Warning: Explicit content
February 18, 2016
Yes, I mean you. I thought I saw you crying again. You are hiding away again. Running away is impossible. What you are running from is inside you. You can’t get away, your demons are you.
How do I know? Because I am you and you are me. I live with the demons crowding my head and eating my heart every day, every hour, every minute. I’ve tried running. I’ve tried drinking them away. I’ve tried smoking them into oblivion. I tried cutting the pain away. I even tried to end it all. All of these failed; and my demons laughed through it all.
Maybe it’s time for you and I to face our demons. If we do this together maybe, our demons will be the ones cringing in the corner instead of us. Yes, this will hurt. Yes, there will be tears. Yes, there will be anger. Yes, there will be fear and terror. Yes, there might be some yelling and cussing. However, after all this there will hopefully be acceptance where there was guilt, self love where there was self hate, peace where there was turmoil, and calm where there was only anger.
How do we do this? Together we face each demon. Invite them to sit down for a drink and talk. We look at them as an adult determined to claim their self. We show them love, hold them if needed, yell and scream, compromise with them. They can stay but they will no longer rule.
Are you ready for this? Just remember you and I are the same. I am you and you are me. I will never abandon you. I am stuck to you like glue. You are never and will never be alone. I got your back! One demon at a time….we got this! Here we go!
Where do we start? The beginning is always the best. I grew up in a family that was dysfunctional and abusive. My mom’s dad was an alcoholic. Mom’s brother was a Vietnam vet who was a drug abuser and alcoholic. My parents fought like cats and dogs. My father called use little cocksuckers and little bastards when he was mad or frustrated. My mother was the caretaker of the family. She was always trying to fix it all to her own detriment.
So what was the demon in all this? I learned to be the caretaker. I learned to use alcohol and drugs to mask problems instead of facing them. I learned if you were mad or frustrated it was OK to belittle and berate people. I learned how to have a dysfunctional relationship and not a healthy one.
What do we do with this demon? How do we vanquish her? We don’t. We forgive our family for the things they did; but we never forget. Form this demon we learn what not to do. We learn how not to treat people. We learn it is better to face our problems instead of letting them fester. We are all shaped by our families but we don’t have to follow the mold they made for us. Break out! Be yourself! Be the you that is that is better, healthier, and more loving. You are not a product of your family’s failures.
Whew! One down and so many more to face.
Who do we face next? I want to face the 7 year old girl who screams in my head. “Why! Why me? What did I do wrong? Why can’t they see how hurt I am? I must deserve this because I did something bad. This is my punishment.”
If I could I would wrap that little girl up in my arms and protect her from all the harm inflicted on her. However, I can’t change what’s been done; but I can talk to her. So, Sissy I know you’re here and listening. You did nothing wrong. What happened was not your fault. It wasn’t a punishment and he was a very sick person to pick you to abuse. The family never saw what was happening because they never dealt with something of this nature and a lot of them were tied up in other family drama. I know if they did see it they would have protected you. You would have gotten help sooner. Please never ever believe you are alone again. I am here! I will hold you if that’s what you need. I will listen to you rage and wipe your tears. I will be your shield when the nightmares come for you. Just reach out your hand and I will be here.
Do you hear that? Neither did anyone else. The 15 year old Sissy who started drinking because she hurt so much inside that she just wanted to quite the memories; like her Uncle Jim. If it was good enough to help him, maybe it would quite the demons inside her. Everyday, before school she would drink a pint. She had to. She couldn’t face the world sober. At lunch she would sneak more down her gullet. Every evening at home she would hide in her room sipping the liquid nirvana. It never solved anything because when she would sober up the problems would still be there.
If I could go back I would sit beside the troubled teen, put an arm around her shoulder and tell her alcohol never solved a thing. It hides, it masks, it lies when it whispers just a little more will fix it. I would tell her to talk to anyone. Tell them what happened. It was not your fault! When he told you it would break the family apart if you told; he was emotionally blackmailing you. He needs help, you need help. The family will be OK. Just get help.
Did I get help? No, I was too ashamed, too afraid, and too pissed. At this same time my family was a freaking mess. My cousin, who was all of about 12 killed himself. I remember the first line of his suicide note. “ I am tired of being a fuck up in everyone’s eyes.” He was buried with his favorite stuffed animal… Gizmo. At 15 years old I wondered if he found his peace. I wondered if it was worth it. Even with all the pain it caused me and my family, my thoughts slowly began to fester and his escape started to look good to me.
It was just before I was sixteen that I took the hardest hit. I was kind of seeing a young man named Chris. We had been friends for awhile before we started seeing each other. So I knew his history. I knew I could lose him at any time. A month before my birthday he called and told me it was back. The cancer was worse than before and they didn’t think he would make it. He was what held me together. I lost Chris 3 weeks later. I totally went nuts. I drank more and took chances that I knew would hurt me or kill me if they went bad. I turned into a 16 year old who now had a license. I now had a broader scope of shit I could get into and I did.
