The Art of Purging Secrets

Don’t let the title of this blog fool you.  I’m purging secrets that need to be purged…and I’ve become quite good at it…FINALLY.  This post will be all over the place and I do apologize for that.

I will warn you ahead of time….I cuss like a sailor, so if cursing offends you, I do understand, but at the same time…this is me, being me…being real.  I’m getting back into blogging for my own sanity.  My therapist has also said it might be good for me to do, or to write a book about all the crazy shit that I call my life.

You see, the secrets that I have…I put them in this nice, neat little box and stuffed them away.  I even tied them up with a pretty little bow.  I thought by doing this and pushing them so deep down inside that they would never, ever come back.  That I could hide the truth forever.  But it doesn’t work that way.  It never does, does it?

Oddly enough I just put on my earbuds and turned on Pandora, and The Cure- Pictures of You is the first track up.  While this song in no way condones or even has anything to do with the shitty things I’ve been through…it’s also sort of fitting for what I’m purging right now.  I wish this shit wasn’t my life…that it never happened…but it did, and it’s real and it’s MY TRUTH.  Like it or not…it happened, it freaking hurts….it hurts like hell.  But I am ALIVE, and although I do curse like a sailor, I also believe in God, I believe that there is a plan for me.  Why else would I go through this crap, and live to tell it.  But maybe that’s just it, maybe I’m supposed to tell it, maybe that’s my purpose.  I think we all struggle to know our purpose, why we are here…well here’s what I know part of mine is.

My purpose, I think, is first of all to be a mom…to the most incredible child I’ve ever known.  Somehow, as screwed up as I am, she’s not.  She’s the bravest, kindest and smartest kid.  Somehow she’s good, somehow she LOVES everyone and everything and she’s mine.  I helped make her…she’s part me, so I must be good, in some way.  Secondly I think the other part of my purpose is to help others with all of this shit that has happened to me.

So here goes…some of you know this…some of you don’t.  This WILL hurt.  This will hurt those of you who didn’t know any of this.  It’s not meant to hurt you, and trust me, it hurt me and still hurts me a hell of a lot more than it does or will hurt you.  I’ve been through a lot…I’m not a victim…I’m not a survivor….I’m just a woman who has been to hell and is on her way back from there.

So my first secret…I can finally let all of it out, because for 29 years I was protecting my family.  My parents, my cousins, my friends, my family unit. But a few weeks ago, I finally told my dad the biggest and darkest one of all, which we will eventually get to. But let’s start small. Since my earliest of memories, I was abused by my brother.  He was as many of you know 6 years older than me, and a lot bigger than me.  My first memories of him are of him reminding me daily of how I was a mistake and not wanted.  How I ruined his life the day I was born.  Punching me in the face, spitting on me, shooting me with a BB gun.  Constant verbal, mental and physical abuse.

Since I purged the huge secret to my Dad a few weeks ago, I can say that my physical pain has lessened.  It was so freeing to let it out, to finally tell my Dad just why I am so fucked up now.  Why I’m in constant therapy…why I have PTSD.  I’ve been through a lot in my 40 years.  I’ve experienced more trauma than most…and most of it clustered between the ages of 11 and 28.

For years I acted out in such ways that I kind of was ashamed of myself for what I did. But now, I just own it.  If you know me, well, you know what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about my “freedom” stage of life.  I was a walking, living and breathing Woodstock, love was free, I was giving it, taking it, and doing whatever I could, whenever I could.  I’m not exactly proud of it, but I did it, and I am who I am because of it.  And if you were on any end of it and I hurt you, I’m sorry.  You and I both had no idea just how fucked up I really was at that time.

