Warrior Princess

October 28, 2004


Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 12:11 pm

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”~ Herbert Ward

I feel the need to backtrack a bit. It occurred to me yesterday that I hadn’t mentioned the physical abuse my father meted out to me. There were a lot of instances, but I won’t bore you with all of them. To be honest, I’m not sure i could stand to detail the ones I remember.

One of the clearest early memories of abuse happened when I was six (I think that’s correct). As I think I mentioned before, I was a very precocious child. My father told me shortly before he died that he was amazed at my intellectual abilities. He said that, by the time I was two, if anyone asked me a question, I answered like an adult. My therapist thinks it’s because I knew even then what I had to do to survive.

My dad was really into developing my intelligence, so he got me a series of workbooks for math, reading and vocabulary. I was great with reading and vocabulary–far above grade level. Math was more difficult and I was only a little above the first grade level.

One weekend, he was making me work in the third grade math workbook. I tried and tried, but I just wasn’t intellectually up to the challenge. That’s when the unpleasantness began. He began to scream at me and, when that didn’t make me perform any better, he began to hit me. As I think I mentioned before, my dad was never satisfied with terrifying you once; he would stretch the terror out over as long a period of time as possible. He left the room and told me I’d better have it completed before he came back. Of course, if there was ever any hope that I’d be able to complete the work, that was completely out of the question then.

It went on for a while, possibly all day…he’d scream and hit me, leave the room, scream and hit me. It always infuriated him when I cried (unless I was crying out of pity for him). That meant that every time he came back and caught me crying, he had an excuse to escalate the level of violence. Sometime during the day, I looked beseechingly at my mom. My father said to me, “Don’t look at her. She can’t help you.” As usual, I’m uncertain exactly how it all ended, but it did at some point. There was definitely a down side to being intelligent.

The other times he always liked to hit me was just before he would take photographs of me. Isn’t that weird? He’d point the camera and decide that I wasn’t smiling enough, wasn’t posing properly. I don’t know. It was always something. so he’d come over and hit me however many times it took for him to get the photo he wanted. I hate all of the photos from my childhood. If you look closely, you can see tears in my eyes in every one of them. To this day, I hate being photographed.

I remember an oatmeal incident that occurred around the age of five. I hated oatmeal. I still hate oatmeal; it’s gummy. I would start to gag everytime I tried to eat it. My dad became enraged; he said it was because he was so poor when he was my age that he’d have been thrilled to get oatmeal. So it began. Screaming, hitting, leaving. Coming back, screaming, hitting, leaving. By that time, I had discovered that, if I had control over nothing else, I absolutely had control over what I put in my body. I have to admit that I settled in for the long haul. I was by god not going to eat the damn oatmeal…no matter the consequences. I remember that the struggle went on all day. Finally, at the end of the day, he relented. I did not eat the fucking oatmeal.

Lots of other incidents come to mind, but what would be the point of telling them? The important salient facts are that he loved to torture people and he didn’t care how small they were. My dad was over six feet tall. My mom was a little over five feet. I certainly wasn’t anywhere near that big. At some point, it became very clear to me that he was allowed to hit me because he was bigger than I. There was no real reason for it. Maybe I got on his nerves. maybe I looked at him the wrong way. All of those were just excuses for my father to have a little fun.

October 27, 2004


Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 12:10 pm

I’m better now than yesterday. I’ll try to continue.

The fifth grade. while I was staying away from school and attempting to elicit some comfort from television, I was also acting out sexually (in a peculiar way). I had two close friends at the time and I sent them a series of letters. I told them I was pregnant with a child by a boy in one of our classes. I have no idea what prompted that. I suppose it was another fantasy that someone somewhere loved me and wished to be part of my family. They never replied to those letters, as I recall. when I finally made my way back to school, those friends were gone. They wouldn’t even look at me. Somehow i was not suprised. I was profoundly alone with my depression.

