Just for me

It’s done. I guess when you go into dental surgery, you want a dentist who’s good and, preferably, fast. I got both. In and out in under 10 minutes. Barely any swelling. Sore, but that’s to be expected.

Can’t help but chide myself a bit. Well, there you go. You wound yourself up about this for two damned weeks and it only took 10 minutes. Once more I’m vowing to myself to do better, to  stay calmer, to not panic the next time something comes up.

Yeah. Right.

Spending the weekend inside. While I woke this morning to snow outside my window, it’s nothing in comparison to what hit Ireland. I’ve been checking on Irish news sources, horrified over what I know is currently going down in that country. To say the Irish aren’t prepped for a lot of snow might be the understatement of the decade. What makes me saddest is the knowledge that the most vulnerable members of society are often the most isolated, which means out on the end of those snowy peninsulas where no one can get to right now there are elderly people without food, without heat, and in need of medical attention. People will die. And no one will give a damn.

I feel lucky to be here. To NOT be one of those people who are dying.

Only thirty pages left to read in my book. Plan on sitting down this afternoon and snuggling up with it. Ms. Polly Perfect in me is very happy and excited; she knows on Monday she’ll be able to turn that book in and clearly state she’s reading another. Gimme a gold star, teacher. I did good. Not that doing good is difficult in this situation. Ms. Perfect likes to read, so it’s no great stretch to find she’s gobbled up yet another book and wants more. Ms. Perfect is also happy with her pronunciation. She doesn’t like the fact she doesn’t know ALL the words, but she’s very happy that every time she opens her mouth native Dutch speakers compliment her on her language. Slow and steady. We’re getting there, Polly. Just be patient with me.

Have a bit of something on my desktop. Can’t really call it a story, tho I suppose that’s what it is. For me, it’s too real to call ‘a story’. It is my memories, my tale, told from my eyes and my perspective. I’m…doing my best to stay away from ’emotional’ language. There’s a bit of a disconnect going on with me; just state what happened. Don’t color it. Don’t say how much the pain hurt; pain is pain is pain. Everyone knows it hurts. Matter of fact statements can slap readers far harder than trying to color everything in. The pain went on. No one interfered, no one questioned it. Later, the child was given a spoonful of sugar that hid something bitter. That’s all you need. If you don’t read that and understand something is wrong in the child’s life then it’s you who has the problem. …Don’t know who I’m writing this for. The psychiatrist? Somewhere I think I can submit it? Who the fuck knows. I’m just writing it. That’s okay. I’m allowed to do that.

Here it is March and still nadda from the theater group regarding my script. I don’t think they’ll have time to do it. Maybe they won’t even have time to do another production this year; lots of foot dragging going on. No call for auditions. No discussion on how or what to do this autumn. And with April’s performance of last season’s play in Amsterdam, I just don’t see it happening. Plus…I really don’t want them to throw my idea together last minute. Give me – and my work – a bit more respect than that. No, you guys can’t do it if you can’t give yourselves enough time to learn the parts. No, I can’t give you audio clips if you don’t give me the time to create them. At the rate the group is currently crawling along, they won’t even hold auditions before May. Then it’ll be a couple of rehearsals before they take their summer holiday. In effect, they wouldn’t be able to really begin work on another play before September. I don’t want my first production to be so haphazard and sloppily put together. I spent a year crafting the story. Let’s give it a bit more effort than that. Both I and my work deserve it. And I hope, if the situation arises, that I’ll be able to state that clearly to the group. I deserve more than the dregs of your time. I’d prefer we put my script on hold ’til next year if that’s the way this year shakes out. Plus, I’ll need more than a month or two to do the sound effects. And I’m not gonna put myself or my bro under pressure to do everything in a short time because the group can’t pull it together in a timely manner. I’ll need to tell them that, because right now I think they think I could do the sound effects in a matter of weeks. Not that I blame them; if you don’t work with sound, you don’t get it. But I’ve had that before. What do you mean, you can’t put this all together in such a short time period? I could. I could just turn on my computer and do it. No, you couldn’t. You can’t do it, and that’s the point. If you think you can get this layered sound I want in just a day or two, you don’t know what you’re talking about. And you don’t know sound production.

Yeah. Speak up, Beeps. They gotta know that one ahead of time: I need time to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It ain’t magic; it’s hard work.

And let’s be clear: it’s hard work I’m willing to do for me. Not for you. Not for the theatre group.

Just for me.

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The truth

It came as a demand: Send some pictures of yourself and your area. I’m sure your cousins would be interested. This is my uncle’s response to my two line ‘taking care of myself’ reply. Perhaps he didn’t mean it to sound like a demand. Perhaps that’s just his shorthand; I do it all the time, dropping words in sentences because of casual writing. But for a man so willing to fully type in his right-wing ideology, I can’t help but feel it is a precise reflection of his real, inner attitude. Demand, command, do not ask, and twist that bit of guilt in at the end to make sure people follow thru.

I deleted the message, and will not take any pictures for my family.