According to many of the therapists I’ve seen as well as doctors, I have PTSD mainly because of my brother’s death.  It wasn’t something that was expected, and I most certainly did not want to be there as it happened. I can tell you that if you are not ready to watch someone’s last breaths, I definitely do NOT recommend doing it…it will change you to your core.  It caused me to have ulcers, severe anxiety and panic attacks and it just f-d me up beyond belief.  Mainly because I was watching all of the horrible things he’d done to me flash before my eyes, it was almost a relief to know that although I had forgiven him for those things…that they would be leaving with him, when his soul left his body all of those atrocities would be gone finally….or so I thought.

You see those things I put in that pretty little box.  One day they decided to come out…one by one, over the past almost 8 years.  These ugly little secrets have been destroying me.

Abuse does some pretty terrible things to you…and when you suffer through it during your developmental years it really does some serious damage.  I was a pretty happy kid overall, and I’m really quite well-adjusted considering everything.  I don’t want anyone to hate my brother or my parents for any of this.  This purge is mainly to help me, and to help anyone who is going through it or just trying to understand someone better.

My brother beat me most of my life.  He would lock me in my bedroom for hours, not even letting me out to go to the bathroom. He would walk by and punch me in the face for no reason.  Scream in my face and spit on me. Tell me how he hated me, constantly.

Imagine your older sibling projecting their hate on you on an almost daily basis. Now imagine, that one day you have to take care of them, because they are sick and dying.  Now imagine watching them take their last breath.  Could you be ok after that?  I know I haven’t been. I know that it broke me the day he died.  It broke me in ways that I cannot even begin to explain.  I did love my brother, and I still do, after all he did.  He did have good parts, although I think most of him was broken for some reason, too.

I could write so much, because there is so much to tell.  I will get around to all of it…just not tonight.  Feel free to ask any questions…I’m very open about all of this…I’ve gotta be to heal.

 

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Change of Pace

Okay, so I thought I’d change up the pace a bit.  A post with nothing graphic, dramatic, sad, or just messed up in general.  I have some pretty exciting news for y’all.

When my sweet baby girl was in Kindergarten she and I had the idea to start writing a series of children’s books together.  We wrote one together (I did a lot of it because it was a gift for her for her birthday) and I read it to her class for her birthday.  The children and her teacher loved it, and so did everyone who we let read it.  We have a total of about 5 written so far, it’s just been hard deciding on how to illustrate it.  For the first one I’m using actual photos and will probably try to stay on that trend as well.

Well getting to the point, we are self-publishing on Amazon, and it will be available in print and as a kindle download.  I hope y’all are able to purchase it and love it as much as we do.  I can assure you it’s been a process and the books are written with care and love.  I’m just super proud of both of us.  This year has been quite the journey so far and things are only going to go up from here!

 

Love y’all!

 

The Art of Purging Secrets – Part 2

Trauma – The definition of trauma is: an injury to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent, a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional trauma, and finally an emotional upset.  Trauma is real folks, and all of us have experienced it. Some of us more than others. It’s taken me years to be okay with most of my trauma, it is after-all my truth, my reality.

Caution:  You’re about to read some really messed up stuff.  It’s true, it’s graphic and if you cannot handle it, it’s best to stop here.

My first trauma I’ve told you about.  Being told I was unwanted, a mistake, being physically, mentally and verbally abused by my older brother.  My next trauma is the tough one.  It’s the one that will hurt a  lot of people.  By hurt what I mean is it was such a dirty shameful secret that I held inside for so many years.  It’s going to hurt those of you that put him on a pedestal, that thought he was just mean to his little sister.  But it’s true, it happened, and I’m living it daily.

My second major trauma is sexual abuse.  At the age of 11, my brother began molesting me. (I told you this would hurt.) It all started in the basement of our house.  I was downstairs watching tv while Daddy was mowing the lawn.  I remember it all so vividly and clearly.  I was wearing a light purplish grey jogging pants and sweatshirt set. I was watching the Thundercats. He came downstairs, immediately began calling me names, his favorite was stupid bitch.  I remember him spitting in my face, holding me down, and shoving his hand down my pants.  I screamed and cried but no one heard me.  He shoved my head into the carpet and continued the touching.  It seemed like it lasted for hours, but it only lasted a few minutes.  After he was done, he slapped me upside the head and told me he would kill me if I told.  He told me Mama and Daddy would never believe me.  He was 17 years old at the time.  He was 4 times my size.  He beat me almost daily, belittled me daily, so I believed him.  He walked away calling me a worthless piece of shit. I just laid there and cried for hours.  That day changed my life forever.  That day was initially what broke me.

