Forgiving Suzee

***TRIGGER WARNING***

The Whole Codependent Mess of Us: “Legacy of Lunacy”©STMartin2016

Why I had to:

Hatred can eat you alive. Trust me on this, you do NOT want to carry it around for thirty years like I did, it is poison. I watched my Mom wither under the weight of the loathing she had for my Dad, fifty years of resentment and anger all twisted up inside. And he was just as bad, in a different way; vindictive and cruel to her, and sometimes to my brother and I, but always to Mom. Is it any wonder I grew up filled with the black death of it?

grrrr….

It fuelled my young life, after the years of blissful ignorance that comes with kindergarten times. No, hatred was to force its way into me, at the hands of an abuser. The funny thing was (not that sexual assault is ever funny, it’s a figure of speech) , to the adults in my world there was blame to be settled on my eight- year-old head. I was so confused by the abuse, because the offender was a trusted adult, that I wasn’t filled with hate towards him. It was all so overwhelming, and my best friend and I were swallowed up and spit out by the Justice system at that time. Childhood sexual assault wasn’t treated the way it is today back in the early 70’s. We had to tell the judge and the entire courtroom what was done to us, detail by detail; the abuse was over the course of a year, so there was a lot to tell. The judge kept making me repeat things and go into more detail, ” COULD YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE?”

“Inheritance of Daughter’s”©STMartin2017

(My friend was so traumatized that she couldn’t come back the second day, so it felt like a white hot light shining down on my eight-year-old head. The abusers wife decided to add to my torture by announcing to the audience that we were little whores who enticed the old codger. )

I digress. I learned to hate thru this experience. Not only the bad people, but myself. My Grandmother let me know that “nice girls” never talked about these things ever, and if I wanted to get married someday I would never, no NEVER, mention it again. My Mom blamed my Dad, and my friends parents, and was angry at herself for never having “The Talk” with me yet.

The Hatred grew, I started to use drugs, I drank, I stayed out late, my grades failed. It was all MY Fault, and the reason no one loved me was because I was faulty somehow. I lost my virginity to rape- that was my fault to, I belived. Circumstances were such that my friends abandoned me after this, my Dad told me I was disgusting when I got home at 3am with sticks and grass in my hair, so I never told anyone. I hated myself so much, I deliberately did more and more shocking things. It must be true, I thought, I am disgusting! I tried to end my life before I even graduated high school.

At 17, I not only hated myself, I hated authority, my parents, men, my old friends, school and disco. Everybody hated disco, didn’t they? I was angry with my big brother for disliking me and the company I kept. My Mom took me for an abortion at age 15 when my “boyfriend” abandoned me; I never really understood that it had been a wonderful, tiny life inside of me. It came back to haunt me after 2 years, when I saw friends at school bring their babies. This was the FIRST TIME that was been done in that area. I became suicidal, I started hitting things, kicking things till I broke my toes, bloodied my knuckles. There was no one talking about Bipolar Disorder in those days.

The Water Plant ©STMartin2018(SOLD)

I just kept spiralling downward. After jumping out of a moving car I was placed in a locked adolescent ward of a Psychiatric Hospital. I was able to talk about the awful things for 30 days, but no real diagnosis, just depressed, they said.

Flash forward to moving to Florida at 20 with my parents. New beginnings, same old song. I kept losing my sobriety, using cocaine big time. It was ‘snowing’ all over Florida in the early 80’s. Then I met an ex-Marine named Ricky. He was the first to really beat me. That was fine, I deserved it. That’s what he told me, so it must be true. It was always something I did, something I said. Then we found rock. ‘Crack’. Now I really had reason to intensely dislike myself. I stole from every member of my family, including stealing my deceased Grandfather’s gold teeth, stolen from my Grandma’s jewelry box. My own Grandma and Grandpa. Yep.

Well, that wasn’t even the bottom. There were 15 years of addiction, abuse, crime, alcoholism, jail and agony yet to go. Not to mention the pain and trauma I put my Mom thru. I would travel up the east coast, across the country to the west coast, become homeless, rob the store I worked in, live with train tramps, hop freight trains, be ‘held hostage’ by Mormons, pretend to be a lawyer for said Mormons, live in the Sonoran Desert, travel back to Florida, marry a habitual offender, have my nose broken twice, my jaw once, get pneumonia 3x, become a pot dealer, then a coke dealer, a drug runner and a co-conspirator to my husband’s crimes, try to infiltrate a motorcycle club on my own and lose everything at least 3 times . Oh, and get snake bit twice, once by a pygmy rattlesnake, once by a copperhead, both times drunk. These are only the things I remember…

