Monday, February 27, 2012

Close to Gone

I am 11 years old.  I am sweeping the dirt away from the front driveway.  I have been at it for hours.  It's a windy day.  My stepfather says that is the perfect weather for this chore.  I know that it isn't, but I keep on, knowing that the alternative will be more painful than my weeping, blistered hands and aching back. 

This has been a pretty bad day.  Time spent with my stepfather this morning was arduous.  He had a hard time making his body work the way it should and he says it's my fault.  I am not small anymore, I am not as sexy, I am not good at my job.  Nothing I did with my mouth was as good as it used to be- I got cuffed for that.  Nothing I tried on for him worked.  Not until he decided I would talk baby talk, did things start to go the way it always has.  

After, he ordered me outside with an old push broom.  It is long and heavy and I have a hard time finding a rhythm.  A blister opens up and starts bleeding.  After glancing all around, I finally sit and take nips of the crackers I have hidden in my pockets.  I am thirsty too so I chance a trip to the water spigot around the side of the house. 

The house is situated on a quiet intersection.  Many people stop here to ask for directions and today there is a truck idling in the road.  The man behind the wheel is looking down, proably at a map.  I know how to help him, I do this all the time.

He waves me over, just as I am about to ask him if he needs directions.  I usually I don't have to go to near a car, but he cups his ear as though he is hard of hearing, so I approach.

He says he wants to know how to get off.  I start to tell him that I have never heard of that place when I see that he is without pants and his penis is stiff and long.  Before I can turn to run, he has me tight by the hand that I had placed on his open window.  He wants to know where I am going so fast- I haven't helped him to get where he needs to go and that is not polite.  I find my feet moving as the truck begins to accelerate.  Soon I am running along side the vehicle and when I can't keep up I fall and he hauls half of my body into the cab.  My face is in his lap.

Time slows.  In a deviated place in my mind, I think that perhaps this is a valid option- to go with him.  Perhaps he will take me somewhere where I won't have to do chores.  Maybe he is actually nice.  Maybe he has a beautiful house and horses and cats and dogs.  For the first time, I realize that I hate my life, I hate that my mother never talks to me, never holds me.  I hate that my stepfather is never happy.  I hate the things he makes me do and I am dog-tired of the chores.   So I hang from the truck, legs limp, contemplating this impossible choice in a microcosm that has slowed down for just this implausible moment.

He slows the truck a little as we turn up a dirt road.  He has just enough time to mash my face into his putrid crotch and like the cornered animal that I am, I lash out.  I struggle and scratch, kicking my legs all the while.  His arm comes down to protect his goods and I bite down as hard as I can.  In this scrambled moment he loses his grip on his precious prey.  He steps on the gas and I tumble like a log in the gravel, feeling every lodged pebble and each place where I know a massive bruise will rise up, colorful and then hideous.  I roll into the culvert and listen for him, but I only hear his wheels throw dirt as they spin out and grab the pavement onto the main road above.

I lay still, accounting for each part of my body- what might be bleeding, broken or just bruised.  There is damage, but I have felt worse.  I climb out of the ditch and run home.  I am only relieved to be here because it is familiar.  Still, as I see my stepfather glaring at me from an upstairs window, I wonder if I have made a mistake coming back here. 


Now, loving my life as I do, I feel very lucky that I am alive after this incredible moment in my life. Here are statistics on abduction:

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying, drug abuse

The Minds of Babes

Brief Sexual Content

I am 10 years old.  It's Valentine's day.  Everyone brings cards and sometimes candy to school.   I brought one for everyone.  I made them out of paper towels because we really don't have any things to craft with.  I think they are creative.  My daddy says being artistic is my saving grace- at least I can do one thing okay.

My lungs are begging for breath upon arriving by hastened  foot.  I am late for school because I had to give my stepfather his Valentine.  I made him a card too.  He used it to wipe my face after.  I am worried that I have missed something, though I know the party won't start till after lunch.

We have all made paper pockets for the backs of our chairs for the receipt of our cards and candies.  Some kids' parents have sent in cupcakes and there is Kool Aid!  During this time we deliver our Valentines so that no one really knows who sent what unless they signed their name.  I am too shy- I didn't sign my name, but I am proud that my creations aren't the store-bought kind.

We are allowed to look at our cards after we clean the room up.  Some of the kids have so many cards and even some presents that their paper pouches are beginning to rip.  I didn't take mine off of my chair.  I sit at my desk quietly.  I have no Valentines to open.

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying, drug abuse

Urgent Call to Action Please!

Hi All,

As I get deeper and deeper into networking, I am finding videos and calls for help that I think are of the utmost importance- any information or call to action is, but I will try to keep it down. This is important:

URGENT!!!! - Governor Brown (California) has proposed budget cuts that will severely affect the most vulnerable; specifically victims of domestic violence, and people with disabilities and substance abuse issues, mental health; as he has proposed eliminating all exemptions in the CalWORKs program. This is an outrage.
See More

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Hi Blog Friends,

Please, please watch this video that my friend Patricia Mcknight has had a huge hand in . It is obviously here to raise awareness, and that it does.  It is brutal to see the images and might seem like "it could be toned down a bit", but I do not believe that is so.  Sometimes one has to scream and rant before anything gets done, especially when they have been quiet for so long.  I am speaking collectively for children and adults who are and have been abused I any manner and to any degree.  You cannot image the alarming statistics and the extent of the damage.  I cried long and hard and then watched this again to ensure that  will NEVER give up my fight to make a difference, somehow.

Also, please know my gratitude for your support here, dear readers- for the chance to have dialogue and understanding. Thank you for re-posting and sharing- getting those "stats" up means more awareness raised. 

