Friday, May 20, 2011

I had a day in the world

Today a friend came over and I stayed out all day. She watched the kids while I dealt with the plumbing permit situation at the city. I have to say, Randy at the Fremont Building Department is one hell of a nice guy. I think he is just a shining soul and I'm glad I met him today. He answered a lot of questions and he took a personal interest in me. He gave me his email address and told me to feel free to contact him any time I need to. He told me that he believes that as a civil servant it is his job to do anything in his power to help people. I think that's magnificent.

And because we had fussy children we came home and made tea sandwiches and cookies and tea and Shanna had a scone. We played in the sand. We painted. I made a nice little dent of progress in the garage moving stuff around.

My friend and I talked about my stuff a little. But mostly we talked about other things. I was ok. Shanna is interested in pushing my buttons so of course I was frustrated a few times but it felt normal. When I act like I have been acting for the last few days I feel like I am in my mother's body. I move more like her. I process this as experiencing the emotions she had when she did those movements but of course I don't really know. I'm not sure if it is true or not, but I suspect that I feel so alone in the world because I am incest survivor. Because I was raised in a house that was broken so deeply and so completely that other people really can't imagine my perceptions of events. I have a big issue with transference. I constantly try to work through my family relationships in other arenas in my life. That means that if people respond in ways that I perceive as the potential sign of abuse I run away from the whole group immediately. I don't know how to be part of a group. I cannot figure out group dynamics. It really doesn't help that one of my default methods of getting to know men is to be sexually aggressive. I'll tell you, I'm popular. Well, with men. Women often dislike me intensely. Or they love me. Women don't tend to have neutral reactions to me. I cannot count how many times people have told me long intricate stories about how much they hated me when they met me. I usually blink and wonder why they are telling me this. Eventually they get to the part where they tell me how much they respect me and I am so god damn honest and Holy Shit! It's remarkable how consistent the story is from different people. Do you know what I get out of that exchange?

People hate me as soon as they meet me. Pretty much every time I get one of those stories I hightail it away from the group and never talk to the woman again. I'm awesome. Or something. It's really weird that people grow to respect that I have strong opinions and I am intense... but I make people uncomfortable. They don't really want to be around me. This is my story about this. I can come up with a long list of reasons why I think I am disliked by most everyone from every community I have ever been in. Sure, I make a few friends in each group and I hold on to those people tightly. Mostly though, I'm convinced people think I'm a piece of shit.

That's what I was told over and over. If I was having a good day and I started singing along with the radio my brother Jimmy turned around and sneered, "What did you do with the money?"

"What money?"

"The money for singing lessons."

Badump. If I complained I couldn't take a joke and I was a whining baby. I was sent to my room. My family viciously disliked me. I have never been willing to be the person they want me to be. They have a few roles they would like to offer me and I can have my pick, but I have to pick one. To be fair, they do like to pass the roles around. I could do my time as the pathetic weakling coming back from my fall from grace (my sister in AA after she let her partner rape her son) then after a few years of being "clean" I could start slipping up again. I could start just letting things slide. Hey! I'm only human! We all mistakes, right. I'm just trying to live a little. Sober people are so boring. (Depends on which sober people. To be fair, the sober people in my family tend to be really fucking boring.) So then after a while you start going down hill again. You have some "bad luck" due to the fact that you haven't held a job in years because you've been too busy at home doing drugs. (ouch. That's close to home.) Normally the drug usage starts to escalate a lot at that point. Then everything else starts to escalate. Then you rape a little kid behind closed doors. Then... for some reason you end up in AA. For some reason. Like when you arrested and do time for being a drug dealer. And you are required to go to rehab as a condition of parole. So then you start your cycle as a pathetic weakling...

That's my sister's path. I could do that with her. Sort of. Not really. Because you see... I'm not the one who does that. If I disagree with what anyone else says then I'm crazy and mean. If I go along with stuff and I am passive and invisible and accept all of the abuse then I will be tolerated. I'm at the bottom of the heap. I'm the baby of the family and I just need to accept that I will get shit on for the rest of my life because I am just not competent. Even though I am the one who should go work and support everyone. Right. And I should never question their repeated "loans" which WILL BE PAID BACK!!! Only they won't be. If you say, "Dude. Tell me this is a gift and I will give you the money and never say a word. If you tell me this is a loan you god damn better pay it back." Then I am a terrible mean hateful person for bringing up the money later. After all, I'm rich and she's poor and she deserves a little luxury.

Do you know I have serious issues around eating single serving foods? If I have yogurt in my fridge in individual servings it is a conscious act of talking myself into believing I am allowed to eat them. I cannot tell how much food I have thrown away because I wasn't allowed to eat it. In my fridge. That I bought with my money. I was never allowed to eat those things as a kid because they were for my mom's lunch. I'm quite certain that's not how she remembers it. And there was other food. But I didn't like the other food. So I didn't eat. I went hungry as a kid fairly often. Sometimes it was because I refused the gross food I was offered (at this point I'm pretty sure I have sensory processing issues, I really have problems with food textures) and I wasn't allowed to have anything else.

