View Full Version : Looking for feedback


m1trLG2
12-08-09, 03:12 PM
These are the first 2 chapters of my "book" (not sure what it's going to turn into yet... but it's my life) I would really like feedback even if you don't read the whole thing. Thanks!

Spi⋅ral

[spahy-ruhhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png l] noun, adjective, verb, -raled, -ral⋅ing or -ralled, -ral⋅ling.
-a plane curve generated by a point moving around a fixed point while constantly receding from or approaching it
I can't pinpoint the exact moment that I became aware of my life. It was somewhere between midnight slumber parties and college applications when I felt things start to slip from my grasp in such a way that I was scared I would never be able to return to the blissful ignorance of childhood. My whole life working so diligently to escape the dark blindness that comes with innocence, now seeing my first glimpse of the end of the tunnel I wanted to turn and run the other way. Only it was too late. Like a gruesome scene from a horror movie it is something you can never forget or move away from, you simply must now live with what you have seen and find a way to make it a part of you without letting it take over you. This is where I failed.
As I sat there in my emotional paralysis staring at the razor I held in my right hand and the blood pooling up on the floor under my left I tried to figure out how things had gotten to this point. I thought about the sequel of events I refer to as my life and how deceiving all the elementary school versions of myself were, staring back at me from their neatly hung frames. The smiling girl I saw was so detached from any version of myself that I ever remember.
Pictures are funny like that. They are not a snapshot of life as it is in most cases. They are a snapshot of life as people want to remember it. That's why we calling it “posing for pictures”. No photographer showed up in my house during the yelling, or while I got to school early to try and wipe away the tear marks from my cheeks before the rest of the kids arrived. No one was snapping pictures while my mom threatened to kill herself or after my dad would come home too depressed to even interact with me. No, instead the photographer showed up on that one day a year when you wake up and your mom picks out your nicest clothes, heats up the curling iron to do your hair, and doesn't let you eat breakfast because God forbid you stain your clothes or get something in your teeth. Like lemmings to the sea they march you one by one down to a giant auditorium where you are told to stand single file, not touch each other, not play, not sweat, not move, not do anything! Finally they hoist you up onto a stool created out of an upside down crate covered in black velvet where they take a tape measure and touch it to your nose tell you to freeze and smile and voila! Perfect, they have “captured the moment!” Give me a break. All this so your mother can get your picture back two to three weeks later, put it in a frame from Wal-Mart, and brag about her happy beautiful baby girl.
Makes me sick. Perhaps this is why I so enjoy photography today. Some suppressed mission to recapture the truth that was stolen from me during my childhood by those photographers trying to make every child look like a happy, smiling angel. What about truth? It is rare that people stop to question what is going on behind the falsified facade of this child's picture. So rare in fact that when someone does stop and ask how you are or what is wrong it catches you off guard, you don't know how to react, and that is how I ended up with a razor in my hand trying to cut into my arm and find some shred of who I am. I knew I wasn't the girl in the picture. I was not a smiling, bubbly blonde girl with big blue eyes. I was something else, some damaged version of that. Torn and ripped until there was nothing left to me. Until I felt the need to physically tear at my own skin to find out who I was. Where did that girl go? What happened to her? The hardest question I faced though was whether I would ever be able to get her back.
This was the moment my life changed forever. I wasn't going to lie anymore, I wasn't going to hide or be happy just because it was what I was supposed to do anymore. I didn't care what my parents thought, I didn't care how it would affect them, I just didn't care. For fifteen years they put me through hell and for once I didn't care about hurting them back. What I was afraid of was losing myself. Or worse, finding a self that I didn't want to be.


