one hundred & sixty three: evolve/evolution

this one made me feel a bit icky tonight.

coz really, it’s commonly accepted that evolution is the notion that a species becomes mutated over time. some of the time, these mutations persist, and benefit the species, while others die out. (i do know this is supremely simplistic, forgive me.)

apart from the fact that calling someone a mutant is a really good insult, this whole line of thought, of adaptations and evolution, made me feel sick, as i pondered the possible ways my humanity was mutated by incest and sexual abuse. like, how was my DNA altered? how was the DNA of my offspring affected? and given that it is likely that my abusers were abused, and theirs before them were abused…why did this trait persist? why didn’t it die out, as it should have done? what fucking benefit is there within a species for incest and abuse?

trust me to take this on a dark turn, when i honestly had planned to write some oprah-istic shit on my evolution as a human being vis-a-vis my therapy journey…ugh.

Affirmation (159)

People who have grown up in abusive families tend to have missed out on these growing up, I think. Maybe they totally clung to them whenever they received positive affirmations from people, or maybe they dismissed them, refused to let them in, shrugged them off as not truthful, they are only saying that because they don’t really understand, they don’t understand all the reasons you’re actually just terrible. Some people do both; I did. Both clung to any slight positive affirmation thrown my way, and refused to truly let it in. Voices inside my head citing off every single reason that the person was wrong to say what they did, backed up with the data of every single time everybody else said something bad to you, or wasn’t there.

Now, particularly when I’m young, I need (too) many of these from people that I have let in. (Which is not very many people – only pocketcanadian and my therapist). Sometimes my shame surrounding this feels crippling…because to me asking for affirmations – that I’m not alone, that my hurt is justified, that I’m not bad, that I’m loved, or even just that I matter, my hurt matters; all of it feels needy. It feels weak.

In both mine and pc’s circumstances, our parents are acting like nothing is really wrong. It is crazy-making. Like truly *crazy* making. I’m sure there are unfortunately so many out there that know exactly what I mean, and I can’t begin to sufficiently express how insane it makes you feel when your family are carrying on as though everything is just dandy. In my case having no doubt as to the abuse actually having taken place (after all, I didn’t tell them, they merely asked me to confirm it), but nonetheless having a family dinner complete with my abuser, as though we are one happy family. Most of the time I know that they are the crazy ones, but sometimes i start to truly question my sanity…have I lost it? Did I tell them? Am I imagining all of it taking place? Or are they right, is this just not a big deal but I’m making it into one?
This is maybe the most hurtful part of it all.

And so, my point to that last paragraph, was that having somebody by your side, rooting you on, confirming that yes, that really did happen, and yes they really are doing what they’re doing, and no my love, you are not the crazy one, they are the crazy ones, the crazy is theirs, not yours…Having those affirmations, is invaluable, and without it I don’t think I would be here. It feels like when you take the stabilizers off your bike for the first time and you have somebody running alongside you as you cycle…you’re still so scared, still unsure, you still don’t feel totally safe, but you know there’s someone right with you, keeping you going, there ready for when you fall, reassuring you.

Uncover (140)

I feel like all my blog posts on here lately (despite being extremely few and far between) have been about trauma and that is feeling crap and just kind of tiresome to me today. I don’t mean for them to be, and yet, that’s how we met, and this blog that we created together was always going to have a lot to do with it. But I’m hoping some of these words will start to have some better connotations soon.

This one makes me think of all of those people that recover memories of childhood sexual abuse. I wasn’t one of them, I’ve never really forgotten what happened to me, so I can’t ever truly understand the feeling of having the rug pulled out from under you and recovering these kinds of terrible things.

I can’t imagine the shock, the terror, the pain, the horror. I can’t imagine having to try to comprehend it and sift through it, and try to accept it as your truth.

I have remembered memories that I had forgotten about, but they were just more memories, more times it happened, different places. And they were simply forgotten for a few years, put to the very bottom of my mind, so that I could get on with my life for a little bit, just like I did will all of it for a couple of years.

I can’t imagine having this thrown into your conscious out of nowhere, the pain of uncovering, piece by slow, horrifying piece, a childhood that you had no idea belonged to you. So this word makes me think of those poor people, and the terrible experience of that.

And as a side note, to all those false memory syndrome bastards… fuck. you. 

Nobody would choose this.

Tired (122)

I am tired. I walk around looking lovely (sarcastic) with bags under my eyes that I’m too lazy to cover with make up. I am clumsy and stupid and forget things, and I need my 2+ cups of coffee in the morning to try to resemble a normal person.

I’m not really the best person for going to sleep to begin with, I’m more of a night owl… Early mornings, no thank you. But even when I do go to bed at a decent time, getting to sleep is a whole different ball game…

There is the just lying there, no matter how shattered you are, brain going haywire, refusing entirely to allow you to sleep. Making you more anxious and more angry as the night turns to day and you’re still bloody awake.

Or, maybe you do fall asleep, but your deep sleep for the entire night of actually okay sleep resembles 14 whole minutes (fitbit doesn’t even grace that with a percentage because its so bad).

