Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pants on Fire

“Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts.  Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie…”

It is necessary to take a moment to own up to the fact that I have a hand in all of this as well.  Obviously, I have come to accept certain things from people I call friends, boyfriends…. Anyone I care about. I have become so accustomed to being lied to, used, let down, bossed around, subjugated, hurt, spoken to in any manner, physically violated, and harmed.  Perhaps there is a part of me that expects that and does not feel correct unless these things happen? I have often wondered what it is about me that attracts these sorts of people, I am after all the only common denominator. 

I allowed myself to follow the delusions of Gilberto (not his real name…) and go along with the stories he told. Despite my gut feeling that it was all made up and pure ego or fantasy I listened and indulged him.  I attempted to build a relationship around his framework of lies and deceit, only because of Baby Girl and my longing that she have a Daddy.  One drunken night, one tiny miracle, and I try desperately to pull the threads of a relationship together based on that.  All the while I give up a man I liked quite a lot, trusted very much, and was on my way to falling head over heels for… we were not in a relationship and had made no promises to each other but I like to think we were thinking about it.  It helps me feel less useless.  I’d be lying if I said I’d love to have a man like him so why do I sabotage these relationships and tumble head long into ones I know will only end in heart ache?

Gilberto was so full of crap from minute one, it is plain to see now.  I knew from his constant preening and peacocking that he was not straight about everything.  Since we had been friends for so long I did not put much thought into it because I never thought of him as anything more than that, Gilberto was just a drinking buddy, who told fabulously tall tales.  He did not own the house he claimed to, it belongs to his grandparents.  The vehicles in his driveway are not his, but again his grandparents.  He claimed wonderful things about a mysterious beach house in Oak Island, all three stories, right on the beach with jacuzzi tubs set into the three balconies overlooking the ocean.  This house at the beach sounded so grand it might as well have come with staff straight out of Downton Abbey.  In fact, the house at the beach is a small trailer, beach view adjacent.  He claimed it would be part of his inheritance, it was recently bequeathed to his Aunt.

It was plain to me that his son, sweet boy, did not have a bad case of hero worship when it came to his father as Gilberto would have you believe.  Instead his son sees his father for what he is, and is building a very big wall around his heart because of it.  His daughter is much the same, lovely girl, but she knows her father is an abusive jerk that is full of hot air.  Out of Gilberto’s presence the children laugh at the bloviations of their father… how sad for him that he is so blind to the things he is doing, the hurts he is causing. The laughter of the children hides the very real pain they feel at having to endure his fantasies.
  Instead of coaching his son at football, as he claimed, he rarely shows up to even a game much less a practice.  Since he has never held down a job longer than two weeks, much less owned an actual business as he had convinced me (he seriously left for work every day and went God knows where for a few hours and would come home), he cannot provide for his children. Mine included.  I have no idea how he is managing to pay for the new brother, to my Baby Girl, but I suspect it is his grandparents again.  His ex-wife and mother to his first two children does what she can and is doing famously but it is so sad because other things could be done too if only he would man up and act his age.  His daughter would love to take gymnastics, but he is too selfish to get a job to pay for her dream and it just is not something ex-wife can manage at the moment.  So, he sits on the couch day in and day out bossing around his new girl, telling her whatever stories he has concocted for her and drinks and smokes things.

His new girl is a real piece of work, just like him she lies and cheats at life.  She gets hundreds of dollars a month in benefits for her first four children…. None of which live with her or in this state.  Now she has a new baby boy, that neither of them is prepared for or capable of taking care of.  They both have a fondness for pills and drinking and God knows what else… he hid his addictions from me until the end.  My suspicion would be that she leaves him high and dry with the new baby as soon as things get difficult like she has with her other children.  Not before she gets more benefits though, because why not?

What is it about me that attracts guys like this? Why is it if there is one in a 25-mile radius will he find me like a moth to flame? Why do I seem to exist on this sort of drama and lies?  When I totally hate drama, and lying; I do not need the additional headache.  Why do I accept it from those closest to me? I have stopped speaking to people I knew less closely because of their drama and issues with the truth, so why do I accept it from some and in many ways, protect them from it?  Do I really love the way someone lies? Is that even possible?  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Liar, Liar

“…The truth comes out a little at a time, spreads just like a fire…”

You will have to forgive me if this reads more like a letter meant for him and not my usual post… but I have some things to get off my chest and it has to be done.  Since I never plan on speaking to that “man” again this is the best way I know to get it out of my head.

The sad fact of the matter is that Baby Girl’s daddy, “Jack*” (shit for honesty), is a liar.  He is so much of a liar he makes our current political situation look like Sunday church services.  He has never called to see if she is okay or if she needs anything.  Not that I would answer anymore at this point, but if you father a child with someone should you not step up and do right by the child even if you do not want to be part of her life? He had no problem laying down to make the child, that he was man enough to do, but he is not man enough to ensure she never needs even the basics?  

His “donation” created the most amazingly beautiful little girl, who is funny, smart, and above average in every way if I do say so myself.  It breaks my heart that she will never have a true father, because he is not capable of being a man.
It is true Jack (shit for brains), is no man in any sense other than gender.  He told me that he was the president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, local chapter, but well acquainted with their national hierarchy.  His stories never added up so I never took him too seriously until he began to get mean and threaten me, my (at the time) unborn child, my family, and even my dogs.  If he ever reads this, and as he was a follower of my blogs I can guess he will because I know the real him….

