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Friday, August 31, 2012

Confession Is Good For the Soul Part 2

Now where did we leave off...       I think I had just gotten out of the Kansas Institute and returned to my senior year of high school.   The only thing I am proud of in this is that years later when I wanted to go to college and ordered my transcript, I discovered I had made a 3.8 GPA even with a nervous breakdown.   I also was still a member of The National Honor Society and had the sticker on my diploma.   This doesn't mean I was super smart, it just means I did a good job during a very difficult time.  

I forgot one other thing that shaped my fear of men.  I used to ride my bike to school with my friend every day.   One day, she had to stay after school and I went home alone.  I lived less than a half mile away.   I stopped at a stop sign and a car pulled up to me.  The man said, "Have you ever seen a cop this big?"   Now, at the age of 11, the word I heard was cop.   However, going by the towel on his lap that was lifted so I could see said "cop", that is not the word.  All I knew was some strange guy was talking to me and showing me things I didn't need to see.  I ran, terrified, back to the school and although I can very vaguely remember having to give a report to the police, that's all I remember from that incident.

I was in no way shape or form ready to start college after I graduated.   It was too bad too, since I actually had a scholarship to a local college.   The only problem was, the college was up by where my Dad now lived and I couldn't deal with that.   So, I figured out what my strength was, and got a job.   I was an excellent babysitter so I applied at La Petite Academy and was hired.  At that time, you needed extra child classes but could get them through the businesses, you didn't have to have an early childhood education degree.   Considering I am only 37, it sounds weird when I say that time, like it was ancient history.  LOL   It does FEEL like decades and decades ago.  Anyway, that job was the happiest time of my life.

I was really good with kids and even better, I was good with parents!   I started out helping someone with the one year old's, but eventually they built on a nursery and I ended up heading it.   I was really proud that I accomplished that at 19.  Taking care of the babies was the best thing I ever did.   Some times, I miss those days.   I have skipped over some things that made those days the best days as well as some of my worst days.   I loved having my nephew in the daycare, I got to see him every day.  Yeah, my nephew, I was married.  

I knew the sister of the man I would marry, we went to school together.  He came over to buy my word processor I had for sale and started flirting with me.  I didn't actually know he was flirting, I'm just a little wiser now.  A couple of weeks went by and he proposed.   Now, I had been out of the hospital less than a year and let's just say, I wasn't totally all there in the head yet either.  My self esteem was so low, I figured nobody else would ever want me and I might as well marry him.  Yeah, a real love match.  

There's something about having the marriage certificate in hand that makes some men nut up.  He was normal until we were married, but then he started yelling at me all the time.  He would tell me about how worthless I was and bully me into giving him my check from the daycare.  He had income as well but that was spent however he wanted it.  In the meantime, my nephew is removed from his mother's care due to suspected child abuse (he came to daycare with his head all squishy from cerebral spinal fluid leaking).   I was still living at home, so was my husband.   We couldn't afford to move out on our own but Mom didn't mind.  It was a big house and there was plenty of room.  But she did get tired of him abusing me and finally said something along these lines, "I do not want to see you being abused and can't take it anymore.   Either move out so I don't have to watch, or leave him."  She wasn't serious about me leaving of course, she was trying to give me a mental "shake".  It worked.  

I left him and we started foster parent classes to foster my nephew.   Then they turned us down, devastating us, saying that since I had been abused as a child, I would abuse any foster kids.   I truly hope they know better now.  They really missed out on a great family helping them.  I was so upset, I felt like it was my fault we lost him.  I had started college and was working part time at another daycare but my second semester, I started faltering once again.  In the meantime we had to move and ended up in a duplex pretty close to where we used to live.  I was thrilled since my grandma was in walking distance and remained that way.   Her and I got very close since I would escape to her house after school when I needed to. 

We were happy at the duplex for awhile and then it happened.  Yet another guy proved you can't trust men.  A young couple moved on the other side of the duplex and I was smitten.   Not with either of them, with their son.   He was such a doll and I was hired to watch him while they worked.   He was just a couple of months ago and at such a fun age.   Then one day her boyfriend came over to our house.  I watched their son in our side of the duplex.   I didn't think it was strange he was there, I had his son after all.   I was home alone and he started coming on to me.   I was still trying to figure out my feelings on men and had told him I wasn't interested since I still wasn't divorced and he had a girlfriend and a baby!   He started touching me in ways that made me not only uncomfortable but made me freeze up.  Apparently, lack of response isn't a turn off for some guys.   Things happened that should not have and they were not consensual.  That whole time is in a haze for me and I never moved.  Truthfully, it felt like I wasn't even there.

Some would say that it is not rape and I have been struggling with that for over a decade.   But I finally think a decent person would have realized that I was not with him and stopped.   I did not come on to him if there is any confusion there, I was just gone.  I said no, quietly, once, was ignored, and then I was no longer in my own head.   I had all the signs that things were not right, taking a shower and scrubbing until I was bright red, feeling like something was wrong, etc.   The police were great, they never doubted it was rape and told me so.  I didn't get an exam, I was terrified of them. 

