The beast has changed significantly over the years.
I love her more than I ever have.
I am still very much afraid of her.
I think of how much I feared the beast as a child and feel amazed that there were things that happened to me during my childhood that were so traumatic and yet I was scared to tell my mother. So I held these incidents inside until they disappeared and slowly they have crept their wayback into my life.
A life that was turning out to be pretty good at some points.
A life I miss dearly yet never want back.
I was scared that she would physically hurt me for allowing others to hurt me and that kills me inside. It pains me the most because this wasn’t just a fear, the beast would have done it and I can’t imagine ever having a child and hurting them so terribly yet the beast did it with such ease. I can’t remember a time I had ever felt safe growing up. I was in constant fear of elements in and outside of my home.
I can no longer have anger towards the beast. I let that go so long ago but I wish I could go back and help that little girl; protect her, tell her she that she will be ok, that she is not bad and that everything happening to her is not her fault.
In one of my treatment centers, one exercise I could never finish was one in which you were to find a childhood picture and speak to that child. I just can’t do it at the moment. I start to cry uncontrollable every single time I look at the picture I try the exercise with, I have to immediately put it away. I often get criticized for running away from my problems.
Running away kept me alive for many years and it is what I have learned to do to cope with dangerous things. It not only kept me alive but it kept me hopeful and happy and it kept me motivated to try and try until I suceeded. It helped me become owner of a coop, a college graduate a good employee. Its just isn’t so easy to change these things when you have been doing them since you were practically born; in one way or another.
The beast is very sad today and I feel so sorry for her. She was thrown away by her parents…literally, the beast was found in a dumpster. Both of her parents were alcoholics who suffered from mental illness and these traits were definitely passed down to the beast and her allergy to alcohol makes her the worst kind of drunk that there is…a dry one. I can speak to her childhood picture, although it is very emotional. I often wonder where all of these cycles began and if I will be able to stop this one.
The beast and her two siblings were “saved” by their grandparents who reminded them daily that they were not wanted and were an obligation that they would fulfill very minimally. They never owned any new clothing and spent their youth in a dark basement. She was raised with an iron fist and when the beast turned up pregnant at 16, she was kicked out of their house. The beast was offered a full scholarship to an amazing college right before that. She was told women did not go to college and that her job would be to serve her man and care for her family. A guidance counselor from her school went to the home to plead with her grandfather to allow the beast to pursue the opportunity and he was shown the door in a not-so-polite manner. The beast has genius IQ.
She idolized her grandparents if they were gods.
I never loved them.
At roughly the age of 6, I began to be molested by a teenage girl. She was the daughter of my landlord and it happened regularly until we moved when I was 11. It happened on the other side of the basement wall in which we lived. Quite often my mother was right on the other side of this wall. I sometimes wonder what she was doing at the exact time these sessions occurred. For years I lived with this memory and never spoke of it.
This is the first time.
I never even put it into words before today and as I type, I feel quite disturbed about it but not distraught as in many of my previous stories. I can only conclude that over the years I have come to terms with it somehow by thinking of it slowly and then more frequently until my mind sorted it out on its own.
I remember when it first came. I was drunk. I was bored. I went to my constant companion in times of loneliness…my computer. I was on a site that tracked old classmates and started going through some names of old classmates and came across the name of a girl I went to school with. This classmate had the same last name as the girl who did this to me and as I started to think about a birthday party my classmae had and the memory suddenly surfaced.
I am amazed how I can remember that moment so perfecly in my head.
The memories flooded into my brain quicker than I could keep up with. To this day every time I think of the woman who abused me, I think of my classmate.
Every single time.
Then I began to look for any information about this woman and found very little. As the years after progressed, I periodically checked on her and finally found a picture.
She looked mad.
The whole family was crazy.
There were 6 children that ran rampant and terrorized the neighborhood. The youngest was 2 years old when we moved there, the oldest 19. At any given time some or all of these children would be in the yard, shirtless, shoeless, filthy. Even their dog terrorized us and the neighborhood. He was finally put down after biting too many people. His name was Blackie and I hated him.