One of my teachers that I’d had when i was 9 was then teaching 5th grade. She called me in to her classroom after everyone else had gone and asked me what was going on. I believed that she was judging me, just like everyone else. I told her that nothing was going on. That’s the first time that I remember being angry about the way i was being treated. In retrospect, I think it’s possible she was really just trying to be helpful. I was unable to accept help then. There was too much danger associated with telling the truth. My parents were bound to find out if I did and, who knew, maybe the threat of institutionalization might become a reality this time.

There was another little girl who shared the same birthday with me. We had been in school together since the first grade, but we weren’t really friends. We had had joint birthday parties before, so her mom called my mom and suggested that we do it again. My mom said okay. She told me that I needed to get a list of people I wanted to invite to the party. I didn’t have anyone to invite, having become a social paraiah. But I didn’t want to have to tell my mom.

As the time for the party grew closer, I desperately tried to think of a way to get out of going. I may have even floated some trial baloons to see if I could persuade my mom to not make me go. If i did, they didn’t work. On the day of the party, my mom drove me over to the girl’s house. She had probably five or six friends there. Her mom was surprised that no one was coming to celebrate my birthday. I was miserable. I ate the cake, watched my birthday twin open her presents and got through it all.

I think my mom was puzzled when she found out I hadn’t invited anyone, but I doubt that I offered any explanation. I was a precocious and creative child, but I was so emotionally dead at that point that I’m sure I couldn’t have come up with an explanation if i’d tried. Besides, what would I have said? “You and dad have screwed up my life so much that I started creating fantasies to help me continue living?” I don’t think so.

The year trudged on. I sat by myself in the lunchroom, I stood outside by myself when I got to school early. At some point, I guess I couldn’t stand the isolation anymore. I struck up a relationship of sorts with another outcast. She was a very large girl, both in height and weight. That may have been why she was rejected, but I’m not certain. I started hanging out with her during those awful times when I wasn’t in a classroom. I somehow felt that I was doing her a favor. I believed that even though I was a pariah, I was less of a pariah than she. Yeah, I know. Creepy. Or maybe just delusional.

I doubt that she liked me any better than I liked her. I invited her over to my house at some point that year. I can’t imagine what possessed me to do such a thing. We had moved to another house than the one I lived in when I started fifth grade. (We moved around a lot, but as my mom likes to point out, it was usually just a block away from the last house we lived in.) For some reason, when we moved, we didn’t really bring any furniture with us. I recall that there was a television (one of those console types that also had a record player/radio) and a mattress in the living room. We did have a dining room table. I shared my bedroom with my mom, since my dad was sleeping with his (then) wife. (But that’s another story for another time.)

The next week, several people came up and asked me why we didn’t have any furniture. I don’t know what I said, but I didn’t invite anyone else over until I was 17. I gave up the pretense of liking the child who was spreading the info around the school. I don’t think I ever spoke to her again. It was back to hanging out by myself and hopelessly enduring.

October 26, 2004

In Which I Take A Step Back From the Abyss

Yesterday’s exploration of my father’s suicide and my own attempt probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had lately. Today I’m feeling so down. I’ve been trying to think of something I can do for myself today. I haven’t called my therapist, but if I did, I know she’d ask me what I’m going to do to take care of myself today. Right now, the answer is: Not talk about my father or my past. Beyond that, I have no idea.

I’ve been hiding in my office this week. I’m reluctant to venture out when I’m feeling fragile. There’s that guy who likes to walk up behind me so he can make me gasp. The more I think about that, the more pissed off it makes me. I’m waiting for the next time he does it (and oh yes, there will be another time) to have a come to jesus meeting with him. Unlike others in my office, if I’m feeling down or testy, I just don’t venture out. I hate spreading my bad mood around the office. Did that sound snotty? I really don’t care today…I am snotty.

We finally got some anti-viral software installed here at work. The computer guy has no idea what he’s doing. I was actually hopeful when I walked in on monday and turned on my computer. Definitive proof that I’m either losing my mind or just losing iq points. I started having problems immediately. It took me about 30 minutes to figure out what he’d done to fuck it up. Then other people started calling me to ask me how to fix their problems. Everybody (well, mostly everybody) wants to get someone who actually knows something about computers, but the owner of the company wants the guy to stay because he’s almost dead. At a certain point, apparently one gets so old that no one wants to fire you, even though you can’t find your ass with two hands and a compass. Oh dear. I guess my depression is manifesting as irritation today.