in⋅no⋅cence

[in-uh-suhhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png ns] –noun
1- the quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong.
2- simplicity
So fast innocence can be taken. Without conscious action or knowledge it is possible to wake up one morning ripped from it like a band aide that covers a wound not for purpose but for comfort. Isn't that all innocence is anyway? It's a state of ignorance used to cover up the true nature of the world. I suppose the true miracle is how long some are able to keep that band aide. For me it wasn't very long. Perhaps this is where my cynical disappreaciation of innocence stems from.
My band aide moment happened long after the actual event happened but it hurt all the same. Everyone says that ripping off a band aide hurts less the faster you do it, but I disagree. I think it's just that when you do it fast enough your state of shock overpowers your sense of pain. There is nothing about ripping off an object that has been glued to your leg that can be viewed as not painful. No matter how many times you shave your legs, how fast you rip it, or how much you tell yourself it's not going to hurt you can not change the fact that you are removing something that has been glued to your body. The longer the band aide has been on, the more it hurts. The only good thing about doing it fast and believing the old lie about faster is better is that once it's over, it's over and you can start to deal with the pain and move on. This is how I think of innocence. The longer you remain ignorant to the real world, the more it hurts when your innocence is ripped from you revealing the true ugliness that lies beneath it. This can apply to your life as a whole, or it can apply to moments of your life. Like tiny band aides all over your body each experience holds the potential to have an ugly truth lying underneath it. When your warm fuzzy memory is ripped away to reveal this ugly truth, your world stops and all you feel is the stinging numbness that follows.
I never really thought much about my childhood growing up. How similar or different it may be from my peers. This may be attributed to the developmental norm of egocentric thinking, it may be because I really didn't care. Either way, I figured this was life. One of the phenomenons in my life that I didn't come to understand until much later in life was my mother. The culmination of all I loved and feared wrapped up into a singular and amazing women. Despite her attempts to be a solid pillar of reliability in my life, she is probably the must influential in my inability to trust anybody. I like to believe that there was something wrong with her, that she never meant to hurt me. In believing this I have convinced myself that things weren't so bad, it makes it easier to deal with all the things I have gone through with her. What it has not done is make it easier for me to be honest about my life. If I truly believe that she wasn't trying to hurt me, then the things I have done, the cutting, the reports of abuse, all of that seems very cruel and vindictive. However, she hurt me. I am left with two options. Either my mother knowingly hurt and manipulated me and then I am not the bad one for dealing with things the way I did or, she didn't know and then I am a terrible daughter for doing the things that I have done. This constant back and forth of emotion that I live with. This is the wound my band aide was hiding. Middle school was me starting to pick at a lose edge. High school was the catalyst that ripped it off.
Sitting in my seventh grade literature class with Miss Wells was when I felt the first snap, the first ounce of something within me give way. We were working on a project and I was sitting there exhausted. Emotionally, physically, mentally... just exhausted. I was staring off into space enjoying the quiet in the classroom when she asked me the question that I blame for my downfall. Twelve long years I had worked to build my impenetrable walls, I prided myself on my lack of emotional response, my unwavering smile, my absence of tears. On that day though she asked me what was wrong. What? I didn't know how to react. Not only had I never been asked this before but I had never made the mistake of allowing myself to appear as if something was wrong. I was completely caught off guard. I didn't respond.
“Drea, what's wrong?”
She asked again. It took only two minutes for my twelve years of unfaltering indifference to the world to crumble into a sobbing child so desperately seeking the comfort of anyone who would listen. The only problem now was that she wanted to know what was wrong. Sure, it's easy enough to tell someone what is wrong if you have a black eye, if your parents do drugs, if you have some physical abnormality to present as evidence of “what is wrong”. But what do you do when the problem is twelve years of emotional hell? What do you say when it's not so much the fight you had that morning with your parents that's the problem but it's the last twelve years worth of morning arguments weighing you down making it almost impossible to breath? What do you say when you can't pinpoint the problem because you would have to explain your entire life to someone in order for them to just maybe understand what you are talking about? So I didn't respond. I sat there and cried. I cried all the tears I had held in for twelve years. The whole time being asked, “What's wrong?” Each time those words were uddered, I cried harder. Someone really wanted to know what was wrong? Someone really cared if I wasn't happy? I didn't think that happened. Each time she asked I would shake my head or say, “it's nothing, I can't tell you, I'm fine.” Eventually she started to ask me if someone had hurt me. This went on until my first horrible mistake took place.
My mom was so involved in the school that I knew no one would believe what she was capable of at home, I let myself get so caught up in the moment though that I wanted to tell her everything. So I let her believe what she wanted. I mean really, what would be so bad to have a kid melt down in the middle of a class? When she asked if my parents hurt me I didn't say no. Had I ever been physically abused? Sure, but it wasn't the worst part nor was it frequent enough for me to really complain about it. It was the day to day emotional abuse that I couldn't handle, that was what was killing me. I wanted to tell her all about it but she was immediately stuck on the physical abuse.