You want to know why I did not freak out when you told me you had killed people? I did not believe you.  Your stories did not make sense; you were frequently so drunk when making them up you do not even realize how embellished they got.  I humored you because I was concerned as someone who cared and who had known you going on 20 years.  Do you honestly think I would have hung with someone I thought to be a real murderer? Come on now.

I have driven by your house on a night you were supposed to be at “church” with the club and you were there, sitting in your living room watching television.  It broke my heart for you because you felt the need to make up stories to make yourself sound important or impress people or whatever it was you were doing.  My counselor asked me at the time what I thought it was, I told her hubris. (In case you do not know that word it means: excessive pride or self-confidence, arrogance, egotism, conceit, pomposity.)  The Jack I knew was not capable of these things, though he probably likes to think he is.  No, I told her, I was not spending my time with an actual Outlaw, or even an actual outlaw, just a man who drinks too much, and has some issues with the realities of his life. 

Why stay with this person my readers may be wondering…? After everything I have been through why would I continue to stay with this guy?  I was pregnant with a child he fathered, and I desperately wanted to make it work.  Even if he and I could not be together I wanted her to have a Daddy, like I did…  A wonderful man who would cherish her and love her unconditionally.  I kept thinking if I could just see him through this rough patch, this depression, get him sobered up again, he would be the guy I remembered him to be.  He was a good guy when I first met him.  One of my best friends, a little pudgy, but quick witted, funny, smart, a bit wild, but best of all a great listener, and had a great smile.   The problem was the drinking was not a new thing as he had let on.  He hid from me for many years that he drank as much as he did, only his wife (At the time, who he told me one sad night left him for another woman… she did not. She left him because at the bottom of a bottle one night, he laid hands on her) and family really knew how much he was drinking.  As is the tradition, no one spoke of it openly so I was left in the dark.
          It was when you threatened the life of our, well my, unborn daughter that I pulled away from you.  Even under the guise of it being a “Club thing” because “I knew too much” I felt we crossed a line.  I was on my way out the door when you said that the Club was going to pay me a million dollars to disappear from your life.  It felt like you were trying to buy me off, pay money to make a child you gave your genes to go away like she just did not exist.  It did not sit well with me.  When you became angry because I would not get up after ten o’clock at night and drive the thirty minutes to your house, pregnant and suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, and exhausted, you told me that

“If it was really your child, I would be there in ten minutes.”

I cried myself to sleep.  I knew for the first time you were hopeless.  How little I truly knew at the time… because you were already sleeping with her. A “woman” technically your cousin, who knew all about me and our, my, baby.  I know she knew and you know it too, because it was her friend that messaged me on Facebook asking if I was the one pregnant by you.  She is either believing one hell of a whopper you came up with to explain me away, or she is as trashy as you are.  She moved in with you when I went on bed rest because of the difficult pregnancy I was having.  You let another woman move in with you while I laid in bed crying over you and the situation.  I was oblivious to her existence, though I suspected.  I never imagined you would have stayed quite so close to home as to sleep with your cousin, but since this fast became a Jerry Springer episode in the making I guess that just makes sense.  

          When your ex-wife contacted me I was to find out just how Springer it all was.  I was not sure without a doubt that you were not at least somewhat involved with the Outlaws, I never thought you were as deep as you wanted me to believe but how involved I could not say.   Perhaps it was true that your dad was in with them, or members of your family, I was not sure.  So when I asked your, now ex-wife, about how she dealt with the Club… and her response was
          “What club?”

          “You know, the CLUB.” I said.

          “Yeah, what CLUB?” she asked again.

          “The Motorcycle Club.” I answered.

          “Oh my God, did he tell you he was in a BIKER GANG?!” she practically screamed with laughter in response.  Turns out you lied about everything, not just the big things, but literally…Every. Single. Thing.  You have absolutely no affiliation with any Motorcycle Club, you do not even ride a motorcycle, or own one.  The girl you claimed to be involved with in Vegas, is your ex’s best friend, not yours and she would not touch you with a 50-foot pole and she has no sister, so I do not know whose picture you showed me but I guess Google Images is pretty sweet.  You did not even come close to putting your ex-wife up in an apartment and pay her rent for a year and buy her all new furniture… I do not know where you drove me past but it was not where your ex is living, because I have been there now many times and it is not an apartment.  It is the most disrespectful place she could possibly be living frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself that she and your children live in such a tiny little place.  I cannot really blame you for wanting that to be different because she would rather live in a two room, essentially outbuilding, than be with you.  That says something about you.

          Your dad is not in a motorcycle club; his motorcycles do not even work at the moment.  Your stepmom is not the Katy Sagal character from Sons of Anarchy… She is actually a very nice, caring woman who you have greatly disrespected.  None of them want me dead.  Not even your little sister who was shocked by the way you treated me the night I came by and she was there. Turns out your family, at least your mom and dad and sister who all met me, do want to know my child.  The story line you kept feeding me, your daily dramas were things you lifted straight from the plot line of your favorite show, Sons of Anarchy… you made yourself the lead character Jax Teller.  Allow me to burst your bubble… you are no Jax Teller.  