That's another odd thing with me.  I am terrified of gynecological exams and that was before I even had them.   This isn't nerves, this is visceral terror.  My first exam was the one where I found out for sure I was pregnant with TJ at 22.  I always figured I didn't need it since I wasn't sexually active.  Its pretty dumb on my part since my Mom had cervical cancer when she was pregnant with me.   I was born a month late due to cryotreatments.  Luckily, it didn't affect me in any way other than slowing my growth so I was late.  I was only 7 lbs 9 oz even though it was 4 weeks past time.   So yeah, I know its stupid that I avoid them, but it hasn't stopped me.

The police had to drag my Mom off my rapist, she was choking him.   They let her punch him one last time then yanked her off.   They said something about it being unfortunate that they couldn't let her kill him.  When he got out on bail, all Hell broke loose.  My room in the duplex contained the back door.   He would yell through at night about what he was going to do to me for ruining his life.  He was constantly trying to break the door down and needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

The landlord couldn't evict them because of some clause for families with children under one year.   I couldn't even get a restraining order because he had a right to be in his home and it was the other side of my house.  Things were really getting bad and Mom decided to send me to California.   The only good news I have is, after Mom joined me about a year later she told me that he raped another girl and lost his child (social services, not death) due to drug use and neglect.   So he got his, it just kicked in too late for me. 

Mom and I were so close, leaving to go to California was the scariest thing I had ever done.  I lived with my aunt and uncle out here and actually started healing.  I found a good psychiatrist and therapist and my uncle and I would have talks about my Dad.   My aunt was like a second mother and I eventually enrolled in college out here.  Then came the day my uncle was out of town for work and my aunt had a manic episode.   My aunt is bipolar and I don't know if it was the stress of my uncle being gone, she needed new meds or what.  But an incident happened while I was home between classes and she scared me to death.   I ran next door to the neighbor and she took me in.  I was about 1800 miles from home and terrified.   A call to my uncle later and he asked her if I could stay until he got back home.  I had watched her kids many times so she was happy to have me there to help her more often.   My uncle came home and my aunt came out of her mania, not even remembering what happened.   I stayed with the family, right next door, still going to college for about five months.   Then things got too confusing for me again and I dropped out to become her nanny.   I didn't know she was taking advantage of a confused girl, I thought it was great.   I got to do what I love, take care of kids, and had a safe place to stay.  I missed Mom so much though and I guess my aunt couldn't figure out why I wouldn't come home.

I spent Thanksgiving alone, the family went to a relative.  I did have a turkey TV dinner though.      LOL       I can look back now and see that I was taken advantage of.   I did all the cleaning as well as watching the girls in exchange for a bed and food.   I was never given any money.  Anyway, Christmas was great because Mom was coming!   I was so happy when she pulled up and I saw her for the first time in over a year.  I will give my Dad one thing, he sent a money order for a deposit on an apartment.   It really wasn't much considering he cleaned out all our accounts, including my college, the day after Mom kicked him out.  But I will give him that.   Anyway, we were happy in our apartment, I even had an iguana for a pet.  I tried several jobs and never lasted more than a couple of days.  That was the start of being unable to cope with a lot of people around me.   Telemarketing was the biggest flop.   One of my phone calls, I reached someone in the middle of a viewing.  Yes, like someone was dead.  My boss wanted me to call them back another time!   That was my last day.  

Things seemed to happen all at once after that.  My iguana went into puberty and bit my nose so hard he drew blood (he used to kiss it) and ended up in a pet shop.   Yeah, I know its normal but I was a bit scared of him after that and figured it would be better to get him a new home.  He wasn't just dropped off, it was a consignment type situation.   I checked on him periodically, worried about him, even though he did bite my nose.  Then came the eviction notice at the end of the month.  Um, what???   Turns out the manager of the apartment took all the month's rents and split!   We had a receipt but the owner didn't care, they had lost a lot of money and a lot of people were evicted.   We staved it off for about a month with fake bankruptcies.   Did you know that if you file for one and then let the time run out without doing anything, you gain some time to figure out what to do in an eviction?    That's why I don't have one on record, it was just a ploy to buy time.   We ended up in a hotel and that's ultimately where Mom met my Dad!

Mom had a job and I was watching a baby for someone.   But it wasn't enough, not even for a pay by the week hotel.  So three months in, I was back in Missouri.  At first, I was at my Dad's Mom's house.  She spent all her time berating me about my childhood and what Mom did to Dad.   She even told me she was molested by her brother and she turned out just fine so I was being ridiculous?!   Notice she didn't say she didn't believe me, just that it shouldn't affect me!   I had been encouraged by my psychiatrist and therapist in California to go on disability.  I had a psychiatrist and therapist in Missouri as well and they agreed.  I was still in my appealing/filing time and had no income.  I would go over to my Dad's apartment just to get away from my grandmother and even slept on a cot in his one room apartment.   Talk about twisted!   He did his best while I was there to convince me that my memories were messed up.  I was so confused by the time I got accepted for disability and was able to get an apartment of my own. 

