[Bad] Dream of a Memory

Do you know anyone that’s ever been abused? Any sort of abused? I do. I have. I was. Many forms, by different people at different times in my life. Most of the time, though, it was on repeat by one person: my stepfather.

For the most part I’ve gotten over it. While my mother is still, unfortunately, married to the man that treated me so badly throughout my childhood and adolescent years (and even now he bad mouths and talks down to me, but I’ve grown more of a back bone and will talk back to him despite fear of retribution), most of my communication with my mother is via telephone as she lives over an hour away and she works over 8 hours a day, every day, every week with the [very] occasional day off; she’s the main “breadwinner” of their household as my stepdad is (surprise-surprise!) a convicted felon & although he could find work at, the very least, a manufacturing plant, he refuses to work anything other than odd jobs that he runs himself.

Therefore, my communication with that entire household is limited.

And my mother.

I love her. I do. I may not always agree with everything she says. I may not agree with everything she does, especially the fact that she’s still with my stepdad, but I love her nonetheless. I will acknowledge her faults, though most of the time not to her face because she won’t most of the time. She confides in me and I, her. We understand each other because of, oddly enough, my stepfather. We have a mutual understanding between us and I’m thankful to her that, although she’s my mother, my Mom, she chose to have me live apart from her.

And that’s where everything comes full circle as to why I’m writing this tonight.

I woke up around three this morning, my eyes wide and in a panic. I knew I was in bed and if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband’s arms were still around me I probably would have screamed.

I dreamt of a memory of days long since past. It was nearly 9 years ago – the winter of 2005 – and I was living with my mother in the home she lives in now. It’s a small, technically one-bedroom, house that at the time housed my Mom & stepdad in what is now a closet; my two younger brothers, who were then 6 & 8 years old in what is now a combined living room/Mom & stepdad’s room; and me, in what is now my youngest brother’s room, that back then was right next to my mother and stepfather’s “room” and only separated by a sheet. There was no privacy whatsoever. It was Hell on Earth.

Normally I wouldn’t be living with them; I abhor my stepfather and nearly always have, but my Grandmother, whom I had been staying with, gave me an ultimatum that pushed me and I took it. I wasn’t going to give up a friendship for her old-fashioned ideals, but that’s a different topic altogether. So I found myself moving 45 minutes away and switching schools in the middle of the fall semester my first year of high school. My mother was happy that I was finally coming to live with her, but she wasn’t happy about the circumstances behind it. Honestly, everything was going well until the last day of school before winter break.

One of my friends, specifically a male friend, asked if he could come over and hang out for a bit after school. I told him I’d ask. I was more than naïve back then, I guess; he purposely left information out to me and I didn’t see the signs. Either way, we both got permission for him to come over and he rode the bus home with me. I’m going to point this out now: I never thought of him as anything more than a friend; he was JUST a friend to me in my mind. Well, apparently everybody else thought otherwise – including him.

He ended up eating dinner with my family because his mom hadn’t picked him up yet. When I asked him why she hadn’t shown up yet, he said that she wouldn’t be there till around 9PM. I was pissed! He never told me that and I knew, at that moment, I was going to get hell from my stepdad as soon as he left.

I was right.

After he left and my brothers were firmly asleep my stepdad started in on me and it just kept coming. I don’t remember everything he said; he asked me so many questions – accusing me of lying when I hadn’t and every time I denied lying he just got angrier.

What I haven’t said yet is that my stepfather is an alcoholic. I know by that time he was drunk for sure, but I couldn’t tell you how long he’d been drinking that day.

Finally, at one point, I was sent to bed. I think it was around 11-11:30 that evening. I was tired. I’d had a long day at school and then I’d been grilled and yelled at and intimidated by my stepfather. Nobody likes that. I fell asleep listening to him yell at my Mom, but the words were a blur to me, even then.

I was woken up again around 1AM, being dragged – literally – out of bed by my arm by my stepfather. He was pissed, and that’s an understatement. I don’t remember what the discussion at that point was about. I was being questioned again about my actions that evening and why I did what and several other co-existing categories. I remember answering something honestly and it must have been the wrong answer, and something that he disliked extremely or considered a “smart-ass remark” because the next thing I knew I was dodging a glass plate being thrown at me. If I hadn’t moved it would have hit my upper left shoulder near my neck. I don’t remember much after that other than crying and being scared.

