The girl and the pimp.

I could have told the girl a million times that he was a pimp. How did she not see this? How could anyone not see it? The girl bounded in the front door calling his name, “Tommy, you here?” His roommate Bob said he was out so she could wait in his room if she wanted. She threw herself on his huge king size bed. Everything was so fancy there. His dresser. His desk. His house! She was only barely 19. How did he, at 23 have this big house? He had recently put up a 10 foot chain link fence. She had never seen one that tall before. His dog’s name was Roxie. She was a Rottweiler. The girl had always heard they were dangerous but Roxie was very sweet to her. She lay sprawled out on his bed looking around at all of his nice clothes and suits hanging in the closet. The girl loved wearing dresses. They were supposed to go out to a nice restaurant. Tommy finally arrived. He had had a meeting. He took her to the most expensive restaurant in town. The food was very elegant. Elegant meant drizzle. One nicely arranged carrot strip with another strip of vegetable with something drizzled over the top. One bite. The next course was similar. One bite of…something orange. The main meal was steak. It was the size of a quarter. It was the smallest steak ever to appear at a restaurant. But everyone else seemed pleased with their portions. They laughed their boisterous laughs, some, and others their pretentious snickers. These people seemed very important at this restaurant. The girl felt very out of place but she pretended to be important and believed to have pulled off this charade very well. After dinner they went back to his house where she promptly got in her car and drove to a fast food drive in and got a full meal. 

That was the only restaurant Tommy and the girl ever went to. After that he said they had to order in because his business was keeping him too busy. They originally met at one of her college classes. He was some sort of assistant. He was very handsome. He said he was getting his degree but she never saw him at class. As time went on he was always “working” but she had no idea doing what. 

His roommate was engaged but the girl never saw the fiancé. Just many other young girls coming over. There were always young girls there. Much younger than the girl. 

As dating continued the girl was not allowed to just show up anymore. She had to call first. Tommy told her that he had started an escort service providing rich business men with dates for the evening. The girl believed him. How could she believe him? She even thought, “How nice that a lonely man would not have to be embarrassed to go to an event alone and no one would ever know that she was a paid escort!’

One night the girl was having an upsetting night. She was arguing with her parents and wanted to go see Tommy. She got to the house and the front door was unlocked. No one was there. She called from room to room. She knocked on Bob’s room door and he didn’t answer. She cracked open his door to yell incase he was in the bathroom. She really needed to see Tommy. Bob wasn’t there. But she saw the inside of Bob’s room for the first time. She stepped in. She had never in her life seen such a repulsive and jaw dropping sight. There were hundreds if not thousands of used condoms littering the entire room. You could not step into the room more than an inch with out stepping on one. The stench was gagging. What was going on? Why were there…what was this? She went into Tommy’s bathroom to get sick. There were used condoms in there too. The girl stood there. Tommy was cheating on her. Oh my God Tommy was cheating on her. But he had given her gifts. He had pampered her with words and lavished her with compliments, or was it lavished her with gifts and pampered her with compliments. Either way she was pampered and lavished! He loved her. He said he did. This must be a mistake. 

I could have told the girl that this was not a mistake but she would not have believed me. She had convinced herself that Tommy loved her and that Tommy would never lie to her. 

She didn’t even cry because she knew there was an explanation. 

The next day she set up a time to talk and she demanded an explanation for what she had seen. He explained to her that it was all part of the escort service. He told her that for the girls to get the job that they had to have sex with his roommate Bob and prove they would be willing to do anything to get that job. He said Bob must have used his room, too, because he never would have done such a thing. He told her how much he loved her. How she meant the world to him. She believed him. 

Until the police questioned her at the end of the road after she left. She was convinced that escort services were a legitimate business and if the girls wanted to have sex, well then they could do that. Idiot. The girl was an idiot!

That house had been under surveillance for months. The police thought she was a prostitute. All the women were prostitutes she was told. They had video of the girl, through the window, lounging on the bed. They thought she was part of it. No, this couldn’t be. Tommy could not be the “pimp” they said he was. The girl stomped back to that house, barreled in and started rummaging through his desk (the police had suggested this), trying to find proof that these girls were underage and this was a whore house. She thought, there was no way she’d find anything. But she did. These girls were only 16 years old. They had to do “practice dates” and have sex with Tommy and Bob at the same time. Oh the horror. The girl was in love with a pimp. A pimp who was abusing underage girls, trafficking them, selling them. But…he loved the girl. He did. She was sure of it. How could this be true. What was true?! The girl didn’t know how to process any of this. The girl lived in her own little world where love meant fancy restaurants and pink gift bags with love letters attached. 

