Crying My Heart Out
I have come to this board many times wanting to start a journal of my own but always leave, never saying a word. I guess it is fear and past experiences motivating me to walk away. I'm brutally honest when it comes to my life and I find it hard to hold anything back, even when it means that people might think less of me. I am me and I don't know how to be anything else.
I was a member of another website BB and talked openly about my life. I was ostracized and condemned because I didn't fit their mold. It had left me unable to open up at PO. I think I am ready now though. Who knows, maybe my words will help someone else; maybe they will help me.
I am not sure what I should talk about first. My life has been so full of pain and joy. I have been through so much in 36 years and have lived a lifetime already. If I could go back in time would I change things? If I was able to, would it hurt the ones I love the most? I am always torn between wishing I could change the past and loving where it has brought me. I have gained knowledge and grown from it all but the scars have not healed. Will they ever?
But, to understand me and who I am today, I have to start with the beginning.
My life's path was set for me when I was brought home from the hospital. My Dad handed me to my Maternal Grandmother and she promptly handed me back stating "She's not Lorie". Lorie is my older sister by 3 years. She was everything to my Grandmother and no one else would ever be as wonderful as Lorie in her eyes. There were several grandchildren but, I suffered the brunt of her disapproval because we lived right down the street from her and saw her the most. We were forced to spend nights over there frequently so Mom and Dad could go out. She made a point to let me know each time that I would never measure up to Lorie. She would treat her like a queen while I was made to do slave labor. I was eager to help Grandma out in any way I could as that was the only way I would ever receive praise. I guess I just wanted to be as good as my sister was to her. I never gave up and have always held a 'never say die' attitude. I wouldn't be alive today if I didn't have that strength in me.
My grandfather, on the other hand, was much different. He loved me dearly and protected me from my Grandmother's wrath. He was my everything. That soon ended though, he died of cancer when I was 5. He was adored by all who knew him and his funeral procession spanned several miles. It was a huge loss for me and my family.
The death of my Grandfather left a huge hole in my life. I was too young to understand the affects it would have on me. It was the beginning of a 'domino effect' that has impacted my entire life and the choices I have made. I soon started looking for someone to fill that void.
There was a neighbor, a kind older married man, who had a pony farm right across the street from where I lived. I was horse crazy like most young girls were at that age. My Mom harmlessly suggested that I go talk to him ("Mr. Tom") when she saw him working in his yard. Everyone in the town knew him because he was quite rich (owned an oil company) and did so much for the community. He brought his ponies and Ferris wheel to all the local fairs. He also worked with many underprivileged or disabled children and had them out for field trips to his farm. I guess he seemed like the answer for a lost, hurting, lonely little girl.
Upon meeting him, I felt very comfortable and really enjoyed his company. He was funny and showered me with the love and attention I craved. He asked me if I wanted to come back and help him with the ponies. I, of course, said yes as it was a dream job for me. I started going down to help on weekends and after school each day. I accompanied him on errands regularly. I fed, watered, brushed, and exercised the ponies on a daily basis. I also took care of the barn cats and dogs among other various animals he had. I had so much fun just being there. There was always so much to do, see and learn. He treated me like his Grand Daughter and I loved him in return. He made me feel special and I trusted him. Going there lifted me up from the loss. It was a haven from the torment and teasing I endured at school. It was my most special place in the entire world.
I started to develop like girls do, only faster than the average. I don't remember exactly when things started to change with the way Mr. Tom acted towards me, I just know that they did around that time. Instead of the usual peck on the cheek and hug that I would give him out in the open upon greeting, he suggested that we go in the barn. When I questioned why, he said that his wife was jealous that he paid so much attention to me. The harmless peck on the cheek and hug turned into him holding me tightly against him and kissing me on the lips. I was grossed out by it but didn't question it. How could the man I adored and trusted for years, a pillar of the community, do anything wrong? I kept telling myself that 'he didn't mean it that way' and never told a soul. I cringe now when I look back and think about how I just accepted what happened and continued to go there.
