366 days ago I was spending Christmas with my parents, my brother and his fiancé, and a couple family friends, at my parents house (the one where a lot of the abuse from my brother took place) . My therapist last session said something about how terrible last Christmas was for me and I did a huge double take, (was it? Fuck I don’t remember that), because it all kind of blurs in I think. You do what you can to get through it, and the immediate aftermath is normally pretty bloody bad, but then you get by and you just sort of erase the details from your memory.
In these last 365 days, progress has been, well, non-e-fucking-xistant.
Let’s see, after that terrible Christmas, my therapist and I talked a lot about all the reasons it wasn’t really safe to tell my parents, to do the one thing that was on my mind all the time. Pocketcanadian would tell me that it wasnt safe for me to tell my parents like she had, that it was different circumstances, I am younger and I’m not independent from them. So a measly 6 weeks later, like the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the biggest idiot that I am, I fucking tell them.
And you’d think, 10.5 months on, that a lot would’ve happened, progress would be made, but that’s the biggest fucking laughable joke going.
I didn’t even have to say it, my mother asked the question, because she already knew the answer… What did he do to you? I know he tried it on with you once. Yes mum, he fucking raped me and attempted it a couple of times when you walked in and basically did sweet fuck all. Everything took place under your roof where you turned a fucking blind eye and allowed your daughter to be abused. Amazing.
And their responses… They don’t want to lose him. They don’t want to risk his career. They don’t want to risk him never coming back. They want me to keep my fat gob shut, and to play their little game of happy families. I’m to attend family events, I’m to act the part of loving daughter and sister, I’m to let no one know. I have to be so grateful for my darling brother. Told that I have to open presents from him that I really really don’t want to. Told to not be selfish. Told that isn’t that lovely of him /them.
Summer birthdays were the first time I actually was made to be there all together again, I had successfully managed to avoid being there when he was up until that point. And guess how it went? Dinner parties where my mother gushed over her amazing son, and slighted me every way she could, in front of everyone. I actually couldn’t believe it.
And now I’m back here again, a year later, a full circle. Thankfully no brother as he is away, but that doesn’t mean a lack of all the other stuff. Dinner table talk of how amazing he is, how wonderful his fiancé (their perfect vision of a daughter – if only they could’ve got one like her, not me). Video calls with both of them. All the lovey bullshit about how wonderful he is, what a shame he can’t be here, how missed he is. All for the audience of a family friend and grandparents. Meanwhile I’m barely at the table. I’m the waitress, that’s what I’m there for. To help cook, to carry plates, to fetch and carry and pour wine. To wash up everything from cooking a massive meal and serving a four course meal for 6 people (shit ton of washing up). And I’m not missed. I’m told what to do, not wanted to sit down with everyone else. And I sit back and do nothing (because there is no point), when my mum goes on about what a great mother she is. How she’s thinking of my other brother (who only wants anything to do with them when he needs money), how poor him, and poor her, and shes such a great mum, and when you have kids you’ll understand how mothers just want to protect their kids and have them close. Protect them? Lol!!!
I realised at some point yesterday, when my dad got angry and arseholeish with me because i hadn’t immediately gone and got something he wanted me to (because I was washing up a stack of plates resembling everest), that that was all I was there for. They had all the family they wanted when they could phone call my eldest brother and his fiance. They are their darlings, all they need in life. And I will never never never live up to them. And immediately I was so full of shame. I was being yelled at, I wasn’t good enough, yet again, and worse still, I was actually not really wanted. And that was it, I was 4 years old, crying without being able to stop the tears falling, escaping to cuddle my cat and try to find just someone that loved me and wanted me. My little one is still noisy, still sad, still ashamed for always being wrong.
Yesterday I texted pc, whilst I was so mad and losing it, and I said this: Here’s a resolution for 2019. Fucking kill myself so that I don’t have to see another year through. That’s how I feel about all of it, that’s really how I’m still feeling, how I can’t bear another year like this one.
So that’s my full circle of this past year. So much has happened, so much that a year ago I would have bet all my money on not happening… if someone had said I would tell my parents, face this stuff, I would have told you that’s incredible progress. But I guess that’s the amazing thing now about hindsight, because progress? What fucking progress? I’ve told them and *nothing* has changed. And that fills me with so much shame that I really do wish I was 10ft under.
