I used to let you love me. I used to embrace a new life, a new love, a new “normal”. I let you let me put my guards down. I let you let me be not so independent. I let you love me enough to let me become me.
It’s scary you know? Not knowing who I am yet. Trying to figure out what I like, don’t like, what I want and don’t want, what makes me happy and what makes me just ehh…at 35 isn’t easy. All I know I being a caregiver. I have been parenting people since I was very young. I helped with my brother and at 9 years old I was a caregiver for my grandfather. Now that my sons are working and they are almost adults, I’m finding it hard to know who I am and to be okay with my life.
From the time I sensed my now fiancé was going to propose I haven’t been handling life very well. Transitioning to the one thing I want the most in life hasn’t been easy at all, then you throw empty nest syndrome on top of it…watch out. Not only that I’m in menopause, so I haven’t handled life well since he proposed. There are too many changes and so many “what if’s”.
I’m not feeling very secure in myself right now with all these changes that I cannot control in my life happening. I’m literally being forced into retirement and there is nothing I can do about it. My sons are becoming adults and I am so proud of them, but it’s so hard to know that they are my last two to raise. They make me want to do it all over again. There is so many challenges that they brought me, but they have literally helped become who I am today and I am becoming. My love he is a great dad and when I see him in them or them in him, I love him so much more. So I not certain why I am struggling to let people love me right now.
It’s hard I’m scared I know that everyone I love will eventually hate me or leave me. That I am just not worth someone loving or being around forever. Then I remind myself of everything he has told me. My love has spoke so many “right” things in almost 4 years together. He has picked me up and put back pieces. Now I find myself needing to walk through “reality” to remind myself of every thing he has said or done to make me love him. All the times he has told me, “Until I tell you you’re a problem for me…” This is what I’ve been reminding myself lately (by lately a couple days) to go with his words when I’m feeling insecure in my place in his life , If he had a problem and wanted me to go he’d tell me. He’s not a man of many words. He only says what he means.” It has been helping me greatly these past couple days.
Reminding myself of the good things when bad things pop up and rewriting how I feel about situations is really helpful. I’m going to get back to the place where I let him love me like he wants to. I have to put these walls back down and just feel free again. Traveling through my past over the past few years hasn’t been easy on me, but especially my 3 loves. I’m so thankful for their love, even when I can’t seem to feel it or accept it. I’m not certain if I can ever express to them just how grateful I am for the way they love me.
In the words of Megan Trainor “I’m workin’ on, workin’ on it. Trying to see what you see when you look at me. I’m workin’ on, workin’ on it…” or something like that ❤️
My grief of what I don’t have and what I have walked away from has been so great this past year, but the truth is I have done those things to heal, and healing is what I’ve been working so hard at. So I’ll keep working at this and I’ll let myself be me finally. I’m going to keep working hard to be the best version of me. I’m also going to keep on working on being me without regards to what people think of me, that’s the biggest one for me.
Too often I had been told that my giving nature was a bad thing, then I found out that being nice and giving and serving others isn’t a bad thing, it’s using it on the wrong people that’s bad.
“But, Kelly everyone is deserving of kindness”, yes that is true. Kindness like love is to be freely given, but that doesn’t mean it is taken advantage of either.
I went through counseling over the last 4 years, been off the couch for 6 months now (whoa!), I would always hold firm to the belief that my giving spirit is just who I am and it makes me feel like me. It’s my happiness. My peace. My thing.
My counselor would reassure me that it’s okay to want to do for people, but not if the people I am doing for are hurting me, Will always hurt me, and have hurt me. That there was a population of people that would appreciate my “goodheartedness”.
I didn’t understand him at first, but then I began to realize that he was right. That the wrong people to serve were the very people who were hurting me in the first place. I thought I understood him then, but boy do I really understand now.
You see this past Thanksgiving after making the decision that I would only focus this gift on those who truly need this gift and will appreciate it. To use this gift of service and feeding and healing for the betterment of our society, not just a few in my life who decided it was theirs and theirs only, not even mine.
So on Thanksgiving we loaded up the Tesla and headed over to a mission in Chicago who I just found out had had some very serious discrimination allegations made, and because they don’t accept state or federal money (Catholic Mission) they are not being held to the same standards and are allowed to freely discriminate against who can even get a meal. Now because of this I refuse to take anything there that I cannot distribute to tent cities in and around Chicago, Northwest Indiana, and anywhere else I feel called…Detroit has been on my mind a lot lately, I wonder what’s up there…
You see how passionate I am about feeding people? I can’t even talk about Thanksgiving without ranting about the unfair discrimination from a place that claims to be founded and ran on “Christian” principles! I am a Christian and I don’t discriminate, I’m all inclusive, and that’s what Jesus taught me, “…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”…
Anyway back to Thanksgiving…
I had asked my little family if they would mind if instead of me cooking a full Thanksgiving meal since I knew we’d be having a feast later in the day, and we always feel bad when we are already too stuffed to eat once we get there, and I wasn’t feeling very well the last 8-12 months, so I just wasn’t up to cooking a big meal. My 3 loves were absolutely fine with it and actually really loved my replacement idea.