After I write that I feel kind of mixes. My story is that my mom was very tolerant of my limited list of foods. She was willing to let me eat only them at meals. But outside of Ramen she didn't cook any of them much. Interesting. I don't think I will come to the truth about that one. I don't think I remember and I can't ask her.

But I have some not so awesome food issues. Because it's all about control. Incest is all about control. My father's mind games continued running my family. My family claims they are out of those cycles. They have moved on. But my sister hasn't worked in years and she sits at home doing drugs and babysitting the children of her children's teenage-mom friends. My sister claims all of these children as her grandchildren. I wonder how many of them she will rape. That's why I need to finish the book. That's why I will eventually get the court records of my father's testimony. I want to have them in my hands as a magic talisman as I go forth to do battle for the souls of children I will never know. My sister is a rapist and she should be in jail. At the very least her house of cards needs to come down before she rapes another child or allows another boyfriend to rape a child.

I think I just found my purpose in life. Well, one of them anyway. But that will motivate the book. The children she is raising are slightly older than my daughter. In my family abuse seriously escalates at about seven. I don't have a lot of time.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading the book. I don't think it will be an easy read, but it will be powerful as hell.

    I've always liked you, by the way. I never went through that not liking then liking pattern. Not because of your sexual aggression. I just like smart, strong minded women.

  2. Wow, congratulations on finding that motivation (for the book)! It makes total sense, and actually I've wondered before when reading about your family whether you felt there was anything more you could do to stop their abuse from continuing. Not sure what you have in mind, but it definitely sounds important.

    So...trying out this response thing some more. I have a very similar issue with people I meet. Without the flirting, but, people tend to tell me when I get to know them that they thought I was really scary at first. Actually I get this less than I used to, but I think that's because I keep my mouth shut a lot more than I used to. The problem with me and normalcy-checks is that I really don't think I'm a very good example of normal in most regards. But there it is, for whatever it's worth.

  3. I'm really intimidated by putting this together into a book. I can't go back and read any of this. I freak out. It scares the ever loving shit out of me and I go nearly catatonic when I try to workshop it. Ugh.

    Yay Andrew! Then you definitely married the right lady. :)

    Laura: Well you might not be a good example of normal, but I'll take tribe any day. I think I've been wondering what to do about my family for a long time. Multi-generation incest doesn't just go away. It really doesn't. My niece is currently filling my role in the family. Ugh.

    I think a lot of it is an intensity thing. I just take up more space in the room than people think women are allowed to. :P I was "the scary kid on the bus" for years. They called me Nancy. As in The Craft. I was *that* teenager.

  4. "Women often dislike me intensely. Or they love me. Women don't tend to have neutral reactions to me."

    I wonder if part of the reason you can't read me is because I don't fall into either of these categories. I've never hated you. And while I like you a lot, we're not close enough for me to be able to say I "love" you. Mostly I feel like I'm still feeling you out and getting to know you.

    About this blog in general, the reason I have a hard time posting comments is because when I do have something to say, it's usually (like this one) about one tiny part of the post and not about the main points. Not about the abuse. Not about what you're going through. I want you to know that I am reading all of it, and paying attention, and trying to take it all in. But it's so big, and so raw, and I don't want to diminish it.

    What I want to say is something like, "Wow, that amazingly bad. It's shocking to me that all these things have happened to you in real life. They sound like fictional stories I've read, and I didn't know (or didn't want to believe) that those kinds of things actually happened to people. It must be incredibly hard for you to post about and talk about it, and you're very strong for doing so. I really hope that you can find a path to recovery, and I would love to be a part of that, but I have no idea how. So I'm just cheering you on from the sidelines."

    Yeah, I'd say that for nearly every single post, but it sounds so woefully inadequate. And it makes it about me, which is exactly what I don't want to do. This is about you.

  5. You are trying to figure out how I fit in the schema of your world. That means you will have to talk about you some in the process. Honestly, last week I would have read the comments and thought about them and responded into the general world but I couldn't have stopped and responded to *you* because I was too thick with trying to shape my own words. That part is over and I am so glad. heh.

    I spent the first 18 years of my life living in a situation where I experienced horror on a regular (certainly not daily) basis and I was either told nothing was happening or that I was lying or that I was exaggerating or... I was made to feel invisible. When I tell these stories if no one responds I still feel like I am shouting into the void. I still feel like there isn't a person in the world who cares if someone rapes me. Sometimes. Not all the time.

    I probably need to hear many many times that not everyone loves me or hates me. :) That's probably actually a really good thing for people to say in response to this story. Because it tells me that I really should stop projecting that either/or dynamic on everyone. It's not very helpful.