Tag Archives: Fear

A Bite for a Bite

The Original Clippy

My brother and I used to try to kill each other on a regular basis. My mother decided it might be a good idea to put a stop to it, and she came up with unique ways of doing so. The least drastic punishment she came up with was to force my brother and me to hug for five minutes. That one was always a fun one. We would whisper exactly how we were going to murder each other as soon as the time was right.

I used to bite my brother in retaliation for punching, kicking, or trying to suffocate me. He would run to my mom and tell her I’d bit him. She would force me to stretch out my arm, and she would bite it. Sometimes, it was hard enough to draw blood, but she knew how much pressure it took to break the skin, and tried not to go beyond that.

I eventually stopped biting, and I discovered my fingernails could be used as a weapon. My brother would start in with “torture little sister time,” and the second he turned his back I would dig my fingernails into him. This resulted in scenes that looked like something from a Freddy Kruger nightmare. My mother, being the problem solver she was, continuously clipped my fingernails short enough to make them bleed.

Eye for an eye punishment was my mom’s specialty. I know these punishments affected me, but I don’t know if the effect was good or bad.

Roaches Make Strange Bedfellows

Rusted and RuinedMy mom tried to kill herself, and was consequently deemed an unfit parent. Children services took my brother and me away and introduced us to the wonderful horrors of foster care. Luckily, our grandparents decided to take custody of us shortly thereafter, but forms and proceedings had to happen before they could take us “home,” so we were stuck in the system.

Children services decided to put us both into a group home for boys. They knew the situation was temporary, so they gave in when we begged them not to separate us. That’s how I, a girl, ended up sleeping on a couch in a group home for boys. They only let me stay there because I promised not to go upstairs where the the boys slept. I stayed downstairs, where the bathroom had no shower or bathtub, and I went without a shower for a week. But, all this was fine by me because my brother said the roaches were worse up there.

It was hard to imagine an infestation larger than the one downstairs. Roaches where everywhere. I hardly slept the entire time I was in that house. I knew the roaches would crawl all over me the second I drifted off to sleep. When the house was dark, they crawled out from their hiding places, frolicking on the counters and cabinets, tables and chairs, walls and ceilings, curtains and rugs.

I fought the urge to burn my clothes and tear off my skin every morning. I knew, I just knew the filthy creatures laid eggs under my skin while I slept. The disgusting things had crawled in my mouth while I snored. They went into my ears, ate the wax, then shit it back out. The dirt of their little bodies covered every part of me, but I couldn’t take a shower because it was upstairs with the boys’ rooms. I washed myself in the bathroom sink downstairs as well as I could, but I didn’t feel clean again until after I had taken four or five showers at my grandparent’s house.

People seem to think that foster homes are safe and clean. They think that the places are regularly inspected, the foster parents thoroughly checked. They think the system works, that it protects children. They’re wrong.

Bad Hood

It Took Way Too Long to Take This Picture

We lived in a neighborhood where abandoned couches and soiled mattresses filled the alleys. Crack houses dotted the landscape, and we had the pleasure of having one right behind our house. Gunshots and sirens pierced the night while we tried to sleep.

We were kids, though. We thought all these things added excitement to our lives. The thrill of police rushing by, my mom yelling, “Hit the deck” when gunshots rang out, the shady people walking by while we played in the yard. It all made us feel like we were living in a gritty movie.

It was an exciting life, and we loved it until our house was broken into. It was right before Christmas while we were away visiting my grandparents. They robbers took what little we had, all the way down to the welfare butter and cheese in the fridge.

The crack head crooks were kind enough to completely wreck the house while they were there. It takes real talent to trash a piss infested rat hole of a house, but they managed it. I remember seeing all of our family pictures thrown all over the dining room floor. They were wet and curling from the beer the thieves dumped on them. All those happy memories spread out on the ancient, scratched, pitted hardwood floor. Pathetic in their ruin.

Our house was broken into again a year later. My mom had once again been carted off to the loony bin, and after a week of my grandma and dad trying to get the house key, we pulled up alongside the house only to find the door already open. Mom in the hospital, house robbed, uprooted again, no clothes, no security, no nothin’. Fun, exciting times, indeed.

Frozen Fish Sticks Aren’t Funny

Tasty Apples

My stomach was trying to eat itself, my legs wobbled, my head spun. My parents were asleep, and I wasn’t allowed to use the stove. No cereal. No bread. No peanut butter, leftovers, nothing that didn’t require cooking, and there wasn’t much of that either. I found a box of frozen fish sticks, sat on the kitchen floor, and ate them one by one. They tasted awful, shards of ice mixed with frosted breading, but I was so hungry I kept eating them.

When my parents found out about my fish stick feast, they laughed and laughed. They told my grandparents who also laughed. My goodness, it was so funny that a little child would up and eat half a box of fish sticks straight out of the freezer. They didn’t realize that I never got enough to eat. They didn’t know that my little body ached from the lack of food. They didn’t know that the tomato soup they’d fed me a few days ago was the last thing I ate.

I told my grandma there wasn’t any food at our house. She went over and looked through are kitchen. Sure enough, hardly any food. She yelled at my dad about not providing for his children. She called my mom names. When she left, my dad beat me. He screamed that I would get far worse if I ever told anyone else about things that happened in our house. I kept my mouth shut for many years after that.

Sweet Potatoes Really Are Disgusting

What's Behind Door Number One

I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this. I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to eat, but I don’t want to not eat. I don’t want to exercise, but I don’t want to sit on my ass all day. I don’t want to go outside, but I don’t want to stay inside. I don’t want to play any games, but I don’t want to be bored. I don’t want to be miserable, but I don’t want to be happy either.

This is all the illness talking, of course. At least, that’s what they tell me. I’m afraid I might get to a point where I’m no longer mentally ill, but still take no pleasure in the world. I mean, what if I just don’t like being alive? Some people don’t like carrots, and some people don’t like life. Is that a thing? Does that happen? In addition to my aversion to sweet potatoes, do I also have a general loathing for  life?

Get Back Down There, Worm!

Less Than a Worm

I’m at the bottom, and I’m afraid I always will be. It doesn’t matter how hard I work to climb up, I’m always forced back down. I fall, I get up, I climb. I fall, I get up, I climb. A rising and falling tide, a perfect cycle of failure. It’s happened a hundred times too many, I’m afraid. Cynicism and suicidal ideation are my reaction to everything now. I will lay  in this filth until I break, and when that happens I will kill myself.

I’m making excuses for my personal failure in life, yes? I have a defeatist attitude, yes? I deserve everything I get, or don’t get, yes? I’m weak, yes? I’m stupid, yes? I’m worthless. Yes. I believe I am.

Hell, Roads, and Intentions

Building Fences

Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, there wasn’t as much awareness about domestic violence as there is now. Back then, people thought what they did was discipline, not abuse. They repeated behaviors they witnessed when they were children. If a woman talks back, hit her. If your kids don’t behave, hit them. Throw in some anger issues and you get someone like my dad. He’s a good person, but his behavior wasn’t so good.

I don’t blame him for the past. I know what it’s like to make terrible mistakes, and I certainly know what it’s like to lose control of your emotions. Some may call me a fool for forgiving him, but there is nothing to even forgive. He became the person that his genetics and environment made him, and he did what he thought he was supposed to do.

If he thought what he did was wrong, he wouldn’t have done it. There was no glee in our fear and pain. He didn’t take pleasure in what he did. He did what he thought was best for all of us. Unfortunately for everyone, his thoughts were warped by his own traumas.