Tag Archives: hidden abuse survivor

B-25 Days

01/20/2021

I was challenged to do a black and white photo so here it is. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to write this blog. I was going to do it B-29 Days, but life happens and I’m not one of those hands-off parents and partners, so I definitely got distracted. So here it is, B-25 Days.

In 25 days I will be 36. I cannot believe that I’m going to 36. This past year even though has been difficult and hard and any other word that is a synonym for ‘shitty’ will work. Any word and I mean any is what this 1 year of pandemic.

I have been joking about how last year was the first year I let my fiancé take me out for my birthday. Ugh! I have this whole issue with money being spent on me that I just cannot seem to kick; I mean I did grow up hearing, “get a job” anytime I wanted or even needed something, so I guess it’s no shock that I’d be this hung up on money being spent on me. But, anyway he and our sons said, “the world wouldn’t collapse”. Next thing we know we’re being locked down and the world literally came to a halt.

Now I clearly don’t believe that it had to do with me going out for my birthday, but joking this way about it is somehow making it a little less “bad” to be celebrated. It’s like finding that irony in the situation I guess. That laughable moment; I guess.

As I’ve stated before it’s hard to go through the Holiday season and this past Thanksgiving it was rough, but Christmas/NYE were way better for me than years past. I had a few hiccups, but no major incidents and that is a huge victory for me! Getting through those times are so hard, I did it though. So much so that I didn’t want wait to open more gifts that were delivered (if you know me it’s usually quite the opposite reaction; fear, terror, a feeling of I don’t deserve this). So I’d say huge progress in 2020.

Getting through my birthday and the days leading up to my birthday can be real hard. There are lots of emotions. There’s a lot of grief (at least there was). There’s weird feelings in being celebrated. I desire it like anyone else does, but I fear it so much. Because I don’t want to get used to liking the feeling of being celebrated and loved just for it all to go away. I’m so scared to let myself fully be loved, because I’m scared this love will just up and go away, and I don’t want to live a life without love.

So I’m counting down the days and hoping that I can get to a place of enjoyment of my 36th birthday because I really do love my new life and I want to get myself to a place where I am willing to be loved again. I don’t want to freak out and run when someone gets “too close” to me. I don’t want to “push them away before they can push me away”, I want to be willing be loved and feel love again.

This damn trip down memory lane has been a real hell of a ride. I’m glad I’ve went on it because I’m feeling freedom from things, at the same time I feel some guilt and remorse for how I’ve been the last couple years. I know it’s “normal and completely necessary in order to heal and move forward from all the pain and hurt”, but it doesn’t mean I can’t feel remorse for some of the things I’ve said and ways I’ve acted.

I know that my Bipolar has a lot to do with how I handle stress, and now because of therapy today that I’m just, “…stuck in a loop again because of exposure to a trigger over the last few weeks”, and I’m completely confident that my therapist can break this “loop” again. I’m so much stronger than the other times we’ve had to break it. I hate hypomania, it really is a really twisty windy bumpy road.

I’m going to work really hard to snap myself out of this depressed state, because I’m only depressed because I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable, I’ve chosen to walk away from the people who created/raised me, I’ve left the toxic behind…I’ve allowed myself to grieve what didn’t have and what I had and lost. So I feel like I’m stuck in this depression and I don’t know how to get out.

I’m going to fight real hard to break it before my birthday because I want to enjoy it like I did last year, even if the end of the world came and it was a lot of effort to get me out of the house, I still enjoyed myself once we did leave.

I celebrate everyone I love and I realize that I am robbing them of the chance love me the way I love them…it’s not okay to rob someone of the chance to love. So I have to fight hard this year to get over this and through this birthday.

Maybe it would help if Valentine’s Day wasn’t the day before.

“You better make sure he can afford you Kelly”

I have ALWAYS been in love with Tiffany & Co., I have two designers I had always wanted to own a product by; Michael Kors and Tiffany.

As little girl and teen I would often bring up wanting to just visit a Tiffany store. I mean Tiffany Blue is like the perfect color, it’s my favorite. It’s got the perfect levels of green and blue mixed together to give it that beautiful romantic soft blue color. I just love the color of Tiffany Blue!

When I would bring this up I would hear, “Kelly you better find a man that can take care of you.” I didn’t understand what that meant. I would also hear it when I would mention that I wanted to wear more dresses, or I’d hear, “Who are you trying to impress? You better hope and pray someone can afford you some day.” It made me feel terrible about being me. It made me feel like liking nice things was this bad thing. Liking wearing a dress and maybe a tiny bit of makeup or doing my hair was just to gain someone’s attention. That wearing and liking nice things was a bad thing.

And here I am today scared to death to be me. To like Tiffany, to like wearing dresses, to like being “dressed up” even with no where to go. I feel like being “girly” is a bad thing. It was literally bad thing for me to be a girl in my family. It wasn’t embraced at all.

