And Burning Flag

When we find out about the childhood of a serial killer, like Jeffrey  Dahmer and learn that he did things like kill small animals we always say, “Why don’t we pay attention to those red flags in children?” Maybe not exactly that way but we do say things about how we could’ve prevented certain murders if we had done something about these people in the first place. And it does make sense. So much of what happens in this world is preventable if only our society and system would care for people who showed signs of certain mental illnesses and we took preventative care more seriously than always dealing with the aftermath.

Thing is, I have never thought about this when it came to pedophiles. I think I get so wrapped up in the anger and hate that I am blinded by any rational thought or idea that these are human beings who might actually  not want to be what they are. Just typing that much made me twitch. It’s really hard to get past my own personal feelings for the person who abused me.  I watched a documentary recently and that is what it was about, helping non-offending pedophiles so that they don’t become child sex offenders. One of the points they made was that we tend to interchange the term “pedophile” with “sex offender” and they aren’t the same thing. A pedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to children…sex offenders are people who actually act on those impulses.

So now there is a lot of talk out there about helping pedophiles to come out and get help before they might act on their urges. They have compared it to an illness just like any other. I want to feel okay with this. I suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidality…I know what it is like to have an illness that people can’t see and therefore don’t take seriously. Or they have assumptions about what a person with mental illness is like. We are all crazy and psychos or some other such ignorance. Pedophilia is an illness. It isn’t hard for me to believe. I mean I already believe it. They are sick. It is just so hard to separate a non-offender from the image I have in my mind of the offenders or my knowledge of them. I want to be a decent human being and I believe that I am. I am a very understanding person, I care about humans, but they are right when they say, “You don’t know unless it happens to you.” You just don’t know how you’re going to feel or the confusion it will cause and how it will shape your thoughts and ideas for years to come.

Do I agree with helping them? I suppose I do, how can’t I? They are human beings after all and they are sick and need help. The hardest part for me is trying to separate my feelings and to stop seeing this as pity on the sex offenders, especially since they aren’t sex offenders. Pedophiles. I need to keep these terms separate.

Break in my usual blog to discuss the Stanford rape victim

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WARNING: This may contain triggers.

I will not say his name. I will not give him more fame and media support than he has already had. I will not make him famous. But I will say SHAME ON JUDGE PERSKY.

This pathetic excuse for a human being raped a woman. An unconscious, non-consenting woman. His excuses are invalid. YOUR excuses are invalid. HE ruined his image and his little career as a swimmer. He did it. He also ruined a woman’s life. A woman who will have to live with this forever. It never goes away. She will have to learn how to live with it for the rest of her life. She will have to rebuild what this disgusting animal tore down. Her self esteem, her feelings of self worth, her self image, her sense of security, her sleepless nights, her nightmares, her flashbacks, her inability to trust and it can go on forever. How does this compare to a goddamn swimming career?

This WHITE boy (and yes he is a boy, because a real man would not cower from his responsibility for his actions) is getting away with murder. The murder of a young woman’s sense of self and all of the above which I stated in the previous paragraph. I would put money, a lot of it, I would bet that if this were a black man he would be dragged through the mud, his mugshot would be everywhere and his sentence extreme. This judge or Judge with the inability to carry out proper justice, Judge Persky has only helped to perpetuate the fact that :

Few reports of sexual assault ever lead to prosecution. National estimates suggest that for every 100 rapes, only five rapists go to prison.

This is the very reason women as well as other victims of rape do not report it. Why should they when this is how they are treated?

Yes, this kid makes me sick but Judge Persky, you make me even more sick to support such a pathetic, disgusting and lacking person, such as this perpetrator.

I am angry. Not just because I’ve read the articles, seen the news reports or read all of the statistics on rape cases, reported and unreported but because I have seen this first hand. My perpetrator was never tried for my 10 years of rape and torture. But years later he did the same thing again to a little girl, a 12 year old girl and this time he was tried and he received 3 years of probation and a stint on the Megan’s Law website for 10 years. No prison. No time served even though he had been doing this not just to me, but to about 20 other women and girls over a 30 year period but no one wanted to report him. He was violent, he was scary and we had all seen how it was handled. It wasn’t. It was more of a punishment to the victims that to the rapist. You can read my perp’s story here:

Minersville Man Sentenced for Assault on Girl 

Which reminds me, there are so many issues here, rape being the big one but why when a white male does this does the media use terms like “sexual assault”, “sex crimes”, “sexual contact with young girl” but when black men commit the same act, they are rapists?

