Ch. 6

SEVENTEEN

            At 10 months, Connor hadn’t been handling the break up well. He kept texting me every day against my wishes and phones didn’t have a “block” feature at the time so I had to deal with it. After some time, I broke down and started replying to express how deeply he hurt me. Blahblahblah. Teenage love saga. Whatever.

His mom ended up sending me threat texts. She knew everything he did. Every time he cheated, but she still had the audacity to text me to call me a “conniving little bitch” and a “worthless pathetic slut.” She blamed me for him cheating by telling me I obviously wasn’t doing my job because if I were he would have never strayed. The texts also warned me to stay away from him “or else”.

To hear an adult, especially a woman whom I should find sympathy or compassion, speak to me like that was undoubtedly harmful to my emotional and mental state. I was a CHILD. And here was yet ANOTHER adult was telling me that I was in the wrong. That what happened to me was my fault. That it was something I deserved.

In doing so, I internalized further guilt and self-hatred. I picked myself apart more and more every day, second guessing every move and thought I had. I never felt good enough after Connor cheated. However, her texts also enraged me and this bitch clearly didn’t know who the fuck she was dealing with, so I was going to educate her poorly aging misinformed and misshapen ass.

To get back at her, I not only took Connor back, but also revoked any and all control she had over him. She didn’t feel I was ‘doing my job’? Fine. I’ll do my job, honey, but you’ll wish I never had.

So, I gave him my virginity so he would stop cheating on me. I had just turned 17 the week earlier. We tried to have sex at the beach but he got too excited and came while rolling on a condom. So we tried again on the way home. I gave the green light to just get it over with and we pulled into a parking lot. It was already past my 11pm curfew, but I didn’t care. We climbed in the backseat. I climbed on top and bounced maybe 3 times before he came everywhere. I went home unsatisfied thinking, “that was it? That was sex? That’s what the big deal was?” 

From there, we hung out literally every minute of every day that summer. Because we spent so much time together, we got very comfortable with each other and had no problem experimenting. I knew nothing of sex before him. We explored each other sexually and touched me in ways no one ever had. He treated me like he loved every bit of me…like he loved every curve on my body, like he worshipped my body, like he was lucky to touch me, lucky to have me. He acted like he was addicted to me, obsessed and couldn’t get enough. And I truly believe it’s because we waited for so long. 

The passion was intense. I had fine-tuned his skills to predict every move my body would make. And I fucked him nonstop every single day that summer. Every morning, I’d wake up at 6, get ready, and then he’d pick me up at 8am and take me to his house or on an adventure. We’d fuck all day and drive back to my house to drop me off at 3am to repeat the whole thing the next morning. All we did was fuck. If we were tired, we would nap together in his bed. Fuck some more. Eat. Fuck again. And again. And again. And I made sure every time we did, I was loud and uncensored. I made sure that fucking bitch of a mother he had knew every time I was wrapped around her son’s cock. I didn’t give a fuck if I was disrespectful. As far as I was concerned, she disrespected me for the last time and was going to learn who was in charge.

That summer, I drove a wedge between Connor and his mom. I hated that miserable shrew with every fiber in my being and wanted her to suffer. At this point, it was safe to say I had just began to embrace my role as alpha female.

By 11 months, Connor was mine. He was completely head over heels for me and obsessed, but the only thing I was obsessed with was the sex. He told me he was in love with me, and I reciprocated the sentiment, though I still loathed him for cheating. Not only did I hate him, but I didn’t respect him at all. He was a weak, puny, little bitch of a man in my eyes. Absolutely pathetic. I had warned him to give me my space to get over everything, but he selfishly couldn’t stay away. So I gave him what he wanted, but made sure he hated himself just as much as I did each and every day.

He made me self-conscious. I made him self-conscious.

He made me lose friends. I made him lose friends.

He made me jealous. I made him jealous.

He made me paranoid. I made him paranoid.

