Mommy Cries Too

Warning: This post has controversial and potentially disturbing content surrounding suicide, psychic trauma, and child abuse. Reader’s discretion is strongly advised.

It started as a whimpering, jaw tight with a lip curled over. Soft, pattering, high pitched little noises, not much to even notice over the ambient noise. The realities of what played out in front of these oceanic colored eyes, glistening with anticipating tears, struck hard, and relentlessly roared inward and outward. The sheer force gusted forth a sharp wail, the same violently held hostage in the same dusty box of voices moments earlier.

Thoughts, voices, dialogues, monologues, scenes, words, swamped and overwhelmed this consciousness. Bits swarming together and fashioning a patchwork quilt for the minds eye to finally behold. Nowhere to turn, the newly formed blanket enveloped every last portion. Inescapable, imprisoned in truths, half-truths, past, present, and future. Sobs and tears erupted like a furious geyser, spattered with guttural words.

Why?

I can’t make you happy.

Please, stop crying.

Mommy cries too.

. . . dissolving nearly as soon as they came into reality.

The tiny voice murmured indistinguishable speech, only heard through the hitches. His presence shifted, but only once removing himself to procure a gift. Eyes squeezed shut, tears slithering though hands to fall where they may. Again, he joined the wailing, wolves howling in the night. He fashioned himself as a koala, and held tight.

– – –

Curled on the bed in sullen agony, with lead curling in tendrils up and down each limb. The tiny voice said, “Juice?” A raw, numb voice replied, “Go get your cup.” “My cup, my cup,” he repeated for a scant few moments.

A frustrated cry, and a strike on the back. Another. Laying there, absorbing the blows in hopes they would soon cease for good. Another, then a few in succession. A pause. A warm circle in the direct center of the back, a scrape of teeth.

A memory flashed, and I shot right up. Without thought, I slapped him on his right cheek, but in a nanosecond held back, but couldn’t entirely stop the motion. His face pucked, tears welled and spilled from his eyes, and he screamed. I pounced.

“We do not bite! We do not bite! We do not bite! We do not bite! No bite! No biting! No! We do not bite!” I belted until I ran out of air.

Stop! Before you hit the X in the corner, and do your mandated reporting, read this. This is an isolated incident. I has never occurred before. I had no malice or ill intention for my child. This was a snap reaction that I am now extremely cognizant of. So please, at least read the rest of it before you contact authorities.

We both were there, staring at one another, gasping for breath. He threw himself into my arms. I enbraced him for a second, only a second, and put him on his bed. I stood and sighed, “We both need a time out.”

I started for the door, and his screams grew wilder. I turned to look, and he was now curled in the bed, hysterical. Poisonous daggers jammed deep into my heart. His pain was mine, but the urgency for me to abandon him was too great. Stay and harm him, or leave and harm him?

I sat down at my desk, and lit a cigarette. As I exhaled, I choked back more tears. Sinking, cigarette smoke swirling around me, all of the menacing thoughts rose to prey on my guilt to intensify my pain.

I am a bad mother.

I am. Another monster in a history of monsters. What was the flash in my mind that drove me to these horrific actions?

He was enraged, tearing through the house, screeching. I became smaller than small, for I already was small. I clutched my plastic cup, hoping I could disappear. I was in the basement, and the elephants trumpeted and stampeded back and forth, trampling throughout the house.

When his feet hit the cement floor, his eyes fixed on me. He made a run for me, and I dashed for the stairs, for the safety of my parents, a room with a lock, anything. And in that stairwell, he lunged on me. He sunk his teeth hard into the center of my back and I let out a blood curdling scream.

I screamed and screamed, tears pouring out. It had been the worst pain I had ever experienced up until that point. My parents were removing him from my back before even addressing me or my wound.

My father helped me to my feet and my mother was nowhere to be found. The pain intensified anytime I moved.

And all he could say was: “It doesn’t hurt that bad.”

 

I made a painful realization. I cannot remember a childhood before eleven for a reason: My parents let my autistic brother brutalize me.

