Its been way too long since I've updated this page. I'm doing great, just busy as hell to be honest. I have been taking some time as well to decide what I really want to do with this page, my book, the idea of getting involved in more political aspects of fighting this system that breeds mental health issues and assault. Some days I want to throw everything away and start over. Some days I don't want to do any of it, my illness takes hold and I spend days or weeks fighting to be able to take care of my basic needs and thankful I have help. For any one who finds this and doesn't know what I'm referring to, I am in the process of finding out myself. It may be MS, or Fibro or severe arthritis, and maybe one day I'll be able to get into a doctor again for my follow up on the last series of test given. Next appointment is sometime in December...the joys of our medical system.
So enough of all that, while I sort it all out I suppose its time to share another story, I think I have one that follows up the last fairly well in the timeline.
Moms Runaway too.
I'm very comfortable looking out the window of a moving car. I actually do this thing sometimes, I try really hard to catalog everything around me in my memories. The way the trees or buildings look. The types of people passing by. The way the sky looked and the smell of the air. I don't know why I started doing this but I know why I kept doing it. I wanted something I could go back to. One point that would trigger the rest of the day or event. I did this mostly in good moments. Moments of peace. It was something to see when I needed to calm down the fears I had rumbling through my little head.
I've always told people that I don't remember anything but the truth is, I do. I remember a lot of it actually. I just didn't want to talk about a lot of it. Our minds are funny that way, like hard drives that we can train to hold or release information. Most of the time we don't want things to "Trigger" us and its even become somewhat of a dirty word in today's ever awakening society. Me, I wanted them. Maybe because I knew it would be important in the future to remember the way I felt or even because I knew if I didn't hold on to my past no one else was going to do it for me. I never imagined back then, of course, that I would develop an illness that attacks my memories and that those moments may be ALL I remember, but I digress. My family wasn't the type to tell you stories of " When you were little", I think a lot of that has to do with my mother's shame of her past. Not that she really had a reason to be ashamed, but I do understand the feeling, being a mother who's made a few mistakes myself over the years.
One particular window moment I've held onto was leaving my grandmothers house at about 7 1/2. Maybe? I usually am not very good at estimating my age during events to be perfectly honest. I do remember who was there however. It's crazy to think that I have so many important memories that involve my grandmother and the rest of my fathers side of the family. We don't speak any more. Maybe it started with this moment. My mom was leaving my dad again. This time she was serious. She wanted to go to Texas to be closer to her family and didn't want to see my father ever again. There are parts of this story that are hers and I won't be telling you, but I will tell you that I'm proud of her for every time she stood up and said "No more". Even if it meant I was going to be drug across the country a few times for her to do it. She isn't the confrontational type, but there have been a few times that she has shown me what being a mother and a woman were really about.
Unfortunately there's also a lot of things that my mother didn't tell me. I was only 7 or 8, so I don't completely blame her for keeping me in the dark with some of the things that occurred in our lives. All I needed to know was who my new teacher was and where to get breakfast in the morning. Kids were handled a bit differently when I was growing up. I think part of the issue with victims speaking up about abuse is from the way we were raised as children of the 80s and before. "Suck it up" and "Go on with that mess" were common phrases. Our parents were raised the same way we were if not in an even more rigid atmosphere, so really whos to blame? Is it the Church? During a time when everything was judged by the good book and those who lived in sin tried very hard to hide it, it started to make me wonder.
Those thoughts only progressed as I got older. Being a victim was shameful. At least that was how we were made to feel. Not just women, all of us. Since my generation has become parents and tried desperately to correct a few of our parents misguided ways, things have started to change. We have begun to finally listen to our children, and seeing that has given me so much hope for the future. Then, I get hate mail, or comments of the most vulgar nature describing what people want to see others do to me or what they fantasize that my father did to me, and my faith and hope is again, momentarily lost.
Memories are kinda strange, much like dreams. You remember the way you felt, the way the weather was maybe, but you can't remember where it was in time or who was in the other room. You can't recall what happened before or maybe even after. Just that moment. If you asked my dad what happened that day he'd tell you she kidnapped me from him. He says there was a fight and she lost her mind. I talked to him about it once. He had so much fire in his eyes and he was literally spitting as he spoke the words. " Oh, You mean when she F****** kidnapped you away from me and ran off across the DAMN country?" Excuse his language. On another note, that may not be the last time you see a few edited profanities strewn together. I just prefer to quote accurately.
