Saturday, August 30, 2008

I am on a quest to remember whatever I possibly can from my childhood. Maybe it will open other memories up -- today, it's books I remember reading. There is an underlying theme which is both familiar and similar in these stories -- abandonment and loneliness, often with a little adventure and mischief thrown in. I do think most children's books start out with some level of sadness or distress so that a happy ending can occur coupled with a valuable lesson. I'm not sure Dare Wright understood that so well when she wrote the Lonely Doll series however.

The Lonely Doll - Edith was a lonely little girl living alone in Manhattan who befriends Little Bear and Mr. Bear. When she misbehaves and gets spanked by Mr. Bear, she pleads with him, "Do anything you want, just don't leave me." Funny, but I seem to recall a similar sentiment in the title of a Joyce Carol Oates' novel, Do With Me What You Will.

The Story About Ping is a tale of a little yellow duck who accidentally gets separated from his family and winds up lost and alone on the Yangtze River.

Born Free is the story of the orphaned lion cub being raised by Joy Adamson and her husband and then being released back into the wild several years later.

Black Beauty
is the adored stallion who lives a good life with gentle masters until he suddenly finds himself being used as a work horse for cruel masters.

A Wrinkle in Time is the adventures of Meg and her little brother Charles who go on a search for their scientist father who has disappeared in a tesseract.

Babar is the little elephant who witnesses the brutal slaughter of his mother and then wanders into the city to eventually become King of the Elephants.

Where the Wild Things Are - most everyone know this story about the mischevious Max being sent to his room and embarking on a fantastical adventure.

I asked myself why I was writing such a blog post. I mean who really cares what books I read as a child but me. But I do and it gives me insight into my child's mind. I absolutely loved Black Beauty. I can remember turning the filmy pages that covered every illustration with such care.

It's sort of funny in a sad way that I always remembered this book as being mine -- a gift from my father. As it turns out decades later my sister gave me this book from our childhood because she knew I loved it. The inscription was to my darling daughter [only it was my sister, not me], love Dad. It broke my heart to read it all those years later and although I still have the book packed away in a box, I have not looked at it again. I would prefer to remember it only as the book I loved.

Actually I loved all these books. Oh yeah, I forgot one. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess. I loved Horton sitting on that abandoned egg through public humiliation, bad weather, everything imaginable, and staying put until the egg hatched.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful one hundred percent.

My parents forgot their oath to care for, protect, and nurture the five children they brought into the world.

Friday, August 29, 2008

the trauma train

I passed by an over-sized cement mixer on my way to work this morning. It was sans polka dots - had painted shades of blue diamonds instead. There was no urge to cross the yellow line; my hands felt relaxed on the wheel as I glided by it. Nothing.

Yesterday in therapy, Dr. B asked me if I was still having the desire to be 'accidentally' killed on purpose. "No" was my immediate response but a moment later, as I felt the pressure of my tears collecting in the back of my eyes, I said "yes, sometimes."

I proceeded to relate my dream of the night before -- a dream that made me very despondent and unraveled, and yes, made me think about accidental suicide once again...fleeting but painful thoughts. Thoughts connected to being 15 again and believe me, it was very disconcerting.

Dr. B, "Are these feelings you experienced at 15?" She looked visibly upset. "Yeah, they are." I could barely choke back the tears. "Can you go there now?" she asked. Even though I was teetering on the edge, I couldn't step over. I told her that every power within me was fighting those emotions.

"Don't go there now," she said. "You know they exist; you know you are in touch because you are feeling the internal conflict." Let's take a few minutes and get settled. Feet flat on the floor. Feel the couch supporting your body, feel the texture of the fabric under your arms, pay attention to your breath. Look around the room and find something pleasant or calming to focus on.

"How are you?"
"Better, grounded."
"How do you know?"
"My eyelids will close again. It feels as though my body has melted into the back of the couch."

We move on to more trauma. I was a passenger on the trauma train with a never-ending ticket...or so it seemed in my teens, in my twenties, in my thirties and my forties. I think I have finally disembarked in my fifties. It has been a long trip. Now I have to figure out what to do with all the baggage.

Monday, August 25, 2008

looking for love

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek
and find all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

A letter of hatred

I want to write a letter of hate to my ex but I'm not sure how to start. Maybe I want to ask him why he used and abused me. Maybe I want to tell him how much he hurt me. Maybe I want to scream to the world what a low-life piece of shit I think he is. Maybe I want to tell him that he should rot in jail forgotton, that he deserves to be beaten to a pulp, that he should know what it feels like to be raped, over and over again.