       You did not get in any fights with anyone, at least anyone that was not over the age of 11 or a female. You seem to find it really easy to bully children and women, but you cannot stand in your own truth or up to another man.  You are a liar and everyone knows.  Now you are expecting your second child this year, with your cousin… Word has it she will leave you as soon as it gets hard.  I dare you to try calling me when your life goes to hell and you have an infant you do not know what to do with.  Do not even think you did not burn your bridge.  Well I guess you did not burn it, you nuked the damn thing.  Jesus will come back before I ever darken your door to help you ever again.  I will pray for you because I am Christian and I believe it is the right thing to do.  I pray for your new little boy, and your other children because Lord knows they need it.  Sweet Honey Iced Tea, they need it more than I can give.  I should organize a whole prayer circle for them.  Good luck Jack (shit), you will need it. 

I am done with you.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to Avoid Wrinkles

When I look at my bedside table now and compare it to a year ago I realize just how much has changed.  I used to have a beat up copy of Pride and Prejudice laying there along with various other books I was rotating through.  Now I have a stack of board books, notably One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and Mommy Hugs, and a copy of What to Expect: The First Year.  My inbox used to read about sales, politics, the occasional email from a friend, and updates from my favorite blogs.  These days my email asks me if I know how to interpret my baby’s poop, should I teach her French or Spanish, ASL, or all three, and how to determine if she is autistic earlier than ever before.  Signs I am missing critical early learning opportunities, stunting her independent drive, ruining her life before she can walk…. you know the nightmare inducing panicky stuff that seems to hit you as soon as you lay eyes on that tiny little bundle of perfection. 

Suddenly I’m doing everything wrong in my life and subsequently hers and at the same time everything right, depending on who I talk to or read.  It is honestly like watching a tennis match in my brain somedays.  I’ve read Dr. Sears, my father constantly tells me I’m spoiling Baby Girl because I go to her when she cries, my mother says I fret too much about her physical state (her weight, her temperature, her whatever), I question if I put her down for too many naps, or not enough…. Am I overfeeding her, is it possible to overfeed a baby? Is she comfortable? Is the sign language I am trying to teach her catching on? Is that really the sign for milk or is she just opening and closing her little hand? Do I try to keep the house quieter while she sleeps or be as noisy as possible?  At what point do you stop co-sleeping or should you never co-sleep? Swaddling is great, they taught me how in the hospital…. No wait it can kill the baby! Want to sleep ever again? Well…. SIDS, ha ha ha ha ha never again will you shut both eyes.

Honestly navigating the last six months has been so stress inducing I’ve seen my first wrinkle.  It’s right where I knew it would always be, but still I feel too young for that.  I started drinking coffee because I get so little sleep now, and it is not because she does not sleep well.  Baby girl is a champion sleeper most nights; it is me getting up to check on her. Although she has been a little fussier as I have started her on solid foods.  (Did I do that too soon? Or not soon enough? Am I waiting long enough on one food before moving to the next, to be sure of allergies or too long? Is making her food really that much better if I can get her organic jarred food? Am I really horrible for laughing when she gags on zucchini? How bad is it that the dog cleaned her face that one time? How soon should I give her peanuts or ever? Can you give her proteins during the introduction stages?)  I figure she is waking again as we adjust to caloric intake during the day and figuring out what is a serving for her and what is too much or too little.  Turns out if it is mangoes she will eat gobs of it anything else she will be a little more discretionary.  Put mangoes on anything and she will eat it.  Seriously I put mangoes with the chicken and she ate it like she may never see it again but wanted nothing to do with the plain chicken.  Really I cannot blame her it was nasty looking, but do babies eat with their eyes?  Not that I would, but you could put mangoes on a cat poo and she would probably eat it.  I’ve never met anyone quite so serious about mangoes.  Poor kid, tropical as all get out, as fair skinned as her mother… the beach will not be kind to you my child.  Not at all. Sigh.

I digress.  What I can say I have learned over the last six months is none of this really matters. At all.  Does anyone really know or want to know how to interpret poop beyond the obvious is she constipated or not? You can read every book available from cover to cover, listen to all the advice thrown at you, even that crazy looking lady at the Target who told you to give her a tablespoon of castor oil every day (why do people think that because you have a baby you want to hear their advice?), and you can drive yourself absolutely insane trying to live up to it all. All that crazy leads to wrinkles and gray or stark white hairs.  

The best thing I can decipher, and the irony of me dispensing a measure of advice here is not lost on me, is to follow your gut.  Your instincts will guide you.  Listen to you.  Want to let your kid cry it out? Go for it.  Do you want to pick up your munchkin at every snivel? DO IT! Whatever you do commit to it, be consistent but flexible…. I have Crohn’s disease, there are moments of my life that I cannot stop what is happening and rush to Baby Girl’s cries; believe me I have tried and it is impossible. I’ve had to learn that sometimes she just cries, like me.   You do not have to defend yourself to anyone, walk away if you have to, do not open the emails or the books if they are going to make you feel guilty.  Parenting magazines and books, in my opinion, can make you feel like you are missing things and layer on the guilt if you let them.  Basically you are in charge now, it’s your circus and your monkey, enjoy it and do what is right for you.  I’m blogging while she sits in the bouncy seat next to me staring at whatever it is she stares at.  In a little while I will plop her down in front of a screen with some brightly colored Disney film showing so that for at least ten minutes I might get to vacuum something without her wanting my attention.  I know, I know…. Screen time is evil.  I’m doing the best I can and that’s all you can ask of yourself.  Follow your gut, your rhythm, walk away from haters, and commit to doing the best you can and you will be just fine.

