I don’t want to blame all of my problems on my childhood. But I think that there are a lot of different things that happened in my past that I have never taken the time to properly process. Because I haven’t processed these things they’ve continued to haunt me. They lie in my subconscious mind. They affect my actions, my thoughts, my way of living, even if I don’t think they are. Sometimes I get so angry and overwhelmed. The noise around me is too much. I’m trying to ignore the things in my head, to quiet the thoughts but I’m being distracted by what’s going around me and I go into sensory overload and can’t think straight anymore and I snap. SHUT UP!!! Ah, shit, “mommy’s sorry she yelled guys.”
Don’t get me wrong, I do have some positive memories from my childhood. But unfortunately, when I look back at things, many of my childhood memories aren’t that bright and shiny. I’ve hated myself for as long as I can remember. Even in elementary school I remember having angry, embarrassing outbursts. I was such an anxious child. I was so afraid to ask to go to the bathroom that I would wait too long and end up soiling myself. I don’t remember what grade it was, but I remember having to change my clothes in the closet of the classroom. And I vaguely remember a time where my parents had to pick me up because I didn’t have a pair of clothes to change into.
I remember moving to the green house in Maryland. I don’t remember anything before that. Some of my facts or my timeline might be askew but this is how I remember things. I’ve never taken the time to actually think about it. Only here and there a memory would come to mind. And just as soon as it came in, it went right back out again. But I think we moved into the green house in Maryland right before I turned 4 or 5. I remember having some sort of generic green and purple dinosaur plates. Not Barney, just a random dinosaur. Probably something I picked out. I didn’t pick princesses.
I haven’t even gotten to the difficult part and I’m already fighting back tears. So many thoughts and feelings are flooding through my mind. I don’t know how to handle it. Another memory I have… a good one, is that of our family having our picture taken in the front yard of that house. I don’t remember who took the picture. But there were two small trees out front. One of those trees had dark purple leaves. And then I remember seeing a dead cat in our bushes from the window inside. It was a split-foyer and the living room windows aligned with the ground outside. My parents put the cat in a JC Penney back and threw it in the garbage can. I didn’t understand it. This was my first experience with death. It made me cry.
I remember one winter we had the weirdest snow. The flakes were large and looked like star shaped sprinkles. It was the strangest thing. But maybe that was part of my imagination. But I know for a fact we always had the best Christmases. Our parents showered us with gifts. We hid the pickle ornament on the Christmas tree and whoever found it got to open the gift that was for both me and my brother. One year that gift was a bucket of sidewalk chalk. We got such great presents, and loads of them too. One year we both got rollerblades. And there’s a picture of my brother and I in the kitchen of that green house with our blades and our kneepads and our helmets. My rollerblades were white and purple. And I was never good at using them. Always overly cautious. One year my parents sent me to a summer camp. They took us to the skating rink. I got laughed at for having white and purple rollerblades. I felt like an outcast. I felt like an idiot. No kid should ever have to feel that way.
I remember my parents fighting. All the time. I lived in fear that one day I just wouldn’t see my dad anymore. My dad was so angry all the time and I never understood why. But now that I’m older I understand that it was my mother who was slowly driving him crazy. Not that he didn’t have his own issues. But her lack of caring and her selfishness only served to deepen my father’s depression and worsen his drinking problem. When he punished us I was always so scared. He yelled in the sternest voice. And we knew we were going to be spanked. And it hurt. I remember it hurting very badly. I remember truly feeling hatred towards my father. I feared him. But at the same time I loved him and didn’t want to lose him.
One day the smoke alarm went off. Mom and dad had been fighting. Mom was sitting on the floor outside of their bedroom holding a pan. The spaghetti pan that my dad still cooks out of today. I later found out that in that pan were pictures of my mother that my father had burned. And he was angry with her for having cheated on him. For lying to him and betraying him. I can’t believe he still uses that pan to this day.
As a child when your parents are fighting all you hear is the tone of their voice. You don’t understand the words that they’re saying but you know the meaning of them. And you want to go to them and say “mom and dad please stop fighting.” But they tell you to go back downstairs. And you wait and you wonder if it’s ever going to end. And once it ends it doesn’t matter because you know it will happen again.
At a very young age I found solace in food. I would sneak a lick of butter. I would stuff my fist in the cereal box and just keep eating and eating. One day my brother came up to me and said “all you do is eat.” He was right. I didn’t argue. I had no explanation for it at the time. One time I got caught eating cold meat loaf out of the fridge. I was punished and sent to my room. I wasn’t allowed to have dinner that night since I had already helped myself. And every morning before my dad went to work my mom would make my dad scrambled eggs. I saw them on the stove and I snuck myself a taste. And then another taste, and another. Before I knew it I had eaten almost all of his breakfast. My parents were so angry. And they made me feel like a guilty, horrible, nasty, cow. They made it clear that I had selfishly ruined my father’s morning because he did not have time to wait for my mother to make him more eggs. If only they would have taken the time to help me understand what I was doing. Instead of just making me feel badly about it.
My mom told me later in life that when I was around that age my dad used to make comments about my appearance or how much I ate. I don’t remember hearing much of them but she said it really used to bother her so from the sound of things, it must have happened more than once. But there is one time that I distinctly remember. I remember telling my father that I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. And I also remember him quickly shattering that dream. He told me that if I wanted to be an actress I would only be disappointed. Because to be an actress you had to be a “knockout.” It made me so sad to hear that my father didn’t think I was beautiful. He didn’t think that I was pretty enough to be on TV. This is one of the deepest cuts I’ve ever felt, and to this day it still bleeds.