I was always a skinny kid.  I ate like a pig, but was a stick.  That day, I believed him.  I believed I was worthless, I was angry, I was hurt and I sat down and never moved out of that darkness.  That next summer, I began to gain weight.  I was pretty chubby in 7th and 8th grade.  By 9th grade I was obese, and getting bigger.  I ate my feelings, food made me happy.  Every time he assaulted me food was my comfort. Food made it all better. By the time I was 17 I weighed around 230 pounds. I hated myself and fell into dark places and kept this secret hidden inside.  I didn’t want my sick mother to know, I didn’t want my dad to look at me with shame.  I didn’t want my Granny to be angry at my brother who she loved.  I didn’t want my Ma and Pa to not love me anymore.  I didn’t want my cousins and friends to look at me differently or to not love me anymore.  So I kept quiet.  I bottled it up, put it in that box and stuffed it away.

Every time he abused me, it was basically the same.  He never raped me, only touched me, and fondled me.  He made me touch him.  Lots of times once he was done I would vomit.  But then I would cry and eat my feelings.  He always made sure that no one was around or home.  He always made sure to instill the fear in me that he would kill me.  He could make it look like I did it to myself or that it was an accident.  That no one would ever believe me. And still I believed it, because it was shameful and it hurt and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that hurt or shame.

The sexual abuse lasted for about 5 years. When I was 16 I was working 2 jobs.  I worked at McDonald’s a few nights a week and on the weekends.  And I worked for my Godmother, Sammie, after school at her beauty shop.  Those were my happy places.  I hated school because people were cruel to me, I only had a few friends, I was weird and awkward.  I was smart, but rarely applied myself. I kept my secret from everyone.  Lots of people knew what an asshole my brother was to me, but they didn’t know that shameful part of it.  I sometimes wonder if they had, would they have helped me? Would they have cared?  I would like to think so, but I wonder if they would have just felt like they couldn’t be involved.  The day I finally made it stop he came at me while I was laying on the couch.  Mama and Daddy were gone to a doctors appointment.  I was watching TV and he came up to me with his pants down.  He tried to make me touch him, when I refused he punched me in the side of the head.  He always tried to hit me where it couldn’t be seen.  He grabbed me by my hair and threw me off the couch…I shoved him away as best I could and ran into the kitchen.  He was busy trying to get his pants back up so he could come after me.  I grabbed the biggest knife I could find and I ran at him.  I shoved him into the sliding glass doors in the living room.  I held the knife to his chest.  I was bawling my eyes out, screaming at him.  I remember telling him, no more.  NO MORE!  I told him I would kill him if he ever touched me again, that I didn’t care who believed me.  I didn’t care if anyone stopped loving me, because it had to stop.  I hated him, I hated myself.  I didn’t care if I died, or spent the rest of my life in jail for hurting him.  I didn’t care if Mama and Daddy didn’t love me anymore.  Life would be better then, I could be free from his abuse.

That day he stopped sexually abusing me.  That day he knew I meant business.  The physical, verbal and mental abuse continued.  It went on until about a week before he died.