Bob came into the room and saw her looking through files. He started in on her. Screaming that he was going to kill her. She ran. Bob ordered Roxie, the dog she loved, to attack her and Roxie tried to. Roxie and Bob were barking, screaming, he had a gun, she ran for the fence gate. Her white skirt was caught on the dogs tooth or the gate, but it tore as she got away. She was running but she was numb. She couldn’t feel her feet or her head or her fingers. It wasn’t even the girl running. She was watching herself like in a scary movie where you don’t know, “will the girl get away, or will she not make it.” Bob screamed at the girl never to come back or she would be dead. She didn’t. The girl never told anyone else about the full story. She was always worried Bob would find her and kill her. She was probably correct. 

A few days later Tommy ratted Bob out as some sort of deal to not do jail time. The girl was not told what punishment Tommy got. She did not talk to Tommy again. Bob went to prison. Tommy moved away. Bob spent at least 15 years in prison before getting out and immediately murdering an airline stewardess. Bob certainly was not lying all those years before when he said he would kill the girl. She just didn’t know at that time the capabilities of some men. She knew the capabilities of a few men. But the girl did not know the amount of men who would cross her path that were capable of such atrocities. 

Years later Tommy showed up at the girl’s parent’s home. The girl was there. Her mother commented how handsome Tommy was. He was a boxer now. All ripped and muscular. Such a handsome pimp. The girl was not impressed as the mother was. The girl had had her share of liars. He really believed that he could win the girl back. He believed that his body alone would be impressive enough for her to give another glance. Like a male bird all bowed up showing the girl that he was the biggest of the stock. But everything that was for show didn’t matter to the girl anymore. She had felt fear. She hadn’t forgotten. All of the fluffy bright feathers in the world could not lure her back. 

The television was playing 20/20 in another room one night and the girl heard Tommy and Bob’s name. She ran to the screen. They were being interviewed about the prostitution RINGS, there were two they had run the ENTIRE time the girl had been dating him. “Please, she thought, don’t bring up my name, please don’t bring up my name.” No one did. But the girls mother called very excited about the pimp being on TV as if somehow this was something to be proud of, I mean, the girl dated a pimp who was on TV! Maybe the mother thought this made the girl somehow famous, secretly. The girl did not know. It wasn’t until then that she thought about the girls. Those poor girls! What had the girl’s boyfriend made them do? What did he get money for them doing to others? What had other men done to them against their wills? Those girls had been desperate and were lured in just like she herself had been. But the girl was the girlfriend. These girls, they were just children really. There were files on what they would be willing to have done to them. Those poor girls. This was the first time the girl stopped thinking about herself and realized that she was the least to be harmed. A broken heart does not equate to what was done to those other girls. 

I wish I could have pulled the girl aside before she walked up to him that first time. I wish I could have told her, “walk on past.” She wouldn’t have listened. She was to be blinded by a lethal love. She was very fortunate to have gotten away alive. She was so desperate to be loved that any smooth buttery words and gifts would have tricked her fragile heart. He knew this the moment he saw the girl. All of the bad men do. 

Poetry


I saw her there.

I stared for a long time. 

I did not wipe the leaves from her eye.

I did not pull her out of the ground.

I thought

She

Is 

Me

Now.

I admit

Triggers galore. I just saw the word for stream of consciousness Saturday is “admit” and I admit I have no idea what to write about so I am just going to let it flow straight from the depths that I usually dare not go and see what happens next. Streaming from the heart on this one. 