I took another office kitty to be neutered today. I’m going to try to get the nutty mom kitty and her ailing baby in to the vet tomorrow morning. I’m just going to have to bring nutty mom home after she’s spayed because she belongs to someone in the neighborhood. I wouldn’t normally even consider getting a cat spayed without the owner’s permission, but having a rapid succession of pregnancies is going to kill the poor thing if I don’t do something. My boss just takes them to the vet and never brings them back. I know for a fact that at least one of the cats he did that with actually had a family. If I take the cats in, I’ll at least bring them back so they can be with their people again.

I did the voting thing today. I voted for Kerry/Edwards and a spate of Democrats running for other state offices. If there was no Democrat to vote for, I voted for the Libertarian candidate. I know they tend to be far, far right wing. My general position on government is that I want them to butt out of my personal life. Just the fact that I’m required by law to wear a seat belt pisses me off. I think it’s a violation of my constitutional rights. We have a city ordinance requiring helmets for bicycle riders. That makes me crazy. You know, if I want to run the risk of dying, that is my absolute, god-given existential right that no government should be wasting its time trying to stop me. Feel good laws. They don’t really do anything particularly constructive, but it allows out lawmakers to avoid the serious, but highly controversial and complex, issues they should be focused on. I was going to get around to complaining about a new public transportation initiative on the ballot, but it appears I’ve run out of time. I’ll get around to that and to the issue of toll roads at another time.

quote of the day:”Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”~H. L. Mencken

October 25, 2004

My Own Good Reasons For a Suicide

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Suicide — ggirl @ 11:54 am

“No one ever lacks good reasons for suicide.” ~ Cesare Pavese

“It would be hard to define chaos better than as a world where children decide they don’t want to live. “~Edward Hoagland, “Heaven and Nature”

Today is the anniversary of my father’s suicide. I was considering starting this entry with a Sylvia Plath quote, but I couldn’t bear to read any of her poems. Too bad. She’s the perfect source for quotes of self-destruction.

On this day, my father left his house while my mother was on the phone, got his gun, went to a neighbor’s house and asked for a bullet (my mom had hidden them all) “to kill a snake,” stepped outside on the neighbor’s lawn and shot himself to death.

I used to think killing oneself was the existential right of every being. I still believe that, but the cost of checking out is unbearably high for those of us left behind. I tried to commit suicide once and I’ve had suicidal thoughts for months on end, at times. After my father’s death, I decided that, no matter how much I needed to escape, there would be no escape as long as there were people who would suffer from that destruction. It is, without question, the worst injury one can inflict on people who love you.

In honor of my father’s death, I will share my own attempt. I was 11 years old. Life had become unbearable in so many ways. My father had taken up with the neighborhood girl and the violence in my house was escalating to a level that left me in a continuous state of terror, nothing I tried could fix any of it. I so needed comfort and respite from the agony of getting up and going to school every day and pretending that everything was just fine. My mom was working, so I came home every day to a cold and empty house. We had space heaters and I wasn’t allowed to turn them on by myself, so I spent a couple of hours every day being miserably cold. As a matter of fact, every day had begun to seem dark and cold.

I decided one day that I just couldn’t show up at school that day. I stayed home, lay on the living room floor, covered with blankets and watched “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke show.” It wasn’t much in the way of comfort, but it was all I had. I don’t really recall how long I stayed away from school, but it was long enough for the school to notice. They called my mom at work one day. When she came home, she was furious with me.

When my father came home, she told him. He called me into the bathroom where he was taking a dump and had me stand there while he raged at me. My father loved to have people come stand in the bathroom while he was pooping, but he especially loved it when he was angry. It was a profoundly demeaning act. I don’t recall how long I stood there, petrified, or what he said to me. I think there was some reference once again to committing me to a mental institution…always one of my dad’s favorites.

