Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Unicorns and Tree Spirits October 28, 2013

unicorns

unicorns (Photo credit: Martyn and Debz)

 

I once believed in endless possibilities. Anything, absolutely ANYTHING, was possible. The world was a wondrous place, and I believed it all.

 

In my mind, Unicorns were real. It didn’t matter that my mom told me otherwise. She even pulled out the encyclopedia (this big set of books we used to have before Google) and proved it to me. But I didn’t believe her. Deep down inside, I just knew that one day I would catch a glimpse of this magical creature. I daydreamed about them for hours at a time, imagining our adventures together.

 

There were other things I believed in with the certainty that only a child with a grand imagination could. Pegasus was real and flying around when we were not looking. Characters in books were more than characters. They stepped off the pages and lived real lives. I believed in tree spirits. As a young child I often played, alone, under the boughs of the many trees in my backyard. They seemed to have distinctly different personalities: some were loving and gentle, while others where playful and mischievous. It was all perfectly logical to me.

 

Some of my certain beliefs were not cute or sweet. I believed in horrible monsters who hid in dark corners and waited for wandering little girls. I believed a creature lived under my bed at night. Evil: pure, unadulterated evil, lived and breathed in my world. I could feel it and see it, just out of the corner of my eye…I didn’t know until later that real evil lurked in some people I knew, and the dark corners would one day be my refuge…

 

Somewhere along the way I lost that belief in endless possibilities. When did it happen? Was it a gradual death that took place over a long period as I traded Barbie dolls and toy cars for long-haired boys and beer? Or did it happen suddenly, a lost innocence that occurred like a sharp intake of my breath when I met real evil? I’m not sure when or how it happened, but I do know I cannot go back.

 

I miss unicorns and tree spirits. I miss those times of simple faith. Believing is not easy at all for me anymore.

 

 

What I Do February 3, 2013

I’m enjoying a quiet weekend. There is much work to be done, but, as usual here lately, I am content to do just enough to get by. I hope my energy and motivation returns again one day. Until then, I will do what I feel able to do.

Maybe it’s because I am such a go-getter at work that I have nothing left when I get home. My job is very demanding and the hours are usually long. The funny thing is, I have no problems keeping up with the demands I have at work. I have decided to share what I do. For years, I was a teacher. Then last year I took on a new role in the education system. let me explain what I do at work.

I work in an elementary school. I oversee and support 26 teachers. My job is hard to explain because I do so many things. I train teachers in any and all new teaching concepts. I oversee a huge testing program and make sure it is completed on time and correctly. I often test the students myself. When the county or state decides to drop by for a site visit,I must walk with them through each class and listen as they point out all that is right or (more often) wrong.  The principal and I must answer for anything that is not done correctly in the classrooms. I am the “go-to” person for any and all needed materials used for teaching. I am also the “go-to” when teachers need to vent or have difficulty of some sort. I run after school tutoring for selected students. I go into classrooms and teach demo-lessons or co-teach lessons with the classroom teacher. I evaluate teachers and give them feedback on how to improve. I also provide support by assisting with students who have discipline problems.

I work in a school that has major discipline problems. We have some kids in the upper grades in gangs. Lower grades often deal with students who throw chairs, scream, kick, and swear at the top of their lungs. The hell these kids live in would produce nightmares in you for years.

Here is a typical day for me:

7:00 I arrive at school, click on my laptop, and quickly gather needed books for 1st grade. I clip on my walkie-talkie and deliver the books.

7:10 Time to report for morning duty: meet and greet. It is important to greet students when they enter: for some, it is the first “nice” they hear in the mornings.

7:30 Go to my office and check email and text messages. This is how teachers let me know if they need supplies or help. While there, 3 different teachers stop by. One needs supplies. The other two need my advice.