Without further ado- the new video for Dreamcatchers and we want to get it out to everyone:

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying, drug abuse

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tripping and Falling Hard

I am 17 years old.  It's summertime and the living is edgy.  Dropping acid has become my normal.  There are times when coming down is so gritty that even after 16 hours of jaw grinding and metal mouth, I will drop again.  I cannot face my legacy.  I cannot be truly alive for fear that I will die - broken by the hand that was so mercilessly dealt to me.

I don't see that the drugs are damaging me. I am ruined anyway.  I drink until a fifth of whatever doesn't even effect me anymore.  I smoke from dirty bongs in drug houses- I am the "batch tester"- that way it's free. My fingers are dingy with nicotine- I unabashedly dig in ashtrays for half smoked butts. I do not value my life. I conduct myself as though I have no control- it is fate that will decide my outcome. If I die- so what?  Maybe I will.  Maybe I hope I will.  No one will miss me and I have not stopped long enough to wonder what matters anymore.  

Many times I have ventured out with my boyfriend and maybe some other acquaintances, high on a cocktail of poisons.  Most of those times I have been left curled in a ball, usually in a public place, screaming for mercy from the devil who grips my mind with a molten acid clutch.  While drugs can paralyze you, they can also make you a wanderer.  My friends always leave me where ever I might have gone over the abysmal edge, to travel the streets and trip happily along in their fantasmic cosmoses.  They see swaying trees and rippling lights.  I see blood leaking between my scrunched eye lids.  I see shadows of dark specters.  I felt maggots in the wounds of my soul.

Our landing place is a flop house on the north side of town under the scummiest drug dealers in town.  My drugs are free, as long as I continue to be the guinea pig but, I have become tired of the same old crutch and the same group of strung-out delinquents.  Today I am going to drop two hits- really hammer my brain, and wander off on my own.  I always end up alone anyway.  I start at the corner store and steal a popsicle to wash my mouth of the morning grime and a lollipop for later, when I start to feel as though I am going to bite my own tongue off.  My journey begins.

I met a guy through my brother last week.  I am going to wander the streets until I find his apartment.  It's a weekend morning and I have a hit for him too.  I am lost for what feels like an eternity.  I sit on a sea of grass on someone's lawn, head in hand, desperately trying to gather myself away from me, light a smoke, talk to myself, and eventually birth myself back to my surroundings and continue on.  In a few hours I find a building that looks familiar.  In one comforting moment, ease returns to me.  Grass moves like northern lights and rainbows outline everything. Just like that, things are looking up. 

My new friend is surprised to see me, still shaking dreams from his addled mind.  He sees that my pupils are cat-like and grins.  I hold out a tiny square of paper for him.  He pops it into his mouth like a Chicklet.  It's a Saturday and this is par for the course amongst this crowd. 

By late afternoon, we are ebbing as the drugs dissipate.  Coming down feels like serious damage- my brain is beaten and dulled.  Between us there is nothing much to say.  We sit on the stairs outside and listen to the pinging of brain cells bursting and dying away.  The only remedy is another hit of acid.  As the sun puts itself to bed, we awaken to a another 16 hours of things not bargained for.

There will be no sleep for our spent bodies.  We are facing monotony- the night-tripper's enemy.  He remembers a party invite.  No question- we will go.  We inspect our morphed reflexions in car windows, wonder at the spectacle of bugs carrying leaves bigger the their own bodies, eat things that feel like something else, and freak out over undiscovered ways to make the ordinary extremely fascinating.  Now, the walk to the party will do us good and we are feeling inspired again. It is always good to get out of one's head for a while. 

We arrive at an apartment and let ourselves in.  There is a thick smog of pot smoke hovering around faceless heads.  At a table in the corner there are lines of white snakes disappearing into noses.  In another corner, people are poking at their veins, syringes dripping with their perfect poison.  Somewhere in the room a TV is playing The Wizard of Oz for a group of concentrated watchers.  I don't want to be here.

Someone asks me if I am going to take a hit or not.  I realize I am holding a bong with a fresh stash of pot tucked into the pipe.  A lighter awaits and so I lower my face and draw a massive hit.  I think maybe it will calm the peak I am hitting from the acid.  I saw that my friend took a hit too.  It must be fine. 

When my heart ramps up and my throat begins to constrict , I realize that this may not be okay after all.  Words are nonsense, movements are ghoulish. I am wheezing and drooling.  I scan the room for my friend who has already planted his eyes on me.  He reaches for his heart as I reach for my throat and we realize that something is terribly wrong. He gathers me by my hand and heads for the door.  After the stairs, our legs give way.  I am crawling on the cement sidewalk, leaving a trail flesh and blood.  He hoists me up and we hold onto each other- strong when the other is weak until at last we reach his apartment.

We light a candle thinking that the organic flame will bring us back.  But the melting wax is grisly, like flesh rolling away from bone.  The flickering flame is a strobe and not the steady warmth that we so crave.  The only thing left to do is to blow it out and accept our fate in the dark of night in this dingy room.

He rolls away and I lay still and watch night illusions gather to dance with wild gesticulation.  I can see through my eyelids that they will not be going away- they will only invite more unfamiliar apparitions.  I hear myself inwardly screaming- my mouth is a grotesque nightcrawler when I reach to cover it, squirming under my fingers.  The noises I hear are pulsing from the remote corner of my cracked soul. 

I give myself a mental slap and try to concentrate on relaxing my muscles in hopes of chancing upon sleep.  In this concentrated moment I realize that I might die.  I hear my labored breath, I feel my heart throbbing and twanging, stopping and starting up again.  I take a last labored breath and I am gone.