On the day we left I was sitting in the back of the car, I was still too young to sit up front. Moms not there yet, she's still grabbing the last of her things and talking to my grandmother. I had already been crying. When you are little it doesn't really matter if your parents are all that good to you, they are your parents and you desperately want the family life you see in the movies on tv. All I knew then was that we were moving and he was gone. We had moved plenty, but this time I'd never see my dad again. That's what she said over and over again. NOt to me, I don't think anyway, more to convince herself. I believed her. She was angry, there was a stillness inside her. She was upset but even in my youthfulness I could see that she wasn't going to change her mind. Not to mention when she did speak, mostly directed to my grandmother,she didn't exactly have nice things to say. Parents, your children can hear you. In the room, outside, if you are anywhere near them, they can hear you. If they see it start, they know it finished. Be aware of what you are showing them. Please. What you say is shaping the memory they have of that moment. In my moment I had lost my dad again. I barely knew him as it was, but I loved when he was home, and I had kept up hope that one day he'd be home for good. Now he wasn't going to be coming home ever again.
The child in me didn't know that she was doing what she thought was best. I was just cold and sad. I found myself taking a long trip, in a stuffy old car, and when we arrived at our destination I saw my grandmother. Her hair was still darker than it is now, more salt than pepper though. My grandmother lived in Texas. I have so many fond memories of her and my mothers side of the family. I often wonder what life would have been like if we had just stayed there. She was so happy to see me. She greeted us with big smiles, even though the stress of life was visible on my mother she wanted me to feel happy and at home. We gathered our things and headed inside where she had started to cook for us a bit earlier. I was excited to see her of course but also to see her dolls. She has these beautiful glass dolls that had a life of their own in their glass eyes. They sat next to a whimsical carousel that dripped oil down string lines circling the dancing horses. I don't know why but those little pieces of art captured me. I would get in trouble just to play with them. Of course, I didn't really have much else to play with. Staying with her was short term and we didn't have much anyway. I slept on a pallet on the floor next to her bed, that first night I cried, but I soon settled into my new temporary home. During my days I'd get into little tucked away spots in the house looking for something interesting. Something I could imagine was something grand. Something real. Age does not define us. We all want the same things. Stability, love and hope.
I did find a few friends in the area, two little girls whose mother only spoke Spanish. I learned the basics quickly. I didn't care that I didn't understand the language they spoke. It made it easier to be the shy little girl I was. I could just smile and laugh with them. We talked about some things when we could, I even stayed the night once. It was so nice to have them and my grandmother. Those little girls are also what sparked my interest in learning new languages. I was so unsocialized at the time that my interactions with them where really the first time it hit me that the whole world didn't speak the same language. That we had so many more differences than I had even imagined. As you can guess this expanded my daydreams, I started reading even more, falling into other worlds. My thoughts on the world where growing, as it will, with or without the help of others.
It was a hard time in my mother's life but to me it was just another change. I had a family, a few friends to get into trouble with and a safe place to sleep. As a child you really don't know that you need anything more. We are just animals at our core, I suppose. Plus, maw maw cooked really good food. Obviously. I mean, the little Greek lady lived in the bbq capital of the U.S., of course we ate well. Mom always made sure it was all as painless on me as it could be. She really did try to make me feel normal. The process of divorce isn't easy on anyone. I feel like it was probably harder taking 5 or 10 years to go through with it however. This trip of course did not turn out to be the last I saw of my father.
I understand a lot more about divorce these days, I've been through one myself now and I can see things in such a different light. I know she was scared and not just of him, but of the absence of him. He was the first man she really loved and she had carried his child in her belly. She saw his face in mine every day. He had shown her excitement and adventure. She wanted to be a "proper lady", with her husband and a little house in the country. The same thing I think many of us strive for. I remind myself regularly how young she was when all this was happening. I know I say age doesn't define us but youth of the mind can cause us to be weary in our decisions. The lack of experience makes you second guess your every move, I can only imagine how many ways she felt like she was failing. How many nights we were both crying into our pillows. I know it hurt her to leave, and it hurt her to stay. What do you do with that? How do you calm your soul when it's screaming?
I've spent my life trying to tame those emotions and what I've finally accepted is that there just isn't an easy answer. I am sorry to say that no matter how many councilors or "friends" where shoved into our lives that feeling is just there. It's something you have to work through by changing your perspective of the situations, and that my friends is not an easy task. Even harder at 8 years old. Not easy, but also not impossible. I learned to think logically very early. I still find myself pushing emotions to the side and using logical outcome predictions to calm myself when things get scary. I'm not sure if its the healthiest way to handle things but it works for me. I think that's what's important, finding what works for you. No book, no post, no friend and no family member can tell you how to handle your emotions, or how to heal. I think it's better that way, because when you do find your way you will rise up, all on your own, with so much power in your veins and control in your mind and that feeling... that feeling will heal you. Don't get me wrong, talk to family and friends, they will want to be there for you and you need them, just know in the back of your mind that's up to you to be honest with yourself about what really works.