I moved back to my Grandmother’s within days after that. I don’t think anyone would question why. It was my Mom’s decision to move me back.

The thing is, this is only one of the instances of something abusive happening to me but for some reason it’s the one that pops up the most in my memory, in my dreams; it’s the one that troubles me the most and I don’t understand why.

I was scared then and it scarred me enough mentally and emotionally that it still bothers me to this day, enough to keep me awake at night. The abuse I’ve suffer throughout my life from my stepfather, and inadvertently from my mother, is probably the one thing that I haven’t completely gotten over and I’m not sure that I ever will. I think that’s what scares me.

Now it’s not the terror of being physically dragged away from my bed in the middle of the night by someone else; now it’s the terror of waking up and having to drag myself from my own bed because of someone else… because I’m afraid to face what might be in my dreams.

I’m Ba~ack!

So… this month has been crazy hectic.

My last post was written in the time between my fiance and I signing a lease for a house and us starting to move in. It’s been complete chaos since then. Packing things into boxes and plastic totes, shoving random things into the car, moving big things over to the house with my Mom, PLUS the fun time we’ve had switching the electric and water over. Oh, and don’t forget the four or five times we had to try to get Internet. Gah. That was sooooo~ not fun. Even though, y’know, my fiance was the one doing most of the arguing about the Internet blustering. ^^;;

I’m happy to say that we’re most of the way moved in, minus some tables and dressers that my Mom and fiance are going to get tomorrow. Well, the old place needs some cleaning up too before I turn in my keys. Oh. Did I forget to mention it’s my stuff that needs to finish being moved? Yeah. Just my luck. -__-;;

We’re doing pretty good and I’m really excited about finally having a home with my fiance and my three lovely children. It just feels… right… somehow. And I’m glad. It’s not a perfect home, but a first house never is and we’re only renting it for a year or two at most, hopefully. We plan on finishing our college degrees, saving up some money, and then moving to a different – and better – place in a different city. I don’t know if it’ll happen, but you gotta have some sort of plan to get something accomplished eventually, right?

Well, sorry this is so short, but I felt like I needed to write something  now that I have Internet again since it’s been so long. I’ll try and update more, but since we’re still doing the finishing touches on moving in and organizing everything, I might not be able to blog as much as I most definitely want. Again, it’s a work in progress.

Hopefully I’ll write something more interesting. And soon! 😉

An Apology

It seems that that life just likes to hit me all at once. It really, really does.

First of all, even though I’m posting this on the Internet most of you have probably noticed that I’m trying to remain at least a little bit anonymous, correct? If you haven’t then I guess I just informed you.

It’s like this, though. I’m trying to remain somewhat anonymous for a reason. No, I’m not on the run. No, I haven’t done anything against the law. I’m really not a bad person at all, at least, I think so. Though, I really don’t have anything to hide. Anything, that is, except for certain feelings toward certain people. And I hate it. It’s so stressful.

That’s why I rant on here.

It’s weird, though. I’ve tried to just keep a sort of “digital journal”, not on the Internet, and I completely didn’t keep up with it. Something about posting it online motivates me to keep writing and I don’t know what it is.

But that’s not what I was getting at before either.

I want to stay anonymous in case someone that I happen to write about reads this blog and is offended by something in it. Or, y’know, thinks along the lines of “If that was me they were talking about, I’d be offended”.

I don’t want to offended anybody. That’s part of the reason that I’m ranting on here: so that I don’t actually say anything to anyone. I love my family; I love my friends, and I would never ever want to hurt them in any way, shape, or form.

But I have.

Someone in my family found my blog and read the post I wrote before this and, unfortunately, it had something written about her in it. It wasn’t meant for her eyes. Ever. But she called me crying the next morning after talking to another member of my family. I was painted the bad guy.

So here it is, in case she reads this: I’M SORRY.