Moments that feel like hours later, I greedily draw breath again after struggling to make my body obey what it should do automatically. I am gliding through a tunnel that is cracked and creviced by rot.  There are ancient spider webs and crumbly waste in these cavities.  I am certainly rounding the last stretch to hell.  I know that if what I see around that corner is indeed just as dark and horrific as I suspect, I will have to do myself in.  I cannot be a vegetable doomed to these catacombs for life.  My wildest hope is that somehow I will be able to get to the kitchen to find a knife to plunge into my heart, ending this undoable mayhem.

But miraculously, around that corner is light.  I recognize, as the grip of death lightens up, that this is uncanny.  There really is light?  There really is a chance to redeem my mistakes?  Just like in the movies I am given a choice- finish the journey or come back.  I hold onto anything I know to be dear and crawl, in my minds eye, backwards toward my own battle-scarred body.  When I awaken in my own wetted pants and wipe at my snot crackled face, I wonder why I have chosen to come back to a place that I have so hardily tried to escape from for so long.  After four years of drinking and drugging and smoking myself into oblivion, I know that my choice will not include a scenario like this ever again.  I have been resurrected and now I must walk forward into a new day.


I hope that the amazing young adults in my life (my babies), of which there are many, will read this.  You all know that I "get" you and love you.  You know that I understand that drugs are a part of your lives and that you need safe places and ways to explore.  I don't lecture you guys- I try to support you.  But PLEASE, if you are finding yourself doing so many drugs that you can't even keep track and that you are doing it to escape a less than quality life, I beg you to talk to someone, do something to save yourself.  I live daily with the repercussions of having trashed my mind.  I wish to God I had had someone in my life to steer me away from how far overboard I went.  I am here for each and every one of you, always and unconditionally. 

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying, drug abuse

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh, the Irony

I am 36 years old.  My stepfather is dead.  He had been a heavy smoker for most of his life, a heavy drinker for 20 years and he ate poorly. I am sure that there was some added stress surrounding his decisions as a child molester too. He was less than 65 years old when he dropped dead from a massive heart attack.  He was found crumpled on his front porch with car keys in hand.   The professionals say he didn't suffer but for maybe 30 seconds before he was on his way to gone- forever. 

I have wondered what this moment would feel like for me- hearing the news of his death.  Often I have wondered if he would fall ill and be laid up and who would care for him.  I have wondered if I would cry for him.  Would I cry if I knew he had suffered?  Would I cry because he didn't suffer enough?  would I be so relieved that the tears would be unrelenting?

My mother delivers the news over the phone.  She has maintained as little contact as possible with him over the last five years and conveys the news with detachment.  After a shocked pause, I come undone and cry.  There is no way to respond in words so I lay the phone down in its cradle and sit very still.  If I move how much more real will this be?  Why do I care?  How can I possibly care about this at all?

There is very little doubt about whether I will attend his funeral or not.  My mother is going and I don't want her to have to do this alone after being so haughtily snubbed by her former family.  I need this last closure, though I do not know how wide it will open old wounds.  I know that no matter what happens, I can handle it.  

My mother and I arrive at the funeral home's gathering place in time to find a seat toward the back of the room.  Acquaintances and family see us and consider us peripherally.  My presence is obviously disconcerting.  They must be worried that I could become a loose cannon.  I could ruin the whole show.  I am a little worried too. I hate these people for their silence. I despise them for allowing his legacy to live, even after his death.

His brothers and their wives and grown kids sit in the front of the room.  Many speeches are given- none of which concludes anything specific about my stepfather.  People mention that they saw him at functions, thought he never brought anything to contribute.  They all laugh at that.  It was just his way. They wonder out loud about what he did and who he was- he was ever so illusive.  He was a nice man. He did a lot for his community.  The last person has spoken and there is a lull the size and shape of the elephant that is in the room. They all know who he really was.  With every second that goes by, I wonder if I will always regret not saying something.  The funeral director rises from his chair.  Reflexively, my body moves to stand.

The whole room shifts as one.  Each body turns, chairs scuffling beneath them and clothes sending startled whispers through the air like birds from a wire.  My face reddens and heats as though there really is a spotlight on me.  My mother gasps audibly and gropes at my arm, silently begging me to sit back down.  But I stand straight an tall without a single idea as to what I want to say.

I do know that there has not been one mention about the fact that my stepfather spent 30 years with my mother and for 17 of those years he was my captor and my tormentor.  I guess that this crowd at least needs to remember that he was a family man, for better or for worse and so I speak of this.  He was my father and he was a husband and that should never be forgotten.  I walk a fine but socially acceptable line in my speech.  I know that these people should be ashamed to have even tried to skirt around all of these years and all of the things he was.  Perhaps that registers now. 

I finish my short speech.  I do not say that I will miss him.  I do not have an acceptable anecdote to share.  I look around the room and make eye contact with as many of his family members as possible.  They know what is happening.  They know that my being there is only fair and that the things I have said have been generous by way and of what I have omitted.  I sit when I am ready to sit and when I do, I am avenged.  The world is rid of one more person who has  posed a grave threat.  To this end I am truly emancipated.

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, bullying

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zoo Keepers

Strong sexual content- use discretion.

I am three years old.  It is hot today, so I get to run around naked.  My stepfather is watching after me and it is his idea.  He is naked too.  So far, we have played lots of games with his elephant and my lion.  I always giggle when his elephant grows between my legs as I sit on his lap.  He makes it trumpet and I make my lion roar.  When I pet his animal, it grows warm and then the elephant lets out all of the water it has been holding in it's trunk.  It is my job to help my pet  release its load.  After, the elephant curls up and goes to sleep and I am proud that I am a good zoo keeper.

After I do my job, my stepfather wants to tame my lion.  He says it is roaring for attention and he will pet it.  I am getting bored and squirmy though and I want to play other games.  He shoves me off of his lap.  He is not happy anymore, but I don't really care so much.  I want to make a potholder with my bag of colorful stretchy strings.