I thought, “Hey let’s get some blessing bags and necessities for the homeless donated and we will go pass them out on Thanksgiving and the items not accepted on the streets we will give at the mission.” They were excited to do so. We collected so many items and when we got to Chicago we found that the people I usually collect and they help me distribute for were already taken care of by very generous people. This made me my heart smile so big!
We had a great time! We really did. It was such an awesome way to spend thanksgiving morning. We headed back home, rested, and just like expected a feast later at my loves dad’s house. It really was a blessed day. I had been wanting to do this on Thanksgiving for some time now, so glad I got to see that the need is before Thanksgiving, and like we had been doing after the 1st of the new year.
By now you’re probably wondering what the problem is. You’re probably asking yourself, “Wasn’t this about you and you’re giving nature being bad?” Yes, yes it is.
You see this great day that obviously no one can see the problem in this day, this day was a huge turning point for me. Actually July 4th, 2019 was a huge turning point in my life. I mean once you’ve been to Pike’s Peak, are a donut at 14,000 ft elevation, and been proposed to, in what is what I believe to be the most healing and magical place in the world, there really is nothing in your life you cannot do.
July 4th, 2019 that mountain changed my life in more ways than one. It probably actually started the day before during the trip up to the Alpine Visitor Center…yikes! Alpine Visitor Center road or Pike’s Peak Highway, Pike’s Peak for sure!!!!
Those mountains, making it to the top of mountain peaks is a very healing experience, trust me. For me I conquered a fear of heights, I even went back on 6/22/2020 and drove up to Pike’s Peak (mile 16 mandatory shuttle due to construction), I did it. No one else. I drove down too. Huge victory over my life right there.
That day my love, the love of my life proposed and made all those promises he’d been promising for so long a reality. I had waited so long. I was so shocked and so surprised when I realized he wasn’t just being an ass with that donut as a proposal, that he actually had a ring in his boot. I cannot even remember what he said, just he was red and tears running down his face too. He changed my life once again that day.
Little did we both know that, that proposal and that mountain would trigger so much in both of us, but for me another huge wave of healing was about to start unbeknownst to me.
When I got home and went to see my little sister, my mother, and my step-father. My mother she is literally just the woman who made me in my eyes now. If you’ve been following along and continue to follow along you’ll understand why. She wasn’t very interested as usual and had to steer the conversation a way that was beneficial to her. All she cared about was the size of the stone and her new grand baby. Not all that it took for me to get up that mountain to get that ring that I didn’t know about.
So I kept working in therapy and at home to keep putting boundaries up with her and he, to keep, “keeping it businesslike” so I wouldn’t be hurt. I was also working through some very real current hurts on top of past hurts and having her continue to hurt me was not allowable. So I kept working at it and was getting better with it with her.
A few days before Thanksgiving she text me to ask if I was cooking dinner. I told her that, “I decided that my family and I would spend the day serving the homeless in Chicago and that my little sister is welcome to join us if she’d like to”.
Side note I have a terrible time making decisions for me or anyone else. I am not looking for things to do with people or looking to tell people what to do because I cannot even decide what I should eat most days.
I swear I feel as am I’m writing this you and I are learning something about me at the same time.
Making decisions for me is so hard. I feel like every time I make a choice someone is let down. Someone isn’t happy. That I hurt someone in someway and I end up paying the price for it in the long run. So why like anything? Why want to do anything? Why be any different then the people around me? Because if I am there will be big consequences for it.
This decision that was very hard for me to make and I immediately felt guilt for, and actually caused problems in my family, from the moment I made it, because I just knew. I just knew what her wrath would be like.
Just after Thanksgiving I was scheduled for surgery and the day before I had asked her a question. And the conversation went south fast. I kept my calm though because I wanted her to see she couldn’t get me worked up. I wanted my growth to be known. Then she said something that set me so far back in my progress.
It set me so far back! I don’t think anyone even realizes how far it set me back. I mean behaviors have gotten worse, feelings of insecurity are taking over, and it’s all because of her I’m sure. That day before my surgery exactly 5 months since I came down off that beautiful, beautiful mountain, my life was broken again.
That day she told me, “your brother and you better be damned lucky I didn’t give you up for adoption when I knew I couldn’t take care of you anymore!”
In that moment as my youngest son, who I adopted along with his brother, stood by my side as slowly made my way to the floor in tears.
“No she I am not in anyway lucky! All I ever wanted was a better home. To not be hungry. To not be hurt. To be loved. To have an opportunity. I wasn’t lucky with her.”
I was so mad and I responded with, “No we are not lucky, lucky is what my sons were, they got an opportunity to be loved by a woman who would walk through heaven and hell with them; not use, abuse, and abandon them”.
I kept her at a very long distance. Even though she is only 4 minutes down the road. I cannot wait to move away from her and here. It’s a lot of mental effort to keep her at a “long distance” when she is so close (again something no one gives me credit for because they don’t know how much work it takes).
