Fuckin’ Perfect

Brave.

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately in regards to both my professional life and my private, personal life.

Yet I sit here and my eyes overfill and pain spills down my face. I listen to this and I tell myself I am not what they say I am.

Pink “Fuckin Perfect”on Vimeo.

I can ignore it for a long time. I can give second chances. I can forgive, I have forgiven, I will forgive again. again. again.

But what I will not do is submit myself to the abuse that others dish out with no regard.

I don’t know how it happened. How it all came to blows on the same day, the same moment.

I was making a professional resignation from an organization I’ve been a member of for nearly a decade.  Y’know what. Wait. Let’s be clear here. The people  in that organization have become family to me. We’ve fought, argued, debated, grown, and always–always we’ve loved.  It is not those people I walked away from, those people joined arms in support and walked away as well. It’s really two of the officers of the now disbanded Indiana Horror Writers that I took a stand against. A couple of the officers made some poor choices with sexist language and after trying to deal with it as a group, without resolution, six of us gave our resignations and ended our affiliation with the Indiana Horror Writers. One of us has control over the digital assets of the organization and we’ll see what happens next.  The two men we had problems with are forming another group, people are taking sides. More than that though, I’m accused of being unprofessional, a liar, unreasonable. My posts were deleted, I was removed from the organization’s forums, blocked from one of the officer’s Facebook friends list, was told I couldn’t resign because I wasn’t an officer, talked about in a private forum I was removed from, but all the while told that the doors are open and it’s a safe and comfortable place to discuss the issues. I was told it’s my fault. The message is clear: Shut up.

Safe does not equal degrading me, attempting to shut me up, or trying to control me.

At the very moment I hit submit, and I’m really not kidding, the very moment, I received a phone call from my dad, who proceeded to tear me to shreds verbally. I was called names, accused of stealing money, threatened, and made to feel guilty because it’s my fault. I was hung up on more times than I care to count. And then, one time, the phone didn’t disconnect and I heard what dad was saying to my sister about me. I heard the names they were calling me. The message is clear: Shut up.

If I listen to these people I’m a liar, a thief, a bitchy broad, a hard head, I’m unprofessional, disrespectful, lazy, jobless, and nothing is enough. I’m not enough, I didn’t do enough, I don’t do enough, I’ll never be enough. Never.

{like when I was a child, I was a slut, a bitch, a whore, a liar, a thief, worthless, told that I should have never been born, told that I was brought into the world and can be taken out of it. I used to pretend I was adopted because that made more sense to me.}

I listen this the song again. again. again. Fuckin’ Perfect…

to drown them out.

because they think they’re the victims.
they cry about injustice and how they’re being wronged by me.

Months ago, they were all told how to fix the issues that came to a head on Monday. Resolutions were spoken. Ignored. Because they won’t own up to their parts, I am the punching bag.

{brave i am not}

After the dual meltdowns Monday morning, so much adrenaline ran through me I thought I’d puke. I was shaking so much for so long and I couldn’t make it stop. I cried more that day than I cried when my uncle hung himself and when my mom died.

I stood up and said, Fuck this. This is why my body is in adrenal failure. Because people who say they love me haven’t the first fucking clue of what it means. I will not submit myself to this for one more second. And if you hate me, it will eat you alive, not me.

You don’t like my attitude, my words, my language, my song? Leave. Yes. These are my true colors they have always been my true colors and one thing I have never, ever done is hid this side of me. So you go ahead and blame me so you don’t have to look in the mirror. So you don’t have to change. So you don’t have to own up to what you did. You go ahead and post about me and talk about me and call me names. Tell stories so people take your side.

I do not care if another soul on this earth believes me or thinks I’m a horrible. Turn the whole world against me if you must. I am ok with that. I thought I couldn’t live with these decisions, but I found out I can.

This is not brave. This is survival. This is the last straw in a long line of straws that I have allowed to decimate my physical, mental, and emotional health. If you think this is about just one little incident, think again. It’s about a lifetime of people treating me like shit and I’m not doing it any longer. So if that means leaving organizations I love and walking away from people I love, so be it. Go tell someone else what I horrible bitch I am. I’m not going to shower myself in insults and bathe in lies. I’m not going to eat your hurtful words nor drink your warped version of love.

Listen To Your Mother {Eastern Iowa} Cast Announced

A little story:

The first Mother’s Day after my mom passed away, this girl was producing a northwest Indiana show for Mother’s Day called Listen to Your Mother. She invited me and I declined. I was appreciative and wanted to support her, but I didn’t think I could deal with the emotions. She emailed a few days later and asked if Phil would be an usher at the show. I asked him and he said yes. (sneaky girl. I love you for that.)

So many of my friends were there that night and I felt loved and I loved them and it was good for my heart.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was urged to submit something for the Eastern Iowa show and with moving and the chaos, I just didn’t think I could add one more thing to my plate. But then, one morning right after we moved in, I was looking in the backyard of our new home and I saw some lilac bushes I’d never noticed and I wrote it. I cried and I wrote it. Then I sent it without even thinking I’d ever be chosen.

But I got the email and the announcements are made and there is my name. I will (somehow) be reading my story on stage. I’m not a stranger to the stage, that’s not the intimidating part. It’s the part where my emotions will be uncontrolled trying to tell my story. So far, I can’t even *think* of reading it without crying let alone actually reading it. It’s probably one of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever written. (deep breath.)

