Poetry: ENOUGH

*photo taken by my daughter

SLAP

You’re not good enough!

SMACK

You’re not enough!

Kicked down,

While being told,

GET UP!

That’s not the correct shirt.

That’s not the proper word.

That’s good, wear that skirt

Just don’t zip it all the way up.

Society

Has it’s own reality

None of which applies to me.

I know the rules

Of which I follow

But the criminals

They didn’t when

The passed me

And borrowed.

Leaving this…

Hollow.

Pardon me

While I build myself

From the ground up

With a broken body

Which you thought was so weak.

But it’s got a deep tough

That makes me

More

Than

Enough.

When one man tries to seal your fate

I have been looking through all of my medical records and scanning in important documents that may be used for the case studies that I have been in for the muscle disease I was diagnosed with. I have a medical record burning ceremony scheduled but before that I knew there were important documents that could be important for future genetic studies of the Doctors that have been putting together different studies on the length of my disease and date of onset.

I found my baby book which had a few documents that I scanned in the computer and sent to the Doctor’s out of the country working on my case.

It appears my first symptoms began when I was 9 years old. One year after I joined the ski team. As I read through the symptoms that I had when I was 9 I cannot help but see the resemblance to my symptoms now. The “purple streaks” mentioned are the “aura” that I get before a seizure although my medical notes state there is NO AURA. Even though it states patient sees “purple streaks.” The widespread pain I felt at that time is exactly what I feel now even though it is painfully, and I mean, painfully clear that this doctor believes none of my symptoms were real. He said so “psychosomatic.” He even states that I need to lay down when the pain is so bad but then says no fatiguability. How odd being that the reason I was there was that I was too weak to sit up and in so much pain I could barely walk.

Then my symptoms continued into the next year with urinary incontinence, which I also currently have experienced with the acceleration of the muscle disease and the seizures. I was seen by a urologist. Apparently, that urologist had seen me before and this little piece of evidence explained my patchy memory of a vaginal procedure done that my mother claimed to “not remember” although it is crossed out for my own privacy here in my medical notes.

Reading my childhood records has been triggering, upsetting, beyond upsetting. To see that so much had been done medically in my vaginal area before the age of 11. The wonderful age of 11 when it was decided that I would get coached by the ski coach child molester. It is as if I never had a chance.

What stands out to me most, even further than the neurologist telling my parents to not allow me to go to the clinic, AND to resume all physical activity is that in one fail swoop he destroyed my body. In his letter, telling my parents that I was not only faking everything, but to not allow me to rest, and to push me into sports, HE RUINED MY LIFE. Had he listened, believed, validated, anything then I would not have ever waterskied. I would not have damaged fragile muscle tissue that cannot repair itself, I would have never been in the sights of a child molester either. Because he did not believe my symptoms were real he sent me to destroy my body and allow someone else to destroy my body and mind as well.

I read all of my records. It was the laziest evaluation I have ever seen for someone with my symptoms. Had he done a biopsy like was done 30 years later, he would have known I had a muscle disease. I would have not been allowed to do sports which did irreversible damage. I had to wait for so many months to even get some of these tests done that some answers would have already passed!

It is still in question whether I have post polio. That is on the table now along WITH the muscle disease with unknown mutation and Lyme disease and my slew of other health issues.

And for anyone wondering, and yes I have been asked… being molested cannot manifest itself as a muscle disease in a muscle biopsy. You cannot fake a muscle disease, create a muscle disease finding on a biopsy, and psychosomatic or rape or molestation cannot give a person a muscle disease. The lack of this finding falls on the inadequate incompetent doctor who did not do his job and would rather say it was all in my head than believe me.

It kills me to see that. To read that. To see that he chose, encouraged, pushed, my family and my pediatrician to make me do sports even though I was there in so much pain.

One man. One man that I feel almost sealed my fate. I mean. He did in some ways. My muscles are wasting as are my bones and if the Doctors in England and Canada cannot find the cause and genetic mutation then there really is no saving me. Others with this disease do not do any of the activities that I did. They know it damages muscles that cannot repair. This ALL could have been prevented to the severe extent it has become had ANYONE believed me in my physical pain or the abuse that was going on.

