written in 2009 – please read if you are going through a hard time as a young adult or teenager. I wrote this to help all those like me. It’s written two ways at two different stages in my life to amplify the growing process and how to overcome abuse and neglect.
THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS
Today, the cycle continued. Never-ending empty holes and shattered glass. Glass that turned skin to bruised or bloody, and holes that left reminders. The visualization seemed less unclear from the point of view she knew. Up in rooms where ears were listening and the minds absorbed. As violence rang through them, she wondered if it would cease soon. The question was not when, but how. Knowing we were out of harm’s way, her mother would take the fall for us all.
Up there, it seemed like a shelter far away from the disarray around her. Oblivion suited her needs presently. Even a stereo failed her. Her spirit was held back by irony; only wanting to break free and rip apart this house she called a home. Down there, never-ending hatred had been thrown back and forth, like her weathered ears could not hear. Did she really think a restraining order would keep him from his dwelling? Deep within her soul, she vowed to stray. She would peak out from her haven, she did nothing but stare. Stared at the reality she called life.
Emptiness prevailed as the shattering of contempt took place for his lack of a high. Engaged were her eyes, as her apprehension took the best of her. Recollections of an uncontrollable fiend, tearing apart a home, stairway and all, graced her intact memories. She thought of only one thing; think happy thoughts is what her mother would tell them as they fell asleep. As the tone of a phone rang hushed but clear, she was forced to say, sorry friend, we can’t play today.
This was all too familiar for her, who knew who was calling. It was her best friend who always called at 7 o’clock every night. They would talk about boys and what they were going to wear to school the next day. Not tonight, though, the air was thick with hatred. She was used to it along with her three siblings; an older brother and two younger sisters. Although, her sisters hadn’t yet grasped the concept of the world they were living in.
Soon, her brother was gone and she was left alone. He had a chance to get out so he did it by moving away to college. Her parents divorced when she was too young to remember, much like when the fighting began. Where she only wanted to protect her fish in a tank from the conflicts. She would peek out of her doorway across the hall to see how her brother reacted to all of this. He would be reading a book, or practicing guitar, strumming the strings deliberately but silently. Any noise at all from upstairs meant a chance of being heard, which meant a chance of him remembering my mother wasn’t the only one to harass.He was her and her brother’s stepfather. Their mother remarried right after their little sister was born.
The oldest sister was born when she was five, and started walking in a prison visiting room. It was one of those stories that was told half-heartedly as a joke, but told many times over. Her stepfather had been in jail previously for reasons she was not sure of. All she knew is that he kept coming back. Her youngest sister was lucky, she thought, because she thought she is too young to remember all of it. Everything that happened, that she tried to forget. It wasn’t fair, she thought on a daily basis as if reciting a bible verse.
School was her escape from her home life, because there she could at least smile. She was always quiet but used sports and activities to keep herself out of trouble, but mostly out of what she considered, harm’s way. She had a way of knowing the mood he was in just by opening the front door and walking in. She knew whether to walk into the kitchen and do the dishes or run upstairs and hide. On occasion, she would get this wrong and go upstairs to her bedroom instead of straight to the kitchen to do her chore. It was always an endless battle if she miscalculated.
He was a tall, mean muscled, man who had a recliner he liked to call his own, positioned at the bottom of the stairwell. She detected his moves by the squeaking sound of the chair hinges going up and down. A loud thud meant he was up. He would flip through channels all day occasionally finding a movie to calm his nerves. He was always waiting on a phone call with a grimacing look on his face. His forehead was large and wrinkled along with his nose and brown eyes. He wore flannel pants and a t-shirt most of the time. His hair was cut short and thin with ears that swooped low. She remembered a time when she loved him fully, but now it was just a glimpse into her unlocked mind. He had an intimating demeanor most of the time unless he received a phone call. The conversations usually consisted of an “uh huh” or a “yep”, then a bye, and sometimes words she never heard before.
It was too many instances for her to recall when she was told no when asked to use the phone because he was waiting for a phone call that wouldn’t come until hours later. She would get so angry in her mind that she would think of running away and leaving it all behind. She didn’t know why those phone calls were so important to him and she didn’t care. All she heard was the word no and it made her ballistic. It was bad enough that she was too embarrassed to have any friends over because of the state of her house she called home, but now she could never use the phone. This was the start of alternative thinking for her, as she wanted freedom.