There was nothing to be done about it; I was going to have to go to school the next day. After my mother left that morning, I searched around for some method of dying. Part of my problem was that, if I wasn’t successful, I was terrified of what might happen. There would be plenty of punishment meted out for attempting to kill myself. I lit upon the idea of sleeping pills. My dad always had over the counter sleeping pills around. I didn’t know how many it would take to kill myself, since I was just a novice 11 year old. I took as many as I dared; I didn’t want anyone to know I had done that if it didn’t work. For good measure, I took off my shoes and didn’t wear a coat as I walked the four blocks or so to school. It was January and a cold, raw wind blew through my clothes. The sky was dark. I remember there was a robin in the schoolyard as I walked up to the door.

By the time I made it to math class, the pills were making their way into my bloodstream. Unfortunately, being an amateur, I was unaware that it’s best to eat something before you take the pills. Otherwise you’ll throw up and waste the opportunity. I was standing at the blackboard, trying to do a math problem when I started to gag. I knew no one was going to send me home or have any sympathy for me whatsoever. Best just to try to keep anyone from knowing what was going on. I threw up and a bit of it got on my blue pleated skirt. I managed to swallow the rest. I spent the rest of the day walking around with vomit on myself. I think I was pretty spaced out, but I just kept swallowing whatever arose and putting one foot in front of the other.

Several of my teachers felt justified in making snide remarks in front of everyone in the class. The fact that I had missed an (apparently) extraordinary number of school days was worthy of attack on an eleven year old.  I did not respond. I hated them. I hated myself. I just wanted to die and get out of everyone’s way. No such luck.

October 24, 2004

Alcoholism Revisited

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood, Marriage, Suicide — ggirl @ 11:45 am

Tuesday and Wednesday I went with my husband to the coast. I was able to escape my sadness for a couple of days. It was so wonderful to be near the ocean again; it’s one of the only things I miss about leaving the town where i grew up.

My husband talked with my stepson last night and found out he’s having marital difficulties. I’d been concerned for several years about the amount of alcohol my stepson (I’ll call him norman) consumes. However, I recognize that i have a thing about alcohol, because it was always one of the things that provoked my father to violence when I was a child.

As it turns out, I had good reason to be concerned, though. Norman told my husband that he’s had a couple of bed-wetting incidents when he was drunk. This past weekend, he was supposed to be playing somewhere, but when he got onstage, he was so loaded that he threw up on himself and then passed out. It wasn’t the first time this has happened, either. This weekend, his wife went on stage to check his pulse and couldn’t find one so she called 911. When the emt’s arrived, they told her he was just wasted. His wife has been unhappy with him over this issue for some time and I guess this weekend pushed her over the edge. She’s going to go somewhere this weekend (Saturday is their wedding anniversary) and mull this over. I find all of this very alarming. It really indicates that there is a serious alcohol problem here.

Norman told my husband he’s thinking of “getting some help.” Unfortunately, thinking about it isn’t going to solve anything. His wife told him that she’s tired of hearing him say he’s going to address the problem and then not doing anything about it. My husband is optimistic that this may help Norman get it together and stop drinking. I hope so, too. He’s a musician and plays in bars, so I anticipate some problems right off the bat. Furthermore, it generally takes a few tries to really get to the point that someone is able to do the difficult, ongoing work of learning to live without the addiction. As a former smoker, I know how hard battling an addiction can be. I’m so sorry that I was right about his problems with alcohol. It’s one of those times when you really wish you could be overreacting.

Monday is the anniversary of my dad’s suicide. since I’ve been trying to get my history down on paper, I vaccilate between guilt over not having been there to stop him and anger over the many, many ways he fucked up my life. Suicide was just the final fuck over. As I write this, I can feel the anger rising up inside of me. Emotions can be so inconvenient. I’m at work; I can’t have a meltdown right now. I have to calm down now, maybe I’ll have more to say later.

October 21, 2004

A Small Bright Spot

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 11:53 am

“It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)French statesman and soldier (Emperor: 1804-1815)

It is with great trepidation that I begin to recount the period of my life extending from the time I was ten till I was eighteen and moved out of my parents’ house. As I look back on it, I’m amazed I managed to survive and/or managed not to murder someone. I was actually able to talk at some length about this time to my therapist last week. It appears that there is, indeed, some value to this retrospective.