These children broke into our apartment so many times and trashed it, stole our belongings, broke my toys. I remember coming home one night and finding my roller skate in the toilet bowl, I cried when I saw it, I felt so invaded, so unsafe. The police would never do anything about it, even after we found my mothers imortant papers buried in the back yard. They always claimed there was no proof to arrest anyone. One of the boys chased me into the apartment once and set off a fire cracker. I was terrified. I remember the mother who coincidently had the same name as my abuser never looked at you, she always spoke staring at the sky. It was strange. She looked like a hippie and was filthy all the time.
Your life changes when you remember something of this nature. It makes you question your entire existence when you realize you had blocked out something so devastatingly important and you even start to wonder if certain life decisions were possibly based on this repressed memory somehow. It just really warps your whole sense of self and I have definitely changed dramatically.
I visited that house a few times in the past 10 years. One time I passed by and it was boarded up and looked like it has been the victim of fire. Years later, I went back and it was gone. There are two houses there now…I think I healed dramatically when I saw that the house was gone. I recall initially feeling so upset that it wasn’t there.. I felt I needed to see it but about a minute later as I drove home the feeling changed.
I felt peacefulness in my heart that day. I felt safer somehow. Imagine how rare it is that a home is torn down and the land is split into two plots. I feel that it was a gift from god. I truly do.
So many bad things happened there.
I can only imagine what the beast would have done had she know what happened back then but I believe it would affect her much differently today. I think it would really be too much for her to handle and she would be so saddened by it.
I will never tell her.
Every so often an old memory will pop into my head out of nowhere and it will stun me. It scares me because there are so many things I just push out right away and I know need to deal with them to function but some are so painful or shocking that It seems unbearable.
When I was a runaway, I “dated” a guy that sometimes would put me up in a motel. Drugs and prostitution were rampant in these motels. There was a beautiful little girl that lived with her mother. She was about seven years old with long blonde hair and a sweet disposition. Her mother would sometimes leave her with me and not return for days.
I was a complete stranger and her mother just left her.
There were several regulars that would rent rooms to do their drugs and use the women who lived there. They had good jobs, wives, families and this whole secret life. It amazed me. I found myself in a room full of men one night and this one woman and they were all smoking crack. It wasn’t until that very moment that I realized just how serious it was that a 16 year old girl was living a life like that. I was offered to smoke but refused. I made a promise to myself that day; I would never smoke crack or inject heroin. I had never been exposed to crack until that day and they smell of them smoking it out of pipes and beer cans repulsed me.
I can never forget that smell.
On this night I learned that the mother of this sweet little girl had been “lending” her out for crack.
I wanted to protect her.
I can never change that.
“Do what you wanna do, I don’t care anymore!”
I hear these and similiar words almost daily. I am killing him.
I am unable to explain why.
I know he will be gone soon.
I am unable to explain why I am letting it slip away.
I want to get up.
I want to live.
I want to know why.
I want to scream.
I am so lost.
I used to think when people said they had demons in their head, it was just an over-dramatization or misunderstanding they had within but now that I have these demons, I feel so naïve for downplaying the raw honesty of this statement. I suppose it is human to try to minimize the hurt you may have caused for someone through words, actions, thoughts or whatever avenue taken but eventually they come back to haunt you.
I have certain memories in my head from childhood that just arrived about 2 ½ years ago. As quickly as they entered my mind, I felt paralyzed by them. I’m not sure if these memories were squashed, repressed, blocked out or, as in the most recent development of my mind; dreamed up and not in fact genuine at all. I quickly filed them away because clearly I was in no shape to confront them but now they are a constant. They resurfaced last fall.
I’ve never felt such confusion in my own memories.
I have never confided in anyone what they are, I AM SO ASHAMED.
I DO know that if, in fact, these things really did happen, I just don’t think I can live with it. This is not an exaggeration. I can’t even actually put them in to written words because I don’t think I would be able to handle reading them. I don’t know what I would be capable of if I accepted these thoughts.