I got in his head, and ate away at everything he was from the inside out. And the idiotic sex obsessed boy was too delirious with lust to stand up for himself. I saw him as nothing more than the whiney brat I was stuck in a relationship with, like an overly emotional weeping shadow dragging onto my ankles as I walked.

– – – – –

Being the innocent little girl I was, I was too dumb and too naive to know when it was time to get out of a bad relationship. I stayed because I had believed in love. I believed that when you care about someone you stick things out. You fix them. You don’t just give up. Part of me also stayed because I didn’t think I’d ever find someone who cared about me like that. As fucked up as it was, the toxic relationship he and I had was better than anything else in my life. It was better than my home life, or so I thought. But realistically, I was going from one battlefield to the other. 

It didn’t matter how trapped I felt. It didn’t matter that I was no longer in love with him; I just learned to deal with him. It didn’t matter I hated his entire family. I saw my parents have a loveless volatile marriage and that’s all I knew. That’s all I had as role models.

– – – – –

Senior year was great. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was in AP art, fashion club, art club, photo club, directing our 2 in-school fashion shows, working with a celebrity stylist, getting myself into college, designing my senior line, managing boys varsity hockey. Connor was away at school, but would come home almost every other weekend to see me. At the end of the year, I was a FAPA and Book Award recipient. I was happy and excelling in my life outside of my home.

I was under so much constant abuse and neglect that my body was literally shutting itself down and failing to function properly. If that wasn’t an indication of how insane my upbringing was, then I don’t know what to tell you. I was not only partially blind, but I also gave myself shingles from having so much stress in my life.

Yet, as usual, my mother neglected all her motherly duties. There was no prom dress shopping, any girly time, boy advice, etc. No help applying to colleges. We actually didn’t even visit a single one. I picked a school close to Connor and went. That was it.

EIGHTEEN

I started college and was immediately bullied by girls and sexually harassed by guys. The sexual harassment evolved and evolved and evolved until mid November. I was violently raped.

– – – – –

I had been calling my mom all the time for help, telling her details I was too ashamed to tell my father, but she never once helped me OR called me. Not once. It was my first year away at school and she knew everything that was happening to me, but did not call me one single time. Not once. Not ever. I called her… and she often hung up. It was like she was feeding me to the wolves and enjoying my suffering. Her excuse for not being there was she was “busy”. Oh, okay, so, you’re not too busy to go get your nails done with my sister, but you are too busy to help your child in need. Makes sense.

– – – – –

I had crippling anxiety and depression that made me hide in my dorm, sometimes for weeks on end. When I would emerge, I tried to play it cool, like nothing was wrong so no one would ever catch on. I had a fling with a rugby player and then a body builder.

 

NINETEEN

After I finished the year, went home, and took a semester off, my dad threatened me to go back to school, but I didn’t want to. We compromised that I would go to a state university 35 minutes away and commute from home, under the agreement that he would buy me a car (Spoiler alert- he never bought me a car).

– – – – –

Connor and I had been on and off for 3.5 years and spent our last summer together. I had said I wanted to try everything without games, no drama. Just me and him. A real shot. And he agreed, but went back on his word and used me anyway.

The day before he left for school, we had sex in his bed at home, one last time. I slept over that night, helped him pack, and said bye to him the next morning. I remember letting him pull out of the driveway first because I was struggling to keep it together and didn’t want him to see me cry.

For whatever reason, I had a bad feeling in my gut that this wasn’t going to go well. And boy was I right.

The next day was his birthday. I spent so much of the little money I had left to order him and his friends food as a surprise because I knew how much they hated the cafeteria food.

That night, after the food was delivered, he texted me to tell me he couldn’t be with me anymore and that we was over. He blocked my number and Facebook, cut all ties, and just like that, we were done.

My world fell apart 

I cried and cried and cried. 

I became so depressed. 

I was on my own after having someone to rely on for years. I didn’t want to be alone though. I needed mental protection from my house. I needed security. I needed a piece of mind. I needed to feel loved. I was made to believe I was such a complicated person that there was no way anyone in their right mind would love me the same as he did. I was so mistreated I was manipulated into believing his treatment was the best I’d ever get that I learned to be grateful to him. I gave up all my friends and just devoted myself to the relationship because it was the one person who actually loved me. For years, he had been the only reprieve I had from my family. And now I was to face them on my own. 

