Sister

I wish I could peek in your mind and see what you hide

There are moments I see where the real you resides

My dearest half-sister we are so far away

not just in our age, also in how we behave

But there are actions of yours, opposite of mine

that lead me to think it’s finally time

For me to reach out and actually ask

about the awful things in our past

But your telling me no, and refusing my help

saying I need to leave you to yourself

So now that the past is affecting your present

you want me to be there, but I won’t consent

I too am broken, and need some healing

I just can’t be here when you aren’t listening

I’m afraid that what I’ve done is just too much

that you’ll never be open to my rules and such

But I want you to know, if ever that changes

that I will be here to listen to all of the rages

Not just to theirs, but to mine as well

even when I hurt and the tears start to swell

Should that day not come, and our bond break

I hope you know that it is never too late

I am still broken, but now I am ready

to be the support you need to be steady

What happened to us, is not our fault

we don’t have to pretend our heart is a vault

That the lies we’ve been telling are not the end

that we really are worthy of the love that we spend

You are a human with faults and trauma

who always seems to be starting the drama

but if you ever decide to give that up

To open the vault and let it erupt

I’m here to listen and honestly say

that I’m sorry our family treated you this way

That the shit in our past doesn’t negate

all the awesomeness we have innate

You’re strong and great, it’s time you know too

that Ashlee I am actually very proud of you

The fact we survived, is more than most

and I will never forget the hurt we host

This gift I give you is the wisdom of time

even if it came in this strange rhyme:

Don’t let your past define your future

You dear are stronger than our abuser

 

 

Daddy Dearest

To my Dearest Father,

Where were you? I needed you.

Your absence in my life has caused me more paid than I can even begin to explain. I  know I have said over and over again I didn’t need you, but that was never true. I was trained from birth to be strong, to be independent, to not show weakness. I had to create a brick wall around myself and my feelings. I became so strong I was made of stone. No one came in, nothing mattered. I could cut anyone out at any time and never let anyone know I needed them. Why? Because I don’t know how to need someone, I don’t know how to trust. I needed my father to show me what love from a man looked like, and without that I became hollow inside.

I was abused by my uncle for as long as I can recall. I developed an eating disorder at 9, and lied my way through middle school. I allowed a boyfriend to beat me. I allowed myself to be assaulted by an older male boss in high school. I was groomed by a much older man from when I was 15. I was drugged in college and almost assaulted. I have abused others because I thought that was “love”, and let loved ones abuse me thinking I deserved it. I am broken from what happened to me and having no one to talk to. I never had a male figure in my life I could trust and so I never learned that men were trustworthy. I self sabotaged my marriage and every relationship I had because “all men will leave you in the end”.

I became very good at wearing a mask of independence and strength. I had to learn to turn off my emotions, otherwise I would have crumbled. I had very strong female role models, but none to show me what love and trust really look like. I missed the bond that every girl craves, and by the time a semi-solid male figure showed up I was already well trained to not NEED a man… so I didn’t let him in either. I don’t blame you for what happened to me, nor do I blame my family. It’s MY story, it’s part of who I am… but it’s not who I am anymore. I have been working really hard in the last two years since taking over my Grandmother’s care and I want you to know.

I want you to know that it did hurt me to not have you. It hurt every time I thought you would show up, and didn’t. It hurt me to watch you blame my mom, my aunts, and everyone else but yourself that we didn’t have a relationship. You need to know at the end of the day, that was on you. You could have made it happen, you were my father. You knew where I lived, you knew my grandmother loved you, and you knew my mom worked. You could have come come for me… I wish you did. I wish you were at my wedding, I wish I could have have that moment. I didn’t need you to give me away, but I needed to know a father’s love before entering into a lifelong commitment. It hurt my heart that you didn’t even send a card or a note. You didn’t even acknowledge the biggest moment in my life. I didn’t need you there, but I wanted you there. I never said that to anyone because I thought it would make me look weak, and I was never that on the outside.

But I am on the inside, I’m still that little girl who didn’t get to have her daddy in her life. Father daughter dances make me crumble. I cry and I can’t stop it. Every wedding I go to reminds me that I’m still without that love. I hate that this makes me look weak, and I don’t want people to know but I have to get it out or I won’t heal… and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m growing now. Now that I am free from the chains that tie me to my abuse and my abusive thoughts I am becoming a woman… and I forgive myself and I forgive you. I know you did the best you could with what you had. That you were broken too and just child yourself then. I understand why, and while I wish it wasn’t true, it is.