Merry Christmas, folks.
i tried to write a progress (self-)report on recovering from childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect, but it fell waaaaay flat tonight. didn’t come out nearly as clever as i’d imagined; it was more in the vein of pathetic and sad. i think i’ve had enough of my share of that over these past few days, thank you.
if anyone asks me, i’d say i am not progressing at nearly the rate i had hoped…i just want this not to hurt anymore. to be more evolved, more resolute, more sure on my own two feet.
when pocketbrit and i meet by the sea, sitting fireside features hugely in our scenarios, so this really made me think of her tonight. and it is fitting, too, because christmas sucks pretty hard for both of us, and we both had varying combinations of work and family obligations and that same universal gd pressure to pretend and be happy, when really, i just wanted to crawl under the covers and awaken in mid-january.
so, when we head to the sea together, like if we’re upset, or having trouble sleeping, or are particularly sad, or just because we feel closer there, one of us inevitably sends the other a message, setting the stage, if you will. and, nearly always, there is a fire. sometimes it burns brightly, crackling, spitting sparks, blazing away as we watch. but most times, our fires are burning low and hot, with the light of its glowing embers flickering on the walls, permeating the cold and wind and chill of the salty air. it burns as we snuggle in and try to dispel the loneliness and sadness, as we try to find peace and comfort and sleep.
tonight, at the hearth in my head, there is just that kind of fire, deeply warm, gentle, soothing, as i reach for her hand to squeeze it a couple times, wishing us both the strength to get through tomorrow. that we may last through the pretending and pressure and expectations. we can do it. it won’t be easy, mind you, but i know we can. and when it’s hard, there’s always the sea, in its tumult and saltiness, its ebbing and flowing, dependable in its constancy.
i am searching for a new mom.
do you know anyone who would fit the bill? qualifications include not being a gaslighting bitch…and, well, that’s about it, yeah. that would be an improvement just with that.
i, too, thought of death when i saw this word. but my associations made me too sad to write last night, so i didn’t.
i thought about when my grandmother died. one of the only people i felt was on my team…though i think she probably was on everyone’s team, that’s the kind of person she was.
she died of cancer, wasted away over a series of months. knew it was coming, could plan. as she got weaker, during the days she would still bother putting on her wig, before the days when she stopped eating and would only sleep the awful moaning sleep of people tortured by chronic pain, she would send me into the corners of her basement or her linen cupboard or her bedroom closet to seek out jewellery boxes and tea towels and other precious things. wanted me to pick things out to keep, for after she was gone. i kick myself now, because teenaged-me couldn’t bring myself to choose anything, it was too awful…but what i wouldn’t give to have a bracelet of hers, or one of her rings, or her clip-on earrings. or her nightgowns, even. or her eyeglasses, oh god, that makes me cry to think of those. something i could hold in my hands, y’know?
the last weekend i saw her, her sister-in-law was visiting. and for some reason, this stupid old cow, who was shitty to her in life, who was coming to do her duty, who was coming to gawk and stare and ‘pay her respects’ would not get the fuck out of the room as i was saying goodbye to her. like, my final goodbye. she sat there, this stranger i had only seen maybe twice before in my life, watching me as i completely lost it, as i held my grandmother’s soft, translucent hand to my cheek, as i cried so hard i could hardly breathe, where my mom eventually ushered me out of the room because i was ‘making a scene’. and yeah, i fucking was. coz who would protect me now?
so, that’s what i thought of. i miss her all the time. it will be 28 years next month, which is unbelievable. i’ve been without her far longer than i had her, but i still feel her love.
i used to read these ‘choose your own adventure’ books when i was a kid…anyone remember those?
those were so so fun. i would get lost in all the twists and turns of those books…i know they were formulaic, but maybe i wasn’t that bright a kid?
unfortunately when i think of them in the context of now, they feel tainted…sad. coz this is not the adventure i’d choose. no one would. (although, without it, i wouldn’t have my pocketbrit. and i would choose her time and again.)