I told her over and over again, but I’m not sure that she listened to me or that she understood what I was saying. She was upset and angry. I can understand that, but I honestly don’t think that she was able to see from my point-of-view.

Nothing that I’m writing on here was meant for her eyes. Or any of my family’s. Or friend’s. Or acquaintances. Anybody.

I know that I rant on here and I’m not going to apologize for doing so, but it’s not something that I attempt to do constantly either. I’m not constantly angry at somebody or something. Most of the time it’s worry or paranoia or some sort of confusion. Most of the time it’s me trying to sort out my feelings so that I can understand myself better.

So no, I’m not going to reveal who I am. Not now, not ever. I’m never going to lie either, though. Why should I? This is my outlet and lying will only hinder me.

And so, I will write.

***

Love Me, Hate Me

I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.

I’m engaged. I’m supposed to be getting married. It’s a moot point at this point; everybody knows it. I guess I’m a bit smarter than I used to be, though; I asked for a long engagement. When I did that, it was for us to get to know each other, and I believe that we do, but I didn’t want us to end up hating each other in the process.

We’re fighting and I’m not really sure why. All I know is that he failed one of summer classes. He mentioned to me that he failed it because he didn’t have enough time to do his homework. I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless. And then I started apologizing frantically while I tried not to cry.

I’m crying now as I type this.

I don’t want to fight with him and I didn’t want to start anything even more vicious. I could have. I could have told him that if he talked to me more I would know what he needed to finish instead of assuming he was either A) already done, or B) close enough to done to be doing something else.

He never said anything and when he did, it was on the last day and he just shut himself off to the world and got really pissy about everything. Snapping at me: “Leave me alone! If I don’t pass this I can’t get my degree!”

I feel like I’m going through my old relationship again. With my ex. He was abusive. He didn’t listen to me. He just told me to leave him alone and shut himself off from the world unless he wanted something. And that’s not good. I shouldn’t feel this way… especially since I love this man so much I can’t imagine my life without him. It’s something I’ve never felt before.

I could’ve told him when he snapped at me about his failed class that ‘yes, I’m sorry, but I think taking my children to the hospital to be seen since their doctor won’t right now is a bit more important, don’t you?’

I could’ve been a bitch about it. I could’ve retaliated hardcore and started a fight. But I didn’t.

And yes, what started it is that he’s upset over the fact that I want to take my children to the hospital and he doesn’t. He thinks it will take too much time and he won’t have time to do anything. Even his homework. And that he’s going to fail again and not get his degree.

Fine then. If my children end up hospitalized because of his carelessness, because I’m unable to drive, it’s on him. Literally. It’s going to get the ass-chewing of a lifetime. My children are sick and they need medicine and their doctor is an asshole who won’t see them until mid-next week because there’s “more than one to be seen”.

I’ll talk to him when I calm down. I’ll give it a bit longer to let him calm down too. I pointed out that he “looked angry” and that was when he snapped at me. Guess I know him a little too well, eh? Shouldn’t have said anything, I guess.

But I will. I will talk to him. I want to make this work and I’m not going to let him just avoid the issue.

He says we talk, but not half as much anymore. If we did, I’d know what was going on right now and why I feel so distant from him. I hope we work it out.

I love him.

A Sad Realization

I was in town doing some grocery shopping today with my fiance and children and we passed one of the funeral homes in my town. I told my fiance as we passed it that I wonder who important died and because there was so many people in attendance. Literally. The funeral home itself is very large and has a large parking lot and has a large parking lot. What shocked me about it was that the two stores on either side of it, Walgreens and CVS, and the learning center behind it parking lots were all full, plus there were several cars parked alongside the road. There was a line several people long, fifty or more, to get into the funeral home. I was amazed at the amount of people who had shown up. The last time I had seen a funeral procession that large was when one of my friends died in a car crash in high school several years ago.

After we got home from our two-hour shopping trip and putting away groceries (my fiance volunteered to cook dinner tonight), I got online and did a search on the local newspaper in the obituaries; there were no visitations or funerals scheduled for today in the paper. It took some time, but I eventually remembered the name of the funeral home and searched it on google, finding the web address. I went to the site and went through the “current services” and when I found the service for today I wanted to throw up. I just started crying.

