Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not Alone

The old man with the cane was out guarding the bank ATM again this morning while the younger, more fit man was unloading the machine. It looks like Old Guy has gained some weight since last time I saw him; his bullet-proof vest now looks more like a bullet-proof halter top, and I imagine that it would be even easier to overpower him and run for it now. These are the things I think about when I am walking back to work from getting the mail. Today, despite my lack of criminal tendencies, I thought it would be easy to take it and run, only this time taking all four kids with me. Just disappearing.

My dreams have been strange and unsettling the last few nights, my sleep broken up into little fragments. I keep hearing things that bring me bolt upright out of sleep only to find that they are normal nighttime noises, the sounds of the dogs' clicking toenails on the hardwood floors, or one of the kids turning over in their sleep. I know well where this comes from-the impending pre-trial hearing, less than a month away, and the trial shortly after. I have talked to Hannah about it, which in turn has caused HER to have more restless nights, and even though we both know that fear and worry help nothing, it is hard to tell our subconscious minds that. We move along with life-Hannah started back to school again today-and in the waking hours tell ourselves that everything will be fine, but when the dark comes, it seems less easy to believe.

There are so many of us. So, so many. I get these emails that literally break my heart; people say, "Oh my God, you are ME. This is what happened to me!" or "A friend of mine's daughter went through this..." or "My child had this happen..." and God help me, it makes me cry every single time. I am so filled up with emotions I can't name; what a blessing and a comfort it is to me, and to Hannah, to get these emails, because we are not alone and have concrete proof of this daily, yet what a fucking mess that any of us ever had to live through such abuse and pain. I don't get it; I didn't when I was a child, and I get it even less now that I have children of my own. I have been angry; God, I have been so furious with my kids that I could hurt them-but I don't. There is enough sanity in me that I know if I touch them when I am angry, I WILL hurt them, so I take a breather and allow myself to calm down before I attempt any sort of discipline. And God knows I am not the sanest person in the world, so if I can stop myself from crossing that line, why can't so many others?

I have been reading a book that my good friend Janet gave me, and it is really quite earth-shattering. The basic premise of the book is about how even though we might know intellectually the things done to us in abusive households, we HAVE to fully face them, feel the emotions, and grieve. GET angry; feel rage and hopelessness and despair. Confront our parents (though for the majority of us survivors, confrontation is not an option, so the books advocates an inner dialogue, a journal, some way to get the rage out in a safe and appropriate venue), feel the pain, and then at some point we can learn to make peace. The odd thing is that I thought I HAD; I thought that I could see pretty clearly just how things were, and that it wasn't right nor fair, but that hey, I don't have to be ruled by it anymore. With the events of the last months, I realize that yeah, I know all this, but I have never allowed myself to be truly angry at my mom. I have been all about the whole "I feel bad for her because she was probably scared to face the thought of raising four kids on her own, so didn't leave...." or "She was terribly abused as a child so didn't know any different..." and all the while, all I have been doing is making excuses. You see, I was and AM afraid of raising four kids on m own, yet here I am, just getting up in the mornings and doing it. So poof, there goes THAT justification. There again, I was terribly abused, sexually, physically, emotionally, and every other "ally" there is, and yet I don't have to do the same to MY kids, so poof, there goes yet another justification. Janet keep telling me, "Honey, you are right where you need to be. It is okay; you have to do this if you are ever going to be free." And she means with Hannah, of course, but also in the deeper sense of my inner, truest self.

Free. I don't even know what that means. I am almost 37 years old and I still labor under the false impression that someday, my mom is going to love me and be proud of me, if I just work hard enough. Someday, my dad is going to hobble toward me, broken and lonely, and beg for forgiveness for essentially abandoning me, and bestow upon me all of the love and protection that I so badly needed. And you know what? It just isn't going to happen. It really, really sucks ass that I am finally realizing that no matter what shallow words my mom might say, nothing can and will justify my treatment-by her or any one of the men she brought into my life. That I am realizing that she never really did love me, OR my sisters; were we a means to an end? Maybe, but what end would that be? I have no idea. I am beginning to realize that even though my mom was a formidable opponent, if my dad had truly loved us in the way a father should love his children, he would have removed us from the situation. He had his own agenda, and it certainly didn't include us. Oh, yeah. Anger. Grief. All of those lovely, lovely emotions are what I am SUPPOSED to be feeling right now, so they say, but I don't like them one bit. I am smart and savvy and been around the block a time or two, but there is a huge difference between KNOWING and FEELING. No wonder I was a drunk for so many years.