Yo! I am not some performing monkey here for your fucking entertainment. You can’t demand anything from me. And gee! Your attitude on those pictures I have posted has been quite cutting and negative.

😀 LOLOL! Perfect. Just realized I still have the pix from the premiere. I’ll send those. They show me, a gala event, and my friends. Let them chew on that for a bit. You didn’t bother to say anything at all, much less anything nice when I posted it publicly. Now, have it privately. I dare you, mother fuckers. I dare you to cut me down now. Go on; I know you want to do it.

Wondering about my wisdom here. I want to send those premiere pix. Make ’em squirm. But isn’t that just feeding the fire? And if the only reason I’m doing it is to test them, to see if they’ll react in the same negative way they’ve always reacted, aren’t I just allowing it to go on and on? Encouraging it, even. …Yeah. Gotta admit, that’s true. I want to pull their noses. I want to show them up, shut them up, portray for them exactly why they’re so wrong. …Fuck. That isn’t a healthy reaction.

Well. I’ll let it sit, and no doubt my head will work hard to forget it. Maybe I really will forget it…

Ah. Lovely. My computer alarm just went off, alerting me that tomorrow I have my surgery. Knew I really wouldn’t need the reminder, but I also know how I can let time get away from me and I sure as hell didn’t want to sit another 2 weeks waiting for another appointment and clamping down on my anxiety. So, ding. Yes, I know. Can’t stop thinking about it. Working hard to see past it. Moving my mind onto my language class on Monday, my upcoming appointment with the psychiatrist, the play performance in Amsterdam. There’s this big thing called LIFE that happens after my surgery. Remember that! I’m straddling it pretty well right now, but I’m not going to guarantee I won’t have a few moments of real panic tomorrow.

Did not get out yesterday. We’re in a big freeze, and my brother expressed real concern about me walking in the cold wind after sweating at the gym. I listened to him. Trying to listen to other people right now, especially if they’re telling me to take care of myself. They’re seeing something I’m not. Hold up! So far (knock on wood), I’ve remained flu and cold free this winter (was going to say I remained healthy but we all know that’s not true) and I want to stay that way. Plus…anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. Don’t feel I’ve handled that well, so I’m trying different things.

Have not gone back to my book on audio. The reader isn’t that good. A native speaker, yes. But a good speaker? No. And his delivery isn’t…magical. Good enough, but you can tell he doesn’t love the story. He’s just reading. Almost through with the book my teacher gave me. I’m learning more words. Nouns I didn’t know, verbs I didn’t know… It’s coloring in my world. I know the word for ‘so cold your teeth chatter’. I know the words for trembling, for nervousness, for worry. I see things get laid ‘aan’ or ‘bij’, people go ‘naar’ and ‘heen’ (sometimes ‘af’ and ‘toe’), birds ‘fladderen’ and dogs ‘blaften’, people have ‘benen’ and animals ‘poten’.

Give. me. more.

Plan on holding onto my audio book and just reading thru the text. It looks and sounds about my speed, and I’ll be done with the other book in a few days.

Truths I must remember to tell the psychiatrist. First, I’ve gotta mention the fact I can’t usually figure out what I’m feeling until after I write. My doc thought that was an interesting fact, and it’s not one I’ve talked about before. Second, I want to tell him I never loved my extended family. My immediate family, yes. I shared my day to day experiences with them. But I never understood why I was told to love the others. I saw my grandparents the most often, and that was two times a year at best. And it’s not like I sat down and talked with them often. The adults sat around and talked. I was expected to entertain myself. Aunts, uncles, and cousins were worse; I saw them even less. I didn’t feel any love for them. They were strangers. People I didn’t know. I grew up with ‘don’t trust strangers’, so this created a catch 22. These were strangers I was supposed to trust immediately, feel something for, even tho I knew nothing about them and spent no time with them. Throw in the fact that there were many huh? moments, times when I overheard something or saw something that wasn’t right or okay. But gloss it over. Tell them you love them. Say the words, you bad little girl!

…I never recognized my DNA family as my family. Never loved them like I was told I should. They were dangerous strangers, with sharp consequences for their children that looked pretty damned bad to me (and reinforced that ‘fairy tale’ lie about my own family).

That’s the truth.

One giant leap

Up late. I believe we have new neighbors. Neighbors who believe in allowing young children the run of the house all hours of the day and night. Hearing these kids run around and yell, play loud music and generally make a nuisance of themselves, well past 11 at night. I have to stay up later now, because going to bed earlier won’t result in sleep. It’s too noisy. I have to wait out the kids, and hope they settle down by midnight.

Heard from S yesterday. First a text, then a call. We’re meeting tomorrow in downtown Rotterdam for coffee and a long chat. I was correct in letting go my anxiety over S. Last we spoke, her grandmother had just died. Yesterday I learned that her grandfather died a few weeks later. She’s been in mourning, and had interviews and stress. It wasn’t me. Her life just got very busy. Looking forward to seeing her in person. We’ll probably talk and talk and talk and still not get to everything we want to talk about. That’s okay. It’s what friends do.

