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Happy New Year

I remember kissing you, contemplating telling you that I felt I was falling in love with you, but deciding better of it. I remember knowing I shouldn’t go to your friend’s apartment but not wanting to leave the party immediately. I remember getting there and thinking, “Now he’ll finally hold me, I’ve been waiting for this for so long.”

I remember you being angry that I didn’t want to have sex.

After all, what was I doing in this apartment if I didn’t want to have sex with you? Why would I have kissed you if I wasn’t willing to go all the way? It’s not like it was anything we hadn’t done before! Didn’t I like you? I practically owed it to you, didn’t I?

But I didn’t want to give it to you. I lay down with you, kissed you, and told you that I was sorry but I just didn’t think going further was a good idea.

Then your hands were on my breasts. I moved them away, and you brought them back. Away, back, away, back. Then under my bra, pulling and squeezing. Again, I moved your hands away, you brought them back. You took off your pants and put my hand on your penis, I quickly pulled away.

Now my adrenaline was kicking in, and my breathing increased.

You paused.

“Are you afraid of me?” you asked.

“Oh, sorry,” I whispered, not really answering. I didn’t know what to say, or what was happening. But I was afraid of you.

You kissed me again and I kissed you back, then I settled down, hoping for some sleep. Your hands came back.

Why didn’t I say no? Or stop?

The words trapped inside my throat, I felt weak, overwhelmed. Although my voice failed me, my body hadn’t. I pushed your hands away. You removed them from my breasts and settled them on my stomach, perhaps a little farther south than I would have preferred, but this was an improvement.

Until it wasn’t.

You only quickly fondled me over my clothes before putting your hands under my dress and leggings. I felt a surge of panic race as I pulled your hands away only to have them back. Was I pushing against you this time? I can’t remember. This time you seemed stronger, angrier, more determined. You put a finger inside me and I squirmed to get away.

I’d made it as far as rolling onto my stomach to try to crawl to other side of the couch before you put your free hand on my shoulder and pushed me back down onto your fingers. I reached down and grabbed your hand, using all my might to get your fingers out of me while simultaneously trying to pull away from you. All this time,m you wouldn’t fucking budge. I couldn’t move you at all. I couldn’t move myself at all. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

Then you were taking off my leggings and underwear and putting your mouth on me, which I had told you I didn’t like. That was when I knew that you knew, but you were angry and didn’t care. I was furious and powerless and terrified of you, the person I thought I knew and could trust and would be with one day.

And then you stopped. I knew what was coming but I wasn’t sure what to do. I was in shock.

And then you were inside me. I felt so betrayed: “Are you fucking serious?” I said to no one in particular.

Then, “Don’t you have a condom?” This wasn’t consent, this was resignation.

You moved away and I could hear you going through your pockets. I took the opportunity to pull my leggings and underwear up and my dress back down and rolled into the fetal position. I’d only bought myself a couple seconds. I could hear you jerking off to work yourself back up again. Still, what could I do? I was so far from home or anywhere I knew – it was a choice of staying there or sleeping on the streets. Leaving was potentially more dangerous than staying. But why didn’t I scream? Those thirty seconds could have changed everything.

Satisfied with your erection, you turned me over and took off my leggings. I hated you so much. When you started fucking me I could feel that you hated me, too. There was none of the playful intimacy that colored our previous consensual encounters. You fucking me as hard as you could, making sure that it hurt so that I knew what a bitch I was for leading you on, and me digging my nails down your back as hard and as deep as possible so that you knew how much I fucking hated you.

I was silent, but I could feel a soul-wrenching scream burn up in my chest. Every warm feeling I’d had towards you curled up and died. I lied there whimpering and trying to hurt you as much as you were hurting me.

For a moment, you hesitated. “Are you crying?”

“No,”I whispered.

But I wanted to.

Life After The Fire

You hear about people losing homes to fires all the time on the news, but you never hear about how the people are doing afterward.

I lost my home December 3rd, 2013, and I feel as if my whole life has been stolen from me. I’m having a hard time carrying on. This can’t be my life. I sleep maybe four or five hours a night, then I wake with the worst feeling of despair, thinking about the things we lost.

The fire took my 10 cats, that I loved dearly. Two may be missing – I go back to the property and search every evening, but have had no luck. Our home was in a rural area, and I have posters hung on poles nearby, but there are just farmers and some homes in the area, miles away from any vets or pet stores.