There is something seriously, seriously wrong with this system. There is something that has to be done to this system. There needs to be more justice and better judges. Judges who actually see the crime for what it is and hand down proper sentencing. And the victims should receive proper compensation in terms of help, therapy, etc after all of this, better treatment by hospitals and other people and especially the media.

This system is flawed in a big way. In a sick, sick way. People carrying weed in their pockets get harsher sentences than these sick criminals. That is how important this systems sees rape and sexual assault victims. We aren’t even as important as a couple ounces of a fucking plant that your system has deemed “dangerous”. Nevermind these dangerous males who go around raping people. (I am not saying there are not women who commit sexual crimes, there are, but males are the majority and in this case it is a male) Not they aren’t as dangerous as a plant that you think is just not good for anyone. Well neither is a rapist. They aren’t good for anyone, not just the victims but the families of both sides, other survivors like myself out here who have to day in and day out witness this sort of injustice and for the future of this society.

So shame on JUDGE PERSKY. You should be removed from your seat and a real judge should replace you and this sick boy should be retried properly and accordingly (the jury claimed him guilty unanimously) not based on ignorance and lack of compassion.

Blue Silken Sky

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TRIGGER WARNING: Child sexual abuse, animal abuse, language

I’ve always been an animal lover. My whole life. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t love animals. For a while there I considered myself and animal rights activist and I guess I still am in some way.

My perpetrator knew this and he used it against me many times. But first, the thing that always got to me was how if a pet died, he’d bawl. He’d cry like a fucking baby as if he just loved animals so much and as if he had a goddamn heart. That is where the crazy stepped in, his ability to change from one person to the next. And not just the way some people do when they hang out with different people but the way a person with a serious mental illness can go from saying “I love you” to saying “I will kill you”.

We had a cat, Bootsy. I loved that cat. I remember getting him as a kitten, picking him out of the box of kittens at someone’s house. From day one, though, he would use that cat to threaten me. If he wanted me to do something or if I wasn’t doing things around the house the way he approved of or even if I was just actually having fun (which he hated to see) he would say things like, “I’ll step on that fucking kitten right now!” or “I’ll throw that kitten down the goddamn stairs!” And he did. I can’t count the number of times I have heard that cat yelp or cry when he kicked it down the basement stairs. He would throw him, kick him, hit him with things.

One time, after some big fight in the house that probably had something to do with how I was not tolerating him calling me names, or trying to shove his hands down my pants or whatever and he blew up at me. You know? Good girls would let their stepfathers do that according to him. But this one time, he was mad and he took Bootsy outside, put him in a fishnet, hung him from an engine hoist and spun him around and hit him with a stick. I just cried. I’m crying now. I think the things he did to animals, to Bootsy, hurt me more sometimes than anything he did to me. That cat cried and screamed and when he finally put him down he laughed because the cat couldn’t walk straight for being dizzy.

He made me watch these things. He’d laugh at the cat. He’d laugh at me crying and call me a “crybaby” and a “little cunt”. Anyone who can do those things to an animal, a child any person shouldn’t be on the street. We don’t have a system that cares about that though and they smack them on the hand and put their pictures up on a website and say, “Don’t do that again!” But they do. They always will. And I can see his fucking ugly fat face smirking and thinking he got away with it all. He didn’t. I am alive, I have done and will always do amazing things with my life and he is just going to rot until he dies. Lonely, fucked up and pitiful. I don’t just push forward for me, I do it for my mum, for Bootsy, for ever single person he has hurt like this and for every single person who has been through anything like this because in the end what matters is you. You matter. Not them. Not that piece of shit person who has no sense of self esteem or ability to control their sick minds. You do great things and you win. I won and I’m still winning and I will always win.

True Colors Fly in Blue and Black

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TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post may contain terms, situations, etc dealing with childhood sexual abuse and rape. Take care when reading and do not read if you feel it might upset you. Love and Light.