No plans to reveal my big secret to S at this time. Not unless our conversation naturally swings that way. I don’t need her to know; I don’t need anyone to know. I was the one who needed to know, who needed to accept it. Telling other people is just an explanation now. Why can’t you like yourself? My mother abused me. Why can’t you take a compliment? My mother abused me. It has become my first line of defense, the first thing I want to whip out when some aspect of my behavior or demeanor is cause for comment. Once again, it’s not a full explanation. A full explanation would be: I know I’m screwed up because my mother abused me when I was young. Can’t quite put that sentence together in my mouth. That’s okay. I’m still assessing how ‘screwed up’ I am, and until I form some conclusion that’s comfortable for me and fits, I won’t say anything to that effect. Res ipsa loquitur; the thing speaks for itself. You see it, I know it…it’s no secret.

It was always just one of those things that was totally evident and never discussed. That’s a very American attitude: ignore it, don’t talk about it, just gloss it all over and when someone finally pops you can all claim innocence and ignorance. Oh, we had no idea she was so depressed! No, he always seemed like the most normal guy! Bullshit. You all saw the signs; it’s just that American secretive attitude that keeps everything shoved under the rug. You don’t want to talk about it, because if you did you’d need to admit how pervasive it is, how cold the American life, how empty the American ‘dream’.

Squeeze a rat colony and watch how quickly they become cannibals. I watched this pervasive attitude that the world is dying and we’re running out of room, food, clean air, water, and energy increase throughout my lifetime. And it’s true; keep polluting the world and everything will run out. But that underlying information has fed fear into humanity’s subconscious, and helped give rise to this ‘all for me, I’m the greatest and deserve everything’ attitude. If we’re all going down and doomed anyway, grab everything you can because it doesn’t matter anyway. We are the rats, turning on each other.

…Yeah. Lots to unload today.

Hope to get a few things done. Go to the gym for a long walk. Start to mix some cookie dough because we’re almost out of lembas again. Water the plants. Take a shower. Read.

Still have not replied to my uncle’s last message. Purposefully keeping a spam email in my box so when I open my email my uncle’s message isn’t the first thing I see because it’s the last message. Do not want that visual nag every day.

Reminding myself to take things one at a time. First, the dental surgery and time to recover. Then, call to have my shoes finally taken care of so I’m comfortable when I walk. After that, see the psychiatrist. Then I’ll be concentrating on the Amsterdam performance of the play. When all that’s over, I can start on other things – seeing my doc about my poor digestion or going back to the dentist because the tooth that had the root canal still isn’t right. It’s too tall a stack of NEEDS to tackle at once, and I know that, but my head tends to pile everything up in one place and label it THINGS YOU MUST DO – which then just makes me feel anxious because it’s all so much.

…And I’m shrinking those pix in my head. Taking the screen down small, turning down the volume, reminding myself it’s not that big a deal. It’s my anxiety that blows things out of proportion, my focusing on one aspect and one aspect only that makes it seem so damed difficult.

One positive thing to report: I can breathe easier. This is a bit of an oxymoron, because it’s repeating ‘my mother abused me’ that helps me breathe – the very sentence that I first fought so hard against and had such anxiety over. But it fits. My whole body clicks into a more comfortable, relaxed position when I say it to myself. While I am verbally hanging onto that phrase, I think I’m beginning to let go of it in my body. I’m encouraged by that, and frankly, it feels real good to breathe easier and release some knots in my stomach. And my shoulders. I carry a lot there.

Top of my list today (and every day from here on out) is: take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like. Hiding, reading, watching films, writing, crying… Does not matter. It doesn’t matter what I do or what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if I’m ‘successful’ or not; the only thing to judge success on now is how at ease I am in my own skin.

One small step for Beeps, one giant leap for Beeps’ mind…

Soup

Kept writing yesterday. Whatever was triggered in me just kept going.

Had another message from my uncle. Naturally. I knew he was testing the waters with his first message. Now he cheerily writes ‘Haven’t heard from you in a while! How are you?’ as if he never insulted me, we never had that online argument, and everything is just peachy. Been thinking of replying with ‘Learning to accept your beloved sister terrorized and physically abused me as a child. How are you?’ but that just opens too many cans of worms. I will probably leave it at ‘Taking care of myself; hopefully you are doing the same’ which should both answer his query and shut him the fuck up. It is once again noteworthy to say the timing of my uncle’s queries is oddly coincidental. I am far more likely to hear something from my family while I confront an uncomfortable truth about my past than I am any other day of the week. I post nothing of my inner struggle on social pages. And they are the last people on this planet to whom I would talk about this blog. So there’s no way they can check or know anything; it’s just that sick and twisted spider sense my family has. They know when their prey is weakest.

Reassured myself several times that it was okay to remember. I feel fairly certain that I woke from a memory/dream yesterday, the one I don’t want to remember. The one that really fucked me up. Zero recall in my conscious mind. But that’s okay. I know I remember it; I can feel it in my body. My mind will reveal it to me when I feel safe enough.