I never showed you how grateful I was for the times you were there. For the car, for inviting me into your home, and giving me another extended family. I didn’t know how to react to it then, but I am thankful for it now. While neither of us can go back and fix the past, I need you to know that it hurt me. I need you to know what it did to me, and that I’m sorry I hurt you, and that I hope all can be forgiven, even if it will never be forgotten or fixed. I need to me able to move on with my life and I can’t without getting it out.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be close, I don’t know if my sisters will ever be friends of mine. It’s the situation and decisions you made in the beginning, but we both made in the end that brought us here. I hope you can take responsibility for your decisions, as I have for mine. I hope that knowing that frees you a little bit too. I love you dad, even if I’ll never really be able to show you the way you want to see it. And now I know you love me, even though you may never show me the way I want you to. You hurt me, but I can now see beauty in the darkness and pain. It made me who I am today, and while I’m still a work in progress I am proud of what I’ve done so far.

Love,

The Daughter (you left behind)

 

 

#MeToo

It’s dark, it smells like weed, and I don’t want to be there.

I’m in the basement with not just your door locked, but also the door to your bedroom

You’re watching what I think are cartoons and tell me to pay attention

I look back and your hand is in your pants and you’re mad

“Turn around!”

I turn around and don’t remember anything else.

***

It’s too hot to sleep up stairs in the bedrooms, only grandma has AC in her room

We sleep in the dining room on the floor, there is an AC there too

I recall the smell and taste of your cigarette stained tongue in my mouth

I dry heave, and then vomit

You tell your mom that I’m sick

I wake up on the floor in grandma’s room

I don’t recall how I got there

***

You lay your full grown up body on top on me and kiss me

I cry to be let go, I scream, I’m crushed and clawing to be free

I yell that your breath stinks, you blow in my face and lick me

I’m told “that’s family you have to be nice to family”

I lay there and take it… this happens weekly

***

I overhear a doctor tell my mom I need another urine specimen

I should not have results like this one, that would have to be in pain

They ask if I’m sexually active, I’m 8, I’m not

Jokes on them, I’d been complaining of pain and they have been ignoring it

I get an antibiotic, a lesson wiping correctly, making sure I wash my hands before and after the bathroom

I have my first UTI, I get them a lot until I get my first period

I don’t get my next one until I do become sexually active

***

Mood swings, suicide, eating disorders, drug use, anti-social behavior, self harm

Teenagers can be unpredictable, but I am violent and angry

Doctors say there must be some trauma, parents say no

They tell them I’m “just dramatic” and looking for attention

I’m told I have an overactive imagination, and I’m reminded that I’m lucky

***

 

Sex is complicated, fun, and guilt ridden

Emotional consistency is shit

I rock and sway, I sometimes recall terrible feelings with smells

… but no visual

I avoid my family as much as I can, but say “I’m all about my family”

I am a walking contradiction

The part of me that is strong and moved on

and the part of me that is still hiding in the shadows

I will never stop trying to remember all that happened to me

But I am okay knowing just this:

Whatever happened, it wasn’t right, I didn’t deserve it, and it wasn’t my fault.

Phases of Becoming

So I recently read a little something out there that spoke to me, and I needed to share it with the world. It’s been the framework with which I am measuring my personal growth. It’s been accurate to a T as to what I’ve felt and how I’ve been moving through the phases. As I write this now I am in Phase 4: Lilith, and am anticipating a grand move to Phase 5: Witch. Since I’m writing a few things that reference this, I figured why not link to the original here and explain a little below?

Stage One: The beginning

Phase One: She

When you do what you’ve always done because you never bothered to question why. You live in your self created prison until you realise that you don’t have to. This is the moment you know that there is only before this moment and after this moment.

Phase Two: Becoming

Chrysalis… Simply me right now… stuck in the middle.

Stage Two: The burn down

Phase Three: Eve

Surrender to the process and the “fact finding” phase. I love research and I’m hungry for all the knowledge I can find.

Phase Four: Lilith

Dancing in the fire, yup… dancing around in the turmoil now. I still don’t KNOW things… but I am getting there. Discovery has been a “trial by fire” time and I embrace it fully.

Phase Five: Witch

There is a KNOWing that comes with this stage, and acting on that knowledge that I just can’t muster the strength for yet. But soon…

Stage Three: The birth

When you emerge with your knowledge as your true self.

Phase Six: Goddess

Time to show the world who you have become.

Phase Seven: Me

Enjoying your true self and teaching others.

