Terrible Pink Carpet

I’m having my first bad day since I started Wellbutrin.

As always, I’m in my own head, ruminating. Thinking about everything wrong about myself, questioning every relationship I have.

Disgust at the state of my fingers, which have been chewed bloody.

Bitterness towards the Couple, two friends I considered family only a year or two ago. Who I stopped speaking to.

The lack of connection with anyone. My husband wants me, I’m sure.. But does he only want the image of me that’s in his head, or the whole of me? Who would ever want the whole of me?

Anger and misery that I was unwanted by my father and despised by my stepmother.

Frustration that my sister seems to walk on eggshells around me, like I ever have or ever will explode at her or treat her badly.

Despair that I always assumed I was close to people, yet was left out of many things important to their lives that they shared with others.

Feeling like it’s too late to start writing and drawing again. That everyone else wants me to support their dreams, but no one wants to support mine.

All of these things, all at the same time.

I want to paint a picture of how my stepmother looked, the many times we stood in that hallway with the horrible pink carpet. I stared at that carpet, came to memorize the strands and the patterns as she screamed and screamed. Occasionally she’d demand I stop being a coward and look at her. Not content to allow me to endure her in some way. Her blue eyes were black beads tiny with hate and frustration. Though her hair was blonde and nicely styled, and her makeup immaculate, in those moments she was the ugliest person I’d ever seen, and have seen, since.

I wonder if that carpet is still there, in that little three bedroom ranch. Pink and terrible looking. My father refused to replace it. We had plastic runners going up and down the hallway, meeting with the strip from the front door that stretched to the kitchen. Made it hard to move quietly through the house, to avoid the wrath that came from merely being seen. Even now I move silently through my own house, to the point I startle my Husband and housemate when I suddenly appear in their midst. Habits die hard.

I wonder if I’m still in that ranch, in my mind. Cowering and afraid in my “rented” room. Eating stolen cookies and escaping into comic books I hid as well as I could.

Sadly, arson is a crime.

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Gaslighting

Reading my stepmother’s private messages from three years ago has messed me up.

I should have never read them. Though, it did give me confirmation of her views concerning me.

She’s very religious now. She likes friending Muslim men on Facebook who seem very religious as well. Nearly every post and comment she makes namedrops God, Jesus, Allah, you name it.

It’s amazing how hypocritical she is. I have always been a non-believer. I have had poor experiences with religious people and I can’t shake the association in my mind between unwarranted moral righteousness and bad behavior. She genuinely doesn’t believe her sh1t doesn’t stink because Jesus loves her. She doesn’t seek forgiveness and she has shown no indication whatsoever that she has ever considered me and my feelings. And yet, she demands that I treat her as a victim of my existence. “You were a child, you caused me hardship with your sheer being-there-ness. You were strange and unlikeable to me. Where is your slavish gratitude for my doing the bare minimums? Let’s not mention the physical and emotional abuse I leveled upon you because I’ve probably forgotten I did it anyway.”

And that’s where the disconnect comes from. I begin to question myself. “Was constant, random, unwarranted, and hateful screaming at me that bad? Was sitting at the dinner table with cold food while she screamed and dumped drinks on my head that bad? Was being forced to walk to the end of the driveway with my pants down that bad? Was constantly reading my diary and punishing me for it that bad? Was being dragged by the hair down the hallway for forgetting a baseball cap that bad? Was having things thrown at me that bad? Was my grinding, constant fear of her that bad? Was having my appearance constantly criticized that bad? Was knowing that no one was my advocate and that no one encouraged or protected me that bad?”

I need support. I need someone to say, it was that bad. I need someone to care. I try to talk to my husband about it, but he finds it unpleasant and paying attention detracts from whatever cool new project he has on his mind. My mother just.. I get the feeling she is in denial that I ever suffered. She is broken in that suffering and being nice to people who have caused you suffering is natural to her, part of her background day-to-day life. She was never my advocate, and something my stepmother told me rings true: “She is more like a sister to you than a mother.” Even a broken clock can be right once a day. The difference being, that my mother never treated me like a burden. Not even once.

I am surrounded by people who care, but don’t.. care. If caring costs them something, then suddenly it’s too much. It doesn’t do much to support my floundering sense of hope that one day I will find happiness in other people. I am, perhaps, broken too. There’s a reason I turn to objects, to fiction, to substances to find relief and release. Life has trained me to turn away from others when seeking comfort. It doesn’t help that when I do turn to others it is never what I hope it will be. Rather than connection, there is discomfort on their part. It indicates to me what I’ve always known deep down; that I will never find what I am looking for in others.