I don’t feel quite up to just wading in today. I’ve decided to recount the only positive thing that happened during the year I turned twelve. Just how pathetic that is will soon become apparent.

Once again, my uncle reappeared on the scene, without wife or twin boys he fathered. He seems to have just abandoned them. They were probably fortunate that he did. He stayed at my parents house while my dad helped him find a job and lent him money until he had some of his own. my grandmother didn’t accompany him for some reason. One of the things I recall about this visit is his comment to me that I would be pregnant before I graduated high school. You cannot imagine how much this still raises my blood pressure. I wonder if he anticipated taking care of that job himself. He did buy a ring for me during that visit. I suspect it was a form of bribery, but it did him absolutely no good.

There came a day when he and I were at my house alone. I was very wary and trying to keep my distance. At some point, he grabbed me and started tickling me. I could see where this was headed. As soon as I was able, I escaped, ran out to an old truck parked in our backyard, got in and locked the doors. I was terrified, but I was also committed to not letting him abuse me ever again. He could no longer pick me up and force me to allow the abuse. He came out of the house and banged on the windows of the truck for a while and then went away. I stayed in the truck for quite some time, in fear that I would get out and just encounter him again. Finally, I came out of the truck and he was gone. I can’t remember if the pregnant remark came before or after that incident. It was the last time he ever touched me. I recognize what a victory that was and what courage it took.

Sometime after that, he moved out and started to live with an aunt of mine who had moved to the city in which I lived. She had a little girl herself at that time. What a coincidence. My aunt told my mom that she thought he’d raped some woman while he was living with her. There was some news about a woman being raped and then, according to her, he refused to go out of the house for a couple of weeks. Incidentally, this aunt told my mother a couple of days after my dad’s suicide that my dad had raped her when she was a teenager. Great timing. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that was the case. I’ve always thought my dad was sexually abused by his father. I know for a fact that one of his sisters was; my grandmother and the rest of the children hated her because of it. That was the aunt who was institutionalized several times. I’ve also wondered if my grandmother wasn’t committing a little abuse herself. I’ll never know the answers to those questions. Anyone who could tell me (other than the abusive uncle) is now dead and, even if they weren’t, I could never trust information I got from anyone in that family.

I saw my uncle again briefly when my grandmother became ill for the last time. I worked at a political fundraising company at the time and it was difficult for me to get away to see her, but I caught a plane and arrived at the hospital at about 10 in the evening. I saw the family members camped out in one of the waiting rooms, but I just kept walking and found my grandmother’s room. I sat with her for a while and then my dad wanted me to go out to the waiting room and greet everyone. Yes, he knew at that point that I’d been repeatedly sexually abused by this uncle. I refused to honor his demands. Needless to say, he was angry with me and pointed out to me that my intractability was really making this terrible situation worse for him.

The last time I saw my uncle was at my grandmother’s funeral. He stood directly behind her casket at the mortuary, holding his daugher’s hand. It literally turned my stomach. I had no doubt he was using her sexually. I never exchanged a word with him, nor did I even look in his direction until I saw flash bulbs going off. He was photographing my grandmother in her casket.

When my father killed himself, my mother never heard anything from him. One of my cousins called him and my uncle said that he didn’t want to call because he’d just end up paying for the funeral expenses. He didn’t call because he knew I might well be confrontational. I had dreaded my father’s death for so long because I was afraid I’d have to bar him from coming to the funeral. at least I didn’t have to do that. By the way, I paid for the funeral. Asshole. I hope he lives a very long life and suffers every single day of it. No, I haven’t forgiven and I don’t think I ever will.

October 15, 2004

Deeper Into Darkness

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 11:45 am

“I shall despair. There is no creature loves me; And if I die no soul will pity me: And wherefore should they, since that I myself Find in myself no pity to myself.” ~ William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Richard III, V.iii

The summer I was ten, things were unravelling quickly in my life. I had become fearful of leaving my house because I thought I might be able to intervene if my father became violent. Sometimes I seemed to be able to stop things, but I’m no longer certain whether that was just a delusion. I know that I came to a great realization that year which forever altered my relationship with my father.
Ever since I could remember, my father would, from time to time, start talking to me about “my poor old daddy” who was going to die alone. It always broke my heart; I could never tolerate other people’s suffering. He made me cry for him every time. The summer I was then, I finally realized that he actually liked making me cry. I think, in addition to being a sadist, seeing me cry for him made him feel loved. Once i understood the dynamic, I never cried for him again. I started to harden my heart.