It’s no excuse. None. This is no feasible And as I furiously dragged on that cigarette, I determined that my son, my family, would be better off without me.

It could be done with ease. I would call into work and tell my boss I couldn’t make it in. I’d neglect to tell my parents, and my son could be safe with them. And, I’d empty the Vicodin bottle with the Wellbutrin bottle into my mouth, and wash it down in one big gulp.

Then, I’d prepare my note. I would not want to leave this world without at least a few words to as a testament to my own failures, not anyone else’s.

My sister called, before that train of thought could steam along into action. Sometimes, there is a such thing as divine intervention. She rarely calls that late in the morning. While idly listening, I mustered the courage to face my son. I nervously peeked into his room.

My little boy was sleeping, with the angelic, peaceful look all children have while slumbering. Eased for a moment, but then sinking again. I knew I would not be able to apologize before I left for work.

He may never know how incredibly ashamed, guilty, monstrous, and sorry I feel. He may never know how much I hate myself for seemingly not loving him enough to stop myself. I won’t try to justify it. The only thing I can see is the traumatized look on his face, the tears glistening as they poured down. And all I want to do is to walk to a bridge, any bridge in Pittsburgh will do, and leap from that great height to plunge into water that would guarantee near instantaneous death if the fall didn’t do it first.

This is not a testament. I am miserably, but safely at work. This is my aching, broken heart pouring out. This is my confession.

 

Note: There was a lot of hesitation about posting this once it was written. If you have harsh reprimands, please keep them to yourself. I’m in a very fragile state right now.

Medicine from The Doctor

As of late, my disappearing act has largely been a result of the longest running series on television and the largest Sci-Fi franchise in the United Kingdom.  Some of my fellow Sci-Fi geeks may have already guessed it.  If you don’t know, then you may just be living under a rock.  I have been obsessed with Doctor Who.

At first, it started out pretty innocuously.  I am an avid Sci-Fi fan, raised in a family of Trekkies and long-time Doctor Who fans.  I recall my parents watching Doctor Who weekly in the evenings.  It would bore me to death and I’d end up going to bed early.  I detested it’s airing.  And now, I’m hooked.

Why the sudden change of heart?

Imagine watching this brilliant, lovely, quirky man traveling through time and space with his various companions.  It’s quite a spectacle to behold.  Alternate universes, twisting story lines, all contingent upon past and present events.  Even events that occur in the future that are yet to happen come into play.  When you are with The Doctor, anything is possible.  That’s the beauty of Doctor Who.

Today, I found myself searching for a sonic screwdriver replica for C.S.  He, too, is absolutely obsessed with the show.  In fact, he was so enthralled by it that he went out and bought a Doctor Who-esque coat.  I wanted to try to get him one for Christmas, but there’s no way that’s going to happen.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

In the meantime, I sidetracked with the plethora of Doctor Who backstory that exists from the previous series.  I came upon a timeline of the history of the various incarnations of The Doctors, when they appeared in the series, and who their companions were at the time.

In fact, there was a clever graphic I found:

Doctor Hoo!

And then I saw it.  The 4th Doctor, Tom Baker.  I remembered Tom Baker very vividly from my childhood.  He was the only Doctor that ever existed to me.  He had this curly, puffy hair, smashed down by a fedora he wore.  And there was the long, autumn colored scarf.  It was tangled all over the place and hung to the ground.  He was quite a character.

I was prattling on and on about my recent Doctor Who findings to C.S. in the van-buggy when POOF! – the realization hit me.  Certain things about this man had been subconsciously affecting me for years.  The scarves.  I’ve always been obsessed with the multicolored scarves.  And the coats.  There is nothing more sexy on a man than a trench coat.  There was always this idea in my head that quirkiness and eccentricity were preferred traits.  It conveyed a certain cleverness, imagination, and intelligence.

The 4th Doctor has been there all along!  The only thing that brought it to the surface was my admiration and fascination with the 10th Doctor.  Fantastic!