He erupts from my room and down the stairs.  I think  I hear him rustling around in the kitchen.  I am sorting the stringy things that make pot holders.  I hope he comes back, because I don't know how to do this all by myself.

He comes back with a brown paper grocery bag.  He tells me I will have to put it over my head and stay in it for an hour because I didn't let him be a zoo keeper and I can't be the only one. I have been unfair and I have to learn how to do what other people want to do. What he wants to do is play with my lion while I wear the bag and I am not allowed to talk or move.  I survey all of the colors on the floor and remember how much I wanted to make my art.  I don't like the sound of his game.  I say I won't play it.  He says I most certainly will.  He is not being very nice any more.  I am feeling confused and when I feel that way at daycare, I just go away.  I turn to my cloth bands in an attempt to ignore him but I feel his unyielding arm swoop me up all at once.  His hold is crushing and I cry out.  He sets me down hard on the floor in front of him and forces the bag over my head and I am cast into darkness.

I know now that I will do as he says.  All of the other times we have played, I have been happy, but now my considerations are indistinct.  I have never felt this way before- I don't have a word for this sensation.  I only know, for the very first time, that I am not free to object.

A surprising flash of light explodes into the bag from below.  I recognize the sound of the camera.  I wonder what he is taking pictures of.  If it's the polaroid camera, I might get to see if I am good and stay still in the bag.  At first I didn't mind the dim nothingness in here, but now I am having a hard time breathing and I am confused as to where I am in my room and my head is spinning.  My skin begins to crawl with heat that makes me want to throw up.  I beg to be let out because I am suffercating.  He laughs at this, though I don't know what is so funny about it.  He will fix the problem.  He is going to get scissors.  When he comes back he tells me to cover my face so he can poke a hole in the bag.  He makes a circle for air and I feel  little better.  He has a new game too.  I have to close my eyes and he will put things through the hole into my mouth and I have to guess what they are.  At first I giggle when the fuzzy arm of my teddy bear touches my lips.  I guess correctly about the shoelace and I definitely know that the elephant has returned as it fills my mouth and again, I cannot breath. 

I struggle to pull away, but he pulls the back of my head deeply against him and I retch.  The violent crinkle of the bag is a thunderstorm in my ears.  All of my other senses are muted except for taste.  I know the elephant's musky taste more than ever right now.  He grabs at me and pulls me and pushes me, my body a rag-doll, until once again, the elephant explodes it's sticky contents onto my face.  Now the bag is still and I can hear my stepfather's huffing breaths.  And then he is gone. All is quiet. He doesn't come back.  I stand with the bag over my head.  I am afraid to take it off because I know now that he isn't always nice anymore. 

When he comes back, much later, he removes the bag from my body.  He tells me I am crazy standing there like that.  What am I thinking?  Silly girl!  Let's go clean your face before mommy gets home.  I will always do as he says now.  I don't want to wear the bag ever again. 


My stepfather had multiple prints of this photo made up and passed them out to friends and family. No one ever said anything- just a lot of those uncomfortable-but-not-willing-to-ask-questions  half-laughs. 

"The world of dysfunction is their hunting grounds and they manipulate their victims with kindness and caring forming an bond absent in the child’s life. Emotional blackmail is the most effective tool in the Pedophile’s arsenal. They target and isolate a child of dysfunction and shower them with the affection that their lives have been severely lacking. Once their victim has been sufficiently conditioned the Pedophile begins a series of inappropriate touching or other behavior that escalates. A fragile sense of self worth is exploited to coerce the child into participation and silence." This from a well-written and sourced article:

First Kiss, Last Dance

I am 11 years old.  I am going to the school dance with my friend.  We are positively giddy.  She is my best friend, even though I don't get to see her much.  My stepfather is letting me go tonight because he says I will never ask to go anywhere again when I see how much the boys will hate me- I am ugly and no one will dance with me. 

 I am too skinny to wear most anything of my friend's- I settle on spandex leggings and a cropped top.  I am taking a risk wearing this outfit- it's a bit over the top and I feel self-consious, but it's all I can manage to put together.  I am taking a risk even going to the dance anyway- I am not popular. I do the best I can to look presentable, even though I am ugly.  Most of the kids at school aren't too mean to me anyway, though sometimes the boys make fun of me.  They make quiet jokes about something that I can never quite hear.  I don't have enough room in my mind to think about it much and I am used to it by now.  Sometimes I feel bruised, but I can always count on those feelings disappearing, just like all of the other things that impose on my mind day in and day out.

At the dance, I am glad that it is dark.  I stand by myself, enchanted by the disco ball that throws light, like sparkling sprites, on the floor.  I look over the couples who came together and those who choose each other specially to dance.  I listen to the music that I am sure is all the rage.  I have never known anything but my stepfather's music and one Dolly Parton record that I play over and over.  I am happy just to be here.  It's okay if no one asks me to dance.  I even get to spend the night at my friend's house after.  This is the best night of my life.  

A boy I have seen at recess is walking towards me.  I guess he is getting a drink from the water fountain.  I know he isn't coming to talk to me since he is often the one who points and laughs at me at school.  I think he hates me.  When I realize that it is me who he is meaning to approach, I see him through a narrow and spinning tunnel.  My legs are uncertain under my feathery weight.  My heart trips along- a butterfly in the swift passing of a breeze.  I think about running, but he is here and I am suddenly disabled.