Then I read my own letter to my grandfather and grandmother when I was miraculously better which my parents equated to church prayer. All I remember is one day I woke up and felt fine. No one knows why I went into remission and my disease came back 30 years later. The Mayo Clinic surmises it was anesthesia that triggered the relapse. And they have no idea what caused the initial remission. Who knows. But I was well when I was 10 even though apparently I had urinary incontinence, I went on to be in a commercial and continue back waterskiing and doing dance. I read my own handwriting at climbing to the top of the pyramid at 10 years old and skiing with my brother. I read it and thought, “ Had that one Doctor diagnosed me properly, or even suggested that it was not all in my head, I would not have been climbing pyramids, I would not have also been getting molested…if only…”

I scanned my documents. Sent them where they needed to go. I will burn the rest. I remember getting these documents in the mail many years ago and calling that original doctor on the phone and faxing him his diagnosis of psychosomatic and then faxing him my muscle biopsy results front he Mayo clinic saying I had a muscle disease. I spoke to him. He is still practicing medicine. Maybe after my phone call he will stop “practicing” and start actually DIAGNOSING.

One man’s words took away my worth, my childhood, and at 45 years old, still, my body.

After reading through the records I hand typed out what they said for my blog since some of my friends are blind and cannot read screen shots. As I wrote his words I started thinking about how one man really can try to seal your fate. One child molester. One bad doctor. One invalidating remark. A group, a family, a town, that does not believe you were sick or molested. Then I looked at these records along with the ones I have recently and realized how wrong they all were and how absolutely devastating that is. I knew they were wrong. But no one believed me. No doctor. No family. No one.

Until now. A righteous man stepped into my life, my husband, who validated MY LIFE. I wrote a poem about him, a quote really, “An evil man cannot seal your fate if a righteous man steps in his place.” I believe that.

Many an evil I have encountered but a righteous man took me away from that as best he could and has given me…butterflies, beaches, a daughter, sunsets, love, unconditional love and constant validation.

Don’t let one evil man seal your fate. (Or human). A good man or woman, God, nature, beauty, self love, dreams, aspirations, hope, can give you the fate you deserve.

Dated 12/22/81.

I was 9 years old. “The areas of pain complained of were each explored closely, and none of these show any physical abnormalities nor evidence of tenderness. She does complain about pain upon palpating of many areas but I am not convinced that real tenderness exists.” This goes on to further state:

“We discussed with the mother today that there is some possibility that Bethany has developed a school phobia or a similar psychodynamic problem. The mother is not very accepting of this viewpoint but will try to normalize this child’s life. Specifically, we suggested that the child should attend school daily, should participate in sports and normal activities for her age and should not be allowed to go to the school clinic or in another way dysfunctional in school or at home. The mother is to observe the child for any objective evidence of illness and to call us back in two weeks with a report of progress in school. We certainly hope that you will be able to support our efforts for this child and her family. Sincerely, F. Thomas Weber M.D. “

Other hand written notes state initial thoughts “ ?neurologic disease – but so many variable complaints. I.e. M.S. ?psychosomatic” then you can see where he goes back and writes next to that “ a real probability”

The hand written notes of my exam state this “ ‘purple lightening flashes’ in both eyes. Pain at times in the chest, abdomen, thighs, arms, calves — essentially everywhere…..when pains are severe, pt feels very weak and must lay down. Has missed 10 days of school because of illness- or more. No auras…..no easy fatiguability.”

Next record is 4/13/83 and apparently I started being seen when I was 10 years old but had turned 11 on this second visit that is to see a urologist and reads to my pediatrician:

“Dear George: I saw Bethany in my clinic on 4/13/83. This 10 year old white female has a problem with incontinence that has going on for several months. …I have seen this youngster in the past….I examined her perineum today and could not see any obvious abnormalities….my tentative plan is to go ahead and proceed with an IVP in three weeks on May 4,1983 to look for an ectopic ureter. After that we will consider cystoscopy.

Dated June 4, 1983

Dear Grandather and grandmother,

I can’t wait for school to be over. I have so many things to tell you. First, I think you already know I’ve been in a McDonald’s commercial. I’m so excited to see myself on T.V. I’m on a ki group too. This is my 2nd year and I was on top of a pyramid and now I am doing a ballet with Andy by my side (on two skis). I know know how to ski on one ski with the rope between my legs. The third thing I wanted to tell you is that I just did a dance recital.”

Because no one can take away the beauty, especially a child molester and an inadequate doctor from 30 years ago…I move forward and will not give up…

Here is me at my faking age…

But I’ve moved forward …

No one can take the blue butterfly…

I have chosen LIFE

Poetry

Body for sale

Marked

Sold.