“Reach out and Touch You” ©STMartin2019

It all added up to one very sad, very angry, very sick person who could not stand to look herself in the mirror. The self-hatred and self-abuse led me to the darkest place I had ever been. Everything I ever tried failed. I hurt everyone who ever loved me, and I could not stand it one more day. I tried to overdose on a cold night in September 1999. I couldn’t even do that right it seemed. I was shooting up in my parents’ house, they let me come home after my husband went to federal prison. I promised myself that I would never jeopardize my Dad’s business. But I’d been allowing a coke dealer to do business in the place in exchange for an 8 ball every couple days. (An 8-ball is an eigth ounce of cocaine) I told him I quit that night, but he left me a package anyway. So I knew it was over. I did what I said I wouldn’t do. I’d been in and out of AA and NA so often they called me the “white chip queen’; I just couldn’t do it, I believed. The only way was to ‘ride the lightning’-give myself a hot shot.

Plugged In ©STMartin2019

I loaded the syringe, and gathered my nerves. With tears running down my face, I apologized to God and everyone, and then…

Prayer for Mickey©STMartin2019

…then I saw this image if a candle in my mind’s eye, with the tiniest flame I had ever seen, the wind was blowing and it was flickering-it would go out any second…then suddenly I realized that I was being shown my life, just about to blow out like that candle… I put the needle down and got on my knees, and prayed to God to help me….

Metamorphosis ©STMartin2018

I know, you are sceptical, and that is ok, I don’t know if it was my imagination or what. But I got up and called a friend, took the dope and headed over to his house. The trouble was, he was clean and sober. Or maybe that there is the miracle. Because he convinced my to dump out the drugs and go to a 12 step meeting when morning came. I did this, and amazingly have been clean and sober till this day, 21 years later! Twenty two in September…

But it still took a wee bit longer to forgive myself. As the years passed I still didn’t feel happy, I cried all the time. I finally got a proper diagnosis and a medication regimen that works for my Bipolar Disorder. I have PTSD from all the physical trauma and abuse, but I have coping tools today. I have a therapist who understands my pain and guides me thru the darkness when it comes. But the best medicine I ever found is the forgiveness God gives thru the Sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. By learning about this and about God’s will, and dedicating my life to God, I have experienced the greatest gift ever: The free gift of a cleansed conscience, of forgiveness from all my past sins.

So you see, I just Had to learn to forgive myself, otherwise I would be claiming that I know better than my God!! It is not easy though, sometimes my old thinking creeps back in and I feel that old discouragement. I have to stay on top of things and pray, follow the Bible’s counsel and reach out to my support network. Knowing that my Creator loves me is the greatest high I have ever experienced.

I am truly grateful for my life today.

Chained, the beginning of the End

update: I will soon add to this post as installments, and dedicate a separate section of my blog to my Journey out of Domestic Violence and Codependency. *note* trigger warning*

Part 1 .

Danny was bad. Seriously. But he was not bad looking. He sent me an 8 x10, taken at the state penitentiary around 1987. He looked fine in all white, his hair dark, eyes light. Standing posed in the South Carolina sun, just right to show off his biceps and tattoos. Mom even said how handsome he was, looking remarkably like an actor on Dallas. She watched that show, faithfully. I stared into that image…frequently.

I’d only been out of jail for a few weeks, feeling squirrelly, ready for some action. The dude, Eddie and I hooked up the day after I got home to my parents house, and I remember thinking ,”He’ll do for now.”. The future looked wide open, but my addiction came home from jail with me. I dutifully went to AA for months, not drinking but smoking some weed now and then. Much more ‘now’, than ‘then’.

I never forgot Danny, tho’. As that year passed I dutifully worked as a correspondence link for Danny’s girl, Sandy, and him. The State Prison system didn’t allow letters to move from one institution to another, I said I’d be their “go between”. But as her feelings for Danny cooled, mine warmed, and not wanting to break his heart I tried to fill the void with cheerful words about my life. Thinking back I gotta laugh…break his heart? Anyway, Eddie seemed to not care, I explained the set up, neglecting to mention that Sandy had moved on and married some other dude.

the artist, poet, writer, and survivor: S. T. Martin

Life and the pursuit of a geographical cure to my cocaine addiction led me across country late in 1988. Skipping on our rent in the wee hours of a Monday morning in late September, we piled into my 1970 Mustang Fastback. I had lost my license at some point that year so one drunken weekend I decided to buy red spray paint and paint the hot rod without any prep work. Runs, drips and overspray on the windows turned the nice looking sport car into an attention grabbing mess. So, after pawning some stolen electronics I put her “in the wind”, leaving family, jobs and all common sense behind.