I’m grieving my cats, but also my home. All of my things are gone. People tell you it’s just material things, and you can get new, but I don’t want new. I was happy with my old things. I can’t get back the afghan my grandma made me, or the yearbooks that were signed by my best school friend, who died last January.

I’m stuck in a rental home until we get our land cleared and a new home. I’m surrounded by unfamiliar people, things, even different clothes. We even have a different car now because our car is what started the fire. It caught fire under the hood and spread to the garage door. I ask myself questions like, “Where did my life go?” or just “Why?” or “How are all my cats gone all at once?”

Our house looks as if it were hit with a bomb. I didn’t know the metal in your windows could melt and twist like that. Firefighters put a huge hole in our bedroom window. The things I had hanging on the wall there are gone. Even the pot of chili I had on the stove is gone. Papers my son brought home from school that I had on the fridge aren’t there now. My son’s toys and the toy box just melted all together.

I’ve had my piano since I was 7 and began taking lessons. The top has been taken off. The varnish looks like it melted. Some keys are sticking up. I’ll probably need a new one.

All the ceiling has been torn off. A lot is just hanging down. The study above the garage is just a burnt black room with no roof. It rains and snows in my study. Pages from my books burnt and laying in the yard. All my music melted.

Only one of the arms and the metal bed springs are left of the wooden daybed where the cats loved to lay. My telescope that I put together myself is gone – it was mostly plastic and wood. The whole place is beyond repair. It has to be knocked down. That brings up another whole set of emotions. Ten years of life there turned to rubble and going to be discarded in a dump.

I was having panic attacks. Self-talk is helping, but I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.  I’ve never been so depressed and anxious in my life. I used to love my life. Just five days before it happened, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family. I felt so blessed to be surrounded by all I loved, and in abundance. It was all taken from me in 3 hours. It still feels like a strange dream. I wonder if I will ever feel happy again, if I’ll ever even smile.

The days are long. I always used to be busy, so they used to speed by, but now I plod through the day at this rental home doing a little cleaning just to get the day over with.

I’m not myself. I don’t feel like interacting with anyone. I can’t afford counseling. I try to journal and read self-help books, but I still feel so dead inside.

One thing I’ve learned from this already is who is on my side and who’s not. My relations to various people have changed. I’ve had to distance myself from some family members who were hurtful or whose words just make me feel worse. Many people don’t seem to understand just how huge this loss is. It’s loss at multiple levels, pet loss, home loss, things that were special, my daily routine is gone. It’s a huge change.

To say it’s all unreal is an understatement. I don’t know what the future holds. We’ve picked out a double wide home already and have much of the paper work done to get it. We just have to wait on the destruction of our old house. We’re having a hard time finding a local company to do that. And as much as I hate it, it has to be done. I will take my sister’s cat and am thinking about a kitten to keep it company, but in my heart right now I’m just wanting the ones I lost back. I don’t think anything would give me any happiness now but to get my two missing cats back.

For now, I’m just trying to get through each day, one day at a time. I don’t know how I’m going to pick myself up from this, but I have to move on somehow. Each day is a day further away in time, and hopefully a day closer to getting my life back together again.

No Escape

It’s been twelve years.

Twelve tortuous and painfully long years. Yet, you’re still haunting me; taunting me behind the cover of darkness each and every fucking day. Wasn’t stealing my childhood and innocence enough? Why do you have to try and ruin EVERYTHING?!

News flash. I’m not putting up with your shit anymore. You will not take another ounce of my happiness for your sick and twisted pleasure.

When I close my eyes, I expect you to be gone.

I’m done. You disgust me, you sick fuck!

When I was 11, I was first sexually assaulted by the guy who was dating my older cousin. My cousin had to work the next morning, so went to bed early. Sick Fuck Number 1 decided we (he and I) should play a game of truth or dare. I thought it sounded harmless. I was dead wrong. At first, I was excited because I idolized my cousin and wanted her boyfriend to think I was “cool,” so that I could hang out with the older kids. The dares started out normally, but then he started getting a little too daring. He would dare me to flash him, kiss him, touch myself, etc. I told him no, this wasn’t fun anymore, he was with my cousin who was sleeping right down the hall. No, no, no. I tried to get away, but he would threaten me, and then hold me there while he touched me. When that wasn’t enough, he made me watch him pleasure himself, and then do it for him.

