Day 116 – A Huge Loss and A Great Victory.

What an emotional week it has been. I had a session with Mrs. A on Monday and again on Thursday. Both times I was not able to say what was on my mind. Infact, the pressure I was putting on myself was immense. I wanted so badly to tell her about some of the things that happened to me after leaving the resort (mental hospital for new readers), and my parents had moved away. All I could do was cry. I was so ashamed. I didn’t even want her to look at me.

So now it’s already Thursday evening and I’m dreading Friday. My best employee and one of my greatest supporters, had decided to leave her job to study abroad. Rarely, do I ever let someone near my heart. It’s just too hard. After my brother passed away, loss just became another day. I vowed not let anyone else in that wasn’t already there. That way, I’m sure to not feel that pain again for a very long time.

Anyway, It’s Friday and Alma’s last day. I’m crying driving to work. I can’t imagine my days without her. We had a thing that she always called me Mama Bird and I called her Baby Bird for four incredible years. We joked about her leaving the nest one day. Well, today is that day. I can’t imagine coming back from a rough therapy session and her silent hugs not being there. She never said a word. I just knew that she knew I was in pain. PS, I don’t do hugs very well, so that was a huge step in itself.

As the day is unfolding, I’m off to my third therapy session of the week. I had to somehow rectify my two earlier failures, and try again to say these black memories that are tormenting me.

I wrote on a piece of paper, “Today I give myself permission to let go of fear and shame”. I read it 10 times before going in to see Mrs. A.

We started by talking about Alma and how I avoided the company farewell speeches. A few mins in, she asked me what I came to say today and I just jumped in.

I shared several events with one of my abusers that were dark and dirty. Because I was an older teenager, the guilt was too much. I never ever spoke about those events to anyone. But today I did it.

I was nauseated. Feeling like I’m dying, but reaching deep to say the words. It was probably one of my hugest victories in this healing process so far. I left feeling exhausted and conflicted. I still had to go back to work and say goodbye to Baby Bird.

I did just that. I let her leave the nest with my prayers and best wishes.

What a day. What a week. Healing is hard work. Saying goodbye sucks.

But I’m alive. And for today, that’s good enough.

Until next time, I am being MJ every day.

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Day 115 – Father Time

Father’s Day weekend. I dread it every year.

I haven’t shared much about my bio-father. Sometimes I forget I had one. Other days I miss him as if we were best friends.

June 15th is his birthday. But almost always Father’s Day weekend as well.

My parents divorced when I was 5 years old. It was a horrible transition. We went back snd forth with custody changes. When I was with my father, I wanted to be with my mother and vice versa.

One of my first memories of him is fighting with my mother and turning over a table. It never left my memory.

I don’t know the whole story of their divorce but both remarried pretty quickly.

Bio-dad married a woman with three children. Complicating my already lost emotions of having four new siblings with my step dad. Now I have 11 other siblings and I’m the youngest.

Bio-Dad had us with him in South Carolina for a few summers after the divorce. My step-mother was also mentally ill and had serious bouts of craziness. They argued all the time.

Step-Dad had returned from war to find his then wife with another man. Not only did he have PTSD but he was angry and bitter.

Now I have two fathers. Both are alcoholic. Both are mean and angry. At 5, how do I make sense of this? Are all men asses? Are all men abusive?

In the middle of all this, I was sexually assaulted by a complete stranger in a violent way. Who do I tell? Both Moms are nutty and self-absorbed. I just know that I can’t tell anyone or they will NEVER love me.

In the past 20 years I have had three men in my life who I consider my brothers. They are not only spiritual fathers but outstanding fathers to their own children. Thank God for Dennis, Mike and Doug. They have loved me and listened to me. Recognized me and treated me as family.

And then there is my son. He is such an outstanding father. He loves his baby girl like no one else in this world. As she is becoming a young woman, he handles all those awkward moments with great strength and love.

Today, I’m trying not to cry. I’m trying not to grieve for what I didn’t have. If I cry, I’ll be in trouble. If I cry, I will never stop. If I cry, my heart will break in two.

So for today, I’m putting on my Father’s Day face. I can only dream about what it would be like to have Father time.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 114 – In between Life and Death.

Telling the story on my blog last night was hugely triggering. I was up all night. My stomach hurt so bad.

I went to see Mrs. A today, and I was already crying before I even went in.

