The Phone Call

I spoke with my childhood abuser last night.

Out of mania, or compulsion, impulse, or maybe just the simple need for closure, I sent him a Facebook message yesterday asking him to please talk to me.

My childhood abuser is my cousin. When I was 12, I was raped and repeatedly sexually abused by this man, then 38. For years my family swept my trauma under the rug (they still do, for the most part).

Yesterday something pulled me to message him. I’ve done this before. I’ve texted him, called him, have pleaded for him to acknowledge me in my adulthood for the pain he’s caused me. He has never responded to me; until last night.

I received a phone call and I knew it was his number. My heart kind of froze. I thought for a split second about not answering it, but I did.

His voice was eerily comforting. I almost… missed him. I felt relieved to hear his familiar lowness, the scratch in his voice.

He thanked me for the message, that he’s happy I reached out. He was happy to see me at our cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago. He cares about me, he loves me. He wants to talk to me and give me that acknowledgement.

My logic told me to be cold and angry, yet I found myself asking him (as I’ve always done before), “How are you? Are you okay? How are the girls? You’re still working for the same company? Thank you for calling me… ” It seems the effects of Stockholm Syndrome were still present.

My body was shaking from the adrenaline, yet I felt nothing. There were no emotions on the surface, nor deep down. There was nothing to pull out. No anger, no fear, no sadness.

He wants to set up a time to meet with me and talk. I want that, too. I want so badly to hear from him, face to face, what he did.

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On Michael (trigger warning, incest)

Michael. Green eyes, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 38 years old at the time. Intellectual, jaded by the army, twisted, and witty.

Myself. Brown eyes, 5 feet tall, 12 years young at the time. Artistic, impressionable, twisted, and mischievous.

I remember the day well, when it started. We were in my bedroom sitting on the floor, listening to music, exchanging stories from our own experiences. I was intrigued by him, and I listened intently to his articulate anecdotes. I sat between his legs as he wrapped his arms around me, breathing in my just-washed hair. Slightly rocking me back and forth, I felt him harden against my back. I didn’t know what that meant. I had absolutely no idea what it was, but I could feel his energy shift. From that, I realized that I had aroused him. It frightened me.

Over the stretch of the next few days, he began testing the waters by grazing my cheek softly, embracing me just a little longer than usual, longingly kissing the corners of my mouth (but never directly kissing my lips, I noticed), brushing stray hairs from my forehead in more than a parental way. The touching turned to caressing, the caressing turned to that indelible fire in his eyes which had nearly all at once consumed my innocence.

Then came the one night that I believe fed the flames into combustion. He laid there on my bed, I came to say goodnight to him. I asked him, “Can I do something and you won’t get mad?” He already knew. I kissed him on the lips, withdrew, and my eyes locked onto the predator inside his shell. It was then that he saw the monster in me.

There was nothing anyone could have done to turn his switch off. Like an animal, the only scent he could now smell was my juvenilia, the emergence of my own magnificent pubescence. I was in a crucial time in my life. He sank his claws deep into me and I let him.

For months, this game went on. Every now and then, I would find myself in a dangerous situation; razor blades to my skin, threats made, being suffocated. Yet I still loved my predator.

I was sexually abused.

But how  my heart still tore itself into fragments when 4 am reared its face, his fingertips on the front door, car keys in hand, seconds before he walked out the door. On some nights I hated him for leaving. I distinctly remember his cologne permeating my skin as he hugged me goodbye. We stood on the porch and it was springtime.

I became an expert at the game. All it took was one coy glance up, a gesture, or a pouting of the lips to send him into a tourbillion. I would act as if I had no idea what I was doing. Meanwhile I jotted down mental notes. I knew how to make him think he had me trapped in his cage- when in reality, he was my experiment.

He was sick in the head, polluted with pedophilic thoughts and broken morals. There is an absolute certain quality in him that I had found and couldn’t help but dissect. I became obsessed with it. Somewhere along his development, contagion set in. I have seen it since in other humans close to me. I can spot it a mile away.