But, I can’t help but wonder – what else has Doctor Who left subconsciously dormant in my mind?

What secrets lie beyond?

High School Never Ends: Unfair Game

Sing it again!

Four years you think for sure
That’s all you’ve got to endure
All the total dicks
All the stuck up chicks
So superficial, so immature
Then when you graduate
You take a look around and you say HEY WAIT!
This is the same as where I just came from!
I thought it was over!
Aww that’s just great!

I had theorized for years that high school was boot camp for life. Some people are assigned to the hot zone, and others end up behind a desk. And most of the time, just like in the military, you don’t end up in the place you signed up for. Usually, the place you end up wasn’t quite as bad as training.

I was mistaken.

High school is actually the kiddie pool for life.

When I was in high school, all I wanted was to graduate and get the eff out of there. In fact, I wanted out so badly that I dropped out at 17, entered the pilot cyber-charter school, and finished out 11th grade that way. The only reason I was coaxed back to my high school was the fact that I could enroll in five music classes and only needed one gym. It was way better than the option of a purely academic senior year.

I missed a record amount of days that year. A whopping sixty-two, when the fail limit was twenty-one. I missed almost three times the maximum amount. I actually missed one day over half of the school year.

(It was a miracle I graduated at all).

Yes, I had a severe case of senioritis. It was more than that. The whole ordeal of high school made me ill. It was a jungle of mini-adults, preying on one another in the attempt to establish social superiority. All for what? To be openly adored and envied by many and secretly despised by everyone that was trampled?

I was easy prey, far down the food chain of the high school food chain. Don’t be mistaken. I was not at the very bottom. I created a new breed of outcast and made it fashionable. It was a fabulous alternative to being hated for being a poser. I flaunted my flaws in hilarious self-loathing. It was quite a show to behold. Best of all, I helped push it so far from popular culture that it was enticing. A geeky, intelligent rebel? Who knew?!

It caught on. This was before emos existed, during the time of goths. I was neither. Sure, I was adorned with black clothes covered in pins. But, I was determined to give a permanent home on the social ladder to every kid that didn’t quite fit the mould. I wanted to challenge every social norm, and show everyone that different was actually better.

Just that alone put me in the line of fire. But what could they possibly gossip about that I hadn’t already broadcasted myself? I was poor as hell! My family was an absolute wreck! It was clear to see that I was a fat band geek. My wild eyes glared at the cliques behind thick lenses. Plainly said, I was a crazy freakshow!

I lied. I smiled when people gossiped about me. I’m too poor to afford new clothes every school year. I’m a whore, because I have sex. I see a crazy doctor and take crazy meds. My mother is a drunk, my brother is a tard, and my father is crazier than me. I don’t actually have friends, I have followers and worshippers. I acted like I fed on it, and turned to preach to my flock to do the same.

Truthfully, I felt like less than garbage. There was a drop of truth in every story. I felt ugly and ostracized. I didn’t like people’s perceptions of me, but I knew I never would. I should at least put on a show! Turn your own self-loathing and insecurities into something inspirational to some and controversial for most. It worked for Howard Stern, right?

Every jock, priss, prom queen, cheerleader, dancer and intellectual took their own shots at me. We were so far removed toward the end that it didn’t really affect me anymore. The shots from the artists, thespians, and fellow musicians hurt the most. You would think there would be at least a little bit of camaraderie. I suppose it is every (wo)man for themselves in the urban jungle.

I didn’t even plan on walking at graduation. My plan was to finish finals and disappear into the ether. But, parents get what parents want. I walked across that stage decorated with honors, and extreme gratitude that all of that was behind me.

Today, I learned that it is still exists, maybe even more so, right ahead of me.

Buried Treasure

Thank you, Tori. Thank you, Trent. It’s still a bit hazy. But it is all trickling back into my memory now.

I listened to a lot of Tori Amos and Nine Inch Nails in my teens. Really, I actually went out on a bus to the music store in the square or center and purchased the CDs. (That might put some of you with Mr. Peabody on the Wayback Machine). Since my bout with pneumonia that came fully equipped with laryngitis, I’ve had problems with my singing voice. I wondered how I trained my voice before I had a teacher. And it took me back to Tori and Trent.