https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-1017/
I admit I do not know when I first experienced dissociation. Sometimes I cannot even recognize it now. Supposedly it was a coping skill I learned. But that makes it sound positive. Like leaving your body would be freeing somehow. But dissociation is a prison sentence. You don’t leave to a magical place. I don’t. I don’t know what dissociation meant back then when I was being abused. I know that now it means I am screaming in my own mind trying to break free of the prison that supposedly helped me cope long ago. 
I admit I have no idea what is happening to me for a large part of every evening. I know I have PTSD associated with smells. What I do not know is if those smells are always real because sometimes smells are what is called an “aura” that comes prior to a seizure. So I walk around in this state of…am I going to have a seizure or is this just a PTSD thing. Since my heart rate has now skyrocketed with the new Lyme treatment, just throw that in the mix and I have no idea if I am having anxiety, a heart attack, or PTSD or a preseizure moment. They ALL feel the same. If my dog were still alive he would help me because he knew when I was going to have a seizure. Without him, I admit, I am just lost half the time. 
I admit I have put things on my blog that I never thought I would tell another soul. I have shared the abuse, the rape, the assault, the molestation, and everything in between, and everything after. When I started this blog I never thought I would go that far in my truth. But every truth I have told has set me a little bit more free. Because the secrets held shame. I admit that telling these truths has not been easy. 
I admit to feeling fear that I have never acknowledged or accepted as real until now. But fear, I now believe led to the dissociation, and fear keeps me somewhat trapped still. It is not easily overcome. I lived in so much fear. During the time I was being abused and after, I was so afraid. Had I not been afraid, I would not have crawled into my parents room and slept under their bed for most of my childhood. Had I not been afraid I would have stayed present in my body. I wasn’t present in my body for many events of my life. Too many hands touched me. Too many body parts entered mine with out my permission or consent. I admit, I did not always say no. I admit, I was too traumatized by a man being on top of me as a child/teenager TO say no. We can all agree that a word does not stop a man with a bad intent. Do you think if I said no to a 65 year old man when I was 13 he would have said, ” oh my gosh I had no idea! But since you said no then I will definitely stop.” Nope. He made his choice and it was a choice that did not have any regard for me. “No” doesnt stop rape and the sooner people accept that the better.
I admit I got a sexually transmitted disease during those years of abuse. I have never admitted that before. I was shamed by the gynecologist who found it because she thought I was slutting around at the young age or barely teen. She didn’t think to ask if it was from abuse. I will admit I have no idea who gave it to me. I was passed around to many men before I was 15 years old and I have no idea who gave me the disease. My mother’s good friend told me one day, in my 40’s, that I told my mother I got the disease from my boyfriend at the time. I will admit, that was a lie to my mother. I needed to tell someone because I was so upset. I will admit, I think my mother is a fucking bitch for telling her friend that I had a sexually transmitted disease when infact my mother couldn’t tell her friend that I had been abused as a little girl. It was ok to gossip about me as a teenager, but not to get me help from the females around her when I had been abused my entire childhood. It is very hard to admit this. But why should a man or woman live in shame for something that was given to them by a rapist! They shouldn’t. Oh I don’t want to write it. I don’t want to admit to it. But it is true. It is a sad sad truth that makes me sick to think about. To get a disease, even if it is treatable, from someone committing a crime against you, that caused irreversible damage…well, it is hard to write about. But my blog’s intent is to release the shame of what is NOT MY SECRET. So that is what I continue to do. 
I admit that I now know that the letter I wrote to my father talking about the abuse I lived through should NOT have been the breaking point of my family. My family should be ashamed. They should be so fucking ashamed. They chose to abandon me over a letter when I should have left them after they didn’t protect me from a child molester years ago! I admit that there are those out there who don’t want to hear the word fuck. I say it here out of utter disgust for a group of people who hurt me so badly. They never once apologized for anything. The list is long. The list of things I overlooked. Just like they overlooked me and everything that was important to me. My brother TO THIS DAY will tell you that he threw an alarm clock at my face causing a scar I still have, because I tore his comic book. He blamed me for an alarm clock dial stabbing in my face leaving a permanent scar. My nana broke her rib because she spanked my brother because he was being too rough with me. (She had osteoporosis). She was the only one who ever protected me. My brother to this day will tell you that I put marks on myself and that is why she spanked him because I lied. My mother will tell you that if I had only told more details that the criminal that molested me would be prosecuted. She never apologized for anything that happened to me. For not preventing it. For letting it happen. Even if it wasn’t her fault she still didn’t even try to apologize. None of my family ever apologized for anything. The only reason I moved out in the first place was because my hair dresser accidentally turned my pretty bleach blond hair black. My mother hit me in a fit or rage over my HAIR. She never apologized. I was just ruined because my pretty hair was not pretty anymore. All about appearances and pride and ego and perfection. Never mind my body was ravaged. Nah. It’s just my fuckin hair that gets my mom mad enough to hit ME. Hmm. I wonder why she never hit the man who molested me. Oh that’s right, because they still let my brother hang around him because they pretended it never happened. Assholes. My father never apologized or asked for my forgivness for shaking the child molesters hand. He made a lot of excuses like he always did but he never said, “Bethany, I am so so sorry that I shook the man’s hand that abused you.” Because if he did then he would actually have to acknowledge that something happened to me. NONE OF THEM PROTECTED ME. They make out to have provided this perfect life. They always will. I have to admit to myself that their lies are their truth and I will never be able to change that. But by doing that I also have to admit that I lost them a long time ago, not just because of a letter. I lost them when they made a conscious choice to not change THEIR lives after I was molested. 
I admit I should have terminated my relationship with my family long before they chose to terminate it formally with me. Lets see, when should I have terminated it…all the reasons listed above. The real kicker was my mother chose to see my therapist who then refused to see me and then my mother sent me a letter quoting what the therapist felt about my letter to my father. My therapist saw my mother. My mother used my therapist to justify herself. I admit. I think my mother is a conniving manipulative fucking bitch for using my own therapist against me. One that I bore my soul to for over a year, who knew about how I felt about my family and how they betrayed me when it came to all of the abuse. Yeah sorry. I cannot honor thy mother or thy father. They are not honorable. But God understands me. He forgives me. We have talked, God and I, about this at length. It is not for others to judge how I feel about my parents. 
I admit, I really do not like when people tell me to let my family go. Because as you can see. It is not just one individual and one event and one person standing in front of me with me making the choice to let them go. It is a lifetime. I will let them go when I am able. And it will not come too soon. But it can only come when I am able. Not a day before. To tell me to let them go is self serving and frankly an asshole comment to make to someone who would let them the fuck go if she could. Come on! You think I want to think about them for one more moment! I don’t. But history, time, imprints of pain, they are hard to let go of. 
Ok. This stream of consciousness has got me all riled up with anger. There is a lot of pain that I feel due to my family. I admit, there is a lot I have to work on. And do you know what? It fucking sucks. It does. I don’t just have to work through PTSD and rape and molestation. Nope. I have to work through a piece of shit family who chose pride and lies over me. I have a new therapist, thank you family, you all should contribute to the fucking cost of it all since because of each of you it will take me twice as long to heal. Think I am blaming. Oh I will admit to the world that I blame my entire family for what I am going through right now. Had they chosen to love love love after the abuse instead of deny, and blame, and pick at me, and lie some more, I cannot even imagine where I would be right now. Still sitting here with a muscle disease, and Lyme disease, and seizures, and processing for the rest of my life the after affects of sexual assault, but if I were loved by all of those who betrayed me, I could breathe again. I admit. They took my breath away. I’ve had to learn to breathe again. 
I admit that yesterday I had such a breakdown emotionally that to keep myself present. I had to injure my legs by walking around the backyard and focusing on something. What to focus on, what to focus on. Mushrooms. I took pictures of mushrooms. It is hard to admit that at 45 years old my life is so very very hard that I had to focus on mushrooms in my yard to get through the moment. To not dissociate. I had to focus on mushrooms. But that is what sexual assault and a piece of shit family get you, I have to admit, it gets you a bunch of fuckin mushrooms. 

