Category: My Story…

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Eighteen and so unbelievably not me…I wasn’t true to myself.  KM entered into my life and what a world-wind he was.  His long blond hair, big blue eyes and ever so sleek silhouette caught my attention from across the room and we were a year of destruction him and me.

Life at home was a billowing pit of broken rules, late night arguments, and unfiltered words of reckoning.  I hated it and wanted to be everywhere else but there.  I felt trapped and wanted desperately to be free.

I left home and took shelter with KM and his mother.  We had passion but it was so incredibly unhealthy.  We dared each other to be something we weren’t in hopes of finding solitude.  Drinking our cares away, staying out all night and flipping life to the wind.  Life was spinning out of control…

He walked in the bathroom one morning, as I sat on the sink, blade in hand and blood dripping from my fingertips.  I wanted to feel, yet I didn’t want to feel anything at all.  The numbness of the blade split the skin one finger at a time.  He put me in the shower and I sat on the cold, wet tiled floor, water running down my body as I watched the blood slowly circle the drain.  It was as if I was watching my life drain with it and for some reason that was ok.

Our arrangement with one another came to an end as we were no good together.  You see he had also been molested as a child and he learned to weave his sickness in and out of mine.  The time came when I had to go and (“Hospital Stay” discussed earlier in blog) KM begged me not to leave.  It took everything I had to say goodbye and never to look back.  I closed my eyes, said a prayer and left only by chance.

Over the next several years, I continued to self-destruct and was unable to connect with a new therapist…and man I tried!  I read through books upon books of self-help guidance.  I even went through hypnotherapy and to no avail this was too an epic fail.

Frustrated and stuck in a life that was simply going nowhere, I began to explore different ways to drown out the unwanted feelings.  I went from shy and withdrawn to drunk and outspoken.  Going to the bars, dancing, partying; anything was better than being home.  I lost myself trying to find “me” through everyone else.  I yearned for love and acceptance and discovered I could temporarily find this in the arms of other men, or so I thought.  It was an escape.

I drank my nights away and brought in the mornings with regret and shame.  Obviously didn’t care enough to quit.  I was on a war path screaming to be heard!  The odd thing is when I stopped screaming and listened to the echoes that bounced in-between, nothing seemed to escape my mouth but a montage of manipulation to twist things to make it less than what it seemed.

My life was spinning out of control.  One counselor after another, I came and told my story.  Each time it got a little easier until there was no emotion at all.  Words flowed from my mouth as if I was telling someone else’s story.  I learned quickly how and why it was that my body became another’s’ playground.  I had no self-worth.  It was taken from me as a little girl and my innocence; a memory of blurred vision before the age of three.

My therapy took shape.  I learned early on I wasn’t ready to deal with the interruption of memories and feelings that began to surface.  I couldn’t deal with it.  I would often cancel my counseling appointments, or just not show up.  Over time, my anxiety and depression took a toll on me.  Little did I know how drastically life was about to change.

Linda, my therapist, convinced me to “voluntarily” check myself into the psychiatric center she worked so closely with.  She promised during my stay, she would visit with me every day.  I took a leap of faith and thought if anyone can help me, she can.  After all she was the first and only person I shared my deepest, darkest secrets with.  She knew me best…right?

As I was finished checking in to the hospital and said my goodbyes to Mom, it really set in.  I was scared, alone and truly shaken to my core.  The nursing staff went through all of my belongings rummaging as if nothing was off-limits.  There were no boundaries, no mine or yours, it was just communal.  They took the shoe strings from my tennies, my shampoo and tooth paste too.  You take what you get and don’t look back. The nurse handed me my clothes and walked me to my room.

I lay in bed within a cold sterile room.  The bed across from me was empty.  I had wondered who all had been there before me.  What was their story?  How long did they stay?  Who touched them?  Were they as messed up as me?  My mind raced until I finally fell asleep.  Over the next couple of days group therapy became my friend and everything else a blur.  I waited for Linda as she promised we would work together in my pain.  Every day I waited and she never came.

After three full days in the hospital, and not one visit from Linda, I decided to check myself out of the hospital.  I was so angry that she went against her promise.  She dropped me as a patient because I left the hospital on my own recognizance and from that point on, I never spoke with her again.

My time in the hospital was not for nothing.  I did grow as an individual and learned I was stronger than I was going in.  I found healing in group therapy and in others who had been through similar experiences as mine.  I will never forget the words one gentleman said to me while I was leaving; “You are like a happy cancer you know!  Your smile is contagious”.  To this day some 20 plus years later, I hold on to those words as they have become a part of who I am.

The sexual abuse started when I was just three years old and continued until I turned nine.  I lived with this secret until I approached adulthood and my life really started to unravel.

The event in my life that lead me to counseling and the ‘secret’ to come out was one of the most painful in my life to this day.

