I am finally on the mend. It’s been a long two weeks recovering from being sick and having sutures. Pneumonia really took a toll on me, and I was without any energy or motivation. With every negative there is always a positive and I spent my down time journaling, the old-fashioned way, with a pen and my journal.
On August 3rd it will be a year since I walked away from a 16 year career. This is the first time I have had 10 months to reflect on my 51 years of existence. Prior to August 3, 2012, life flew by. I rarely experienced time alone, even in my darkest years. Those dark years were consumed with just trying to survive.
I now am attempting to deal with and process what I never took the time to deal with or process. The dark days, black moods, anxious feelings, fear, and years of abuse.
I find myself so angry with people that tell me to just forget about it, don’t think about it, put the past in the past and move on. I am told be happy with who you are, who you have become and what you accomplished. To me that is bullshit.
It took years before I could ever talk about it, to recognize the storm that was festering in my being and swallowing me up. The feelings that suffocate and choke me. The reality I never wanted to acknowledge or face head-on because it could require me to feel, and cry and cry.
The pain of knowing my mother hated me from birth and wondering why. The pain from a childhood of beatings and being told I am worthless. The pain from my mother telling me she wished I was dead and hated the sight of me. The pain from not a single person recognizing what was going on in my home and removing me from that horror. The anxiety I experienced daily when I would wake up as a young girl and wonder how bad my day would be. How can I just forget about it? I am just now dealing with it.
These last couple weeks of being sick I have gained a lot of insight. I answered some of my own questions. I entered what I can only explain as a labyrinth.
In the early 1970’s I was a member of our local 4-H group. Not many of my classmates joined 4-H; they thought of 4-H as a club for nerds. For me it was an escape off of Corri Lane and the house of horror, if only for a few hours each week. I was around loving adults (my 4-H leaders) that praised my 4-H projects and smiled…. Adults that actually smiled AT me and praised me. It was wonderful, and each week the time with my 4-H group passed too quickly. I was happy, if only for a few hours.
Each year, my 4-H group would go to camp and meet up with other 4-H chapters. My mother allowed me to attend camp 2 years in a row. I remember the first year I wanted to attend the camp. At the end of one of my weekly 4-H meetings we were all handed a sign up sheet for camp by our leader. I signed my name on the list. I was given an enrollment packet to take home to my parents. There was a list of all items campers needed to bring. The usual requests a sleeping bag, pillow, bug spray, rain jacket, walking shoes, etc. Along with insurance info and a check for $80.00. The check would cover transportation to and from the camp and five days for food and craft supplies. Also there was a general store at camp so if we wanted to purchase snacks, trinkets, or post cards we could bring spending money.
I returned home from 4-H and gave my mother the enrollment packet. She threw it on the counter and told me no I couldn’t go to camp. I said, “why can’t I go?”She told me because there was not any money for camp and I did not deserve to go. I told her that I had money in my bank account and I would pay my own way. She still refused.
I went to my room and quietly cried. I knew we had money for me to attend camp. I wanted to go so bad. At some point in the next few days my mother told me that she may let me go to camp if I was to complete a huge list of chores. I didn’t care how long the chore list was I was willing to do whatever she asked to be able to attend camp. I did everything on the list she asked. The day of my next 4-H meeting I asked my mother if I could get the $40.00 deposit and the signed form to take with me and turn in to my 4-H leader. She refused stating that she never said I could go, only that she would consider it. I left without my signed form.
When I arrived at the 4-H meeting all the other members turned in their completed forms. When I was asked for mine I told my leader I would bring it next time. I returned home and resolved myself to the fact that I would not be able to go to camp. Within a few more days my mother asked if I wanted to go to camp. I told her that I very much wanted to go. My next 4-H meeting I had a signed form and a deposit for camp waiting for me on the kitchen counter.
Over the next few weeks before camp, I more then made that $80.00 in additional chores and was constantly threatened that at anytime she could decide to change her mind. It was absolute torture. I now recognize that, and just realized these past couple weeks my mother was emotionally torturing me. Why would any mother want to do that to a child? I was only 11 years old!
Of course, when the day came for me to go to camp, I was threatened the entire drive to where I was to meet all the other campers and board the bus. I was told that I better not tell anyone anything that went on in our house. I was told how much I did not deserve camp.
When we arrived all the other campers mothers and or fathers were hugging their children, some parents crying that they would miss their kids. Some blowing kisses to their children who boarded the bus. My mother simply told me that the bus better be on time when she returned to pick me up or I would be in trouble. So for the next five days I had to worry about what would happen if the bus was late. Thankfully, in the end, the bus was on time.
I still have not figured out why she let me go to camp and then again the following year. My best guess would be that if I did not attend it would be an embarrassment to her for not letting me.
When I was in the 8th grade we had a test called the Constitution test. If a student passed the constitution test there was a trip to Washington D.C. that each student would be eligible for. I earned an A on that test and my mother told me if I earned an A I would be able to go. In the end after months of the same emotional torture I had going to 4-H camp she changed her mind. I was not allowed to go. When my mother asked me what reason I gave my teacher and friends for not taking the trip to Washington D.C., I told her that my parents did not have the money for me to go. That was the reason my mom gave me, even though I knew it was not the truth. I had the money in my savings account to go. My mother beat me for telling that reason to my teacher and friends because she now would be embarrassed. I was grounded to my bedroom the entire time my classmates were in D.C.
It’s taken me many years to figure out why my mother did these mean cruel acts to me. But I now realize it was to emotionally torture me. She hated me, she hated my father, and she wanted either to make me go crazy and be institutionalized, or what I believe to be the truth, she wanted me to commit suicide. I think that she felt if she drilled into my head how much she wanted me dead. What a worthless piece of shit I was, how I would never amount to anything I would just silently kill myself.
She didn’t get either of her wishes…. I am sure the internet and social media are now her worst nightmare, outside of the fact that I am alive.