Thursday, April 18, 2013

In which I attempt to end the cycle. Part 1. Of more than 1.

There are emotional triggers in this post. I'm not going to apologize for it. They are my experiences. Please do not read this if you are triggered into anxiety by instances of child abuse, child sexual abuse, or domestic violence. I don't want you to hurt.

I don't know much about my grandparents' relationship. I do know that everyone tells me that before I was born, my grandfather was a brutal disciplinarian. Then, my mom got pregnant with me, and both of my grandparents wanted nothing to do with me. When I was born with an atrial septal defect (big fancy doctor words for "hole in the heart"), that changed. The possibility of losing a precious child, to them, brought them about full-circle.
Or, so I've been told. I don't really remember being a child that got into a lot of trouble. I may have been, for all I know, but I don't remember my early childhood days being filled with time outs, spankings, or reprimanding. I was most definitely a wild child. I remember once having my mouth washed out with soap because I came home from school and told my mother that because I knew the definitions of a laundry list of swear words, I was now able to say them. I said them all, listed the definitions, while my mother stifled a laugh at my definitions of things, especially bastard (because, bass is a fish, and it poops. duh.) She then put a bit more than a drop of Dawn on my tongue, made me sit there to the count of 10, let me rinse my mouth out, and then asked me if I planned on swearing again. I must have been 6 or so, because I never said those words around her ever again.
Other than that, I was a very spirited child. Tales of me running around the neighborhood, stripping off pieces of clothing as I went, were the hit of the party at my baby shower in 2000. (I, however, was not in attendance, as I was in the hospital with bronchitis. Because that's how I roll.) Old friends' first question was always "Do you still have those Wonder Woman underoos?", because we all, apparently, keep the underwear we had when we were 4. I ran everywhere, I don't remember watching t.v. unless I was sick, and I don't remember "shoes" happening until I had to wear them to school.
Sometime before I turned 6, my mother met a man. A few times, he baby sat me while she was at school. He was nice, and let me watch cartoons while he made macaroni and cheese and hotdogs. He put pepper on his macaroni and cheese, and I thought that was absolutely wild.
Soon enough, we moved down the street into an apartment, and the man moved in with us. Later that year, he married my mom. And then I found out, I was going to be a big sister. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was. My best friends were big sisters, and I wanted to be JUST like them.
It started subtly. Being sent to bed with no dinner for having a note sent home from school (which was later "corrected" by my mom after he went to sleep.)  Being spanked for "not listening". My mom would cry every time, and it obviously upset him. So, he just stopped doing it in front of her.
Over time, I learned that tightening my buttocks would hurt him. He learned to use the belt when I did that. When the belt wasn't enough, a wooden wall sconce was turned into a paddle. When the paddle broke, he used a piece of deformed 2x4. After that, he just kept replenishing them.
If I didn't keep my room neat, I got a paddle. If my sister emptied my drawers, I got a paddle. If a mess was made that I didn't clean up, I got a paddle. If I didn't compliment my mother's cooking, I got a paddle.
But never with my mother there. Because she would cry.
When I was 8, he started to groom me. He would punish me, then go lie down because he was "stressed". Then he would call me in to his bedroom, lying on his bed in a t-shirt and boxers. He had been ex-communicated from the Mormon church for having molested his daughters and gone to prison, so he didn't wear the garments like my mother did. He would ask for a hug. And then pull me on top of him. At first, I thought it was loving. A cuddle. I didn't grow up with a dad, so this was all I knew. This was cuddling, right?
It wasn't long before I felt it. He would position my legs so that I would feel it when he got hard. Which is when he'd rub my back.
This went on until I was 12. We moved from Utah to Michigan, and I found out for the first time that the state will take you away from your parents if you're bad. Huh. So, I shoplifted. I was super duper ambitious. I stole one of those 20-color pens that had about enough ink for one page of notes, but it was shiny and pink and I didn't pay for it so IT WAS SHOPLIFTING SO CALL THE COPS!!! Well, the manager recognized me, and called my mom. And told her that he was fine, but I wasn't allowed to come back in the store anymore. She yelled at me, and then left to go grocery shopping. I got beat. And then  he "apologize/snuggled" me. And, disgusted, I went back to my room and sobbed. No one would help me.
Luck was sort of on  my side. I had a day where we had a late start to class. I didn't want to fold the laundry that had  piled into the loveseat, so I just fucking sat on it. Because, seriously, it's begging to be re-washed, since it's been there for 3 days. He went to grab his paddle. I dared him. "Hit me. I will tell my mom." He laughed. Told me that he would make my life hell. "Don't you ever fucking touch me ever again. And you'd better not touch my sister." The look on his face...I can't really describe it. It was almost a goddamn smirk. As if to say "Too late, bitch."
So, I pushed him. He was well over 300 lbs. 6 foot something. I was maybe 100 lbs. 12. 5 foot something. I pushed him. He toppled into the glass coffee table. In an adrenaline rush, I grabbed a shard of glass, straddled his chest, and held it to his throat, telling him that I would kill him if I ever caught him touching my sister.
And then, I walked to school, completely amped up. My sister was safe at her school, I was going to mine.
That night was completely uneventful. The next morning, he told my mom that he had a chiropractor appointment to go to. Which is apparently scum for "I"m going to flee town because it's a matter of time before I'm caught."
That night, she panicked. He was nowhere to be found. The chiropractor had no idea where he was, he didn't have an appointment. He drove all the way to my sister's house in Colorado. My mother hadn't yet called her in the panic because WHO THE FUCK DRIVES FROM MICHIGAN TO COLORADO OVER NOTHING??? Apparently, the man my mother married.
Well, while she was on the phone with my aunt, my aunt asked my mom to sit me down, and ask if he'd ever touched me, sexually. As I was eager for it to end, I told her EVERYTHING. Which is when she called the police. Who were johnny-on-the-spot to come interview me, get my statement, and find where he had gone. I don't remember much, but the detective was kind and the house was filthy.
That weekend, he was back. Only, since there was a restraining order and arrest warrant out for him, he stayed at my brother's house. My mom made me write a letter, recanting my statement. I wrote it sloppily. I made sure it looked like it wasn't my writing. I even signed it. But I wanted the detective to pay attention. After all, this worked for the Hardy Boys. It can work for me, right?
Actually, it did. And my sister and I were placed in foster care.

This is emotionally hard for me. So, I will stop here with this for tonight.

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