My cousin and I had always been so close, always. When I told her, she didn’t believe me. She thought I was lying, and that I threw myself at him. I was 11, I hadn’t even had my first kiss yet…

I never mentioned the incident again for 4 years

Two weeks later. I was at my dad’s lake house for the summer, same as every summer. We had neighbors up there that had kids that my 6 year old brother (6yo) and I played with regularly. We primarily hung out with the two younger kids, a 7 year old girl and 10 year ldo boy. They had an older brother who was 15, but he wanted nothing to do with the younger kids.

We often had sleep-overs and watched movies. Normal kid stuff. The parents would always be either right outside, or a few houses down at someone’s campfire. Everything was business as usual that day. We got all our blankets together and spread out in their living room for movie night. The other 3 were fast asleep, and I was just on the verge when Sick Fuck Number 2 came in for the night. I thought nothing of it and managed to fall asleep. Not long after, I woke up to Sick Fuck Number 2 on  top of me with one hand up my shirt, the other traveling south, and trying to kiss me. I tried to get him off of me, but he was a football player and much heavier than I am. His little sister, who was barely two feet from me started waking up, so he bolted to his room. I was awake, terrified, for the rest of the night.

This continued for two more years. It got worse, he would get angrier, his threats more violent. I kept my mouth shut like he told me to. The only reason those sleepovers continued was because my little brother adored our neighbors, and I refused to let him go there on his own. I didn’t want to be the reason my brother wasn’t allowed to have fun.

My parents and Sick Fuck Number 2’s parents were really good friends. Still are. Years later, when it all came out in the open, you know what my parents said? “He was just being a normal teenage boy.”

It all went downhill after that first summer. I used my body to get guys to like me. I had sex with so many guys through high school because, in my eyes, that’s all I was good for. Sex has always been something dirty and ugly to me.

Now I’m 23, married with a 2 year old son, and trying to overcome my negative feelings towards sex. My husband deserves better than that, better than me always feeling dirty after something that should be beautiful. It’s tearing us apart. The sick fucks are still winning after all these years. I’m done!

Here We Go Again

It’s starting again.

At first, I thought it was because I had several days where my sleep had been interrupted by kids or my puppy. Today, I had to acknowledge to myself what the problem is.

Seasonal depression. Again.

I’m moody. I’m pissy. I snap at my family over the littlest things. Last night, I even locked myself in the bedroom for a while, when the stress got to me. I’m wound so tight, I feel like I’m on the verge of freaking out at any moment.

There are things I absolutely adore about where I live. I love our little community. I love the family connections we have here. I love the rich soil in my yard for my garden. The pros far outweigh the cons. We’re not going anywhere, this is home.

However, we live in the frozen tundra. That’s a REALLY big con. Last year, our winter was unusually long – just under six months. It’s not just the snow that is a problem, it’s the cold. With regular sub-zero temperatures most of the winter, that means a lot of time spent inside.

Which means by the end of the winter, my body is starving for sunshine.

I first noticed the seasonal depression last year. Unfortunately, I do not have insurance, so getting help for it isn’t something we can afford.  Fortunately, my husband does have insurance, and is already seeing a psychiatrist for his mental health. Last year, his doctor prescribed an artificial sun lamp for his depression issues. His insurance paid for it, and I can use it for free!

So today, I pulled out the sun lamp and set it up on my table. I added some mood-lifting vitamins to my morning routine. It also helps that both my geranium plant and my Christmas cactus are about to bloom. I may not have flowers outside to look at, but I’ll have flowers in my kitchen.

I’m just grateful that I recognized the problem before it got too out of control this year. I’m glad the changes I need to make for my mood are fairly small.

Still, I’ll be really glad when spring finally comes.

My Family Tree Was Struck By Lightning

Before I take you for a ride down memory lane, I think it would be wise to take a moment to explain my family tree. (Cue “The Brady Bunch” theme song.)

My dad and his first wife had a son, my older half-brother.

My mother was his second wife. Together, they had four daughters. I am the youngest.

My dad and his third wife have a son, my younger half-brother.

My mother married for a second time. My step-father has five children, three boys and two girls. They are all older than I am.

I’m going to try to make this as painless as possible and not too confusing, so bear with me!