I lost the car in Fort Deposit, Alabama, to a “nice” state trooper who pulled up minutes after the car broke down. He determined that I had no money for repair, so rather than be taken to jail I chose the other option he offered… the car being impounded and Eddie and I being given a lift…to the impound lot.

Only taking what we could carry, plus my Boxer dog, Spice, and calico cat, Binky Boots Bouncer Callahan (neice of “Dirty” Harry Callahan), we trecked a few paces away from the impound lot and rested. I was sick now, jonesing and hungover and sorely missing my car in the rapidly cooling air. Night was coming and we were all hungry, Eddie found some change in his pocket and crossed over the Interstate to scrounge us some food at a truck stop. He came back with a can of tuna, which we split 4 ways.

“Hmmmmm…this ain’t gonna be no joyride…” I mused.

“We’ll make it…” He grinned sheepishly, not exuding much confidence. In turn, I did not feel any , either. The concrete underpass we were using as shelter didn’t block much wind. It got down to 42 F. that night, my feet hurt so bad in the cold that Eddie sat on them. I cried.

Our trip across country was successful in one respect: we made it to the west coast and put a foot in the Pacific Ocean. There are so many other stories I have to tell you about the 18 months we lived in Arizona. I won’t tell them now.

I started with Danny, I will end with him. Thank God I will only end with him in this blog post, not in this life. He passed away in 2018, married to another. I can’t understand why I still think of him as “mine”. After you read this, maybe you can tell me.

Part 2.

What came first, Bipolar Disorder, Sexual Assault, Codependency, Addiction, PTSD? I am not going to answer that question, thats for the Scientists. When I write these installments about my life experiences I do not want you, gentle reader, to think this is me romanticizing the life I lived. It is by the skin of my teeth that I survived, most people do not. I grew up with my head full of movies, books and television telling little girls that the “Bad” guys were the sexy ones, that a smack was “what a girl needed” and that sexual assault and rape were justified and designed to “keep a woman in her place”. The whole “walking three steps behind” was an idea embraced by the people I was surrounded by, and degrading talk towards the women I loved and looked up to was the norm. I don’t think I am alone in saying that my family was raised with the idea of the man ruling with an iron fist, the woman being a servant rather than an equal. The harder the father was, the more “manly” a daughter may think a partner should be.

Whether or not mental illness caused me to fall into this mindset easier and deeper than my peers , I do not know. I do know that of my girlfriends growing up, many of us had violent boyfriends, but almost none ever talked about it. When a friend would sport a black eye it was either ignored, or looked at as some kind of badge of honor.

I was unfortunate in that I wanted my Peers approval more than anything else. I so lacked love and confidence that I would do anything, literally anything for their acceptance. This held true in all my “romantic” relationships as well.

Was my Ex (who I call Danny, not his real name) the only abusive person in my life? No, indeed. He was by far the most accomplished at this form of torment and, by the grace of God, the last abuser I ever dealt with. I am grateful to him for this: Being the catalyst for my transformation to a life free from drugs, alcohol, violence, crime, and abuse.

Over the past 20 years since I was his wife, I learned to understand codependency. I made the decision to join a group of fellow survivors and guided by a counselor we we taught about the cycle of abuse and how to break free. If you are in a similar situation I urge you to seek community help, society has come a million miles from the days of suffering in silence and hiding your bruises. We have many miles to go, at least we have wonderful assets and years of reforms to help reduce the of domestic abuse today.

I am including a trigger warning in these posts, and I am using caution for my own health also…if it gets to hard to talk about I will stop. I still have flashbacks, I guess I always will. But I can detach myself more now than I used to, now that my abuser is deceased.

So why talk about my past at all? I still need to. I don’t hate the person I used to be anymore, but I did. Oh, boy, did I ever. I loathed myself for the things I had done for him, and for the things he had done to me. I felt I had to cut this part of myself off, completely and most firmly, and bury her somewhere where all this hate would leave me alone. But that does not work, I found. Hate buried grew, festered and eventually began poisoning my life in sobriety. It effected my ability to care about myself in the present. The way I perceived myself suffered and my confidence did also. One day a few years ago, a very astute and kind counselor had me do something profound. He pulled an empty chair up beside mine and asked me to visualize the “past” me sitting there. He had me describe how I felt about her, what I saw. I described a horrible person deserving death, without showing a hint of mercy. Then he asked me to see how sorry she was for the things she had done, how abused she was, how truly sick and crushed. Man, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. He asked me if I would forgive someone else who had gone thru what past me had gone thru…thats when the tears came. Torrents of them, and a realization I could live free from that awful burden of hate I had been carrying. Whew… I even feel it now, still! And I have to remind myself at times to keep having that self love, self forgiveness for mistakes. I used to have an old Deep Purple album entitled, “Who do we think we are?”; I relate this to the thought that is my Creator can forgive me, them who do I think I am if I can’t!