Sharing details of the abuse causes a sadness that I can’t explain. Everytime I share a detail, I feel the same feelings, body sensations, etc. I get scared and frozen. I get so tense that my muscles hurt when I leave therapy.

Today I told her that I can’t do this any more. It feels like im stuck between life and death. I told her if I fail at this attempt to tell my story, I just want to die.

Living with the secrets, nightmares, flashbacks, etc is not how I want to live.

She asked me which do I choose. I told her that I choose to tell. She said she was glad because not only would it be hard for my son and granddaughter, but she’s not sure if she could handle it since she’s never lost a client like that. I actually laughed a little and said,”you’re a therapist, you would be fine”.

I have often wondered what motivates her to be so kind and caring. She never gets offended when I question her on her motives.

She said she understands that this is a process. I spent 30+ years hiding it and she says it can’t come out in one day.

The little bit that I have shared with her feels like touching a hot stove. I tell a little and jerk myself way back so that I can stop the pain. Then I don’t want to start over because I know by now the side effects of each memory.

Like having a migraine, I can’t stand the noise in my head. I can’t see a bright light. I feel sick to my stomach. I just want to shut down. Go in a dark room and stop the pain.

Somehow, I keep going back. Somehow, I keep telling one more part of the story.

Today, I have struggled because of what I shared on the blog last night. I cried and felt like I was having a heart attack from the stress.

But I got up, went to work, and pushed thru.

I do choose to live but it’s a hard decision to make. It comes with the feeling of not being able to go forward or backward.

Should I tell or quit telling? Should I live or die?

God, keep me moving forward just one more day.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 113 – Undercover Perpetrator ~

They saw him. He put his hand under my shirt and rubbed my back constantly. We would sit under a blanket and watch TV. His hands would be touching me and rubbing me like no one was in the room. The family never said a thing. They never thought it was odd. I’m 12 years old and he’s 36. Is this normal? His wife and children are sitting and laughing and talking like a normal family.

I’m shaking in fear. My heart is pounding because I feel like I’m being bad. I know if someone realizes what is happening, I’m going to be punished.

He’s calm and cool. Not a bit of fear. He’s pretending to be “fatherly”.

I know if I try to move it will raise suspicion. I dissociate to survive.

I can’t hear the TV. I can’t hear the conversation. I’m holding my breath so that I don’t cry.

When the family time is over, I have to bathe or shower. I feel disgusting. I feel dirty. I feel like I might die from all the stress. Maybe have a heart attack.

When’s it’s bedtime, I try to avoid his stares. I try to avoid him kissing me goodnight. I tried to avoid being so ashamed.

But TV time was just the prelude to bedtime. It’s the beginning of being under his spell for long hours of time.

I want it to be known. But then again I don’t. I’m 12. I’m too young to be known for sexual activity. I’m too young to realize that his actions were not my fault.

I’m to young to have an undercover perpetrator right out in the open.

Can someone please recognize the look on my face? Do you see the fear and shame in my eyes?

Someone fight this monster for me. I’m too little and too scared.

Until next time – I am being MJ everyday.

Day 112 – You Can’t Unlearn

I’ve been absent for the last two weeks because I’ve been going over some really terrible memories with Mrs. A. It’s been really hard and really sad. It’s not like a depresssed sad but it feels more like grief. Like I lost someone and that someone was myself.

I never got to be a child. I was traumatized and assaulted at 5 years old. There was no way to return to innocence. There was no way to unlearn what male genitals looked like. There was no way to forget the fear. The fear became permanent. The mental anguish never went away. The trust never came back.

I couldn’t unlearn that I was a horrible person and that I was on the earth for the sole purpose of being abused. I couldn’t unlearn that I was not worthy of anyone’s love.

When I talk about these things now with Mrs. A, it almost feels like it was yesterday. I spent so many years pretending that these things were part of someone else’s story and not mine.

I think I have just become emotionally stable enough to finally start talking about them. And I say that with reservation because I stil don’t feel stable most days.

I guess if I look at it realistically and intellectually, I would know that this is an improvement over the years of silence.

But the pain sometimes make me wish I could just die. It’s so much worse than any physical pain i’ve ever had. It’s a pain that you can’t take a pill to fix. The truth is that I spent so many years in denial and numbing. Now to feel even a little bit of emotion feels so painful.

It feels almost like being trapped. Like it’s too late to go back to numb. I’m too far in now to be the old me.

I feel stuck in the middle of healing and dying.