And I am safe. Safer than I’ve ever been. Able to completely cut off every member my DNA family if that’s what I choose to do. The stalker can’t find me. No one can get to me. No one can bully their way into my life and turn it upside down. I am safe. Safe. And I have more support than I’ve ever had before. Doctors, a few friends, my brother…the number is still small, but it’s huge compared to what it was. I am safe enough to begin to claim my rightful heritage: that of an abused child. That is not to say I want to wallow in it; not at all. But I need a place to start from, and this place is the best and surest foothold I’ve found. Admitting it is the first hurdle.

My mother’s ghost has been haunting me. She stands in front of me, her eyes wide, as she spews out excuse after excuse and denial after denial. I never hurt you! I never told you you couldn’t study acting! And the truth is, no, she never said ‘you can’t study acting’. She just spend decades coldly telling me through her vocal inflections, word choice, and body language that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do it, that I could never, ever be the best at anything. She convinced me I was a loser before I even tried. She convinced me so well that I’m still trying to un-convince myself. And the physical abuse? Again, no, she never hit me as a small child. As a teen, yes. But she found many ways to cover up her abuse, many handy excuses to use.

And that bitch of a ghost falls utterly silent when I parade out the long line of neglect. All the illnesses I suffered through and was blamed for. ‘It’s your own fault’. The bad reactions to medicine, leaving me so weak I was barely conscious on the bathroom floor. The RA – not being able to use my hands, not being able to walk, so much pain I couldn’t do anything. Time after time after time. From small child to young adult, and always the neglect, the lack of care or support, the complete unwillingness to even take me to a doctor when I needed it.

Go to hell, C. Go to hell and suffer for a few eternities. Then we’ll talk.

I’m glad she suffered while alive, and I’m only sad that I didn’t take more glee in it while it happened! I wish those last three years would have been ten. Or twenty. Longer. Oh, live forever in that ball of fear I knew you retreated into! Stay there, and torment yourself. You deserve to have me taunting you outside your cage and telling you it’s your own fault. I’ll be magnanimous and say nothing, just so long as you do your time. Just don’t expect me to keep the silence any longer. Don’t expect me to avoid the ugly truth anymore. And when the full memory of that ultimate terror comes back to me, we might have another little conversation.

I accept that I’m angry as hell. I accept it’s so big that I have to compartmentalize it, pull it out in small pieces to chew on. Once again: that’s okay. No one can do this for me, no one can tell me how to do it, so however I do it, it’s okay. I will accept no less of a judgement for myself.

There is no right or wrong answer. No way to get 100% correct. In effect, there is no zero. No point you can put your finger on and say ‘Yep; this is it’. And no matter how wise we like to think ourselves, we’re still pretty damned ignorant. About ourselves and the world(s) we live in.

It’s all just soup.

The perfect slave

Can’t stop shaking. Much worse than normal shivers or shakes. Like palsy or I had a stroke.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

Woke up crying. 5 am, in bed, crying yourself awake.

I WANT TO KILL MY MOTHER.

I will happily murder the remainder of my mother’s family, too.

Here it is. I knew I wasn’t feeling it. I knew there was more to it. My head could process the hate but my body couldn’t.

Why I am so sad?

Ah, who gives a fuck? Get it out of your system. Of course you’re fucking depressed; look at your life. Look at what you were taught. Look at how you were and are treated. Surprised you didn’t pop sooner than this.

There is nowhere to go when your mind fucks with you. Nowhere you can hide, nowhere that’s bright enough or fast enough or overwhelming enough to take over that tyrant in your head, showing you those things you don’t want to see.

I feel so damned alone.

And it’s all so sad. Those wasted years, not understanding why I was doing what I was doing, why I felt the way I felt. I’m bright, I’m accomplished, I’ve done some great things and I can’t take any of it in. Just the negatives. Just the shit, please. I’m used to that.

Today’s fantasy of choice is a gun. Usually my mind sees knives. Sees me stabbing my family, again and again, over and over and over until they’re dead, dead, dead and can never say another nasty thing to me again. Today, it’s a pistol. Shoot them in the head, shoot them several more times because they fucking deserve it, shoot them, shoot them, shoot them down. And oh, yes, I’m fully fucking aware now is a bad time to say this and I’m fully fucking aware of how sensitive the subject of weapons is right now. This is all fantasy in my head, and it tells me something about myself: I’ve upped the ante. I might let someone live if I stabbed them with a knife. Shooting them is an up. An increase in anger and rage. It also shows me I’m starting to disconnect from them – I no longer have to “feel” the knife go into their bodies in my fantasies; they are not worth that close of contact. Shoot them before they can get to me. Shoot them so I don’t even have to touch them. Disconnect: these people are not my family, they do not love me, and I will not allow myself to be hurt by them any longer.

C is so fucking lucky she didn’t live to see this day.

Because I’d fucking kill her.

The whole thing with the film crew is still eating away at me. Shouldn’t. I know that. I “should” just let it go. Isn’t that the very first thing to pop out of the mouths of those assholes who don’t struggle with this? “Let it go”, like we want to hang onto this, want to wake up crying and shaking, want to go through any of this. Oh, fuck you! It hurts, and I’m blaming myself, and that hurts even more but it’s what I’m fucking USED to because that’s the way I was raised. Sorry I’m such a fucking head case. Sorry you don’t have a fucking clue and can’t even fucking imagine what it is to feel this way.