Anima and Animus, feminine and masculine sides of my personality and thus, my art. They weren’t role models in the familiar sense that I looked up to them. Something inside me resonated with these two figures through their music.
I sang Caught a Lite Sneeze in the shower. I know, so cliche, right? I guess I hadn’t put any thought into what the song meant in many years. Seeing it now, through adult eyes, made it mean something different.

She’s describing the push and pull of a relationship and the particulars about the man. Why did it have to be so complicated? I wanted to hear it again, so I started to listen a “Sessions” version on Youtube. And then, I knew who it was about. In the end, it was about two people who were meant to be that never were.

The hazy memories of who I started my life as came into focus. Other than shedding some naïve notions and gaining some cynicism, I have finally come full circle. I am that girl in the woods. The only difference is those woods became my home.

I was a dark blonde, long haired, chubby, short girl with big, dark framed glasses. You could always find me with a pen or an instrument in my hand, a song in my heart, and an ache in my soul. Mostly, I looked brooding or electric. I was quite a character.

“At work, I really let my freak flag fly,” I said proudly to C.S.

Today, I am a bleach-blonde, moderately weighted, short woman with Buddy Holly glasses. You can always find me with a Blackberry or a Pilot G2 pen in hand. There is a strong voice with song that made a nest in my heart for loved ones. My soul sparks and stirs, with both warmth and burns from the fire within.

Why did I have to lose myself, to throw myself away entirely, in order to really find myself?

Reminiscence of Nine Eleven

Ok, I have been dreading this and avoiding it all week.

I don’t buy into hype.  So, in late August, it dawned on me that the 10th anniversary of 9-11 was coming soon. I knew that all of America would soon be sucked into the media frenzy that always happens when someone drops those two words : Nine Eleven. Ugh.

It is not as if I was not profoundly affected by the experience. It is the day that changed America. I was moved by all of the people who, instead of fleeing from the scene, ran into the crumbling infernos. My heart aches for the families who suffered incredible losses. And I am infuriated at the injustice of it all.

Too many people have used the deeply impacting experience of 9-11 for the wrong reasons. Many have used it for personal gain. Other political leaders have used it as a scare tactic. It has totally bastardized the true nature behind this. 9-11 was the profound tragedy that woke America from it’s safe slumber.

Most of us who are blogging here today are old enough to remember the disturbing event in great detail. We have all heard the heart-breaking stories that followed. But, no one ever asked the rest of us. How did we see it? How did we feel? And on the tenth anniversary, how do we remember it?

I’ll tell my story.

I was in high school at the time. My high school had many wings. I spent my entire morning in the music wing, which was attached to the middle school. We were very isolated from the rest of the school.

I had remembered that I had forgotten to take my handful of pills that morning when I started to suffer from shortness of breath. I had terrible asthma and allergies at the time. So, I went to the nurse’s office to have her call home for them.

My mother was there in 20 minutes. She looked very upset as she walked into the office. I asked her if everything was alright. There was a brief flash where the nurse caught my mother’s eye. She simply replied, “I’m OK. I just saw something bad on the news.”

I dismissed it. Every day, she’d spout on and on about news stories that featured girls getting killed, kidnapped, and / or raped. I figured it was something like that.

In retrospect, I recall the halls being abnormally quiet. It was quite a hike from the nurse’s office in the main building to the music wing. There were usually a couple far away voices in the girls’ bathroom or a low rumble of a class in progress. Everything was just murmurs and whispers.

But, it was business as usual in my chorus class. I took my rightful place as section leader of the altos, and was lost in the music. Next period, it was more of the same. I had select chorus in the same classroom, with some of the same students. Even the ones who came from the main building had nothing unusual to report.

