Leaps and Bounds

I’m sitting here in a half daze because I’m disconnecting myself with pain. I am hurting and not just physically. I’m pretty sure that I’m passing a kidney stone. I’m no doctor but I know what I’m feeling is the same as it always has been when I went to the hospital and they sent me home doped up. I’ve developed a way to get through massive pain, in order to protect the pieces of me that were left. Many times I felt parts of myself wither and die, like a flower that never fully reached its stage of blooming. I felt my own consciousness fold that note up and store it away because it was too difficult to process at the time. My memories are like that. I’m missing huge chunks and I still lose them. I don’t know how it happens but it does and it happens mostly when I’m sober, in case you’re wondering.

It’s really hard to look back at those places, to open up those parchments that my head and heart had written upon, and allow my soul to re-experience that which had been hidden away for decades. I had to open them up to see what I could find. I had not allowed myself, or better yet, my brain did not allow me, to process those stories until my soul was ready. It’s as if I was protected, a mind’s own defense mechanism. When those things are under the microscope because you finally have the tools you need to see them with a clear eye, it is a lot to take in.

Suggestions, I remember suggestions of suicide when I was really young, ways that I could rid myself of the pain. I recall that frightening glimmer in her eye when she spoke of such atrocities. Why would she tell me how to kill myself? There’s a distorted memory, beaten into my head from continued speech, day after day, year upon year. The day my mind let me see what really happened raised too many questions and the world I had lived in no longer existed. So many questions; am I going insane? Or have I finally reached sanity? The level of deceit and manipulation, you can’t even comprehend how any human being could be capable of it. In my heart, it is even more unbelievable because I value all life. She said that she found me, in the closet, belt around my neck, chair kicked from underneath me. What I don’t understand is how I could have done that at nine. My brother says that he found me, the door was closed, and I was blue. I remember that house and the closet wasn’t big enough to successfully kick a chair from under myself. There is no memory of this, only the memory that my mom told me over and over and over and over until it became real to me. Death, at the time, was something I thought of only because it was suggested to me.

He was soldering something, I can’t remember what it was. He burned my fingers and I think it was because I told my mom that every time he was there I could see his balls hanging out of his shorts. I remember the fear I felt, the helplessness in all of it, having my hand held down while someone burned my flesh with a hateful gleam in their eye. This kind of fear hurts because you are learning that people can be dangerous and cruel. I had plenty of lessons on the matter yet it always surprised me and does still to this day. When I started talking about it, about all of the abuse, that’s when the stories of suicide came in. The man was still allowed at our home because he was a visitor for my mother’s first client in need of care-giving. There was other abuse but I don’t want to talk about it because it’s too much for anyone to process, or maybe it’s just too much to divulge for me at the moment. It all started when I started talking; my mother wanted me silenced. The realization was that she didn’t want to be implicated. She worked so hard to play the innocent, clueless, vicarious victim. She reveled in our pain and she inflicted it whenever possible. She picked people to inflict it, to make us fear, to make us hurt, to devour our preciousness. She sat back and watched our worlds and faces crumble and she took pleasure in it.

For a mother, this is something that is impossible to believe if you have never experienced it with your own two eyes. Some still stay optimistic, as if a narcissist/sociopath is actually capable of changing. Changing requires self-reflection, something that these people are incapable of doing, much like taking accountability. Once I heard someone ask, “How could anyone do such a thing, especially to their own child, a mother?” Have you ever heard a sociopath/ psychopath explain why they murdered and tortured people? It’s bone-chilling, their responses. These people are not like us, they do not experience human emotion, it is learned and mimicked. They do it for the power they have over another living being; they feel god-like. I believe its attributed to the fact that they know they don’t have emotion and they see that as a human depravity and they despise it. You’ll never get the answer you want, nor will you get the answer that makes sense. Evil isn’t understandable to good people; that’s just the way it goes. Evil attacks good just like any other energy in the world. You have the positive and the negative, period; it simply subsists. Evil tries to take away the good in you, ever operating like that of a black hole, trying to siphon, drain, and suck you in.