I think. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016


The thud sound will forever be etched in my memory.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to erase it from mind, the look on her tiny little face as she lay there perplexed at what had just happened. Frozen in stunned silence we both just sat there for a second, then a tiny wail came up from the floor.  It had happened, everyone told me it would; I had told myself I would never let it happen.  I had, technically, dropped my infant.  It was really more of a roll off the ottoman where I had laid her to change her diaper.  In my mind though it felt as if I had thrown her off a cliff.  She was fine of course, but for the most agonizing of moments I thought she might not be.

So began the worst post-partum day I have had.  It was the first time I really came to realize that it was just me and my baby girl.  I do not have a spouse or a S.O. to pass her off to.  Yes, I am quite blessed in that I have my mother, but 90% of the time it is just the baby and I.  Even as I type this she is tucked into the swing behind me, cooing away, and singing her sweet songs.  So much reality hit me that day, with that small thud.  I cried for the rest of the day.  She was fine and I was fine but something in me broke, things that I had not allowed to the surface during my entire pregnancy.  When I was carrying her I worked very hard at preventing negativity and sad feelings because I did not want her to feel them.  I feel I was fairly successful at that, but she’s no longer attached to me physically and the floodgates broke.  Everything just came pouring out, I could not contain it anymore.

The full weight of being a single mother fell on me as she toppled to the floor.  She did not have even a mark on her, but I felt like I had been gutted.  I never want her to
I have a terrible cry face... 
doubt my love for her because it is so real it overwhelms me at times.  It would be my wish for her that she never has to face the realities I do.  I have serious worries now that I never thought twice about before…. really serious stuff…. Like how I will ever manage to teach her to whistle, when I myself cannot whistle.  Seriously I cried over that once early in my pregnancy, it was one of those weird preggo freak outs.   I worry I won’t be able to provide for her, or send her to college.  I worry that I will have to work three jobs just to make ends meet, because I cannot count on any spouse to help support us. What will become of my social life? How will I provide her with all the wonderful things a father does?

My identity doesn’t seem to fit anymore and it crushed me.  I am slowly working to rebuild the structure of who I am and how I see myself. Hopefully I will come out of this better on the other side of this transitional period.  I just wish someone had
prepared me for the blow.  It was my thought that having a baby would be all joy and light, but there are some serious adjustments that have to be made not just in your life but emotionally as well.  Things you never think of until something like that moment happens and it lands in your heart like a little rock, with a thud. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ain't Got No Time for That

This time last year I was deep in the throes of hyperemesis gravidarum. I will openly admit I was not a happy camper.  There were days I could not even keep down the water that my mother was busily providing me, on doctor’s orders.  I was pregnant, it was not planned, and I was so far no good at being pregnant.
Not 100%
You could tell from about five minutes after conception that I was pregnant.  I told myself I was just a bit bloated, after all I had been on the pill for years, used two back up methods, and my boyfriend at the time swore on a stack of Bibles he had, had a vasectomy.  Turns out that God should have smote him right there because he did not ever so much as even think of having a vasectomy, but that’s not the tale for today. The point is that three reliable forms of birth control all failed and all at once. I am suddenly the cautionary tale that all sex education teachers tell you, at least down here in the American South where abstinence only sex ed is still the norm. I am a walking, talking, breathing, and eating, example that birth control can and will fail you sometimes…. And sometimes you have to just roll with it. It turns out to be the greatest thing to ever happen to you. Mind you I was 35 and pregnant, not 15 and pregnant, but I was still had no business being pregnant in the first place.

Might need medication. 
My boyfriend at the time and I had known each other for many years.  Dating was at first easy and fun. Then it started to change…. He started telling me he was the President of a Motorcycle Club.  Being the trusting soul that I am, at first I thought he meant a group of middle aged guys who ride around on Sunday afternoons together.  I shrugged it off.  I would tease him, and ask him if he was a “T-Bird” and if so did that make me a “Pink Lady”. He never found my jokes, I’ve got so many, very funny. Slowly he started filling me in on little details about this club of his, it was all so counter to the person I knew him to be, but I let him tell me what he wanted to and above all I just tried to listen to him. His stories kept getting more and more extreme, violent even.  I truly began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. The adventures he described became scary to me, but here I was pregnant with nowhere to go and desperately wanting to make it work because I was having his baby.  This just was not how I had always pictured having a family.

