Destiny Awaits

Why did it take so long for me to realize, my collapse, my stuttering, my moments of dear in the headlights was a fear response, primal, instinctual, frozen in the moment brought on by the yelling, by the cues that told me you were reaching anger? I’m angry. So angry that after the fear fades, that I was there, back there, again and worse, I am being blamed for it, for being human, for being me, for having instinctual responses, for failing to control it. I’m angry that when I reach out once the fear faded I’m met with failure and disgust. And three words repeated suck the life out of me. ‘I don’t care.’ Three damaging, damning words I grew up with constantly…when I was desperate to be loved, desperate to have worth in someone’s eyes even if those eyes were those of my abuser.

With open hands, I return and all I receive each time is ‘I don’t care’ and I collapse. If you don’t care, why should I? If you don’t care, why should I continue on, with you, with that relationship? The wind’s been blown out of my sails. I’ve run aground. You don’t care. It’s the only truth I can hold on too. You don’t care even when I do. You don’t care because it’s always been my problem. You don’t care. That’s all I know. It’s the only truth I know. You don’t care. And I stayed, working on myself, suffering the silences, begging, praying and worshipping a shrine of love that never materialized. Not from you. You don’t care. I sure as fuck do.

I care that my needs were ignored. I care that I settled for less than I deserved. Oh, did I settle! A lifetime, I wanted a lifetime. It was a part-time job (what relationship?) on my knees singing your praises. Each one of them honest and heartfelt but it means nothing because ‘You don’t care.’ I wanted so much that I allowed myself to settle for far less. I am unable to say I was blinded by your light. I know you, what and who you are. I wanted you, all of you, the good the bad, the flaws and foibles. But you don’t care and that’s the most important part to all of this. I’ve heard it said by lesser men like my father. I’ve heard it said in disgust. I’ve heard it and now I know the truth of it after all.

I care. Always have and now it is my turn to care about me and to make sure my most important people care about me as well. ‘Cause if they can utter those three words to me, about me, about us, then they have zero place in my future. Because I care!

I remember my birth.

She walked away from the garage with tears running down her face. Everything was wrong and she felt numb but not numb. Everything was a jumble of emotions, swirling, spinning so fast she couldn’t stand it. The sun flicked between bright and dark. Each step she took the world grew heavier. In anguish she attempted to not think, just walk one more step forward. Just one more step. Just one more step. Her head spun so loud. The world was loud and heavy and she wanted nothing to do with it. She put hands over her ears to shut out the sound but kept on getting louder. She wanted to scream but couldn’t remember why. She needed to scream but couldn’t make a sound.

With each step, the world grew wronger and she could pick out words. The voices were arguing so loud with each step she took away from the garage. With each step, a dreadful fear grew inside her. She was possessed! She was corrupted by a demon, unsaveable and damned. They kept fighting in her head as tears fall. She knew now she was doomed. She knew there was no one she could turn too. There was no one to save her. She had no recourse. She had to save herself. To the future, she would look and the countdown begun. She’d count all the years to graduation day. She’d leave and never come back.

A child had walked into that garage that morning but something very different walked out. That day we were born, Isabella and Autumn; an angel and a demon, on her shoulders we argued. She kept count, always counting. She kept count till she could count no more then she’d chime her age. A voice, a metronome, keeping the beat of a course set so long ago that even reason was forgotten. She kept counting, always counting, anything and everything. It was the only way to drown out the voices in her head. Even at night, she’d count till she fell asleep and woke counting. In the day, the count continued till the voices grew quiet once again and she could forget that she was one of the damned.

The long count continued. Each year took another number off. Each year closer to a goal who’s reason had long been forgotten. Each year a shy reminder of her damnation. She kept count even when she couldn’t take being alive anymore and went inside to become a ghost. She was 12 when she died. She was 7 when she knew she was damned to hellfire. She was 37 when she stretched and woke up again. Soon after, she’s never had to count again. The reason was finally dead.

HaHa!! I got here First.

Autumn, you are such a dunderhead! Ha! I’m getting to this before you so suck it.  God, you already figured this out but I’m breakin’ the news here. The other day with the headphones, THAT was PTSD, a misplaced memory and emotion.