I haven’t yet fully committed to that notion, however. But I’m on a journey to that conclusion, and I’ve been forced along the path far faster than is healthy. I want to say that my husband’s love slows it down. Maybe it does, a little.

But it’s not enough.

Important Things

I’ve had time to ruminate on several thoughts I’ve had over the last few weeks. Overall, I think my tendency to ruminate is a positive in the long run. Because despite the times I come to bad conclusions, they don’t last. Because I know deep down they are false, a product of pain. My relentless inner pursuit of what drives me, what hurts me, inevitably leads to positive conclusions.

One of my father’s favorite things to tell me was,”You think you’ve got it so bad. Well, my father used to make me go cut a switch from the yard so he could beat me with it.”
I always felt bewildered when he said this. How was the fact he was beaten by a switch as a child related to how I was being abused now? As a cop, could he really say, if you’re not being beaten with a switch then you’re not being abused. Except my stepmother did things that as an adult I’d have zero problems calling CPS over. Now in my 30s, I’m able to translate the things he said to me. It all boils down to “You’re a burden. Don’t you know you’re a burden? Aren’t you ashamed for existing and causing me hardship?”

I understand now that though I was treated as an unworthy burden by my father and stepmother, I was just a child. I had no responsibility for their hardships. I will not feel shame for existing and taking up space. They didn’t want me, and that hurts. Probably will for a long time. Maybe I will always feel hollow. But I can start with discarding the ideas they lodged inside me.

If I could go back in time, to one of the many times he said the switch bit, I would say one thing to him: “I’m sorry that happened to you.” I think it’d blow his mind.

Another revelation. My discovery of gender critical feminism has helped me realize a lot of things. I don’t like the relentless sh1tting on of MTF transgenders the GC community seems to do, but the basics have opened my eyes. I am fine the way I am. I don’t need to alter my body, get chest surgery. The problems I have with my body are the result of powerful self image issues and the notion that since I am more masculine than the average female, I need to physically be male. The problem with gender, sunk deep into the consciousness of our society, is the idea that you have to be one or the other. I can be who I am, as a woman, as a female, and be masculine. I don’t have to live as a man. I don’t have to live as a femme woman either.
If society accepted feminine men and masculine women, there would be exponentially less harm in this world. As an addendum, I am not trying to shame anyone who is trans, who hasn’t transitioned, wants to transition, or already has. I do not attempt to erase or negate trans people, or imply their struggle to simply be is their own fault.

My reality is that I am a large framed, somewhat butch, non-conventionally attractive female. This is fine. I have trouble relating to femme women, exacerbated by the abuse I suffered from an ultra-femme woman. My father accepted and allowed her to do it, because he didn’t value me much, if at all. I embarrassed him. He couldn’t tell his neighbors, co-workers, family about how I was hitting all the feminine milestones. Attractive, dating (anyone), a cheerleader, popular at school. I was a chubby little wallflower with no interest in dating or makeup, who spent hours with her nose in a book or glued to the computer. Not someone that brought glory to him.

Time and experiencing people who had loving parents has made me understand that he wore the mantle of “father” in name only.

Maybe one day I will have a child, my own or adopted, that I can practice unconditional love upon. Not the “you’re a burden, be ashamed” variety my father practiced, nor the “I can’t take care of you or myself, but I love you” variety of my mother. Something whole. Something wonderful.

Maybe until then I can start trying to practice it on myself, and on those I haven’t pushed away yet.

I am getting somewhere. I am, however painfully, however slowly, moving towards a better place. I’ve been doing it on my own. A good shrink would help me move a little more speedily towards it.

I feel relief right now in this moment. A lessening of pain. It won’t last, and that’s okay. Time will help me embed these revelations into my psyche.

An Unbelievable Person

I don’t know what it is about me. Maybe it’s my face. Maybe it’s the desperation in my tone. But my entire life I’ve been treated as a liar. Denied, dismissed, pushed aside, flat-out told I am lying.
It’s likely a combination of those first two. People, consciously or unconsciously, think less of you when you don’t have a pleasant face, or pleasant hair, or pleasant entire body. No way to get around that, the animal side must be appeased before someone can like you as a person. And sometimes that never happens.

The desperation in my tone? It never used to be there. I was never a liar, even as a child. I was, to my parent’s chagrin, exceedingly honest just because I didn’t know not to be. Especially to strangers in restaurants who looked different from me.

The babysitter changed that.