As I begin my new set of positive affirmations, I hope to push what I have learned so far into forms of knowing. Being able to believe and know in my heart what I have found is true, and then being able to use that knowledge to affect the world around me is huge. I have never had control of my own life before, it has always been varying degrees of beholdenness to the ideas others pressed upon me… I can’t wait to be not just free but confident as well.

To me! Eventually…

From Savior to Villain

Have you ever hear the saying “You either die the Hero or you live long enough to become the Villain.”? Well I could write the book on that if we’re being honest.

I have been there for my family in ways one should not, I have covered up some of the most devious of actions for family members, ignored trespasses, and lived in my own personal hell for most of my life. Why? Because I was the Angel, the Saviour. I always was able to swoop in and save the day for everyone. It wasn’t just with the big stuff though, it was with everything. No matter how small or how large “Chrys” was there to save the day.

I know, in the story the hero sacrifices themself for the greater good and is exalted for it. Happy just to be able to help. But this is not that story and I have said many times this does not and will not have a fairy tale ending. In reality I am human, and I am a human who has gone through quite a bit of trauma. Someone who was in fact abused by family members, someone who has been used and thrown off to the side, and someone who ALWAYS made sure they did what they could to be there. Bent over backwards to step up and care for the family…

I know, Heros are not out for a thank you. They are selfless… and I tried to be. But again, I am not a super hero, I am a broken human being and from time to time I need some help too. Or just a little consideration? Or maybe just to not make my journey more difficult?

I know… it’s been a long time coming but it finally came. I ran out of steam. The hero buckled under the pressure of 25+ years of carrying the load on her shoulders. When she sacrificed LITERALLY everything, my marriage, my job, my savings, my home, my future happiness, all to “save the day”… she didn’t even have the family there by her side. She was alone. She set fire to the ruins and walked through it. She danced and let the fire baptize her. She learned to say No.

No… simple right? But when you’re used to hearing “don’t worry I will find a way”, No doesn’t make sense. It’s Cruel… or at least what I was told. That drawing the line in the sand and expecting grown ups to now act like grownups is Evil. How dare I let them down? How dare I ignore them? How dare I not help? How can I leave them in their time of need?

I’m evil, I’m now the Villain. Simply by putting up boundaries to try and fix my own life I have ruined thiers. I am the Evil Queen in the story of my family now… and if that is what they see then that must be what I am to them right now. But just remember that there are two sides to every story. One day I will get to write my own “Wicked” or “Maleficent” for all to see. So the world will know I wasn’t always this bad guy… and that I am capable of heroic acts.

I was the hero in your story, now it’s time for me to be the Hero in My Story…

 

Wake up

One day it all falls down

the ones who held you up, will hold you down

the ones you thought family will reveal as abusers

love will shift and the ones who you thought gone

come back

One day you will wake up

in the world where your worst nightmares are true

but you find yourself not leaping off the mortal coil

but glimpsing at freedom for the very first time

walking away

Anxiety or Instincts?

Mental health and trauma can affect you in ways one would never expect. Where once I thought it had the best “intuition” on the block, now I see that my negativity and anxiety were creating the perfect environment for my worst fears. But still, I was right!? So was it my mind creating the negative outcome or was it my amazing intuition?

Well? Do you know the answer? Because I am faced for the first time with the inability to determine what is my amazing instincts kicking in… and what is my anxiety and self-doubt sabotaging me?

I knew that moving forward in my mental health would cause a ripple effect through my entire life, but I thought once I settled into therapy I would start to feel better pretty instantly. And, well I guess I started too… but now that we are unpacking boxes with the words PTSD on them it’s starting to get messier.

PTSD can mess with your brain in a number of ways, but one of them is that it creates coping mechanisms in order for you to move forward. Two of mine I struggle with the most are Hyper Anxiety/Obsessive Thoughts and simple avoidance. If you have ever been one who prays, or does visualizations, or even just tries to put good karma out there, you know how energy works. You understand the power of thoughts and intentions… so riddle me this:

At what point do you go from intuition, to allowing your HA & OTs to create the energy/environment for your worst fears to come true? How do I begin to trust the voice in my head when I don’t even know if that’s my instinct or the PTSD talking?  What if they are one in the same?

Retraining your brain to new pathways in tough, and reviewing gut instincts for backup documentation is even tougher right now… but I refuse to just tap out. If I have to run each gut check through the paces then that is what I will do. I just wish I had more answers right now than questions.