I was made fun of, disciplined for normal emotions and I still struggle today with being okay with normal emotions (I punish myself for having normal emotions now, no one needs to do it for me), made to fend for myself “survival of the fittest” it was in our house, that was thrown around a lot.

I was a sexually abused child who had some mental health problems that no one even cared to deal with, just laugh at me and make fun of me. Tell me that I was, “too girly, too sensitive, too…” there is too much to even write here.

My main point of this is I’m too scared to be me, to like what I like without apologies, without hesitation. I just can’t though even though I know the truth is, that I would “dress up” nearly every day if I thought it wouldn’t get me made fun of, someone wouldn’t assume I’m seeking the attention of people, if I could guarantee that I won’t hear any of the stuff I heard growing up.

I just want to be comfortable with the one Michael Kors bag I bought myself and the desire to own more and the desire to own Tiffany (more than just this piece, this is just my favorite. My love actually had a custom made infinity necklace for me one year for my birthday, I love it too!), nice clothes, wear makeup, do my hair, or whatever it is I want to do. I just want to be confident and be the woman I feel I am. I’m want to do it confidently and without fear.

I just don’t know how too.

Day One

I have to start somewhere. Why not day 1?

First time I am taking medication for anxiety. First time it’s during the day. I hope this isn’t a placebo effect. I haven’t woke up feeling this well in a long time.

I diffused two situations with my boys this morning all before 9 am. And guess what I didn’t raise my voice. I used a technique that I was taught in therapy to use little words. I actually did it.

I kept it together twice. The second time more tense than the first, but I did it. I shut down the behavior, diffused the situation, and kept my cool.

I really hope this isn’ a temporary thing. I haven’t felt this relaxed in a very long time.

Not Only

Last night I actually slept.

Not only did I sleep I dreamt.

No only did I dream I remembered my dream.

Not only did I remember my dream, I awoke with a smile.

Whoever said, “sleep is overrated”, has never walked a day in my shoes.

Sleep is not “overrated” it’s a beautiful wonderful thing, when it doesn’t torture you.

How come?

How come?

How can I see that others deserve it?

How can I not think I do?

How can it not be okay for someone else to go through but okay for me?

How can I not see that what I would fight for someone else for I myself am worthy of?

How come I was not only shown but told that I wasn’t worth my basic rights?

How come I’m failure?

How come I’m a loser?

How come I’ll never be anything more than, “a lazy fat bitch”?

How come?

I took this picture a while ago. It seems fitting for this though.

Parenting my Unruly Inner Child

That phrase, “you’re bringing out the inner child in me”, is familiar and usually said when something is making you giddy and excited and happy. We know that when we hear these words someone really likes what is happening. What if I told you that your inner child is not just something sparked by a fun filled exciting moment, but for many people their inner child is a direct result of childhood trauma of some kind.

Maybe this person was in a bad car accident or was injured in some kind of way. Maybe a parent or loved one died and that child was traumatized by that loss. Maybe for some like me that trauma was long, hidden, and multiple different forms. Whatever the trauma was it is still trauma nonetheless. What is traumatic to you might not be traumatic to me and what’s traumatic to me not be traumatic to you. Trauma is just as unique as being an individual is; it comes in many different sizes, shapes, and forms and is open to interpretation by the person or person experiencing it.

For me my inner child is independent and fierce. She takes no shit from anyone because she has taken too much already. My inner child is less insecure than before, but still insecure. She is scared. She is loud. She is stubborn. She is her own person. Sometimes a word or a color or a smell or a show or a song, or any number of things can trigger her. She begins to panic and she has no clue what to do. She just talk and cries and tries to make sense of it all. Not only is my inner child scared, but she in confused.

She is waiting and expecting someone to tell her to, “shut” her “loud mouth and just be quiet. You are to be seen not heard and I keep hearing you when I should just be seeing you”. She expects that every word that comes out of her mouth will be disregarded and laughed at. She fears if she says, “No” then she won’t be liked. She fears that if she says that, “I don’t like that” or, “I don’t enjoy that”, or any number of things that convey that convey she isn’t liking something that she will automatically be called a “complainer” and told to, “just stay home next time” or to, “just play by your damn self, fuck!”

She feels that she is everyone’s burden and that no one could ever really want to take care of her or to help her out without expecting something in return, so she strives to be even more independent and self-sufficient. She doesn’t even know who she is besides Kelly. Her name is her identity. She really finds her peace and joy in what everyone else loves, even if she doesn’t particularly find it interesting, she was taught to enjoy it, or else no more…ever. She makes a mess of things.