I gave him everything I had, every part of me and it was never enough. He cheated on me with about 10-15 girls in the 3.5 years we dated. He took that sweet innocent little girl and robbed her of every fairytale ending she had ever had. He broke every dollhouse and ripped open every teddy bear.

I gained nothing from being with him, except the understanding of what love is not. I lost everything I had and was. He slaughtered me in the most painful of ways, dug a hole, threw me in it, and then used my decaying maggot-infested corpse as fertilizer to grow himself from. 

 

TWENTY

            My parents gave me my first iPhone for Christmas, but it wasn’t activated. I asked my mom if we could go to the store to turn it on, she said no. I asked again, she said no and that she wasn’t going to go for three days until she felt like it. Usually, my siblings could wear her down by buttering her up so I pressed my luck and tried the same approach. I complimented her, stuck out my bottom lip, and gave her some major puppy eyes. Like the overdramatic attention-seeking victim she always pretends to be, she made a huge scene, started shrieking, and told my family I was harassing her and being rude.

Like a psychotic lunatic, Taylor came bolting in the room, shaking all the glasses in the dinning room cabinets as he did. He was 6’, had about 65lbs on me, and was trained in jujitsu and MMA fighting. He grabbed me by my arms, threw me against a wall, pinned me with his hip, and kept hitting me, even though I was crying and telling him to stop.

The whole time he was beating me up, his girlfriend, Logan, and my mom were all standing in a line about 8 feet away, watching it all happen and not one of them tried to intervene and stop it. They just stood there. Watching that happen to me.

            Afterwards, no one came to check on me, asked me how I was doing, or spoke to me. It was like it never happened, or wasn’t significant enough to comment on.

            I had tried to cover up my bruises the best I could so no one in my house would know how weak I was or how badly I took the beating. I remember feeling scared to let them see out of fear they would mock me, call me a baby, or just be general assholes.

Four days later, my parents called me into the family room to lecture me about my behavior. My mother wanted to explain to me that what I did was completely called for, I should have accepted her first no, and that what happened afterwards was my own fault. She tried to justify it by saying I was in the wrong by harassing her and that Taylor was right in coming to protect her, because she “needed it”.

I stood there listening to it all, finally gave up, and felt like I had to defend myself. I said there was no reason for physical violence and that my brother had no place putting his hands on me. I started crying and showed the bruises that covered my chest and arms.

But still, my mother persisted.

The conversation ended with me apologizing to her for “harassing” her. No one said sorry to me. And Taylor was never punished.

In a rare moment where I found myself alone with him, without anyone else around, I told him if he ever dared to put his hands on me again, I would call the police and tell every single person who would listen all about the sexual things he did to me growing up.

To this day, he hasn’t put his hands on me or even raised his voice.

– – – – –

When I was 20, I started therapy… and boy did I need it. I loved going because it was the one place I actually felt like I had a voice and like someone cared about what I was feeling/had to say. It was then that I was diagnosed with the last piece of the puzzle, ADHD. I started on Adderall, and it was like my life changed.

 

TWENTY-ONE

I showed up to a family Christmas party with my mom. My dad had already been there for a while and had started drinking. As I watched him down drink after drink, I had a feeling it wasn’t going to end well. My mother saw how drunk he was and left, but I stayed behind to make sure he had a driver to get home.

            For three hours, I tried to get the car keys from my dad, but my attempts were unsuccessful. I got creative and desperate as it neared time to leave so I had my cousin trick him into giving them to her. Once she had them, she slipped them to me behind her back and he hadn’t noticed.

            But he certainly did as we were leaving.

            Feeling emasculated for his daughter having to drive him home, he began yelling and carrying on with his alpha male roar. He tried to grab the keys from me, pushed me, swore at me, and called me a bitch. This was only walking out of the house and down the driveway as we exited the party.