Funny that this post ends up being called ‘True Colors Fly in Blue and Black’ because I have always thought that I wished I was beaten sometimes so the bruises could disappear (not that physical abuse is any less than other abuse) but I often think of my mind and spirit as bruised but not healing completely. Pardon my use of words, but it always seems as if there is a scab that just won’t fall off and if I pick it, it just bruises it more.

So I’ve mentioned being sexually assaulted and psychologically tortured by my stepfather, if you’ve read this entire blog, you know that. I never mentioned the other two guys who also assaulted me.

One was when I was about 5 or 6. I slept over a friends house and woke up to find her brother trying to put his hand up my pajama bottoms. I froze, I remember, not understanding what was happening. I didn’t even know how to stop him. I was a little kid and he was an older teenager, bigger than me and my friend’s brother. So I guess that was the first time I was honestly sexually assaulted although for years I didn’t think about it because I was preoccupied with trying to stay alive while living with my abusive stepfather.

Again, right after graduation from high school, I was dating and totally in love with one of my closest friends from high school. It was like a dream relationship. I mean head over heals in love with this guy. One night another friend of mine from school, a male, asked if I wanted to hang out. He and I had written a few songs together and his band had played them and he said we could go get ice cream and talk about them. I was excited because I always wanted to be taken seriously as a writer and as a songwriter, that was just awesome to me. So I went with him. We had so much fun. Talked about our songs, laughed about school and how graduation came so fast and finally we decided to go home. He was driving me home and he drove past my house. I said, “My house is back there.” He said, “I know, I just thought we could go park in the parking lot at the mini golf place and talk more.” I feel stupid now because I said, “Okay, that sounds fun!” We got along so well that I figured it was just fun and I liked talking and hanging out with him. We did talk a lot then he started to massage my shoulders. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, just rubbing your shoulders. I thought it was weird but couldn’t bring myself to say that. Before I knew it he was on top of me with his hand down my skirt and tights. I froze. I couldn’t say anything. I just lay there trying to remove myself from the situation in my mind. I was thinking about my boyfriend and how I wished I was with him and I wasn’t where I was. He managed to get my tights and panties down and as he was opening his own jeans he stopped and said, “You really aren’t acting like you’re into this.” I didn’t even look at him. He got a bit annoyed and asked, “What did you think, that we were just going to sit here and talk?” I mumbled, “Yes.” He said, “Fix yourself, I’ll take you home.” And he did. Silently and I got out of the car and started crying and took three showers and cried myself to sleep. I didn’t want to face my boyfriend and I think I never told him, not that I can recall.

I am only recently recalling these events because I think for years my main goal was to get rid of all of the negativity that came with my years of rape and torture. I took a class on being a Survivor Support person on the campus where I work and it just brought it up and reminded me and suddenly I’m remembering these events and it’s like I’m only now dealing with them emotionally. I keep telling myself, “Well, three’s a charm, right?” thinking maybe that means it will never happen again. There is no guarantee of that but it’s the only way I can keep myself from living terrified daily.

I don’t want to hate men and I don’t. I don’t want to fear men, I do.  But yes, I have dated, I’ve slept with boyfriends but I don’t think I’ve ever really done any of that without still being somewhat afraid that they would turn on me.

I really don’t want to fear all men.

If you’d ask, then maybe they’d tell you what I would say

I’ve mentioned before that the U2 song Bad played a huge part in my life growing up in order for me to cope and believe in myself. Bono himself was a huge influence and I don’t care what anyone says about him, everything he did is a huge part of why I’m still alive today.

I constantly talk about what it was like during my abuse and what my home life was like and how I felt all of the trauma but I don’t really discuss what my life was like before the hell that I lived through. When it was just my mother and me, we didn’t have much. We lived with my great-grandmother, then my grandmother and had a tiny apartment for a short while then lived in the projects. The point is, it was just us, poor as all hell but happy and it didn’t matter because I was a child and allowed to be a child and I was enjoying being a child.