Along my studies of his pervertible nature, I found myself appreciating the shadows of his disease. Perhaps it wasn’t all disease?

My very unpopular belief is that there is a fine, delicate line between a pedophile who wants nothing more than to fuck a child and a pedophile who is a passionate madman wanting to consume his prey. (Though both morally wrong, I admit.)

I’ve spent years trying to decipher which side my cousin fell on. I’m beginning to come to a conclusion that he is too stupid and dull to fall on the passionate side. Yet, he did have that subtle glow… in any case, he allowed me to practice my detection of said glow. I strive to understand him, my predator.

I often wondered if he ever understood me.

Sentient

I blame my therapist for this new thing that’s been happening… I think it’s called…. feeling.

(Just kidding. I don’t blame her- I thank her. But last night I was definitely giving feelings the middle finger.)

I cried for a good 3 hours plus last night about my dad. It was one of those curl-up-in-a-ball-and-pray-the-ceiling-doesn’t-collapse kind of wailing fits.It felt as if I had just found out he had died.

Perhaps I never appropriately grieved his death, or there was still some left over sadness.

About two hours into this explosion, I realized what had been hurting me the most: I felt betrayed by my father for leaving me and for not protecting me from abuse. I romanticize it a lot in my mind- being my dad’s sunshine, him protecting me fiercely, threatening boys (or girls) that I would bring home, taking me on father-daughter field trips…. etc.

But mostly, I was angry at him.

It also hurts to know that even if he WERE alive, he probably wouldn’t even be my protector. Both my brother and sister have suffered severe trauma from our dad growing up. He was a physically and emotionally abusive drug addict and alcoholic. My brother is saturated with pain from the years of torment. Drugs took over our dad’s life and turned him into a monster.

In my mind, he’s strong, funny, loving and handsome.

I feel like a broken record because the theme of my depression for a good 2 months seems to always point back to my daddy issues. The more I remember about my childhood abuse, the more anger I find towards my dad- along with feeling betrayal, abandonment, and neglect. Was I not worth living for?

It wasn’t just my dad that left. My mother did as well. I think her abandonment was even worse.  My father took his life and was lost in heroin and untreated manic depression. But at least he visited me and brought me multitudes of stuffies. At least he was there for the 3 birthdays that I had. At least he hugged me and carried me around.

My mother LEFT me. Vanished. Even after her time in prison and rehab, even after she was clean from drugs and had moved back home to the south, even after she got her life together, she STILL was gone. No birthday cards, no letters, no calls. As a child I was told that it was MY fault my father was dead. I couldn’t help but wonder if I killed my mother, too.

I really don’t know if anyone understood how often I thought of this as a kid. Which brings me back to the question: Was I not worth living for? Not even my mother wanted me- her only child. If my own parents didn’t want me, who would?

I can’t even fucking turn off the receptors in my brain. I am hurting and I am angry.

 

Twelve -another rape poem

it was the first time of twelve.
the clock’s hand slammed and hammered in
the pulse of his desperate, soused breath.
my blooming plum wept.
they had left the house that day.
December’s paternal comfort was long lost
in the convoluted patterns of wetness,
that which flowed from my mouth-
drooling foolishly at the thought of concern.
sudoral beads bubbled to the tops of
his shoulders, his brow.
this was unfamiliar to me, the ways in which
his eyes looked past me, now.
no longer was I his little gem.
(Oh, the eyes, I will never forget the
infliction- that which infected my matrix.)
now, four months before I knew menstruation,
I bled from the sceptre.
I glared at the back of my skull,
fixing my stare on anything but his big, bright grin.
behind me, my hands flew upward in
a futile attempt to crush his throat.
my face met fire when his hand came down.
minute explosions of starry embers filled
the room. Black, black, black.
my sad, white sheets were destroyed with crimson.
the plum wilted with guilt, lulling with uncertainty.
(should I not have poured out to him?
should I have screamed out?)
soon the palliative tears welled in his eyes.
I, the child of forgiveness, welcomed the man
into my arms, into my chest with budding breasts.
did I not please him?
did I not soothe him?
did I not stay still enough?
did I not say thank you?
he purred into me, onto the floor
and promised one day I would hate him
-for this moment.
my little panties clutched in his left hand.
how could I hate him like this?
so pathetic and woeful.
I licked the lithophanic pearls from his cheeks.
my innocence and bewilderment of the world,
were engulfed in his lust, his sickness.
they live there now in the dark corners
of my childhood bedroom.
they are captured within the stitching of my baby quilt.
they are dying in his brain, the ever-relenting memory
of the virgin blood on his hands.
daughter of abandonment.
daughter of abuse.
daughter of Michael.