Her mother worked a full time job every day to support them. Even though she worked all the time, she didn’t know where all the money went. They never went shopping for clothes and barely had food in the cupboards. It was always a day-to-day struggle supplying a meal for six. The sound of squeaking brakes on a car pulling up and slamming of a door meant her mother was home. This always provided her with an inert sigh of relief. It lifted the tone of the house to her. She wanted nothing more than to run downstairs and talk to her mom about her day and tell her things. That just wasn’t possible in her mind. Most of the time, her mother would walk in, sit her purse and keys down, then sit down on the couch while ignoring desperate attempts from her to talk in private.
Her mother was a pretty woman. She was medium stature with reddish hair that would shine in the sun. These days her hair was wearing thin and she curled it on a daily basis. She dressed like a school teacher with panty hose and matching top and bottoms. As a little girl she would linger in the bathroom to watch her mother get ready for work. She would sit down on the toilet as an excuse to be in there with her. She would watch her mother diligently while she padded herself with make-up and hairspray emotionless, much like a robot. She would put on a layer of lipstick on and smack her lips with a muffled tongue thrust, onto toilet paper, which made a sound that Ami thought could only be made by her mother. She would watch her mother do this about three times before she would ask she to leave. she would always mumble why under her breathe and walk away still wondering why.
Her mother had brown eyes like her’s, and they could pierce through you like any mother’s to a daughter’s would. She had a laugh that was believable and had a sense of humor that she rarely understood. She was a college professor at a local business college. She once saw a video of her mother giving a speech at an awards ceremony where she accepted the most outstanding teacher’s award. Her mother was smiling the whole time with her perfectly aligned white porcelain. Her voice sounded different than it normally did and her demeanor was unusual to her. Her mother made the comment “see this is how I am at work,” as she chuckled a laugh that just slipped out due to lack of better words. She felt jealous that her mother would go to work everyday and give her students and co-workers her full self. She was full of personality that was upbeat and excited. She was happy to be there. That’s not something she knew about her mother, and that made her jealous.This surprised even her as it was a foreign feeling and to this day remains to be a separate entity than her. Something outside of yourself rather than became a part of her.
It was a good night when her mother remained silent after walking into the house, and sat down on the couch to indulge in the married life with her stepfather. She wanted desperately to go downstairs and talk to her mother. Sometimes she would walk downstairs and while signaling her mother by the wave of a hand, where her stepfather couldn’t see and mouth the words, “Come here.” As she started to remember not needing to talk much to her mom in the past, it was always an unspoken bond. She would slip off the stairs to the kitchen which was to the left and the living room to the right. Sometimes her mother would follow her and sometimes she wouldn’t. It made her upset when she didn’t come because she didn’t want to talk to her in front of her stepfather. She only wanted her mother alone.
When her mother would follow her it would always be a drained approach and half spoken sentences. She was most likely asking for permission to go somewhere with a friend or make plans for a ride here or there. Sometimes her mother would leave without answering the question which meant that she had to make it a point to signal her again, and when that didn’t work she followed through with the most undesirable choice she had. She would have to ask in front of her stepfather and hear a no. Sometimes he would remain silent and sometimes he would answer for her. It was never anything unreasonable she was asking, but every little detail mattered in the decision he would make. Did she do the dishes right after school? Did she get in a fight with her sisters? Did she not do the dishes the first time I asked last week? The phrase damned if you do and damned if you don’t was the only constant in her life.
She spent most of her time in her room which she kept clean and organized. She constantly rearranged the room as if to fill an empty void in her life. She would make collages out of magazines and hang them all over her wall until it was filled. There wasn’t a bare spot on her wall between collages and pictures of her friends. The pictures ranged from alternative bands like Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Death Cab for Cutie to The Smiths and Radiohead. She indulged in music magazines and CD’s to pass the time. When she was lucky she could turn the music up loud and lie down on the floor and just listen without any distraction.
Sometimes she would sit in front of the mirror and look at herself as someone not in her body. She would see long flowing black hair that strayed from a widow’s peak. She had dark yet hopeful eyes that had no distinguished color to them. She saw a thin face and dry cracked lips. She wore high cheek bones and a nose that was sloped upwards towards the sky. She saw a head full of dreams and heart that was ready to conquer them. She would think about moving somewhere far away and never coming back. She would think about finding a true love that she could run away with. She would think about the sky and the stars and how she wanted to work for NASA. She would think about how nothing matters right now but soon it will when she moves. She would dream about concerts and being one with the crowd for all being there for the same reason, the meaning of the music, not the way the lead singer looks. She would think about how if the band knew that she was listening if they would care. She longed for others who had these mirrored thoughts.
