Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My edumacation part 5

I know, I know. This is long over due. Now, I have a little bit more time. In a way it's cool & in a way, it makes me sad. Hopefully my extra time won't last very long.

I left you with the weekend I had to be away from Steven. I think keeping him was very selfish in the very way that troubled teens are selfish. Really, not much in the way of rational, experienced thought. I am very glad my parents stood behind me.

The next couple of years, I went through even more garbage. I had a secret from my family & it was something that needed to come out. When Steven was 7 months old, or so, I "ran away" to Indiana to stay with my birth father. I must have been disillusioned thinking he would do more for me than my family did (even though I'd never spent more than 30 minutes at a time with him and only a small handful of that) - I guess we just have to find out for ourselves the true nature of people. I also left Steven behind with my parents, trust me, this was an unselfish thing and he was at the forefront of my thoughts each day I was gone. I had no idea what to expect from my birth father.

The time I spent in Indiana, the summer before my 16th birthday, was actually a very good time. I can remember a few people (for many years I could remember them all) who really made an impact on me. The biggest problem with staying there was, we really had no place to call home. He shuffled me from friend to friend and when he worked (I'm still nto sure of his "job"), I was free to do whatever I wanted. I truly mean whatever - drink, drugs, sex, etc. and he didn't have a problem with any of it. One day, he & someone else carried me by my arms & legs into a bed, hog style, because I was passed out in a chair before it was even dark! I was acutely aware of what was going on, I just couldn't react. That was what I called my semi-conscious drunk.

Fast forward to late August 1987. Time for school. I begin attendance at a high school in the small town we were staying in. I hated it & felt quite oddly out of place. Very unusual for me, because I could fit in anywhere - until this. My birth father had me staying with probably his most stable couple friends. Cindy & Beaker were amazing people & they put up with shit from me that they never should have had to.

One night I awoke sobbing & it turned into hysterical crying. Cindy came in because my blubbering got really loud and she was asking me why I was crying, what was wrong & I kept telling her I didn't know. She was a calming comfort and a complete wall of support, but because at the moment of the hysterics, I honestly did not have a clue where it was coming from, I couldn't tell her why.

I don't know how other people's minds process strained or blocked thought. I know mine was not letting me understand where this breakdown was coming from - as much as I wanted to help Cindy to understand the why, I couldn't grasp it myself. I was thinking about Steven, my parents, my birth father & how he left me here & took off. I was thinking about how much I missed my baby and how he might be doing with my parents. I was thinking about how my flight had to have disrupted my parents lives inexorably, I thought they'd never forgive me. After a long while of feeling emotionally out of control, it really hit me. It hit me like a bullet train. It started when I was 10 & didn't truly end until I left home for this summer.

I don't think explaining here will be relieving experience. I don't think this is the arena I would choose to express that kind of ordeal. I don't think it would be theraputic, just uncomfortable & a little shameful. Because even after all these years, I do carry guilt. The circumstances were unusual & even though I know I was the child, I understand I was not the power, I understand I should carry no culpability - I still feel some responsibility.

I can tell you that it prompted a series of life changes. One of those changes had to do with my dad being my voice when I didn't have one.

Cindy called my mom in the morning & relayed all of what came out of me to my mom. I'm sure mom felt devastated & so did my dad. I caught a flight home the next day. I remember coming off the plane & seeing my baby walking towards me. I cried - a lot! He was mad at me. I knew he was. For 11 months old, he was really aware of what was going on. I walked to him with my arms open & he came to me, I picked him up & he hugged me hard. Then he pushed away & looked into my eyes with a furrowed brow. He knew I left him. I don't know that I can explain it - but I knew he knew. He loved me, missed me, but he was mad at me for leaving. Then all he wanted to do was walk. It was a new thing, you know. I was amazed.

The next year was a bit of a whirlwind. With the help of "the system" I went through therapy with a wonderful psychotherapist named Karol McBride. She helped me to change my life. She helped me to change my relationship with my parents, especially with my dad. If I had been able to stay with her longer than a year, I think my life could have improved even more. She was an amazing woman and an amazing therapist. Nothing came easy, she made me see & find out for myself what was going on in my head. That's what they are supposed to do. She got mad at my dad & made him talk when he didn't want to. She pressed me for my answers.

Also with the help of the system, the plea agreement was brutally wrong. He was given a very, very light sentence for something that took 5 years of my life, along with so much more. When I heard this, I stood up & choked out "I don't..." I couldn't speak, I couldn't believe how that worked, I didn't understand it. My dad explained everything (even his own ignorance of the abuse) to the judge with a choked voice & tear stained cheeks and I cried profusely in a public courtroom in the arms of my mom. I think the judge realized the folly of the prosecution because he was pissed. off. - really angry. He explained his reasoning & judgement with a fierce & booming voice. Knowing that the judge understood was a small victory for me and provided me with a sense of relief. Another thing that was relieving was that he was told to never contact our family again or he would spend the entire time of his probabtion (after serving 90 days in jail) in jail. I knew he wouldn't try to get in touch with me. Or so I thought.

Abuse of this nature is an epidemic. This happens to boys and girls & so much of it goes unreported. Because of the way the system works today, I hope that those it happens to are willing to come forward. I also want to say that I wish it didn't happen to anyone. Nowadays, this will mark the offender for life. This guy needed to be marked because I am certain it didn't stop with me. Absolutely certain, because it didn't begin with me - & before me, he had never been caught. This is what he does - period. ETA: I also want to mention that most commonly, this happens at the hands of people parents trust. People parents will willingly leave their kids alone with, thinking there is absolutely nothing to fear. Just be wary. These people will completely endear themselves to the family. All encompassing trust.

I will leave you with this & be back with more tomorrow. All of this is a part of my edumacation. And just maybe it will help someone else.


scargosun said...

I vividly remember the feeling I had during my breakdown. It was the complete inability to explain or do anything. Everything crashing together into one big black hole. It's amazing that with the right people, you can pull it apart and figure it out.

Dee said...

Thanks again for sharing. You are right about abuse - you just don't know about people. And it is sad we have to be this way at times.


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