Lie: It’s not ok to be too functional or too happy.
Mantra: You are seen for who you are.
When it comes to affirmations to break my bad habits of shame, ‘I am complete’ seems to hit with more effect than ‘I am safe.’ I am safe gives me a nullified feeling. After swearing off a bad habit a couple nights ago I decided to take affirmations on again.
My mind is agile and what comes in definitely comes out, so today, I said it with every step in the grocery store, every breath that I took when I got home. When I got out the car, my usual fatigue and anchor in my stomach pulled me down with a force and I fought pushing it through the door of the house. ‘I am complete, I am complete, I am complete.’
I dont know where the idea came from, the subconscious message entering my wellbeing, that I was incomplete, and that being too functional or too happy was a rip off. I thought I was good at spinning everything into a positive into my childhood.
I briefly wondered perhaps it was the chronic pain illness that made me feel like I was not enough, it has been proven to be more of a psychosomatic attack on my body than a case of bad genes. But the illness was something that I’ve had lifelong, and my attitude was never like that, so I don’t believe that was the case.
For a few months now I have talked about the mystery of my change of personality in middle school, and upset that I could not return back to the innocence of childhood.
I was much like a Peter Pan character, quick to make friends and loyal to boot – I had a cunning sense of humor and a glint in my eye that always had the Lost Boys a’commin’ for adventure. But by the time I was in the 8th grade and continued onto high school, I was a shyer kind. Constantly tugging and picking at myself insecure. I no longer was a participant of the world, but an outsider always hyper-vigilant and looking at myself from a distant.
I remember when I moved to my father’s in 2007, some mornings I would cry in my dad’s arms begging for me to stay home. Suddenly I was the child clinging at their parents ankles with desperate against separation anxiety. I was the new kid about 7 or 8 times and I had never reacted like that before. This was new. He was worried that I flinched over everything, his best friend / roommate commented about my over-apologizing for things I had no business apologizing for.
I apologized for taking up space. And the sad thing is, despite years of abuse, I still really was never that person. I was more so … haughty over the fact I survived child abuse living with my mother and her sister.
I still knew how to look at the world with rose colored glasses and I still was a dreamer. I didn’t dream about things happening to me by chance, I dreamed that I would take the shot and win the day. Suddenly, I was the child who was scared of the world, and subconsciously, scared of herself.
For a while, I couldn’t really get it. I thought it was my move from San Diego to Florida that did it. I figured it was another snide comment that made me mistrust my mother that made me absolutely insecure. But I know now, it was a little after I moved to florida. And I can recall the incident that would traumatize anyone, not just a 12 year old little girl.
For years, I thought I was over it. Only in retrospect with the lessons of love I have learned, I can see the disgrace this psychological abusive event held over my spirit. It hacked into me, like an ax repeatedly into a tree. No, I couldn’t spin this one into a positive. No, I couldn’t be the mighty warrior that saved the day. This was no Captain Hook.
My mother fell in love with a foreign man my seventh grade year. Prior to, she was off doing military orders half my childhood at this point so I was rather envious, seeing that the new time she could have had with me, she spent often with him. However I was still more polite than I could have not been. After a couple of months she would ask me every once in a while how I would feel if she married him. I was blunt. I wouldn’t like it, but of course, I’m a child so she’s going to do what she’s going to do at the end of the day. She kept asking until she stopped, and a ring appeared. A band she said was not her wedding ring.
The man had a wide smile and you could tell all of his energy went into his body language and that very, wide, wide smile. His eyes were sort of black yet dull, like a shark. He wore an orange mesh shirt that was apparently in style for the 00s and was very much in love with his jewelry.
Never without his watch, his dog tags, and his pinky ring. He had pride in his island and would boast that his island was better than the island my family originates from. It was all in good humor, any one would have thought. One day after school, my mother beat me with a spatula in front of him.
The crime was I didn’t clean my room last night despite him telling me. I retorted that he had actually told me to do it tomorrow, as we came home at 11 pm and I was to report to school in the morning. She broke skin, but the damage was actually her showing her daughter and her new man how much she respects him, and to what expense. He had pointed to my room and bent his chin down, with raised eyebrows he sent me like a dog. Needless to say, I was not happy after that.