7:40 Deliver needed materials to 4th grade. Stop in to see Bob, one of several students with which I seem to have a special bond. He is doing fine, so I move on. I check on Delia next, a first grader who is often thrown out of class for being disruptive. She is screaming and hitting the assistant, who is trying to remove her from the room. I squat beside Delia and talk in a soft but firm voice. She has to get quiet to hear me. Delia knows I will not put my hands on her; I repeatedly ask her to calm down, take my hand and go to my office with me. She puts on a show for another minute before she takes my hand and walks with me. We sit in my office and discuss whatever set her off, and how she needs to make better choices. Delia has anger issues; but so would I if my dad had been shot and killed 4 months ago and I was taken from my mom because she was too coked out to care for me. I walk Delia back to class just as I get called to a 3rd grade class.

8:45 Go to the 3rd grade class. We have a long-term sub in this room because the teacher resigned at Christmas. When I arrive, she is in tears and yelling at the kids because they will not follow directions. I spend much time in this class because of the sub, and because these kids need me. I take over teaching and get the students back on track. The assistant comes in to help me and we get the kids rolling again. The kids in this room love me because I give them structure, I listen to them, and I don’t abandon them. They feel abandoned by the teacher who quit. Many have been abandoned by their own parents, so it is a big issue for them. I make sure to spend time with them daily.

10:30 The 3rd grade goes to art, so I go back to my office. I have two students I need to test; one in kindergarten and the other in second grade. I test each of them. While testing, Michael stops by to see me. He is a first grader who saw his dad stick his sister’s legs in boiling water because he was angry with her. Michael stops to see me 4-5 times a day, every day. I hug him and he is on his way back to class. Then Brandon is brought to me. Brandon is in kindergarten and has thrown a chair at his teacher. He sits with me to cool down. We talk. The teacher has called mom, and she says she is on the way. She never comes. I send Brandon back to class after he calms down and apologizes for his behavior.

11:30 I meet with the principal.  She is someone I truly respect and admire. She has her hands full at this school, so we often meet as a team to see what needs to be done to accomplish needed goals. We discuss problem areas and possible solutions. She has several items for me to take care of, so off I go. I see Angel, a girl who was suspended for swinging at her teacher, sitting in the office. Her parent sent her to school anyway because she had to go to work. As I am leaving, I get two text messages. One is from my daughter, J, letting me know she is having a good day. (Sigh of relief). The other is from a 5th grade teacher who needs to see me after school. I reply okay.

12:30 I stop in and co-teach a 4th grade math lesson. We have a first year teacher in this room who needs much support. The kids are often off task, so I give them plenty of chances to talk and move during the lesson on comparing fractions. Bob is in this room, so I make sure he is engaged. I have given him a small piece of putty to hold in his pocket. He has trouble focusing and needs to “fidget”, so playing with this in his pocket helps to keep him out of trouble. It seems to be working today.

1:30 As I leave that class, another 4th grade teacher stops me. They team is having trouble and need to meet with me after school. I make arrangements. Then my walkie-talkie calls my name. It is the office, letting me know a delivery of supplies is in. I tell them to send it to my office and I will deal with it later. I don’t even know what it is. Back in my office, I grab my lunch and eat while checking email. I have 10 emails, 5 of which require a response from me. I take care of these while eating.

1:40 Rashad comes in for a quick hug. He is in 1st grade and has much trouble with behavior. He informs me that he has been good today. We have an arrangement that he gets a treat if he can be good all day. I tell him to keep it up.

1:45 I have stacks of books and supplies that need to be organized, so I take time to work on that. While working, 5 staff members come by for various reasons.I talk and continue organizing.

2:15 Time for afternoon dismissal. Rashad earned his treat, so he stops by. Afterwards, I help load children into the appropriate bus or car, and chaos becomes quiet.

2:20 Time for the staff meeting. The principal opens the meeting. When she completes her part, I step in. My teachers are having trouble teaching math, so I show them some ways to do it correctly. Most are grateful for my advice. Some seem beaten down and unresponsive. We are still working on staff moral.

