lions and tigers and…thoughts…oh my

When I woke up this morning my brain already felt like it was on overload. I sometimes find myself wishing I could just stop thinking for awhile but it seems I think even in my sleep. I guess that is just how I am made and I suppose after all these years I ought to get used to it and move on. I don’t know if any of this will make sense but whatever ~ it’s my damn space and I don’t guess it has to always make sense if I don’t want it to.

When I was born my mother and I lived with my grandparents. My mom was young and had married a fellow Army dude. Turns out he was married to someone else at the time but she was already pregnant by the time she learned that. He went back to where ever it is he came from ~ Fort Bragg supposedly ~ and my mom was discharged and went home to Mama. I came along…right into the hands of a major league child molester it turns out…and by the time I was 2, my grandfather was raping me in the loft of the barn on his property. At that age, what do you know? Not much except that the people you live with are supposed to love you and if they don’t it’s something wrong with you, right? Ok, so I learned from an early age that something must be wrong with me. I wish I didn’t still live with that lesson but there it is. Something that’s been with me forever is really hard to bury or get rid of all the time.

Fast forward to 5. My mom remarried…for the 4th time. I know, I know…that’s alot in just 5 years. This one would be “for real” for lack of a better word. My dad adopted me when I was almost 8 and life moved on. But back to 5. One day someone knocked on our door and I went to answer it. Back then we didn’t worry so much about crazy people I guess because my parents were asleep and who the hell else would answer the door besides me? There were two people standing there, a man and a lady, and they asked for my mommy or daddy. That was the beginning…of something…after all these years I still can’t quite figure it all out. I got my parents, I think it was my dad but anyway, the man and the lady came in and it began. They came back alot and my parents learned alot from them. I learned alot too. More about how bad I was and about how if I didn’t do things a certain way, I wouldn’t make god happy and I’d die and stuff like that. Now, tell me, please, how a small child who’d already learned, from her grandpa among other people, how awful she was is going to process that information. I’d spent my life up until then in total fear and this was just one more rung on that ladder.

The years went by and the teaching and training continued. My parents eventually stopped but my brother and I had to continue for some reason. I don’t remember how that all happened. On and on it went. Indoctrination, teaching, learning, brainwashing? Pick your word, I still don’t know the correct one. Finally people loved me…as long as I did the right things. Here is what I learned. God is good and right all the time. Those in charge are told by god what to do and the lower life forms do it upon instruction. It’s all taught under the guise of love and perhaps it is love. My concept of love is warped from the beginning thanks to good old grandpa. I get in “trouble” quite often for speaking my mind both at home and at “church” for lack of a better word. They don’t call it church but after all this time I’m only willing to go so far in my discussion of it. My parents used the threat of “trouble” during the times I was misbehaving and of course it worked. I was terrified of dying. After all these years, though, I do recognize the hypocrisy of my parents who were no longer part of the group but at the time what could I do? My dad threw me out of the house when I was 15 because I was “getting too big for my britches”. When my mom called my friends house later so I would come home we (my brother and I) were forced to sit in the living room in straight backed chairs and listen to a lecture about how bad I was (and my brother for standing up for me) and what god was going to do to me for being so terrible a child. On and on it went. I said “yes” to the first person who asked me to marry them. I loved him there’s no doubt of that…but I know now that I would have said yes to anyone just to get out of there.

There is so much more. My parents didn’t meet my husband to be until a few days before the wedding was scheduled because they were considered unclean for those of our faith and it wasn’t appropriate. I just did what I was taught and though it seemed odd to me, what else could I have done? I didn’t know my own mind most of the time and when I did know it, it wasn’t right anyway. The day before my wedding, my fiance called my house and told me he wasn’t going to marry me. His parents had gotten involved and the man who had once told me “I wish I had a son you’d marry” had convinced him that I was not a good wife candidate at last…because (irony of ironies) I had too big of a mouth and didn’t do what I was told. I returned the ring and went home to the arms of my family who I will tell you all came over to make sure I was ok…it was a stunner to me honestly. A few days later, after my ex fiance had driven by my house a few times looking for me…an elder called my house looking for me. Turns out we had to go see him regarding all this wedding crap. What he told me there changed my life forever. “You promised to marry him and since he’s seen the error of his ways, it is your duty as a christian to marry him now.” Now I think WTF??? But then, I thought “Ok, it’s the right thing to do.” So, married we got. Three children and years of abuse later he tried to kill himself again and I didn’t let him come home. There was no one to save me but me and I’d finally figured it out. When I’d made the final decision, all those who’d professed to love me for my entire life in this religion disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Add to all this my oldest daughter. A screamer from the beginning of her life. I honestly think now that she picked up on the turmoil outside during her development and it somehow was incorporated into her being. Such a child I’ve never met before or since thank god or whomever. Loud, violent, eating disordered, nervous, anxiety ridden, musical genius…my daughter. Her two little sisters have been traumatized by her since they were born and only now in the past few years has it gotten better. Music did it. I’m so grateful. During my journey through the ‘church’ I was repeatedly told it was all my fault. If I’d just do a better job with my baby maybe my husband would do better too. Don’t live with your parents, Traci, they are unclean. Don’t leave your husband, Traci, it’s unchristian. He hit you? What did you do to deserve it? You protected yourself with a knife? What were you thinking? He’s your husband. Your children are scared? Be a better christian wife and it will be ok. Thinking about leaving? God knows what you’re thinking and you don’t want to mess up living forever do you? On and on and on.