I spent a lot of time outside in the summer, trying to escape from the threat of violence against me or my mom. There was a girl, India, who rode her bicycle around the block where we lived. She was a couple of years older than I. My father started to hound me about getting to know this girl. I didn’t see much point in it. She was too old to be of interest to me and I didn’t really like the idea of my dad choosing my friends. Finally, I gave in to his badgering. I don’t recall how much time I spent with her until she became my father’s friend. He started out by telling me I should feel sorry for this girl because she had a bad homelife. (Even now that strikes me as hysterically funny.)

Slowly but surely, he groomed her until at some point they had intercourse. My mother saw it all happening and didn’t like it, but she was powerless to do much about it. Complaints were bound to result in terror. I remember I started to hate this girl really quickly. That didn’t matter, though, because she had long since ceased to hang out with me. It’s interesting how angry this still makes me. I can barely tolerate writing about it.

As summer ground to a close, she was practically living at my house. I felt abandoned and angry. not being really clear about the sexual aspect of the relationship, all if felt was that my dad was choosing someone else over me. Not all that unusual, really; he frequently made unfavorable comparisons between me and other kids I should “feel sorry” for.

I got ready to start the fifth grade, sinking into despair. One of my favorite songs was “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.” Even today when I hear it, it makes me want to cry for the little girl who was so abandoned. I had a diary at the time and I wrote a lot about my sadness. I don’t know who read the diary, but my father was the person who confronted me about it. He was angry. He called me in to the bathroom where he was taking a dump and asked me if I was crazy. What can one say to that when one is 10? I said no. He told me he thought he might have to have me locked up because it sounded to him like I was crazy.

Like so many of the stories in my life, I no longer remember exactly how the evening ended. I never kept a diary or journal again until now.

October 14, 2004

Just The Dreary Facts, Even More

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 11:43 am

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”~ Theodore Hesburgh

I remember very little of the fourth grade. I recall being at school still when the news arrived that John Kennedy had been shot. I was cleaning the blackboard for my teacher; I always tried to develop caring relationships with all of my teachers. I suppose I recognized the need for more nurturing in my life. My mom’s attention was becoming more and more consumed by my father’s insanity.

My teacher sent me home and I think I was a little dazed. Later, I grieved for the family he left behind. I also had some firm belief that I was somehow responsible for it. My birthday is in November, but there was no particular reason to take resonsibility for the tragedy, other than that it seemed I was behind all of the tragedies happening around me constantly. When it became clear that I would have to be home for some time, I was really miserable. At that point, any escape from my home was a blessing…even if it only meant going to school.

When i spoke earlier of my father’s insanity, I was referring to an actual psychiatric illness, although I couldn’t have known that at the time. I could identify crazy behavior, but my only real knowledge of mental illness was related to my father’s sister who had been institutionalized more than once. My father seemed to like to believe that my aunt was just faking it or maybe that she just refused to pull herself together and get on with things. Whenever I did something he didn’t like, he always threatened to institutionalize me. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it didn’t sound good.

much later in my life, I found out that my father was actively psychotic for most of my childhood. I used to believe he suffered from schizophrenia, but it’s more likely that he had some schizo-affective disorder. Psychosis explains his firm belief at some point around this time that my mother was trying to kill him by putting glass in his food. She wasn’t, of course, but no one could have blamed her if she had.

My mom had a job at that time and my father believed she was having an affair. My mother would never have had an affair. After being with my dad, no one would wish to embark on another relationship with a man. So he got to torture her for that. I remember one weekend things got really scary. He was making my mom drink alcohol. My mom didn’t drink; she was also a tiny person at the time, around 5’3″ tall and 103 pounds. A little aochol went a long way with her. He made her drink, beat her, made her drink, beat her. It went on all weekend. He reassured me there was no reason to be afraid. Right. Then there was the glass in the food incident. That may have lasted an entire weekend, too, but all of this tends to run together after a while. More later. I’ve just reached my emotional limit.