3:30 The meeting is over, but I am still talking with a core group of teachers who have questions and need more time with me.

3:50 I meet with the 5th grade teachers. They are having trouble with a lesson in reading. so I discuss it with them and we find a solution.

4:45 I walk back to my office. Many teachers are gone, but some are still in the building. A 4th grade teacher is waiting for me. She is upset with her team and needs my advice. Just as we are finishing up, a 3rd grade teacher comes by needing my help. Soon after, a 1st grade teacher comes in. Before long, my office is filled and we just have a much-needed gab session to relieve the tensions of the day. Sometimes we cry, but more often we laugh.

5:30 I pack my laptop and needed papers. I am usually worn out by this time.

So, you see, I often don’t have much left to give when I get home. So if I choose to let a few things go right now, I’m alright with that. There’s always tomorrow.

 

The Perfect Christmas Tree December 6, 2012

He stood outside the window and admired the twinkling lights and shiny decorations that adorned the tree. The brightly colored lights flashed on and off and cast reflections of green, red, blue, and yellow against the dark green evergreen branches. The boy loved that the tree was real, not one of the fake ones he saw in all the stores. The branches displayed a variety of ornaments, all unique and unmatched. That’s the way it should be, he thought. A Christmas tree holds memories of all Christmas’ past, with new memories added each year. This tree was the definitely the best

English: A Christmas Tree at Home

English: A Christmas Tree at Home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tree ever.

His eyes drifted from the tree to the presents beneath. His breath caught in his throat as he imagined ripping into the packages in the early hours of Christmas morning, with his mom and dad looking on with sleepy eyes and faint smiles. I wonder what is in the big one in the back, he thought. Perhaps it’s a football. Maybe it is a pair of cool tennis shoes. His mind began to reel with the idea of the many things it might be, and how it would feel to rip open the box.

“What the hell are you doing, boy?” Startled from his thoughts, he looked up to see an angry middle-aged man bearing down on him. The boy felt rooted to the ground where he stood outside.

“Planning on stealing from me? Hell no, you will not! I will teach you a lesson you will never forget!” The man stepped from the door and marched toward him. In his hand he held a wooden baseball bat. That sight motivated the boy to move. He took off running in the opposite direction of the threatening man. Never daring to look back, he ran down the middle of the road without stopping until his sides ached and felt ready to split open. Only then did he look back and finally stop. Tears were streaming down his face as he gulped in the cold air. The boy leaned against the lamppost until his breathing returned to normal. He continued walking slowly down the street until he could see the neon lights of the burger restaurant glowing in the distance. Right before the parking lot of the restaurant he looked around to make sure no one saw him before he ducked underneath the rusting chain length fence that surrounded a dilapidated building. The building used to be a factory. Now it was his home.

When he stepped inside the dank building he heard his mom right before her hand came down across his face.

“Where you been?” she hissed through clenched lips. “I been worried sick about you!” The boy hung his head and didn’t even try to explain. How do you say that you were standing in someone’s front yard, wishing and dreaming that you could be someone, anyone, other than who you are?

Just as quickly as she slapped him, his mother grabbed him and held him tightly in a hug. “I jus’ worry ’bout you, you know? Anyway, I found some pretty good leftovers next door. Let’s go have some supper.” The boy untangled from her hug and walked deeper into the building. It was time for supper.

 

Early Signs of Mania and Choices I Made August 6, 2012

Trigger Warning: Drug and alcohol use, abortion, and gang rape

I was sixteen years old when I first left home. (I ran away before, but the police brought me back). My mother and I  had spent the past few years butting heads and I was tired of living by her rules. The more I rebelled, the tighter she tried to hold me. By this time I had smoked weed, drank any alcohol I could get my hands on, and popped whatever pills I could find for about a year. I rebelled more and more as the memories of childhood sexual abuse came to the surface. My mother accused me of lying about it for “attention”, which just drove a bigger wedge between us. I think this was also my first instance of mania. I was wild and crazy, just a party girl looking to have a good time.