Yeah, I know! I didn’t know PTSD could come across like that. Or oh holy shit, shove me back to when I was a freeking kid! It bugged the hell out of me too because that kid…that kid isn’t supposed to be here. I’m supposed to be grown, right? Yeah, yeah, let’s not scare everyone with that tidbit. Oh, okay, yeah only one of us headmates has an age tag attached and it’s not us. We just kinda figured that we were the age the Ghost kept repeating, well till she woke up. Blah, blah, blah from 12 to 37 overnight. Yeah, I know, growing up sucks.

Anywho, what happened was a triggered emotion memory thingy. Why it hurt so blasted much? Looks so tame on the surface, doesn’t it? It’s deep. My father had a habit of giving me things that I cherished just to nitpick at them and take them away. Headphones were one of those things I was given after my mother died. Except he started nitpicking anytime I was using them. It always started soft, “you got your head in those headphones again” and tone would be one of admonishment. Then it escalated to articles about how kids lost their hearing from using headphones. Next was the rules of when I could wear them and how loud I could play them. Later, I wasn’t allowed to wear them over my ears, they had to be on the side of the head instead. I quit at that point. I got it. To make him ‘happy’ I simply stop using my headphones and I stopped listening to music when he was home. I stopped being me and that was the pain I re-experienced.

It sucks.

We don’t have words for the in-between.

The in-betweens is that place where you’re not quite in one state and not quite in another. It’s not the same as being on a journey from point A to point B. It’s more like being in a place where you can’t quite say you are at Point A or Point B but both are somewhere close by but where you are to them is still a bit unknown. That’s the in-betweens. It’s the place of the un-named things which renders them almost un-real as if there is a real power in the naming or the un-naming of things.

We just don’t have words for the not quite rape and not quite a violation. At least I don’t know of them. This is the world I’ve lived in for a very long time. I’ve been raped, a long time ago. And yet listening to all the talk about rape victims and rape apologetics and how rape occurs, I don’t relate. But then again, my situation is a little different and who I am is very different.

I was that groomed child, born to a Pedophile father and was raped as a child. I was raised in such a way I lacked the ability to say no. Yet everything I did was saying no in the most non-verbal way possible. I was planking before planking was a thing. Silent rivers flowed down the mountains of my cheeks. My gaze became focused on the dots of the ceiling to count them. This was not a one-time occurrence. This was my life.

I can point back to that and say yes I was raped. My trauma and my reaction are different. It’s not the same as a violent rape victim but it’s still trauma. For a long time, this was in the in-between because it wasn’t violent, that I wasn’t beaten black and blue, that I didn’t scream. My image of what rape is had to change for me to even admit, that yes, this was rape. But what about the other times I didn’t say no or more to the point, I didn’t say yes either? What about the other in-betweens?

I didn’t say yes to a threesome in my early 20’s. I know I was sober and I still don’t recall how I got undressed. I wasn’t interactive. I do remember being remarkably bored and merely waiting for him to finish. I wasn’t even aware that I might have been switching in and out back then. I do recall the feeling of being pressured but it wasn’t physical. Was it rape? Maybe, maybe not. I simply don’t know. This is that moment of in-between.

A different time, a different man, having sex with agreed up conditions, for him not to ejaculate inside me, and as predictable as it sounds to me now, he did exactly what he agreed not to do. For a long time, calling this failed expectations or a broken promise just didn’t fit. Now the newly coined term consent violation fits and explains the situation. For a long time, this was one of the in-betweens.

There was a moment where I was almost gang raped, non-consensual partner swapping that I hadn’t agreed upon and was sprung on me out of nowhere. This one is a bit of a tangle to talk about, so much packed into a few moments of time. I still leave it in the in-betweens because a gang rape didn’t happen. It almost happened but it didn’t.

I don’t know if I’m willing to go so far and say the in-betweens’ are traumas unspecified. Some are and some are not. Some have left deep scars and other’s just an eye roll. Maybe someone has better worlds out there, different ways to explain things. I don’t have a vocabulary for the downside of sex. There used to exist, only one term, rape. Now there are two, consent violation and rape. But there is still a whole lot of in-betweens out there, some traumatic and some not. I don’t have words for them.