I have never written about or spoke of it outside of my immediate family until now … It was Winter of 1986. I got the news.  My heart sunk and I thought to myself how, why, this can’t be happening to me.

The words he spoke to me as I told him the news stunted my growth and broke me within.  I will never forget him telling me, “if you do this, you are on your own and I will leave”.  I felt so alone.  I was scared, sixteen and couldn’t bear the thought of doing this without him.

That day changed my life and forever isn’t strong enough to take away the pain I endured or the destruction of life as it was for me.

My mom … I thought she would pick me up off the floor and assure me that everything was going to be ok.  I was wrong.  I couldn’t understand how she turned me away.  I was her daughter; for God’s sake she knew what I was going through.  It didn’t matter.  She told me what I had to do.

I remember the weeks following, how alone and confused I felt.  I didn’t understand what was going on with my body, let alone the tragedy I was about to undertake.

The morning of the scheduled surgery, he never showed.  Mom drove me to the hospital and said this is for the best.  I cried not understanding why and what did this mean?

I prayed and hoped he would walk through the waiting room doors, but he never did.  Alone, with my mother who seemingly pushed this aside.

No one could prepare me for what was to come.

Waking up from anesthesia, throwing up chewed up bits of hot dog, and sweating in a sterile room with no one around.  I just sat there naked and afraid not realizing the mistake I just made would haunt me for the rest of my life.

I couldn’t wrap my arms around the emptiness I felt or why.  It felt like a gaping hole was left for all to see.  But this was my secret now and I had to figure it.  The pain was destroying me and the self-hatred crept in.  I couldn’t see the world for what it was supposed to be but only for manipulation, fault and no place for me.

My life seemed consumed with lies and secrets and how was I to cope.  Walking the halls of my high school hearing the chattering of familiar faces but hearing really nothing at all.  Depression set in and the suicidal thoughts followed suite.

This is when Linda came to be and started to help me sort this all out … Linda was the beginning of psychological treatment and the start of unraveling a life of a complicated fucked up mess.

When I look back on my childhood days, I don’t remember many happy times.  The feelings that surface are often of fear, anxiety, disappointment and pain.  I try to remember the good times but they falter to the dark cloud that followed me throughout life.

My father was in and out of my life since I was a little girl…the majority has been in absence and often times with years of absolutely no communication at all.  My parents divorced when I was two.  Mom left him and put an end to her abuse and that is when mine began (more on this later in my blog…)

The few memories I have of him have haunted me.  He neglected me, never protected me and didn’t have the ability to love me.  I grew up without my dad and I yearned for his love and acceptance.  I often wondered where he was or why he wasn’t around.  He missed so much.  As a little girl, I envied my friends who were close to their fathers.  I wanted mine.

Approaching my teen years, I had this deep seeded need to know him.  I wanted to learn everything I could about him.  What part had he played in my life as a child?  Why was I so shy and insecure?  Why did I feel so unworthy of love and acceptance of others?  Could he possibly hold the answers?

I began the search.  I turned to his family members and was stone-walled.  I searched the internet, family files, anything I could get my hands on.  Nothing.  I finally asked the one person who knew him best; my Mom.  I don’t know why I hadn’t asked her sooner.  Maybe because I was afraid to hear the truth.  I wanted her to tell me as much about him as she possibly could.  I remember that night so clearly…we sat for hours as we both struggled through painful memories.  The ugly truth about my father came out.  I had a new-found respect for my mother.  For many long years she held back her feelings of betrayal and hatred of my father and let my brothers and me discover his truth for ourselves when we were old enough to understand.

You see, that night I learned things about my father that no human being should ever have to endure and it was at that moment, my life began to make sense.

I see now how his absence has shaped my life.  Yes, I yearn for my father at times, yes I miss him dearly, yes I long to feel him hold me close to him, but it is a yearning and longing for a father I never had, for the father I built up in my dreams.

Recently, I re-connected with him again.  Would this time be any different?  I guess a part of me wanted to believe so.  He hasn’t changed much, except for the fact that he has aged and does have some remorse.  I have learned to accept him for who he is and not for what he can give me.  He is a man who is broken and lived his life the best he knew how from what his mother and father taught him.  I have come to the realization that love comes from within.  It is not tangible and it is not about what others can give me.

I often find myself thinking of him, probably more than I should, but I am here on this earth in part because of him and for that I will always carry a piece of him with me.

Against The Backdrop was a seemingly appropriate name as so much of my childhood was spent adapting to the setting or conditions in which I was living.

“The expression against the backdrop of (something) is a figurative and imaginative way to describe what’s going on in the background or surrounding context when something else happens” 

As I grew older, I learned to build a wall around me and by doing so it became easier to effectively live a lie. As a result, I appeared to be perfectly happy on the outside while I was wagering a storm behind the wall.

I continue the struggle to be true to myself, but have found life to be a more peaceful place when I am mindful of the space I am and the body I am learning to love.

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