My suicide mission years ago was something I really wanted and although I haven’t attempted since, I still pray not to wake up at times and the shame of even this keeps me from succeeding in the life that I do have. Three weeks ago I thought I was having a heart attack. Instead of telling someone, I prayed to god to take me and I went to sleep. I haven’t been to work since. I have barely left the house. I want to give up.
It is never on purpose but each day as I try to wake up and start new, I just can’t.
It is a cycle that I keep repeating and each and every time it happens, I die a little bit more. I feel like I am losing myself.
Eventually I somehow manage to get it together and try again, each time with such determination and I sincerely feel happy when I get into a routine but it never lasts….never even for a full month.
I shouldn’t say that because in January it did last for a full month, exactly 30 days, and then I fell off again. I was so proud of these 30 days and almost like clockwork, as I began to feel confident that I could turn it around, I just let it go. I could feel it slipping from my fingers, yet did nothing to stop it.
Why don’t I stop it?
I had a party for the holiday’s last year and if you were there you would have never guessed the pain I held inside that night. I did the standard phony, happy girl routine I regularly perform and there were a few great moments but the night before and the hours after the party were spent in total self hatred. I spent the entire next day absolutely hating myself. I feel that way so often that the days normally blend into each other but every once in a while a memory will stand out and the feeling of loathing towards myself during that period of time is one of them.
I spend hours contemplating if this is mental illness or karma of past events.
Not long ago, I learned of a confession made by my father. It seems that I was born because my mother raped him or this is the story he is telling anyway. I never knew this and I am conflicted as to whether I needed to ever learn this. On the one hand, it would explain why I have always felt I didn’t belong here on earth as a human being and why I absolutely hate myself in every way possible. On the other hand, I feel so incredibly hurt by this thought of being a curse to my parents merely by being born. It stings so badly, I can’t even type this without being in a full hysteria.
I feel so worthless.
I don’t know if I have ever felt pain like this. It’s different from being mistreated, having a broken heart or feeling lonely. It’s something I can never change.
This is the worst information I could have ever learned, maybe it will be the most healing somehow but for now it is the fuel the demons are feeding on and I am at a loss as to how to turn the devastation into something positive, something that will give me the strength to…..
I don’t even quite know how to complete that sentence.
I feel like I coast through life just waiting, for what I’m not sure. I read all sorts of self help material advising me to take life by the balls, be in control of my own destiny blah blah blah. I then spend the next week or two feeling gulity for being so complacent or “not in control” then comes the shame, then all of the usual things that follow in a negative mind set. Tomorrow is my birthdy and as I approach 35 years old, I wonder how this became my life. When I was a child and feeling like a prisoner, I would envision my life as an adult….free from ridicule, abuse and lonliness but here I am in the same situation except now I am my own abuser…how ironic that everything I vowed not to be, has become exactly who I am.
I realize now that I am just waiting to die. I have no real dreams anymore and as I coast to be free, I am so lonely in my own mind.
I seem to have great difficulty writing about the here and now. It takes many years for me to be able to express into words my feelings and reactions to life’s events…happy or sad. Although I currently feel on the cusp of what some may call a mental breakdown, I can not write about it. I can not even know for sure what or why this is my current perspective. If not for my near 20 hours per day of sleeping, I may not even realize there is a problem.
I want to elaborate with myself but nothing comes to mind.
Once upon a time
Once upon a place
You were here with me
We were face to face
You said we’d be forever
Our love would never die
You said you always be there
Although it was a lie
I wonder why you did this
Why you’re not here today
Wonder what I did
To make you hurt me this way
Maybe it’s not your fault
Somehow you went amiss
But you never said goodbye
Not even one last kiss
Even though I am angry
And probably will never forget
The way that you just left me
To live in such regret
There will always be a place
In the center of my heart
That never will forget you
And feels we didn’t part
So even though you’ve killed
Any chance that I may have
To live a happy life
With someone else instead
My heart will always love you
As long as I may be
On this lonely earth
Without you, just me
I had finally had enough.