Music always played a huge part in my life through good and bad. This was mostly because I come from quite a musical family between bands, instrumentalists and just my mother’s sheer interest in music. There was always music. Every so often (as it is with all little kids) a song would get my attention and I was fascinated by it. One of them for me was Sunshine (On My Shoulders) by John Denver (or as I called him, Don Jenver). I believe it was from a movie then a short lived TV series but it was about a little girl and her dad. Not having a dad in my life I frequently found father/daughter relationships fascinating as a child.

This morning while I was working on some things in my office, this song came on and I just stopped and listened to it because it reminded me of happier times, feeling loved, feeling carefree, smiling, laughing, being a child, and just being the me I was born as. So here is the song, just wanted to share it because it makes me smile (actually cry a little) and maybe some of you will remember it.

 

 

Wide Awake, I’m Wide Awake

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TRIGGER WARNING: Physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, torture, violence

I’m not the only one. It really means a lot to know that but at the same time it makes me angry to think that it has always been happening and it is still happening. I don’t like to think sometimes that I’m not alone. I’d like to think sometimes that it ended with me and it can’t happen again but I know that isn’t the truth.

Just like a survivor has a responsibility to survive, a perpetrator has a responsibility for his own actions. I always heard about how sad it was that my stepfather was so abused when he was younger. That’s so sad, it is but…he made his decisions when he decided to abuse others himself. He could have decided to do something good for himself, help himself but no, he chose to hurt others.

This happens in households every day. Not just sexual abuse, but psychological abuse, spousal abuse and every day women (and men) are punished for defending themselves against their perpetrators. Something isn’t right with a system that punishes the victim and our system does.

This documentary, which was aired on HBO, is a raw example of what it is like in this country for victims of abuse. This is an example of a monster and what happens when you try to defend yourself against this monster. Please watch with care because this is very triggering. For me it was many of the descriptions of what this monster said that reminded me so much of my stepfather. Just be careful and be warned, this can be very upsetting, infuriating and just plain depressing.

Every Fucking Day of My Life (documentary)

This is my offender, this is my monster:

The monster who made me who I am

He got into trouble, not for the more than 10 or so girls he’d raped, molested, etc and for the 30 years of assault he had committed and for the women he abused, but for what he did to one little girl, one brave little girl with a brave mother who actually did something about it. This is one of the articles about him:

Sentenced

Indecent Assault. He got three years probation for Indecent Assault. He raped, molested and abused women and children for 30 years or more and he got 3 years of probation for indecent assault. My case with him didn’t matter anymore. Statute of limitations. So according to the law, my rape and torture never happened. This has to change.

 

 

And So to Fade Away

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I didn’t put a warning on this one because it isn’t graphic or detailed. I know in the beginning I revealed a lot of very graphic details about my past. This one is more about people and how they react when they find out. I may have touched on this previously but today while working out I watched a TED talk, which is my new obsession by the way. I’ll link to it at the end but it was by Boyd Varty and it had nothing to do with abuse or anything I’ve really talked about in this blog. Boyd discussed ‘ubuntu’.

“[Nelson] Mandela said often that the gift of prison was the ability to go within and to think, to create within himself the things he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, harmony. Through this act of intense open-heartedness, he was to become the embodiment of what in South Africa we call Ubuntu. ‘I am; because of you.’”

Ubuntu is a beautiful — and old — concept. According to Wikipedia, at its most basic, Ubuntu can be translated as “human kindness,” but its meaning is much bigger in scope than that — it embodies the ideas of connection, community, and mutual caring for all. Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee (watch her TED Talk) once defined using slightly different words than Varty: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” — Boyd Varty

Once it is out, and it does get out, that you were severely abused you lose friends. As much as that sucks, it’s okay. Some people don’t know what to say, how to act or even just how to deal with what they’ve been told. I’m a big mouth about what happened to me, I’ll tell anyone because I’m not ashamed and also because it made me who I am. I have no idea who I’d be if this never happened, there is no way for me to know, all I know is that this shaped me.

The friends who didn’t leave and the friends who came after have made a huge difference in all of that as well. Some friends wanted to comfort me, some wanted to understand me and still some just wanted to be my friend and carry on as we always have. All of this meant a lot in how I’ve evolved through what I’ve been through. Even the shitty system we have in the part of Pennsylvania where I’m from and their inability to deal with these issues properly has helped me.