I know so many of you didn’t know this was going on.  I’m sorry if this hurts you.  But I’m not sorry for sharing this now.  You should know that I forgave him several times.  When I was about 24 he wanted to talk about it.  He apologized for it, and told me he couldn’t help but be sexually attracted to me and he didn’t know why.  He cried and said he was sick in the head.  When he knew he was going to die, he wanted to talk about it again.  He begged for my forgiveness again.  I forgave him both times.  I still forgive him.  I still hate him in a way for taking my innocence, which is partly why I’m purging all of this.  I’m angry at him for making me hurt like this so many years later.  I struggle with all of these feelings, most of all I struggle with the shame I feel for keeping this secret.  For the shame that it caused for so many years, for my “freedom” stage of life.  For being a functioning alcoholic for so many years. But ultimately I forgive him, because he was sick…maybe someone did the same to him when he was little.  Maybe he just suffered from severe mental illness.  Any way you look at it, he was sick, and he needed help, too.

But he is forgiven by me, and I hope that if you’re angry with him for this, that you can forgive him, too.

 

I don’t have any newer pictures of him.  I’m still not okay with looking at them for the most part.  But here he is when he was younger, before he was so broken he felt like he was okay to hurt me in so many other ways.  Forgiveness is so powerful and freeing…

A Letter To My Mother in Heaven – Part 1

So, this is super personal…and I don’t know how far into it I’m going to go…but I’m sitting here, listening to Pandora crying and wanting a bowl of ice cream.  I can’t have the damn ice cream because I’m doing a 45 day challenge in kickboxing and I’m going to pretend everyday that I’m winning that 20 grand.  Anyway, my point is this…on the 19th anniversary of my Mom’s death I began writing her a letter.  I actually started it a day before the anniversary.  I did it upon the suggestion of some dear people in my life and just because I felt compelled to because of finally telling my Dad about all of the abuse. So, here it is….

…Hey Mama.  Tomorrow will be 19 years since you left us. So much has happened in that time and I pray that you have been with me this whole time.  So many times I have felt your presence and I could be at peace for just that moment of time.

I hate cancer so much.  I hate it for taking you from us too soon.  I know that your body no longer hurts and you can be at peace.  I know you hurt so badly from all of the cancers you endured.  I know that you don’t have to live through that pain anymore and that makes it okay and I am really thankful for that part of it.  But truly, I hate cancer.  It’s taken too much from so many people…but it took you, my Mom, my best friend, my biggest fan. I miss you so much at times that it is literally unbearable.

It’s been so long since I’ve seen your face, heard your voice, smelled your perfume….that I forget.  I try so hard to remember it all and I hate that time takes that away from me. What I wouldn’t give to hear you say my name once more.  What I wouldn’t give to just have you here with us, to know your granddaughter.  She is so much like you and I wish she had you so badly.

I know that I wasn’t always the best person or kid.  I did stupid things, said hateful things and may not have always been the most helpful.  For those things I struggle with a lot of guilt. Even after all of these years- a memory will pop into my mind and I will feel the overwhelming sense of guilt for what I did or didn’t do back then.

The last week that you were still alert was the hardest part of my whole life.  Up until then all of the abuse I had been through was so small compared to the hurt I was feeling watching you waste away from the cancer.  I hate that cancer ate through your bones, and hurt you the way it did.  It changed you so much, you weren’t yourself for those last few weeks.  I know you didn’t mean a lot of the things your said or did then, but the hurt it still there. I still struggle with that. That last week was the hardest of all the years you were sick.  All those years of taking care of you and helping you, but that last week tore me apart. I feel guilt because of the relief I felt when I knew you were going to die.  I was relieved because you weren’t going to suffer any longer, but I felt so bad for feeling that relief. I couldn’t handle seeing you suffer anymore…you were so miserable.

The night you passed Ryan and I came to see you.  You and I had an agreement.  I didn’t want to watch you take your last breaths.  I wanted to remember you alive…even if it was just you laying in a bed in a coma.  I wanted to remember you alive….I did not want to have the image of you taking that last breath.  I hate that Daddy had to see that, but I am thankful he wasn’t alone there that he had Bobby, JoAnne, Sherry and Audrey there.  Somehow I knew it would be that night, that’s why we came to see you. It was so late, but in my heart I knew I needed to see you that night.  When Daddy came to the apartment to tell us you were gone.  I fell to pieces, I was already shattered but those pieces they split apart and fell to the floor.  You were gone.  My best friend, my coloring buddy, the other pea to my pod.  You were gone…and I was holding on to so many things….I wish I would have told you so much.