He wants to dance with me.  It's a slow dance!  I have practiced this kind of dancing with my friend, but I know that neither one of us really knows what we are doing.  I see her dancing with someone too, so I gather the courage to follow when he takes my hand and tugs me toward the lights.  I have never in my life, ever, been so happy.  And yet already I am sad, because I know this dance will end.  I think that if I could have a magical power it would be to be able to stretch time.  Maybe dancing to a slow song at a dance means that we will be a couple. My head is in the clouds- anything is possible for this girl who used to be nothing.

We stand close- his hands on my pubescent hips, my hands on his shoulders.  We sway together- I am reminded of how seaweed looks in the lake as it sways to the gentle lappings of shore water. I am lost in this peaceful notion- I am the seaweed and he is the water.  None of the other couples on the floor are looking directly at each other and I am glad that this is how it's done.  I couldn't possible do that.  I still can't believe that it is me he chose- I am dancing with a popular boy under the lights- me! He looks at his friends a lot and they give him the thumbs up.  Are they suggesting that I am worthy?  He pulls me closer.  My arms are commanded to hold him now and I thank God for that, because pretty soon he might have to hold me up for the weakness in my ecstatic knees. 

He says we can go outside when the chaperones aren't looking.  He wants to kiss me.  I have never kissed before, not even my step father.  I am wrought with indecision until I realize I don't have a choice.  I can't say no. 

Behind the school, in the cool evening, he kisses me.  I make us clumsy with my uncouth performance, but he says it's okay because he has kissed a lot of girls and he can teach me.  I think he is sweet- much more charming than I have thought in the past based on his schoolyard antics.  He has said things to me during the light of day that were not very nice about my stringy hair and my ratty clothes.  Those things are  distant and forgivable now as he whispers candied words to me. 

I am sufficiently seduced by the wonder of this moment to let him put his hand on my chest. It doesn't register as an offense.  I know what that feels like.  But when he slides his hands into my tight, stretchy pants I take pause.  It has been a while since my step father has touched me there. Usually I do all of the touching. I don't even touch myself there- not even in the shower.  In fact I don't  shower anymore.  I haven't in a long time, since my stepfather decided to watch me wash and teach me how to do it right.  The look my mother gave me after my showers was unbearable.  He would leave the bathroom first and she would be waiting in the hall to yell at me to get to my room and cover up.  I felt her hot contempt throughout my entire being.  She must have gotten mad at him too, because he doesn't force me into the bathroom anymore.  Now I just use a washcloth with water from the sink to wipe dirt from my skin as fast as I can.  I wash my hair in the kitchen sink if I can find the time. No one has said anything so I think I am clean enough and I have become immune to the itching between my legs. 

As soon as his fingers have probed inside of my underpants, he breaks away from me and tells me he is done and wants to go back.  He walks a few strides ahead of me and I have barely kept up enough to enter the gym in time to see him run to his friends with his fingers held in the air.  The dancing crowd parts as he cruises through to his posse.  I am already confused by his sudden departure, but am even more disconcerted when kids turn to look at me and cover their giggling mouths.  He waves his fingers past all of the boys' faces and I die a thousand burning deaths when they all cover their noses and pretend to gag.  I don't stay long enough to watch more heads turn.  I sit out the rest of the dance in the field behind the parking lot.  My best friend waits with me for her parents to come get us.  I just want to walk home.  I never want to see anyone again, not even her.  Not even myself.


 I know that prevention of bullying has become a fairly new focus- thank God. Having worked in middle and high schools, I am quite certain and sad that not much has changed. Here are some statistics and facts about bullying:

Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, PTSD, Anxiety, Self-harm, Depression, Survivor, Survivor of childhood abuse, Post-partum depression and psychosis, OCD, Recovered memories, Repressed memories, Spousification, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Teen Suicide, Bullying

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I am three years old.  I am getting married.  My mother and her friend who plays in my room with me are getting married too.  I am not sure how this is supposed to be because I thought that only two people could get married-like a prince and a princess, but he tells me that if I don't tell anyone else, I can be a bride too- the real princess.  I will get a new dress and I will stand with my mother and him and he says that all of the words that they say about love and taking care of each other forever will be meant for me too.  I just don't get to say anything back.  That's okay, because I am shy and I don't know many words.  My brother will stand there too. That is just so no one will think it's weird that it's just me. He won't get to be a prince.

My mother's boyfriend has his hand over my chest and he is pushing me up against him as he says the things he is supposed to say in front of the preacher.  He looks down at me a lot instead of at my mother.  I don't feel very good about this.  I don't think this is how it is supposed to go and am afraid of the way he is holding me so close.  I pull away just a bit, but the pressure he is using to keep me in my place is too much for me to budge.  Now I know for sure that this is not what I want. I want to got play in my room by myself.  My brother and I don't look at each other, but I can tell he is feeling the same way. 

There are lots of people in the room, so I guess maybe this is okay, right? 


I don't think I need to say a whole lot more- that is what my other stories are about ( and a whole lot more). But there are some interesting toxic dynamics that can happen in families of all kinds. This scenario is an example of what is called "Spousification". Please have a look at the link below which talks about this and other forms of Boundary Dissolution ( Spousification is the last on the page):

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chutes and Ladders

Sexual Content

I am eight years old.  It is a Saturday and that means chores.  I am startled awake by the sound of a bucket striking the floor next to my bed.  I know by the urgency of my step father's actions that there will be no breakfast.  There must be a lot to do.  There might not be lunch either.

He helps me change out of my nighty.  This takes a long time because he is allowing a little play time with Buddy.  There will be no mess to clean because I will swallow his seed as he has been teaching me.  I am to look him in the eye as I do this and anything but a smooth ingestion will be met with a slap.  I will lay on the floor naked and apologize for not appreciating his gift.  Today, I fail, like most times, and the floor is cold and hard as I take it on with the same bruises I always use to catch my fall.