I had a friend I smoked weed with named *Greg. Greg was a sweet, quiet guy and we hit it off. A few months later, I was pregnant. Deciding to get married, we told his mom and dad. My parents? I had so much anger in me I simply told them I was getting married and leaving. Being all of sixteen years old, my dad had to go to courthouse and sign for me to get married. I still remember the anger and pain radiating from him as he stormed from the room.

We immediately moved in with Greg’s parents. We slept in his childhood room that was still decorated for the high-school senior that he was. He had a part-time mechanic’s job. I didn’t have a job, but none of this bothered me. I knew it would work out fine, and I had visions of being this great mom living this perfect life. That’s why I think I was manic during this period.

Not long after moving in, Greg’s mom talked with us. She was this uneducated little country woman, but she had a way  of talking that was very sweet and gentle. She convinced us both that having a baby at that point in our lives was a mistake. She loaned us the money and gave us the number of a clinic that performed abortions. We decided to go through with it that next week. I had not spoken to my family since I left, so I had no one to talk to about my choices other than Greg’s mom.

Again, I think I was manic throughout this entire period. Otherwise I don’t think I could have done this and survived. I always considered abortion as a woman’s option, but never, in my sixteen-year-old mind, did I think it would be an option I had to consider. So I focused on my “great life” Greg and I would have after this “procedure”.

I won’t go into details about the abortion. Just know it was horrible and something I have to live with for the rest of my life. Manic or not, I chose to go through with it.

Afterward, I felt empty, as though my soul was left behind in that clinic. This began one of the darkest periods of my young life. If I had been wild before, I was now the poster child for “Girls Gone Wild”. The drug use became worse as I grew more and more out of control. I found a job at a burger restaurant and we found a place of our own. I attended night school so I could get my high school diploma. Greg worked two jobs. Most of our money went toward rent, electricity, and alcohol, and drugs. We began selling weed to help support our habit. For months we ate egg sandwiches and whatever I could bring home from my work. Every day, I got high, drunk, or stoned on something. Every weekend, we went to wild parties thrown by his older friends.

His friends, Kevin and Robert, had their own apartment and they knew how to throw a party. We were always welcome, and at the time I thought it was because they just liked us and were such good friends. I felt the way they looked at me, but it was no different from how men always looked at me. I didn’t think much about it, really. I wore sex like a costume because it was a weapon for me, flirting shamelessly.  No one looked at me, the real me, if they were too busy looking at my body.

One night the party was wilder than usual. Some new drugs came in and they were strong. We danced and partied like always. Greg and I had no money for drugs that weekend. so Kevin and Robert gave them to us. They also kept giving Greg drinks until he was too drunk to function. They told us we could stay the night since we were too wasted to drive. We had never stayed, but we both thought it was a good idea. I remember dancing and first Kevin, then Robert, slipping me more drugs. I remember very little about the next few hours.

Around three in the morning Greg and I stumbled to the bed in the spare room. We both passed out immediately. Within twenty minutes, Kevin and Robert snuck into the room and picked me up. I remember waking up and they told me we were going to party some more. I think I passed out again, because the next thing I remember I was in a different bed and completely naked. Kevin was on top of me.

I was so stoned everything around me seem to be flashing in slow motion. I looked over Kevin’s head and saw five guys surrounding the bed. I tried to say no, but I don’t know if the word even came out of my mouth. I did push against him, but I was no match for him. When he finished, the next guy climbed on top of me. I was crying and pleading with them to let me go, but they laughed and told me “we’re just having fun” and “you know you like it”. I even yelled for Greg, but he was passed out. They didn’t let me go until they all had a turn.

Robert led me back to the spare room and put me back in bed with Greg. I cried myself to sleep.

I never told Greg or anyone else what happened that night. I was too embarrassed and thought it was my fault for being a flirt. Not long after that, Greg and I decided to go our separate ways. I continued to self-medicate for many years, trying to forget the choices I made and where those choices led me.