Their signature

Tattoed

Onto my

Soul.

A body

Baring

What you

Think you

Know.

The truth

It is

right here

Shown.

Right down

To the starved bones.

But the eyes.

Look at the eyes.

Look.

It shows their lies.

All of me

They took.

To reclaim my soul

I scorched them.

Their names,

Their remembrance.

I singed off their ownership.

I burned

Their

IMAGE!

Until…

Soot.

My life is no longer

Their parody.

My body no longer

Their symphony

My soul no longer

Theirs to keep.

No longer their slave

I set myself free

With

A simple

Ceremony.

Because…

I

Am not

That girl.

And…

I never was.

The rusty bird cage

My mom felt it appropriate to tell her friend that I contracted a sexually transmitted disease from my boyfriend at the time. My mom did not feel it was important to tell her friend that I had been molested most of my childhood. It seemed ok to gossip about me but not to discuss certain events that could have saved me and supported me. It seemed ok to confide in an STD and not a molestation. What my mother did not know is that I had contracted that STD after a date rape. She only heard about it after I started dating that current boyfriend. I was humiliated and needed someone to confide in. I confided in my mother. Who confided in her friend. Who later humiliated me with this knowledge that mortified me. I remember going in to the gynecologist and getting huge chunks of my cervix removed. I remember having things cauterized and burned off. I remember the rounds of antibiotics that I was given. 

I had forgotten that my husband did not know these things until my memory loss issue after the seizure a month ago and this memory popped up and I told him. I told him that my appointment with the urology person reminded me of how I was treated after the date rape. Ooops. My husband did not know of all of this. But I forgot that I had not told him. Memory loss… WTH!!!!!!!

Triggered memories suck. Why could my memory loss not just wipe out all of THAT! My poor husband! I hate that he has to know these things. I don’t pity him though. He does not pity me. All we have is love.

I don’t think that most people understand the repercussions of abuse. It goes beyond the emotional ongoing PTSD. The trauma itself to the body can be lifelong depending on what was contracted at the time of the assault. That is a brutal reminder let me tell you. A few years ago I was tested again for AIDS just to make sure it was negative. 25 years later to be tested for HIV is a heavy reminder. One I could forget. But those who know about this aspect, know it is not forgotten. 

But that’s ok mom. You share with your buddy that I got an STD at merely 18 years old. Don’t you worry your pretty little self about the full story that you never wanted to even know! God, the selfishness enrages me. 

Leads me down a path of nothing good. 

I find myself checking facebook AKA the devil’s path!!!! I looked up the original childmolester. Wanted to see if he was still “friends” with everyone on that team. He IS. Bastards. Steve Kramer who called me a slut that wanted it. AS A CHILD. Dino, Ricky, all of those who at some point knew the truth and stayed “friends” with this man. Jimmy who lived on the lake and crossed the line many times with me and other girls, pastor’s son. All “friends.” I wonder how fun hell will be for all of them. Do you think when they wake up from their death and go “oh shit!” Have fun in hell “friends” really. What you do on this earth has consequences. Just for facebook. Is it worth hurting a victim for the bullshit of facebook? Ty engeseth. Rusty stewart. I think naming names is far overdue. Yeah, you two commited statutory rape FYI. Have fun in hell. The guy who molested me in costa rica, can’t remember your name because I was only 14. Have fun in hell with the others. Statutory rape buddy. Jeff. Gosh your last name escapes me. I hope your friends know that you paid me for my “virginal self”. You piece of shit. Have fun in hell. And the date rapist todd Gardner. I am sure there are thousands of those wtih your name. But I remember you well. I remember exactly how long it took for you to do what you did. I still scrub my skin raw because of you. Enjoy hell. All rape buddies. I was underage and you were all overage! I could NOT consent. The law says so.  Prior abuse from Billy Banks would have made that impossible anyway. 

All of you on that ski team. All of my family. Everyone who turned a blind eye. You are all in the rusty bird cage together. Keep each other company. Have fun in there. 

See. Devil’s path. Don’t even go there. Why do I even look. I guess it is my hope still that one will wake up. But facebook is a reminder that none will. But it has led me to stop keeping the final secrets. No more. Oh yeah. One of my cousins that is reading this…your dad is a sex offender as well. Yeah, you know it. Everyone knows it. Your dad is not honored. We all know what he was. 