Or, you fall asleep but you’re woken up covered in sweat from disgusting or mean dreams. My more than a decade long recurring dream of being hunted down and raped after they’ve murdered my family…. Now that one im definitely tired of.

Or, an all time favourite (though thankfully rarer these days) of waking up somewhere in your house in the pitch black after sleepwalking, and not being able to work out where you are, (trust me it’s surprisingly harder than you think it is, and involves plenty of bruises the following day), and having a panic attack when you can’t figure it out.

Or, a CSA special… Trying to go to bed, but feeling young and scared and unable to shut off the trauma state. Of watching the door, listening out for footsteps. Normally taking place on a day your body is already going crazy with memories. Sensations that you can’t get off your body, uncomfortable or painful or just plain gross. Those nights are always so much fun.

And of course not sleeping well is definitely not unique. It goes for everyone from time to time, or even frequently. Everyone has those nights or spells of bad sleep. But im tired of being tired now, id love to wake up actually feeling rested for once…. Wouldn’t that be bloody amazing? And how much difference would it make to all the other stuff? Actually feeling rested? Lots, I bet.

*****

And there are lots of other things I’m tired of…. My parents, my family, my job, my brain, my hurts and all the feelings I really actually don’t want to feel. I’m tired of having crappy days, I’m tired of not getting what I need, I’m tired of life right now, dramatic as that absolutely is. And it’s a crappy time of year for me, but seriously, I’m over it already. Give me a lovely warm summer already, I beg you.

one hundred & nineteen: good

i spent my whole life trying to be good.

good enough. good for something.

*

looking back, i actually was a really, really good kid. i didn’t make a fuss. i monitored myself, my behaviour, especially at school. i didn’t talk back. i didn’t talk much at all. i was an A+ student, i was delightful, i was diligent. i did my homework. was kind to my peers. strived to be my best. was quiet, was acquiescent, blended in. they never came to my parent-teacher interviews, there was no need, my mom said. they knew i was doing fine. they didn’t want me to get a big head. i was fine. it was all good.

*

i bet all they had to say was that i was a good girl.

that i was so good, that good girls didn’t tell. that good girls didn’t like it, didn’t do that, didn’t let them.

that would have been all they needed to say, but once. because no one ever said that to me. i could never be good enough, i never was. no matter what. and i was desperate to be good. to be right. to belong.

*

i’m sorry because this all feels totally disgusting. i hate this word. i feel sick and i’m not good. i’m not good at all.

Forgiveness (121)

I think I actually made an ‘ugh’ sound and scrunched up my nose when I read this word out today. Lost in my own world despite being in a busy classroom. Because, well, fuck this word.

I don’t agree with any bullshit notion that somebody will never move on from the things that happened to them until they forgive the perpetrator. Really, come on, that’s so fucking minimising and arseholeish to suggest. It’s not that I am vehemently against the notion of forgiveness, (and I’m most definitely not vehemently for it), it’s that I just don’t agree that I need to rise above all of it and ‘forgive in order to find peace’….don’t mind me, I’ll just be over in the corner puking.

And, maybe I would forgive them, except one thing I am extremely set on is that I will not ever forgive them, unless they actually come up to me and ask to talk about it. To face it, stop pretending, apologise, and are actually meaningfully regretful, and also, seem to actually understand the fucking colossal effects of what they did. Until then…fuck forgiveness. No fucking way.

*****

The one and only person that I do want to forgive (and maybe forgiveness actually isn’t even the right word), is myself back then. For doing what she did, for surviving how she did, for not choosing to do the things that adult me wishes she had. Maybe that’s not really about forgiveness, but about accepting the situation…but from where I stand today, feeling so hateful towards a younger me, forgiveness maybe does feel like the right word. Maybe? I don’t know.

 

Gratitude (113)

This ones a bit sticky for me. In our house gratitude was horribly interlinked with not complaining, keeping your mouth firmly shut.

“Shut up and be grateful for what you’ve got”.

And yes, we should all be grateful for the things in life that we have, nothing is a given, not a home, or a job, or safe people or loved ones. Some people currently have none of those things. And yet, as I’ve grown up, I don’t for one minute agree with this notion that talking about things we wish were different, “complaining”, expressing negative sentiments towards things, makes us ungrateful people, or ungrateful for those things that we do have.

I was extremely grateful to go to a private school (although to begin with I begged to go to the local school with all my friends, and would have done perfectly well there), and yet in our house we were continually reminded of how much sending each of us to a private school had cost them, (quite literally, we were given the figures), and everything they had missed out on in order to do so. And I am grateful, truly, for my school was in fact a bit of a safe haven for me for a few years, and yet it does not make right the pressure placed to do well and “make all the money worth it”. It also doesn’t make right the rest of the shitshow of a childhood we had at times. In order to be grateful for the sacrifices they made (and they did do it with the best of intentions), I do not need to be grateful for the rest of my childhood, or pass it off as being ‘made up for by’ that one thing, or ‘well, think about everything we gave up for to send you to that school, how much it cost’.

