I am filled with anxiety and sadness now. Writing earlier has brought up many memories and sensations I thought I had forgot. Maybe it’s the weather. Smells of must and mold and decay, of dog shit and piss and rotten food. The taste of it in the air. The feeling of uncleanliness that never has gone away, only recedes to the point of bearability.
Where did I leave off? The time my dad overdosed and the outcome of that. I got in trouble at school and at home. The special school where they would lock me up in a tiny room for ‘misbehaving’. One time they put me in there because I didn’t want to eat lunch after being called fat. I gained weight after I started going to that special school. I didn’t get as much exercise as I had before. And I ate as much as I could when I did get food because we rarely had real food at home. My mum always had her candy and her junk food. I gained weight eating take out and whole bowls of pudding because the fridge was always full of spoiled and rotting food, so I could never use it to place leftovers. Everything had to be eaten at once or it went bad. The bugs got into them or there were rats.
I used to love wearing skirts because they were so breezy and I loved the compliments everyone would give me. I stopped loving wearing them when I was being told to sit lady-like with my legs closed or crossed. My brother was never told to sit lady-like. It makes sense, since he wasn’t a lady either. I still wore them on occasion, but not near as much since everyone started treating me different. I never understood how they treated me one way and then suddenly the rules changed and they were treating me a whole new way simply because I was hitting puberty. I was the same me inside, it was just the outside changing, you know?
One day, I wore a pair of shorts and an oversized shirt, around the same time I was learning how to shave. I shaved everything. Arms and legs and pits. I hated hair. I still do. Anyway, I wore that outfit to school and 3 of the boys asked me out in one day. I was 10 or 11, I forget, but I told them I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 (although later I took a secret boyfriend). When I went home, I told my parents that I got asked out and I was so pleased because, to me, it meant that I was wanted by people and that I was pretty and special enough. My parents shut that shit down. My mum and my dad both said I dressed like a slut and a whore and that I shouldn’t be dressing like that and my dad said I was his little girl and he would kill any boy that tried to take me away from him. My mother said I needed to dress more modestly because the shirt had gone over the shorts since it was so big and it made it look like I wasn’t wearing anything underneath it, even though I was.
I started wearing longer pants and capris and not real shorts for a long time. I mostly wear t-shirts and sweaters anyway, but I started making sure that I was properly covered and that most of my skin was hidden. I had a series of social workers by this point who were trying to make me into a proper young lady and properly socialized. There was a girls’ group thing that they used to take me to. I would have fun when I got to go. My mum wouldn’t let me go often. Sometimes I would just go and get in trouble later. I never talked to them about stuff and I would always evade the questions I would get asked about home life. “I love my mother and my brother and my father” I would say. I was forced into therapy, but the therapist dropped me because I wouldn’t say anything and would only play games. I was told not to tell the therapist anything. She had beanie babies in a thing on her door in her office. I can still smell the carpet and the beanies now. She was nice. My mum would rave about what a terrible person the therapist was and how she couldn’t believe she was having to drive me there.
It was during this time that I was hanging out with my ‘babysitter’. Not really a babysitter, since we were the same age, but she was a girl whose house I went to after school since my dad was normally drunk or in the hospital and my mum didn’t like me home alone if no one else was there. My brother would get home from school and call and I would go home then. ‘Babysitter’ molested me. Not going to go into details and I don’t really begrudge her for any of it. Natural curiosity, I guess. It made me feel gross and ashamed and yet, I can’t be mad at her. She was just a kid and I was a kid and I just wanted everyone to like me and I would do just about anything to make them like me.
It was also around this time I got hit by a car. Technically, it was a truck. My mum blamed me and my dad and my brother took me to the hospital to get checked out. Nothing but a few scrapes and bruises. I’ve had back problems ever since though.
The summer I was 12, my brother and I started going over to my aunt and uncle’s a lot more. They invited us to go swim in their pool and go on their boat and have lots of fun. We had loads of fun. We had hot water and hot food and good food and we got to be in a house that wasn’t almost a literal dump. I would often tell my brother that I wished we lived there instead. My mum got asked to house-sit for them while they were on vacation for a week. She brought her computer (which we got in 2000 from a tax return and she was always playing SIMS and doing this DJ thing and ignoring us. Before, she ignored us with the old Mac we had). We stayed there for a week and we got warm food and warm water and clean beds and clean clothes and it was wonderful.