The man was a very religious man, and he operated with a heavy religious spirit. He had the gift of prophecy which he used with his favor, he could look into their souls and see their past, future, their wounds, their gifts, and strongholds. My mother and my aunt decided to enter his church.
One day, as I was sitting in the back of the car, my mother called him upset that my father’s mother had called her, insulting her character and stating she was a cruel woman. In the passenger seat ahead of me, the man began to rant to my aunt driving, and while he may forget what he has said, I will not.
“She messed with a child of God, and because of that, I curse her. I can feel that she [my grandmother] is a very sick woman, so I curse her, I curse her to get sicker and sicker until the day she dies.” I can just imagine his stubby little finger he raises when he’s ranting and raving.
The shock pierced my throat and I had no words. This was not a man of God. In panic I spoke to my cousin, but as a child I don’t think she could really understand the grief I had for my grandmother and the disgust and discernment I had for this man.
One day I was to join them in church and that morning I was moody because I was hungry and we were going in circles, jumping to different locations. Now, I can be someone who’s not really in the habit of hiding my moods. Church was okay, boring, I was looking forward to eating the food in the back.
The church was really into the gift of prophecy and was speaking about such. After, when we came home, my cousin was sent to our room and I was told to sit down.
In the living room I faced my mother, my aunt, and the shark eyed man in the middle. He lead the conversation about my attitude and I decided to be honest, my attitude had nothing to do with him, but perhaps he is more upset at the fact that I did not like him. He said “of course, that is because you are filled with demons, and as I am a man of God, you do not like me.”
I said, “what?”
I’m sure I chuckled sarcastically. Perhaps I did not like him because I can tell that something is off with him. I told him that, and the rest was history. I don’t remember most of the conversation to be honest, it lasted 6 hours as he pulled me apart, shred by shred, and told me I was filled with demons.
Every insecurity, every regret, every sin I had guilt over, every fiber of my being he defiled. I didn’t dare stand to leave, where would I go? I would certainly get a beating. So I just stayed down. My will was tethered very easily. I ended up so distraught, I could no longer hear his words, I clawed at the skin of my thighs, and yanked at my hair as I cried.
My aunt looked on with bulging eyes and furrowed eyebrows. Ah, the look of resentment. I suppose I deserved this. She was my godmother and sick of my antics. Her constant beatings of my hands and feet were clearly not enough.
I needed something that would fuck me up into true submission. Shame breaks the spirit nice and cleanly so you can mold properly. And that’s what I needed, clearly I needed to be molded. My mother looked on, her face so very still, eyes blank.
To this day I cannot stand that look on her face. I can tell what it means every time I’ve seen it. It’s a wall she puts up in defense rather than feeling empathy for me. It’s the face she wore when I woke up mourning the disappearance of my dad, when the night before she faked being abused my father so the cops could send him packing off the military base.
It’s the look she gave me 6 years later when she had to explain her lack of absence and letters in a Denny’s after my dad’s death.
And when I was withering in pain in the passenger seat as she drove me to the ER, she reasoned the issue was not health but because I did not take in Jesus as my savior. I told her I was a child of God but her self righteousness would only show her perception. Then she gave me the look. That same mask has smothered her soul when we reunited after 4 years, and I told her I knew she was not using God’s love as a religion but using some kind of dark magic.
To be honest, I think she may have some dissociation issues. It is the look she gave me at age 10, when I was laying in the hospital bed with pain and pneumonia. Watching me, she shed a single tear. With concern I comforted her, telling her I was okay.
She may have some dissociation issues. But then it was back to being defensive.
Cold. Unobtainable. Perhaps she was always this way with me because I could always tell when she was manipulating me, and I never played her games. Perhaps she looked on because I was always stronger than her and she couldn’t handle it.
Perhaps she looked on because when I was a wee child I would tell her to stop being mean to Daddy. Perhaps she looked on because she didn’t know what else to do. I have justified and wonder why she has looked on since – I realize now, there is nothing to justify her, she had betrayed me as a mother. And it’s something she has done again and again.
For six hours, I had beaten myself up as this strange man, someone I did not know 5 months earlier, pulled out every insecurity and called them demons. Every personal question I had no answers to, he knew, and felt the duty to answer them and riddle me with shame.