Jack, as I will call him here short of Jack Shit for Brains, was not the guy I grew up with anymore.  In fact, I had come to notice he was a heavy drinker, highly impulsive, lazy, selfish, and very dishonest. When he finally came right out and said to me that his “MC” was known as the Outlaws, (a VERY real club, just not for Jack) and not at all what I had envisioned originally.  This was a biker gang, for lack of a better term… How in the hell did I find myself dating the president of a biker gang?! Especially since I had never even seen him on a damn bike? He wouldn’t show me this patch that he always talked about, said something about it being only for those involved and since I did not want to be his “Old Lady” I had no business looking at it.  After one particularly exhausting week and the latest saga I recall just looking at him and saying “…but your grandfather is a deacon in the church!”  How much more Southern can I be? My disbelief in his being able to participate with this was measured against the fact that his grandfather was a church elder.  Stars and garters I must have been losing it. 

can you say wannabe?
As it turned out his entire tale and all of the drama was a lie.  Every. Single. Word. I will tell more details on that at another time, but suffice it to say Jack was acting out/playing pretend/delusional.  He did not limit these stories to just me or just him, every person in his life was somehow included in ways that kept him the center of everything. Literally every person he knew or I met was somehow connected to this club, which is real it just is not real for him.  Every sleepless night I endured because he said we were on “lock down”, the pain and weight of carrying his drama, the isolation of feeling too afraid to share it with my family were all so he could live life vicariously through his favorite television show, Sons of Anarchy.  I had never seen the show, and he fed me the plot line of the show as though it was his real life and he was the lead character.  I’ve since seen the show and I cannot understand why anyone would want to even pretend that was their life!

I was put on bed rest for preeclampsia at about 30 weeks or so.  He was quick to anger to begin with but being put on bed rest and not being allowed to leave the house sent him right over the edge.  Jack was livid that I would not be able to come over and stay with him for the time being.  During the whole pregnancy he had been talking about me moving in with Baby Girl, and we could all be a family with his other two kids. Around Valentine’s Day I got one last phone call from him.  He refused to come to my house because I am living with my parents and he did not want them around, “like we are children.”  Clearly my family knows that their pregnant daughter is no longer a little girl… but whatever.  At the time I had no idea I would not ever hear from him again, but my gut told me for quite some time that we were not alone in this twosome.  That this was more than a two-person relationship, and I do not mean the baby.  That last night he told me he loved me, he loved BG, and he would come see me the next day or perhaps the following day.  I never heard from him again. 

Jack has yet to even call to see if Baby Girl has arrived or if I need so much as a box of wipes or diapers. As I write this she is five months old.  He has never laid physical eyes on my daughter, though the rumor mill suggests he has seen a few pictures. One day she will ask about him and I hope I’m able to tell her nicer things about her “donor” but as it stands now I have nothing really good to tell her.  More than anything I wish I had provided a better father for her than I did.  That’s my failing…. But one day he will wake up, likely at the bottom of some bottle and realize he has missed out on the most amazing things.  Her first giggle was just as clear and light and magical as you might imagine.  BG’s first smile was the best thing I’d seen since they held her up for me to see.  She is the most beautiful little girl and making strides and changes every day.  These are moments he will never get back, moments that are
not my kid. 
as fluid as a stream and once passed they do not come back by.  His threats no longer keep me awake at night.

He will have his second baby of 2016 in November (you can do the math), this time a boy, with a girl that by marriage is his cousin.  They are not blood related so I hear they are pretty insistent they are not cousins, but everyone says they grew up knowing each other as cousins… I guess he is living some other show now? I do not know and I do not want to.  I am far too busy taking care of the most adorable baby.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stand Where I Stood: Sixteen

His friends weren’t at the apartment when we got there; they had gone for a beer run. He pulled me into the bathroom just inside the entry and told me he had his gift for me and we needed some privacy. I was confused, privacy for a gift? There was not anyone home… He kissed me, hard, like he was taking custody of my soul. I told myself to lean into it; this was “passion” right? This is what passion looked like on television. I wondered if I was really this naïve; that I wouldn’t know if this was passion or not. The door was as close to my back that it could have only fused with my flesh to be closer; it started to hurt and so I said something. The dark stare; then the crazy smile, something was about to happen.  You could feel the crackle move in the air.

Be small, be quiet, no sudden moves.

A step backward was all it took for him to force me to the ground, my head dragged down door… like cheese against a grater. The bathroom was small and my long legs really had nowhere to go. In a movement that most men would love to master he had my jeans down and I was bare from the waist down to where my jeans wrapped around my boots. On the floor, in an all-male apartment bathroom and my head was crushed up against the door. Roughly my shirt, which tied in the front, was jerked open and my bra pushed up. On his knees he pulled me to him and I felt the full force of his thrust, as my head crashed into the door. With every movement my back would bend, and my head would slam into the door.

Be small, be quiet, no sudden moves.

I heard the key turn in the lock of the front door not even ten feet from where my head was. All of his friends were home and we were all going to celebrate my birthday. Twisted into the bathroom I began to really feel sick about what that might actually mean.

The dark stare, looked down on me and asked if I wasn’t enjoying my fun little birthday surprise… kinky right? He told me I wasn’t making any noise; it hit me, he wanted his friends to hear me so that he would impress them and I would just be shamed. Pressing his hand down hard on the space between my hips, the hollow of the pelvis he pushed harder and my head slammed into the door and I was in a near back bend. This time I made noise, I cried out in pain. Several more of those and I could hear his friends cheering him on. One of them exclaimed loudly that he might put my head through the damned door! Another yelled

“That’s what the fucking deposit is for!”

