These posts are not pretty. They are not creatively written on colorful backgrounds. They are black and white – raw – plain – honest… written from the top of my head without much editing or thought. These are the black and white photos from my life – the unedited, unretouched, tell-it-like-it-is truth of where I am in this moment. This is my life…
The meeting was great – lots of people with lots of time in recovery – just what I needed.
Being in the church was a little bit creepy. The corridors were dark and most doors were locked. I kept having flashbacks to my childhood – quick little scenes, like you might see in a movie. Strange things that I remembered, though… that building truly was my second home.
When I arrived back at my mother’s later last night, she surprised me by cornering me in the bathroom and saying we needed to talk. We discussed the dinner thing from earlier, and she claims she didn’t realize we had firm plans to go out. Whatever. She has her own reality.
I told her (and I knew this would not go over well, but I threw it out anyway) that I believe my anger stems not so much from things about Wendy after all, but from the fact that she stood by and let my dad beat the living daylights out of me without intervening.
And there, in that small bathroom, she responded in a way that left me completely dumbfounded. She denied it ever happened. Denied the whole fucking thing. Told me she knew I believed it somehow, but that it never happened, because if it had, there is no way she would have let it go on, as God is her witness, blah, blah, blah.
I was stunned.
I reminded her about the Christmas morning when I woke to find a “bundle of switches” outside my door, apparently from Santa, because I had been such a bad girl (what a crock). There were 7 – one for every day of the week. She told me it was a joke, and doesn’t remember my dad using them on me. (For anyone who doesn’t know what a switch is, it’s a thin, green, live part of a plant or bush which is used like a whip to punish and cause harm. My father always threatened that Santa would bring me a bundle of switches if I didn’t behave.)
I asked her why she thought I had always hated him so much. She said she had no idea. I asked her why she thought I left Indiana at the first possible opportunity. She said I always used to talk about living somewhere besides Indiana.
Now, my mother is a smart, sensitive person. My mother is not senile. My mother is loving and kind to everyone.
When I lay down to go to sleep last night, I relived the nightmare. The yelling, the chaos… everything happening so quickly…the humiliation of lying there on my bed with my face pressed into the sheets, helpless, while he tried to hold me down with one hand, and gather up his belt with the other… I fought, but he won in the end, pulling my pants down and exposing my bare bottom for a good shot… trying to protect myself with my hands, and hearing him tell me to move them, or it would hurt worse…
Hot tears came spilling out on my pillow. For her to deny it was for her to stand by and watch it all over again. She was there. I remember. I am not making this shit up. I am not crazy.
She stood there, just outside my bedroom door, with the fear of god on her face, pacing around, trying to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen to her.
She used to tell me it was my fault, and that if only I could learn to keep my mouth shut, I wouldn’t get hit.
Oh, she was there, all right.
She only left the house once a month for her card-club night with her girlfriends. Dad would never have hit me then – he was always frighteningly nice, asking us to sit on his lap, complimenting us… I used to think – who the hell are you? As if that one evening could make up for the rest of his incompetent parenting. The inconsistency was terrifying.
She admitted tonight that he used to smack me in the mouth, but that it was because I used to smart off to him. And she also admitted that it didn’t seem fair that he never did these things to Wendy, but that Wendy knew when to be quiet.
I feel like I’m in the fucking twilight zone.
But now the family secret is finally out. I maintain my truth. I cannot force her to remember it, but now I see how she has chosen to live with it.
I pity her, with all of her denial. She wears it like a permanent garment – it’s a huge protective shell of fat cells, which will most likely end up killing her in the end. I think I will be able to forgive, both the original sin and the ongoing denial… in time… but this first step was to look at it. And for the very first time, to see the entire picture.