When we got back home to my dad and our dogs, he started yelling at my mum and yelling at me and my brother. I was crying and I missed the clean. I was scared. I had just spent a week not being scared. And then I was thrust back into being scared. I hugged my dog (we had two) and was just bawling and my mum got me and my brother after my dad had gone off drinking or whatever and she asked us again (after having asked us loads of times before) if she should divorce him. No parent should ever ask their kid that. It was awful of her. I always said we should stay but I didn’t want to anymore. I got a taste of happy and I wanted more. So I said we should go.
I wasn’t allowed to bring my dog. That was one of the last times I saw her before my dad up and moved to another state and then left her in that state when he came back. I still miss her.
And yes, my parents and my brother blame me for the divorce.
My mum had to have her brother, my uncle, come pick us up and take us to his house. I was put to bed in my cousin’s room and told that we would sort everything out the next day. Well, next day was the first day of school. My aunt took my mum and my brother and me to the school to get signed up and to get us situated there. She and my uncle also laid out the ground rules for us living at their place. The prospect of living with them suddenly became not as fun or as happy.
For starters, in my special school for kids with behavioural problems, I was transitioning from being there to going to regular school. I had mornings at the regular school and afternoons at the special school. At this new school, I was thrust into full time and they hadn’t even had an IEP set up for me. I thought it was another test, that they were testing me to see how good I was. I was not good. I crumpled so fast. Lots of noises and smells and people and I was supposed to change in front of other kids for gym (I changed in the stalls) and I was put into regular English (bumped up into advanced English class after a few weeks with the older kids instead of my peers. My mum threw a fit and they told her I behaved best when I was in that class so she shut up.) Moving on, I thought this was a test so I did my best not to be a bad kid but I got overwhelmed and lashed out and they got the IEP put in place where I was in the Special Education area during electives (except for orchestra).
I was acting out a lot at home because I was always being told that I was a guest and that it wasn’t my home and everyone else was always mad at me. My aunt and uncle used my brother and me as slaves, just about. We had to cook and clean for all the other kids, even their eldest daughter who was my age. The other kids got away with doing stuff we weren’t and the worst part was never getting alone time. The other kids would hit me or shove me or call me names and if I retaliated it was all my fault and I shouldn’t provoke them. I got suicidal and started giving myself erasure burns. I had written a poem at this point in my life, as I was getting into writing and poetry. I still remember it.
“I wish I could erase my skin, grab my pants and start again. Maybe white with black, or blue with green perhaps. Or maybe no colour at all, yes I think that would be the best call. To be erased into nothing it seems, that would be my best dream.”
One day, I got in trouble for skipping class and they were going to call my mum. I told them no, they weren’t going to call my mum. I stood up and the police liaison got in my face, chest to chest with me, and I panicked and pushed him away. So I got arrested. I mean, sometime during the proceeding struggle (strange guy grabbing me and touching me set me off), I punched him in the eye and gave him a black eye. I felt in danger and I finally fought back. It was a mistake. I spent a night in a children’s shelter and then I was sent to court and given probation and community service. I was given court-mandated anger management which turned out to be a support group for girls with behavioural issues.
One day, in that support group, I confessed I was feeling suicidal. I didn’t know they were going to call my mum but they did and I got in trouble. She hit me a lot and slapped me and threatened to put me in hospital for it and made me tell her it was because of my dad. As soon as I was done with the mandated part, she pulled me out of that group and I stopped trying to talk about my feelings. No one listened or I got into trouble.
I was also discovering the wonderful world of Wicca. I took to drawing a pentagram on the back of my hand and one day my mum saw it and she hit my hand and yelled at me and she poured powdered bleach onto it and scrubbed it with a wire brush. My hand was bloody and sore and she told me that if I ever did that again, I would be grounded and worse. I got in trouble with my aunt and uncle for ‘bringing that evil into their house’ and they threatened to send me back to the shelter. My mum started doing that too. I misbehave and they threaten to kick me out after hitting me. It still makes me sad to think that my mum would physically abuse me until I finally had it when I was around 20/21 and threatened to kill her if she ever touched me again. I was that sort of scary calm mad when I did it. I didn’t yell, I didn’t whisper. I said it in a level voice. Well, at least she stopped.
I’m going to have to stop here again. I’m needing a good cry again. Or a shower. Showers always calm me.
-The Sarcastic Autist