That’s where I am today, friend. Just me. But I love my life today, even broke and wearing an old sweatshirt and sneakers… Even in my little home with my little scruffy dog! We both have the same haircut these days!

I hope you enjoy my writing and art. If you do, feel free to follow ! talk to you soon!

“FACING A HEAD”, ©SusanT.Martin2020

Cry for Redemption

…there was nothing…but to keep chasing the high, reality became too painful…married you so…you could not testify against him?…

I’ve been busy trying to find some balance. It has been a difficult issue all my life. I can be impetuous and impatient, wanting things to happen yesterday. In the past I hated discipline, and yet needed it desperately. I rebelled against everything, and prided myself on living outside the lines.

But I yearned to have the life I saw others living. I was always on the outside looking in-at families sitting round a dinner table, or gathered in front of a fireplace. Friends having lunch in a deli, or laughing at a movie. I was standing just outside, in three feet of snow, higher than a kite…and crying. Wishing I were in that house, sitting down to a hot meal, my heart full of love and surrounded by kindness. Full of joy. Full of hope.

After certain traumatic events I thought I could never be in the presence of ‘normal’ people again. Or in the company of ‘nice girls’. These feelings are common to those of us who have been forced to walk on the dark side…and that is exactly what kept me stuck on the outside looking in. As someone who had been sexually abused it was easy to believe that no one could understand me, I was different, warped somehow, out of line and irreparably broken.

These lines of reasoning are what kept me stoned, drunk and living on the street. A perverted sense of pride kept me “out there”; I was terminally unique and no one could understand me.

(I shut my eyes and drift back to those dark days when my husband and I were getting close to the end, an end that I knew was not going to have me walking out alive…)

The world I had immersed myself in was squeezing me dry. No true happiness, just oblivion. Once the money and the dope were gone, so was the glamor. Now there was nothing for it but to keep chasing the high, reality became to painful. To realize the person you left your family for never really loved you at all? That he married you so that you could not testify against him? Wait..what? What?

The collect calls home, just to hear Mom’s voice, ” Are you alright, Susan? Do you have enough to eat? “

“Sure, Mom, no problem…we have work now, good work…Cement Plant shutdown…lots of money. Come up and see us sometime…”

They better never come visit. See me with black eyes, track marks. Find out we are living in a tent. Holidays coming round again, and I’m too strung out to visit. Oh, the bitter tears I cried that year, and the one after, and the one after that….endless rivers from red, swollen eyelids, dripping off the end of a snotty nose, wiped on dirty sleeves. Sleeves that roll up to purple scars on blue veins, sitting in a gray cement bathroom holding a syringe between tobacco stained teeth, ready to ride that white pony into blue, blue blue blue blue blu

bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Hold it Right THERE!!!!

That is not the way this story ended. It could have soooooo easily, except for one thing. One thing that I never would have believed if you had told it to me then. During those last few dangerous days of my marriage, days when he would get so high he would wire all the doors in the trailer shut from the inside, while creeping around with a hammer…days when I was so afraid of what he would do that I would hide in the bathtub hoping he wouldn’t find me… days when he beat me unconscious…when he shot wildly in a drunken stupor, missing me by inches…when he flushed a half ounce of coke down the toilet then dug up the septic tank and pulled the package out…days when he would OD and I brought him back to life, pounding on his chest and screaming, “Don’t die you #@$!%*!”…Then on our 7th anniversary he went to work at the naval shipyard, I made his favorite dinner and waited eagerly for him to come home, ready to forgive him one more time. Waited and waited, as the hours passed…losing hope I broke down, and prayed, not knowing what had happened but sensing something was wrong.

I remember lying in the dark , begging God for forgiveness as memories moved thru my mind, memories of all the hatred in my life, the drugs, the violence, all the pain I had caused, and abuse I had endured. I poured myself out to God, like I had not done in nearly 20 years. I really felt at that time that I was doomed, doomed to never get out of this situation alive. The violence and depravity were so overwhelming, and he had made sure to impress upon me, in no uncertain terms that if I were to ever try to leave, it would be my family who would pay for my error. And pay dearly. After pouring out my heart to God, I slept, drained of tears and exhausted .

It was a strange dream , and many years have passed, so I won’t attempt to relate it now. I was then awakened by a pounding on the door. My heart sank… Was this the police telling me some terrible news?