Most of all, I’m sorry you’re such a sad sack of shit that you lack basic empathy.

I’ve never had many friends. Well…one time. When I was the cocaine connection for everyone between 19 and 30. Then, my mother was pleased because so many people called me to hang out or come to this party or do that. It was all cocaine, mother. They didn’t want me there for me. They were using me, just like you. …I’ve tried to have more friends. I find it really hard. Hard to make that connection on my side, and harder still to have that connection returned. I get a lot of pleasant acquaintances in my life. People I can hang with, if the situation warrants. People I can talk to on some level or other. But those acquaintances never seem to grow into anything else. We never overcome that awkwardness, never really open up to each other. Part of the problem is just me. I don’t have tons of cash to go to this event or that, and even if I did there’s my health to consider. Say no enough times and people stop asking. I try to explain that, but…well. People have loads of reasons for not understanding it fully, and I hope most of them never find out what reality looks like when that kind of shit manifests in your life.

Some of them, tho, could do with a good kick in the pants from reality.

I want to kill my mother.

The shaking has stopped. Good thing, too. Almost spilled my coffee a couple of times.

How deep the rage goes. Pretty damned deep. It’s in the animal, in that knee-jerk reaction part of me far beyond the intellectual daydreams of my mind. It is in prey part of me, and it ignites the fight or flight reaction. I understand why the little girl froze. She was too small. No surprise, then, my recurring nightmares of being hunted by giants or spy helicopters in the sky. I was overpowered right from the start. Who wouldn’t have been? I grew into the mindset of being a slave, with no free will of my own. That wasn’t my fault. Nor was it my fault to take as long as I did to wake up. It’s a lot to wake up to, and I had zero tools to deal with it.

My mother physically abused me. It was covert; I was not the child on the playground in dirty clothes who sported a black eye or cigarette burn. I was smartly dressed, in ironed clothes, my hair pulled back so tight it hurt. I was the child from the good family, the respected family. I was smart, shy, and prone to outbursts. I couldn’t play well with others and I didn’t have many friends. 

In many ways, I was the perfect slave…

Feelin’ it

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Panic. Hit me last night while watching tv. I guess I was triggered by the film; it DID center on a homeless character. All I know is for about 3 seconds I was THERE, in the future, my brother dead, me homeless and destitute, on the street, waiting to die. My whole body went into shock. Breathing was difficult. My chest tightened up and I didn’t know if I was going to vomit, pass out, or both.

Recovery took much longer than the 3 seconds or so of adrenaline flooding my system. Half an hour later I was still drawing deep breaths, looking around, telling myself I was HERE and it was NOW and not happening to me.

I can’t even begin to describe that level of terror. Words fail me.

My mother used to say my imagination was my worst enemy. I did that all the time as a kid; just flaked out. Got hysterical. Had panic attacks. Over a LOT of stuff. And people would tell me ‘just don’t think about it’. I never understood that. How can you NOT think about it? Especially when that kind of thing hits you. Trust me, it took a lot to bring myself back.

And I’m still scared. I just won’t look it straight in the eye right now.

Yes, I’m smoking. Fuck it. Fuck off, everyone. This shit wasn’t happening to me when I was smoking on a regular basis. Get me onto this ‘recreational’ use and suddenly I’m fucking having panic attacks.

I KNOW that’s because I’m finally accessing it. I don’t want to access it THAT fast.

I couldn’t smoke when it happened. I don’t think I lit up for at least 15 minutes afterwards. I was still having problems breathing.

Just writing about it makes it hard to breathe.

…Damn it. Thinking about the flipping panic attack makes me feel like I’m on the edge of one.

Shift your focus.

Went swimming this morning. It’s become a chore. I’m clock watching again. Waiting for at least 40 minutes to go by before I feel I can get out of the pool. My black mood seems to have spread thru the pool; despite there being 6-8 people in the fast lane and at least as many in the slow lane, my lane was left largely to me. Two people swam with me for about 15 minutes each. I’ve swum before and shot out that ‘get the fuck out of my way!’ vibe towards slow pokes who hold me up. Did it work? Or am I dripping something else in the pool these days? Is this panic and angst leaching out of me and into the water?

Can they feel it?

Ironic how many times I ached to be left alone in my lane, yet when that time comes I feel paranoid and outcast.

Fuck! This isn’t helping.

Stopped by George’s canal on the way back. Now the ducks are in mating season, and VERY territorial. One pair ruled the patch of grass I stood on, so I didn’t get to interact with George. I think I spotted him, on the water, and tossed some bread his way. But we didn’t do our one on one thing. I’ve got to find an area where the other ducks will let him approach me.