I was told to go into the bathroom, and he screamed in my ears as he rebuked the demons of .. idk. Selfishness was the only one I remembered. Seeing that I am a very generous person, being called selfish is a trigger to this very day, and I’m very quick to cut out anyone who sees me that way. Because I know what I am, I know my flaws more than anyone, and selfish is something I never am.
The next morning I treated him with politeness. That manipulating psychopath got me, congratulations asshole, you broke my spirit as my mother looked on. Congrats, you won. It was within a couple weeks he and his sister took me out to eat suggesting I go live with my father. I had no interest doing so. The man said, “you dont want to go live with him because he is poor and he can’t spoil you, that is wrong.” …He won again. Because suddenly wanted to prove him wrong, and I announced to my mother I wanted to live with my dad. Albeit a 12 year old can’t win manipulation contests with a bonafied psychopath who used to be a gangleader in whereever the fuck he lived. But I thought I won, I really did.
One night Mary told her stories so I wouldn’t go live with my dad. The next night my aunt did the same and she was a worse liar than her sister. In retrospect I was to live with my father, it was my fate, and I am glad it had happened that way because without my dad I would have not known what unconditional love was like.
The dirty duo took over my cousin and I’s bed and left us sleeping on the air mattress most of the time, not that big of a deal until you realize The Man left evidence of his manhood on the bed we were to continue to sleep in.
Once my cousin left a couple months later, and before my departure to a better life – together hand in hand, on my bed, they told me they had married months ago and they wanted me to be the first to know. Yeah, I was polite. I questioned why I couldn’t be worthy to know, but I was polite. I left a few weeks later and that ends the chapter that is the torture of being in that house.
I am sick to my stomach and I feel exhausted, all the time I feel exhausted. It pains me to think thats the moment I became officially broken. “I am not incomplete, I am not incomplete.” He broke me, that son of the devil broke me, and I have been trying my best to get myself back. I don’t have the words for my grief, but I am trying to be as candid as possible.
Okay, so it’s been an hour since I’ve walked away from writing this, I made sure to cry my guts outs before I got distracted by comedians of the internet. Then I put on some Sufjan Stevens’ Fourth of July on repeat – as it reminds me of my dad and what he would say about my grief of his passing away. I’m making a point to feel the heaviness of what had happened to me, as I often get in the habit of escaping in the middle of when I have my emotions.
Okay, so now that it’s been a while, how do I deal with this damage, how can I really handle how to cope with this despite my best efforts not to shatter after this very moment. How do I reach to mend the aggressive assault demeaning a 12 year old.
How do I reach the child that was abandoned and rejected by her mother and aunt in a matter of six hours? How do I reverse the subconscious message I was taught from this moment on — that I am beyond relief, utterly broken, and incomplete, and destined to be insecure for all the right reasons. This is my line of thinking in regards to my emotionally recovery: Spiritually, I was mauled. Violated.
God comes from love, and he operates from love. Not Fear, not Obligation, Not guilt, and definitely not shame. This man lies and manipulates on the regular, he’s emotionally bias, and curses people without any thought or empathy of their souls or their wounds.
He is entitled and a big ass brat. He is cruel.
So this man does not have any substance to him and I refuse to let puppeteer my psychological and emotional welfare. He had no right to define me by assuming how I work spiritually.
Consciously I can come to this conclusion, but what how do I beat this emotionally in the deep crevices that is of my soul? I reverse the invalidation by … speaking my truth. By nurturing and feeding my inner child compassion.. but no longer dashing dirt over this moment that thinking that it is justified.
By wondering if I ever deserved it in the slightest chance because the answer will always be no. I will no longer lie with the shame and excuse this moment, I had done nothing at 12 years old to be owed this treatment.
I am no longer to feel like this was the defining moment that Mother and Auntie wanted – because I needed to be aligned and arranged. I would not wish this on my very enemy and there are times I had treated people I disliked, or people that even abused me, better than this very moment.
I am someone who always uses compassion first to read someone, always the first person to say wait a minute, what is this person wounds to make them act out and not be the first version of themselves, I am not designed to treat people like objects that needs to be trained. And I will never be!