They were laughing and I could hear the beer bottles clinking. Not one of them, even the one I was trapped with interpreted my “noises” as pleas to stop, cries of agony from the position the forcefulness of this assault, the complete lack of any foreplay… once more I found I was not ready for this onslaught. Another ten minutes went by, I know because his friends were cheering on his stamina. By this point my head had turned and it was now the side of my head and my neck crushed against the door. He was standing above me, holding my hips to him. There was no gift here, the dark stare felt as though it went through me, and to some other place… there was no love in this act.

He did give me a sort of gift that night. My sixteenth birthday was when I learned how to leave myself, if I focused hard enough I could leave my body. I could be anywhere else I wanted to be. That night I was riding a horse with herd of wild mustangs somewhere in the southwest. I threw my hands out wide and pretended to fly away.

Coming back and watching almost from above, I realized he was about to finish and I was expected to act all excited about it. I didn’t master it that night but I learned how to stay completely out, act the way he wanted and expected, but be somewhere else and feel none of the pain. The bellow he made as he came was like some wild creature; his boys cheering him on again… the look to me and I yelled out, the exact opposite of what my body was saying.


I was rewarded with a wink, and he unceremoniously dropped my body. I slammed into the floor. He zipped his jeans up and threw a towel at me, pushing me aside and stepping over me to leave, I was encouraged to clean up and come out and celebrate being 16 with the guys! My head and neck were still pounding like when you stand in the waves of the ocean for a while and you can still feel the motion of the waves after you leave the water. I found myself once again in a bathroom, degraded, humiliated; despite the state of the young adult male bathroom I found myself huddled into a corner quietly sobbing again. How could I walk out the mere feet into the living room and face four guys who had just heard “my sweet sixteen” and the loss of any dignity I would ever hold in their eyes again.

Muffling my face into the towel, I just let myself cry. Crying was not a luxury I had much of; it leads to questions… expected answers, and then judgment. There is a bang on the door,

“Damn sugar tits, what’s taking so long? Other people need in, get your boney ass out here.”

I stood over the sink and stared at my scarlet face in the mirror. My normal bisque, Scot-Irish coloring was mimicking shades of the double decker buses I had seen in pictures of London. Staring back I found my blue eyes, nearly clear looking against the disgrace cherry color. I straightened the tangle of my long auburn hair, on the back of my head as best I could; I splashed water on my face and adjusted my clothing appropriately. The instruction that I would not show my abs, and button my shirt an extra button had already been ordered. He wanted his boys to know I was a great lay but not want me. The first time I heard him say it, I was shocked; looking back I shouldn’t have been, all men say it

“You’re mine, and if I can’t I fucking have you, they sure as fucking hell won’t. No one will.”

The only way out of this with any sort of dignity was to laugh it off and pretend I was performing on stage, that’s what he wants anyway right? This sweet sixteen, bitter in my mouth with the stale beer, was not at all about me. No, this was his production. After all, isn’t all the world a stage, and us little people merely players? A boisterous and overly enthusiastic round of applause and bows greeted me when I emerged from the diminutive bathroom. Biting my tongue until it bled I hoped that I was not blushing, despite the heat I could feel rising. As any good performer, I executed a deep well practiced ballet curtsy and smiled as genuinely and broadly as I could manage.

Stumbling out of the kitchen with at least his third beer, he staggered straight for me. Grabbing my ass he roughly pulled me to him, triggering a cacophony of more jeers, hoots, and cat calls.

“Sugar bush, I love you so much. You’re great fun.”

If my sense of smell was not failing me, he had some hard liquor and copious amounts of marijuana whilst I composed myself in the bathroom. Pressing his lips to mine once more, came the kiss the one that felt as though he was pulling life from my very core, rancid in taste, co-mingling with his pot and Camels, the rum, and the beer it was all I could to do not to pull away. In my mind I told myself that if the great Vivien Leigh could loathe the infamous breath of Clark Gable and still pull off a convincing Scarlett, then I could deal with the bad breath of someone I felt carried a piece of my soul. His hands were groping, grasping, pulling and squeezing places I felt should be more special than this particular moment. It seemed to go on forever, I liked kissing but this was more than that; this was a declaration not just to me, but to any witness… at this point he truly believed he owned me. This was possession, the stake of the flag and the mark of his territory. My epiphany rang out in my mind and was deafening.

Where had the soft doe brown eyes and gentle lips gone? The soft touch to my face, and hair; who was this new person? The boy that I fallen for, who was so completely consuming, was kind and thoughtful; he was generous and calm. He had openly discussed his feelings for me for months before we really started dating. The mother of a mutual friend told me that he would frequently come to her crying and lamenting that I seemed indifferent.  She told him to be patient, that I had been badly hurt when things ended with the elusive first real boyfriend.  Knowing that the break up had really wounded me; the boy I now loved was kind and listened.

Together we would walk the woods around my house and tell each other our hurts, and our triumphs; over time we each discovered that scars crisscrossed both our hearts. A bond followed that built a deep trust with this person who seemed to have such an easy soul.