The town always reminded her of the bitterness of her home life. When she was younger she considered it a starting point to her life. A place she had to be until she was able to branch out on her on. To her there was always something more to life; her only problem was trying to figure out exactly what that was. Driving through the old town of shut down stores and failing restaurants, she noticed a new coffee shop. She decided to stop in to check it out and not to mention grab a large coffee. As she walked in, she was surprised by how small it was, but nevertheless pleased with the set up. On the right of the shop displayed bookshelves of books such as On the Road by __ and other similar literature selections. There were about five tables and newspapers neatly stacked on each one. The food selection looked absolutely amazing: apply pie, pepperoni rolls, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, all homemade. She purchased her coffee with a nice comment, as she was certainly surprised.
This town had been going down for years. Old historical buildings turned to parking lots where parking isn’t even a necessity, and of course corporate America can be blamed. The new Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, and Blockbuster just moved to town, taking down with it many local shops including video stores that were worth the two dollars a night. Now it was five dollars a night for a rental and you saw everyone and their family at Wal-Mart every stop. Home is where your mom is though.
She never understood why her mother would ever choose to tay in this town, nor did she ask. She knew why though. This town reels you in due to its small community and the price to be known. She supposed a hello every morning while getting gas and a newspaper was better than to venture out into the rest of the world. This town stinks she thought as she passed the Wal-Mart while lighting a cigarette. It seemed it was always time to light a cigarette as she passed Wal-Mart, as it was the official landmark of being home. Trying to maintain a good attitude, she blasted the music and drove on.
As she drove through the town to get to her mother’s she wondered about some people. Wondered what they were doing now and how thing’s have changed. Of course most her age were busy creating the next generation of the town. People should really stop popping out babies for the fun of it she thought. She just didn’t get it. Isn’t there any thing else you could do with your life before you are tied down forever to taking care of a kid? Of course there is, but they had no idea. It was a domino effect, and it’s only going to keep going. The dominos aren’t going to be scarce any time soon. Who’s next was her only question.
Life here seemed so bland now. She used to feel on top of the world here, especially when she got her license and first car. Having her license was like a mini escape at times. She would go for drives just to turn up the music all the way and let it drown out her thoughts, along with any negativity her household had bestowed on her. She knew there was going to be plenty more for her out there, this was only temporary. That’s what kept her going day in and day out, the chance to break free and be her. She always had an idea of who she was and what she was capable of, but just like anything in life she had to learn it the hard way.
She turned onto her mother’s road as she passed the spot where her first love used to skateboard daily. She pulled up to her mother’s apartment, thankful that she didn’t have to see her step-dad anymore, as they got a divorce and he spent three years in jail for domestic abuse and other felonies. Now, he is in the hospital with jaundice, as he developed Hepatitis C around ten years ago. She remembered when she would walk in to the house they grew up and when they were together. As soon as she walked in the door she could sense the mood of her step-father, and that of course affected everyone in the process. He would always be sitting in the recliner right by the door, so there was no way around him. “Do the dishes” would be his famous first words to her. She always felt as if she didn’t need to be told, but it gave him some sort of pleasure. He especially loved to come into the kitchen and coach her on how to do them properly, as if she hadn’t been washing dished since she was seven.
Nevertheless, her room was her safe haven. It was always the cleanest room in the house, with the most creativeness. She would constantly cut out pictures from magazines of her favorite music artists and post them on her wall. Eventually one day right before she had to move out for college she had created a whole collage across the whole wall. It gave her hope. Pictures surrounded the other walls along with anything that gave her pleasure. She hated it when her little sisters would come in to bother her, and sure enough they always did. She knew they were trying to look up to her, but at the same time they were pests. They would always start fights and she would always be the one to get yelled at. There was no compromising with their father. Our last names were different and so were our punishments.
The days and nights spent in the old house, rang through her memory like a hazy painting. She wanted to remember everything; it’s what made her who she is. For her though, that’s all it was. She was thankful yet disgusted at the same time. She could envision broken glass, busted doors, holes in the wall, and rotten floors. If there was ever a mirror in the house it only lasted a few weeks before her step-dad would find a reason to smash it. Whether he used a shoe or her mother’s head. Upstairs is where the kids found solitude during these times. They could hear everything, but only blocked it out. It was as if they knew they couldn’t do anything about it, so they could only listen. She couldn’t even count the times that she wished she could hurt him during these fights, but knew it wasn’t in her nature. She let no one know, life was perfect for her.