*All names have been changed to protect the innocent…and the guilty.

 

Dear Rainey: A Letter to My Former Self June 24, 2012

Dear Rainey,

This is your future self, older Rainey, writing. You are now 20 years old, and on the verge of making big life decisions. I don’t want to mess things up by telling you how we turned out, but I will say we did not become a rock star goddess or a millionaire. There are a few things I would like to tell you, though, that might make life better. I know we get advice from people all the time (and we never listen), but I thought maybe if it came from, well, YOU, that we might actually heed the advice. Here are four things I wish we would consider:

1. Save money. It seems that most problems we have today involve issues with money. Our job is a decent one with a good income, but the more money we have the more we seem to spend. Add to that all the unforeseen medical bills, college tuition, and other costs, and we constantly worry about money. If 20 year-old us would start being thrifty, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard.

2. Travel and see the world every chance we get. This seems to go against #1, but really it doesn’t have to. If we learn to be thrifty, we can afford to travel as long as we are smart about it. If we died tonight, our biggest regret would be that we never got to see so many of the great wonders in this world. The reckless (manic??) side of us wants to walk away from the life we have and travel the world. It is an urge we fight every single day.

3. Live alone for a while. When we were younger, we were in such a hurry to get out on our own that we always had to live with others to afford it. While we had great times, we missed the chance to live alone and just be. Living alone teaches you valuable things about yourself, and allows you to become yourself without so many outside influences.

4. Create something every day. We have a creative side that needs to be explored. We can draw, paint, make crafts, and write. To become better, we need to create something every day. It is also a great outlet for our emotions. Creating needs to be a big part of our life.

Ok, Rainey; those are the top four things we need to work on to make our future better. We can start working on these things now, at our current age, but just think how much better life would be if we start at YOUR age?

With much self-love,

Rainey

 

Dear Daddy: Of Oysters, Soldering Irons, Fishing, and Love June 17, 2012

Alternative versions of Superman

Alternative versions of Superman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Daddy,

You were the first man in my life. The good news is you gave me the love and security a young girl needs from her daddy. The bad news is you set the standard high; no other man could ever measure up to you.

My best memories are times you and I spent doing simple things together. I loved the smell of your workshop, and my favorite thing to do was bang around in it. Remember how you used to let me use your soldering iron? I would create mini metal sculptures. You worked on a project while I played around at the workbench; those are great memories, Daddy.

I also remember sounding out a word to you. I was so proud because I had just learned the magic of unlocking the meaning of the sounds of each letter. We were outside a shopping center, waiting for mom to go through the check out line, and I saw the word written on the wall…..F…..U…..C….K….hmmmm….”What does that mean, Daddy?” Your reaction was confusing, but priceless!

I have a secret to tell you. Remember when I was about 9 years old and I started joining you and your buddies when you steamed oysters? The men would sit around drinking beer and swapping stories, and I would hover around the edges. When the oysters where ready, we would take the knives and shuck open the gritty shells. Inside would be the salty, chewy prize that would slide down my throat. My secret is…..I didn’t really like oysters. I simply ate them to spend time with you. You were my wonderful sanctuary from my negative, over-protective mother. I know she meant well, but…well; you know. You lived with her, too.

Remember when I was a teenager and having a really tough time with drugs? You took me to the pier at the ocean to fish. It was the first time we spent alone together since I was a small child. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember being so happy to be with you. You were always my Superman, even when I was a lost soul.

You stood by me, Daddy, when I was going through some tough times. You saw me through bad relationships, heavy drinking and drugs, and other assorted tragedies. Even now, when I am a grown-up mother of two adult children, dealing with problems you’d never even heard of, you stand by me. I can always count on my daddy to be the one man in my life who never lets me down.