It doesn’t mean I don’t feel the effects. I believe I’m grieving more than anything. I think I realize that now. I recently told her and my step-father to take that “long fucking walk off that short fucking pier”, to use their quote against them. Maybe I should have told them to, “tie a rope with a rock to your foot so you’ll sink faster”—assholes—yes I used to hear that whenever I’d voice a complaint or make a request or whatever, amongst other things. I told them, “You don’t get to deny what you did to me, either of you. None of it. You don’t get to do that to me. You don’t get to tell people that my truth is a lie when you were the ones doing and allowing it. You can take your shame and guilt to the grave with you. I’m tired of you controlling my life like this. You don’t get to ruin it anymore. You’ve ruined my life already now I want you to stop doing it. I want to marry the love of my life, not have him resent me. I want to be happy, and as long as I even know you exist I just cannot be free from your guilt and shame. You don’t get this control over me anymore.”
A couple days later on 6/22/2020 when we were supposed to be camping at home, but it was cancelled due to a storm cell coming in, we were spontaneously in Colorado, this time I drove to the top of that mountain. I may have liked at the top, but I made it up and down. I literally moved another mountain in my life. I closed a door and gave myself permission to lock it and throw away the key.
If there is one thing I have learned to be true living a life solely based on the faith that God will get you through is not easy, but it is truly the only thing I’ve ever had. I’m pretty certain that God said forgiveness is for me not for them. They have to seek their own forgiveness and I cannot forgive them if their ultimate sin. All I can do is forgive, try to reconcile, and if reconciliation fails, know that God had that planned all along too.
Now I’ve climbed that mountain again. This time with the love of my life in the passenger seat and my youngest son in the back. My oldest at home starting the newest chapter in his book with a new job, and me looking forward to actually planning a wedding. I cannot wait to be dancing with him that night. I have so many slow songs planned because that’s the only way I’ll get him in the dance floor, and that’s okay cause his arms are the safest and nicest place to be.
I have a couple insecurities that clearly just decided to read their ugly head again, probably because of what I’m dealing with in another area of life. I’m sorry that they do get the best of me and they cause me not to trust, but once you’ve been hurt a certain way before it can take a really long time to believe it won’t happen again.
So when the consequence of making a choice is big dramatic over the top responses like this, it’s no wonder I fear that every choice I make will be the end of the world. I am trying to fight this feeling so much. I want to make choices. I want to be able to ask for the things I need or want even. But I’m scared to. I know that it causes unnecessary stress, but what if I let my guard down all the way? What then?
Do I get the love and help that I need or do I get ridiculed and demeaned for not being able to do it myself? I’m not sure yet? I’m trying to figure it out. I guess I just need people willing to be in my life a lifetime showing me that it’s okay for me to want and get my basic of basic needs met. I try so darn hard to only do for myself. I don’t want anyone’s money or guilt.
These people have made it such a bad thing for me to have decisions or a life that wasn’t theirs. I fear that if I don’t plan a wedding the way everyone expects it to be then there will be terrible consequences. I imagine people taking about how much money was probably spent or judging the decor or whatever. I fear that people will think I’m spoiled or the center of attention. I fear all of things and so much more. Over the last year and having to do what I have had to do with my parents, it’s been a very hard topic to discuss for us.
I know that this most recent trip up and down that mountain have lead me to say and to do some things I wouldn’t normally do, but I’m glad I got it out of my system quick, because I have way better things to do in my life than to let my insecurities drive my actions.
I used to be secure in my new life, because I knew that God sent it to me, he promised me long before I got here. I’m pretty certain I seen my love in my dreams before I met him. I think because I still hadn’t released myself of them yet I couldn’t be truly free of it. Now I feel like there is nothing I can’t do. Like I should be saying, “Watch me now bitches…” but I won’t, 😂
I’m excited to plan a wedding that isn’t cheap for cheap sake. After a very wonderful and sweet woman heard me talking to her daughter and just listening, she wouldn’t let me pray before I left her house. I knelt beside her as she held my hand, and some how she knew exactly what to pray, and I the word that came out of her mouth could have only have been put on her heart by the one who truly knows mine.
She’s right you know? I am loved by so many, but my insecurities are keeping me from that love. If you all could just remember to remind me that my insecurity is showing it will help me. Imma huge “reality therapy fan”, don’t sugar coat and please don’t be vague.
Because of my mothers inability to live correctly, my step-father and his inability to love appropriately, and my “sperm-donor” (bio father) being in and out of prison as a child and him and his sins, it’s kind of hard to trust that anyone will ever just love you correctly no strings attached. That they’ll just love you expecting nothing and keep you forever. It’s so hard to feel worthy of that security. That stability. It’s a natural desire that all of us have. So congratulations I’m normal, I guess.
I can only try to fight my fears of it all being a “waste of time, energy, and money, because it’s not going to last forever anyway, because no one ever loves me forever or ever truly loved me anyway, they just love what they can get from me…” type thing. The thing is though until recently I don’t think I actually had the “freedom” I needed to be free of that mindset.
I do now think I have the freedom from the very things that were holding me back, from being free of this. Does it mean I won’t have hard days were it’s easy to feel these things? No. It just means I’ll cope and move on, not let it run my life.
If there is one thing my love is that I am not it is patience. I want my problems to be solved now. Right now. I want to do the work hardcore and it to perfect the skill instantly. In reality though this is a process and even if he and my sons don’t believe it I am so thankful that I am going through. I’m sorry it’s scary sometimes, but remember how scary it used to be?
Remember how terrifying it was when I decided to let the three of you really love me? Thanks for going through all this with me. We moved another mountain in my life, together, again as a family, and I’m so thankful.