October 13, 2004

He Loves Me Anyway

Filed under: Bless the Beasts — ggirl @ 11:42 am

“If [man] is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” ~ Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German metaphysician & transcendental philosopher

It’s been a really hard day. I spent most of it dealing with the (previously) feral kitties at my office. I got one of them back this afternoon (Cary) and, though I was fearful he’d reject me because I betrayed his trust, he loves me anyway. Jonathan is spending the night at my vet’s office after being neutered. Owner and I managed to grab five of the six baby kitties and I delivered them to his vet to be vaccinated, treated (if need be) and given away (we hope). It’s all been so stressful and traumatizing–as much for them as for me. I have a few kitty-inflicted wounds, but none too serious.

Tonight’s the final debate, so i guess I’ll need to work out while watching. Luckily, this is a weight night, which is much easier to do when I’m listening to the television.

I don’t really have the time or energy to write more, but I wanted to make a note of how the day went.

October 12, 2004

Just The Facts, Part 2

Filed under: Destroying My Childhood — ggirl @ 11:42 am

“Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.”~Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592)

In the third grade, violence in my home escalated. My paternal grandmother was staying with us for a while…I think primarily to act as a babysitter for me. My mom must have had a job then. One of the very worst things that ever happened to me occurred then. I was out driving somewhere with my mom and we got into a traffic accident. It wasn’t my mom’s fault…not that that mattered much. The front of the car was kind of crunched in, as far as I can remember, and we were able to drive it home. My mom let me play in the car, since it was clearly going nowhere. I remember turning on the turn signals.

My dad came home and things went rapidly downhill. He liked to beat up people over a period of time. It could go on for hours. I think this was one of those times. My clearest memory is when the violence went outside. My father had a butcher knife and was straddled on top of my mother, who was on the ground. I was absolutely hysterical. I tried to get my grandmother to intervene, but she just sad there in the living room. It was left up to me to try to stop my father from killing my mom. I was nine. I managed to get my courage up and went outside and stood there, begging my dad to stop. He kept yelling at me to go inside. I think I did go inside for a few minutes, once again trying to enlist my grandmother’s help. Nothing. I know I went out again and my dad threatened me.

Just another ptsd memory snippet. I don’t remember how it all ended, but it did end. Maybe someone called the police. I know that, as I stood in the yard, I was frantically looking around at the houses surrounding us and wishing someone would call the police or come over or do something.

I spent the next 20 years of my life believing that I had been the cause. At some point in my history, I forgot about the accident and began to think that I broke the turn signals when I was playing in the car. I thought that was what had incited the violence. When I was about 30, my mom mentioned the wreck. I’m sure she would have told me sooner had I asked. It’s probably a fairly common thing for family members to maintain silence with each other about violence.

My uncle came for a visit at some point…in the summer, I think. Oh, actually I think he and his wife stayed with us for a little while. I specifically remember someone going to the little convenience store about a block away and getting ice cream to make floats. While everyone was having a good old time, I somehow got the assignment (from my dad, I’m sure) to go sweep out the garage. I dutifully went out and started the work, only to be interrupted by my uncle. He sexually assaulted me in the garage. While everyone else was just a few steps away. I know I must have looked traumatized after the many sexual assaults, if anyone had really looked at me. No one ever did. My father was constantly occupied with looking at himself, like any narcissist. My mother was constantly occupied with my dad. That was more of a life or death kind of situation. I just tried to maintain the peace, whenever some small peace existed.

I remember reading “Charlotte’s Web” sometime that year and, when the spider died, I began crying in school. In retrospect, I suspect the crying had less to do with the poor dead spider than the great sadness in my own life. If anyone saw me crying, no one ever mentioned it.

For right now, that’s the extent of my memories of being nine. I know that I was doing well in school and I came to see it as a refuge from the madness at home. Enough dredging up the past for one day.

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