This leads me to today…the present of my life. With all that goes on in the world…terrorism, war, praying for peace, people dying and scared and what does it all mean? Is the world really a worse place now or does the media just make it seem so? When I wake up in the morning I think “I’m not doing it right. When the end comes I’ll be dead and so will my babies.” I go to sleep at night thinking the same thing. When I read of another terror attack I think “It’s coming”. Soon they will say “Peace” and it will be over. I’ll be dead and so will my babies. My entire life…learning about the course of events in the last days…and what will happen…to those who are right and those who are wrong. My 2nd daughter telling me that when I refused to allow her father to come home all those years ago that she thought I’d messed up her present life and when we began to celebrate Christmas she thought I’d messed up her ‘after’ life too. What is right and what is wrong? My opinion is mute. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. I still after all these years find it hard to think for myself. Is it brainwashing or is it truth? My dad is dead. Where is he? In heaven? Wandering around somewhere body-less? Or just worm food with nothing after? Or perhaps hell for being such an asshole. And what about my grandfather and his lovely wonderful cronies who hurt me for so long? Burning forever would be too good for him but where is he really? Is he going to get another chance at life in a resurrection? Or is he just dead as a fucking doornail like he should be? It is all a blur and it’s all inside my head. What to do, who to be, what do I believe and what’s right or wrong? I’m not trying to use my wacked out past to make excuses…the truth is I just don’t know. What I do know is that I never feel “right” about anything. To me there are too many shades of gray to have a clue about right and wrong. I just do the best I can and cry when the pressure gets to be too much. It’s my steam relief valve and what else do I have besides questions?

Forty years old…I thought I was supposed to know something by now. Truth be told, I feel like I know less now than ever before. What started out as having no clue has turned into good parenting my therapist tells me…who knew? She thought I did it on purpose and it was all a great big cosmic accident. I told my daughter I didn’t know one day. Asked her questions to figure out what she thought and left it at that after telling her I loved her more than I could say. Turns out that was the best thing to do…surprise! Good grief, this has turned out to be long…whatever…I guess I needed it. Peace…I think.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. traci, i adore you so very much. there are not even words to describe how much i love you. in the midst of total chaos, your words feel “right” to me, and that is an amazing comfort. of all the unspeakable things that you’ve endured, you’ve found your voice and that is beautiful. i have something to share with you…i will email it.

    Reply

  2. LDS or Jehovah? I am not one to “push religion” on anyone. But I know what I know. Not believe or faith or anything like that. I know because I just know. Religions just didn’t work for me. To much dogma, rules, and fear. Power and control. Even in some of the more “relaxed” ones. My daughter was baptised and then I quit. cold trukey on day when I could only see the hypocrisy of it all. Sunday Christians who wouldn’t budge to help anyone, love anyone unless it was between 9-10 on Sunday morning. After I got divorced I went in search of a church where I could be free to be me. Where love flowed, no dogma. No rules. No fear. I wanted my daughter to have a relationship with God, a loving one so that she could choose later on, what she herself believed. I found the Unity church and we both came very involved. Although I rarely go now, I still maintain one of the local church websites. Someday if you are interested, go visit the website for Unity: http://www.unityonline.org/
    It just might answer some of the questions you have, from a place of love, not fear.

    Reply

  3. The “god” you met as a child and young adult is not the God I have known since I was 14. I am so sorry that you’ve had to endure the horrendous things you’ve been dealing with for so many years. There aren’t words to express how sorry I am, nor are there words to make it better. I hate that feeling of inadequacy. I will keep you and your girls in my prayers.

    Reply

  4. I am so sorry for that you have had to go through. I will be thinking of you.

    Reply

  5. I am sorry for all the things you have had to endure. To heal from that would have to be a lifelong process.
    Most important though is that out of all this crazy nightmare of a life, you have found your way and you are a good parent. Be proud. Know that you are closer to the peace you have always longed for.
    Sending lots of good energy your way.
    Karen

    Reply

  6. Whoah Nellie-now that post made me cry…your kind words made my cry…

    Thanks a million for your good
    wishes…I need them all!

    Shalom,
    Sarah

    Reply

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