But I am not alone. Hannah is not alone. None of the wonderful, beautiful, and strong women with whom I have been in contact are alone. We are collectively raising our kids to be free, and loved, and cherished, and that helps. It helps to know that no matter how angry I get and need to vent and scream, there will be women who understand, who are nodding their heads as they read saying, "Oh, yeah, I get that." Knowing that? It is a comfort, and I am grateful. Keep the emails and the stories coming, for me, for Hannah, for yourselves.


****I am leaving the donate button up for Amber and Thayne the rest of this week, just a small extension. While some of my readers have been more than generous, we are still short of my original goal by about $200. If any of you can spare $10.00, please do-it is for a good cause.*****

15 comments:

J'Ollie Primitives said...

My mom was not abused per se by her mother, but was treated very coldly as a child AND as an adult. When we visited our grandmother, which involved two days travel in a Volkwagen Beetle (four kids, one mom, an occasional cat or German Shepherd)~~babbling~~just to GET there, only to see my mother treated with the chilliest and most judgemental if polite reception~~even we as little ones could see that something was w.r.o.ng. there. Mom learned from her mother ~ and treated us with dignity, respect and humor. I could have said it more succinctly in simply stating that we learn from our parents, whether it be from their horrible examples or from their good ones. You're a good example to your kids, Kori. They'll learn good things from your strength.
(getting off the soapbox now)

Ms. Moon said...

When I finally got to the mad-at-my-mother stage, it was mindblowing.
The problem is, I've never been able to get over it.
I think when you have your own children and realize what you would do for them, out of love for them, and that no one did that for you- it's just too shocking.

Ronda's Rants said...

You are not alone...ever! I may not have experienced your life but I am hurt knowing you have been...I am so very sorry and your Mother is wrong!!

April said...

Look how brave you are - speaking out and being there for so many others. I love you.

FreedomFirst said...

"And God knows I am not the sanest person in the world, so if I can stop myself from crossing that line, why can't so many others?"

I think the answer lies in the fact that you WANT to do better, instead of just looking for someone else to shunt your misery onto. They saying "Misery loves company" has a lot of truth. It is so easy to selfishly say, "Well, I had to put up with this so everyone else has nothing to complain about. Too bad." But that only perpetuates the cycle. It takes someone who actually cares to break it. And too many parents just don't care.

I am starting to see parents everywhere who are trying to break a cycle in some way, and it makes me even more frustrated with the ones who don't.

Hockeyman said...

Ahhhh, you are so NOT alone and it's not just the women who read you that understand. You are brave and I am proud of you for what you have already accomplished. Keep it up!

Julie said...

Wow, Kori! I agree with April; you're so brave! That post gave me goosebumps and I'm so glad you wrote it. Thank you for sharing.

justme said...

**SIGH**

Yeah, going through my own realizations of a somewhat similar type right now...

And you are so right...the actual feeling is SO MUCH harder than the 'knowing'.

I thought I had moved past, had forgiven, had figured out my plan, and then my two year old blew it right out of the water with a fragmented sentence which has left me reeling...

It sucks...but we must continue to move forward and know that we CAN be and ARE the turning point, Kori.

((hugs)) to you.

Rachael said...

I am so sorry. I just can't even imagine what it must be like to deal with this kind of past, these kind of memories. I just hope that the women that you're around now help you to realize your value in this world. I don't think anyone should have to go through what you or Hannah is going through, but I also know that because of it you are and have touched so many people, and that is a blessing at least.

HalfAsstic.com said...

Kori, you are doing EVERYONE a kindness while doing your own "therapy" blogging about all of what's happened to Hannah and yourself.
Keep it up. It means more than you know. ;-)

just jamie said...

Wondering what the book is that you are reading...

Still applauding your courage, your strength, your ability to forge ahead in the dimness.

Shiona said...

I always love to hear about breaking the cycle. It is so great that you set such a great example.

geekhiker said...

This is a beautiful post.

So much so that I am, in fact, rendered speechless, because nothing I say could improve it.

Momo Fali said...

I was in an abusive relationship that ended 14 years ago. I still think about it every day, but the nightmares aren't so bad anymore.

You need some white noise at night. It has done wonders for me, because I find the silence (and all those little noises you mentioned) deafening. I use a fan and it blocks out all that other stuff and helps me sleep.

Mama Smurf said...

What an incredibly articulate post. You are an amazingly resilient and strong woman. Statistically speaking you are a miracle.