#Whether…The secrets that bind destroy. #SoCs

This is part of stream of consciousness saturday https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-317/
Every family has secrets. Whether or not the family chooses to live in those secrets or face the truth, will ultimately determine each of their fates. “Did you hear Bethany tried to kill herself?” That was a secret whispered in the gossip town.

“Did you hear Bethany was put in a mental hospital?” A secret whispered even further than the town lines. 

Deadly secrets really. Had the truth been spoken, ” Did you hear Bethany was molested? After nothing happened to Billy Banks she tried to kill herself. Her parents put her in the hospital. A pastor tried to help her but was denied,” then perhaps I would not have faced the next phase of my life alone. Whisperings of secrets gave no validation to me. It left no place for the truth. My parents didn’t even tell their friends. It was a secret. 

Abuse should never be a secret. 

Had my mother’s friends known they could have supported me. Instead, I was alone. 

My mother had her secret. She gave up her baby for adoption. That secret came to light when her son found us. It was no longer a secret. But some secrets are harder to let go of than others, for those keeping them, as I saw my mother continue to not be able to claim her son as her son. That is her issue. Her secret must have been a hard burden. My brother didn’t need to be a secret. 

There should be no shame in adoption. There should be no secret. It just complicated lives when the secret came out. It didn’t complicate mine. I had another brother to love. 

My nana was abused by a family member. He abused many family members. That, was kept a secret. Everyone was so afraid of the perpetrator and his threats that they allowed that secret to run rampant until countless women were abused. Even after his death his power still rules as none will speak of what he did. Instead, they suffer alone, not even able to comfort each other because they each think they were the only one. 

Abuse should never be kept a secret. I will never waiver on that. 

Infidelity in the family. Secrets. So many secrets. One secret will take another to cover it. One secret will be used as leverage for another. 

If a secret causes pain, inflicts pain, causes suffering, then it should never be kept. Eventually those secrets will come to light. And the pain will be ten fold. The ripple affect will be unstoppable. All because of the secret. 

My family had secrets. I knew that. I was one of those secrets. I thought that the secrets were what bound me. I thought the secrets, once set free, would release me. Even if they chose to stay in the secrets, I was no longer tied to them. 

Whether my truth is to be believed or not, it is and always be THE only truth. 