See, once I turned 18 I felt obligated to myself. I was free of this monster even though I still saw him a lot but now I could change my world, he no longer had control. Or did he? In some ways he did. I drank, took some drugs, got involved with some not-so-great people, self medicated really. That also caused me to lose some friends. It hurt, but it’s okay. At the time, it wasn’t, I was hurt, angry, disappointed but just like with everything else you go through grieving periods no matter who or what you lose.

Now, when you’ve been through anything traumatic you have choices. I mean, get angry for fucks sake, you have every right to feel that. Get pissed off and wish the person or people were dead. It’s a healthy part of the grieving period. The most damaging part though is the self pity. Yes, you can pity yourself for a while. It does help you heal because you’re taking in what happened, you’re realizing it, you’re hurting and no one likes to hurt but you cannot wallow in self pity forever. You can’t, twenty years later, continue to live in that self pity. Why? Because you get nowhere after a while. You continue to blame what happened to you for absolutely every thing that happens in your life and while yes, you’ll still have moments where the psychological remnants of what happened will affect a decision or a situation and that’s okay but you can’t blame the past for everything. You have a duty to yourself to take control.

Okay, so you have to take control and no longer let this monster or whoever, whatever, control you. But no one survives alone. No one gets through it all alone. Whether it is someone in your past who said something and it resonates in your mind and helps you get through or someone you recently met who has qualities you wish you possessed or they just provide support and listen. For me it was all of that. The friends who never left made me realize I wasn’t a bad person for going through what I went through and, in fact, made me feel normal because they treated me like a normal human being. The people I met taught me who I did and didn’t want to become. The things that were said to me in my youngest years, especially by my great-grandmother, always resonated with me. That is what gave me the strength. Some of it came from within and some of it from these people who, whether they knew it or not, gave me strength.

We are all connect and we all affect each other even without thinking about it. You have bad days and you say things like “I hate people.” I say it. I get frustrated when I see something on the news or someone on the bus says something hateful but I’ve learned to feel bad for these people as well. What happened to them in their past that they are so angry or so bitter? So when I encounter these people even if just walking by, I smile, I say ‘hello’. I get caught in conversations with people at bus stops, not necessarily conversations I choose to be in, but some people just need someone to talk to, and I never argue with these people, I reply with neutral answers if I don’t agree or just agree but no matter, I do my best to never be mean. It can honestly change someone’s day, week even, if they encounter just one person who makes them feel human.

You are allowed to have bad days but not every single day is a result of what someone has done to you in the past. I understand we’re not all the same and we can’t all just up and change our ways because these are learned coping techniques to cope with what we were going through at the time. It takes time to unlearn some of them. It is also never ever wrong to ask for help. It can be a frustrating journey until you find the right help but half of that is you. Your determination to get that help. Never ever be ashamed of what has been done to you. Also something you have to learn…unlearn. And watch people around you and realize they are struggling too. You can even learn from the mean ol’ grumpy ones. I’ve learned from mean grumpy old ladies I meet that I don’t want to be a mean grumpy old lady. So I do my best to be kind and polite and understanding as much as possible.

You are not what happened to you, but what happened to you made you who you are. Somewhere in there, you have choices to make and that is all you. Friends, colleagues, strangers on a bus, in a grocery store, all of them shape you in some way and that is how you choose to deal with them. And how you deal with them will somehow shape them as well. Ubuntu.

To Let It Go

TRIGGER WARNING: child abuse, sexual abuse, language

There was a time when I assumed that this was just what happened to everyone. This is what father’s do to children. I was even told by my mother how she was sexually abused when she was younger. Her tone and the way she said it just sounded like, “aw yeah, this is what happens, you just gotta deal with it and move on. They are all jerks.” Then there was a time when I felt alone. I thought there was no way this was happening to anyone else. I felt so isolated from everyone. I was disconnected. I think I actually developed a type of dissociative disorder, if that is even possible, disconnected from other humans and looked at them as if I wasn’t in the same world. I felt like I lived in a fog.