High school was a blur. Plenty of sports, band, and activities kept her sane while using them as outlets to get away from that house. She saw the pointlessness of all of it, but used her time wisely. On her last day of senior year, she was one of the first to walk out to her car, and never look back. College was too close which meant life was soon awakening. She didn’t realize how true that statement would become.
The childhood house was located on Grand St. It was a two story yellow paneled house with a concrete porch that her step-dad took 3 years to build. So during those three years the porch was covered in bricks one of his drug ridden friends had dropped off from his beaten up Ford pickup. She was embarrassed to be seen around the house for those years.Although as she grew old she began to appreciate every bit of it and the people who came by.
During her middle school years. She once sat across the street on the neighbors stairs hoping someone would pass and see her and hope they would think she lived there instead. None of her friends were allowed over. I didn’t realize it was because it was a small town and everyone knew her step-dad was a druggie and abuser. She’s had the occasional sleepover. Once on her birthday in middle school. She wanted to play hide and seek upstairs and made a rule that you couldn’t turn on the light. She was too embarrassed to let her friends see the condition of the house. So instead, she let her friends trip over things. Eventually she let them turn on the lights after she realized none of her friends had night vision.
Needless to say only one ever returned. That same night her mom asked her step-dad to stay at a friends house because she knew he’d be out all night partying with them. Instead, they all arrive at the house around 6am to only crash on the living room couches. Another reason her friends would never return. Her step-dad did it on purpose. She had a few close friends that stayed a lot but most never returned due to an outburst or fight with her step-dad and mom. She couldn’t have a guy come over in a million years, and that is another reason she thinks she picked Justin as her first boyfriend. But that is another story that should be told another time.
Her dad lived in another town about 30 minutes away. It wasn’t until later that I would realized he had literally abandoned my brother and I when we were younger. It’s such a fucked up story. And no kid should ever have to go through what I went through. What I really want to do and am aiming for is to write a book to help any young girl through a bad situation.
My dad and mother were both alcoholics at differents points in my life. I witness my dad steal money from my grandma’s purse and drink himself to death. I would always know because his trash would be nothing but beer cans clear up to the top and his shelves would have liquor bottles on every shelf back to front. I look back and realize my dad may have resented me. I tried to take away his addiction.
I told my grandparents when I knew this was going on because I thought I was helping. But all he did was blame me for trying to take his addiction away. Plus he saw me as an extension of my mother who left him along with him being adopted. I never understood until I took the lengths to punish myself and felt it myself. Not only did my dad do it do me but I was so hard on myself that then I tried to do it to myself also.
I have noticed a pattern…every time someone hurts me I do the same thing to myself just in a different form. I am hyper sensitive and extremely easy to hurt because I knew I would never treat another the way I had been. I have grown tougher skin by this point in my life, but the thing is I wasn’t even aware of it. I was not aware that my life had turned out in order for me to punish myself to better learn and experience everything.
I was just a child. I had no idea that by me trying to help that I was actually being resented. I look back and see the looks on the adults faces that were around me all the time and all of them gave me strange looks. Every single one. Not one of them comforted me or offered to play with me or talk to me. My mom was not so bad, but she was not innocent either. What I realized about her and my step-dad now that I’ve been through relationships is that the world revolves around relationships.
She didn’t care for us as much as she should have because her relationship left her emotionally unavailable and mentally drained. It really isn’t an excuse. I can’t blame her though, because I am not her. I can only blame myself for blaming myself. I’ve learned you can’t put a meaning on everything but yet everything happens for a reason. I was a child stuck in a world I didn’t deserve or belong to. I developed defense mechanisms first of all. Second of all I had outlets. I was good at repressing and forgetting. Forgiving and forgiving. I learned at a young age that I could trust myself and had to grow up fast. I could only trust myself. Until I found a best friend. I got a boyfriend but that is another story that shall be told another time. Overall, you love people who don’t deserve you, because they are all you have. But then I got a dog lol.
I think that is another reason why I didn’t like my hometown so much. These adults that were around let this go on. I’m sure they reasoned with themselves that it was none of their business and still considered themselves respectable citizens and church going folk. No wonder I was treated the way I was treated growing up. I was the dirty white trash girl. I never had anything to prove to them. It is not one of those cases. It is a case of a girl who knew she was worth something despite all the abuse and neglect. I know it wasn’t all that bad and people have it worse. But people have it better also, and never pull through.