In discovering the truth, I saw the most painful wounds were not what lay behind the secret but what was right in front of it. Just because the rest of the world heard the secrets, or denied the secrets, should have had no affect on me, as a child, behind closed doors. My family’s secrets should have not affected how I was loved when the door was closed to the outside world. But the secrets were secrets to their  core. Even in the confines and safety of our own home, the secrets ruled. If we spoke of the secrets then I would have been loved right through it all. But I was not. 

When I became pregnant, my mother was ashamed. I was not married. I was to keep this a secret. It was not until now. Right now. I see that as my mother created this secret to others, it should never have affected how she treated me. She made my baby and me a secret. I am sure it tapped into her own shame of her own baby. But she put that secret on me. I abided by it. I was under the power the family always held over me to keep the secrets. My secret pregnancy was a secret even between us. In that secret I was denied excitement over the birth of my child. There were no cute little bags handed to me with pink tissue paper hanging out, a little newborn outfit tucked inside. There were no flowers sent to my door congratulating me, wishing me well, wishing me happiness for this child growing inside of me. The world did not have to know. But between a family and their daughter, I should have been cherished. I was not. The secret was all too powerful so that it overshadowed any joy I could have over the birth of my own child. 

When a secret keeps you from  loving your child, it should never be kept. 

As I am realizing that my pregnancy was shameful to them and therefore so was I, I also discover other sad facts. 

In the family’s hellbent decision to keep so many secrets, they forgot about ME. I honestly, at this moment, don’t think they ever knew me or saw me in the entirety of my life. 

When I was diagnosed with a muscle disease it was a devastating day. Absolutely devastating. I received a phone call with the results of my muscle biopsy. I had a rare disease. Incurable. Untreatable. There was nothing anyone could do for me. What would you do for your child if you found out this news? A card? Flowers? Anything? Something! There was nothing. There was nothing for 11 years. My family acted as if nothing had ever happened because that was their programming. No one was over here helping me as I deteriorated. None of them. I was alone as I had always been. Fit in to their schedule when they felt it convenient. Now at some point my mother woke up from her dream state. Her trance of her rose colored glasses. It was for my daughter. She needed to be picked up from school because I could nolonger drive. My mother realized that we needed some help. She would take my daughter to dinner after school, make dinners a few days a week, and help around the house. I always put my mother up on a pedestal for this. I thought she was extraordinary. I see her now as just a mother doing what a mother is supposed to do. It should have not been a surprise that when I detailed my life to her and my father that they all vanished back to their secrets and chains. But it was a surprise. Because I thought my mother was extraordinary for helping me these past few years. Coming to the hospital when my daughter was ill. I thought that made her special. So she fell from grace when she deserted me. But that was my fault. I put her on a pedestal she did not deserve. This same mother who didn’t acknowledge my abuse. This mother who did not acknowledge my muscle disease. This mother who did not celebrate my child until she decided on her terms that she would. This is not a woman to put on a pedestal. None of my family is. They failed me over and over again. A few dinners and car rides does not make up for that. 

See the real secret was no secret at all. That is the real kicker in all of this. There was no secret and it was plain as the nose on my face. My family did not really love me. I did not matter to them. When I finally did get married there were no gifts. There were no congratulations. For them it was just one more thing to scratch off the Bethany list. I was never real to them. 

Do you understand? Whether or not they will ever see this is not important. I can see it. 

See, I blamed Billy Banks. The one man who molested me, who ruined EVERYTHING. Had it not been for him then I would have had my life on the lake skiing and my family would have been perfect. But no family is perfect. There ARE secrets, infidelities, divorces, etc. But none of that should have stopped my family from seeing me. They never saw me. They only saw their secrets. The secrets that have bonded them and bind them. 

It would have ended the same way. Had I never been molested. It would have ended the same way. Because my pregnancy would have been my first exposure to the power of the secret. Then my marriage would have been my second exposure to them and their ways. Then my muscle disease would have been the nail in the coffin to this group of people who painfully obviously care nothing about me. I blamed the abuse. It was not just the abuse. 

Whether or not the abuse started the secrets, the abuse was not the cause of my family falling apart. They were. They always were. 

It was never the secret. It was them. 

It was always them. 

The weather has turned ominous outside. The sky is dark and I can see the rain moving the leaves on my azalea out of the corner of my eye. A sadness has fallen onto my heart. 

The truth was staring me in the face all along. It wasn’t the secrets. It was the truth of them. I didn’t matter. I never did. I never will. I know that now. Whether or not my mind can accept it…only time will tell.  

The ironic  twist in the story of my life is that my husband and my daughter and I, have no secrets. There is no power struggle. There is no leverage. We see the beauty in each other. We cherish each other. The family I have created is my real family. Hopefully, one day, my old family, will pass like the weather is passing outside. Hopefully one day, me not mattering to them will not be so painful. For now, it still is. 