It’s ok. You can make me the bad guy. In your eyes. I have not kept the peace in the secrets. In God’s eyes, I am just fine. If it helps you sleep at night though…just know, you are all in the rusty cage. Not me. Not anymore. 

My mom. She has guilt? Denial? Thinks I blame her? Part of the blame DOES lie on her. But all she would have had to do was apologize for that. A mother, a good mother, and I know many, have made mistakes that resulted in their daughter being abused and they were destroyed. Those mothers spent the rest of their lives blaming themselves, trying to recover the guilt, trying to make it up to their daughters. Even though it was not them to blame. They were naive. I knowof one mother who fought to put her own husband in prison after finding out the truth of what he did to her daughter. Bravo!!!!!! My mother was naive. All she had to do was say “ I am so sorry I wasn’t paying attention and this happened over and over again.” Then we could put the blame on the abuser. But she couldn’t. So some of that anger stays on her. Instead of apologizing she blamed me to her other friend. As if she were totally innocent in everything. She had a part. Everyone had a part. But no one is accountable for their part. 

As parents we are not totally innocent. 

I have done some bad parenting. 

I have owned up to that. I have apologized to my daughter. I have wished I could go back and do things differently in some situations. We all make mistakes as parents. It takes a good parent to apologize for those mistakes. I know that I am a good parent because I know I am not the perfect parent and I continue to try and grow into a better parent. 

My mother was naive. I have to believe that or I would believe that she just didn’t care to pay attention to her daughter and protect her. 

A part of me will always love my mother. A part of me will always be broken because of my mother. A part of me will always hate my mother. I know that. I ride the wave of my mother on a daily basis. I wish I could let her go. Time does NOT heal all wounds and this is one of them that will never be healed. She had 3 best friends when I was growing up. None of them knew what happened to me. None of them knew I was molested. In my mother’s only defense, she did not know anything that followed from me living in my car, the date rape, and the multiple molestations from other waterskiers on our ski trips. But she knew about Billy and she did not tell her friends. They could have loved me through it. 

Can one person be THAT naive?

My life feels like one of those puzzles with 1000 pieces that my nana used to work on a square table. Each day she would work on a corner. Put together the blues, then the oranges. I can see the puzzle. Throw the child molesters and rapists in that puzzle. Throw in those who knew and did nothing. Throw in the PTSD. Throw in the STDs. Throw in the humiliation. Throw in the blame and shame. At the center of that puzzle was my little unit of family. Those who could have made an explosion into the world fighting for me. But they just slipped into the next piece so that all of the blues matched up. My life blurred into the blues because they did nothing. 

Thankfully my husband came in and upturned the table. It reminds me of what Jesus did in the temple when he threw over the tables. My husband was like NO. STOP. Then my sweet daughter came in with her grace and her kindness. They reminded me that I am not just a piece that fits into a puzzle on a table connected to all of those who never fought for me. I am the finished the painting that the puzzle was created from. I am the original painting!!!

Do you understand?

I am not part of them.

I am the original me. 

The original painting. 

They tried to put me into a cage with a lock that conveniently fit into their ways. 

They paid no attention to the way the cage started rusting. 

They paid no attention to the blue sky that I could only see through the cracks of their denial. 

They wanted me to be a flightless bird. 

I get that now. 

Poking me as they all walked past.

Each person poking.

Each person not even noticing that I broke out of the cage. 

I will fly above them eternally. 

Breathing in the knowledge of the truth that I will continue to spread.

Until my last breath. 

Ah I knew this bird cage would work it’s way into my writing. 

I wonder how it would feel to gather all of them and put them in the rusty bird cage.

Oh. Right. They are already in it. They just don’t realize it!

The good will always outweigh the bad

I remembered today some things that I really wish I never would have remembered. Why do I go for my mindful walks? Why do I go in search of the things that brighten my day and intrigue my mind? I have to balance the bad with the good. For me that may be like today searching for seeds and buds. New life. Today that was looking for raindrops, more raindrops from last night’s rain. Then I went to the prairie with no real intention other than getting out of my own head. I needed to get out of my mind. 
Do you know what the alternatives are?