I cannot wait until she dies, nor can my brothers and my father. That type of disdain is special, for it holds years of resentment and utter despair. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out alive, that I’d make it through. There were times I wished that she was successful in killing me because then I’d be rid of all that pain I held in, just waiting for the right time to reveal itself, a proverbial time capsule of grief. I held onto the thought of the future, of love, of normalcy, of healthy connections. That line got blurred for me and I could no longer identify what was distorted and what was not. What stands out to me now is the way that I experience pain. I sat here and cried, not making any sound and I am reminded of why I still cry that way. I hide my breath and my cries come out only in tears streaming down my face because I don’t often forget that vulnerability isn’t something that you should share with those around you. We weren’t supposed to let her see it or hear it; it became a known thing. Times we’d forget where we were and let pieces of ourselves out only to have our brightly shining lights dimmed by her darkness in an instant. It was shameful to let these things out on the surface and she forbade it because once you do, it’s difficult to drown buoyancy, it takes weight, which she so diligently hoisted onto our chests, hoping to see us never surface again.

We were out at the river. She was reading a book; I know, a book. I was young, maybe seven or eight. We were on a little patch of river rock, a comfortable sized island. It was hot, my feet felt good in the water, the contrast as beautiful as was the cool breeze that I knew the night would hold for me. I wanted to feel all of that coolness on my skin, so I went further into the water. The water swept me away and I watched her stand there, arm over her dead eyes, shielding them from the radiance of the sun so that she could just stand there and watch me struggle to stay above water. I started screaming for her to help me but she didn’t even move, she just stared at me with no expression on her face. I heard my dad yell back for me and then she started acting as if she was newly privy to my predicament. In a flat tone, “Swim to the shore!” Desperately I reached for grass near the side; I was paddling diagonally toward the shore because that felt like the easiest way. My dad finally reached me, way down the river. Shaking and crying, he brought me back to the place of origin and to try to ease my fears of the water, he placed me on his back and floated down the river with me. I’m pretty sure we all did, to encourage my buoyancy but the only two people in the world were my dad and I at that moment. He was the only one who could look at me and take away all of my fears with something clever and thoughtful.

I want that feeling again, that person that makes it all go away. It used to be my dad but it’s not anymore because we’ve both outgrown those roles. Maybe it’s me; I’m starting to believe that. Right after I struggled to go get my laptop to write and had started the process, I sat down and saw something leap in my peripheral; it was a frog. It landed right near me and paused until I realized what was transpiring. I don’t know where he came from but it was like I was a little child again, chasing it and giggling as it slipped from my gentle grip. It hurt to do so but my delight outweighed my pain. I finally got the bucket I was planning on using if I needed to throw up again, to catch the little guy and release him outside, where he belonged. Once I got him out onto the grass I nudged its chin and it jumped off into the shadows. Inside, I read about spirit animals and what they signify. They signify the transient nature of our lives; the transformation as we evolve; the cleansing, rebirth, and mysteries in life. Frogs are associated with water, a good animal to call upon for emotional release, one to support you in clearing negativity and “toxic” energies.

In Egypt, the frog is known for resurrection and is seen depicted with Venus, the goddess of Love. Native Americans see the frog as the rain-maker, reminding us that rain and water are essential to life and new growth. The frog is a power animal in communication, particularly being able to express intense emotion and have it understood by others clearly. And since water, i.e. rain, is associated with cleansing, so is crying. “Some of us, especially men, are brought up to believe that crying is something to be ashamed of, that you are weak, wimpish or childish if you cry. When we deprive ourselves of this powerful form of emotional release, we bottle it all up and this can cause us to eventually reach unbelievable lows in our lives; energies become blocked. With the frog’s assistance, we can begin to realise, and experience, tears as being as natural and as necessary as rain.” (www.shamanicjourney.com/frog-power-animal-symbol-of-healing-cleansing-rebirth)

And with that, I cried.

Author: jessicaambateman

I am a survivor of childhood abuse on the verge of speaking out. I have waited my whole life to have the luxury of spilling my guts and blogging is going to become part of that journey.

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