Now here’s to wedding planning and not dreading it. She doesn’t get that control anymore. I was excited a long time ago at the thought of marrying my love and even though we’ve done life together and it’s not been easy, I’d still choose him over and over again, so I guess that’s saying something.
I have learned that the ones worth my energy and “good heartedness” are the ones who God intended me to love enough to change their lives. I will continue to dedicate myself to my charitable business to end homelessness.
I cannot wait to have raised enough money to start building my first homeless rehabilitation and prevention center, free of discrimination of any kind.
For now I’ll keep sleeping very little to figure out how to raise the money, where the needs are, feed, and connect with the homeless and so many others in need.
I knew I was called to work with the homeless since I was 7, so I will use this gift to help those who truly need it, and that is what makes some people mad. That’s okay because this is what I’m called to do. I’m called to love and to serve others. Such a fulfilled life it can be.
Allowing myself to feel this live and to be living in my true spirit of giving I am allowing myself to feel loved and secure again…slowly…but I’m getting there again. Working with the homeless and planning a wedding seem to me a great way to focus on love.
(I started writing this approximately 2 weeks before I posted “It’s Not Here (https://crazymessyme.com/2020/05/30/a-dog-leash/), which inspired me to write that. It took me two days to post that blog. Remember this is therapy for me, therapy isn’t quick, it is a long drawn out process.)
Life is crazy unexpected sometimes. When one curve ball is thrown at you it can seem that a thousand more are right behind that one. A family member facing unexpected death is definitely one of those curve balls.
Naturally when someone you care about is facing death a lot can come to surface. For most people it’s all the good memories they have and they can’t think about living without that person, because they made life so much better. For some though when those memories come flooding back they are not good. What happens then? In my experience it makes a whole lot of not good things happen.
Just over 2 years ago I found myself being called to the hospital ICU because my step-father the only man I knew as dad, because my dad was in prison. I didn’t call my step-father dad to his face (still don’t) but I used to refer to him as dad to everyone else, that’s how they knew who I was talking about, and a lot of people took offense to me calling him by his name in front of them, so I like the good little masker I am, put on the appropriate “Kelly mask” and did what I had to do.
My father I had referred to as my sperm-donor because he wasn’t present. He was in-and-our if our lives so much before he went to prison, mainly because he was in-and-our of jail, that I really didn’t even know him. I was old enough to miss I’m and as I got older, wish that he wasn’t in prison and I lived with he and my step-mom, even though I didn’t have very fond memories of either. I knew that my dad would have most likely protected me had he’d been in a better place in his life. Hell he’d have even been better to my mom had he’d been in a better place.
He was in prison and I had no contact. He didn’t know how bad it was, I knew he couldn’t fix it, and I still barely knowing him wanted him to be the one who came and rescued me. I still desired my father, the man who made me and hurt me, to come to me. Knowing that even if he knew, there wasn’t anything he could do didn’t help me feel better at all. My step-father was there though and EVERYONE it seemed thought he was a “great man” for stepping up and taking care someone else’s “problem”, someone else’s “responsibility”…just how great of a thing he did.
Sure the potential for him to make a real difference and to be the hero everyone thought he was, was there. One voice was a warning voice. A voice that loved my mom and us to kids a lot. The waring came from his sister, the only one who really had the guts to speak up and say, “Hey he is a user and abuser.” The voice that warned of the possibility of him molesting a niece, only speaking out of pure love and concern for the little girl who had already lived through that nightmare. —Side note once a child has already been a victim of sexual abuse they are more likely to be preyed upon, sought out, and revictimized—So the fact that my late aunt, his sister, tried to say, “Hey Im concerned that you are being fooled here, don’t set yourself up for being a victim or them either”, and my mother just like her usual self only chose to hear what she wanted to hear, “She’s just trying to make trouble. She took all my moms money and possessions when she died. This is just her trying to get back at me cause I did…”
My mother didn’t listen though. It seems that she thought the life he provided her was a one that she was deserving of, it was better than anything she had known afterall. I mean he worked, he was home, he bought her flowers and occasionally said all the right things. I mean c’mon at one point he was sending her ridiculously expensive bouquets of flowers to work every week. I mean he was really good. Like really good. Not only was he good with her, he was good with us. What I was he and my mom were loving being together. They were married after to weeks of dating or even knowing each other really, so my mother was really sure of him. What I am certain of is that his potential death triggered a mental health break down, which required intensive therapy, I am still in recovery and always will be, because what I know now is that he spent a whole lot of time grooming her and us.
That day though in the ICU hallway it all started coming at me, opening the door to a whole lot of feelings and hurt that I had numbed myself to long before that day. I numbed myself because of him and other men as well. I had already been in counseling for a little over a year and had been working on self-esteem and the view of myself. We made progress, I got out of my abusive marriage in that first year, so my therapy effective. I thought that the healing I had to do was mainly from that, but I found out one day that he (my ex-husband) was an unfortunate result of something much darker and much closer to home.