Violet

I am thinking of the teeth marks
that are stamped across your leather belt.
You were peeling my legs back while
fierce bubbles of spit spumed from my
purpling lips. My throat
became full of breaths, brimming
to the strap, exhausted. With a quick
tighten of your knuckles, the
breaths tumbled backwards into
the washbasin of my stomach.

I am thinking of the threatening heat
in your eyes, settled there- fixed and frightening.
You had encountered your last meal,
fresh and pink with juvenilia.
I was a dead mare.
The neck offered to you, God or Devil,
as a sacrifice on the perch of your throne.
The faint death beat pumped against your
fingertips, beating with anticipation of release.
The dogtooth sunk into the mare.

I am thinking of the low growl,
cruel and inviting.
Part wolf, part incubus. The roses
on my wrists have bloomed in mercy.
On particular nights I can feel the thunder
of your voice behind me.
I am your small child to penetrate,
to destroy and reconstruct (as you see fit).
I am the little doll on the wild lawn
of violet virginity.

 

That’s a Wrap! Goodbye 2015!

2015 has been an emotional roller coaster with really awesome highs, and really fucked up lows. I was trying to think of a way to summarize it all up into one, comprehensive blog post, and came up with the idea to attach one word to the year. One word to encapsulate it all. One word…

Metanoia (noun) 1. (psychology) the process of experiencing a psychotic “breakdown” and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or “healing” 2. The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.

Mental health, or lack thereof, at times. Thanks to a gentle push from a very good friend of mine, as well as my girlfriend, I found some refuge in a partial hospitalization program in February. Here I began the road to recovery from a psychotic playground swing-set and drug addiction.

Emergence from a heap of hopelessness and a seemingly-perpetual collapse. At more times than I care to admit, I sincerely felt that this would have been my last year here. I am able to recall a vivid moment in my old apartment: I had blacked out all of the windows, peeled all of my clothes off, and sank into a bathtub of warm water. I pulled myself out and curled up in the middle of my living room for literally hours. I cried silently as I held on to my knees, really thinking about how I could just run away from my life, or my body. Somehow, I have emerged from that very sad position and I am standing- still wobbly at times, but standing.

phoenix_rising_second_take_by_jodip

Therapy. Not only did I receive fucking amazing group therapy this year, but I also found the best therapist in the entire world. Seriously. The hospitalization program offered me a place to be open and unfiltered about my symptoms. I finally found a med combination to combat depression and flashbacks. I was given coping skills and tools to handle everything and anything that came my way. Through the program, I was prompted to find a therapist- and I’m so happy to have her! Therapy has opened a brand new door towards healing from my past. Even though it’s painful and difficult, it has been totally worth it.

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Acceptance that I have actually lived through trauma, that I have other personalities, and that it’s going to be okay in the end. I’ve accepted the fact that I need to stick up for myself more often, and that I need to also give myself credit.

Not giving up. Yes, this pertains to me not giving up on life, but more than that, the people who love me did not give up on me- or for this I am eternally grateful. My friends were there for me, 24/7, despite the fact that I may have disappeared for weeks at a stretch, they were there to listen and help me back up. My family- my actual family who supports me- welcomed me back home. My therapist has proven to be a stable confidant in my life and integration process. And my girlfriend… from the very beginning… thank you to the moon and back. I would not be where I am now without you.