Today’s service was a visitation for a little boy only two and a half years old, six months older than my youngest child.

I cried for several minutes. It could have been five; it could have been ten. All I know is that I sat at the computer screen staring at the little boy, the image of his innocent face staring back with eyes that will never see again.

Thoughts kept running through my head: “It could have been my child” “What if it had been my child?”

And then I felt callous for the way I originally reacted; I thought that it was an important person in the community that had died – someone older, wiser, more known in the area. I felt like a horrible person and more tears flowed.

My realization is this: you don’t have to be old and wise to be well-known and loved in a community. I realize that the majority of the people at the visitation were more than likely there to comfort the child’s parents and family, but it’s not that. The child died. He died before his parents. He was only two years old.

No parent should have to feel the pain of their child dying before them.

As I read the obituary for the little boy, it sounded as if he was well-loved and very smart. He was and had been attending an early learning preschool and was a very active child, both with other children and his parents and family.

Just because a child is young doesn’t mean that he’s not well-known and it most definitely does not mean that he’s not well-loved. In fact, it probably means the very opposite. Children are a community’s backbone; it’s who we become in the future. Every child lost is something to mourn.

I cry for the loss of the child. I cry for everyone, including myself, who didn’t have the chance to know this little life before it was taken from him. I cry for the life that he could’ve lived.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I will light a candle for this little life in honor of his soul’s passing. May he be blessed wherever he may be.

Life with Stereotypes

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Five years ago, I was just starting my senior year in high school. Five years ago, I was still grieving the loss of my grandmother, my virginity, and my long-term boyfriend who had cheated on me with my best friend. I had a busy schedule with early classes and after-school classes; I wanted to make sure I was prepared for college.

Four years ago, I dropped out of high school because of a disease that prevented me from graduating and my school corporation didn’t acknowledge until the month before I was supposed to graduate. I made a point to take GED classes and get the highest pre-Test score in my state. I was proud.

Now I am a mother of three; I’ve been married, divorced, am engaged, and living on my own (with my children); I have an income and I can pay my bills each month on time; I am able to buy groceries for my children and myself and not worry about going hungry; all three of us have health insurance and see the doctor regularly.

Yes, I am a young mother. Technically I am a single mother since I am not with my children’s biological father, I am unmarried, and I take care of myself; and yes, I know I am looked down upon by the majority of society in my country.

I do not care either.

Here is the point I am trying to make, and something that some, if not most, of you reading this have figured out.

I am on government programs. I am in need of TANF, SNAP, WIC, government housing and medical, but I do not plan on keeping it this way. I do not WANT to keep it this way.

I do not like the looks people give me when I am coming out of my apartment complex, even though I do not look like a slob nor do my children. I dress them decently and I make sure they have baths and are fed. I shower at least every other day.

When I go out I do my make-up (at least eyeliner and lip gloss) and brush my hair: I make myself look decent. I do not wear my pajamas or house-slippers outside of my home; I always wear a bra when I leave my apartment. No, I do not wear short-shorts or belly tops. I do not wear clothes too tight for my weight, nor do I wear clothes that are obviously too big and hanging off of me. I am very self-conscious and always have been; I do not like the fact that people seem to judge others by where they get the money for their food, clothes, and other various items.

So why do I receive the dirty looks? The looks that seem to say they’d rather not be around me, even though they do not know me? Why do people steer clear of me once I tell them where I live or that I am on government assistance?

It is just something that irks me. Not everybody is a stereotype. Not everybody that is on some form of government assistance program does drugs, is an alcoholic or lazy. If people want to believe those stereotypes, then they need to do something about stopping them.

I’m in almost every form of government assistance, to my dismay, but I fully support not only drug testing to get approved for whichever assistance program you may need, but drug testing periodically – say every three to six months – for however long you may be on the assistance program. I know for a fact there will be people who say “nay” and will not want it to occur, because it is true: there are people in the world who put truth into the rumors of the stereotypes, but I have met a lot that make them false as well. I could pass a drug test easily.