            Once we made it out to the road where we were parked, I was terrified. I made sure he walked in front of me because I didn’t trust him and wanted to keep an eye on him. I cautiously followed behind him, not saying a word out of fear of angering the beast. I remember panicking and thinking, “Maybe I should just let him drive home and go home with someone else,” but then my other voice, my moral conscious, told me to keep going because I was doing the right thing by making sure he got home safely. I was being responsible. And I kept reminding myself that with every step I took closer towards the car.

            I was so scared my hands were shaking and I fumbled to unlock the car doors with the keys.

            We got in, put on our seatbelts, and a wave of relief came over me. I felt like I could do this and though maybe he was only acting up because we were in front of family.

            I turned on the car and adjusted my seat. He took this as an opportune moment to try and grab the keys out of the ignition, but I was too fast for him. He started hitting me in the head, face, neck, chest, and arms. Basically anywhere he could come in contact with, he did. The whole time I was screaming for him to stop and calm down. I thought he had blacked out with rage so I tried to use words he could associate with me, thinking somehow that would pull him out of his mental fog and he would stop what he was doing. But it didn’t work.

            He punched the electronic GPS screen his car, completely cracking and shattering it. He then abruptly sat back in his seat and yelled, “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!?! GREAT!!!”

            I was in a state of shock and couldn’t process anything. I knew I had to move fast if I wanted to get him home before another one of his rage induced episodes, so I re-clicked my seatbelt, which came off during our altercation, quickly put the car in gear, and headed for home.

            The drive to the end of the street we were on felt never ending. I just kept telling myself, “Good job! Keep going! I’m proud of you! Just a little bit further!”

            When I got to the end, I put on my left blinker to go home. That was the way I knew and always had driven, but he wanted me to go right and take his way home.

            This upset him.

            Handling him felt like handling a bomb, unsure of when it was going to detonate. I decided to do what he wanted to keep him happy because I was absolutely petrified of him hitting me again. I made the right turn and suddenly felt his hand on the wheel, aggressively trying to gain control of the car and steer us into the left lane.

            With my right hand, I tried my best to push him off and away from the wheel because there was an oncoming car we were going to hit. And with my left hand, I used every bit of strength I had to turn the wheel back to the right and guide us back to our correct lane.

            Although we were back on the proper side of the road, I could see the oncoming car getting closer. I was hoping that was enough to make him cut it out, but it wasn’t. He reached for the wheels again, but I almost knew to expect it, so I slammed on the breaks. I may have been small and I may have been scared out of my mind, but as long as I was responsible for driving, I was going to do everything I could to make sure we got home in one piece.

            The oncoming car had now driven by us, but there was still a variable of danger. My dad started hitting me again, this time harder and faster than before. I was screaming and trying to protect myself. And he used this moment to make a play for the car keys.

            It happened so fast I didn’t even have time to react. He got the keys out of the ignition, climbed out of his seat, walked around the front of the car, and was standing on the side of my driver’s door. This was his was of telling me he was going to drive whether I liked it or not.

            My brain… couldn’t function. I didn’t know what to do. I kept hitting the lock button on the door so he couldn’t get in. I pressed it over and over and over relentlessly, just trying to buy myself a moment to gather my thoughts and breathe for one single second. As I pressed the lock button inside the car, he was outside pressing the unlock button from the remote starter. I kept pressing lock as fast as I could to jam up his attempts at unlocking the car, but he caught me in between locks.

            It all happened so fast, but I heard the door unlock and knew to brace myself. He had flung open the driver’s side door and began dragging me out by whatever he could grab. I wasn’t ready to give up though. I fought with everything I had. He was 6’0 and 280lbs. I was 5’3.5 and 115. I didn’t stand a chance. I tried kicking him off me and holding on to the center console, but eventually he overpowered me.

            He got my body mostly out of the car, ripped me out so hard that my grip came loose, and threw me into the street.