Opportunities to be who I am, speak up about mental health, seek therapy, fall in love, find happiness, and much more.

Integration. I’m not there yet, but I am thankful for the moments of cooperation from my system. I’m thankful for the communication that has grown stronger, and for their protection.

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Appreciation. Every morning, no matter how shit-tastic I may be feeling, I manage to still offer my appreciation towards the people that I love and have in my life, towards getting better, towards my inner-system, towards the roof over my head and food on my table. I have grown to appreciate my family more this year. Especially through group therapy, I’ve developed a habit of gratitude lists everyday that really help ground me.

I am looking forward to 2016. I know there will most likely be some major speed bumps in the road, but I even look forward to tackling those as well.

I encourage you to find a word that suits your year!!

Censored Shit

I have mixed feelings.

I’ve published my book. Hurrah! I’m very excited about it. It has gone live on Kindle and will be ready for physical distribution by the end of the month (hopefully). My girlfriend has purchased the first kindle edition. Thanks, babes.

I was sitting at my desk this morning thinking about the description of the book… recovery from incest, rape, suicide… etc…. for a moment, I felt bad about mentioning incest. I had an urge to delete it, to censor my poetry. What if someone from the family sees it? Then the whole can of worms opens up again.

But why should I still feel the need to hide the truth? I felt, again, the familiar need and obligation to protect my family. After all, its ALL of our secret. Its not just mine to keep. Right?

This in itself is a healing process- unmasking the truth of the matter and not feeling ashamed. There is a definitely a feeling of conviction. Why did I have to suffer all those years by keeping my mouth shut and pretending not to feel nauseated every time I had to hug him at Christmas time?

Am I wrong for publishing that for the public? I don’t know what’s “right.” I only know what feels right, and that, for me is to not hide the fact that I was tormented as a teenager.

My godfather briefly pulled me aside yesterday and told me to be careful what I post on social media. I admit, I have a tendency to over-share. I announced my accomplishment with a preface along the lines of, “Look how far I’ve made it from my opiate addiction and my suicide attempt.” The broadcast had no other intention other than to let people know that people DO get better and there IS a way out of hopelessness. Yes, I over-share my private details, but I think that one day it will only make me a better spokesperson for the less-than-vocal victims of the world.

Anyways, I hadn’t thought about the consequences, for lack of a better term, of publishing the truth. On one hand, I feel obligated to protect others, but on the other, isn’t it my time to reclaim my life- my jaded adolescence?

Cut: an Autobiography- Trigger Warning-

Her name was Ally. She was my best guy-friends’ sister. She was older than I was by two years. Ally carried one of those black messenger bags adorned with pins, buttons, and patches. Her jeans were always ripped and her Slipknot shirts were always one size too big. I never spoke to her much. Her brother, Jose, adored her.

Jose and I met in seventh grade in drama class. I was sitting in the second-to-last row and Jose sat directly behind me. Our first day there, all of the students had to whip up a comedic skit and present it that same hour. Jose and I were paired. I forgot what the skit was about, but I do remember it being hilarious. We were friends ever since.

Being the 13-year-olds that we were, we shared secrets, feelings, dreams, and confessions. By this time, I was already being abused and was having an understandably hard time with life. I told him one day on the swing set that I wished, more than anything, to find a way to make the pain stop. He held my hand and thought very hard for a few minutes. Then, gently, he offered a possible solution.

“Ally cuts herself.”

Surprisingly, I had never heard of such a thing. I had self-mutilated my body before in different fashions, but I never knew that there was a name-not only a name, but an entire subculture. I looked at him inquisitively.

“I don’t know. She says it helps her go numb or some shit. She uses a razor blade.”

And just like that, I had found my solution.