Language class this morning. One student returned, and we had a new student today as well. Flipping amazing. The new student has lived here 19 years and has 4 children. She can talk okay, though she has a heavy accent and gets the grammar mixed up. But she can barely read. Can you imagine? That long and barely able to read. Our teacher had no problems understanding her; she’s from a Portuguese speaking country and drops all her h’s. Our teacher recognized her accent right away, but the rest of us had problems understanding her. Man! Like the language isn’t tough enough; I’ve also got to learn Dutch on different accents. No wonder the native Dutch get titchy about their language. It’s loosening up fast and getting replaced by English.

ANYway…

More words, more sentences. Did more thinking when I spoke today so I made less mistakes, tho I spoke at a slower rate. Talked about cousins, which in Dutch uses the same word as niece or nephew or goes to the longer ‘the son/daughter of my mother’s/father’s sister/brother’. Then we drilled words relating to cars autos (might as well get used to using the Dutch word) which I had a really hard time remembering…mostly because I didn’t go over last week’s work at all. Discussed the difference between ‘ruit’ (the glass of a window) and ‘raam’ (the entire window, or frame), which then clicked on a dozen ahas! in my brain and a lot more suddenly made sense. Talked about ‘wandelen’ (wandering), and how the only time you’d say ‘Ik wandel’ (I wander) is when you’re actually out on a walk and your mobile rings. Otherwise, it’s ‘Ik ga wandelen’. Good to know when I walk all the time.

…*sigh* Nothing like a good load of laundry to bring you back to reality. The fussiness of getting it hung up to dry just anchors me. Same with doing dishes. Probably the same with hoovering, or vacuuming, or, as the Dutch say, dustsucking. I wouldn’t know; I loathe it. Loathe DOING it. I love the results.

Gimme a cheer; I splashed out on myself with a couple of hair products. Didn’t buy the cheapest I could find. I actually spent more than I needed to and got something with quality. I’ve now got a hair clasp that actually, really holds my thick hair back off my face and neck. And I’ve got two – two – finishing products, one for blowdrying and one for air drying.

A bit more work and I might actually look like I can rejoin the human race.

Now to just feel like it…

My Mother Abused Me

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My post yesterday disturbed me on a lot of levels. As you might expect. I went out for a walk and some fresh air and spent a lot of that time standing stock still, gazing out at the distance and thinking deep thoughts.

The pair of swans down at George’s canal moved on, or at least they weren’t there yesterday. George was the first duck at my feet, jumping the way he does. And I must not be the only person who was put off by the damned swans; those ducks were HUNGRY and I could barely get the bread out fast enough for them. Felt so guilty getting some bread and going back there is high on my list today.

When I got back I was ready to talk. Use my words.

My brother joined the family after his baby years were over, so what I had to say was news to him. In many ways I envy my brother. He didn’t look at my parents as perfect. He’d had too many disappointments with adults prior to that. He saw them more for what they were: imperfect people doing the best they could with the knowledge and tools they had. My mother’s covert narcissism didn’t touch him the same way it touched me. He didn’t buy into it. And he wasn’t subjected to the abuse my mother heaped on the rest of her ‘babies’.

What he did do was listen. No judgment. Just empathy and understanding. We ended up talking earnestly for about two hours.

My mother was an RN in the local OB/GYN dept. She was known as a ‘baby expert’ among local mothers. I realized that someone who was very good at hurting babies would, of course, be an expert on babies. You gotta know how to treat them well to know how to hurt them well. I’m not saying my mother was so sadistic that she purposefully set off to hurt me or any other person while they were babies. I AM saying that when you consider her background and medical history, she should have known better. But her own anger made her do those things. She took it out on the most helpless of victims – babies – because (1) they couldn’t fight back and (2) if they started to scream or cry they were just being babies, it was natural, and not because of anything she did. Or that’s what I imagine her internal justifications might have been. Not that those thoughts were conscious. I don’t think she actually thought ‘now I’m going to hurt her by doing this’. No. But she did hurt me, she knew she was hurting me, and she never stopped hurting me. It was her own twisted self that led to that behavior.

I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it. And I didn’t deserve it, in any manner.

It’s hard to acknowledge that underneath that perfect mother everyone saw, a covert abuser lived. She never bruised, burned or cut me. But she hurt me a lot.

She hurt me through her actions. She hurt me by ignoring my pain. She hurt me with her words, with her thoughts – which settled into my brain. She instilled so much guilt in me that by the age of 10 I couldn’t see a purpose to life. It was all bleak nothingness. There was no reason to go on, because if people who loved me hurt me that much, why bother? THAT’S the good side of love? Damn. There’s no upside to that.

Now’s when I’d like a world class therapist on my side. Because I really don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know how to work through this. Yesterday I said the words out loud ‘My mother sexually abused me’. Just to see what it felt like. I disconnected; felt like I was reading the words aloud from a script. I couldn’t make the connection between the words and what happened. Just saying ‘my mother abused me’ is tough, never mind adding the adjective ‘sexually’ in there.

I imagine somewhere underneath all the shame and guilt there’s a lot of anger at my dad, too. For standing by and allowing it to happen. Right now I still rush to his defense. He was as much under my mother’s control as I was when she was alive. But he was the other adult in the situation. And he knew what was happening was wrong. I could see it in his face. I still see it in his face when I close my eyes: he was as scared and upset as I was. And just like me, his protestations went unheard.