I went on the Internet to find some suicide advice and there it was. My migraine medication at twenty pills was considered a lethal dose and I was off to the pharmacy to refill my last 75 pills…or so I thought.
My mind was clear and my heart was sure. I had really tried to make the best out of what I was given in life, but some of us are just born bad and I felt that God’s cruel joke should finally come to an end. I picked up a 6 pack of Budweiser’s to swallow my pills since my refrigerator only contained 4-5 ketchup packets from McDonald’s that were there long before I moved in.
The pills were hard to get down in such abundance, so at 65 and two Buds, I felt I could stop without consequence and for a moment after they were consumed I had the urge to force myself to vomit, but the thought quickly passed and I laid down on the couch and said goodbye to my precious kitties. The ex came by every Friday to play with them which is why I picked Thursday. I wanted to make sure the pills had enough time to work their magic and ensure that the cats were well taken care of. He always did say that he could provide a better home and now he would have the chance.
I thought that I would feel sad but my heart was content. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I was finally doing something about it. My attempts in the past were weak and futile, this one was for real and there was no possible way I could survive. I waited for my sedatives to kick in and within 20 minutes I was unconscious. I remember being suprised at how quickly I was getting tired and then….darkness.
I was proud.
I woke up a few days later, bruised and battered and completely disappointed. How could this have happened? My entire life had been full of failures and this was the one thing that I was sure I would get right.
How could this be?
It was a Thursday and my isolated lifestyle had ensured that there would be no suprise visitors.
The next guest arrival would not be until Friday.
Did my visitor come early?
DId I take the wrong pills?
Did I really take 65?
What was going on and why was I here in the hospital with bruises on my body and a 24 hour nurse by my bedside?
And then the doctor came.
He explained to me how there was no rhyme or reason for me to be alive. He told me that I should be dead and then he looked at me with pity and asked me how such a beautiful young woman with everything going for her would want to do this to herself. I wanted to spit at him. Who was he to judge me? He knew nothing about my life and I have spent half of it pretending that I am someone I’m am not and this man was going to seriously try to convince me that I was lucky to be alive.
I have heard this for years. Everytime I hit a new low in life, someone comes out with some idiotic point of view that that always starts off the same. “How could someone so beautiful”
Since when does someone’s appearance determine their happiness and if I were the ugliest human being on the planet would it then be ok to be so screwed up and commit suicide? As I wondered how this man was able to think that his advice was something I seriously cared for he said something that took me by suprise.
The doctor explained to me that during my period of unconsciousness I was calling out for my brother.
And chills went up and down my body.
I remember looking for Billy in what seemed like a hospital but with no other people or objects. I remember wandering through the never ending hallway calling for him and asking him to take me to heaven but I couldn’t find him. I just kept walking and walking with nothing in sight. I was confused. Why wouldn’t Billy come and get me? I felt betrayed. I wondered why he did not want to protect his little sister and take her to a better place.
And then it occured to me.
Billy would not let me die.
Always having to skip over the family history section of every medical form.
Not knowing about your ancestry or where you came from.
Never really knowing if your parents were married.
Not knowing the names of your Grandparents.
Knowing that you have a half sister out there and wondering is she ever thought about you.
Making the dreaded family tree in elementary school.
I feel that if this still is a practice in school today, it should be stopped immediately. This was utter torture for me every single time that I had to do it The feeling of embarrassment and humiliation that I felt when I didn’t have names to put in the little boxes of my cut out tree was overwhelming. I hated my self. I hated all of the relatives that felt it would be easier to pretend I didn’t exist. I hated the way my teachers fumbled over their words as they tried to assure me that it was okay that I only had four other names to put in the boxes.
But most of all, I hated the day that my father told me at my brothers funereal that I had “to understand Tiffany, your mother was crazy and I just couldn’t deal with her, but now you are an adult and I would love to get to know you”. My father asked me to dinner for our fifth possibly sixth “dinner” together.