We each struggled to understand the darker parts of ourselves and with that I could open up to those velvet eyes and I felt safe. The physical part of the relationship just flowed and seemed in the moment and it was special. It all came so naturally, like the turn of seasons this deepening of my connection to what I felt was his inner spirit was as normal and almost as expected and ordinary as a walk to the mailbox. I still look back and struggle to remember if it was really a haircut that changed everything or if it was something else. Had I done something to flip the switch? When did Dr. Jekyll, morph into Mr. Hyde? Surely he was just lost in the damaged corners of the mind and needed someone to help him find the path again. After all he had stood with me, wiped my tears, wrapped his strong arms around me and made me feel secure.  How selfish is it to not be there in return?

The culmination of my sweet sixteen birthday was watching a group of guys pass out, as I dipped my toes into the pool and felt the first cracks appear in my mind and leak any innocence into the cool waters. I prayed like hell he woke up to get me home in time for curfew. There was no way I wanted to rouse the monster.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stand Where I Stood: Bittersweet

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…”

The first lines of the familiar song roused me awake. I was asleep, it was my birthday, and this was really not what I had in mind for my Sweet Sixteen. It was nineteen minutes after nine on that day in the middle of July. Exactly sixteen years prior was the moment I took my first breath. The symbolism of the moment was not lost at all on my mother and once the fog of sleep had cleared not on me either. She and my baby brother stood next to my bed, mom sat down and presented me with a card from both her and my brother. Proclaiming that in honor of my sixteenth birthday I would have one present every hour for sixteen hours! The blowout of all birthdays had been the summer before when she threw a surprise party for me and invited both my closest girlfriends and my puppy love boyfriend (that I had for a hot minute) AND the guys he was friends who were also my friends! My first co-ed party and the girls were going to stay the night… but the boys lingered a bit too long and we ended up in a huge water fight between the girls and mom versus the boys. It was amazing and I still have friends that reference that party. Looking back now I am glad I had one last party where I oblivious to the dark things that existed and could haunt you in the night and it was the best party ever.

This was my sweet sixteen and I would be lying if I said I was not a bit disappointed that some elaborate plan had not been hatched for this particular rite of passage. That summer was different than the one before, something lost on me at the time; I was not really speaking to any of my friends. He dominated all of my time and did not like any of my friends; especially my best friend Hana* she was the worst of them all as far as he was concerned. The only friend on the approved list was Alena* who he liked because she liked him, a lot more than I realized at the time, and she would smoke pot with him; something I refused to do. He had slowly and surgically cut me off from the life blood of a teenager, friends, so deliberately that I had not really noticed. Alena was always there so I was not really lonely and he was always there; the summer seemed to be flying by so I did not have a real sense of missing anyone.

My mother’s enthusiasm was contagious, she was rarely this excited as a medical professional it took a lot breach the calm of her well-practiced professional exterior. She seemed almost giddy and that made me smile. I got up, locked myself in the bathroom, and splashed cold water on my face. I checked a greenish yellow bruise under my arm; thankfully low enough I could still wear sleeveless shirts. Gently touching I winced in pain I applied a layer of Arnica gel. I was lucky I had long been a ballet dancer so the smell of different salves on my skin did not create any suspicion because I was always repairing some blister or raw spot on my toes from dancing in pointe shoes, or sore muscles from pushing myself a bit harder. Just a drop of White Flower Balm, barely a drop, to give it a bit of heat and help it relax a little because it hurt to take deep breaths. The bruise on my hip down and around to my back side was fading now and looked more like a shadow than a bruise.

These bruise checks had become a necessary evil, if my parents saw one the stories to explain a weird bruise were limited. I did bruise easily though and it was that fact that I told myself when a new mark would appear; that it hadn’t been a blow or grasp too hard I was just an easy bruiser, really it wasn’t so bad as all that. (Always telling myself not to be a drama queen)  Looking back at all the justifications I made for it all and everything to come I can’t help but wonder if anyone who happens upon this might think I am crazy. That which is so clear now should have been obvious then; obvious to anyone, but life is rarely obvious at the time and people see what they want to. No one wanted to see this happening, I didn’t even want to see it, and so no one did.

My mother’s voice rang out from the other room, she was growing impatient. I flushed the toilet and the White Flower Balm cotton ball down with it. Pulled my sloppy pajamas back on and sleepy but alert walked out and into our open plan living room. She and my brother, who was also excited, sat there with the first gift. I hadn’t opened it yet! All this build up I couldn’t help but laugh when it was a package of socks I had said I needed a couple weeks before. We ate some breakfast, I recall cheese grits because they are one of my favorite sinful foods. I got up to get in the shower; he was coming over, as was Alena. Standing in the shower I let the water wash over me warming sore muscles and cried. I was greatly disappointed my father had taken a trip to see my family members, including my dearest grandmother in Texas. I could not understand missing your daughter’s “Sweet Sixteen” and I was hurt by it. In the midst of my own private and secret hell and I was pissed off about my dad missing a silly birthday. Clearly teenage priorities were at work here.