Memories burned into the brain forever. It’s not fair that something that happened so long ago should have such a lasting affect on me. I’d like to shake it off like a dog and move on. I can’t. No matter how much I try.

*sigh* I’d like to smoke something other than a cigarette, too.

And I’d like to get back to the headspace where I can read other people’s blogs and interact a bit more out here. I’m not; my head is up my own butt with heavy, deep, and rather shitty thoughts.

I guess that’s what I really want: for it all to be over. All the thinking, the processing, the not understanding, the epiphanies, the new levels, the comprehension, the integration, the forgiveness. Just be done with it. It’s scary to be somewhere in the middle of the process with no end in sight.

Today I just want to let it rest. Let those thoughts be there, but not try to think them through. Just take my walk, see George, tackle the dishes and the tidying up all without trying to process any of it. See what it’s like to walk thru my day with the words ‘my mother abused me’ hanging in the air. Not to play the victim. I’ve BEEN a victim. No. I want those words to hang there for me. So I can accept them. So I can accept what happened.

So I can forgive myself.

Disembodied Voice

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST DISCUSSES CHILDHOOD [SEXUAL] ABUSE AND SEXUAL IDENTITY IN A GRAPHIC MANNER. IT ALSO CONTAINS A LINK TO A DISTURBING VIDEO.

I was not going to post this morning. Give myself a day off; why not? Nothing really happened yesterday.

Then I watched the documentary Child of Rage. And it got me thinking.

I lay no claim to the kind of early sexual abuse documented in the film. But once again it made me think, and think hard to see if maybe…maybe there was.

Because there’s something at the back of my brain.

Something that scares me, and always has.

And it has to do with my mother.

I do not think my mother sexually abused me. I do think my brain misinterpreted some of what happened. What I’m going to talk about next is extremely personal and extremely embarrassing. I do not want to disable the comments on this, because I do think I need some balance. Maybe even answers. But I beg you to think very carefully before saying anything below.

Early memories. While I have a very clear memory of a specific incident, my gut tells me this happened repeatedly to me. Two years old, maybe younger. I was in diapers. The skin on my butt developed sores, little pimples that were hard and painful. What I remember is laying on my back with my legs over my head. That was the position my mother put me in when she wanted to lance these things. She didn’t do it with a blade; she did it like you’d pop a pimple, by squeezing it between her fingernails. It was horribly painful. I cried hard, begged her to stop. She kept telling me it was for my own good, that she knew she was hurting me but she had to do it.

While there’s nothing overtly sexual about that memory, I remember feeling sexual. My vagina was wide open and exposed. I was extremely vulnerable.

Without the penetration, it felt like a rape. The pain, the begging for it to stop with no effect.

I remember my dad looking on, his face extremely worried. He may have even suggested my mother stop, but she would have brushed him off.

And I wonder if this incident, if the repeating nature of that ritual, was the source of my early nightmares.

I wonder if that sharp, remembered feeling of a sexual nature was the source of my early masturbation. Daily masturbation. Public masturbation.

And I wonder at the position my mother put me in. Was my diaper being changed and that’s why I was on my back with my legs in the air? Why didn’t she flip me on my stomach to get to my butt?

Why that vulnerability?

I have no answers to put into my mother’s dead mouth. I have never felt like really talking about this before, other than in passing.

It might be my first memory.

While I’ve lived my life as a heterosexual, my fantasies while masturbating remain about women. Women who rape me, hurt me.

It’s always made me wonder.

And it’s always felt shameful. And sick.

I’ve experimented with women, but none that I was actually attracted to. It was clinical and unexciting. I wasn’t aroused by the experience.

But is that because I didn’t allow myself to be with someone I was attracted to? There was one woman, long ago. We were friends. I told her, she was cool and said it was okay, and that was that. Nothing happened.

We lost touch. Probably because of me. I don’t really remember.

This is nothing I want to be discussing at 8 a.m. It’s really nothing I want to talk about, full stop. But seeing as this blog has to date been my best source of therapy…I figured I’d take a chance and lay it out.

I’m just a disembodied voice out here, after all.

Treasures Uncovered, Thoughts Revealed

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So after wrapping up my post yesterday I went on to do a shit load of work around the house. By 5pm I was dragging my ass, barely able to get up for some water. Dinner, two cups of evening caramel coffee. Almost asleep, fighting it, fighting it….And then 10 pm came and my eyes were wide open without a hint of the exhaustion I’d been feeling. Yippee fucking ka yay.