The kissing soon turned into groping, touching me on the outside of my clothes and then underneath. I vividly remember when my period started. I was so worried about going there, that he would stick his hands down my pants and feel the pad. I had fears that it would all get worse if he knew I had 'become a woman'. I had devised a plan to avoid situations that would put me alone with him during that time. I loved the horses and ponies so much and I couldn't bring myself to stop going there. Mr. Tom knew how intense my love was for them and used them like a weapon against me. He knew he could do whatever he wanted and I would keep coming back. I wasn't old enough to understand what was happening, little alone accept the fact that what he was doing was so very wrong.
It eventually became too much for me to bear. My visits to the farm became less frequent and eventually stopped around age 15. My Mom questioned me about it and I really couldn't give her an answer. I didn't know how to tell her about what I endured. How could she ever believe me? How could anyone? He was thought so highly of by everyone. I eventually did tell her though, after I was married at 19. Mr. Tom died that summer and I never did get to confront him.
I was grateful though that he was most likely too old to even consider penetrating me. He probably would have, if was able to. I remind myself that it could have been so much worse. Thoughts of other children being molested by him have haunted me throughout the years. I am filled with guilt and regret for not speaking up sooner.
Maybe one day I will find the strength to stop crying my heart out over things I can't change. I was able to move on with my life. I try my hardest to forget about what happened or at least not dwell on it. I worry that it is here like a ghost, an invisible wall from the past; affecting what I do and the decisions I make in the here and now.
I am going to take advantage of writing while I can. Very hard to find time to even go to the bathroom with 5 kids to care for. But, as someone once told me, better to have your hands full than empty.
In addition to the sexual abuse, I was tormented in school. I was an ugly duckling, or at least I felt that way and no one could convince me otherwise. Red hair was far from being in and the freckles made me even more of a target. I guess when you feel it coming at you from all sides you question who you are and what you did to deserve it. Your self esteem takes a nose dive. My Mom and Dad were good parents and I guess that's what held me together at the seams. The stress of it all started to take it's toll though and I began pulling out my hair and eyelashes. My parents didn't know what to do about it or even why I did it. They thought it was an act of defiance and I was punished for it. It didn't stop the compulsion to pull though. I didn't even know why I did it other than it gave me some kind of release. I found myself not even aware I was doing it at times, I just did it like a robot, no thoughts, just in a trance pulling it out. I was so ashamed of it and did my best to hide it from everyone. Later in life, I found out that there was a name for it, TTM (trichotillomania). It felt good to know that I was not alone nor was I crazy. It turned out to be quite common and is caused from a chemical imbalance in the brain. The bad news, it's not curable and it can be very hard to treat. I never have gone for treatment though, no surprise there as I have been the queen of avoidance when it comes to getting help. I still struggle at times with it but I am much better than I was. So many problems, so little time to get it all straight.
I had a difficult time with grades in elementary school. I was in a private Catholic School and I hated every minute of it. I was obviously distracted and had a very hard time applying myself. My Mom helped me through with hours of studying. She swore I had dyslexia but my Pediatrician told her there was nothing wrong with me. I eventually learned to work through the problems I was having and did much better in High School.
I started to bloom, coming out of my ugly duckling phase. I was never popular but always had good friends to lean on. I was still a virgin until I was almost 17. I dated but managed to hang on to it longer than most I knew. I was a disaster waiting to happen though. I had so much on my shoulders, things that I had never dealt with pushing me to be wild. I was on a date one night with a guy, Brian, that I had been seeing awhile. I foolishly trusted him and we were out drinking with a bunch of friends. Later everyone went off in their corner to do their thing. I passed out and Brian raped me. I woke up with blood in my underwear. He denied it happened that way and waited an entire day before dumping me. He got what he wanted and was gone. I felt sad, betrayed, angry. Believe it or not, a year later he had his sister apologize to me. She came up to me and said "Brian said to tell you he is sorry". I asked her for what and she said that Brian wouldn't tell her. Takes a big man to have his sister apologize for him.
Six months later I fell in love with Dwight. He was my first true love and even now it is hard to write about him. He rocked my world and vice versa. I thought we would get married and stay together forever. A year later it was over, he dumped me for another girl but kept me on a string just in case. I spent years trying to get over the heartbreak, foolishly holding out hope. I dated a few guys after him and then met the man whom I would marry.