That same night after our long talk on the swing set, I retreated to the safety of my bathroom. My grandma was sound asleep in her room and my grandpa was watching telenovelas. I carefully pulled out a razor blade from the medicine cabinet. Sitting on the toilet seat, I raised the left sleeve of my pajamas. My hands were clammy. I rested my arm on the porcelain, pressed the blade against my skin, and pulled. At first, I had only made cat scratches. But as I went on, the deeper the cuts became. My pajama bottoms became stained from the droplets of blood.

I felt an empyreal high. Jose was right. It had brought me great relief. I washed the blade off, and tucked it in a lock tin box I had, where I later kept an arrangement of blades, gauze, a small pair of scissors, and tape.

Now, I know how awfully clichéd this story is. I get it. Half the school, it seemed, listened to My Chemical Romance and wore black and pink checkered wristbands. The campus was full of them: emo kids flipping their bangs out of their face just enough to be able to see the dark poetry they would be scribbling on their hands. For a period of time, I was one of them. I purchased a God-awful amount of merchandise from Hot Topic. Chokers, black and green striped knee-high socks, black bracelets, safety pin earrings.

Cutting was a thing. It was subculture that quickly bloomed like red plush beneath an Exacto-knife. It gave people a sense of community. Misery loves company, I suppose.

I admit at first that I had felt some pride about being a “cutter.” As the scars developed, I was satisfied with myself. It wasn’t until my cousin draped my body over the bed that I realized I had a problem.

It was just like all the other nights. It was 12am. My grandparents were asleep. My cousin, who worked from home nocturnally, took a break. I had done this several times before. I knew exactly what to do. I escaped my body momentarily and watched us from the ceiling. Watched numbingly as he peeled articles of clothing off of me. Off came my pants. A gasp escaped from his lips and he pulled back. I was jolted back into my body. His face softened and I felt a lump in my throat. I had missed this tenderness.

“Baby, what did you do?”

It had been fine before. The cutting, I mean. I never thought it as dangerous. He ran his fingers over hours-old welts. He was shocked. I had at least 300 cuts on my body… my thighs, arms, hips, stomach, chest, anywhere I could reach. “Why did you do this?” I had no words for him. I knew he knew why. He wasn’t stupid. He’s a rapist, a pedophile, and a destroyer- but not a stupid man. He pulled me into his chest and I could hear him begin to cry.

A seemingly juvenile coping mechanism had turned into a ten year addiction.

Despite the countless nights of enduring my cousin, I had missed and longed for this paternal part of him. Perhaps it was Stockholm Syndrome. I let him cradle me and I felt safe. Little did I know that this act in itself was potentially more dangerous for me then the abuse; I quickly learned that my self-inflicted wounds served as a protective shield. The cuts bought me time. With each gash, he took on the paternal, caring role. Now, I realize that this was HIS game. I would take my clothes off willingly, because I was under the notion that he would check me every night out of concern. I thought that he cared. I often look back on my very visible scars on my thighs and remember that night on my bed, as my cousin held me, weeping.

I’ve read somewhere that the victim of incest and early sexual abuse can become wildly sexually confused and could essentially muddle compassion with arousal, so on so forth. I am ashamed to say this, for multiple reasons. However, I will say it in hopes that A) I’m not alone and B) maybe someone could know THEY’RE not alone. During some of these nights of check-ups, cuddling and “therapy” talks, I became aroused.

The cutting continued. Slowly, my family members began to notice the scars and long sleeves. Multiple interventions were held in my living room in efforts to get me to consider going to a adolescent rehab facility. While each person read words of concern from tiny sheets of paper, my cousin sat next to me, hand on my knee, making sure the family knew that he was my foundation. And no one suspected a thing.

This post was inspired by this Tumblr pic:


It made me think. I had never seen a self-harm picture that resonated with me like this one.

I am still addicted to cutting. The blade, ironically enough, has saved my life on many occasions. I struggle with it nearly every day. It does bother me that cutting has been equated to a fashion trend. It’s not. It’s cunning, dangerous, and destructive.

If you’re reading this and you also struggle with self-harm, I’d like to personally let you know that you are worth more than this addiction, and I love you.