I was 28 years old.
The man who only called every few years when his father was in the States because he needed to trick my grandfather into thinking he saw his kids suddenly wanted to “get to know me”.
I never hated my father until this day. I had a void there before. I always wondered why it was that I felt so indifferent or why my blood ran so cold that I didn’t have love or hate towards him. I wanted to hate this man for my entile life and I really tried but I just couldn’t. I had always imagined that it was the beast who wouldn’t let him see me. For years I gave him every excuse I could think of to give myself the gift of thinking that someone out there may have wanted me.
I was never sure if it was true but there was always the possiblity. I didn’t know what his side was and didn’t want to. I never asked and was perfectly pleased with keeping things the way they were.
But now he just threw it out there. BOOM!
He knew the beast was crazy and he left his children there alone and defenseless. And now, the only other person in my whole life who ever really knew what I went through was gone.
AND I HAD TO UNDERSTAND?
I will never understand how a man can know that his children are in the hands of a monster and just choose to walk away. I can not undersatnd how Billy and I suffered years of torment merely because my father couldn’t handle the beast.
I went homeless.
I went hungry.
I went into addiction.
I went to college.
I worked hard.
I managed to keep a smile on my face every single day so that everyone would think I was happy while I was dying on the inside.
AND I HAD TO UNDERSTAND?
Understand that my father is an immature selfish man who can not handle his responsibilities?
Understand how my father hurts people when he doesn’t even know that he is doing it?
Understnad how my father could possibly think that I could understand this?
I did understand.
And I hate him for it.
I have never been the same since this day.
It was the day I had to bury my brother and the day my father broke my heart.
It was the first day since I was 15 that I really cried and I couldn’t stop.
It was the day I decided to destroy my life with addiction.
It started with my brother’s cancer pills that were left behind.
The day the beast took me to court is a day I always find difficult to relive. Not because she lied to the judge and said she felt physically in danger of me. Not even because she said she no longer wanted me, given up on me. I was too difficult – a troubled child.
What hurts the most about that day are the tears she shed when I was remanded into the custody of the court system. In less than 15 minutes I had been charged, found guilty and convicted of being incorrigible “a person in need of supervision” or “PINS” is what they called it. I was a PINS case and I wasn’t given a single opportunity to defend myself nor was my presence even barely acknowledged. Everyone was too worried about the single mother of three who had an uncontrollable monster at home. Somehow in my 15 years, I had become the BEAST.
As she was escorted out of the court room in hysterics, I witnessed the comforting arms of the court officers, consoling the beast, assuring her that everything would be ok, she did the right thing. And there I stood, watching this display, alone, handcuffed as even my own court appointed lawyer took her in his arms. Waiting for the bullshit to end, all I could think of is how I would get her back. Next, I was escorted to my cell to wait for the sheriffs to take me to my new home. I was now a possible foster child on my way to minimum security jail or as they referred do it – “reform school” That day was hard for me to swallow, but what was even harder was learning years later that the beast felt she was teaching me a lesson “for my own good” about obedience.
My first day at was much like many other girls that came and went. I had my intake interview where I was explained the rules of the facility and the point system. See, at my new home all activities of my daily routine would be graded by counselors barely out of high school who had no education, experience, or training on how to deal with a child like me. They would assign the appropriate amount of points that they felt I deserved and at 5pm each day I would be presented with a point sheet that held my evaluation. Personal hygiene, chores, eating manners, condition of my room, activities, wake up, lights out – ALL POINTS! All the time!
After intake I was brought up to the second floor where 6 apartments were set up and each one housed 14 girls. I would have 13 roommates of my own and only see the other inhabitants during meals and school. I was shown my room and abandoned to cry. They allowed you to do that on your first day, they wanted you to get it out so they wouldn’t have to deal with it later. That was the last time that I cried in my teens. From that day until the day my brother died, I did not shed a tear, not a single tear. Tears would not protect me from my lemonade being spiked with bleach, a fork stabbed into my arm or the riot that sent in over a hundred policemen and fireman to overtake my prison.