The Oddity of Dreams

Last week I had a dream I still don’t know how to interpret. My dreams are often prophetic or informative. This felt different in a way I had not experienced.

When my father died over a year ago, I spent the next six months having nightmares. Each one reliving the days after my mother died. Each one reliving the abuse at his hands. Each one in perfect detail and recollection. And they hurt. Yet the dreams stopped as abruptly as they started and I breathed a sigh in relief.

Been almost over a year and then I had a dream about my father.  In my dream, I returned to the family home and saw on the door a child’s drawing and pictures taped to the side of the house. The fury and rage that coursed through me should have sizzled me awake or at least into awareness that this was a dream. I opened the front door to see my father alive, healthy and in good spirits. He was surrounded by other people, unknown people as kids ran around, in and out of the house. Even the home was different- bigger, more alive, farm like. There were even goats there in the back yard.

This wasn’t the same man. It was as if I was given a glimpse in the multiverse and saw a version of my father that had made all the right choices and was rewarded for them. Family, love, life, grandchildren, laughter all surrounded him. And I, I was a stranger.

In this dream, I didn’t exist. I nor my sisters were born to him. And I went out to pet the goats, bemused. I was drained of anger. That man was not the one I was angry at. Yet I live and am alive due to his wrong choices.  We don’t get to choose the why of things in life. We do get to choose what to do with the choices we have.

And the goats. Never forget about the goats. I used to dream of taking care of goats once upon a time. They are so cute! And my father had the stock phrase of someone “getting his goat.” I guess in that universe he kept all his goats after all.

What are the things I learned as a child?

I learned that gifts would be taken away thus I learned to refuse them first.

I learned that I owned nothing thus I would watch my most precious possessions given away and I learned to hide that which was most precious to me.

I learned that I was powerless to those in charge of me thus I learned my words and thoughts meant nothing.

I learned that it was the wants of others that would always affect my life thus I learned to read people in an effort to give them what they needed before they asked.

I learned that things of the world were sinful thus I learned all my childish wants were as well.

I learned that participation was being a part of the world thus I learned to watch and stand apart from everything.

I learned that there was no one there for me thus I learned to only rely on myself as I was truly alone.

I learned that my presence was undesired thus I learned to wait in the shadows, hiding not hoping for a kindness.

I learned that kindness always had a price thus I learned that paying that price was often too costly.

I learned that love was just a word thus I learned to mistrust words and watch actions instead.

I learned that my childish joy brought pain thus I learned to bury my joys and not experience them openly.

I learned that I could trust no one thus I learned I could not even trust myself.

I learned that I was little in a world of bigs thus I learned to walk unseen.

These were painful lessons and they are causing havoc on my life.

Forging Silver from Storm Clouds

There is something nigglingly on the edges of my consciousness, just what is it? It feels important, very important. It is a dawning realisation that my fracturing, my splitness, being DID was and is a good thing.

Yup, that statement has been a hard one to swallow. How could something that resulted from trauma be a good thing? Preservation.

Out of all the possible outcomes of my childhood, I am DID.

I’ve hated being split. Seriously hated it. Hated losing time. Hated losing my mind. Hated not knowing. Hated waking up. Hated going to sleep. Hated the whispers. Hated the looks in other’s eyes. Hated hiding the mess inside. Hated running hot then cold. Hated being bold. Hated being soft. Hated everything about me. It’s an anger I turned inward. It ate me. Hate devoured me except for this tiny tiny piece.

This tiny piece that resisted the gaping maw of hate’s consumption is the same piece of me that being split sought to protect; my heart. It’s light has flickered and waned, grew bold and bright, roared gigantic and smouldered to coals. It has survived, an ember. Just a tiny sliver of possibility remains.

It doesn’t take much for it to flame back alive and roar out alive. That is, if the fire-tender allows it to be fed.

I’m not being fed. I can feel it. Just enough breath is blowing across to coals to keep it alive. Just enough to feel the creeping cold danger of soul death. Just enough to know I must act and act quickly. My flame flickers but it’s there. It wasn’t put out. It wasn’t doused. It wasn’t killed. It exists. I live. I am alive.

I am preserved as an ember, ready for a long journey with just enough life left to burn brightly once more. I persevered above all odds.