It was Jim, my husbands coworker, they rode to work together. He was beside himself… ” Sue, I have some bad news, really bad… I don’t know what happened but there was a SWAT team! The FBI, my god, it was terrible! They had their Guns drawn, told us all to get out of the van, get on the ground!”

Jim! (I heard myself yelling) Jim! Where is Marty? Is he ok? IS HE DEAD?

“what? Oh, no,no, he’s not dead, but they took him away, they cuffed us all, we were freaking out, questioned us all, but let us all go, except him!”

Oh, thank God, I remember feeling so relieved. He wasn’t dead on the highway, or shot by police… But what was he arrested for?

” Sue, it’s really bad, they were asking about guns, said we were stealing guns or something? They charged him with something to do with weapons, I don’t know…”

We talked on thru the night, and I was all wrapped up in how to deal with this new reality… So wrapped up that it did not dawn on me till years later that God answered my prayer that night, and he answered it in a BIG way. I survived my marriage to that man, I survived the addiction to cocaine and got clean, survived all the beatings, survived the alcoholism, the pain, the sadness, the insanity… Thanks to God.

I prayed for help and He heard my prayer… I am so very, very grateful to Jehovah, for his Son, Jesus, and for all His wonderful Wisdom , Power, Justice and Love. He is the Sovereign of the Universe and the Right to Rule belongs to Him, and to those whom he chooses to give it.

The Kingdom is in place, let it come!

Life is so good today. I am isolated, but I am never alone. I feel sad sometimes, but I am not without hope. There is nothing anyone can do to me that my God cannot undo. I do not need to cower in fear, because “there are more who are with us than those there are with them”(2 Kings 6:16b) I hope that you find some comfort knowing that God is the hearer of prayer, and the He wants us to talk to him, and share our feelings with him.

“For I well know the thoughts I am thinking toward you,” declares Jehovah, ” thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future, and a hope. And you will call me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11,12

“You will call, and Jehovah will answer; you will cry for help and he will say ,”Here I am!” Isaiah 58:9″

“Jehovah is close to the broken-hearted; He saves those who are crushed in spirit” Psalms34:18

Profound Joy!

Profoundly Alive. Zestful. Happy.

Hopeful. Forward Looking. Lifted up. Elated.

Active. Alive. Aware. Absolutely Positive.

I am these things, I am all of them.

I must believe that I am.

Loveable. Loved. Free. Truthful. Beautiful.

My heart healed, my wings mended, my joy complete.

I am now the person I always wished I could be.

I am not responsible for anyone else’s decisions, for anyone else’s pain.

I have paid the price for my past mistakes by enduring the consequences for my actions. I am not required to flog myself  any longer. I do not have to grovel before an abuser ever again.

I am fine, protected by God’s Love, able to fight the fine fight with the tools He provides, and His Holy Spirit.

The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word the Bible.

The Breastplate of righteousness.

The Large Shield of Faith.

The Helmet of Salvation.

Loins Girded about with The Truth.

Feet shod with the Good News of Peace.

” There are are more who are with us than there are who are with them…”

I am no longer a victim, alone in my suffering and fear.

There is a way out of an abusive relationship. It starts with telling yourself the truth. It is not going to get better, his gifts will not make it better, your family does not hate you like he says they do. You are not ugly. You are not stupid. You CAN survive without him. You have everything you need within yourself, it is just hidden under all the fear and lies. Listen really close, and find the voice of the person inside you who spoke before he hit you the first time. She is calling out to you now, she is ready to come home. Just reach out, turn that doorknob, and don’t look back!

promises fulfilled
promises fulfilled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Brave Girl

Artwork and Pictures 074
this is not the one i am entering. this is titled “Angry Daughter”.

The decision to enter my painting in an art show at a real art gallery was easy to make. I believe I am being motivated by fear, having learned while Pops was in hospital that I will basically be destitute after he dies or if he must be placed in a home. I had always hoped that I could make a living with my art, knew I could, really, but I never wanted to let anyone see it. It isn’t that I am ashamed, it is just so personal. That is my heart on the canvas, my veins torn open, my blood on the page.

I never wanted to sell out. to allow complete strangers to dissect my innermost thoughts, to critique my self expression. My life has been so full of can’ts:

You aren’t a boy, Susan. You can’t play ball like that.

You can’t just draw from your imagination- you must be trained properly.

You can’t go to art school, it is not realistic.

You are too sensitive, you can’t take everything to heart.

YES I CAN!!!!