Tears were for the weak and I would make it out of this experience alive and when I turned 18 and could not be forced to do anything that I didn’t want to do, I would go to college and make a life for myself. I would become something, anything. I would never allow anyone to hurt me and tears were not an option towards this goal.
Sister Gertrude was tough, she took no bullshit and she was always there. I don’t think Sister ever slept, she couldn’t have. She supervised all of our meals; she just stood there at the front of the cafeteria and watched us eat. If anyone acted up during these meals, all would suffer. Sister Gertrude meant business. Ironically and what still makes me laugh to this day is that you were allowed to smoke cigarettes. This was our encouraged reward. My perception of religion was changing a bit.
A mean nun who pushed cigarette addiction to mold your behavior was just too much for me to comprehend on my first day.
Depending on the accumulation of points on your sheet, you could earn up to 5 cigarettes a day and 3 of these were after mealtime. Sister would turn on the smoke filter and one group at a time we would be called up to the front of the cafeteria. Since we were not allowed to carry cigarettes or any method of fire, sister held them for us, and we stood on line until it was our turn to light a cigarette off of a white candle held by a nun. It was the same ritual meal after meal day after day…unless.. someone acted up, and then our well earned cigarette privilege was lost and the bitch who caused it would pay later…in some way or another. Even though I was well into a pack per day by the time I was 12, I am convinced that it is here that my true addiction to cigarettes began because even when I am able to put in various months of surrender to these rolled up pieces of dirt, it is always the after meal cigarette that I miss the most.
The school was run pretty much the same as the living arrangements. You were to be in uniform at all times and had to wear a pin on your vest with your level number. Newcomers were automatically put on level 1 with basic privileges and could earn their way up or down, depending on behavior. Level 0 was the worst because you were not allowed to talk to anyone and anyone who was caught talking to you was automatically put on level 0. This level was the bottom of the bottom, no cigarettes, social interaction or food with the group. The only privilege allowed on this level was school. After that it was in your room for room restriction and T-table as they termed it, where you were forced to sit at a table for hours and stare at the wall. T-Table sentences were usually given in three hour intervals. Reading material of any kind was not permitted and if you slipped from your upright position, more hours of T-table were assigned. I don’t know why they called it that, but if the T stood for torture, it was a very appropriate name. I was put on this level every time I ran away and I found it a bit comforting, it was as if you didn’t exist and that was what I was used to – I loved level 0.
The school had its very own point system. At the end of each class, we were to be evaluated by our teacher and if, at the end of the week we earned enough points, we were given the opportunity to watch a movie on Friday afternoons in lieu of classes. It was not difficult to earn these movies as the classes were filled with girls of all ages and levels of schooling, so competing with 11 year olds was not too difficult and to my embarrassment I looked forward to these movies each week. Not because they were interesting or because I hadn’t already seen them before, but because it bucked the system. The school received government money for all classes we attended and most of these classes were barely more than coloring books and the basic survival skill of ensuring that the bitch sitting behind you didn’t fuck with you. The teachers at this school were in fear of us horrible human beings and if someone hunted you, a teacher would surely not get in the way.
I was brought to the “school” in the summer of my 15th year. I was evaluated by social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists’ school personnel etc. Every move I made from my behavior to my bowel movements was recorded for one month. After that month, “the school” made their evaluation and it was suggested to the judge that it would take at least 18 months to cure my behavior and he agreed. I would reform myself and then maybe I would be well enough to grace another family with my presence and become a foster child. From my experiences, I learned that the only thing families wanted from a 16 year old foster child like me was chores and sex. I was not about to become someone else’s slave and if I was going to fuck someone’s husband or daddy it would be on my terms, not against my will.