I can’t stand the sight of my own reflection. I catch a glimpse in a store window and I quickly look towards the ground to avoid having to process what I’ve become. I still find solace and comfort in food. I overeat to the point where it’s difficult to breathe. It’s a problem that I have struggled with for all of my life. As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved food. Food never let me down. The only time I was ever happy with my weight was when I stopped eating and started using drugs. Drugs made me happy. And I would still be doing them if I hadn’t had my children. But I have to stay strong for my kids. So I’ve gone back to slowly killing myself with food instead.
But back to my parents arguments. Those memories play so vividly in my head. I remember my mom getting so frustrated that she ran out of the house in her bare feet. She ran all the way to the end of our street crying. I don’t know where she thought she was going. But she just felt like she needed to get away. Then another time my dad got into his truck. He drove down the street and my mom chased after him. It was dark. I remember seeing the headlights get a little farther, then he would stop. Then they would go a little farther, and he’d stop. And I think he came home that night. I don’t think he got very far. But another night he did. He ended up at the sleazy motel down the street. That motel is still there, right next to a burger king. And it’s filled with crackheads now. But I remember my mom driving us there. My parents went outside to talk and my brother and I stayed inside watching the Olympics and eating honey buns. I wonder if my brother remembers this.
And then there is the time where I saw my dad get arrested. It was shocking, terrifying, and it happened in our own home. My mom tried to get me and my brother out of the house before the cops came. She sent my brother to one of his friends’ houses and I was supposed to go to one of mine, but I didn’t leave in enough time. The police officers kicked in the front door and I remember my dad being in the hallway on his knees and the police officers were putting the cuffs on him. And I was yelling and crying and begging them to leave my dad alone. I wonder if those police officers remember making that arrest. I wonder if they remember my innocent cries. I remember that the officer’s boot print stayed on the front door for quite some time.
Around the time that all of this was happening was about the time that friends started inviting me to sleepovers. There were a lot of kids that lived in the neighborhood. So their houses were close by. I would be all excited we would watch cartoons and be having a good time. But once everyone fell asleep I would lie awake. And then I would cry because I was all alone. I remember being at this girl Stephanie’s house and her parents were in the kitchen. I had asked them to take me home. Her father was going to take me but for some reason the mother wouldn’t let him. I knew her mother didn’t like me. I just knew, I could feel it in my gut. Because there was another time that I tried to paint my nails. She knew I was in the bathroom trying to scrub the polish off that I had gotten all over my fingers. I was in there for such a long time and she didn’t come help me. She didn’t explain to me that the soap wasn’t going to work. And now she saw me as an inconvenience. A little girl crying, wanting to go home, and all I felt from her was frustration, and tension. It hurt. Once again, I felt like an idiot. I felt like an outcast. Unloved.
As I type out these memories, as I pull them out of my mind and put them on paper I feel like they’ll never stop flowing. As I put the most prominent ones into words, new ones come flooding in. My mind is warped. We are shaped by our experiences. And my experiences have made me into an anxious, ugly, self-loathing, and suicidal individual. I still feel like an outcast. I still feel unloved. Like people just don’t quite understand me. And they probably never will. I know some kids are beaten, neglected, treated badly. My problems don’t even pale in comparison. But this is my story, this is my struggle. This is why I’m so fucked in the head. I’m just trying to make sense of it all really.
I know my parents loved me. They did the best with what they had. Both coming from fucked up home situations themselves. Damn, I really hope I can break the cycle and raise my kids to at least be semi-normal. I went to school with some really privileged people. Yeah I’m sure they’ve had problems of their own. But never anything quite like I’ve experienced. And that’s why I feel set apart from everyone. I feel distant. I find it hard to make and keep friendships. Anyhow, these privileged girls went to prom. They had handsome boyfriends. They went on fancy vacations, had nice clothes, nice haircuts. They were popular and people liked them. They didn’t know what it was to feel hated. To hate themselves.
These same girls still make me want to jump off a fucking cliff. With their perfect husbands, and their massages, and their fancy houses. Their engagement announcements and their wedding albums plastered all over facebook. Baby showers and kids’ birthday parties with elaborate decorations and a cake straight from a pinterest board. They took the pin out of it and put it right in their living room. Me, I got knocked up by a drunk idiot while I was high on triple C’s. We got married at the courthouse. We don’t have wedding photos or happy memories. We ate at a fucking rib joint when it was over. And we’ve pretty much been fighting ever since. We’ve been separated twice and I fear it will happen a third time. Only this time for good. It’s not like we haven’t talked about it. He doesn’t have a job. He can’t manage money. He doesn’t provide for his family. I don’t get the fairytale wedding, the nice ring, the gorgeous house and the fancy vacations. I get the overgrown third child that makes me want to rip all of my hair out. My life is so disgustingly fucked. The only thing keeping me from ramming my car into a tree, or taking a fuck ton of pills is my two gorgeous children. I want them to have the things I never got. I want them to have the best out of life. Not this cracked, half-assed, bullshit version that was afforded to me.
They deserve the world. I don’t want them to experience the brokenness that I have been through. Everything in my life that has led up to this point has been nothing but sadness. It’s pathetic. I want to die. I can’t let my kids know that. I can’t let them see how fucked up and miserable I really am. It will ruin them. They will turn out like me. That’s the last thing I would ever want for them. They deserve that fairytale wedding, the nice house, happiness, STABILITY. How can I fix this? How can I get better?!