24 November 2004

Having Come Full Circle

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."~Albert Schweitzer

After my father's marriage was over, he started taking medication. This may have been a result of the arrest for child kidnapping (and whatever else). He did go through a period when we all had to regularly go to the emergency room with him because he thought he was having a heart attack. I'm talking twice a weekend, every weekend, at least. Sometimes more. I

t's possible that the Court made the suggestion that he seek psychiatric help. Otherwise, I can't imagine him even acknowledging he had a problem. The medication seemed to diminish his proclivity for violence, but we were engaged in a cold war. I had to spend time in the same room with my father, but I wasn't interested in engaging in any kind of dialog with him.

He had regularly scheduled visitation with his daughter. Of course, I was fearful that all of this contact might result in the return of his wife to my life. Fortunately, that didn't happen. Many years later, I learned that he'd given his daughter up for adoption to whatever man his ex-wife married. They moved toMinnesota, I think.

Backing up a bit, I started dating when i was a junior in high school. That year i went to various school dances, but never had a relationship of any sort with my dates. They were all in accelerated classes and, even though I might have found their minds interesting, I wasn't interested at all in their hearts or bodies. I didn't have any particular interest in relationships until around Christmas of my junior year when I just woke up one day and decided I was in love with someone who participated in the literary magazine. He was not interested. I pined away for him for the rest of the year.

Michael and I did get together at Christmas of my senior year and started dating as regularly as possible. He was attending college in another city about 5 hours away. The problem with Michael was that he was a lot more interested in my body than my mind. However, he was making a valiant stab at improving my mind, too, by sending me books to read. I was not charmed by that behavior. I knew that I was his intellectual equal, whether he knew it or not. also, I believe(d) that sort of relationship was inherently unequal. I'd had a pretty good look at unequal relationships in which one party believed themselves to be brighter than the other half and I had absolutely no intention of having that kind of relationship with Michael or anyone else.

Since he was away at school, I started hanging out with some guys who were also in my literary magazine meetings. I had something of a romantic relationship with one of them, but I think my motivation was simply to see if I could make someone fall in love with me. Thus began the practice of having two boyfriends, one in the city where I lived and one who lived somewhere else. It wasn't until just recently that I came to see the parallels to my father's relationships.

There were some profound differences, though. I only slept with one person at a time, usually the one who lived out of town. I didn't play them against each other and I was very open about the fact that I had a "serious" boyfriend with the person I was having a non-sexual relationship with. There was no violence in my relationships.

At the end of my senior year, I broke up with Michael. I could see that, the way things were going, we'd be having sex by the end of the summer. I was very aware of the possible ramifications from my sexual abuse. I was afraid that if we had sex, I would hate him. In the meantime, my other boyfriend had found greener pastures. I worked and prepared to leave for college in the fall.

I think I've now come full circle from where I started this history. I may continue to tell the tale a bit more, because my childhood never ends. It's a living part of my life even now and I suppose it would be silly for me to assume it would ever be otherwise. There are darker stories I haven't told yet; I have to find additional courage to speak those truths. That's for another day, though.

Since it's thanksgiving tomorrow, here are some of the things I'm grateful for today. I'm grateful for sunshine (it stopped raining finally yesterday). I'm grateful for all of the people who have loved me or been kind to me. I'm grateful for all of the opportunities I've had to love other people. I'm grateful for hitting the genetic jackpot and surviving my hellhole childhood. I'm grateful for being able to hang on to compassion. Probably enough for today.

america held hostage day 1784

bushism of the day:
"Our nation must come together to unite."

website of the day; Disaster News Network

23 November 2004

The End Of The Marriage

"Lying is done with words and also with silence."~Adrienne Rich

After the ninth grade, I transferred to another school. My dad insisted that I do it because, he said, it was a better school. I thought it was because he wanted to get me away from my friend. As much as I hate to admit it, he was right, it was a better school.

I made a couple of new friends after I'd been going there for a couple of months. We weren't particularly like one another, but then none of my friends had ever been very much like me. My home life was just the same as always. Dad still married to the girl, mom still sleeping with me. No furniture. By that time, I had devoted myself to school work because it meant I could phase out and forget how it felt to be living my life. I didn't want to be around my father or his wife. The smell of baby shit depressed the fuck out of me. Furthermore, if my father could see me, there was a good possibility he'd start harassing me. Occasionally, he'd make me hang out with him. I always wondered why. I assumed he was aware of how much I hated him. I don't know why I thought that; I did my dead level best to keep my feelings to myself. To this day, when i'm angry I frequently adopt a distant, preoccupied look. I was never aware of it until my therapist mentioned it.

By the time I was a junior, I had found a true friend. She was my english teacher. I met her because I wanted to be in the accelerated english program. I went to speak with her and she encouraged me to give it a try. I was also submitting poetry to the high school literary magazine she sponsored.

She came to give me safe haven when I couldn't stand my life anymore. She kept me alive when I was suicidal. She gave me hope. She loved me. The world was a little less lonely.