I have wasted too much time and instead of only washing all of the windows in the house from the inside, I will wash them from the outside too.  It is March in Vermont- the month of the brutal lion.  He says it is warm enough.

By three-thirty in the afternoon, I am finished with the insides of the windows.  I have had to do them over and over again because there is always an imperceptible smudge not to his liking.  They must be prefect, or why do it at all?  My stomach is a cloudburst of rumbles and loud strikes of hunger-lightening.  He tells me it's too bad I didn't eat what he had offered this morning- maybe I wouldn't be so hungry.  Ingrates and wrongdoers don't get food.

There is some sun left in the day which is good because my step father can stand outside and watch me clean the picture window above his workroom.  I can't place in my mind exactly which window he is talking about as we both go outside to set up a ladder.  I am craning my neck to see a window that I have never noticed before.  It is so high up that I will have to climb one ladder to a slanted first story roof and then another to get to the window.  I have never been on a ladder before.  My hands are slow to move in this cold and my flesh is raised.  I am only wearing my nighty.

The journey up the ladder involves extreme control- the rungs are an impossible stairway to an absurd destiny.  My legs quiver with each mount and threaten to give out with the strain.  The ascent is made harder by the length of my nighty.  He stands just under me and is looking up and I have no choice but to raise it higher than I would like to in order to keep scaling the ladder.  I pause to rest and look down.  Now my legs are weak from exertion and feebler still from trepidation.  My step father whips the verbal belt- keep climbing!  I push the bucket and cleaning supplies to the crook of my arm and continue on.

I reach the roof at last.  I am feeling accomplished until I realize I will have to step onto the icy slant in my slippers which are soaked through and my feet are numb.  My step father rattles the ladder from the ground and I jump off of it, planting my leg through the thin skin that is left of the old shingling.  I feel the skin on my leg strip away as I lodge deeper into the infrastructure of the roof.  There is a moment of silence as both of us wonder, in that quick time between disasters, if I will hit the ground and if I do, how damaged will I be?  But the roof holds and time stretches out again and my step father laughs off his prank.  He orders me to pick myself up and finish the job.  I can't imagine how to extract myself from this crevice- my body has reached it's limit.  My leg is mangled and I can feel blood warming what skin is still  intact.  My body is so cold that I can feel a familiar sleepiness coming over me that I have felt while being made to abide the cold for too long before.

His face is monstrous with rage. He is losing his patience, but I know that he will not climb the ladder to pull me out.  He will not even climb it in order to slap me.  He is afraid of heights.  He is infuriated that he has no control over how fast I move until he works out a way to regulate and bring himself back to full reign.  He is taking the ladder away and telling me to sleep well.

I cry out.  Please don't leave me here!  Please!  I will get up now.  With the strength that is born of frenzy, I grope at anything in front of me for a stable enough hold.  I use my fingertips to pull my body up and catch at something with my foot and splayed myself over the surface of the roof, holding on to these ancient shingles to keep from falling.  I roll to my side and sit up in time to see him turn and come back a few steps with the ladder.  I am going to get to come down now.  The sun is sinking and it will be time for dinner soon and we never miss dinner when my mother works so hard to make us happy.

I am scooting my way to the edge of the roof in preparation for the climb down, but he only stands just far enough away and  laughs.  I am the dumbest child alive- can't I see that there is still another ladder to climb and window to clean?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Confessions in Words and in Silence

I am 35 years old.  I am ready to hear from my mother the one thing I have needed to know but have just not been strong enough to shoulder.  I am holding the phone to my ear in this moment of silence as she searches herself for a way to answer.  She can't lie to me anymore since we found a way to be a mother and daughter again.  We have worked hard at our relationship since my daughter was born and since, perhaps, she had her own spiritual awakening that jettisoned her into a place of righteousness.  I know she will answer to her negligence.  Did she know what he was doing to me?

Her sigh is shaky through the phone as she surrenders any last desire to bend the truth.  I know that what I am about to hear will open old wounds.  I am nervous too. 

Yes, she knew.  She had proof long before she read my journal when I was thirteen years old.  When I was in sixth grade she had had a "funny" feeling about how much time my step father had been spending in his office which was adjacent to my bedroom.  She had had that same "funny" feeling the day he had installed a bunch of mirrors in my room as gifts.  She had gone to his office while he was out one day and went right to the framed photo that covered an nickel-sized hole that bore straight through to my room- covered by an antique mirror on my side.  When she looked through that hole she saw that he had arrananged the mirrors in such a way that there was not an inch of my room that could not be seen.   She knew there was something deranged about that.  She had been angry with him.  She told him to fill the hole and paint over it and never brought it up again.

I ask my mother to fill in the blanks of this story.  I thought I held all of the memories.  I thought I had at least had part-time possession of my room as a kid.  My mother says there is nothing else to the story.  There is no talk of what she said and what he said next.  Nothing about how maybe she had thought at the time that she should make him go.  She is sorry now, so very sorry.  She should have done something, but she just didn't have the strength.  She just distanced herself from him more.  Did she know how much that drove him to me all the more?  Did she know that when she wasn't acting like a loving wife, I was made to fill that role? 

I ask her how she couldn't have known earlier on.  Her end is silent.  I cannot bear to hear it any more than she can bear to say it.  I hang up the phone. What can I do but to forgive her? I asked and she told the brutal truth with her words and again with her silence.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Safely Returned

I am 27 years old.  Motherhood should be easy- my daughter is so mild.  Her gentleness makes me cry with bitter guilt because I fail her.  I want so badly to be strong- to be the exact opposite of my mother.  On good days I would  play with her.  We would go for walks mostly because I can only go as fast as her anyway.  The medication for my psychotic break after she was born still, even after three years, makes me feel as though I am weighted.  The medications for my acute anxiety are the nails on the bed on which I lie- I cannot shift my weight without searing pain- so they make me lie  still and cramped in my own private hell.  The medication I take for the depression is the blanket that covers these trappings. The lullabies that I hear as I drift in and out are my step father's bewitching melodies.  Despite the bed I lie in and the voices that I hear, I slumber endlessly.  I cannot break the bleary sleep-journey that is now my existence.   There are no good days anymore- soon my angel will forget me. 