Finding the music.

When I was a little girl, our family was in a musical theater group. We performed Gilbert and Sullivan productions every year. The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, Patience, were a few. My mother, father, twin brother and I were part of this theater for my entire childhood. I very much loved to sing. I loved to perform. I loved peeking out behind the curtain to see the audience and feeling excited that all of the seats were filled. When we weren’t waterskiing, we were practicing for our next musical production. Singing and music was very freeing to me. We had a full orchestra at our performances. We lived in a tiny town and the theatrical productions were some big entertainment! Unless you wanted to drive 45 minutes to see the theater groups in the big town. We always had a full house. We always got standing ovations. I felt famous in my fairy costume taking a bow. 

I loved the costumes. I loved the make up. Being a little girl on stage felt so…special. I always felt like I was somebody when I was on the stage. When I stepped off I felt like I was just little me. There was a man in the productions who always wore a hat. To every rehearsal and practice, he wore his hat. He seemed very sophisticated to me with his hat. He seemed magical, this man. He would just appear out of nowhere and always brought a calm when he was there. He always tipped his hat when he saw me and said hello to me like I was an adult. Do you ever wonder where the people go from your memories? What happened to my man with the hat? Does he remember me as fondly as I remember him? 

My parents had cassette tapes of the productions and we would listen to them in the car and at home. I memorized every song for every part, even the major roles. I konw every word to every song we sang in those productions to this day. I sing a Japanese song from the Mikado anytime I want to rile up my daughter because she finds it odd that I can remember a song in Japanese that I sang when I was probably only 5. I loved to sing. I loved that our family did this together. 

I lost my desire to sing after I was abused. I have no idea why. I just noticed one day that I didn’t sing anymore. I didn’t sing to the radio. We didn’t do productions at the theater anymore. Music just didn’t feel the same to me. A few times in my early 20’s I tried to sing again but it never felt the way it used to, free and unencumbered. 

I did still love to perform though. My waterskiing job at Seaworld was a lot like our theater. We were performing for big groups of people and I felt…special. The crowd would clap when I came on stage after my ski tricks and I would bow and feel…famous. Then I would step off the stage and go back to…little me. 

It wasn’t until my daughter was born that music found it’s way back into my heart. I sang her lullabies. Every night I sang her many many lullabies. My husband often snuck in to hear me sing to her. Singing made me feel special again with my audience only being my husband and my baby. My role as a mother and wife was real. It wasn’t just a production or a performance with a costume. I pretended to be special then. I actually felt special singing songs to my daughter.  It didn’t have to be me pretending to be someone else in a production to feel important. I knew I was important to my little girl and my husband. Being a mom feels like a real superstar. Having an audience watch you perform will never compare to having your little girl look up at you as you sing her to sleep. So, I sang and I sang and I sang to her. And sure enough, 20 years later, she is a singer herself. She has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. And, she LOVES musicals. 

Tonight we watched Beauty and the Beast.  The costumes were brilliant and they reminded me of the costumes I used to wear and love. There was a man with the same hat as MY man with the hat. I watched the whole movie remembering my family and the music and how much I loved to sing. I’m glad that my daughter brought back my voice to me. Losing the music in your heart and the song from your lips is like watching a bird in a cage and wishing someone would let him be free. Abuse can take away that joy. Singing again put that one little piece of joy back that was taken. Abuse cannot take everything, and for the things it does take, you can add them back one at a time. Some things. Singing a lullaby to my child put back a piece that was taken. Music finally found its way back to me.

Stages of grief

I find myself always aware of what stage of grief I am experiencing. I don’t always move right through them. I don’t always need all of them. I may go from one to the next and then go back again. 

My last boyfriend before my husband was not kind to me. His abusive tendencies left me feeling like I lost more of myself. When I broke up with him I didn’t have to grieve the loss of him. I had to grieve the loss of what he did to me. 

I grieved my last boyfriend by chopping up all of his furniture and then borrowing a chainsaw and hacking up what was left. I then started a burn pile in the front parking lot of everything that reminded me of him. Now THAT is anger. I still find it funny when family says I am “rageful” now. PFT. Little lesson: Unless a chainsaw or axe or fire has happened, I have NOT shown anger. After I chopped up all his stuff I could throw out the upstairs window of the apartment, he packed up what was left and went on his way. Something about chopping up his furniture and allowing my body to feel that full rage over what was done to me was liberating. So much so that after, I laughed.  I was immediately over the grieving process. Anger was all I needed to grieve the loss of what he had done to me. 