The latest critic in my life is an elderly aunt, who believes she has my best interest at heart by terrifying me about my future. She wan’ts me to look into selling my antiques, selling my china, selling my whole sense of home and safety in preparation for the big nothingness that she keeps reminding me that looms ahead when Dad dies.

I try very hard to be smilingly pleasant on the phone with her, but it is the most negative words she can say. She totally does not understand my bipolar disorder or depression. I absolutely CAN NOT focus on what MIGHT happen. I will dwell on it, I will obsess about it, and if I am not careful, I will drink and drug over it. Her constant warnings of doom will be a self fulfilling prophecy for me.

Afterward
Afterward

I was on my own for many years without any material possessions, and those were some of the most meaningful years of my life. Meaningful in that I learned how to survive happily with nothing, that I appreciated every single meal, blanket, pot, pan, article of clothing, tree, water faucet, sunrise- and every single human being who crossed my path.

I was much younger, sure, but I learned how to SURVIVE. And I succeeded.

Jesus had no place to lay his head- he lived by faith. He lived free, and appreciated all His Father’s blessings. He did not fear not knowing where he would sleep, what he would eat, and the Bible counsels us to follow in his footsteps.Picture 012

I do not want to sell Mom’s china, and I won’t. If I have to eat dog food on it in the dark, then that is what I will do. I will use my considerable brain function to keep my head above the proverbial water, but not by selling the things I hold dear, or by giving into fear of what may or may not happen.blue luster ware, bavaria 257

virginia rose antique china
virginia rose antique china

Cleo 1-31-12 072
after I lost 70 pounds in 2010! (now I have to lose it again!!)

books 178 books 173

If something good can come out of my anger at her doubt in me, it is that I am taking a leap of faith and taking my painting to the Gallery.

And I might just take a binder on my writings to an editor while I am at it!

So thank you Auntie Doubtful for the motivation. I remember that I am still the brave girl who jumped on a freight train and rode across Arizona, hitchhiked through 6 states, dumpster dove for greasy Mcdonald’s burgers, and that they tasted like T-bones!

I am the brave girl who worked 27 jobs in 25 years, rigged for the crane building Missle Silos, worked with Belgians and Shires and Clydesdales and Andalusians, and groomed the Atlanta Police department’s horses, learned to decorate cakes and operate forklifts, did lawn maintenance and worked on the tip of an island in the Atlantic. I have befriended train tramps and illegal immigrants, and helped a 15 year old Mexican kid hide in a grain car to get to his uncle’s house, his only relative in this world! I have accepted gifts of food, and given some, accepted rides and given many, and I have loved and believed in the very best of my fellow man, and I also believe in myself.

I am the brave girl who survived rape ad beatings, being stabbed and shot at, falling in holes and having horses roll on me, having a riding lawnmower flip over on me, divorcing a dangerous man, jail, drug addiction, alcoholism, hepatitis C, and the death of my beloved Mom, and losing my sanity, and I am still standing, even if it is crooked.

I am that brave girl, and I am a survivor.100_1559100_1629

That Brave Girl!
That Brave Girl!

Why Do I Hurt Myself?

smoke on the water
smoke on the water

I answered his call tonight. What a foolish foolish girl. I knew that it was wrong, to talk to the abuser, but I did it anyway. After years of being strong, of cutting out the gangrenous heart of me. How could I sell my broken soul out so cheaply? I knew he would say something that would bring it all back, and when I heard the liquor in his voice I remembered the loathing I felt for myself when I realized I had given away all that ever was good inside me, given it to a psychopath who only loved me for the pain I would suffer at his hands.

Now that I let that voice into my ears, that devil’s voice as sticky as Karo, how do I unhear it? When it professes “love” to me from a dead man’s mouth? How do I wash the blood off of my mind’s eye, when I dream of his devil fists, his green devil eyes, his devilish ways with his devilish hands on my broken and battered memory of myself?

Why did you do it?

Did you really need another reason to be afraid today?

Did you need another reason to doubt your own sanity?

Did you really need to add all those forgotten nightmares to the list of must-see flashbacks you have on file?

Now the phone won’t stop ringing, so I turned them all off. But can I turn of that record that has played in my mind ever since I broke free?

That record that keeps going round and round playing a tune called,

” If I can’t have you, then nobody will…”

How long until he’s at my door?

Did I just invite him when I answered that call tonight?

wheeeee…it’s Mania Time!!!

Another day, another fifty cents gone from my pocket. I have been feeling rather generous lately, which is funny for someone who doesn’t have the proverbial pot (to pee in…) I have been looking for a way to thank Dad’s caregiver for going above and beyond the call of duty, so I am letting her choose a dress and some sandals from a mail-order dress shop. I am happy to do this, but I have to be careful when I get high handed with money. That is usually a sign that I’m manic, ready to go off on a spree.