There are blocks of time when I cannot remember the last time I held my baby.  I recall her face every now and then, during a more lucid moment when my instincts tell me to pay better attention, peering at me over the rocky mountain range of my blankets and sheets.  If she has snuck in on her own, she will gently lift my eyelids and ask if I am here.  My eyes roll and snap shut as though whoever is in residence is scurrying to hide.  She knows by now that this is not a game of peek-a-boo.  She calls to me- Mamma? Mamma?  I hear her from a long way off.  I am an inmate at my own asylum.  I am here and I am not.  I am held captive by unmitigated  fear.  She waits by my bed with more patience than any three-year-old should ever have to exercise.  I want her next to me so I can smell her hair, feel her sweet warm breath on my face, but I cannot move my arms to reach for her.  When I finally do find my way out of this straight jacket, she is gone.  Has it been a few minutes, or has it, by measure of darkness outside, been hours?  I hear her somewhere else in the house, singing sweetly to herself and giggling when her father tickles her.  I have lost another chance to have her back, to start over, and so I let myself slip back into fits of terror in my sweat-flooded boat that has gone so very far downstream and there is no bucket with which to bail it out.

My fear comes like contractions.  I labor day in and day out- struggling to bear this delirium.  I sweat and strain with each wave- shivering and crying out.  There is no kind of breathing, there are no words from outsiders, that will quell the hellish surges of  inner demons that refuse to be exorcised.  Within these sensations I believe that I am still in the hospital, laboring the birth of my daughter.  I hallucinate  faceless nurses and midwives lowering me over hell- fire until I can no longer tolerate the test they are administering. How strong are you?  How much can you take?  If sweat-stained sheets and my tear crusted face are a measure, I have taken on Satan himself and I am losing.

It is on a bright day that I realize I will only ever see darkness.  In a moment of clarity I know what I must do.  I cannot take up residence in this asylum any longer. I no longer want to live in this space that I can now see was erected by my step father.  I want to float above and away from this bed of misery.  I want my body to be free of these rotting bedclothes that are my captor.  I will ride away on a tide of water so pure- no longer drowning in waves of angst.  No more futile struggle. 

My last bit of strength and resolve are spent on the gathering of a killer recipe of pills and booze.  I know that my beautiful child is young enough to forget me.  I know that she is already halfway there and I must not be selfish. With the deepest sorrow I will ever know, I must let her go.  All of this makes sense as I look at each and every person in my life. I have not been the woman my husband married in so long that I must release him too.  I am aware that there are two people who will be relieved when I am gone and though I wish not to give my step father and my mother the satisfaction, I know that ultimately I win because I will finally be cured of them. There is no one else I can think of who would not understand.  They will get over their anger soon enough.  Surely they will remember how, when they visited, I begged them, in all sincerity and lunacy, to find a way to trade my limbs for my sanity.  Surely that was not a fair trade, but that was all I had to bargain with.

I pray now to a God I have never known to give me rest, let me nap deeply without the whirling upheaval of specters whipping my mind into chaos so that upon awakening, I will have the strength to know for sure that this really is what I must do.  My final request is that I might receive a sign in my sleep and the strength to see it if I have been mistaken in my decision.

I slumber in blessed peace.  I do not dream.  I awaken in just the same position I feel asleep in.  My mind is more clear than it has been in a very long time.  On the pillow next to me is a splendor of golden light.  It looks like a tiny fairy as motes of dust settle around.  As my vision comes into focus, I see that it is a tuft of my daughter's angelic blond hair lit by a single stream of sunlight beaming through a tiny hole in the blinds.  The miracle is so exact, so doubtless, that all things comes to a halt.  I feel the softness of the mattress under me, no longer driving nails.  I feel the blankets warm and protective, no longer restraints.   I feel the drugs letting go and somehow I am healed.  I do not question the voice that tells me to get up now, for this is over and it is time to live my life.

Insanity is truly without definition.  There are words to try to put a name to it, but nothing comes close.  I could write endlessly and still never begin to touch the inexplicable phenomenon of losing one's mind.  I could never bring myself to join in conversation about how selfish suicide is because I know something that so many people do not and I would not wish that kind of hell on my worst enemy- not even my step father.

Yes, three years after my daughter was born, I was worse off than that first day in the hospital when I realized that my mind had gone off.  After so many days and nights of living hell, I just could not take another minute of it.  It is hard to imagine, after fifteen years from that moment, that I might have succeeded had I not heard the first miraculous voice of my first spiritual awakening.  I do not know how that moment came to be.  I won't try to explain.  I can only honor and attest to the FACT that what I heard was real, and more-so, the infusion of mental, emotional and physical strength I received in order to rise from my bed and arrive in the kitchen in time to swing my daughter into my arms and hold her tight before tucking her into bed for the first time in months, was nothing short of a miracle. 

I had some serious ups and downs after this experience, but nothing that took me to such a final decision except to keep on with my fight to survive. 

My daughter is my angel. Her kisses and her love songs that she delivered to me unconditionally while I was on my death bed are still felt every day that I am blessed by the saving grace that allowed me to get myself together. I will never take for granted each blessed day that I get to watch her become the gentle, creative, charming and beautiful soul that she is. I am so grateful to be so alive.