When I was escorted into the courtroom after my 30 day evaluation the handcuffs digging into my wrists, the beast was there. She didn’t acknowledge my presence or look in my direction, but seemed to be very upset upon hearing that I displayed behavior of an abused child. It was next mentioned that I was severely depressed and that I could be a danger to myself. The beast had heard enough, she lost control. Yelling at a judge who had no tolerance for white trash, she dug a deep grave for herself. “Always blame the mother, always blame the mother, she is from the devil.” “You are all alike, believe an evil child over her mother, she’s a liar.”
See, the beast thought I had told on her, sold her out, put blame on her. What she didn’t understand is that for some reason, still unknown to me I protected her. Not only did I not sell her out that time, but I never told anyone until now the story of her abuse. Maybe I wanted to protect her, or my brother, or maybe I was just ashamed. Whatever it was, the beast never would believe it and she didn’t speak to me again for over 2 years. What I didn’t know was that the judge sent the beast for a psychiatric evaluation of her own that day and the results of that evaluation were enough for the court system to fully take me out of her custody.
According to the legal system, I no longer had parents. I don’t know what the beast could have said or done to cause this because she had always been good at playing the victim, but whatever it was, it made her mad and as thankful I was that I was not at home, I feared for Jeffrey. The beast most surely punished him for my sins and the guilt of leaving him alone with the beast is still so shameful that I can not find it within to forgive myself. I abandoned him as Billy had done to me one year earlier.
As other girls earned weekend visits with their families, I spent mine eating and watching TV, making myself throw up and exercising in the middle of the night. I spent each of these weekends wondering why no one cared, why my now 19 year old brother never came on visiting Sunday or why my father who I barely knew didn’t even write me a letter.
I was alone.
I was alone, forgotten, in my cinder block room.
I was angry and alone and since the tears no longer came, the razor blade took over.
Most people think that when little girls cut up their bodies, it is a cry for attention. When I was 16, I didn’t even know there was a name for this or that other children even thought of it but us “cutters” are looking for anything but attention. We want to be left alone and we want to know how it feels to hurt because we spend so much of our lives fighting feelings. I can honestly say that I didn’t think of much when I was cutting up my legs. I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself at that particular time or upset, there was just something inside that told me to do it and told me I would feel good afterwards and I always did. Something about watching the blood trickle down my legs and the wet soreness of the wounds made me feel good.
I was controlling my pain.
For the large majority of our lives we lived in a one room basement apartment. Billy was the oldest and since he was a boy 4 years older than his whore of sister who may try to rape him in his sleep, he had his own bed. Jeffrey and I slept with the beast in her full sized bed which leaned up against a wall of moving boxes that reached the ceiling. My younger brother Jeffrey and I spent many hours laughing at the stories we would make up to fit the silly phrase that covered each box.
“Smith This Side Up”.
We would create foolish tales about the beast standing on her head for all of the boxes that were upside down and change the methods in which she became that way. We often wondered why she wanted to be upside down since her last name was Smith and she was, after all, the one who wrote the silly phrase. This was a form of entertainment that we never tired of.
There were always new stories to craft that would make my brother laugh. I loved to make Jeffrey laugh. He was my childhood playmate, he would do anything his big sister wanted from Barbie dolls to matchbox cars, Jeffrey and I were inseparable.
On her good days, the beast would tease us because we slept together like cats. Each and every night our tiny bodies intertwined like pretzels until we found the comfort spot. Jeffrey and I felt this was a compliment as we both loved cats but more than anything else, we loved it when the beast had a good day and we tried everything in our power not to upset her.
We were only a year apart in age but Jeffrey had been born with severe mental retardation and was prone to frequent seizures due to his epilepsy. Many nights at the table would end with my lethargic sibling falling asleep on his dinner plate after having had yet another seizure. Jeffrey’s seizures were controlled by medication throughout much of his childhood and he thrived in the schools he was sent to in a bus that was much smaller than any school bus I had ever been on He was the happiest child I have ever seen and Jeffrey loved everyone he met.