Growing Up Dysfunctional Part 2

Growing Up Dysfunctional Part 1

* * *

The thing about me growing up dysfunctional is that I didn’t know it was warped. I was happy to throw away grandma’s vodka bottles that she hid between her mattress and her box spring. She paid me $20 every Saturday to dust & vacuum the living room, clean the bathroom, mop the kitchen floor, and throw away vodka bottles.  I was even happier when Uncle Ed (still living with grandma) paid me an additional $20 to clean his room in the basement. Clean everything, but don’t touch that stuff that looks like dried parsley, ok? Ok.  $40 bucks a week for a young kid in the early 80’s was a lot of money!

In fifth grade–so I was what? 10?  During the 1982-1983 school year I broke my collarbone. I’ve always laughed about it but now I’m not so sure it’s funny.

Our city had 4 elementary schools and once a year, we’d all participate in the North American Games, fun races and such…healthy competition between schools. We were practicing my event, a relay race. I was to run across the gym to my team member, pass the baton. That person would run back to the other side of the gym, pass the baton to another person who would then run the baton to me, and so on.  I was running with my baton as fast as I could.  And I blacked out.  Classmates tell me that instead of passing the baton, I hunched myshoulders like a football player and ran my dominant arm’s shoulder into the concrete wall at full speed.

I don’t remember the impact.

I remember being on the floor of the gym, looking out the windows that were just inches above the concrete wall. I used my dominant hand to lift myself up and felt horrible pain and started crying.

Here’s a photo of where this happened.  The concrete wall goes up just a bit, the risers are coving the wall. Then windows almost up to the ceiling.

Why would I black out while running?

Why would I throw myself at a wall, almost through a window?

Also during that same year, I remember an assignment we had:  to write a dictionary on a subject of our choice.  I picked “Car Parts” and laid on the living room floor asking my dad things like, “What is an alternator and what does it do?”

I hated girly things. I hated dresses. I wanted short hair and I wanted to play with the boys and I wanted to BE a boy.

My teacher told me I should be writing about subjects little girls are interested in. I told her I wasn’t interested in the things other girls were interested in.

I was also the best speller in my fifth grade class. I could spell Mrs. Kaczmarek and rendezvous without having studied and I was the only one that got them right. I got good grades, straight A’s. I was in the Gifted and Talented program. I wanted to be a truck driver.

My teacher was right. I was different, to say the least.

But was I different because I was different? Or were things happening to me me that made me rebel?  What would the “experts” say now?

I only remember what my great-grandfather did to me (sexually) and I won’t go into that kind of detail here.  But I don’t know when it started or when it ended.  I only remember a few situations. I know I spent a good deal of time with him. I remember his house had 2 floors and the upstairs was like an apartment, but it wasn’t. It had everything, a kitchen, living room complete with davenports covered in plastic, bedrooms, a bathroom. But my great-grandpa lived in the basement, which also had a kitchen, living room and basement.  He made me rye toast when I stayed the night with him.  He lived in Hebron.  Then he moved in with his daughter (my grandma) and he lived across the alley from us. He drank more vodka than grandma. She stole his vodka and replaced it with water. He knew because he kept the gallon of vodka in the freezer and vodka doesn’t freeze, but water does. He came to my mom concerned with grandma’s drinking. All the while, I was throwing away her booze bottles and he was sexually violating me.

And I didn’t have a clue any of it was wrong.

* * *

(football photo credit)

* * *

Growing Up Dysfuctional

I’ve been thinking. And yes, you probably should be scared.

Scott is starting a series today about his things that have happened to him. Today’s post was about when he left home. At 13.  I’d commented to him that I should follow his lead and tell some stories in February. He followed Karla’s lead, telling how she was betrayed by Alli Worthington, the founder of the blogging conference, Blissdom.

And if you remember, I started to tell my story awhile ago.  Remember these from October?

In the first (long) series:

Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out As I Planned
Shepherds Aren’t Always Nice
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 1
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 2
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 3
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 5
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 6

Then there was this one in January, about my Toxic Family.

IMG_3900

None of this is for pity or popularity (can you imagine? Hey! My dad beat me and my great grandfather sexually abused me while my grandmother drank herself to a big bloody mess on her basement stairs and my uncle killed himself–make me popular! Ugh.)  No. That’s not what it’s about.

Sometimes, there aren’t easy answers.  I tried therapy and the shrink wanted to drug me. I don’t need drugs. I need some resolution. I need to say these things because from what I can tell, most of my family acts like this stuff doesn’t exist, like it never happened. And I’m kinda sick of pretending. I’ve never been good at it.

One of the hardest parts is deciding where to start. With my mom’s father? The tabu subject. The man who had an affair with his sister-in-law. Not just an affair, but fathered two children and committed bigamy (married his sister-in-law while still being married to his wife, my grandma.)  Or with my mom’s mom who threatened on a regular basis to stick her head in the oven and said daily, “I just wish I was dead.”

Or maybe with my dad’s mom who, upon his return from Vietnam, spit on him on the doorstep of their family home?

Or maybe with my dad’s PTSD from Vietnam combined with being bipolar (or did the PTSD cause him to become bipolar?) Maybe when he started calling me a slut? Or maybe when he held the crossbow to me and threatened, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out!”

The pieces of the story that would make things complete are missing from most of these stories. In the last 5 years, a lot of people have died in my life.  So I have memories. Some of which may be spot on, some of which may be skewed by a scared little girl’s emotions or warped by an angry teenaged-girl’s fight or flight instinct.

If you are part of my family and are reading this…it is what it is. It’s what I remember.

The residue of which I have carried to this place.

I’m putting it down starting this second.