About this time I was working with my mom helping to take care of an elderly lady. I worked nights on the weekends. One night my mother called to ask me something that rocked my world and brought me to my knees. She said my baby brother had told her he had been sexually abused by my oldest brother. She asked me if I believed him. I said yes. She said really? I said yes. She said she didn’t know what to think. She kept after me asking why I believed him. I finally snapped and said because the bastard did it to me. She went silent and started to cry. She then said she would see me when I got home. I died inside that night.
What happened next? It all came to a breaking point for me. I lost Chad. I lost Chris. I failed my little brother. I was supposed to protect him. I should have told. I hated myself, I hurt, I wanted to die. So, on a cold November night I stole my dad’s gun. I made a few phone calls saying goodbye. Leaving messages when I knew they wouldn’t be home. I wrote a note for my family and hid it so they wouldn’t find it too soon. I drove out to the lake. I decided to do it. This was my last day on earth. I was tired of all the pain I felt, all the self hate and guilt I had burning me inside. Today, I would find peace. I would find absolution.
What stopped me? Well, there I was sitting on the same log Chris and I use to with a bottle of Jack in one hand and the .44 caliber handgun in my lap. I heard a noise and looked around and there stood Chris’s sister. She had tears pouring down her face and was out of breath. She just kept gasping the word Don’t. At first I was so pissed and yelled at her to leave. She kept saying no. She started talking saying that Chris wouldn’t want me to do this; how mad he would be at me for giving up, for giving in. She told me how much it would hurt her if I did this. How bad it would hurt my family. I kept saying I didn’t fucking care. I was so tired of the pain. I was tired of the guilt. She got me to talk….well, more like pace and yell what was going on in my head. I yelled and screamed the most horrendous things that had been done to me. All the while I kept drinking and waving the gun around. I put it to my head and she would yell Don’t! We went through this numerous times. I was crying when I fell to my knees drained, drunk, done. I put the gun to my head, just behind my ear, like Chad. She kneeled in front of me and said if I was going to do this she was going to stay with me so I would die alone. I cocked the gun and stared into her eyes, tears pouring down both of our faces and she whispered one last time “Please, Don’t”. I started to squeeze the trigger and looking into her eyes I saw the hurt and disappointment; I saw that she believed she had failed her brother. It broke me. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cause her this pain. I couldn’t leave her with the pain of failure, of the guilt that would eat at her. Her pain was my savior that night. I lowered the gun and she took it from me and tossed it away and we clung to one another crying for what seemed like forever. We talked for hours. She helped me see that while my pain was real and valid, killing myself would cause more pain to all those I knew and loved. How that, maybe, someday I would help someone by talking about my pain. That’s the night I quit drinking. I went home, put the gun back and told no one till now about that night.
What happened after all that? Well, mom and dad put me in counseling for the years of sexual abuse. I want for almost a year before I was strong enough to face down my abuser. I asked him to meet me at a park and yelled and screamed at him how I hated him. What a dirty, mother fucking, asshole he was to hurt me and our little brother. He stood and took it all. He never gave one excuse for what he did. He only agreed with me and kept saying sorry. I walked away lighter, feeling no longer a victim. The transformation to being a survivor had begun. By the time I turned 18, I had learned he was abused by others himself. He never had gotten help before mom put us all in counseling. For years I avoided him except at family get togethers. When I was 20 I saw how he was punishing him self; slowly killing himself by eating himself to death. To complete my journey to a survivor I forgave him and told him while I hated what happened I still loved him and didn’t want him to die.
In my early 20’s I smoked enough pot to probably get a whole third world country high, had a disastrous 1 1\2 year marriage, finally accepted who I was, came out, and met my life partner. I quit smoking pot for her. She is the reason I live now. She’s my reason to fight, my reason to stick around when the pain is too much.
What is my point in telling you all of this? Remember, I am you and you are me. So listen closely. If you are here reading my journey, you yourself are a survivor. It doesn’t matter if our stories are exactly the same. You are here and made it through your own storms. Faced your demons and came out the other side. Yes, it will have left scars. Yes, the demons will come back and bite us in the ass sometimes. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it will feel so real that you’d swear you are right back in that hell. Nightmares, fear, and tears will happen. However, sit them demons down, have a drink with them, get to know them again. Then let them fuckers know they will not rule your life. You are a bad ass warrior! You have faced the fire, looked into the abyss and came home each time. You are strong enough to handle this. If not reach out your hand and I will be there. I will not let you sit in the abyss with a gun to your head. I will walk beside you, sit with my arm around you, wipe your tears, anything. You just have to reach out. I’ve got your back! I am you and you are me; we are one and the same. Together we will conquer, we will survive, we will become stronger warriors. We will win!
Linda’s letters is a chronically series. Did you miss the beginning? Start here with Letter #1.