            On the way down, my head hit the asphalt because my arms and hands were to worn out from protecting myself to catch my fall. At this point, I was a limp body in the middle of the left lane, crying so hard and was unable to physically get up. I didn’t have any fight left in me.

            He stood in the doorway of the driver’s side door, looking down at me and shouted for me to get up. He started to panic that someone would see because a car was coming. He tried to drag me back to our car, but I didn’t even make it an inch before he dropped me again and went back to the car. He climbed in and drove off without me.

            He left me there, in the middle of the road, with nothing but the clothes on my back and my phone charged with 6% battery. I was still uncontrollably crying, but knew the middle of the road was no place to be, especially at night.

            I remember noticing the second oncoming car had seen everything, slowed down, and pulled over. In the meantime, I mustered every ounce of strength I possibly could and crawled on my hands and knees to the semi-snow covered grass on the side of the road.

            I felt the car watching me and immediately became very embarrassed. I wanted them to keep driving because I was worried if they stopped any longer that they might call the police. Instinctually, I called my mother in my moment of need. I was hyperventilating and she was barely able to understand me. She was yelling at me through the phone to stop freaking out and calm down. I took a deep inhale, and spoke as fast and as clearly as I could into the receiver. I told her something along the lines of, “Dad beat me up. I need you to pick me up.” Second inhale. “I’m really hurt and on the side of the road.”

            Like usual, she blamed me and told me she wasn’t going to come because she was already in bed. Instead, she told me to call my aunt who lived in the next town over. I begged for her to pick me up, but she said no and abruptly ended the call with, “That’s your father on the other line. I have to go.” And just like that, she hung up on me.

            I was her child, beaten and stranded with barely any phone battery. My jacket was torn. My hair was a mess. And I was traumatized to say the least.

            The normal motherly instinct would be to run to the child’s safety and protect them in any way possible. But no, not my mother. My mother could have cared less and schlept me off to my aunt.

            I called my aunt Nana and begged for help, but she told me to call my other aunt, Mimi, who was still at the party. Knowing I had little battery left, I hung up on her and called Mimi. I was trying to calm down and breathe, but I didn’t have my inhaler on hand. It was in my purse, which was in the car my dad drove off in.

            Thankfully, Mimi answered the phone. The only words I could get out were, “Dad beat me up. I need you to come get me.” Her tone of voice instantly changed and her mama bear kicked in. She asked where I was and showed up in less than 7 minutes.

            In the meantime, the car that has stopped and pulled over moved up a little closer. Eventually, a woman got out of the passenger seat to come check on me. I could feel her footsteps getting closer and tried to shut down the emotional flood that was happening.

            She asked who had driven off. I said my dad.

            She asked if I was okay. I said yes, trying to force the most authentic smile I could give, even though the rest of my physical appearance depicted a much different feeling.

            She asked if I needed to go to the hospital. I said no.

            She asked if I needed a ride. I said no. My aunt was coming to get me.

            She introduced herself and the driver of the car, who turned out to be her husband. Her voice was soothing and calming, but I remember I would only look at the ground out of sheer shame and embarrassment. The kind woman could have waited in her car, but chose to sit about 3 feet away from me on the cold grass. She told me she and her husband were going to wait with me until Mimi showed up. I tried to convince her to leave, but she insisted. She tried to initiate small talk to keep my mind off things, but Mimi’s car pulled up with my cousin Erin no later than 2 minutes later.

            I scrambled to get myself up and into Mimi’s passenger side door. I didn’t want any more people seeing me like this. I immediately buckled myself and waited for the car to move, but Mimi was graciously thanking the kind woman and reassuring her I was in good hands.

            We drove away and headed back towards the party to pick up my other cousin Caroline and Uncle Brendan. On the way there, my mom called me. She said she had spoken with my dad and he was denying ever putting his hands on me. According to her, he claimed I was out of control, hitting and scratching him for no reason, so he was protecting himself. She then had the balls to tell me I was being overdramatic and that I provoked the whole incident. She blamed me, told me I was asking for it, acknowledged he was shitfaced, and then said I was wrong to try to drive him home.

