Why I’d Say No

In lieu of National Adoption Month, I thought I’d share my thoughts on adoption.

A few days ago, one of my professors who knows I was adopted and that the adoption didn’t work asked me, “If the opportunity arose, what would you say about being adopted again?” At first I was confused and a little irritated, I didn’t know how to respond as half the class was staring at me. Instead of giving a yes or no, I answered, “It’s something that I’d have to think longer on. It’s not a yes or no answer.” She was pleased and moved on, but the question kept ringing in my ears. How would I answer?

I haven’t gone into great detail about all the failed adoptions as I feel they are still a little to personal, but from each adoption a little piece of my heart was changed. The first family that was going to adopt me got tired of fighting my grandparents and when they decided to move, they decided to give up. The second adoption failed because I was having doubts and was still too attached to my roots, something my adoptive mom couldn’t stand. My third failed because it was the mother of my second and things were just uncomfortable. I became the “trouble” child. The last, my legally adoptive parents, failed because of the rejection, fear and the lack of trust.

In each of these adoptions I held the biggest reason for the disruption: the inability to let go of the past and become someone new. I was in so much pain and turmoil that I didn’t know how to move past it all. I needed that extra help. I needed to regress back to major growing points in my life that were missed. Unfortunately, my adoptive families didn’t know or understand this. The families who did understand this refused to do this because chronologically it wasn’t right. I was 17.5 not 2 or 4 or 8. They didn’t have the ability to accept me enough to let me feel safe. I didn’t have the ability to trust them enough to let them in. It was hard. With each family I walked away feeling a little more beaten, a little more bruised. But I didn’t give up.

After each family kicked me out or left, I decided that I still wanted a family. I kept telling myself that there are millions of families out there in this world, one of them had to be mine; I had to belong to someone. As much as I knew S@nta wasn’t real, I wished every year to have a family “come for me” for Christmas. I hoped that some how I’d magically have a family on Christmas morning. I remember being so happy after my 2nd adoptive family asked if they could adopt me, we went on a walk and I told them that I had wished for this for years. Every time an adoption failed, I prayed even harder to a God that never answered..to a God that I didn’t even believe in but that so many people kept saying made life so much more bare able.

So, how would I respond to someone if they asked if I wanted to be adopted into their family? or adopted in general? I think, right now, I would apologize to them for giving them the idea that I wanted to be adopted and then I would respectfully decline. It’s not that I don’t want to be adopted; believe me, I do. I want a mom and a dad and siblings more than anything. But the truth is, adoption isn’t for me. It isn’t part of my plan.

After 4 failed adoptions I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t the only problem, but I was a problem. Because I grew up with my mom it is really hard for me to let her go. For 3/4 of my life, she was the one who I woke up to…despite the horrible abuse and environment. She is the one I called mom every single day. She is the one I took care of when she was sick or coming down. She was the one whose wounds I mended after her boyfriend beat her black and blue. For 8 years I have been so terrified to let go of my mom, to let go of my past and my hurt, that I failed to let anyone else in.

I felt like I was being brave by moving on from each loss so quickly. I felt like I was conquering the world with each step I took forward when I was thrown back. But what I didn’t realize was that for so many years the hoping and wishing and praying for a family where I belonged didn’t mean having  a mom, a dad, and siblings. It didn’t mean forgetting about my mom and shutting everyone else out. Instead, it meant going into a multitude of families and learning from each one something new. It meant putting myself through so much pain and turmoil that I could understand that there is more for me than belonging to someone legally. It meant learning that no matter what is thrown my way knowing my heart and mind and body could be strong enough to beat it.

I want a mom. I want a dad. I want a legal family. But a legal family is not my thing. A legal family, in my case because it is not an option to have my real mom a part of my life) gives the stipulation that there is one mom and one dad (after  adoption) and that you can mourn your first family but that you cannot have your first family. Legal family means being held to an expectation that you are like them somehow. Legal family means calling someone mom and dad and brother/sister. It means learning to conform to new rules and a whole new life style.  These are things I’ve done 3 too many times. These are things I cannot do without compromising the love I have for my mom, because in this moment, my heart doesn’t know how to love like that. I don’t quite understand how to love my mom and love another mom and dad too, yet.