With my family and what they did to me I did also go through stages of anger. Some scissors did come out when I cut up the curtains my mother hung in my house. But lets be real, that is pretty benign. I didn’t scream or yell or bash things. I just cut up some curtains. We all have our own way of dealing with anger. I write about it, and apparently now, cut up curtains. Unfortunately, that was not the end of grieving my family. I skipped the denial phase. Went straight to the angry phase and hoped to skip the sadness phase and go right to acceptance. It didn’t happen. I have come to the sadness and here I sit. I hope I don’t stay here for long. 

While grieving my body because of this muscle disease I went straight through! I was in total denial. I was angry. I was depressed. I accepted it. And then I went backwards. I refuse to accept this disease. I am going to fix it, I am going to research it. I am going to fight it. Then I would hurt myself by overdoing and become depressed. Then I would be angry and push myself to do something I knew I couldn’t just to show I could, just to repeat the cycle again. Grieving my body through this muscle disease process has not been linear. I don’t even know where I am in the grieving process right now with my body. Perhaps, appreciating what I can still do. Which is my own little amendment to the grief process. 

When it comes to the grief after abuse, 2 nights ago I had a moment of denial. I never ever thought I would go there. Grieving the loss of my childhood and the loss of my identity and the loss of normalcy due to PTSD has FIRST come with acceptance. Then there has been sadness. Anger has not really played a part. But I have never denied what happened to me. But a few nights ago, for a moment, I thought, OK, maybe this really was not as bad as I have thought. Maybe I have blown this entire thing out of proportion. Maybe the abuse wasn’t that bad. Maybe my childhood wasn’t that bad. I kept thinking of the good things that happened growing up. I thought, am I making the bad a bigger deal than it was and ignoring all the good I had? Maybe it just wasn’t that bad. Denial. It is a stage of grief I have not ever felt in abuse I experienced while being an adult. As a child, coping required a certain coping skill of denial but that didn’t have to do with grief.  It is not a good feeling. I doubted myself. I doubted my words. I doubted my truth. I had to reread the letter I wrote to my dad detailing the abuse details (it only details small details). I read. Oh. Right. That did happen. Oh. That happened too. Oh i totally forgot about that. Oh right, that was awful. I was immediately thrown from denial to depression and back to acceptance and then depression over the acceptance. I know why I did it. I let my family get into my head and I let their words and the weight of them overpower the actual truth. They live in denial. They want me there too. So I went there. Tested out the waters there in denial. Denial from childhood abuse is a very unhealthy place for me to visit. I didn’t stay there long. I was trying to pretend. Make it all go away. Just for a moment live in the fantasy world where I didn’t have to mourn myself. But that is not being true to all of the work I have done listening to my inner child and speaking for her, finally. Denial cannot be a part of my grief when it comes to trauma. So I didn’t allow it to be. Good things did happen in my childhood. Wonderful things. I don’t deny those things either. 

I have never bargained for myself  It is a stage of grief I have never felt within myself. I have bargained when it came to my daughter’s illness. I have begged and bargained God to just take me if that means she will be well again. Because her illness has caused grief too. Grief over the loss of what I want her life to be and what she has lost. 

Grief is powerful. Whether it is for a loss of our body, a loss of our self, a loss of someone we love, or a loss we are witnessing, it is complicated. It is definitely not linear for me.  I have also put in an extra stage for my own grieving process: Allowing for love. I don’t have to be in a stage of grief that requires sadness, anger, or acceptance, I could just be in a state of love. I can love myself through the grief. Love that little girl in me. Love my body that I am losing with the muscle disease. Love my daughter. Find a spot to just love in the midst of it all. 

Backstory

I realize after writing this blog post yesterday, you can find it here, https://bethanykays.com/2017/05/19/but-mom/, that it was more of a stream of consciousness type of blog post with no explanation. I thought perhaps I would give some background. There is a trigger warning on all of my posts as my blog is about overcoming abuse…

The man who abused me when I was a child used to chew Big Red gum. He would often smack that gum in my face when I was forced to sit on his lap and have his hands all over me. I thought, naively, as a teenager, that smelling that gum were the only repercussions to his acts. I had forgotten about the gum but I shared it with my daughter years ago. I told her that she couldn’t buy that gum because it reminded me of a very bad time in my life. Last night she was looking through lip balm and I was going to choose this cinnamon flavored and she very perceptively said, mom, you may not want to get that, what if it smells like that gum. I had forgotten about the gum! That reminder made me realize why the cinnamon my husband bought last week made me feel like I was going to throw up. I threw it away not knowing exactly what it was about it that made me sick. It was too close to the gum smell. 