Somewhere before christmas of my senior year, my father's wife once again decided she'd had enough. She left and I believe she took her daughter with her. Somehow my father got her in his clutches and absconded with her. He finally had to acknowledge she was his child. Even though I already knew that, his admission just further enraged me.

My dad left the state with the child and went to see his mom. I don't recall how long he stayed there, but I'm sure it wasn't long enough, as far as I was concerned. I actually hoped never to see him again. Wrong again. He decided the coast was clear, apparently, and returned with his mother and child in tow to a small town not far away from where we lived. My mother started visiting him (brilliant, right?), but I refused.

At some point in that period of time, my father's wife, her brother and sister and maybe a couple of other people broke into our house in the middle of the night. They were fortunate that I was unable to get to the gun I knew was in the house. I was also fortunate because I might well have killed someone. We left the house and returned another day to find that all of my stuff had been taken. Since there wasn't much else in the house, they just decided to steal things from me.

I've always read a lot and kept those books which were meaningful to me for one reason or another. They took my books. Trust me, they did not take them to read them. No one in her family was bright enough to read them. My mom and I moved into a garage apartment.

Also about that time, my dad's wife and sister in law would show up at my school in the afternoons. I lived outside the area the school bus served, so I would wait for my mom till she got off of work. Walking out to my car, they would surround me and threaten me.

All of that ended when they figured out where my dad was. He was arrested and put in jail. My mother and i were required (by my father) to show up for his court date. I'm not sure what good that was supposed to do, but I didn't have any control over the situation, as usual. once again, I was humiliated by the circumstances in which I lived.

america held hostage day 1783

bushism of the day:
"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...that says, fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me...you can't get fooled again."
website of the day:
The deCode Projecthttp://sunsite3.berkeley.edu/biotech/iceland/

22 November 2004


"You can have power over people as long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power."~Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

It's still raining. It's been raining off and on all weekend. I'm talking downpours. Right now there's a break in the rain, but the skies are still gray and there's more rain to come.

So when I was 13 I met two friends. I actually had a couple of other friends, but only two with whom I was very close and knew about my home life (to some extent). I later learned that my friend Gale had been sexually abused by her father for years and years. She was also a Jehovah's Witness, which didn't matter to me, but became a means to an end for my father.

Gale had a kind and gentle heart. She was also hilarious and far more outgoing than I. of course, even then I brought new meaning to the word "introverted." I can't tell you how it cheered me up that she thought I was worthy of being her friend. Remember that I had had no friends for quite some time. At that point, I was just pleased that people would allow me to sit in the same room with them. I think of Gale frequently even now, hoping she's found a safe and loving place to be.

I was also hanging out with another girl, Kathryn, who had a very bad reputation. It was 1967 and she was a hippie. I smile now to think about it. She was pretty comfortable with broadcasting around the school that she had a lover, a 13-year old boy named Clifford. Clifford was kind of a mess. In retrospect, he was quite clearly a neglected child and, perhaps abused in other ways, too. Given the fact that she was sexually active so early, I'd be willing to bet anything that she was sexually abused, too.

One of my favorite things about her, aside from her intelligence and artistic abilities, was that she was rebellious. I had worked up a serious distaste for virtually every adult I met. I just wasn't as vocal about it as Kathryn. With her,Ii could allow that part of myself to come out and play.

I remember once in algebra class, my teacher told me that I should pick my friends more carefully because it was on the basis of my friends that people judged me. Once again, this information was imparted in front of everyone in the class. Thanks, dickhead. He seemed to believe I could just pick and choose who I hung out with. The "nice" kids didn't want to have anything to do with me. What the hell was I supposed to do, just continue to be completely alone so that the idiotic adults around me would think better of me? I was contemptuous.

The problem with Gale began in the summer of the seventh grade. My father had done something that enraged me--I no longer know what it was. I wrote a letter to Gale in which I told her I thought he was insane. Before I had a chance to send it, he managed to read the letter. He was enraged with me, of course, because I had hit upon the truth and he knew it. He forbade me to have any further contact. Once again, I was totally isolated. Worse yet, he decided not to speak to me for the rest of the summer. You would think that would have been a good thing, but when my dad wasn't talking to you, there was no telling when things might escalate into a situation where I could be physically hurt. I had already decided that I'd had about enough of the hitting and that the next time he hit me would be the last. I have no idea what I thought I would do. I had considered running away from home, but it didn't take a genius to figure out that wasn't a workable plan. I had nowhere to go, no money, no friends. Leaving was out of the question. Luckily, the need never arose because he never hit me again.

Nonetheless, it was like living in a prison. My father was not a guy who could let things go. I wasn't in much of a mood to apologize and it wouldn't have done me any good anyway. He wanted me to believe that the reason he didn't want me to see Gale was because he was afraid I would become a Jehovah's Witness. I recognized that for exactly what it was. A lie. The latest self-serving lie in a long line of them. I just learned how to be a little sneakier. I appeared to comply, but I continued to see my friend. That incident marked a further deterioration in my relationship with him.

america held hostage day 1782

bushism of the day:

"There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like."

website of the day:ikosmos: Portal for Cultural Creativityhttp://www.ikosmos.com/