I hate you. I hate how you treated me. I hate you for terrorizing me. I hate you for being a drug-addicted violent alcoholic. I hate that you could never grow up and be a decent human being. I hate you for deserting me and our two children. I hate you for how you neglected and hurt your children. I hate you for hurting me, for beating me, for inflicting physical and emotional pain and scarring on me.

You took your anger and hatred out on me. You used me as a punching bag whenever you felt like it. You cheated on me. You stole from me. You insulted me and convinced me that I was worthless and unlovable. You sucked me into your life of crime and spit on me. You didn't care about me, about anything or anyone.

It was always about you...poor you and your family of raging alcoholic lunatics. I hated your house and the crazy filth that you lived in. You promised me a different life and I believed you. I needed to believe you but you were just laughing at me, humiliating me, using me. You never loved me. You weren't capable of love but I didn't understand this. I thought we could save each other.

I was a fool. I was a victim of your abuse. I was weak. I had no place to go and no self esteem. I got high to get by and I forgot. I forgot the nightmares that I was living and pretended my world existed only between the hours of 9 and 5. Then I slipped into an underworld of darkness with you.

I hate you for taking me into the hell holes of your existence.

You tried to destroy me and you didn't give a shit. You watched me cry and threaten suicide and turned your back. You watched me scream in frustration and anger and you smirked. You watched me beg for sobriety and a better life and poured yourself another scotch. You watched me hit rock bottom and you stomped on me.

You are scum of the earth.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Death wish

For decades I fantasized about death -- brutal, tragic...a death so violent, so filled with rage, it would leave my body deeply maimed and unrecognizable. It was my escape and it was always to look like an accident. And it would be an accident, only an accident orchestrated by me.

Have you ever seen those oversize cement mixers -- the ones painted with large rainbow colored polka dots? Their mixers churning while they barrel down the highway. My dream - I am driving down the two-lane road and spot the cement mixer heading my way in the oncoming lane. Just as it approaches, I jerk my steering wheel to the left veering across the double yellow line directly into the path of the truck. In an instant I exist no more. It's painless and it's an accident. Death by polka dots. Maybe she sneezed and in that moment lost control. The urge was so strong for so many years that when I would pass a cement mixer, I would grasp the steering wheel with both hands, holding it so tight my knuckles would turn white. There was war being waged inside me - death versus life. I didn't really want death to win.

Dream #2 - A late evening drive along a winding wooded road. It's autumn, the air is crisp. I am strangely alive, tingling with unknown anticipation. I put my driver's window down to feel the night breeze on my face. Before too long I slow down to a stop, close my eyes and inhale deeply. I am fighting back tears. The exhilaration I experienced earlier has fled leaving me in a slump. I don't have the energy to go on living. I just want to die.

Before I realize what has happened, an animal, specifically a wolf-type creature, has leaped up into the window. I feel this searing pain as the wolf sinks its teeth into my neck, ripping through my skin and severing my artery. I lose consciousness as darkness closes in. It's over, at last. I am watching from above when they find me later that night in my car, blood soaked and dead. Oh yes, it was tragic. I waited for that wolf.

I am so ANGRY

I am filled with rage...yesterday, today. Tears well up and spill. My heart races and then sinks. I need to sleep but my eyes won't close, even for a moment. Life isn't fair. I can't settle things because I can't remember things. It's wrong. I know...but really, is life fair? I don't think so.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

foiled again...

I contacted the village justice in the town where the alleged Firehouse II crime took place. Would they check their criminal records and see if there was an arrest or conviction for this crime I can't remember. I explained it all to the justice clerk.

Fortunately she was very willing to assist me in my quest. "Why it's not something I've ever been asked before." I'm sure. I faxed her all the information - names, addresses, nicknames, approximate years, physical damage done. My older brother's name as well because he might have pressed criminal charges against him. That was a week ago. Mrs. Halperin, the justice clerk, just called me.

Unfortunately, there is nothing in his criminal jacket connected with an assault against me or criminal charges filed by my brother. Here's what she did tell me:
  • May 1970 - conviction for assault II (before we met)
  • October 1970 - conviction for burglary & assault III (before we met)
  • 1973 - convictions of harrassment (knocked down from resisting arrest & assault) against two police officers
  • Plus an assortment of convictions for drugs, public intoxication, drunken driving, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest occurring in the early to mid-1970s. (when I did know him).

These are only convictions. There is no record of accusations and arrests. That is probably where my story lies in secret.

I seemed to be thwarted at every turn.

I guess I have to bite the bullet and contact my older brother. It's not something I want to do -- he's very judgmental and self-righteous. But I think he's also very family oriented and loving. Oh, I don't know. We aren't close in any respect. I will email him. Hopefully, he will offer up his memories and help me remember. I still harbor those childhood fears of my older brother -- he was mean and hot tempered and aloof...not unlike our father.