I am successful because I know I can be. It isn’t to prove it to anyone but myself. I sat in my room dreaming of the day for a long time and not once was revenge a source of this confirmation. You hear so many different things throughout your life. Different stories of how different people operate and although I can relate in depth to a portion of them, my story is different. I am not a person with ulterior motives for one. I am not a person who seeks revenge. I operate through grace. Always naturally, and never dying. I never knew how different this technique is until I feel alone. But if I exist, there must be others.
Now, I have met others, but that was another example of what kept me going. I didn’t believe the world was a small place that I just had to settle in and make the best of a bad thing. I believed I could have the real thing because I knew I cultivated that energy in me somewhere. I remember as a child I may have acted out in an utmost hateful and evil ways at times, but that was just a projection of the adults that surrounded me and was mostly due to the pain of betrayal. My small mind couldn’t understand why, or maybe I did but the pain associated with it allowed me be protected from it at the same time!
I think I understood plenty, but made the best out of it until I knew I didn’t have to anymore. Then came the period of college where my thought processes conveyed me to blame everyone else. That was wrong also. But that is also where most people become stuck. They just stick like flies to shit. Oh, and they did breed. Oh, and maybe get married if they didn’t realize the piece of shit that got them pregnant wasn’t going to pull his load. The only load he could pull was the one that got her pregnant. Some deal, some don’t. so then they are labeled bad mothers when what they thought they were doing was the right thing, but I see their pain. Some choose to take it out on others while some choose to become like the others. And some do both.
I was molested as a 10 year old girl. I woke up in the middle of the night to two teenagers unrelated to me, molesting me. I pretended to wake up and left the room to only go back to the room for lack of better options. I didn’t know what to do. I just acted like it never happened for years. That is something that doesn’t stay repressed too long. Karma has its way though as the one is now on the sex offenders registry and the other went to the marines to only return as a full on raging alcoholic. I have been around him since and a forgiveness ensued. I even drank with him at times until the sun came up because I too, needed to understand.
Maybe I had unanswered questions maybe I had to witness the self-destruction of the person who contributed to my awkward ways with guys and sex. The first time I was truly ready and willing to have sex I couldn’t even do it. The first time I had to put in a tampon I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it after several tries. It’s like my vagina had sealed itself shut for eternity. Never to be revisited again. Maybe I was molested a couple of times. I would have been a source of revenge and contempt for many adult men in my life.I get repressed images sometimes and never interpret them accurately until now. I just want to be respected. I hate that that had happened and I would hate to think it could have happened many time. I am not alone.
I do not know how I stayed resilient and I do not know how I survived. I am still surviving. I will write this book and the idea will come to me when I least expect it. I want it to be in detail but from my perspective. I want it to have a message at the end of every hardship and mistake and lesson learned. I want it to get the point across. Perseverance in the face of adversity. I hope I can write it all down in case something happens to me at least. I want everyone to know who I am.
So who am I? I am like many others. Although I like to say I am different I am no different than most. Everyone has a story. I just think throughout my life and the people that have been in it, I have been different compared to them. I went through depression, anxiety suicidal thoughts, abusive relationships, loved those who didn’t care, hurt myself to give meaning to the pain. I have lost, loved, given, received. I have lived, learned, and died. I have been through death and rebirth and beginning to accept it as a way of life, and the only way of life. I have to understand something completely before I can apply it and that takes a lot of work. I am filled with passion and I have always misplaced that passion on silly projects or people. When really, my one true passion is life itself.
I always thought I had to apply that passion to some career or person or place. I see now that I can live it, I can live that passion. And if something comes out on these papers with my words then I will feel that my passion has meaning. That maybe even I can understand it a little better. I am full of ambition and have always misplaced that also. I need that ambition, though to survive this life I chose to grow in. You need ambition to grow and evolve. I have not applied to appropriately either until now. I thought it meant I needed more schooling or bigger and better things, when really I just need my ambition to survive in life itself. I am compassionate. I always thought that meant my compassion and love would spread to other people and animals. But that compassion is for loving myself. If I can place that compassion to love myself then placing that compassion on other people and animals will just come naturally. I wouldn’t even step on an ant when I was little. I am full of good power and the will to live. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming. It is never too late. Now is my time. I have been waiting for this moment not only externally but internally for longer than I ever knew. I am grateful for my moments of clarity and just the chance to exist.