Ever since that day in the hospital I have been struggling. Learning to grieve the loss of people who are still alive, that you have had to walk away from because of their toxicity, is one of the hardest things to come to grips with. But after you remember everything that, that person did to hurt you, it’s hard to have any kind of relationship with them. So much hurt. So much pain. So many things I should have spoke out about then. The regret from knowing that the shame was theirs and not mine and I should have said something to anyone other than my mother, will always be here with me. I figured if my mother didn’t care and tell the truth when questioned, then no one else would care either.
I speak now for no other reason than healing. I never wanted anyone in trouble then and I don’t want anyone hurt now. However I have found writing this on a platform that I know someone, anyone, will read it helps me feel heard. Feeling heard is important to any person. The only reason I choose blogging is because well, people keep asking for the book version, but I am not a book writer, lol. I have terrible grammar and punctuation, I misspell words and cant always spot my mistakes when editing, so a blog it is. Because an online journal feels like something I can make mistakes in and it’s okay. My cousin whom I love very much, is my best friend here. Writing a book is something she has always told me to do because, “so many people could probably benefit in knowing they’re not alone”, and she is 100% correct. If anything it helps me be heard, and that means the world to me.
Who knows if the 10 year old me had actually had the courage to speak that day to child protective services. I was afraid of so many things. I sat there at that table with two adults who I had to live with and two adults I didn’t know. I had already a few years prior sat at a detectives office showing them with dolls, and telling them in explicit detail what my next door neighbor/babysitter’s significant other did to me, it didn’t matter though.
So why would I say something? I knew nothing would happen and I’d be forced to stay in that home with the very person/people who were hurting me. It’d only get worse. Why would I split up my family? Why would I hurt my mom that way? (When you’re a child the adults should never have you in a situation like this)
I just couldn’t speak. I just hung my head and denied the whole thing.
I remember the lady asking multiple times if I “was sure nothing was happening”, I remember telling her, “I was sexually abused before and I would know to say something if it was happening now.” You know I don’t think she bought it, but without hearing it from me she couldn’t do anything about it. The only lie involved in that situation was the one I told those social workers. The things I had told my grandma, that she shared with her sister because she didn’t know what to do about her suspicion, those things were all true.
25 years ago my brother had a Nintendo Gameboy and I wanted one so badly. I kept asking for one and no one would get me one. I was told my brother needed it to help him focus because of his issues he as with that. I was also told that video games were for boys. I had been asking grandma for quite some time to get me one, well because, grandma spoiled me. She loved to make me smile. I wasn’t treated very fairly at home and grandpa had passed a few months back. So like the 10 year old that I was, I had hoped that the silver lining in all this would be a Gameboy. I mean either way I knew grandma would come through for me, Christmas was only a couple months away.
I couldn’t be strong enough to get me and my brother out of that. I just couldn’t, and now knowing that I, “should be lucky she didn’t give us up for adoption when she knew she couldn’t do it”, I am sorry that 10 year old Kelly was weak and scared and to timid to talk to “strangers”. You know I am also Autistic (diagnosed as an a 34 year old) so I am pretty certain that played a bigger role than I know. I feel terrible that not only did I not save us, but hen I was was 20 and adopting, I still didn’t “see” my abuse and neglect, and they went on to adopt a child. I was 10 though! Just 10!
As I sat there listening to them come up with every rhyme and reason why she would have “made” this up or “convinced” me to say these things, I just wanted it to all stop. No, she didn’t make anything up. No, I didn’t either. I am not known for my lying abilities, I cannot even buy gifts and keep them a surprise. Terrible at lying.
I was 10 damn it! 10! Do you understand that?! 10 and for the second time in my life I’m being asked to describe what a man did to me, but only this time the man I’m accusing is sitting at the table with only my mother between us. She had a look of, “I can’t believe this”, I thought that it was she couldn’t believe it had happened to me again, I was wrong though. She quickly came to his aid. She just chose not to believe it.
At 10 not only could I not look at them and say “yes these things are true about him”, but I couldn’t bring myself to speak up about the food shortages and my mom telling my doctors the opposite I was telling them, my mom not believing me when I said I needed help, and so-on, I felt helpless like there was nothing I could do. That every choice I could have made that day was a mistake, and pain came from all of them. I need wanted to hurt anyone.
None of those things could I bring myself to say that day. I trusted Grandma I knew she wouldn’t hurt me in anyway. Although she did call me a, “little bitch” a couple times when grandpa was dying and just afterward. I know now that she was grieving and I was the closest thing to a “child” they had, had together. (By the way if anyone in reading this knows how to contact Jacqualene Williamson, married to the late George E. Williamson of Hammond, IN, with 6 step-children, and a granddaughter named Kelly and many more, please let her know I am looking for her. I miss her a lot.)
I was listening to them say, “Her grandmother has wanted to take her from us for a long time.” I even heard them accuse her of doing this because she “wanted him” and “wanted to break him and my mom up.” I mean they were just bad mouthing my grandma, who for the most part, with the exception of a couple bad days while grieving the loss of my grandpa, always did what ever it took to keep me safe, happy, and feeling loved. She was the one who taught me so many wonderful things. She taught me to bake and craft. She taught me that strong women do serve their man without it lowering who they are in this world. She taught me that it was okay to be independent and fierce (she was a red-head after-all), while being gentle and kind.