Remembering that I was molested when I was 11. Remembering that man. Remembering that 2 years ago my entire family chose NOT ME. They chose denial. Remembering that I am battling a fight that I may not win when it comes to this physical body with this muscle disease and bone disease. Remembering the individuals who stood against me instead of with me. The realization that a little girl, me, had her childhood stolen and is STILL trying to recover from the gravity and reality of that. I don’t want to remember these things but I know they will keep coming. I noticed today that the quilt on my bed was not my own. Where was the one my mother gave me? I asked. I gave it away because it broke my heart to see it and know my mother had broken my heart. Where was my brother? I asked. He said many cruel things on his way out. Where are some of those friends that I had? Oh right. ” Your standards are too high,” I remembered her saying. Really? So, because I won’t compromise my own integrity? Because I won’t let you hurt me, blame me, deny my feelings then MY standards are too high? No honey. You HAVE NO STANDARDS. But I remember. Because I don’t compromise then I am the bad guy? No! I would rather have a few people in my life who respect me than tons of people who do not value me. These challenges. The little comments that fill my brain, “ Well I don’t like short hair on women but it looks good on you.” Really? Because I don’t remember asking what you FELT about the hair women should have. And I don’t like jerks and you just reminded me how ignorant and judgmental people are and how they just look for the chance to tear you down. This coming from a BALD MAN. It’s okay. I don’t judge you because you are bald. But you decided that I was ONE of the ones that could “pull off” short hair. So these thoughts run through my mind along with a thousand other thoughts. My daughter, me, oh and a million other thoughts. I could sit with these thoughts. This life. I am thrown right back into the depths and I could easily drown. I believe I was close to drowning before. So my lifeboat? My lifejacket? Looking for a rose bud today with a raindrop. 

What are the alternatives? Let the past rule me? Or try my hardest to live in the right now and embrace all the good I can find! I choose to at least try to fight for the good. 

Some things are out of my control. Far out of my control. I know I cannot change the flashbacks or the memories. I cannot fix my health right now. I cannot stop the pain in my legs, my dilated pupil, my toes from curling under, the ache in my shin bones. I cannot alter those things. 
BUT I can step outside. At least today I can. I can find a rose bud with a rain drop. So that is exactly what I did. The alternative? Being stuck with the trauma that I cannot seem to get away from. Thoughts that I have not quite learned to control. So raindrops it is. 

Later I felt this pull to go out on the prairie. I cannot tell you why. I stood in the middle of the road in the prairie. I looked at the storm coming. The sprinkles started falling and I watched the sun setting with the dark clouds surrounding it. I “felt” I needed to turn around. I did. There was a rainbow. I immediately called out “LAURA!!!!” Then my knees buckled and I sobbed and sobbed. Laura was my very best friend. We rode horses when we were in the 3rd grade, rode the bus together, ran from her mean bull together. And a number of years ago we embraced on my couch as she was dying of cancer and she was praying for ME to be strong and giving me the love only Laura seemed to know how to give. 

I remembered my sweet Laura was gone. The rainbow was hers. It always was. It was a way to remember her. And there she was in that rainbow. 

See I have had extreme challenges, and extreme loss. I have also had extreme love! The love of my friend Laura that has gone unmatched by anyone! The love of my dog that also passed away. The continuing love of my husband and daughter. The love is stronger than the loss. The love is stronger than the pain. The love is that rainbow. 

I’m going to upload all of the pictures I took. Normally I describe all of them for my visually impaired friends. I will try and go back and do that later but wordpress keeps locking up so I am quick pressing publish before it closes. 

I stood sobbing in the middle of the dirt road looking at that rainbow and I knew that I was not alone and I never would be. The good. The Laura’s, will always outweigh the bad. Always. 


The rainbow!

Poetry


I’m not afraid of you.

Your words

Hiding behind the glass

With your idle threat

Wearing today’s mask.

Men like you

Cause me no fret

I’ve had real monsters

Lying in my bed.

I’ve been used

By others

Just like you

Who love to throw out hostility

I’ve been abused 

By those like you

Who think you can 

Tap into my fragility.

I’m not afraid of you.

Although I know you’d love me to

You are afraid

Because I know  you. 

You are afraid 

Because others will too.

Did you think I’d keep your secret?

Oh I don’t keep those anymore.

I stopped keeping other’s secrets

When my face was stomped to the floor.

So no, 

I’m not afraid of you.

I met so many of you before. 

Now turn and walk away

I don’t keep score

But I’ve no time for pathetic

So please

Don’t forget

As you leave

Close that fuckin door.