Saturday, November 24, 2012

I wonder if Steve Podborski had weeks like this?

[For those of you wondering what the heck that means, you might want to read this first: (about 11 paragraphs from the bottom).]

Because the "sick day" I awarded myself on Tuesday has dragged on to the 5-day mark, as I work through and allow myself to feel all I need to feel.  They say once you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you stop being overwhelmed with them -- I'm hoping that's the case, because I'm getting really tired of crying and screaming and those weird wails that keep coming out of my mouth at the most inopportune times...

Happy to report, though, that I have found my anger.  It was hidden in the filing cabinets and old computer and basement full of boxes that I've been sifting through to remind myself I'm not the crazy one -- and, as I should have known without having to go through the damned boxes, I am sooooo not the crazy one.  But as long as the Gate-Keepers still have the power to send me into the big barfy braincloud, I am hanging on to all the evidence, thank you very much.

Guess I should back-track, eh what?

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the Gate-Keeper's (can we just call her GK to keep it short?) abusive behaviour escalated on Monday -- as could have been easily predicted, since I wasn't playing along.

In fact, I was doing such a great job of avoiding the landmines along the ski-hill -- breathe and don't engage, swish, breathe and don't engage, swoosh, breath and don't engage, aerial! -- that she decided to take out a semi-automatic and go for my friends and family instead.

Various versions of an e-mail were sent out to anyone she thought might have read my blog (not a clue who or how many, or on what criteria she based her list of recipients) -- which seems a bit of a strange tactic, since she didn't want people to read the stuff I'd written about my childhood, and judging from the spike in blog stats, she actually introduced a lot of folks to the information who would not have read it otherwise (but hey, thanks for the new readership...).

Depending on the recipient, I was portrayed as either confused, mistaken, someone who always liked to "creatively embellish", or a flat-out liar hell-bent on character assassination.  ALL of the e-mails (at least the ones that have been reported back to me) included the claim that she had never known of my father's sexual abuse when it was happening, I had never ever told her anything about it, nor had we ever discussed it, and she only heard mention of it recently when she read the tag in my e-mail about the Katie Foundation.

Uh... SERIOUSLY?!?!?

For those of you who haven't been paying attention over the years: NEVER LIE TO OR ABOUT A CHICK WHO HAS TWO FILING CABINETS, ALL HER OLD HARD-DRIVES AND A BASEMENT FULL OF BOXES!!!

And yes, it pisses me off that I had to go through all those files and boxes and hard drives on Tuesday to remind myself that I wasn't the one making things up, and talk to other witnesses from back then to remind myself I wasn't imagining things.  It pisses me off that GK is still trying to convince me, and now my family and friends, that I'm the crazy one.

And then I think -- HOLY CRAP, I'm in my forties now and can figure it all out.  They were putting me through this same B.S. when I was a little kid who had no way of taking care of herself.

And that's when I need the frigging pudding room.  (See bottom of for that reference.)

Going back through my diaries, I read through the details of my initial disclosure -- which was in grade seven, and was transmitted to all family members of my parents' generation and above within a few weeks, as evidenced by the entries that lament my relatives are treating me differently since they heard.

Just the entries leading up to the disclosure were heartbreaking: "I walked to school with Cait and Ali.  I had science.  My history teacher is a jerk.  I had a ham sandwich for lunch.  I think Eric likes me.  I walked home with Cait because Ali had a doctor's appointment.  I wish Dad would stop raping me.  We had chicken casserole for dinner.  I'm in a bad mood today."  (The fact that my father raping me seems to have the same importance in my life as a ham sandwich is bewildering... although I never did like ham.)

But those were the entries my mother finally read, after my leaving the diary on the living room couch for several months with "Mom, PLEASE read this!" on the cover.  She read it, and I braced myself for the chaos and family upheaval I had been dreading to cause for years.  She showed it to my father, and I braced myself for the family to come crashing down.  She showed it to my grandparents, and I waited for the world to explode.  She told the aunts, uncles, close family friends, and I waited for life as I knew it to be ripped out from under me.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited...

But absolutely nothing happened.  Nothing changed.  Life as I knew it continued on as usual.  All the parts of life as I knew it.  Not just the ham sandwiches.  Move along, nothing to see here...

As an adult, it's easy to see how wrong that was.  (OK, as an adult who's gone through several decades of therapy, I can now easily see how wrong that was.)  But I was not an adult.

So "move along, nothing to see here, let's pretend this never happened" had some devastating consequences.  Not only was I NOT being protected from my father's abuse, I had lost the fantasy about someday being protected -- and my little-kid brain had to figure out a rational explanation for that lack of protection, as well as figure out a way to protect itself until I could get out of that fun-house world.

In reading the diary entries following my initial disclosure, I noticed something I hadn't previously -- there are a number of dates after which my handwriting changes dramatically.  Not a gradual maturation or experimenting with a new style, but a sudden, complete turn-around.  Big swoopy letters suddenly become small cursive, the angle changes from right to left, serifs are added or subtracted.  The fragmenting of my mind made visual.

From later, adult years, I find yet more correspondence with GK of the "you're making this up, it never happened" variety, interspersed with the "oh how hard it was on us, but we did everything to protect you" variety, a smattering of the "it couldn't have happened like you remember it" variety, and the "what on earth are you talking about, I've never heard about this before" variety, and, of course, my favourite "prove it!" variety.


Truly crazy-making reasons why I still keep everything -- a touchstone to remind myself of reality, and the myriad ways in which Gate-Keepers of every stripe will try to erase it.  And, considering the number of times this has happened in the last 20 years, a good reminder of why I should breathe and not engage, breathe and not engage.

There is no way I will ever be able to convince the Gate-Keepers of my story or my right to tell it.  At least not in a way that it will be remembered in an hour's time.  A basement full of proof, and I still have to "prove it!" to myself, fer cryin' out loud!

And that's where I see it -- the anger and the sadness that I was forced to fragment my mind in order to fit in a world that was so utterly dangerous for me.  If only I could send a message back to little-girl me and say "hey kid, it's not your mind that's the problem, you can trust your senses, you can trust your memories, you can trust your feelings -- they're trying to convince you of something that is simply not true because they can't deal with the truth, not because it isn't true."  Oh yeah, and "maybe stay away from the ham sandwich..."

I see, in these files and boxes and hard drives, that even as recently as ten years ago, I was still trying to make it all make sense.  This giant, neurotic, swirling cyclone that arose between GK and myself as I tried to make it all make sense.  The cyclone she seems to need to happen again, is so desperate to happen again that she will give up on silent anonymity in order to drag others into the void I refuse to step into.  Which is quite sad.

Though it's kind of tricky to be sad for someone who is pointing a semi-automatic (or a totally-knee-jerk-automatic) at your head and at the heads of your family and friends...


Instead, I feel sad for the little girl who wrote in big swoopy letters that angled to the right and had lots of pretty ornaments.  For whom being assaulted by her father was just as much a part of her daily routine as walking to school and eating lunch.  Whose caregivers would not or could not give her care.

And I hold her hand and give her a really big hug, and we cry together, and stamp our feet and punch pillows and make those weird howling sounds together until we exhaust ourselves.  I get angry on her behalf ('cause she's not so good with anger, but I'm slowly learning).  I tell her she really didn't deserve any of this.  I tell her we're OK now.  We're safe.  The totally-knee-jerk-automatic weapon aimed at our heads only hurts us if we believe in it.  I show her the boxes to remind her not to believe in any of it.

And then we take out our notebook and coloured pens, and in big swoopy ornamented letters, we design the ski jump for our Pudding Room.

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