Lying always had major consequences. I was taught it was better to tell the truth no matter what. That although there would be consequences they’d be less severe if the crime was confessed immediately. But what happens when the lie you and they are being accused of isn’t a lie? What happens when parents are so convinced that the child is in wrong that they cannot even hear the child tell them the truth, simply because their truth is a better fit for them and their reality? What happens then?
Thats what happens. Even if the only lie you told was the lie to keep your mom and brother, and entire family from being hurt. Even if the only lie you told was out of so much love for you mom that you chose to stay knowing it was a choice to continue being hurt. I was 10. 10! I know I already stated that, but I am writing as I think. It’s great therapy. 10 year olds are not equipped or these situations.
The 10 year old me did want my grandma to tell if it meant I would go into foster care, that’s the only reason she didn’t raise concerns sooner, because she wasn’t sure what to do, and I didn’t want to lose her. She didn’t want to lose me either, so her sister thought the best thing was to report it.
It was most definitely not the right thing!
You see if DCFS doesn’t “find” a reason to remove the child, the child is left in the home with the very people that someone thought was unsafe in the first place. I guess, sure, you can blame the child for not speaking to those that could have helped, but I was always told, “you call child protective services you better hope they take you because if not, once they leave I will beat you like a red-headed step-child if you think you will have it better somewhere else, cause you won’t!” I knew how this worked already though. I report it to the “right” people they “find no evidence” and I’m left there in the home or immediately placed back, then what?
I found out that day after the workers left, just what was meant by that line. That lie that I wasn’t bribed to tell like they thought, was the truth, the lie I told protected them, but not me. What I did learn that day was just what being “beat like a red-headed step-child” felt like. I am sorry to any “red-headed step-children” that, that quote offends. It offend me too. I am pretty certain there are plenty out there. I am also pretty certain that most of you were never “beat”. I am not certain where that line comes from and I am sorry it exists.
One lash after another, after another, after another that green dog leash (I am certain they still have), you know the thick ones for large dogs? Across my 10 year old bare skinned legs. Me screaming out after each one; crying and screaming I couldn’t catch my breath. I screamed “I can’t breathe” as this 200 pound plus man straddled my chest, one knee on each arm pinning me against the bed, ass in my face, being told, “You’re screaming aren’t you?” “Yes cause it hurts, but I can’t breathe!” “If you can’t breathe you wouldn’t be able to tell me you can’t breathe!” WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
Whack! Whack! Whack!
Whack! Whack! Whack!
“Shut your mouth the neighbors will hear”
My mother instructed to and more than willing to hold my legs down so I wouldn’t, “kick and hurt him”. I mean afterall it was important that the 30 something year old man not be hurt by the 10 year old girl that he’s physically restraining on the bed. Yep. He’s the one that needed protection. Right “Mom”, right!
My bedroom the window right off the front porch, open. My mother instructed to close it while he held my legs with his hands, so that the neighbors couldn’t hear my screams. I am not certain why, yet, again, neighbors chose “not” to hear my screams, but they did. I wish they hadn’t.
She resumed holding my legs after closing that window. I am not certain how long it went on from there. I went numb. I went to a place far-far away. A place where I couldn’t be hurt anymore, where I couldn’t hear them enjoy it and justify it anymore. A place where those lashes didn’t hurt anymore. A place where grandpa was still alive and I was safe in his arms on his lap once again. A place that I tried to escape to.
I think it is safe to say that this episode right here is what triggered it all. I believe that this is what has caused me to suffer with dissociative disorder and check out. I believe this day right here was the day I died inside. I believe this day was the day that stripped me of all normal emotional thought processes and well for the most part feelings in general. I became completely numb.
This day will forever be the day that I unknowingly set myself up for the worse physical abuse suffered at the hands of my parents. It will also forever be the day that I unknowingly chose to stay in a home where multiple men would eventually live or visit and got by with touching me as well. It is also the day I unknowingly gave silent permission to them to forever use, abuse, neglect, and molest me. I was numb to it all. I know now I had to be because no one, including my mother cared. I had to survive.
The only reason I survived is my faith. Without my faith I would have not survived as long as I have. I knew God was telling me that my life would get better. I knew that He would keep me safe because he promises to keep the innocent close to him. I knew that I could survive, so I went numb. I got threw it purely out of the love I had for my mother and the promise from God, not a church, not a book, not humans, but God himself that he would, “Protect me as long as I followed Him. As long as I loved Him. That the only thing I ever had to do was “pretend” I was in a fairytale, trusting Him that one day there would be a way better life that I could ever imagine”. This was His promise and I clung to it.
Shortly after this promise was made I remember having more vivd dreams a way more deja vu type moments. I am pretty confident in saying that I dreamed my love into existence. Life may have take many weird twists and turns on the path to finding him, but I knew his face the moment I saw him. I got in his car and said, “I think I know you from somewhere…”, I knew that I would be an adoptive mom. I knew it would be two boys coming home with me on the same day, I assumed twin babies. I knew it would be a very hot summer like day. I felt like God was always showing the good things to come so that I could have the strength to get through. You know that strength that even you didn’t realize you had?