My parents can’t stand each other, I don’t think they ever could. Why they stayed married as long as they did, beats the hell out of me. They lived together, at least physically, until I was six months old. That was when my mother moved her four girls into the home of the man who would later become my stepfather. I’m surprised the three bedroom, one bathroom house didn’t explode from all of the hostility and tension caused by the eleven people living there. Being so young, I was automatically excluded from the fights between my sisters and my stepfather’s kids.

My mother conveniently decided to quit her motherly duties around the time I was conceived. Granted, she was never in the running for Mother of the Year or anything before that, but she was decent, I guess. I was pretty much raised by my oldest sister, who was only 9 or 10 years old at the time. Mother was always gone, even when she was home. I don’t want to think about what would have happened if my sister wasn’t there to care for me.

When I hit puberty at 11, my oldest sister no longer lived at home. No one was there to tell me what was happening to me or my body. I was already in a bad place in life because I also had just been sexually abused for the first time. This lead to many embarrassing situations at school, ruined clothes, being made fun of, etc.

I started cutting when I was 11 and kept all my cutting tools in an old CD case under my mattress. One day when I was 12, I went to grab them and they were gone. The blood-stained knives were washed and put back in the drawer, razors back in the box cutter, and scissors on the counter. Mother never said a word, never asked why I was wearing long sleeves through summer, or why I had a plethora of sharp, bloody instruments under my bed. Nothing.

Two years later, when the school nurse discovered my cuts and called my home, my mother suddenly put on her “distraught mother” hat. She swore to the school staff she would do anything and everything to help me. When we got home, she told me how I made her look bad because she does not want to be known as the mom with a fucked up daughter. At the school’s insistence, I started therapy. I don’t know how many therapists I went through because she would pull me out as soon as they said the words “depression” or “medication” or “she should really be tested for bipolar.”

During this time, I went to my dad’s house on the weekends. I hated it. I loved my brother, we have always been wicked close because we’re closest in age, but I hated my dad and stepmother. I hated them because my mother taught me to. My mother is the best manipulator I know, and constantly fed us and anyone else who would listen lies about how evil my father was.

When I got into high school, my mother introduced me to alcohol. She’d make me margaritas at family cookouts, look the other way when I grabbed a bottle from the shelf in the kitchen. Soon I was drinking at school, bringing vodka in a water bottle so no one would know. I started smoking in my room, stealing packs from her cartons of cigarettes and she never said a word. At that point, I thought, “Fuck yeah! My mom is awesome! She doesn’t have any rules.” My friends loved her, and she was always trying to be the “cool mom.” It was fun for a while, until she would go behind my back to invite my guy friends over. I can’t confirm or deny anything that happened when I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to know.

By 16, I was leaving the house every night to walk three miles to my drug dealer boyfriend’s house, drunk as fuck and taking railroad tracks as a shortcut. She knew, but never said a word. One summer day when I was drunk, I got into a fight with my stepdad and was arrested. I spent the night in jail, went to court, where I was charged with simple assault and sent to placement for six weeks. At the end of my time, I was told I wouldn’t be going home. I was going to be sent to a long term placement until I was 18.

After a lengthy battle, the judge finally decided to allow me to go live with my father. My mother’s selfish need to keep me from my father prompted her to fight tooth and nail to keep me in placement for those next two years.

I was in for a rude awakening at my dad’s. New school, new rules, new lifestyle to adjust to, with no friends or anything from my old life. It was not easy for them to deal with me. I would get into loud, screaming, in-your-face fights with my dad and stepmom. I wouldn’t trade it for the world because when I became an adult, I sat down with my dad and learned the truth.

The lies my mother told me about my father weren’t true. I was told the reason I never had winter jackets or new clothes or went to the doctor when I was sick was because my dad never paid his child support, He paid it, but mother used that money for herself.

My arrest was orchestrated by my dad. When he found out what I was doing, he fought Mother until she finally agreed to have my stepdad instigate a fight so the police could charge me. He convinced the court that my mother was unfit, and that living with him would be the best thing for me. He could give me a normal life with structure and discipline.

He saved my life, and I’ve spent most of my life hating him for no reason other than being a pawn in my mother’s sick game.

I’m 23, married with a beautiful 2 year old son. I wouldn’t have this life if my father hadn’t fought for me. It kills my father that two of my sister’s hate him because they’re still under my mother’s thumb.

I haven’t spoken to my mother in five years, and never plan to. My family tree may be split, but at least I know who my true family is now. My stepmom has become the mother I never had, and we are all really close.