Unfortunately everyone did not love Jeffrey back and this caused many physical confrontations for me as a child. In addition to his learning challenges, Jeffrey’s father was a black man, which made Jeffrey the only “colored person” to reside in the small, largely Republican, very political town we inhabited and also the source of much anger for the townspeople and their cookie cutter children. The mere existence of our family caused deep turmoil for several families and Jeffrey was always a target for cruelty. It is still and may always make my body wince as I recall these memories now but at that time no one would lay a finger on Jeffrey as long as his sister could help it.
If anyone dared to hassle my brother, they had the wrath of a beast child on their ass immediately and if my senses told me that a foul name would be called out to him or the swing of a rock in his direction may occur, the beast child within me of me would attack swiftly.
And for my loyalty to him, Jeffrey took care of me in every way that he knew how. It was Jeffrey who ran to me with a handful of books as the beast was approaching me with the belt and told me to put them in my shirt and pants so it wouldn’t hurt so bad. I had never even thought of this and I loved the way he took care of me. I was called coocha and he was called coo and together we were coocha coo. We used these names for each other well into my teen years and a smile opens up in my heart every single time that I think of it.
I hate people who hate.
Scorpio. That is my birth sign. Said to be stubborn, vindictive, spiteful, unforgiving and revengeful, by any professional astrologist, Scorpios are mostly known for their sting. As I do find this a rather accurate account of my personality, I still have difficulty believing that I became this way due to the month of my birth. After all, my brothers share many of these same traits and they were both born in February.
Would I be this way if I had grown up differently, would my brothers? Do children born in February and November all have parents that screwed up? These are questions that constantly roam around in my mind. I’m sure my brother’s have these kinds of questions too, or had in Billy’s case. He died from cancer when he was 33 years old.
Billy was troubled by his upbringing. Of course the cruelty affected him in irreversible ways, but I think always being the poorest family in town affected him even more.
Billy was the over achiever of our family, Billy was actually the only achiever of our family. For as long as I can remember his two major goals in life were to become a millionaire by age 30 and to escape the beast whom Billy so affectionately referred to as white trash. In every instance of his very short but very successful life, then end product was always on his mind – this nearly always meant more money. The thought of having more and more money ruled his life and he had his first success at age 18. I am almost certain it was close to the actual day he turned 18 when my big brother escaped. Billy left the beast and never returned home again.
As heartbroken as I am that he is gone, in the six months that Billy lived with the sickness that would forever change the lives of all who knew him, my brother achieved a goal that had long been set for him by his sister. Along with a new perspective on what is truly important in life, cancer brought a certain contentment into my brothers life. A contentment he had never experienced before and I believe never would have had it not been for this rapid turn of events. Terminal cancer brought him happiness with his loving wife Barb who would have always done anything for Billy, for which he never appreciated until she became his care taker, his lover and his best friend.
Barb is a nurse and Billy hated do-gooders and especially couldn’t understand why his wife would want to work long hard hours for such a small amount of money. He just couldn’t understand.
Until he got sick.
Billy was at the mercy of nurses and he had the most wonderful nurses that could be had. Altruism was a sign of weakness to my brother, but it is this weakness that became his greatest strength as he allowed these kind and caring people to enter his world. He learned that to be a nurse was not about money, it was about people. Most of all Billy finally let Barb love him the way she always did anyway, but now he allowed his heart and body to experience it in a way he never could. And he loved her back…in a way that he never would.
In those last months of his life my brother finally felt love. I mean he really felt love. He allowed himself to give in to the weakness of being loved and being cared for. See, for me and Billy, giving in to love means opening yourself up for pain, and emotional pain is far more dangerous then the physical anguish caused by his cancer. And if cancer brought Billy this feeling – finally – after years of feeling unworthy, then I am happy for it.
Billy died a millionaire, Billy died free from the beast but most of all Billy died with love in his heart. Money could never buy this love and Billy knew it.
I have never felt this love. I came close once, but my lover was human and made mistakes and I couldn’t get over it. I have never allowed myself to fully give in to the vulnerability of love. I will always feel the void of that loss.
I was so close.