Mania is the terrible and strangely wonderful phenomenon that occurs when a person has Bipolar Disorder and is in the “upswing” of the disease. It is the emotional opposite of the deep, dark depression- the other side of the two (Bi) parts of the illness. I become extremely animated and talkative, laugh loudly and joke constantly, and generally act out in unusual ways. People like me can become very promiscuous in a manic phase, doing things sexually that they would never normally do. I get so artistically stimulated that I can stay up all hours painting, drawing, writing, cleaning and washing, plus any other activity that crosses my zooming mind. I can go without food, or eat sweets like mad. I have gone on spending sprees in the past, buying land, and vehicles, and jewelry until I’ve gone bankrupt and in debt. The problem is, even though all this is great fun, it leaves me feeling terrible about myself. I used to go on drugging and drinking binges when I was manic, and do other stuff. I’m so grateful to be free of the compulsion to drink and drug, but the binge spending is still hanging on.

There are tools I learned over the years to deal with my manic spells, relaxation techniques and meditation. Plus I have a therapist I talk to, except I don’t have an appointment right now. The main thing is recognizing I am in a manic phase, and digging deep into my psyche to unveil the real problem, the issue I can’t deal with that brought the mania on.

I know what it is right now, and I’m awfully mad at myself. I had a weak moment last week and called my ex husband’s sister, under the pretense of seeing how she was. She knew I was calling to see how my Ex was, and she obliged me by telling me he’s remarried now. He’s been married 2 years, and I didn’t realize it, but I guess I thought of him as still being mine. Why I would want to call an abuser “my ex-husband” is some kind of Stockholm syndrome I think, and having suffered domestic abuse warped my mind somehow. Because I did call, after these years without him, these years I thought I was forgetting, healing and recovering. Now I am a manic mess, and I am having flashbacks, and nightmares and PTSD symptoms.

Our brains are amazing.

and I am nuts

Sowing Flowers in Tears

Did you ever feel that things were really going to change in your life, sudden-like? That a fresh wind had blown in, and changed the puzzle pieces , so that everything in your life would (finally!) fall into place?

No, me neither…

Just kidding guys, I really DO have times when I feel this way, and right now is one of the times. I realize that most of the time these epiphanies follow a terrible depressive state, and that these periods of “euphoria” are almost always a red flag that the mania phase of Bi-polar is about to cause me to do wild and wonderfully fun things-like spending money on green nail polish. I am amused at the use of the phrases “most of the time”, and “almost always” in my last sentence. That is like saying, “kind of dead”.

Really, that is the wonderment of this illness- it spends it’s time convincing you that you’re not ill, and it does this by making you feel “normal” !  Everyone wants to feel good, joyful, happy, and full of life. Everyone wants to laugh, to play, to love, to talk to friends and celebrate.  What fun it is to create poems, to paint pictures, to glory in the movement of a body free of pain.

For people like me these are all terrible symptoms, times to stop. To analyze motives, count the money in the bank, look over the bills. To take the responsibility to check your medications for mistakes, for refills. To double check the calendar for missed psychiatrist appointments, to think back to sleepless nights you may have had, or triggers you may have been exposed to.

” Did I watch a movie with domestic violence? Did a large group of motorcycles go by?”

” When did I take my last mood stabilizer, or anti-depressant?”

” Did I mistakenly take a diabetes pill instead of the one that calms my PTSD?”

And then one must carefully think about which joy inducing activity one wants to indulge in: are you really  just going to buy one pair of shoes? Why do you want to draw the dog’s portrait at three in the morning? Do you really think it is fun to mow the entire backyard the day after hip surgery?

I have days when I feel like my life is a beautiful flower, unfurling to soak up the sun of all the activities I miss. I feel that the sky is the limit, anything is possible, and I love the entire human race, and they love me! I feel every muscle just screaming to get up and run until I drop, to saddle the horse I don’t have and ride into the horizon.  I want to taste the sweat running off my brow while I trim trees, plant rows of vegetables till my hands are blistered, and play softball ’till all I can do is fall onto a blanket exhausted.

On these days of promise, I make myself fight the pain off enough to get outside. I strain to pick up the rake or shovel, to shake the paint can. I begin my yardwork, or artwork. Perhaps I get up that morning , hop in the car while fighting my fear, and drive to the department store to buy myself a present. I made sure to take my pain pill right on time, so I know I have a couple good hours. I am going to really LIVE, I am going to TAKE HOLD! I am going to QUIT BEING DISABLED!