One right (and actually, a questionably necessary right) does not make okay other wrongs. Being grateful for one thing doesn’t automatically mean you should forget other wrongs.

I am not grateful for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse I endured growing up. Nor the neglect. I will not ignore or forgive those things simply because I “ought to be grateful” for the house we had, the food and clothes, the gifts my father bought us in the airport each week, the schools we went to, the opportunities we had, the birthday and christmas presents. I won’t allow the violation of my body to be made right by the fact that my dad bought me back a big bar of milka chocolate from Schippol Airport most weeks, and “dads home and he’s bought you a present so you have to be on your best behaviour”.

I’m absolutely positive that in my parents opinion, the rapes at the hand of a member of my own family are made okay by the fact that I never went without food or clothes, things I needed, and very often things I didn’t need. I am to keep quiet, keep the secret, no make a fuss, be grateful for all those things that I did get, not be selfish and focus on the negative, make out that it was all awful, and make life difficult for them.

And I still cannot comprehend this response of theirs. I don’t believe I am being ungrateful at all, I am grateful for the things I got.

Their disregard for all of my hurt however, has me floored.

Fault (88)

This one’s hard. Like really really hard.

When I was a bit older I used to go to my brother and ask him for things. I did it knowing the things he would ask for/demand in exchange. I went knowingly and willingly and had I not, those instances would not have taken place.

I sold myself to him, basically.

I struggle with this, even now, a huge amount. What I’ve come to realise is that I went to him to gain some control. I went in a complete panic inside, and I detached myself and I did it. And then I felt lighter afterwards. The threat of what he could do that day was no longer a constant companion inside my head; it had already happened. I felt more relaxed and I felt safer and I was doing what I needed to do at the time to cope.

And yet… Am I not to blame? Is it not my fault? Those instances surely were… I mean had I not gone to him, there was no telling whether any abuse would have taken place those days. In law there are two types of causation, one of which is the ‘but for’ test. But for my going to my brother and asking for things, it would not have happened that day. And at least once, if not multiple times, that would be the case. In which case causation lies with me, and in which case the fault is mine.

Enable

This word makes me think of all of those people that enable abuse to take place. All those questions that weren’t asked, all those times a blind eye was turned, all those times it would cause too much hassle to pry.

It makes me think of our mothers.

sixty-four: departure

this makes me think of lots of things.

the first thing i thought about was when i was leaving for travel and a volunteer position overseas, in my early 20s. a few days before i left we had a huge going-away party at my house, all sorts of people from my past, families of kids i had nannied and their parents, current boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, high school friends, childhood friends. and it was fun but it was also really weird, because loads of people got really emotional and it surprised me (in my naive, youthful state) coz i kept thinking, um, i’m coming back, people! but what i didn’t know, and what some of them did, was that when i returned, i’d be an entirely different person. and they’re right, i was.

i don’t remember any tears that night of the party (very very close, though, when my ex hugged me before leaving and then started to cry in my arms…and i mean, really cry. hard.) and i’m not sure i even did when a cavalcade of people escorted me to the airport the morning i left, i was so anxious, so nervous, so scared about the assorted details of flights and luggage and would i be over the limit, etc.. it was only after i got through security, boarded the plane, took off into the air, and actually watched my hometown get smaller beneath me that it all came crashing down. the fact that i was leaving them, all of them, for an indefinite period of time. all my babies, my friends, my family…i cried the entire 2.5 hr connecting flight (which was unheard of then…more like my current version of me, although shit, 2.5 hrs is still impressive), with a sweet old couple next to me who passed me tissues and werther’s originals, alternatingly, while the tears continued to fall. once every 30 mins or so, i could feel one or the other of them, looking at me, and then they’d reach and pat my hand.

*

last week, i was pretty convinced that my departure from this earth would be a beneficial thing. one less burden for the people i loved, one less mess of a human being passing on her mess to others. i didn’t have a plan, not really, but i realized how much internal real estate these sorts of thoughts had been taking up, and i got terrified. angry and ashamed and terrified. i tried all sorts of things to keep everyone far away, i said awful things, i pushed them away as far as i could, i pitched my best case, but no one listened. they just sat with me, and passed me the equivalent of tissues and werther’s originals. wouldn’t let me leave. told me they loved me and would not be okay with a world without me in it. i fought it. but their love was stronger, it kept me here, again.

*

like so many survivors, i’m really scared about being abandoned. i’m pretty convinced that everyone will go, that i’ll wear them out entirely and they’ll have to. and then i’ll be alone, just as they always said i would be. the little one inside spins, even though she has always done it alone, why is it different? (i’ll tell yo: because today’s me knows the sweet taste of presence, and it’s addictive. it’s like crack for trauma survivors). and somewhere in the eye of the storm, i realize that i don’t want to die. i just want it to stop. i want there to be quiet and days that are free from shame.

i want a departure from the usual order, please.

so, i’m still kicking. thank you for reading along. for responding. for patting my hand every once in awhile, to remind me you’re still here.