happen to them if they continue to grow up thinking that this is the way you treat people? I can't imagine that will be a pretty lesson to learn...

I feel pulled in two different directions and more and more, I find myself wishing that I could just have my home back for the sake of the three of us who live there full time. I know I must sound selfish and bitchy but this is where I'm at.

For now.

Monday, March 30, 2009


It is a rare event that my husband and I have a day to ourselves. We typically have 1 or 3 kids with us, he works many weekends and generally we are just going in many different directions that manifest in the ways of birthday parties, karate, soccer, school projects, yard work, house work, grocery shopping, etc. Yesterday was not one of those days.

My daughter spent the day with a family friend and their kids. His kids were with their mother. He didn't have to work and that left the two of us on our own. I saw my daughter off and I actually went back to bed for an hour. I have not been sleeping well so that extra hour did me a lot of good. After that, I got up and walked into a clean kitchen and hot coffee thanks to hubby. We sat on the couch drinking coffee and decided that we should go see a movie... a grown-up movie. We saw Duplicity and loved it.

We spent the rest of the day watching sports; something we both love to do but never have the time or the competitive edge to win out over SpongeBob or Hannah Montana. We then ate ice cream for dinner; something we will never admit to our kids... . We finished the day by taking a walk with our dog and talking about nothing in particular.

Shortly after that my daughter came home covered in face paint, exhausted, and begging to go to bed. It was a good day for her too.

It was a slow day and a good day. We have too few of these and I will look forward to the rare occasion, months down the road where another one will occur by chance. For nearly three years, our lives have been turned upside down by a bitter woman who wishes us, and especially our marriage, harm. Many of our weekends are spent being divided into "his" and hers" teams and it is a tiresome existence.

How comforting it is to know that when the dust settles and we are on our own that we still like, love, and enjoy each other's company. He has his baggage and God knows, I have my own truckload and a storage unit of baggage, but somehow we work and I am thankful for what we have.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Anger is not something I am comfortable with. I have seen horrible things done in anger; I have been the target of unspeakable rage. The kind of rage where the eyes turn black, the lines on the face deepen, and veins on the forehead and temples are a road map of what is right around the corner. For me, rage seems to be a manifestation of a deep rooted anger; an anger that never stops and has no beginning or end.

My father was always just few degrees away from boiling. It took the smallest thing or sometimes nothing at all to send him into a rage that seemed to have no limits. Holes in walls, shattered bottles, smashed chairs, harmed pets, and broken spirits were left in his wake. He had his moments of screaming and yelling but the worst of it was when he raged silently. At his worst, there were no words spoken. Only silence accompanied his swift and unpredictable movements. I have seen many displays of anger in my lifetime but I have never seen another human rage in utter silence. Words, even if they are screamed in anger at least give you an inkling of what is coming, who the target is or even the eventual winding down of the angry person. With him there was only guessing and the hope that it would end.

My mother was always a second away from snapping. With her there was no warning. One second she could be smiling and the next could be attacking. She was unpredictable and ultimately unstable. One minute sewing along happily, the next stabbing scissors through a Check Spellinghand for daring to get too close to her work. One minute bathing her daughter, the next holding the flailing child underwater. She was a screamer. Shrill and blood-curdling were her two volume levels. It was pretty easy to gauge when she was winding down because she literally ran out of energy to continue. With her it was only a matter of wearing her out a quickly as possible; fight back and her fury would be worse but the duration was lessened.

I have great difficulty expressing my anger. The words do not come and in that silence, I fear I am half a shade from becoming my father. If I have no words, will I rage like he did? I feel the anger rising, my heart races and I am boiling inside but no words follow. I am mute and I can almost see my fists beginning to fly. I am him so I run away. I am not angry. I am fine.
pen, you name it, it's probably been a target. My husband has stopped asking why there are broken dishes in the trash. I snap and God, it feels good. My mother was so miserable in her life, it's no wonder she snapped so often. It's a rush and it is satisfying if only for a moment before you realize how childishly you have just behaved.

I will snap at the inanimate but if you ask me to direct my anger at those who hurt me, you can forget it. The words cease, silence ensues, and I am just as terrified as I was as a child ducking and dodging my father's rage. I am afraid I will never stop; my father never did and I am his daughter. I was raised by a monster and I have his DNA; I have her DNA too. There are so many times that I feel that I am relegated to nothing more than still silence and broken dishes... and it sucks.


What do you do when you love someone toxic?

Every time I speak with him, he poisons a little more of my soul. One step forward, two reeling stumbles back. I shouldn't love him. I shouldn't give him a second of my time or even a second thought. I shouldn't even speak to him.

But he calls and I answer.

Maybe today is the day he will tell me how sorry he is; how wrong he has been.

He tells me how sorry he is, just not in the way I wish. Thirty seconds, that is all I gave him. In thirty seconds he has reduced me to his whore, his obsession, his hole.

My head and my heart scream to hang up. I do and I go about my day pretending that I'm fine. In reality, I reek of shame and self-loathing. I am toxic and I fear the fumes will reveal who he has wished me to be.

I hate him. I hate what he did. I hate what he does. Yet, despite my hatred I am addicted to hope. Just one last time, one last chance. I will answer one last time. But deep inside I know what I have always known: he is never going to change. He is sick and he is toxic.