Much love from your baby girl,

Rainey

 

Words to a Child June 10, 2012

Cover of "The Help"

Cover of The Help

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Last year, I read the book, “The Help” and then saw the movie by the same name. As usual, I liked the book best, but that is because I am a reader. The movie was great and stuck closely to the book, so I highly recommend both.

The quote above was said by Aibileen Clark, a black maid/nanny to Mae Mobley, her small white charge. Aibileen repeated those words to Mae Mobley daily to help make up for the fact that her own mother couldn’t be bothered with her. It is my favorite quote because it is so simple, and yet, so right.

Imagine if every day someone said these words to you, and they meant it. Imagine hearing these words every single day since you were a small child. Would it change things? Would hearing these words help to override the negative voice inside your own head?

My own mother did the best she could. I am sure she said some positive things to me along the roads of my childhood. She is not an affectionate person, so I don’t remember hugs, kisses, or her even saying that she loved me. In her mind, it was understood. In my mind, I felt unloveable, and that feeling haunts me to this day. The words I remember, like many of us, are the negative ones. Would things be different if she had repeated heartfelt words of encouragement  daily? Or am I just a person destined to feel unworthy of real love?

I don’t know the answers, but if you have young children, it couldn’t hurt to try. Look at your child each day and try to give some affirmation of real love. Maybe, just maybe, those words will sink in and change your child’s world.

 

Soundtrack of My Life June 9, 2012

Jackson 5 - Michael Jackson

Jackson 5 – Michael Jackson (Photo credit: Michael Jacksonfan)

Today I read a great post written by the one, the only, Le Clown. The post is about he and his wife’s ( Ringmistress) differences in musical taste. He’s into U2 and she prefers The Rolling Stones. It got me to thinking (dangerous, I know) about music and how important it is in my life.

From birth until age 7, I don’t remember much about music. In the old days when I was a wee child, if I were awake I was outside playing. I’m sure we had a radio and my older brother and sister probably listened to music, but I was too busy being totally engrossed in my imaginary world to pay them any attention. They were older than me, so they were more like boring adults. The only music I do remember was my dad’s music. When he would wash the car, he would play a radio and listen to old 50’s tunes. Some of those songs are still among my favorites because they remind me of him, and simpler times.

At the age of 7 I became sick. It was the second week of my third grade year when the pain in my legs became severe enough to call for a trip to the ER. After several trips to the ER and my regular doctor, they deemed me unable to do anything that would raise my heartbeat for fear of permanent heart damage. For this reason I became bed-ridden for the next 9 months.

Imagine an active seven-year-old who loved the outdoors being sentenced to bed. The worst part of all was that after the pain in my legs passed, I didn’t feel sick at all. I felt perfectly fine, yet could not even walk down the hall to the bathroom to take a bath or use the toilet. The only time I could leave the house was to go to my once a week visits to the doctor. On these trips my mom carried me in. I don’t know why we didn’t have a wheelchair, but I think it was because I was not even allowed to sit up completely; I stayed in a reclining position most of the time.

At first, my friends would stop in to see me. They would sit timidly on the edge of my bed and play a board game. This did not, however, last long. Back in this pre-video game era, kids actually played outside ALL DAY LONG. Being inside for very long was unheard of, and the lure of the outdoors called my friends away, one by one. Visits dwindled to once a week, then once a month. There was simply too much to do in the world than sit by the bedside of a pasty-white former friend.

No friends, no activity. What is a young girl to do? One thing I did is develop a life-long love of reading. Reading a book could take me places and make me forget the sameness of the four walls of my bedroom. It helped me escape my current life. To this day I am a voracious reader.

The true thing that saved me was a square box that sat on a little table beside my bed.  It was a gift from my parents. The box had two small latches on the side where you could take off the top. Inside was a small turntable used to play 45’s. It was nothing more than a cheap child’s toy, but to a bed ridden seven-year-old, it was a life-preserver. This was the beginning of what I call my “Life Soundtrack”. If they ever made a movie about the life and times of Rainey, the music would start with The Jackson 5.