I met Hugh in a bowling alley right after high school graduation. I know, how romantic! He was painfully shy, too shy to even ask me out so I did the honors. He was sweet, kind and everything that I needed. He had only dated one girl his entire life and I soon became his everything. My parents refused to pay for me to go to college, like they did for Lorie, even though I proved to be a great student graduating with honors. They were subtly pushing for me to get married to Hugh and so I did. He was the only guy I ever dated that they liked.
We married on May 9, 1987. He joined the Air Force and got orders to be stationed at George Air Force Base in Victorville, California. Hugh's family always blamed me for him joining even though I begged him not to. I never felt like they accepted me and certain family members were horrible to me every chance they got. I was happy that we would be moving far away from Illinois. Once there though, reality kicked in and I was anything but happy. I was isolated, in a place that I didn't know, without friends to lean on. I soon became pregnant thinking that would be the answer to my unhappiness.
Fifteen weeks later I miscarried and hemorrhaged so much that I almost lost my life. The military doctors treated me horrible. I begged them to help me and they kept sending me home. By the time they did agree to do something it was almost too late. They had to perform emergency surgery to save me. My husband stood by and did nothing. He refused to take me to a civilian hospital despite me pleading with him. He was told that if he made waves he would be sorry. When I went in for the surgery, they gave me anesthesia but they started the DNC before it took affect. I was in the most indescribable amount of pain and started yelling out. They called in help to hold me down and finished the procedure. One nurse even had her hand over my mouth and told me to shut the hell up. Later they told me that they didn't find a fetus and I must have lost it before the surgery. Needless to say, Hugh did nothing about what happened and it was the beginning of the end for my marriage.
I fell into a deep depression. I was in hell, my baby was dead, my marriage was in shambles and I was far from home. On top of this, I was told that the chances of me ever having any children were slim. I was pushed to move forward and was never allowed to mourn the loss of my little angel. I was terrified to have any medical procedures done on me there and trying for another baby was out of the question.
I think God had a hand in what happened next though. I had been sick for several months following the miscarriage. I was VERY shocked to find out I was pregnant again. We had been so careful trying to prevent it. I was terrified that I would lose another baby and braced myself for the worst. I was stuck with the same ****ty medical care and was so scared to even go see the doctor. I had a healthy pregnancy with lots of mourning sickness and Holly Nicole was born on Nov 11, 1988. Again, I was treated poorly by medical staff and was left to labor at home for 4 days before they admitted me. Holly is truly a miracle baby on many levels.
Having a baby was quite an experience. I knew I wanted her desperately bad but didn't know what to do with her once I got home from the hospital. I didn't have anyone to get advice from, no friends with babies, my parents were a few thousand miles away and my husband returned to work. There was no Internet to look things up on and the few books available were not much help. Poor Holly, I was so clueless. Everytime she cried, I cried too. I thought she hated me. I wanted to breastfeed her so badly but she just wouldn't latch after days of trying. The hospital didn't have an LC and the nurses told me that my breastmilk would make her jaundice worse. With no support, I gave up. I wish I knew then what I know now. It was very heartbreaking and I felt like such a failure.
I somehow managed to keep her alive though. I followed my heart and soon learned that was the best recipe for a happy, healthy baby. She was the light of my life and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much.
I don't think anyone ever told me how having a child of my own would make me feel. If they did, I didn't get it at the time. I was in awe of her natural beauty. The smell of her skin and hair was more fragrant than any flower. The way I would want to inhale it and hold it inside forever. The adorableness of her chubby fingers, toes and thighs. How she would lift me up to the highest mountain just with a simple smile. A smile that could light the darkest room. How good it would made me feel to see her eyes shine when she saw me. How she will cling to me; I would be the only one who could console her and how important that would make me feel. To her I was the embodiment of love, comfort and even perfection. Feelings all of which I had never experienced on that level before.
These are all feelings that were repeated with each new life I was blessed with. I experienced it all again, like it had never happened before. I learned that love can only grow and my heart always makes room.