It wasn’t until 11:15AM, over 2 and a half hours after the first tower was hit, before I knew. I returned to the main building to have lunch. It was the heart of period break and my peers were running and screaming through the halls. We’re all going to die! They’ll kill us all! I tried to stop someone to ask, but it was complete havoc. Teachers came out into the halls, ordering us to move along.

I sat down in a booth in the lunchroom with my friends. Some sat solemnly staring at the table. Others were shaking in a frenzy. “What the hell is going on?”, I demanded.
They gave me the abbreviated version. Terrorists hijacked four planes. One hit one of the twin towers, another hit the other. One plane hit the Pentagon and one went down in Somerset County, about 93 miles southwest of our high school. It was alarmingly close, and everything was on lockdown. No one knew if there were any other planes were out there. And no one knew what the targets were.

Was Pittsburgh a target? Sure, it’s not a large city. However, we have the best hospitals and research facilities in the world here. We couldn’t know if we were safe.

It was the first time in my entire life that I felt like I could be in mortal danger far beyond my control.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel like eating.

Next period, I had Geometry. But there was no math. It was the first time I had

An unimginable choice

any imagery of what happened. CNN was on every television in every classroom. I didn’t even really hear what the reporter was saying. I watched the north tower smoldering with plumes of smoke bellowing into the air above New York City. You could hardly see the people leaping from the windows, plunging to their death.

Then, they showed the footage of the second plane smashing into the south tower as people let out blood-curdling screams in the background. I watched in horror it as if it were happening in real time. I realized the towers could fall to either side and create a domino effect. I worried that it would.

They skipped to the blazing inferno that was now a hole in the Pentagon. Then, the blazing hole in the earth too close to home in Somerset County. Again, back to the towers. With what looked to be another explosion, the north tower crumbled onto itself, floor by floor. Dust and debris covered the crash site. I thought of all of the people who lost their lives attempting to rescue others. So many brave men and women gave themselves in the line of duty now perished under the rubble.

It was like something out of a movie.

The horror wouldn’t end. For the next two and a half hours, I watched the footage repeatedly. The only reprieve was class changes. CNN announced the declaration of A State of Emergency. Another announcement stated that all air traffic would be completely halted until further notice.

The ride home from school was sullen. The roads were practically deserted and it looked like a ghost town. Pittsburgh was still on lockdown, with the exception of necessary traffic.

It didn’t end when I returned home either. My family was glued to the television, watching CNN in awestruck terror. I finally cried as I watched the people leap to their deaths. I listened intently to people’s final words to their loved ones. There was so much pain and fear. I heard the brave story of the passengers of Flight 93. And I mourned their lives when they still perished after fighting so hard to live.

It was then that it became real to me.

That’s why it was a grizzly sight when Building 7 went down later in the evening. Although the World Trade Center had long been evacuated of civilians, many rescue workers and civilian volunteers remained. How many more people have to die? There was so much uncertainty. Is this the end? Or is there more to come?

The days following were a blur of fear, sadness, and more CNN coverage than I had seen in my entire life. It was a whirlwind of press conferences with various politicians and interviews with witnesses. I don’t remember most of it, to be honest.

I do recall this moment very clearly.

Nika, my next door neighbor, and I laid in our connected yard the next day and stared at the sky. There was nowhere else to go to escape the news coverage. The sky was blue, and the air was warm and eerily silent. Our street was a main street, and yet, it was less than a rumble. We lived close enough to Pittsburgh International Airport that you could hear the air traffic overhead. It was rare that you could look upward and not see a plane. But the sky was completely empty.

“It’s too quiet.”

We heard it first before we saw it. It was definitely a plane engine. And still, in my entire life, it has been one of the most terrifying sounds in my entire life. I ran to get my dad. He came out and squinted at the sky. He said, “It’s a military plane. Probably headed to the air force base.” The long sigh that escaped me was not enough to relieve the fear. It took a long time to relieve that fear.

It’s ten years later. Here in Pittsburgh, the PAT busses have been running a 9-11-01, NEVER FORGET message for a week. But no one here is really thinking about 9-11. The Steelers played today at 1PM. Business as usual.

I’m thinking about it, though.