I don't know where else to turn. I tried the hospital - no records dating back that far. I suppose I could check the local newspapers at the library. Yes, maybe I'll try that as well. Who knows what that might turn up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the mind-tooth connection

My left front tooth broke free from its connected right front tooth and tumbled out of my mouth into my right hand. Not again, I sighed. It was the weekend and the dentist wasn't around to fix it. I'll just push it back into place like I've done many times before until Monday. The post, however, was not glued into my gum anymore but came out with the tooth. In my palm was my temporary tooth with an 8 inch metal grooved post sticking out of it. How could that be? 8 inches? Why that would poke into my brain - instant frontal lobotomy. I wanted to push it back into place but was weary of the damage it would cause. It might just cause a leak [leaking memories perhaps, memories of my lost teeth?] It's all there...somewhere.

My dream from a few nights ago. My dream after a night of intense conversation with the LOML. Two things happened that night -- I had this dream and I had a panic attack in the middle of the night again. It had been a few weeks since I last had one. But I had the LOML in my bed and when I was finally able to calm myself minutes later, I crawled into bed, curled up against his warm flesh, and fell back to sleep quietly, calmly, quickly.

I have always dealt with my fears alone. What a beautiful feeling to have someone that loves you by your side. Just his presence comforted me...he needn't even wake up.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

no shortcoming of traumas in my life.

Next list I make will be a list of some of the happier moments in my life but for now the usual - traumas, actually only non-sexual traumas that I remember. Unfortunately, many of them take me to that hellish place I lived with my ex-spouse, the criminal.

1. Getting stuck under broken rowboat in the ocean as it washed ashore - terrified I was going to drown and getting scrapes all over my body as I was dragged along the ocean floor until the boat popped off of me. I was maybe 10.

2. My cousin's drowning at the lake - feeling his body at the bottom of the drop-off where they pulled his body from. I was 11.

3. Driving through the fjords in Norway with a livid father behind the wheel, jumping out of the car when he stopped and trying to run away. I was almost 14.

4. Younger brother falling off bumper of moving car, hitting his head, and having amnesia. Took him to the hospital; couldn't find either parent. I was 16.

5. Thanksgiving Day 1969 w/friend. Her brother (who sexually abused her, her sisters, and her brothers) came by unexpectedly, drunk, threw the turkey at her uncle and terrorized us. We hid in the closet for hours until he left. It was my 16th birthday.

6. Getting mugged; getting teeth knocked out; drain in breast; nose broken - Age ??

7. Going to a heroin den in Harlem in the middle of the night [I really don't know why] and being warned of a dead (overdosed) body in the bathtub. I was 17.

8. Being stalked by a scary man in a pale blue volkswagon hatchback everyday for months. I was 16-17.

9. Car accident where man in other car was killed instantly. Still remember the blaring horn coming from the smashed car on a desolate stretch of highway. Didn't get hurt - driver and front seat passenger were very intoxicated and were thrown through the windshield. Athough I was uninjured, I had to crawl out of the shattered back window. Ran down the street hysterical to the other car and saw the driver slumped over the steering wheel leaning on the horn. I was 17 and just getting a ride home [poor choice of rides].

10. Facing the dead man's wife and children in court and being accused of partaking in his murder.

11. Finding ex's sister overdosed on her apartment floor with her baby screaming in crib. Called 911; tried to calm baby. I was 19.

12. Seeing dead body lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk one afternoon in Tampa. She had just fallen or was pushed out of a window. The police were just coming on the scene.

13. Garage explosion and raging fire at ex's grandmother's home. Scared me speechless. I was 19.

14. Going up to the top floors of the WTC while it was under construction (in a freight elevator; no exterior walls of building) with drunken boyfriend and even drunker elevator men. Put a quarter in the soda machine, get a Black Label beer.

15. Drunken husband-to-be knocking my head into the edge of my convertible windshield. I was 19.

16. Being shot between my legs with a .357 magnum by soon-to-be husband. I was 22.

17. Drunken husband leaving me in hospital in middle of night with my premature newborn. I was 25.

18. Still drunken husband hitting me in the head with our tiny baby in my arms the next morning.

19. Hiding in the closet in apartment from drunken husband in a rage. I was 28.

20. Being abandoned with two small children by husband with two small children (1 & 3) - eviction notice on door and no money. I was 29 almost.

it's all in the eyes

It always has been.

Something changed between ages four and eight.

A vacantness emerged in those eyes...dark circles...dialated pupils.

And then came the onslaught of upset stomachs, nightmares, bouts of strep throat, accidents.

My father stopped his affair with the housewife across the street that my very pregnant mother found out about and we moved 1000 miles away. I started a new school and had a new baby brother. But I don't imagine life got better, except perhaps for my father.