Finally, once I found the right therapist, my first real therapist, MaryBeth, who I consider to be my saving angel. She saved me and she is why I started to believe in myself and I applied to college and moved forward and away from that town and life. She made me realize that I was not alone. This happens to others. This has always happened to others but there have been times in history when no one ever spoke about it, but she felt like I was different because I couldn’t not talk about it. And it’s true, I was very vocal and this was a big reason my stepfather hated me so much. He fucked with the wrong girl.

That aside, I wanted to share this documentary. It is not easy to watch. These people make me incredibly sad but watching this I could relate to so much of it. While watching it I wished I had a chance to help them, talk to them, encourage them the way MaryBeth did for me, but you can’t save the world. You gotta save yourself first but a film like this reminds you, you’re not alone. THIS IS NOT AN EASY FILM TO WATCH. Just wanted to share as I’d only recently seen it. These men are sick and things need to change. But where do you even start? It comes from so many areas that where would you begin to fix this? Can it be fixed? Cycles of abuse, mental illness, socioeconomic issues all of that makes you wonder, where does it begin and how do we stop it?

Again, this is not an easy thing to watch and if you feel you can’t watch, it is okay. Just wanted to share:

Just Melvin, Just Evil

 

Into the Light and Into the Day

Städter haben höheres Depressionsrisiko

Ahhh! People!

TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE

I add this warning you see above to all of my posts (aside from one I think) because I never know when I’ll be bringing something up that may upset someone. This blog isn’t meant to upset anyone but to inform.

So how does growing up being sexually and psychologically abused and tortured affect your social life later on as an adult? It really does. Not even just your social life but just being out and among society in general. You know that term “feeling alone in a crowded room”? That is a very common feeling. You don’t know who these people are, what their intentions are, where they come from and all kinds of things run through your mind when you are around people.

For me, it has made every day difficult. For years spending time in the city (Mostly New York City or Philadelphia) was a high anxiety experience. Every little thing made me anxious. Noises, sounds, smells, even people who looked like my stepfather. Talking to strangers was next to impossible, I nearly froze in my tracks and couldn’t figure out how to answer them.

I recall an instance while I was living in Pittsburgh and I was working at the National Aviary, which was pretty far from where I lived at the time. I had to take two, sometimes three buses to get to and from work. It was a serious trek. One morning I took the bus downtown to catch a connecting bus and just as I stepped off of the bus I was hit with this incredibly forceful wall of anxiety and panic. Out of nowhere. I am not even sure what may have brought it on. Sometimes you can be triggered subconsciously and have no idea why. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was pounding and beating so fast and every single person (this was morning rush hour so it was a very crowded downtown) was terrifying to me. It was like walking through a crowd of monsters. I felt like every person I looked at or walked by was about to hurt me or yell at me or worse. I walked quickly to a nearby park and crouched down behind a statue crying and called my friend to come pick me up. She asked what was wrong and all I could answer was, “The people…the people are scaring me.” That sounds crazy right? But I’m not crazy, I’m a survivor and sometimes survivors have to experience unpleasantness in order to survive. It does not ever go away. Not ever. You learn to live with it. You learn coping techniques and gain skills that get you through times like this.

Now obviously my coping techniques at that time were not so great. And sometimes that still might happen. Especially when you’re caught off guard. Not fun. Years and years of being told “You’re ugly.” or “No one could possibly like you.” or “You make everyone sick. Who would look at someone as disgusting as you?” really makes being around people difficult. As you can imagine or if you can’t, maybe you should try now because it is a very real thing. Words like that do not ever go away and out of nowhere sometimes you hear them in the back of your mind over and over again and for me it is especially when I am around people.

One of the things he also always told me that was most men would just rape me and throw me in a dumpster. He said men would kill something as ugly as me. All I am worth is my vagina. That is what he told me. So when you are around people there are these people there that are men. And when there are men I would barely make eye contact for fear one of them is thinking about hurting me. Elevators! Agh! Forgettaboutit! If there is a man in an elevator with me, I am as far away as possible. Still, to this day. Confidence around males is a very very difficult thing. So in a crowd there are all of these men and in my mind I’m wondering which one if not how many want to hurt me, kill me even.

Now these examples are not something I go through every day, all day. I’ve since learned coping techniques that do help me get through being around people but I am still very cautious. One thing that I still have not learned to cope with is loud voices or yelling, hostile voices. Frequently I will hear people arguing on cell phones or even just with each other at the bus stop or wherever. I tense up, my stomach turns and panic sets in, I can’t breathe right, I just want to get away from them and go home.