I never had anyone really parent me. I was hit with brushes, had cigarettes put out on my skin, I was beat with a dog leash (blog post on that), I was hungry, I was made to stand in the corner for 8+ hours (without food or beverage or bathroom breaks), I was sexually assaulted repeatedly and for the most part it was allowable my mom knew she say “stop”, but yeah, “we all” had “to live here, Kelly” was a popular thing to say. You see there was so much. When I’d get birthday money they’d take it. When I got a job, I paid their bills I heard, “please KellBell buy my this I love you”…I was a 12 you assholes, 12!

When I got a bigger paychecks, when I upgraded from babysitting to a tax paying job I transitioned into paying their bills. When I turned 18 I found out that they had used my name, DOB, and SSN for utilities and satellite and I had bad credit and terrible debt before I had even turned 18 and I am 35 ad I am still paying for it. Not fair. Not cool. Don’t like. But what can I do? Pay it or remain in their debt and control for the rest of my life? Fuck that shit! I have dreams. I have goals. I am almost out of debt (minus student loans, which don’t even get me started on that). I was always home alone or trying to find a friend to stay with.

We didn’t have a working land-line phone so I never was one of those girls or teenagers that would get phone calls or be on the phone. I actually hate being on the phone it causes me so much anxiety. We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t always have gas for heat, cooking, and hot water. We didn’t always have food. We didn’t always have toilet paper. We didn’t always have electricity. We didn’t get new clothes (well my brother did). We had roaches galore, not because we were dirty, but it’s a real problem when you live that close to neighbors. My mom was a clean freak.

We had mice. Mice so bad I would hear them in my ceiling of my room in the basement while I was sleeping. I would wake up to dead roaches and once a mouse in my water or beverage I had on my night stand. I have woke up with mice on my pillow next to me. The flea problem was terrible too. Oh my goodness the fleas and all the freaking animals we had.

I did not have a childhood like most people do. It was chaotic and stressful and so hard to get through. It was painful. It hurt. I was made fun of and picked on and hurt by the very people I trusted to keep me safe from all those things. The people that I wanted to love on me when someone at school was so mean to me, not tell me “wha wha wha everybody hates me, nobody likes me, going to the garden, going to eat some worms”…yep whenever I was hurting that was the response. My other favorite responses to my pain and suffering was, “here’s a quarter why don’t you call someone who cares?” You know what happens when your bullies are your parents too? You learn to shut your fucking mouth because what you feel or have to say means jack diddly squat and you just figure it out on your own. Because you were already shown that if you aren’t silent you might have cigarettes put out on your skin (my parents didn’t smoke another trusted adult or two did though) or be made fun of.

I’m parenting her though now. It is so hard to try and be 35 and an adult and also be a child in so many ways. I have tried so hard to teach her and correct her. I realize now that my love is kind of parenting her too. I mean lets be honest here if he wasn’t brave enough to deal with the consequences of telling me, “No”, or what he thinks it is I should be or not be doing (no one ever has) just so I am happy, healthy, and safe (literally my best interest at heart) then I wouldn’t be growing. You see no one has ever told me what I should do. What I should eat. What I should wear. I was just pretty much left to fend for myself, like way more than I could ever express with the word “a” and “lot”. I was abandoned and a show put on in front of people.

My inner child has needed a lot of molding and shaping. There is one area still that I am finding myself childlike and that is how I handle frustration. I have panic disorder and oh boy do I panic quick. I go 0-100 in no time some times. I have medicated with the guidance of my doctor and it does help. I now can go sometimes a whole week without an episode. Usually at least one day a week I panic about something. I am working on correcting this in me. This is still the one area I am growing. My love is amazingly patient and helpful. Even when I cannot see what it is he does for me or how much he loves me, because I think in those moments everyone hates me and is going to hurt me and leave me. He, even though hard on him, gets me through it.

You know I keep reminding him how sorry I am for all the bumps in the road and how hard I am to love. I am not sure I can ever apologize enough for being me. I am messed up and through no fault of my own. I literally taught myself everything I know. I watched people in the distance and decided what I liked and didn’t like. I knew that I needed to be less like my mom and more like the woman who opened her home to me so much. I needed to be like the women at church that I admired. No one showed me how to do any of it though. No one even showed me how to be a girl, but they did try to make me a man, which I am not. I am actually really gentle and kind and loving and warm, and I kind of like feeling like a princess (but I won’t let anyone treat me like a princess).

I am going to keep parenting this last hurdle I have with my inner child. She is going to learn that it is 100% okay for her to be loved the way she loves. She is going to learn that she is worthy and wanted and respected. She is going to learn that she can do it all just because of the man who stepped up to love her and to help her parent her inner child. It will never fall short on me just how big of a had my love has played in the growth in me. I didn’t need him to save me, but he did and he still is. For the first time in my life he isn’t the only one saving me though…I am saving me. i

Okay

They’re okay.

He’s okay.

I’m okay.

We’re okay.

Okay?!

Used to…

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.

A long note to anyone…

(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?

Consequences!

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!

“Stop screaming!”

Whack! Whack! Whack!

“Stop please!”

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!