There is so much I still don’t even know about you.  Things I wish I would have asked you, things that I want to know so badly now.  I hope that you are proud of me.  I hope that I have honored your memory whenever possible.  I really hope that you are always with me and Whitley.  I love you Mama, and I miss you every single day.

Though you are no longer here…I have so many things to tell you, so many secrets to tell. Now it’s time to let them go. They’ve been eating at my soul for so many years. I can’t even begin to tell you the relief I felt when I told Daddy.  I hate the way that I told him, but it just had to come out…it was like vomit.  It needed to leave my body, my heart, and my mind.

There are so many times that I worry that I will inherit your mental illness.  But my therapist says the fact that I’m aware of it, and alert to the fact of it, that I’m okay.  I know you suffered, the bipolar, the borderline multiple personalities.  I would give anything to know what broke you…what made you the way you were.  My friends always thought you were so much fun, that you were just wild and crazy Kathie…but I knew the truth.  You were fun, you were great, but you were always suffering mentally.

You hurt me when you would attempt suicide in front of me. I don’t hate you for it, but it has made me the way I am.  I hate guns…stairs freak me out.  A child should never see their parents put guns in their mouths…they should never see their parents throw themselves down stairs, no matter what age they are.  They should never see their parents take too many pills or do drugs.  I worried about you constantly.  I lived in fear that on a daily basis at school I would be called to the office to hear that you were dead. I am thankful that you were always pretty open with me about your mental illness. I just wish I knew why you suffered from so many things before the cancer got you. I forgive you for all of it…but it definitely broke me.  But as broken as I am, I’m still okay.

I never want my child to hear me say “I want to die”…at least not until I’m in my 80’s and suffering…or not until she’s an adult and it’s not from mental illness.  I know you hurt, and I know you begging the Lord to take you was how you dealt with it, but Mama it hurt.  It hurt me so bad.

My note to you is not to place blame on you, it’s just to purge those secrets from my heart and mind.  I forgive you for everything and I hope you forgive me, too.

My heart hurts so much that you cannot physically be here with Whitley.  I try to constantly keep your memory alive for her.  I show her pictures, tell her stories, and encourage her to get to know you through what little bit of family we have left.  I know that she would definitely be the third pea in our pod, Mama. Y’all would be the best of pals…she’s a crazy cat lady just like you.  If we would let her she would have a hundred cats and dogs all living in the house.  She is so much like you…so much.  I know I’ve already said it…but she’s so tacky and gaudy like you could be. (I say that with love, I promise) She loves what-nots and thrift stores. You two would dominate the We Care. She loves puzzles and card games just like you. She loves coloring and doing hair, nails and make up.  I truly believe that when she was created that God was giving me some pieces of you back to me.  He knew I needed the unbroken parts of you back, and they are alive and well in her.

Since I’m sharing this with the world…I want the world to know that although what I am writing here may sound horrible.  But what people should know is that you were the BEST Mama that you could be.  You did care for me, you loved me and I knew it.  You may have missed a few things going on here and there….but you had your own shit going on and that’s okay.  You were and still are my hero.  I love you Mama…you were a wonderful, broken, hurt, human.  And you were and still are so beautiful…inside and out.

So much of my childhood has been a blur.  Since I purged all my crap to Daddy it’s coming back to me…full force…which is great.  I can heal now…I suffered from so much trauma at a young age.  I’m sorry I never asked for your help, or told you.  I think I was afraid mostly and when you got sick I felt like it wasn’t the right time. And it wasn’t, because I really believe that now is the time….this is where I’m being led and how I’m being led to do this.

I’m going to end this post here.  I’ve been a hot mess of writing tonight.  I promise there will be some fun blog posts in here at time…this is just what needs to leave the brain first.  Love y’all!