I would play my small stack of 45’s over and over, belting out the tunes and pretending I was on stage with Michael and his brothers. (This was his pre-weirdo days when he was a boy). He was my hero, and probably the reason I never became racist even though I was raised by racist parents. Soon I also fell for the Osmond Brothers, and I knew I would one day marry Donny Osmond or Michael Jackson.

Eventually, my doctor deemed me able to return to the world. I had to relearn how to walk, and how to control my legs that somehow doubled in length since the last time I could walk. It was also hard to return to the public world after being sheltered for so long. I often retreated to my bedroom, overwhelmed by the world that had changed so much in my absence. When I retreated, it was back to my 45’s. They were the constant that I could always count on.

Fast forward a few years. I adapted to the world but never gave up my love of music. My childhood turntable was replaced by more modern versions and radio. Rock n Roll got me through the turbulent tween and teen years; it was drugs, sex and yes, rock n roll that got me through my first memories of the childhood sexual abuse I suffered. Music pouring from the speakers soothed my aching soul and the singers sang songs that I felt were written just for me. Certain songs take me back in time and give me a taste (good or bad) of what my life was once like.

Fast forward to today, and you will see that music is still a constant in my life. When I am home alone, it is one of my CD’s, or YouTube, or, most likely, Pandora Radio that you will hear. I listen to  music from every decade, from the 50’s tunes of my dad, to new music of today, such as Gotye. I like that my musical taste has evolved over the years. I don’t discard old favorites, they just get pushed down the playlist for a newer favorite.

What songs would be on your own personal soundtrack? I think I will make a musical post of my soundtrack tunes…just in case the directors in Hollywood ever decide to make a movie about me. : )

 

I Give You Wings May 6, 2012

Yesterday was bittersweet. My youngest daughter, (we will call S), who is graduating college in May, has already lined up a job in her field. That’s great news, right? The job is in a city four hours away. Not too far, really, considering her original plan was to move to the other side of the continent, but very far considering she has lived one street over from me for the past few years. I am very proud of S. She is my strong, independent one who has suffered greatly during my other daughter’s struggle with being bipolar, severe anxiety, and an eating disorder. She is the logical one that J  listens to while in the grip of mania or depression.

S and her partner, E, will be moving in 5 days. Yesterday we loaded all of their belongings and drove the four hours to the cute apartment (Is it a flat to my friends across the ocean?) they rented. I am in awe of my daughter at times.  S is gay, and while she doesn’t flaunt it in the small town in  which we live, she doesn’t hide it either. She is her own person, stubborn and independent to a fault. She and E have collected flea market furniture, refinished it, and made it their own. They have the guts to move to a city and begin a life together. E doesn’t have a job yet, but they are confident that everything will fall into place.

I am proud that I raised such a fabulous daughter. She is an amazing person. S reminded me recently that she never forgot the advice I repeated often to  her when she was just a small child: You can do anything you set your mind to; if you want it, work for it and make it happen. She lives that advice everyday.

 

Strange Details April 24, 2012

WARNING: This post deals with details of childhood sexual molestation. It is not graphic, but if it may bother you or trigger a negative memory, please do not read.

I have blocked out most of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child, but I remember strange, small details. My first  memory is of E on top of me. I was wearing a dress and I had white lacy socks with black patent leather shoes. He made me lay down on my stomach in the woods on a pile of crunchy brown leaves. I could hear the other kids far away, playing the game of  Hide n’ Seek we were all to be playing. That day, E taught me a version I didn’t want to play. Afterwards, he picked the leaves out of my hair.

Another memory is in the bathroom. Somehow, he got me alone in there. I can’t imagine where everyone else was because when our two families got together there were 11 people in one house. I can remember the green and gold wall paper of that little upstairs bathroom in their house. The sound of our parents playing cards and laughing drifted up the stairway. I was 4. E was 15.