Let’s go back in time. I’m about 7 years old and my divorced mother was very poor. Still is, but that’s another story. She worked a minimum wage job despite her higher education, and needed to find an equally low-cost child care solution for me. In stepped the Meyers, a Pentecostal family who lived across the poor, working-class town we lived in.
Mother Meyers wore blue-jean skirts, and had long, long hair she wore up in a bun. A stone-faced woman who ruled her children with an iron fist. Father Meyers was some sort of blue-collar repair man, who I never saw much of. The children were as children were. All except for Hannah, the oldest daughter.

I’ll never forget her thin pinched face, straw-like hair, slitted blue eyes, and instant psychotic dislike of me.
And when I say instant, I mean it. I was made to clean the house on more than one occasion, and to please them I always tried to do a very good job. I sat in the living room while the family ate dinner and my stomach rumbled. But that paled in comparison, though, because Hannah didn’t like me. Didn’t want me around. Even now I wonder if she was abused, to have such an unnatural loathing of another girl who just wanted to play.

It started small. Hannah told her mother I did bad things, when I hadn’t. I wouldn’t even know what had set her off. All I know is that I’d get called to the front porch to be interrogated, to my bafflement. I’d insist, over and over, I had not done this thing. And I would not be believed. It was her daughter’s word over mine.

The Meyers believed in corporal punishment. After my fruitless begging to be believed, Mother Meyers would slap me. Both hands, alternating on the sides of my face, until my cheeks were red and tingling.
After time, months, I believe, Hannah fully realized her power over me and began to escalate. On the return trip from shopping, the youngest Meyer daughter, a toddler, tripped while going up the steps behind her mother. Hannah instantly seized the moment, as her sister began to wail about her bloody, busted lip.
“She did it! She pushed Leah down!”
They couldn’t even ask the little one what happened, as she was so young. And so Hannah won again.
That earned me the hardest, longest slap-fest I’d had yet.

There was only one time when the mother (almost) listened to me. I had the fleeting chance of Hannah being outed for the little sadist that she was.
Another time, another front-porch interrogation. I told the mother, through my sobs, that Hannah was lying, that she wanted my spark-creating rollerblading Barbie and unless I gave it to her, she would tell her Mother I had committed some offense.
Mother Meyers called her daughter over and asked if it were true.
“No.”
And I was on the train to Slaps-ville yet again, because the mother couldn’t comprehend that her awful daughter could be lying.
I was babysat by these miserable people for several months. Day in and day out, the same thing. I couldn’t stand going there. I hated it. I begged my mother not to take me. But she had no clue of the true situation, just that I had been “misbehaving” according to Mother Meyers. I lacked the communication skills to make my mother understand that Hannah was evil.
The physical punishment and Hannah’s whoppers escalated over time, to culminate in the Biting Incident.
How sad that I don’t remember what it was that set Hannah off that day. Most likely nothing. I just remember watching in bewilderment as she suddenly bit hard into her own arm, then wrenched open the screen door and went crying to her mother. “She bit me! She bit me!”
The truth will set you free. I was a small child, and what an idiot I was to believe it. As always I insisted that I hadn’t done it, and I had watched her bite her own arm.
Not that it mattered. Mother Meyers was incensed, how dare I bite her precious daughter? She grabbed my wrist in her big meaty hands and bit my arm, leaving tooth marks in my skin.
A bite for a bite, how appropriately Biblical.
My mother arrived to pick me up soon after, and sobbing, I told her Mother Meyers had bit me.
And for once, my mother tried to protect me. She angrily berated the babysitter, and we walked off to the police station, since we didn’t have a car.
By the time we had gotten half-way there, the bite had faded. And so nothing came of a child being maliciously bitten by an adult.
Though, happily, I never had to be around that family ever again.

What did this experience teach me? That no matter what I said I would not be believed. It engrained me with a sense of desperation that leaks through even in normal conversations. “Believe me, please believe me, I am telling the truth, why won’t you believe me!” is what I am always unconsciously saying to other people. And they hear it and do the opposite. So the cycle of disbelief and desperation continues, unabated.

If I was a smart person, I’d have learned my lesson. I would have just realized that if no one would ever believe anything I had to say, why not just lie? Why not lie, and lie, and lie. But instead I teeter-tottered the opposite way, becoming so truthful to the point of oversharing. How stupid I am, to think being excessively honest will make people like me.

I’m trying to overcome this. I’m trying to find a middle way. That is what this blog is really about. Talking through my problems, which are many. The desperation to be believed, however, is perhaps the first and heart of many of my issues.
I’ll also be using this space to vent, as needed.