            Hearing this helped me find my voice pretty quickly. I screamed at her. Told her she was the dumbest creation on the planet and a horrible mother for even trying to take my dad’s side. I had listened to enough bullshit, and hung up the phone.

            My cousin Erin tried to comfort me from the backseat by telling me everything was okay and that I was safe now.

            We got back to the party, picked up my family, and headed to grandma’s house because that’s where they were staying this visit. That entire drive, no one said even a single word. Not a peep was made.

            We pulled into the driveway and parked. Everyone helped me up the side stairs and into the house. I somehow climbed the main interior stairs myself and crawled into the bathroom.

I completely fell apart and I cried so hard, but made sure not to make a sound so no one could hear me in my moment of weakness. I didn’t want anyone to know because I thought it was embarrassing and reflected badly on me. I put my hair in a bun, cleaned off my makeup, and tried not to look as broken as I was.

Mimi was my substitute mom that night. She was so worried about me. I could feel it without her saying anything. She tried to make me soup and get me to eat, but I had no appetite. She and my cousins all offered up their beds, but I couldn’t take them. I didn’t feel deserving of it and I didn’t want to put anyone out or feel like a burden. So, I played on my phone and stayed downstairs in the kitchen all night by myself. Mimi came to check on me at least every two hours; I really don’t think she slept much that night. It was the first time in my life I felt like I really had a mom.

In the morning, it was obvious by how my wrists and hands had swollen that I needed to see a doctor. Afraid of getting in trouble with my parents for “being dramatic,” I held off a few days. Eventually, grandma took me for x-rays at a walk-in clinic. It was the only thing open. The doctor couldn’t see any fractures, but had a feeling my wrists were still both broken. She sent me home to rest and to see an orthopod when I could.

Over the next two days, my hands kept swelling and swelling. The bruises were the ugliest shade of deep purple I had ever seen. I went to an orthopod as instructed, this time with Nana, but I wouldn’t let her in the exam room. I had a strange feeling that she was only there as a double agent for my mom so I asked the nurse to keep her in the waiting room.

            And I was right. I checked Nana’s phone and saw that she and my mom were texting each other, joking about how crazy I am and that I made the whole thing up for attention. Nana told my mom that I didn’t let her in the exam room and Mom responded back, “Obviously because she’s faking it.” My mom then asked if Nana saw the x-rays, to which she said no, so my mom told her not to worry about it because she was going to try to use her connections at the hospital to either get a copy or have the x-rays wiped from my file.

            That day, I called my doctor’s office and set passwords to all my patient files and information, and I also gave strict orders to not give out anything unless I was in person with my driver’s license ID.

            I had gotten home with just a splint, but something still didn’t feel right. The next day I went back to the specialists and had more extensive xrays done. My left hand and wrist was broken in two places, and my right had 3 hand fractures, 1 wrist fracture, and only a 15% chance of healing properly without surgery.

            I called my mom to tell her. She said no to surgery, even though she knew I was an artist and needed my hand. Her reasoning was simply because she didn’t want to pay for it and I could “live” without it. Instead of taking the proper precautions and treatments, I listened to my mother and opted for a cast on my left arm. I knew I had to have a cast on my right as well, but I also knew I was going to be the one taking care of myself since my family didn’t care whatsoever and were continuing to blame me. So I made the decision to get a splint. I still needed to drive myself to school, do homework assignments, be able to shower and dress myself, because I was the only person I could really depend on once I left grandmas.

In the month I stayed at grandma’s, no one from my immediate family called, texted, or visited to see if I was okay.

            When I went back home to pick up some clothes, my dad confronted me, yelled at me, refused to apologize, tried to tell me I remembered it wrong, wasn’t going to listen to me “lie and make shit up”, got loud, told me to fuck off and go back to grandma’s. So I did. I had no intention of recanting my story just because he refused to accept what he did.

My dad clearly didn’t learn his lesson because 6 weeks later, he got a DUI. I would’ve though breaking his daughter’s wrists in a drunken rage would be enough to make him come to his senses, but no.

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