I want to learn how to trust. I want to learn how to sleep peacefully. I want to learn how to ease the pain.

But first I have to learn how to share the devestating sexual events that shaped my life and love myself at the same time.

I just don’t feel like it’s possible to unlearn the shame. Or is it?

I’m trying to take it one day at a time. One memory at a time. One deep breath at a time. But it’s sad and painful.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 111 – What does that word mean?

Today in my session with Ms. A, we were discussing the events that led up to one of my abusers being arrested and all of the things that happened following his arrest.

In summary, he was arrested and released same day. Out on bond until the trial. Only there never was a trial.

After several visits with the state’s attorney, they basically told my parents that I wasn’t stable enough to be believable in a court hearing.

And this is why. The first statement attempt was with two attorneys (one of them was the abuser’s attorney) and a lady. Maybe the court reporter? I don’t know.

But the questions to me were very odd. “Did he penetrate you?”, etc. I sat there trying to figure out what that even meant? I had just turned 15. My only experience with sex was sexual abuse. And there weren’t terms around those events. Infact, words were rarely spoken. I was just forced to do whatever he pushed me to do. Literally.

All I knew is that he said we were having an affair. I believed him.

Anyway, the second attempt was even worse. The doctor instructed my parents to medicate me before the interview. He went over with me what the questions might be. He instructed me to never ever say it was an affair. If I did that, it made it my fault.

Anyway, I went to the second attempted interview so stoned that I had no idea what they were saying. I couldn’t even sit up. I just keep falling over to the side.

My parents were so angry. When we got in the car to go home, they both yelled at me. Mom said I was a whore and must have liked it. Dad said if I ever spoke to anyone in that family again he would disown me.

Being sexually abused is awful. But being blamed for it as a child is even worse.

One of the hardest things for me to accept is that they let me go thru this all alone. They didn’t go in the interviews with me. I’m sure it was just too painful for them. They never said “I’m sorry this happened to you”. They just didn’t parent me.

As I tell my story to Ms. A, I’m ashamed. I can’t even look up. I wonder how she continues to listen to my stuff week in and week out. I don’t want her to even look at my face. It’s as if I’m diseased and her listening to my story could make her sick.

But as usual, she is kind and loving and caring. She says we’ll get thru this. I tell her that I just want it all to be over. I think she knows that I think about dying a lot when I’m in there. Every session she tells me how much I have improved. My heart tells that she probably just has to say those things. It’s her job. My brains tells me not to listen to my heart because it’s broken and can’t be trusted.

Anyway, now that I know what the ugly words mean, I can’t say them at all and I believe it’s what keeps me stuck.

Now I need the words to tell my story but I can’t get them out. It’s so frustrating. I hate that I know what they mean now.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.

Day 110 – The Luxury of Being Human

I have trouble grounding myself on long weekends.

I’m much better without free time. Free time gives you space to think. Free time allows memories. Free time opens your mind to possibilities.

I feel like I have to have every minute of my life planned out. The Number one reason is that it seems to block out the unexpected. In a way, I set myself up for failure. It is inevitable that something unexpected is going to happen. And then I’m twice as shocked because I worked so hard at controlling everything.

When you grow up having no control of even the simplest things, the minute you get to be an adult you grab every thing you can and hold on tight.

When I was being abused, the only thing I could control was eating. I didn’t realize it then, but it made me proud that I didn’t need to eat. And people would always tell me how cute and tiny I was.

Looking back, I probably would have been better off not to be cute and tiny.

I have had a life long love hate relationship with food. Eating cause guilt. Guilt makes me not want to eat. Not eating causes starving. Then I have to eat. Then more guilt.

What sucks is that is used to be the one thing I could control and now I’m not strong enough to be anorexic.

The other reason I hate idle time is because I get sleepy. The endless insomnia catches up with me when I slow down. I hate feeling tired. I hate not having control of sleep either. It’s like eating, eventually you have to do it.

Being in bed always reminds me of different negative experiences.

Why do I torture myself by worrying about things that are necessary to live and be healthy.

I don’t think normal people try as hard as I do to keep a grip on controlling their own life.

The weird thing is that I’m ok with other people being out of control. Because other people are human.

Why do I not allow myself the luxury of being human?

Because I can’t be trusted? Because I allowed awful things to happen to me? Because I trusted the people who said they loved me?

I don’t know.

Until next time – I am being MJ every day.