So I cannot condone someone treating me like dirt, like the spam of the universe. I am created for love and I deserve love and the best thing I can do for my inner child is actually get upset, ANGRY, for the first time in my life over this very moment, instead of taking it out on myself, instead of picking at myself, instead of dreaming of an ideal self.
Fuck you Mom, I am allowed to be angry because you don’t abuse a child for so many years with beatings, and you dont abandon your child on two seperate occasions, and you do not make up lies to run their only lovable parent out of their lives, and then you dont abandon them in crisis and let them get emotionally murdered in front of your very eyes and do nothing about it.
I didnt deserve that and fuck you for giving up on me officially. Listen, you showed me your very fruit in that very moment and I am no longer going to carry that weight.
That was your destiny you wrote, Mother. That was your karma you sewed step father. But that was not my worth you defined, that was not my future you foretold.
It’s time I fight back and own my truth and not be ashamed of this very moment, I am not going to hold it behind me like it is what tells me who I am. I am me and I am nothing but a good person who believes in the good in the world.
Fuck you both, you are both ill suited to be parents, you are both illogical dumb shits and I have a life to live. I am no longer going to cower in the nothingness that you made me, I am going to be free. I am going to goddamn be something and I know that you wanted me to be less than but that isnt my truth.
Yknow what, it’s time that I forgive myself that I couldn’t fight back in that very moment. I forgive myself for flatlining after. I forgive myself for becoming a different person because of that trauma. I forgive myself plenty for not being able to swim properly after my father died because he treated me with kindness and respect and I didn’t know how to do that after him, I really didn’t. I didn’t know how! Emotionally neglected children tend to grow up fuck ups and even then, I forgive myself.
I forgive myself for swallowing myself and being complacent in this world. I trust myself that I can pick up right where I dropped off. At age 12. I am going to be creative again, I am going to be the crazy humorous funny friend again, I am going to be so project oriented I wont know what to do when I’m not working. I am going to be active in my idealisms.
I am going to love freely and not feel unworthy to give people love. I am not going to feel like an imposter when I get something right. I am going to be me again, goddammit, I am going to free and there is nothing anyone could do about it.
It may have kept me down for over a decade, and that doesn’t matter anymore, because I have still experienced riches and love, and learned so many lessons that makes me the well rounded sweet and mature person I am sometimes scared to be.
I am going to let myself have pride again. I am going to live, outloud.
Thats something I deserve.
That is something every single person deserves.
I’m going to teach myself that I am worth it, and then I am going to help teach others the same thing with Noelle’s guidance.
Abusers don’t get to define us anymore. I want to work with you, I want to help you, and I want you to seek your absolute love for yourself.
This time, we are not going to let go of ourselves for others.
We are not going to be “without” anymore.
We are free. We are complete.
I have this vision, I see my twelve year old self in that crucial moment and she blocks out the noise of shark eyes motormouth.
She runs to me and I just hug her. I cry and apologize to her for this insane mess she is going through at the very moment and I tell her that none of what the man is saying is true.
I yank out the rusted arrows out of her. I pull off the chain that was being wrapped around her throat – the very chain that ended up dragging her by car. I tell her that I love her, that she is so strong and so valuable.
I tell her about the people that will be thankful to know her. I tell her about the ways she does change the world. I tell her about how much I am grateful to have her again, that I am not leaving her in this very moment to relive over and over again like a ghost with unresolved issues.
I ask her to forgive me for believing his words and leaving her behind. I thank her for being so strong and for carrying this load so I could get by in life, but her work here is done. I want her back. I put on three hits from that time period that I adored as a 12 year old, and began to dance with her. Bond with her. I am there with her and she is here with me.
We’re dancing our asses to our favorite song at the time – Maneater by Nelly Furtado – and we dance wildly because before we would be ashamed to do so. (Imagine that being so ridiculed in one swift kick that you stop skipping and begin to stiffen up.)
No, we’re having a great time in front of the Abusive Trio and we don’t give a fuck. Not anymore. Not me.
And at my most confident and happiest, by my third listen to the song song, I turn to the ghost of The Man and I let it rip.
With fueled anger I speak out for the child who needed help, who truly needed advocating a long time ago.
Once I do so, I feel rejuvenated.
Alas, the poor souls. They made a nurturing sweet, and vastly underrated soul, not apart of their team.
Oh well, pfft, I drink to that.