Last night I went to get my hair done, which is something that always makes me feel beautiful. I was walking to the bus stop, happy to have new hair and feeling pretty and also pretty calm. While waiting for the bus a guy comes to the stop and he’s on his cell phone arguing with someone. He isn’t just arguing he is screaming into the phone, yelling horrible words and threats at whoever is on the other end. My stomach got so upset I was worried I might throw up. So this is a very real trigger reaction I still have. My stepfather used to scream and holler all of the time. Always an angry voice around the house, negative, horrible words. Words that my mother and my family never used. Now, these things just set me off. Of course I didn’t freak out but I sure was tense until the bus finally came. I also didn’t want to make eye contact with him because in my mind he would hurt me because he was angry.

This is what it is like to live years after abuse. Didn’t go away. Can’t just get over it. Not possible. No one does and if they say they do they are stifling a lot of fears, upsets and feelings. Of course the world isn’t going to cater to people’s triggers, life goes on, but coping techniques are a survivor’s best friend. I even go off and do things on my own…in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, London, I’ve been all over on my own and I still get nervous or a little anxious but my favourite way to defeat a fear is to face it. Show it who’s boss.

For Auld Lang Syne

Happy-New-Year-Image-BackgroundI hate New Year’s Eve. It’s my least favourite holiday ever…ever…ever! I prefer to spend it alone but sometimes it is so hard because people always have this feeling you shouldn’t spend any holiday alone.

Being around people on this night is difficult. I’ve tried many times and I’ve had fun but it is always a bittersweet kind of fun. I suppose the holiday is about looking forward to the new year and kind of leaving the past behind (I think?) at least according to Wikipedia:

The song’s Scots title may be translated into standard English as “old long since”, or more idiomatically, “long long ago”,[4] “days gone by” or “old times”. Consequently, “For auld lang syne”, as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as “for (the sake of) old times”.

 

I hate nostalgia and remembering the past. I barely have photos of me when I was younger or of any events and things that people seem to like to have photos to remember. I love looking ahead.

I’m not sure it has always been like this. Maybe before I was 8 it was different. Although I can’t imagine 7 year olds really understand New Year’s Eve a whole lot. My only memories are of having to spend the night with my stepfather’s mother and his other children eating crackers with cheese and watching Dick Clark. It was supposed to be fun but I never had fun in that house and with those people. His mother hated me and watched me like a hawk, picking at every little thing I would do. The smallest little thing and she’d reprimand me from how I was sitting to how I would eat my crackers. I felt like Cinderella only I never did find that prince. I remember feeling out of place and awkward and fearing the upcoming year and knowing it wouldn’t be any different than the past year. The abuse was not going to end and we sure weren’t going to be leaving this man any time soon. Another year with the Devil. Another year of being called names, having things thrown at me, not being able to sleep, being threatened, raped and psychologically torn to pieces. I knew it and I never looked forward to it.

Yes, it’s over and my life has since improved and I’ve dealt with things and learned to live with the side effects of my abuse. I am a strong, independent woman and quite proud of the fact that I endured such a life and was able to get this far and done all of the things I’d done. I still have a lot to do, so I don’t feel like looking forward is a bad thing anymore but for some reason on New Year’s Eve I have this dark cloud over me but yet it doesn’t make me unhappy but it almost feels like God or whatever is out there is telling me to remember what I’ve been through and look forward to another amazing year of getting through that.

That’s a good thing, I know, but it also means I spend a lot of my time on NYE self-reflecting, crying and usually going to bed by 10pm. This probably all sounds confusing but in my chaotic mind it makes perfect sense and so I prefer to use it as such, a reflective, not on the previous year but on my life so far. Then I wake up and I am ready to move forward.

None of this makes NYE all that horrible sounding, I’m sure. To most people it is assumed that is exactly what you do, move on from the past year. I think I don’t like the idea of year to year, it only keeps count to me of the years that I’ve survived. This isn’t a bad thing, wanting to spend NYE alone and I am not bothered at all by it. I hate the night but I love the next day. And I love this life.

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