Here is an example.

The government-run housing authority that I live in requires eight hours of community service each month unless you are exempt. Reasons to be exempt? You’re disabled (and can show proof), a student, or are on TANF. Why TANF? Because TANF requires you to put a certain amount of hours into looking for a job, working, are a student, or have a child under the age of 3. Not a lot of people are able to be exempt from either the housing authority or TANF.

There are rules and requirements attached to getting approved to any sort of government assistance, no matter what form it is. The bad name government assistance has in this day and age leaves some mothers that are too proud to even apply and ask for help. I have a friend who won’t even let her little boy visit me because “it’s in a bad area”. I’ve never had any problems and I’ve lived here for almost two years.

It makes me sad. I am just trying to make a better life for my children. I want a better life for my children than what I was able to have. I have no doubt there are many struggling mothers out there that would say the same for their child.

Anxiety

Something I don’t think I’ve posted on here yet is that I have three kids, three beautiful children. They are my world, my shining light in the darkness.

Unfortunately, they’re biological father is not the person I would like him to be. I divorced him a little over a year ago, leaving him a year prior to the divorce when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest. He was abusive and was trapping me in our home, forbidding me from seeing my family amongst other horrid things.

We share joint custody (I have physical custody), but things have gone horribly wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. We have never been able to get along since the birth of my oldest. Things only progressed downward from there.

He moved out of state recently. The saying goes “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I believe that firmly after previous experience and, from the past few days, advice from several people. My ex wants to take my children out of state with him for “visitation”. He gave me an ultimatum: he gets to take them for a week (because of his birthday rights, which is only 9am-9pm on his birthDAY) to where he lives, or we go back to the court-ordered visitation, which would require me to pick them up from the state he lives in – something around 10 hours away. I told my ex that I am unable to afford the trip there and back; his reply was something along the lines of “I guess that I’ll be keeping them until you can come and get them then”. (Which, by the way, if he does that is both a felony and a misdemeanor in my state.)

It’s not just the lack of funds that’s keeping me from wanting my children to go with him. He’s not capable of taking care of them by himself; there is always a de facto guardian (a previous one with whom I am friends with is proof enough). When he does take care of them by himself, they are always returned unbathed and incredibly dirty, unfed and unnecessarily hungry with diaper rashes that are so horrible you cannot even begin to imagine; it takes me two days minimum to get the rash to go away. I do not trust him with their care. At all.

There is also the fact that the state he is living in is a “safe haven” state, so-called. If my ex gets my children over the state line, he will not have to hand them over to me. He will have, technical, full custody. Herein comes the “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I would lose my children. By letting him take them to said state, it is, by de facto, telling him “Yes, I trust you to care for my children when I am not with them; oh sure, take them out of state for an unknown amount of them even though I don’t know exactly where you’re going”, even though none of that is true. Well, it is true that I no idea where he’s going. He’s given me a basic idea of where he lives. That’s it; he kind of keeps switching back and forth.

But he is supposed to be coming later today and picking them up, even though I now have an order telling him that until a court hearing the children are, technically, are not to leave the state. Yes, I know I am more than likely to get a contempt of court. I would rather that than live without my children.

I’m scared though. More scared than I ever have been in my life. Out of everyone in my family, only two people understand, only two people support me. What I went through in the last divorce and custody battle was hell. Literal hell and nobody helped me through it. I was forced to go through it alone. What I went through when I was married to my ex was even worse and I don’t think anybody believed me; definitely not the judge. Everything that I’m going through now is just bringing all of those memories and feelings back threefold.

I know I am not a bad mother. I love my children with all my heart. I want nothing but the best for them. A good home, a good life, care and love, stability. It’s hard to find such things these days. I can provide these things. I know I can. I have been. My children are so loving. They will just come up to me and say “Mom?” I will turn and say “What, honey?” And my baby will just come up to me and kiss my cheek or hug me then give me a sweet little kiss.

It breaks my heart that all of this could be taken away from me in an instant.

It scares me.

I can only hope for the best and pray that the worst stays far, far, FAR away. Otherwise… I don’t know what I’m going to do.