Good news: I’ve been uncovering my treasures. Yesterday I found BumBee, a stuffed bumble bee with a little bell inside that jangles when you move him. He was a give away at a bank, and became my best friend as a toddler. I carried him EVERYWHERE. One terrible summer after camping we couldn’t find BumBee and I cried and cried. Mom had actually got 2 BumBees and tried to give me the one she’d been saving. It was new and perfect and not BumBee at all. MY BumBee had been with me through everything. He was missing one of his antennae and a wing was torn. His stripes were worn and kind of dirty. But he was mine, all mine, and he never judged me or made me feel wrong. The new BumBee didn’t cut it, and mom and dad heard all about it in a night of heart felt sobbing. We found my original BumBee a few months afterwards: he’d hitched a ride back home in my sleeping bag. In the long run he did not survive, of course. He lived and loved and stayed with me until he fell apart. The BumBee I have is that secondary BumBee I didn’t want as a kid. He’s still colorful, still has both his antennae and wings. And I just love having him up on my shelf. I smile every time I see him. Hey – chalk one up for mom for getting the back up.

Last night I fell asleep seeing not just BumBee but so many other things I remember; the pretty flower plate I always loved, and the set of the most beautiful wine goblets ever (when I finally uncover my camera I’ll take a pic to share). I’d spent hours in the day unwrapping things, like Christmas. At first when I picked something up out of a shipping box I didn’t know what it was. As the bubble wrap unfolded recognition came. Then a gasp. Then a grin. I was surrounded by the ghosts of my mother and grandmother yesterday, telling me the history of each piece anew as my eyes saw some of them for the first time in 20 years. All of it made me think of family, think of the past, think of everything I’d heard and seen and sometimes not understood as a kid.

Two thoughts are difficult for me to even begin approaching. My head keeps skipping back to them, saying ‘yes that fits, that’s right’ and then runs back away to forgetfulness. The first is the highly probable idea that my mother suffered from narcissistic personality disorder. The second is the cold hard fact that there was physical abuse in my mother’s family.

Mom…will I ever be rid of dealing with mom? I sure as hell hope so. As far as evidence for her suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, just about everything I’ve read so far fits both for her and for me as a survivor. I’m beginning to understand WHY the first emotion I remember feeling is GUILT. You know, there’s an episode of Ab Fab I have problems watching. Usually I love Jennifer Saunders, but in Birth she pulls a face that triggers me like nothing else, ever. It’s just a second or two on screen, and the first time I saw it I cringed. I still cringe. I cringe just THINKING about the face. It’s my mother’s face. It’s a sarcastic, mean face: her lips are tight and pulled down in a grimace. I hate it. I can’t remember ANY time when I clearly remember seeing my mother’s face like that but it is SO my mother’s face. Even when I know it’s coming it stops up my breath. She MUST have done that to me and I don’t want to see it in memory. Otherwise, I don’t understand my extreme reaction to it. Mom was a fucking martyr; oh poor her for ever having fucking children to fuck up her fucking perfect fucking life! I remember a lot of sighs. Sighs when you asked mom to do something for you. Sighs when you confided a secret to her. Sighs when you told her what you were really thinking. I remember feeling punished for no reason: mom ONLY slapped me as a teen in her final moments of frustration. She did not hit me as a young child at all. Dad did the spanking/swatting across the bottom. But mom did hurt me in a lot of other ways. The day I was allowed to wash my own hair was one of the best days of my youth. Before then, mom did it. And mom filed her nails down to points. And she’d scrub, and scrub, and scrub until I was SURE she was making my scalp bleed. I’d protest and she’d tell me it was necessary; a horrible echo of what she said to me when I was very, very young and had pimples on my butt she’d pop with those same, razor sharp nails. All I kept thinking was that I must have done something WRONG to merit such treatment. It hurt and I’d cry and she wouldn’t stop because she’d say it was for my OWN GOOD.

My mother’s family was always BIG into family. There were many family reunions and reasons for everyone to drag their families out to some place for a big summer event. At these gatherings I loved to hang with my aunts and uncles for a time. They were funny people, and always telling jokes and stories about when they were growing up. “Getting the belt” became a phrase I heard and understood as a child, and in my childish understanding I equated it with the rare but memorable swats on the bottom I’d received. Now I see it differently: I see my grandfather meting out the punishment with an iron hand. My uncles and aunts never talked about how MANY hits they’d get with the belt. I always ASSUMED it was one or two. It could have been a lot more. And even if it wasn’t, how fucking BARBARIC to hit a child with a belt! Mom never joined in on the stories about the belt. Did she get more than the rest? She was the first child. I never saw any scars, and she did wear swim suits that showed her back and legs. She never had plastic surgery, either, so ergo: she was never whipped enough to leave permanent physical marks. But what about her mind?

Did mom make dad spank me as a young child because she didn’t think she’d be able to hold back and not really HURT me? I’m beginning to think that’s the case, especially since she was so physically brutal in other aspects of my life.

*sigh* It’s not like I can ask any of my aunts and uncles, either. Like they’d fucking tell me the truth! HA! I don’t believe any of them are able to handle the truth. I haven’t heard any of THEM seeking out counseling for what’s obviously a FAMILY fucking problem.

….You know, amongst the treasures I’m uncovering I’m also finding a lot of framed photos. There’s one of my grandparents before they died. I WAS going to hang it up. I don’t think I will, now. I don’t think I want to see their faces right now, just like I won’t hang any picture of my mother up. My dad, yes. Absolutely. Not my mom. Not right now. Maybe some day. But not now.