Now he was working in the big city, making big bucks, feeling more empowered than ever. It was the perfect milieu for the entitled, self-absorbed, pretentious, indulgent, white-bread liberal snobbery with which he was so intimately familiar.

And so it went; life moved on.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

baseless accusations?

How can I accuse someone of molesting me as an adolescent (or younger), when I have no proof? Not only is there no forensic evidence, there is no witness, no confessor, and most importantly, no memory. And yet I believe it to be true. It makes sense. It offers me an understanding of a messy and troubled life that I couldn't fix. It explains my passivity, my lack of any self-esteem, my depression and bipolar, my abusive relationships, many of my failures, my rebelliousness, my self-destructiveness, my carelessness, my anger, my detachment, my irrational fears, and my memory loss [to name a few].

I used to believe I was lazy and stupid. Is it better to believe I was sexually abused? Can I accuse my father now that I can never receive any sort of acknowledgment or show of remorse from him? He's wandered away from his mind and left his memories on some other doorstep. I can point the finger at him and he can never deny my accusations or defend himself. How fair is that? But then how fair is it that I was abused?

My father fits the profile - he was a drinker; he was abusive; he had a mean temper and a sarcastic and vulgar attitude; he was narcissistic and privileged; he did what he wanted and he hurt lots of people [including us children]; and he cheated on my mother many times. Does this make him a sexual predator of his own daughter? It might not be my father. I truly hope it was not my father because...because that would be just too awful to bear. But it could be someone similar to my father -- someone privileged, with money, a drinker who is narcissistic, and sexually aggressive. Maybe a man with white shoes.

The LOML told me a few weeks ago that he saw the signs of trauma in my mouth...a mouth that had been forced to perform oral sex at a young age. I truly hope not.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hypnosis please.

During my last therapy session, I asked Dr. B to hypnotize me -- to extract from my memory the truth [as I must know it] about the assault that knocked out my teeth. She asked why. To learn the truth about my teeth. But why? Because I can't understand how an incident like this can just vanish. I mean it didn't happen in a vacuum. It was a trauma that lingered. I had to heal physically and visit the dentist more than once to repair my teeth. If my nose was broken during this assault, I had bandages, probably black eyes, and maybe it's when I got the stitches in my chin. Can all that just disappear? If so, what else has faded into oblivion? I have lots of blank spaces in my life. What I really want to know is if I locked this memory away so securely, couldn't I have also locked away the memories of sexual abuse? If I retrieve the tale of my teeth maybe I can retrieve the trauma of my abuse.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

back to the scene of the crime

Okay, I have much to say and I'm not sure how coherent I will be so please bear with me. As I alluded to in the title - I returned to the scene of the "alleged" crime. I don't have a concrete memory of the incident although there are memories floating around in other brains that put the crime at this place. I remember having a fight with my friend who drunkenly claimed she had 'fucked' my boyfriend. I know I slapped her and she tried to beat me up. I wasn't a fighter, really. I know that the 'fuck' who was my boyfriend and later husband was also there. What I don't recall is what happened next. As the story goes...I wound up in the hospital with my front teeth missing, my nose fractured, a gash requiring stitches in my chin, and I don't know what else may have been. It was brutal. I have the scars to prove it (and the false teeth).

I went looking for this place on Saturday. I thought it was located in one spot on Main Street but I just couldn't place it. I imagined it had burnt down - yeah, the Firehouse in ashes. Wishful thinking, I suppose. Walked back to my car with the LOML feeling a little defeated that no memory was sparked and decided to drive up the hill to another scene of many crimes perpetrated against me [the 'fuck's' home]. And there it was, the Firehouse II in all it's decrepit glory of debasing, alc
ohol imbued history and the alleyway where the assault took place. There was a chain link fence closing off the alleyway and parking lot where I could clearly envision all the cars parked diagonally into the wall (but not much else).

Yes, it was the Firehouse II. I recognized it, hit the brakes, and pulled over. I asked the LOML to take some photos of the building. My stomach turned and I felt the urge to vomit. My back stiffened and a burning pain radiated from my right shoulder up to the base of my skull. My body went limp, my knees weak -- I slipped stepping off the curb.
I remembered the fight with my girlfriend. My eyes welled up with tears as I peered through the fence trying to see a young me, 18, crying, bleeding, unconscious, with my drunken boyfriend leaning over me, threatening, cussing, blaming me for everything. I don't know...probably. I've seen it enough times.

Firehouse II Tavern - 35 years later

The scene of the crime:

Side entrance [alleyway] of the Firehouse II Tavern.

[p.s. Ironically, this establishment was owned at one time by the same two women who sold my parents the house that I grew up in...the very same house of the neatly cloaked nightmares of my youth.]