I layed in bed that night and thought about how a simple thing like the sell of gum can be such a triggering thing in trauma. It was the only trigger I knew that I had. And I had completely forgotten it. But my body remembered it. I thought that my PTSD symptoms did not start until a few years ago but just that gum reminded me that I have always had symptoms. I just didn’t know what they were. 

One man who abused me ate onions before he abused me, I hate the smell of raw onions on breath.  So my husband orders food with no onions. One man who abused me had on strong cologne. I try to keep men’s cologne away from me. It is almost impossible. Around every corner are triggers to memories that I want to forget but cannot. There are situations that trigger memories. I cannot control any of that as much as I would like to and try. If it is not an outward trigger then I fall asleep at night and have nightmares. Those nightmares bring back everything. I wake up with this haze over me. I cannot control what happens when I sleep. 

My back story was childhood abuse, date rape, other rape, abusive relationships, and 10 years ago, as an adult I had another sexual assault by my best friend’s husband. I know that sadly my story is not unique as I have listened, heard, shared stories with many who have had multiple abusers. 

Last night I read through my entire email list of blog followers.


I know many people must just click like, like, like.  I understand because over one thousand messages is a lot. And i can’t always read all of them. But i don’t ever click like unless I’ve read it. Because if you’ve taken the time to write it, I will honor that strength by reading it.  I read each and every word of these blogs. I couldn’t sleep. I was bothered and unsettled within myself so I read all day yesterday and all night last night. I read of the bravery, the honestly, the pain, the agony, the monsterous acts, and the victorious fighters. I read all of your blogs. I do all the time. I hear that the things that happened to me also happened to so many others. And I am just so sorry that those things happened to each of you. The bravery it takes to face, write about, is so admirable. And reading made me realize, that most of you all “get” me. You know the feelings that I battle with. 

I am currently living the perfect storm of events that would bring to the surface these past memories. I am facing them. I am going to trauma therapy. I know there is a LOT I have no control over. But I am working on releasing what I can. I am working on boundaries. I am working on my protective bubble and placing people who have hurt me outside of that, even if it can only be through imagery. I am also seeking joy wherever I can find it. Today I was feeling particularly melancholy. I HAD to find something!

This is what I found. 


Puffy pink flower, a beautiful sky, and a gorgeous horse. I also found a friend who prayed for me a deep and profound prayer that my daughter and I can have restored health.  I seek and I find moments. Good moments. I try to hold on to them as long as I can. Some days, those moments are only one moment. Then the bad floods back. 

My journey to healing did not start until 2 years ago. I wrote a letter to my father. You can find that on my blog here. https://bethanykays.com/2015/08/08/details-of-the-abuse/

Their denial led me to my own truth more than I ever thought possible. 

My family subsequently cut me off. They made it very clear their disdain for my truth and after many hurtful painful messages I have not heard from them since. Well until my brother recently tried to manipulate me and hurt me again. The blog post that I wrote a few days ago that has led me to this back story post comes from the pain that I still feel. I thought that getting past the smell of chewing gum an abuser chewed was my only battle. I had no idea what was in store for me yet to overcome. I have anger towards my family for hurting me and letting me down. A child abuser was not my only battle. The chewing gum blog was about how badly I hurt. So badly. 

I am battling lyme disease, a rare muscle disease, osteoporosis, and heavy metal overload of copper and ferritin. I am battling the past that keeps coming up in my brain. I am battling emotions I feel towards a family that hurt me. I have to let them go. I know this. It is something I am working on in therapy. There are some things that I know I have to let go. I’ve created a little ring of angels surrounding me and one by one I am putting the pain outside of it. But the weight is heavy. It will take time to  process, grieve, and let go. Some things I will never be able to consciously let go. That will be up to my brain. For some reason my brain has decided to remind me of things I wish I never had to remember again. 

The bubble gum post was my deep deep pain being put down on paper. It was a plea. “God, I thought this would be easier. I thought this was as simple as gum. But I need your help to heal. I need your help to release the hate I feel for those who have hurt me. I need to be healed.” I am in pain. Physically I am in pain. Emotionally I am in pain. Spiritually I am pleading for help. 

My blog is my life story. It continues. I will write it as it continues. Hopefully the backstory will help those who are new to my blog understand some of what I am going through, some of what I have gone through. My last few days have been filled with flashbacks and sleepless nights. My last few days have been filled with anger and grief over the choice my mom made to stop being my mom. In these few days I have still broken through the bad and found light in the darkness. As long as I can seek the light, then for me, there is hope. Thank you for reading my words, supporting and encouraging my truth and life. I truly appreciate all of the people who have chosen to follow my blog and taken time to read and comment.