I have a family where I am and even though it’s not perfect, I don’t fight so hard to keep them out. I’ve learned to slowly open my heart and to let them in to see the deep, deep hurt. This family believes in me like no other family has believed in me and each day, I’m learning to allow that. I’m learning to accept their help in whatever form they give it to me and it’s hard. Family is hard. Learning to communicate and react appropriately, to love and to love unconditionally is hard. Learning to respect each members physical, mental, and emotional needs is hard. I’m learning slowly to give my past to my family…to let them help me carry my baggage so that it’s not so heavy…and it’s hard.  We struggle. Sometimes I get so angry at them I wish them away forever–and then I fear they will leave. Sometimes they become so confused and frustrated with me that they yell at me or take a break from me. We fight, more than I’d like to admit, but most of the time we are okay…because I don’t have to call them mom or dad, brother or sister. I don’t have to like sports or go to church. I am free to be who I need to be with the only expectation being that I am: respectful of others, honest, and doing my best. They have taught me what unconditional love is and that love never fails.

In this moment, I would say no to an offer of adoption…even if it was from any of the people in my “family”…because I know that once the idea that I have a MOM hits, the trouble will hit. I would say no because I have a family. I have people around me who love me and who believe in me. I am adopted–both legally and undocumented…

 

Because We’re Human

Years ago, or so it seems, I remember being woken in a frenzy by my mom who was scared and unsure of what to do, as my dad lay unresponsive on the bathroom floor. Minutes later my brothers and I watched groggily as our dad was rushed out of the house on a stretcher, followed by our overwhelmed mom. Upon their return home, she and my dad sat my siblings and I down and let us know that he had cancer. Unsure of what that truly meant, we kids went unscathed–but curious. Not my mom, though. In the days to come, she became even more distant and unaware of her surroundings. Her eyes glazed over and she wore a constant face of fear. In the middle of my dads’ treatment, her face softened a little and she remembered we were still there but the fear never left…not until he died. I have only seen that look on my moms face one other time. It was a little over 9 years later, sitting in a courtroom first waiting for a juried trial to start and then 5 months later waiting for her husband to be sentenced to 50 years in prison for hurting her child. Shell shocked and terrified of losing another thing in her life, that was the last time I saw my mom. Neither time was she fighting for me, but the look is still engrained in my mind…reminding me that just like me she doesn’t process emotions very well. She doesn’t understand what it means to feel, safely. She doesn’t understand the meaning of true, unconditional love. That look that is so engrained in my brain has caused me much turmoil. I feel so indebted to her but at the same time feel she deserves nothing. I tend to do a dance around her…needing and wanting her close to needing and wanting her far-gone and dead. At some points I’ve argued that she doesn’t deserve any of this– that she deserves to have her family all together and happy. And so many other times I’m reminded of why her family, our family, is not all together and happy. Like my moms desolate look, I often wonder if the pain of being so different and the in debt feeling I have towards my mom will ever disappear or if that “look” will forever be engrained in my mind. I wonder if I will ever see her alive again. I struggle knowing that when she dies, I will likely not be able to attend her funeral. I get so very frustrated at the idea that I’ve achieved more than she and more than much of my family ever will. I often wonder what will come of my sisters and brothers who are still heavily exposed to the Crazytown stuff. Does our anger “run in the family” or do we just not process emotions and go straight to anger? What does she really think of my adoptive parents? Did she know it was a “better” life? I wonder if she just couldn’t do it any more and how Zheila, my adoptive mom, would approach her now, 5 years after adoption.  I have so many questions for my real family, questions I shouldn’t have as I lived with them until I was 14. Will they ever be answered? Probably not. But it’s in these times of many questions and deep struggles, I am reminded just how similar my mom and I are. I am reminded when I look in the mirror of that desolate, disconnected look from years ago and am reminded that she is still a part of me—we share the same beautiful face that we never can see. I walk down the street in the same manner and am remind that, whether by nature or nurture, we share the same mannerisms. As I sit in class and do my work with perfection, I’m reminded of the times she sat down by herself and colored for hours and never went a decimal over the line and had her colors perfectly matched. No matter how hard I try to not let there be a reminder, every day I’m reminded of my mom and the hurt and the good she brought to me. Every day I see that desolate, shell-shocked face inside my head and it reminds me that she’s still human and that so much of her still needs a little lovin’ too…that just like me, she is more than loveable…no matter her faults.

