If I could only stop dreaming!

I used to love dreaming. I used to dream of my Nana and picnics. I used to dream that I lived with Native American Indians every night. I used to dream that I could see and visit loved ones that passed away. I don’t dream those dreams anymore. My dreams have turned to nightmares. Reminders. I don’t want reminders. I don’t know why they come. Are they being purged? If so then why do I need repeaters? Something I need to face? Well frankly I am tired of facing new old things. Really, my plate overfloweth with garbage from that past that is being sifted through and discarded. New things really upset me. Last night I had a dream that I was in the hospital and desperately needed a ride home. Everyone from my past, my family, my friends, were all playing football in the hospital waiting room as if I wasn’t even there needing to be taken home after surgery. That stupid seemingly meaningless dream morphed into the truth about my past. I was so in need of help and everyone was just acting out their lives around me oblivious. Completely oblivious. This dream took me to the truth that I really am quite tired of remembering. One event that was especially bothersome.

I became sick when I was 18 years old. It was when my doctors now think that I contracted Lyme disease because I had also Rocky Mountain spotted fever. At that time I had quit working as a professional waterskiier and moved in with my boyfriend to get away from the lake and the memories of the childmolester ski coach. When I got sick I was very much alone. I was very very sick. I had extreme weakness and vertigo. That spring break my brother had come home from college with his college friend and my dad wanted us to go to the beach. Or maybe it was senior spring break. Funny, I don’t recall. I missed my senior year of highschool being in a mental hosptial and all. So my time frame, much to my family’s dismay is always a little off. My facts are always correct. But the year and the exact time is sometimes off. Abuse and PTSD can affect time. They don’t know that because they are selfish pricks. Anyway, I was so sick but dad didn’t really acknowledge that. He insisted I go to the beach with them and so I did. I remember two things about that trip. My dad asking me to go down to the beach where he and my brother and his friend were playing football. That was the first. It took all the strength I had to walk down to that beach. I sat down and almost immediately my dad and brother and friend tossed the football in my direction, one of them caught it and fell on top of me and hurt me. I started to cry but no one cared. They were so into what they were doing they were oblivious to me. Just like in my dream. I walked up to the hotel. I didn’t matter. The second thing I remember is the hot tub. I didn’t bring a bathing suit because I knew I was too sick to get in the water. They all wanted me to get in the hot tub. I did. I was so obedient to every one else’s wishes. I got into the hot tub. I felt immediately sick. They had been drinking alcohol. I stood up and my dad immediately drug his finger down the front of my shirt and in between my breasts and commented that I was not wearing a bra. They were all drunk. I am sure if you asked any of them they won’t remember. I do. I didn’t matter. At 18 years old, not even living at home, I was repeatedly brought back in and shown that I did not matter. 

My dad, brother, entire family are all gone now. Not dead. Just no longer in my life all of their own choosing except my father. I ended my relationship with my father. The family just chose to side with him. But I ended it with him. I couldn’t let him disappointment me anymore and I couldn’t go on with these lies about the past eating at me. The truth had to be told . They don’t like the truth. Never have. I told the truth at 43 years of age and poof they were gone. My dreams just remind me that I should have been the one to poof them out of my life long long ago. I was unable to though. I didn’t see them for who they were. I was molded, brainwashed, and weak. 

I don’t want to remember them. I don’t want to fall asleep and be reminded of how many people let me fall and stepped on me when I was down there. I don’t want to dream anymore. 

I do have a plan though. I plan to discuss these dreams in therapy. Perhaps, if I go back to that time while I am awake, and choosing, I can create a new image. Perhaps I can save myself, punch my father in the face, choose not to go to the beach at all, had a voice. Perhaps in doing that I can give my body and mind what it never got before, validation, love, respect, and I will stop dreaming. It’s worth a shot. I don’t have much control over what happens in my dreams. It is helpless there. Which seems so unfair! I’m going to try and change that. I can only hope that facing each thing that comes up in my dreams head on will make them disappear. 

Arguments with myself 

Me: It’s 1am my stomach is rumbling. I think I need to eat.

Me: You don’t need to eat at 1am. Ignore it and go to bed.

Me: But I’m pit of my stomach starving.

Me: Be strong. Don’t go eat. You don’t need it. Be strong.

Me: But I’m nauseous I’m so hungry.

Me: You’re weak if you go in there. “Tighten up that ass. Stop eating so much.”

Me: Wait! That voice in my head is not me! It doesn’t make me weak to eat! It doesn’t make me strong to starve myself! That is that asshole at Seaworld who said I was fat at 105lbs. That asshole is in my head still!!! So many assholes in my life made me hyperfocus on my body by bullying. Oh my gosh!!!! I hate that they did that to me! I hate that their words are still in my mind!

Me: Yep, you are listening to the enemy who has set up camp in your brain with memories and chains and control. You are no longer 18. You are in control. You are strong. You can go get food and listen to your body’s needs. You are 45 years old. Go get some fucking food. You have a muscle disease. Your body needs constant nourishment. Love that body. Feed that body. 
I promptly go to the kitchen and eat an entire meal and feel satisfied. I will not let the past control me. I will not let the words from someone from my past control me. I AM 45 years old and I will overcome ALL of them!!!
*Photo taken while in kitchen of the black spider that tried to bite me last week that I could not manage to catch. Another spider finally caught him and killed him. Seemed appropriate for this current subject matter. 

Growth.

When life tries to cut you down…

But you keep on growing anyway…

It’s really the only thing we CAN do. Just keep growing. We can gain wisdom. We can evolve and become more enlightened. We can use all of those experiences of pain to give empathy and love to others going through the same. We can make sure no one is going through this journey alone. No one wants to do this alone. No one wants to feel they are the only ones chopped down and sawed at by those wishing to inflict harm. I don’t want to feel alone in this. 

So I am glad we have each other, those who I have met while blogging. I’m glad we can go through this growth together. I may feel weak, I may feel broken, I may feel a handful of hard hurting emotions, but I have also grown as person. I have opened my heart and soul and life up on this blog and I have received only love in return. What a gift!

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.

#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.