I had forgotten that if I heard God speaking then I needed to act because so many men of “faith” said I was “wrong” in what I was hearing because, “God wouldn’t like that.” (Where’s the angry mom waving her finger in your face emoji?) One day a very wise pastor named Isaiah DeMoss, a pastor in his early 30’s reminded me that, “no man can tell me what I am hearing from God is wrong, because God will only speak to me about this”, and that, “if you have truly been hearing God say that you were free from your marriage for as long as you say you have, you need to pray and ask God for a clear answer.” I did. I got it. I acted. My reward was instant!
God came through bigger than I ever could have imagined.
If only my mother was capable of doing for me the very least any mother should be able to do for their child, protect me, then maybe my hero wouldn’t be on he undeserving side of this putting this broken puzzle back together again. Sadly this is something shell never understand. It should have been out of her love for me that she chose differently, not my love for he protecting her. Me protecting her and standing-up for her always, is something, with tears in her eyes, she’ll admit I did. Although she’ll admit that I have defended her and protected her however I could, she changes nothing and acts like I owe her something, not realizing that it was her that should have been protecting and providing for me. It should have never been the other way around.
Back to that dog leash…I have often wondered, “What lie did I tell?”, “What caused this to happen?”, “When did this happen?”, and so on. I blocked everything out and by learning to do that I have very little good memories from my life, and a lot of memories are blurry. I went through life on auto-pilot. Just going through the motions, never really living. The good memories I do have, which are few, are with a mom that’s not my mom and I always felt torn, as if I was betraying my mother by loving another woman as mom. So much so I had myself convinced that I don’t have a mom at all.
I’ve come to realize recently though I have a mom. A mom who chose to open her home to me. A mom who chose to feed me. A mom who chose to love me. A mom who didn’t get to get to know me since birth but for the last 30 years she’s been there getting to know me. I have all these unanswered questions about how I was or who I was growing up. I seriously don’t even know who I am. Not being dramatic here. Not looking for attention of any kind. I am just stating that since I went to my “fairytale” I didn’t get much of my “reality” to come with me. I don’t even know if she could answer them for me, but I’m guessing she tried her damndest to, simply because she cares for me. The only woman that I have heard tell me she that she was “proud” of me and felt like she meant it no strings attached, was her.
Every time I “go home” to her she’s excited to see me and welcomes me with welcome arms and the warmest hug I can ever ask for. She is by no means perfect, I’ve even inherited some of the things my “sister” would complain about, but I am glad because my sons are amazing! She has been my rock, my encourager, my friend, my authority, and my voice of truth for so long. It was so hard for me to admit any of this to myself for so long, I’m guessing because I felt some deep-rooted loyalty to the woman who made me. Like always with being an adoptive-mom I find my children teach me something.
They taught me simply by allowing me to be their mom. I realize that I am no different than they are. That I am the mom choosing to love them, but that makes me no less their mom. That blood doesn’t make you a mom. Your ability to have children makes you a mother. Your ability to love your children correctly (love is actions) makes you a mom. The good mom in me, is her. The understanding reassuring voice in me, is her in me. That daughter that she made that loved me unconditionally and still does, is the longest relationship I have ever had, has it always been easy and sunshines and lollipops? No absolutely not! But, because of her love and friendship and willingness to share not only her bed, but her mom and family in general.
I never saw my grandma again after she found out what had happened and had confirmed that I was telling the truth. Imagined had I not lied that day at that table, not only would I have lost my mother and brother, but I would have lost everyone I loved, right after loosing my grandpa. I never told anyone from that point forward anything. I am certain people had their suspicions (someone told me so recently), but without me speaking what could they do? Nothing. I learned speaking got me in trouble. I also learned if my doctors were listening to my mom over me, then no one would hear me anyway, that’d they’d always listen to and trust her over me anyway, so why speak. I’d rather be silent than to lose everyone I loved at 10!
And you know what else?
I never got that damn GameBoy!
Sitting here with my fiancé showing him how to use Instagram on my phone so that he can see the things that are posted by his favorite blogger and Teslas (of course), I keep hearing a voice in my head, not my own, telling me, “You can’t like that, that’s boy stuff”. I push through. Trying hard not to let it show that I am fighting an internal silent battle.
I introduce him to the wonderful word of Pinterest, specifically to look at Tesla’s. I find myself being the one lost in the cars. I keep trying to silence it. That internal voice that isn’t mine saying, “You can’t like this because cars are for boys”. That voice that keep fighting me when I spend any amount of time around cars or trucks.
I can’t tell you much about them, but I love when my love teaches me things about them. I’ve worked on them with someone walking me through the process, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I haven’t had much exposure, but when I do get exposure I find myself getting lost in it. I could see it easily becoming an obsession for me.
So today when I am excitedly introducing my love to things about things that I love, that I know he’ll love too, I heard that voice. I heard it and I worked hard not to let it take over. It was a rough thing to do. It caused anxiety. It caused me to feel bad. When I found myself lost in Teslas on Pinterest, I couldn’t help but to worry.
I worried that he would judge me because I like cars. I worried that he would think I am not “girly” enough. I worried that he would think that I am “trying too hard” to like what he likes. So much worry. Even though I realize that he is not the one saying any of this. Even though I realize that he loves the fact that I get excited by car and truck shows. I know that he loves I am not afraid to get dirty, even though he hasn’t let me yet. I know all these truths about him.