He does not love me. He loves to control me. He doesn't even love the idea of me. I have never even been "me" with him, only an object. From his mouth he spews words and phrases that should never be uttered aloud. Or to your own daughter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I walked a strange path yesterday evening. I met face to face with childhood memories and as strange as it may sound, I found myself in them. In the past, I have always viewed such pain as happening to someone else, not me. It was easier that way. But last night the lines blurred and I began to see my face on that small child.

She was dirty, battered, bloodied, bruised and broken. She had no eyes because she did not want to see. She did not want to see the horror bearing down on us. Neither did I. But I have eyes and I saw last night. Pushed to the forefront, I had no choice but to see her pain. And feel. I saw him too.

He climbed on top of her and I could smell his musky smell. I stepped aside and began to walk away. I heard her call out for our mother and that stopped me dead in my tracks. She sounded just like my daughter when she calls for me. I went back and he saw me. He stopped; and as scared as I was, I saw more fear on his face than I felt on my own.

In an instant he was gone and I was left alone with that little girl. She was still dirty, battered, bloodied, bruised and broken. I looked at my own self and so was I. Shame overcame me as I found myself in such a vulnerable place. I have been humiliated so much in my life that I cling to what dignity I have so that I can present myself to the world as a perfect and put together person. But there I was, alone with her, and in the exact same state as her. I hurt where she hurt and I could feel what she was feeling. She felt shame like me. But in looking at her, I saw nothing about her that was shameful. She was innocent.

I picked her up and held her like I hold my own daughter after she has a bad dream. I took her and cleaned her up, gave her clothes to wear, and combed her matted hair. She smiled as she looked up at me and in her eyes that I could see now, was love. An overwhelming calm washed over me and for the first time in a long time, we rested. She was especially exhausted as she was the one laying in bed awake, night after night, waiting for him.

Today, I am still tired but it is a good kind of tired; the kind that you feel after exercising. After a hard workout you might be tired, drained and even a little sore. However, you know that your workout was healthy, will make you stronger, and even motivate you to press on. That is where I am today... tired and sore but motivated to press on and find another piece of myself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I am making a concerted effort to look for the good in my life and embrace it rather than dreading when that good will come to an end. Pain has been such a staple in my life that sometimes I actually feel more comfortable in pain than I do in celebrating the good. I am much like the career prisoners who cannot thrive in society once they are released from prison so they quickly break the law so they can return to their home and their comfort zone which is behind bars. I seek the pain in my and live behind those bars because my comfort zone is surviving rather than thriving. If I can't find that pain then I self-destruct.

I remember when I was a new mother. I was terrified but bolstered by that fear so I set my mind to my and my daughter's survival. I did the same in my first marriage; I survived the abuse of my ex-husband and never looked further than just existing. I survived my childhood which was an accomplishment. I did thrive in some areas but that was simply how I coped and sought approval. I have never really looked past surviving and I am missing out on a lot.

I have good in my life and instead of being terrified of losing it, I am going to embrace it while I can. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Yes, loss will come but how much more painful will that loss be if I never enjoyed the time I had? And honestly, I am stealing from my family by simply surviving instead of giving all of myself to them.

Now, I know that I cannot ignore my past and the memories either but I am beginning to realize that facing those things will be a little easier if I have a buoy of good to hang on to when things get rough. There is more pain to come but there is even more good, I just have to look for it.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sometimes you find love in unexpected places, people, and times. To say that I'm suffering from low self-esteem would be an understatement. I constantly find all the things that are wrong with me and use those liabilities to stack the walls even higher around me.

This afternoon, I was sitting at my desk at work making phone calls to new and prospective clients. This is a large part of my day; I make close to sixty of these phone calls a day. I mostly answer the common new account questions, explain how to transfer an account, or buy a stock. I knew I had gotten a hold of an interesting client when right off the bat he told me that he invested based upon how God told him to invest. That philosophy is far from the typical responses I get. When he said "God" I immediately felt my stomach lurch. I am a recovering Christian. I had God and religion used against me in the most twisted ways as a child and even an adult. On top of that, I have a serious beef with God and why He allows such suffering as child abuse, sickness, and all the other evil this world contains.

This 75 year old man proceeded to tell me, in the most compassionate and non-judgemental way, that God loves me so much... that He loves all of us so much and that all He wants is for us to love Him back and live our lives in such a way that reflects His love. He went on to tell me that my phone call to him was no accident and how glad he was that I called him so he could share with me what he felt I needed to hear. I tried hard to bristle and convince myself that the phone call was nothing more than me just doing my job. But the harder I tried, the bigger the lump in my throat grew. Now, I need to mention here that I do not cry and I will do anything and everything to avoid it.

So there I am, sitting in my office with tears in my eyes, thanking this man for taking the time to talk to me. It was a simple human gesture that he made, taking a chance that I might not care to hear what he had to say. What he shared with me is really what every person needs to hear at some point, and that is that they are loved. Now, I realize that not everyone is "religious" in this sense but I do know that we all have an innate desire to be loved. Today was my day to hear it from a complete stranger on behalf of a God who I frequently express my displeasure and disappointment in. I can't say that I fully feel "loved" by God... yet... but I can say that today I felt more loved than I have in awhile all because a complete stranger took the time and the risk to simply affirm me as a person despite my unknown flaws to him.