I was almost ready when Alena arrived. She sat on the couch in the den and I came out she had a balloon and some present and card we giggled about but I do not remember now. Unfortunately she could not stay so she made her exit. I had just finished my hair and makeup when I heard the sound of his beater of a truck pull up on the curb. Hurriedly I finished. He did not like waiting on me, especially if it meant my parents would try to make small talk. Sliding into place in front of the door as my mother opened it I had just made it. I was wearing a new white, jean, mid-drift vest that I had buttoned up like a shirt (it was the 90’s), my Wrangler jeans, and my boots. Hair in place, outfit appropriate, flawless makeup, all the boxes ticked. My performance smile plastered on my face, he stood there looking at the ground; with his right arm extending to the door frame and propping himself up. Without moving his head he looked up over his sunglasses and I saw him scan me, a smile coming to his lips. Not the Jekyll and Hyde smile but one he gave when nothing had gone wrong… yet. This was the okay smile.

Relived I ushered him in, he was wearing dirty jeans, a shirt that the sleeves had been so deeply cut out of that the side of his body showed, printed on the shirt was something about “Peckers” and some double entendre about the chickens that starred on the shirt and the slang usage of the word pecker. Crestfallen, and struggling to hide it, it was time for my next gift. It was a puffed heart necklace that made a tinkling sound of tiny bells inside it when you shook it; it was quite the in thing at the time and I was thrilled. As I leaned over across the love seat to show him, I smelled that heady scent of pot, mingling with his Camel cigarettes and a fresh coat of Drakkar (he must have applied in the truck) I knew immediately he was higher than the Space Needle downtown. Working quite hard to not react at all to his complete and utter indifference to my new necklace I pulled myself back across the couch.

If my mother recognized the smell on him, she was lady enough to not mention it to me or to my knowledge to him. Thankfully she also did not bat an eyelash at his choice of attire. I on the other hand was embarrassed but knew by this point not to show it and definitely not to mention it. My mother looked over expectantly at him, this was clearly her segue to his gift presentation. When I glanced in her direction she was staring at him intently and she moved her head forward slightly and raised her eyebrows. Cutting my eyes back to him he was staring back at my mother and he raised one eyebrow.

“Maybe at the restaurant then?” she asked cheerfully.

Nothing was said in return.

My baby brother wanted me to ride in the car with him. Like an insane person I thought we might all ride in one vehicle… looking to him I got a look back that said not gonna happen. Letting my brother down entirely I went and climbed into the truck. We were all going out to eat at my favorite restaurant and I was looking forward to it. He fell into traffic behind my mother and had turned on some Alice in Chains. My mantra reverberating in my head, be small, be quiet, no sudden moves, he was high and that made him unpredictable. The truck fell silent as he turned off the radio and looked at me. He said that he had an idea of something special I could do for my birthday… for him. I furrowed my brow and glanced at him; he pointed to his lap and said something about always wanting to have me do that while he drove around. I must have looked appalled because he started laughing and said he was totally joking. Breathing a sigh of relief as we were now directly behind my mother and then to my horror he lit his pipe up right there at a stop light, still behind my mother. I rolled down my window and leaned against the door frame.

Pulling into the restaurant parking lot I hopped out of the truck; he took another long toke on his pipe and my audible sigh received an unwelcoming look. It was my birthday but you wouldn’t think there was anything special about it from the way he was dressed, or acting, or treating me. I don’t know what I expected but this was not a “Sweet Sixteen”. Treading the line, and I knew it, I shot him a look that questioned the wisdom of his smoking pot, in public, with my mother and brother just a few hundred feet away. The look I got back could have wilted flowers; clearly he did not care what I thought.
This getting high to be around my parents, thing was kind of new. We had all gone to see Independence Day (the movie) on the 3rd of July, so did most of the world it seemed that day. Finding a seat where my family and the two of us could all sit together was difficult. We managed to find a place, but it was less than ideal. He sat in the last seat against the wall. He got up a few times throughout the movie and each time he came back smelling like cigarettes and pot and somewhere in the middle of the movie he put in a dip and proceeding to spit into his empty coke cup. At some point I had stopped reaching for his hand when he would come back; he reached over and grabbed it and squeezed hard. Whispering against my neck that he loved me he just couldn’t stand my family

“They’re boring, you know?”

I simply sighed; I wasn’t going to start a fight in defense of my family right there in the middle of a movie. He leaned against the wall and fell asleep. It was a great day.

Inside the restaurant there was another gift following giving our orders.  It was a beautiful chain necklace. Mom again looked at him, smiling, he just stared at her. So she prompted

“Now would be a good time to do presents don’t you think?”

Oh God, she just assumed he would get me something. I held my breath not knowing what was about to happen. Knowing he wouldn’t expose himself entirely to my family I still worried what he might say later. He finally broke the silence and said

“Um… I had planned on giving it to her a little later; when we go out tonight.”

It was summer but where were we going on a Monday? I looked at him funny and he said something about taking me out to dinner later. Mom was satisfied with the answer and moved on. She would occasionally try to engage him in conversation but he was so wasted there really wasn’t any talking to him. Mostly we chattered to each other about whatever was going on at the time. Until she mentioned Hana’s name and he kicked me under the table, I did not even know he was listening. She asked me how she was doing and if I had talked to her. The answer of course was no, I hadn’t seen anyone but Alena and him and his friends. I muttered something about her being really busy with her boyfriend.

“Y’all should do a double date! Do kids do that anymore? Or am I totally uncool for suggesting it?”

I could literally feel the heat of his skin rising when I interrupted mom

“Yeah no that’s not really a thing people do anymore.”


To be continued…

*Names have been changed in order to keep identifying and concerned parties private.