I know that even though I feel like we have nothing in common, but in reality there is one thing we have more in common than he realizes, and I cannot for the life of me bring me to allowing me to enjoy this. I just cannot seem to let loose and just enjoy the fact that cars make me happy.
Literally, right now, at this very moment 11:40 a.m. my youngest son comes over and shows me a video of gas powered RC cars, and I said, “We should all have our own RC cars and race them”. We all agreed that, that would be fun. I found my self saying, “You know what I wasn’t allowed to because…you know what read my blog later and it’ll make sense to you”.
You see that is the thing that always trips me up, “I like this. No wait I don’t like this. I am not supposed to like this. he won’t like you if you like boy things. He wants a lady not a man. Only a gay man wants a girl who likes boy things”.
I used to let it win. Now I am exhausted more because I am consciously fighting it. I am trying to squash every bad thought and feeling right away. Using a technique I learned in counseling called, “Reality Therapy”.
Reality Therapy is really self explanatory; you walk through reality to over come thinking that is in response to whatever trigger you have just encountered (my explanation according to how I use it). So sitting here so excited that I can finally bring my love into my world because I know that part of my world he will really enjoy, although I subscribe to high-end luxury car Instagram accounts, I don’t really “follow” any. I can’t tell you what’s new or any of the specs. I have a feeling though if I overcame this and let myself be “lost” in this, with ability to hyper focus, thank you Autism/ADHD for that, I could probably talk your ear off, literally, about luxury cars.
Cheap cars don’t do it for me! I like fast! A Lambo would be nice. Actually make that a Demon series Challenger! My dream car is an 08-13 (anywhere in there) Dodge Challenger. I would paint mine mint or sea-foam green. It would have pastel pink racing stripes. It would have a Hemi engine and instead of RT (yes I would change it), it would have MD—#dreams, right?!
Anyway, I will never understand who determined or why they did, what was “boy” and “girl” stuff. Maybe if stuff was just stuff and people were allowed to enjoy what makes them happy, there wouldn’t be so many questioning who they are. Maybe we should just let the little girl play with that toy car, maybe she’ll be the female Elon Musk one day. Let the little boy play with a baby doll, maybe he’ll be married to that female Elon Musk some day and he’ll be at home raising the babies.
You just never know how your child’s life will go. You shouldn’t dictate it according to the way you think things should be. Just let them become who they are meant to become. Allow them, encourage them, give them the tools necessary, don’t hold them back. Whatever it takes to help them along their own individual journey.
Chaos stole my memories.
I’ve heard it so many times from so many people. They think that I can’t hear them or read the words they write:
“It’s all for attention.”
“Stop with the pity party.”
“Just get over it.”
“The past is in the past.”
On-and-on they go. They think they are helping. On the contrary though, those phrases make it worse. The feeling of being unheard and invalidated is not a feeling I long to have.
You see, what you and they don’t understand is, when I speak it isn’t only for me, it’s for everyone else who has been hurt like me. The worse thing about being the victim of hidden abuses is no one ever wants to believe it happened. Why? Mainly because the people who know you also knew your abusers as “good people”.
The stories victims of hidden abuses tell are not for attention. Most of us will never ever speak, and never free ourselves from the crushing vices that are placed around our lives. We through no choice of our own were children of the “good people” that were so good at fooling everyone.
Writing it out is my therapy now. It is the things I was supposed to work towards in my recovery; being okay with speaking up not fearing what others might think of me. To not be ashamed of what made me, but to embrace it, own it, and to do something with it.
I have always firmly believed that God allows us to have the journey we’ve had to help someone else.
After the life I have lived if I didn’t believe that my suffering was for the better good I wouldn’t be sitting here today telling you my stories. I wouldn’t be sharing my struggles, my victory, my creative healing ways.
These stories are not easy for me to tell. They make me angry and sad. They bring out things in me I didn’t even know I was capable of doing or feeling. I used to feel embarrassment and shame from speaking up about my life, but I’ve grown. I now know and understand that the shame is not mine it is theirs.
So if one day you’re reading this and you read grammatically incorrect (more than it already is) and you feel it’s just incoherent rambling, remember this I’m probably in the middle of a PTSD attack, and have doctors orders to “Yell” at my computer and if it makes me feel better to know that someone is listening hit publish, if not just leave it as a note on my desktop. Either way I can’t yell at my family anymore.
I’m pretty certain if you’re reading this blog it’s because in some way you feel you can relate. That chances are you were searching PTSD or CPTSD (complex PTSD) and found me. Maybe you found me on Instagram. Wherever and however you found me, I believe you are here for a reason. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Welcome to my journey. My online “journal” you might say. It’s real here. I’m me always. I want everyone to know that you are not alone. I thought I was and that this was a waste of my time, but I know it’s not.
When you hear my panic. When you find yourself not understanding what the big deal is. When you can’t understand the way I respond remember this; every action and reaction I have when even the slightest bit upset is because of someone else’s actions in my past…
Thank you to @mylightshinesbright for this comment on my IG today. You have made my day and you encourage me to keep going and to speak more.
Our traumas might not be exactly the same, but trauma is trauma nonetheless.
Stay strong trauma warriors! We can do this! We are not alone! I am here for you!