I begin my play, or shopping or gardening, and it is bliss! I feel the sweat on my back, I squint in the sun. The rows are forming like soldiers all in formation and soon the seeds will be planted. All thought of time, or sensibility, or pacing myself is now gone- who needs rest? Certainly not I ! I feel better than I ever have, and soon my yard will win prizes from the gardening club! They will write a piece in the paper about me. It is really amazing- but I don’t even feel the sun. so what if my skin looks red- it’s a sign of good health! Maybe when I am done here I can go to the mall, I deserve a little gift! Or I’ll take Dad out to dinner, it won’t hurt to drive on this leg. So what if the doc said not to put weight on it- LOOK, I’m digging holes!! I am completely healed!

I glance at my watch through the sweat. “My goodness! Is’s already 4 P.M.! Oooh, I am feeling kind of woozy… Did I bring any water out here? Mmmmm, his hip is burning a little. Where are those crutches? Man, I left them WAY over there? Wow, my shoulder is screaming at me- maybe I should put some ice on it in the house… OOPS! I really stumbled there. I better be careful or I might fall again…”

After I limp over to the crutches and tremble my way inside, I start to feel a cloud on the horizon of my mind. “perhaps I should have eaten… or paced myself… Oh, man, I still have to feed Dad, I’m too sick to go to dinner. I never get to go anywhere. Man, I just hurt all over!!! I’m so sick of being sick! I miss my Mom, she used to help me… I am so alone here… I wish I weren’t so crippled up- this pain is worse than it has EVER been! That pain medicine does not work AT ALL!!! I just want to go hide in my room and never come out…”

Then , vanishing into the late afternoon twilight, my joy in living slips away. It leaves in it’s wake a crushed and saddened woman, who feels every nerve as if it were bathed in boiling water. A woman whose fingers will not uncurl from the shape of the shovel handle. A woman praying for mercy and forgiveness for thinking she was something she is not, for hurting herself again. For soaring on the wings of eagles only to beat those same wings fruitlessly until they became broken and tattered and sent her crashing at lightening speed into the dirt she was made from.

One day, in the not so distant future, all sickness and suffering will be done away with by our magnificent Creator Who, by the way, is not the source of our woes. Jehovah will lift us out of the mire, out of the sediment, and I cling passionately to that knowledge.

Until that day I will dream, and I will fight this crazy illness. And I will plant my flowers with tears.

He Love Us!
He Love Us!

HERE COMES THE rain AGAIN.

Too tired to format this, to tired to care. Not thinking about writing fame or fortune, just wanting to put my heart on a page.

I haven’t talked to you in so long. I almost lost it today, eating a cheeseburger with Dad, sitting in the car, in the rain. He’s just a little boy these days. He can be so cute and funny. I see why you (sometimes)loved him. I (sometimes )do , too. Does that discount the love altogether?  How can a person learn to love in a vacuüm? Why did you stay with him if he hurt you so bad? Were you honest to me on your death-bed, when you told me I had a sister, and that she was his? Why did you give me that wedding band, you told me a man you loved in New York gave it to you.  You had my sister in New York. My sister…

what is she like? Is she still alive? Did her adoptive parents tell her she had a sister, and a brother? Do you think she ever wonders about me?  Do you think she would like me?   Love me?

You loved me, didn’t you Mum? I didn’t ruin your life, did I ? Is that why I have a gaping wound where my heart should be?

They tell me my faith should be enough. Knowing that I’ll be with you soon. I ask Him for patience, endurance, more faith. Soundness of mind.

But it’s like…. I can’t tell you what it is like. It’s like ” going mad by drips” like Dickens said..I know I will be with you soon, Jehovah promises me in the Bible. We will live free from sickness, free from pain. Our bodies won’t betray us with pain, or death.  I will be able to think clearly again, and none of my bones will never make me cry. I remember how you would hold my hands for me when it got bad, and you would squeeze  my fingers like I asked. Nobody ever does that for me now- I sure hope we can be together soon.

 

I miss you tonight…

 

Still at It/ Writing in Undergarments

I have some difficulty in telling my stories, usually flashbacks ensue, many times physical illness such as stomach aches, headaches, and sleeplessness. And of course we can’t forget the PTSD symptoms such as hyper vigilance and panic attacks.

But I must say that in the telling there is release, and I am able to embrace that little girl inside and assure her that none of the abuse was her fault. Nor is it the fault of any child when they are violated by adults. You readers out there that may harbor feelings like I did, believing the lies that get foisted on abuse survivors-do not accept blame for the abuse you suffered. It is simply NOT TRUE, AND IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!

I have to go for now, arm hurting, mind racing. We are survivors keep pushing on.