The Church – Trigger Warning- Poetry on Incest

The plush resurrection of my veins
Comforts me. The push of a steel crucifix
has fixed my clear, white eyes.
Still, I keep ties on my wrist,
The never-minded furrows in the field of flesh.
I have gone incognito. I am a priestess of pills.
A will has been erected.
They will jot over uncrossed
T’s and double-spaced grievances.
I have been raped by daddy dearest.
My legs, thrown apart, like a tormented ragdoll’s.
My arms, tethered in fine linen, with bruises to match.
Buckles, silver buckles.
My mind has slipped and has curled itself around
Hot coals. The stench of a burning childhood lingers
And sits in our lungs. It breathes. It breathes.
It lives, as you live.
Tall man.
Tall men.
I am the pearl left to suffocate inside a rotting oyster.
A letter from Saint Paul to the Corinthians:
The virgin bleeds.
And bled I did, blood of red,
Half-decade-young mare and I bucked over
To feel you rape me again.
Again.
Ten years of loveless love.
I bite down on the matchbox, lips dry
From starvation.
The least you could have done was finish me off.
By the time you fled into the white room,
Stroked yourself into a frenzy,
I was already buried in miles and miles of sheets,
Bleeding, writhing in confusion.
I am the sinning slut.
I’ve had enough practice.
Thirteen years of growing my breasts for your
Enjoyment. Thirteen years of a wasted childhood,
All for your 15 seconds of shame.
What will it be this time?
Remember how you threw the twenty dollar bill
At the church between my legs?
You said, “Good job. Not as great as last time.”
I took the twenty dollar bill and bought myself a
Journal from the children’s section of my favorite
Bookstore.
In my journal entries, I wrote how I wish you would
Stop
Raping me.
Then, you promised that you would start
Weaning yourself off of my scent, my taste.
I wrote one night in my diary that I was proud of you
For not using your tongue when you came to kiss me goodbye.
For this, I eat the pain-killers, the taste of bitter apathy.
For my fix, my clear, white eyes.
Strange, how I still needed to cling to your chest
Even while you destroyed my body.
I would rather imagine you loved me as you raped me,
Then realize I was just a piece of meat
For you to empty yourself into.

The Six

I am working hard today. Since I woke early this morning, I’ve been battling mood swings of sudden, intense abandonment feelings. It’s Senka. She cries, wails, slams her fists into the pillows, pouting and whimpering, “Don’t leave me… come back… come back… I’m scared….” Then, it’s over- almost as quickly as it came on. Something about the house today is not settling well with any of us. I feel unsafe. There’s parts of me- child parts, mostly Senka- that are scared and wanting to hide. There are other parts that are observant and are armed with weapons.

Through therapy yesterday, I have come to realize how much neglect I actually experienced as a child through my teenage years. Feelings of selfishness have been surfacing throughout the passed few months. I feel selfish for taking so much time for myself, it’s always about me, there’s always something happening. I’m 23 and yet here I am in therapy, desperately trying to piece myself back together. I know it’s not selfish; it’s what I need right now.

Compassion. Try to be compassionate towards myself, ourselves. But how? I’ve gone through life making an ill mockery of my sad predicaments. I use dark humour in every aspect of my life. I can see where I lack in the compassion.

Dee is bulimic.

The Six. They are my protectors. Allie, Goldie, Dee, Senka, Rogue, and myself, the host. The rest I’ve yet to figure out their purpose.

I return to work on Monday. I’m very curious to find out what happens then.

Citizen has decided to take over now. There is an intruder in proximity to the system. Research. Lots of research, planning, careful planning will protect us. Citizen reports to Goldie as Allie distracts Senka.

When my father died, my family came over to the house to break the news to my grandparents. I remember my brother’s wife, who at the time was a close sister/maternal figure for me, pulled me into my bedroom as the 4-year-old that I was and distracted me with my stuffed animals. I could hear crying in the next room, yet I paid little attention and instead focused on my sister-in-law’s smile and jumpy eyes. She was always really great with children.