I met my current husband (yeah, I know, we aren't divorced yet) in the apartment building.   I would like to tell you it was love at first sight and I knew what the heck I was doing.   But I can't.  I was so messed up that I don't even remember dating him.  I know we dated for like six months but I can't really remember anything about it.  I know what we did because I was pregnant when I got married.   But I have never lost that, out of body experience, during times of intimacy thing.  That's ultimately why I decided I was better off alone.  But I am skipping ahead of myself here.   Everything was fine until we were married.  Then, for lack of better words, he wigged out.   Its like he suddenly couldn't handle being a husband and father at the same time.  He started going downhill until he was admitted to the hospital in about my seventh month.  He would not get out until our son was six days old.  His sister was my labor coach and I don't know what I would have done without her.   I really didn't realize that 13 days after TJ was born, I would be headed on a plane back to California.   But that is for Part 3.

These are such heavy subjects that I thought a cute/funny photo would be nice to end with.   This is Snowy in TJ's shirt instead of Peanut.   As you can see, he doesn't fit as well!


10 comments:

  1. aw! (((hugs))) You are so inspiring Shellie!

    How long did it take for your aunt to get back on track after her husand came back? Was she still in her "state" when you and your mom got evicted, is that why you couldn't stay with her?

    I wish we lived in the same town; we'd make such gret lunch buddies!

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    1. My aunt was back on track fairly quickly after my uncle got back but things were still weird. I hadn't talked to her since that night and we didn't make up for years. I just started talking to her again about 10 years ago and that happened 16-17 years ago. I wish I had known at the time that she just wanted me to come back home, I lost so much time. But remember, if I hadn't gone back to Missouri I wouldn't have TJ!

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  2. I don't understand how making this public is a good thing. Discuss with family and friends that understand? Yeah. But putting it all out on the world wide web where perhaps your son could read someday without hearing it from you with support from you? Not a good thing at all. Making this public will fuel the fire of the mean girls that will take anything one writes and twist it into fodder that will be very negative and hurtful, no matter what good intentions you had. Everyone has stuff to deal with, I'm not saying what you have dealt with is not awful and worth working through. But writing in a public way, hoping for what? Having those that have written bad comments about you change their minds? That will never happen with people who work only in the negative, stroking themselves on the backs of those that work through problems. I'm sorry, I think this type of venting becomes a bit of "complaining and explaining" and it's very easy for human beings to either not listen, or twist to their own twisted benefit, and that's not a good thing. I hope you the best. If it were me, I would discuss in a private forum with my trusted friends, not those that have already shown that they will do nothing but hurt you and are just looking for new material to do that with.

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    1. i see your point but I have to admit that this started as something to tell the detractors and has become just me telling my story. If I wrote a novel, my son would find that just the same. A lot of these things, he already knows on a level appropriate for his age. My son is unfortunately, very perceptive. At the age of five he invited my Mom to a school dance because, "I know Mommy doesn't like lots of people around." I do respect your viewpoint though.

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    2. Anon 8:39. This is a blog. Bloggers share their lives. Michelle is sharing her struggles and hardships. Leave her alone.

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    3. Shellie, You know what they say "what don't kill us, makes us stronger!". You are a very strong young lady and I can only believe writing this should be very theraputic for you. :o) ♥ Marley

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  3. I'm so amazed and grateful that you're talking about these things. My experience (different from yours and yet very similar in many ways) has been that getting this stuff out of my head and into the fresh air has released the poison these early experiences left me with. A LOT of good things have followed -- for one thing, I found out I'm not alone. For another, I have been privileged to witness tremendous strength and courage. Thank you for that. :)

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  4. Sorry you've been through so much. I did get a bit confused. Did you get married twice? Are you still married? These of course are none of my business, so if you don't want to answer I understand.

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  5. I don't have any problem with that question. Yes, I was married twice and am still married to the last one. He is in and out of the hospital with manic episodes and was in when I tried to file for divorce. By the time he got out, filing was expired and I just haven't started it again. LOL I'll tell more about my first husband sometime.

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  6. You have been through so much, and seem very strong. I am a very weak person. I am on my second marraige (soon to be over in a couple of week) I have never really been on my own. well 5 yrs between marraiges, but i had an in home daycare and child support and spousal support. but the daycare was failing, and I didnt have enough to pay the mortgage and had it forclosed. I started my second marraige with barely a job, a alot, alot of debt. some things happend and i lost my job and one of my kids moved out because of stuff he and i had.
    What I am getting at, is, at 45, i am having a marraige over and i have nothing. no car, job, money, home, etc. I have parents and they can only help so much.

    I dont know how you did it. You should be very proud of how strong you were.

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