At this age I was still too young to understand mandatory reporting and when she called our school counselor into the room I felt betrayed. Unfortunately, the school counselor was really good friends with my mom. I didn't even want to try and talk to her. I wanted to run, I wanted to die, I wanted to do anything to not be there at that moment. She made me tell Miss Wells, the one person who ever asked me what was wrong, that I was a liar and that my mom was a wonderful lady. I had to sit there and straight face say that. She then called my mom to tell her about my “antics” at school that day. All the teachers were sent warnings about me. I was isolated from any type of support system. I had managed twelve years without ever telling anyone about what was going on in my life, but now the knowledge that I could never tell anyone even if I wanted to was overwhelming. The thought that anyone I would talk to would automatically assume I was lying was too much to bear. This is when I first started to hurt myself.
My first form of self injury was extreme. I would try to break my own bones. I knew a little bit about abused children and I knew that if I had severe injuries that I didn't have an explanation for they would start to suspect my parents. I wouldn't have to say another word if I had injuries to prove it. In other words, I decided to take their emotional abuse and turn it physical. When they would hurt me with their mind games, I would take a hammer to my arm. It was exhausting keeping the stories straight. I had to tell my parents it happened at school, I had to tell school it happened at home. Still, no one ever seemed to care again in middle school. However at this point I had found comfort in expressing my pain physically. I finally felt validated. By the end of middle school I had three broken fingers, a broken arm, and a few black eyes but the emotional pain I had bottled up for so long was starting to subside. I knew that my teachers didn't know what was going on, but I felt comfort in knowing that there was no way people couldn't think something was going on in my life that was causing these injuries. Sadly, the emotional toll this took on my mother was great and her outbursts increased accordingly. I had created a vicious cycle.
The last time I hurt myself, when I broke my arm, was shortly after my birthday. It all started on my thirteenth birthday. I was so excited, I mean that's your first “big birthday”. Thirteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one. I was finally a teenager. I came home from school so happy. Not expecting anything big, but my sister and I always had our own little birthday celebrations. She would wake me up in the mornings with a homemade card where we would spill our little hearts out to each other and let each other know that we were not alone in the world. That we would always have each other. After school we would go outside and play, or ride our bikes someplace, or she would give me a cupcake and we would sing. They were the best birthdays ever. This birthday was different though. I got home and my mom had apparently had a bad day. She was picking on everything. I didn't hang up my coat, I forgot to put my shoes away, nothing I did was ever right. I made the mistake of answering her back by saying, “But mom, today's my birthday!” Oh was she ****ed. That started a multi-day argument ending with a lesson I will never forget.
Let me explain my mom's tantrums. When she would get upset or start to feel she wasn't getting enough attention one of two things would happen. She would either a) get a migraine in which the whole world had to feel sorry for her, or b) threaten to kill herself and then storm out of the house and into the car. This particular situation played out through option B. She told me I was ungrateful and that when she was my age her mother was killed. She said that I needed to know what this was like and told me she was going to kill herself by driving into a tree and that for the rest of my life I could remember that I had killed my mother. This was my thirteenth birthday present from my mom.
Without waiting for a response, without giving me a chance to speak, my mother was gone. Into the car she went and squealing down the street she left going about 50 miles an hour down our single block. I heard the car take the corner at the end of the street, and my mother was gone. I remember crying to my dad saying I was sorry, that I didn't mean it. In the best way he could manage he tried to tell me it wasn't my fault. He wasn't much comfort though in his strung out persona. My dad had severe depression throughout most of my life and his nights usually included coming home, opening the fridge, grabbing something quick to eat, and then going upstairs to pass out.
My mom didn't come back for two days, nor did anyone know where she was. When she did come back, I was told this was to teach me a lesson. For the next two weeks my mother didn't talk to me. Not a single word. Then one morning as strangely and as quickly as it had come, she seemed to have snapped out of it. She woke me up with a hug, made me breakfast, and took me to school face smiling and voice singing. That night I took the hammer to my arm and broke it. How else was I supposed to let people know how much that argument hurt me?
The emotional roller coaster of my early childhood was exhausting. The toll it took still haunts me today. I never thought about the particulars of it at the time but as my life continued I started to see how her behavior was affecting how I chose to interact with people around me. This was one of many band aides of innocence that I had ripped off far too long after the initial event. The pain and stinging was far reached. I just didn't realize how far until much later in my life.
Fifteen, a star athlete in high school, and blessed with a clear complexion even in the most awkward of years one would have thought I had it all. I was quiet and kept to myself for the most part. My friends knew I was far from shy, but I hated confrontation and did whatever I could to just avoid dealing with people. I was neither the tomboy nor the gosspiy girl who liked to talk about boys. Somewhere in the limbo of the social scene I did my best to keep up in classes, fulfill my expectations as an athlete, and still manage to walk away with a few memories of high school that didn't just involve classes and soccer.
These were also the worst years of my life at home. It all started a few years earlier though.