Please read about Post-Partum Psychosis and and Anxiety/Panic Disorders in previously tagged posts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I am 24 years old.  In the past year I have met and  married my prince.  I have been kept safe inside his father's fortress while he and a crew are building our home next door.  It is almost too much to believe, but every morning I awaken in a clean bed- I shower, eat healthy food and read his love note before getting on with my day.  I have put on some healthy weight for the first time in my life and my skin is a palette of soft rose upon olive hue. 

Today I am more tired than usual as I butter some toast and settle myself at the table.  I realize, with some urgency, that I haven't been to the bathroom yet this morning.  Lately it has been all I can do to wait until morning so I am one day closer to finding out whether I am pregnant or not.  Today would be two days too early to use a test, so I am in no rush.  It has been almost a year and I know better than to rush such things.  Pregnancy test are expensive on our meager earnings. 

I pee on the stick anyway.  I want a baby so badly that many times, even at the risk of a stern look from my husband, I am compulsive in this manner.   I fully expect that it will be a red minus sign, as usual.  I will go to the store later and replace the test- he won't know.

I finish up and leave the stick on a piece of wadded up toilet paper and leave in search of warm socks.  I am calm, but a tiny tickle erupts inside as it always does when the last minute is up- even after all of this time.  In the bathroom I pick up the stick and watch the moist window begin to show a symbol.  The red line of a negative sign is drawing itself again.  I sigh and look at myself in the mirror- next month maybe.  I glance once more at the stick on my way to the trash can.  What I see washes me with euphoria.  My dream of becoming a mother- of being everything for my child that my parents never were for me- is now as real as the plus sign that is slowly developing in front of my eyes.  I am certain in this moment that no one on this earth could be more blessed than I am now.  There is a new life within me.  There is a new life for me. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

To Nap is Not to Slumber

Sexual content-discretion advised

I am nine years old.  It is deep summer and our camp is near the communal dock where I have been playing in the water all morning.  My Grandma from California has been staying with us and after two weeks, she has gone back and I am sad.  I had been enjoying time off from my step father's demands.  I know I will have to make it up to him one way or another. He has not smiled except to convince outsiders that everything is as perfect in our lives as they think.

I have been making pies from sand and seaweed and decorating them with poison-berries.  My cousins from my step father's side of the family have all gone to their camps for lunch or a nap.  I am filling time, hoping that my step father will show up after his lunch and then I will go to the camp for food after.  I have devised all kinds of ways to avoid him.  Summer affords me this behavior as it also keeps him busy with the task of impressing his four brothers- a busy job amongst one-uppers.

I see him walk by the dock towards the tennis courts and I am in the clear to fill the cave that is my yearning stomach.  I did not eat breakfast this morning as a part of my maneuver to be out the door before anyone else.  I wrap my towel around my wet suit and body, feeling cocooned by the sun- soaked towel and relieved that I will soon have food in hand.

The screen door swings shut behind me.  I let it go on purpose because I love the sound of it- I hear it all over this private association, a reminder of the peaceful comings and goings of happy families.  If my step father is around I don't do it because I want to be a phantom- an apparition making off with a sandwich, a towel, a dry bathing suit.

I am cold in my bathing suit and I wish I had thought to dry off in the sun some more before coming back to this camp in the shade.  I have two pieces of bread on the counter awaiting peanut butter and jam, but my teeth are chattering and my jaw is tight so I head up the stairs in search of a dry suit and a fresh towel. 

At the top of the stairs, as I head to my room on the right , I catch a peripheral glimpse of something that moves to my left.  I stand in that kind of momentary alarm that one experiences upon hallucinating a cat or a person and then laughs it off after realizing its just a slipper or a robe.  I am spooked so I don't look to find the inanimate culprit and make haste toward my room. It is then that I hear his throat clear.

His voice is sleepy and seductive.  I am startled and I emit a  screech which is met with a severe hush for my step father.  He notices that I am shivering and tells me to come to him as he raises the blankets from his nakedness.  He wants to make me warm.  Maybe we can have a little afternoon nap while my mother plays tennis.  I know now that he purposely rounded back from the courts through the path in the cedar bushes to lie in wait. 

I have seen the parts of him from his pants waist to his ankles in the nude, but never have I seen the full suit of flesh that he bares only for me now.  I have never been so keenly aware that he is a grown-up and I am a kid and maybe I am not supposed to see this.  He pats the bed and tells me to lie down and let him and Buddy warm me.  I do as I am told.  I always do as I am told.  

I am a plank of rigid muscles and cold flesh on the bed.  He throws the chenille coverlet over me and then scoots himself close.  His full body is not quite touching mine and I am relieved only to feel the warmth from his sun-kissed skin.  He does not ask me to touch the part that is poking me yet, but I await his command.

After a while he inches the blanket off of me to my waist and I am peeled- bare in ways that are more than skin deep.  He traces paths on my chest and tells me I am still his little girl, his perfect wife.  He pushes the covering further down, exposing my hips and pelvis.  He traces a line that is developing above my pubic bone and clicks his tongue in objection as he tells me I am growing and the score that his finger maps out between my hips mean that I am ready.  His breath is coming to my ear in molten rushes.  My skin crawls.  He has never touched me with such intent.  He is pawing at me and his eyes are burnished by his own heat.  What is it that I am ready for that he hasn't already taught me? 

I feel his hands slip between my legs and I scurry away from him only to realize my feebleness as he yanks me back into place. He is shifting his weight to cover me completely, forcing my matchstick legs apart. The chenille blanket, a gift of an heirloom from my Grandma, is floating over head, softly landing over this space that fades to black as a soul-shattering memory is beget unto my gutted mind only to be swaddled and rocked until it no longer cries out- hidden away more deeply than any before.