 

*Adoption day post coming….soonish

 

Broken Promise

To the woman who promised me a forever family:

It’s been nearly 5 years since we stood in a courtroom  and you promised not only myself but a judge that you would be there, as my mother, forever. That day, you took on the responsibility of a child as if she’d come from your womb. But this promise goes back to before then…it traces back to the day you asked me into your family; the day you promised me you and your husband could offer me more in this world than my heart could desire: a mom and a dad. Sitting behind your desk staring in confusion, wondering if it was true, I quickly agreed. In talking through options later on, we decided together that adoption was the way we wanted to go; that I wanted a mom and a dad, not guardians. I had my second thoughts, as did you, but in the end we stood in front of a judge and legally wiped away my history. We were each “sworn in” by the judge and asked if we were positive this is what we wanted..and I can’t help but remember the judge, the attorney, my therapist, my caseworker, and my ad-litem in earlier days turning to you and your husband asking for your reassurance and reassuring you that it wasn’t going to be easy. I remember the attorney adamantly trying to turn you the other way warning you that children with as much baggage as I have carried, at my age, are hard and rarely work out. In the end, in front of that judge, you gave an excitedly terrified yes.

Its been almost 5 years and I often find myself asking what happened to make the law invalid…to put you and I where we stand today. It also has me wondering how I will ever forgive you, or if you will ever forgive me, and if forgiveness comes, who it will come from first. I find the pain that you have caused in 4.5 years outweighs the 22 years of pain my mom has caused and I’m not sure I know what to do with it because I know that I too have caused a lot of pain. In that, my thoughts wander to my story..and your desire to keep it from me, even after asking me out of your family. It’s not yours and you are adamant that I don’t see it. I lived it and you refuse to accept that. I don’t know if I can be okay with that. And so I’ve taken my power back and refused to allow you to control me.

Each week that I pull away you try your best to pull me back in. You try to converse with me as if we are best friends and you are doing nothing wrong. When confronted with the issue you often change your story. You pretend that you know me when it’s been 4 years since I have even lived with you and 3 years since we’ve spent more than a few hours together. You don’t know me. You don’t understand me and yet because I’ve taken the control of communication out of your hands you are desperately on your knees trying to look like the good guy.

This last month has been the most freeing month I have had in…well since I can remember. I’ve torn myself away from my birth family and have slowly started pulling away from you. With every thing you tell me I’m doing wrong I add more and more distance. In every conversation you tell me how well your other kids are doing and how surprised you are that I am okay I add more distance. IN every text you contradict yourself I create more separation.

And then you apologize. You apologize for not understanding who I was when I lived with you and the struggles I bear every day. You talk about your epiphany in this struggle in a way that feels like begging for applause. I can’t give that to you because for 5 years I have tried to explain it to you and for 5 years, you’ve been convinced that it was all lies and manipulation. For 5 years you have told me to get over it, that it’s the past. So many times you guys asked why I couldn’t be like so-and-so who was kidnapped and who created a wonderful life despite their trauma..refusing to understand that it takes work and support. The apology was accepted and very appreciated..but apologies don’t change people. Change comes from hard, hard work. Something of mine that you’ve minimized for so long. But, yes, I’m glad you had your epiphany because it’s nice to know that you finally understand a smidgen of my battle.

From here, I’m not sure where to go. I have a close-knit support group here whom I’d consider my family. These people get me. They do not judge me and are patient with me (most of the time). They are willing to listen to my deepest secrets and help me through them without question. We fight and we cry but we laugh and we enjoy each other as well. And none of these people promised me a forever. None of them stood in front of a judge and said, “yes, she is mine just as my children from the womb”…no, instead, they said that they’d be there as long as I needed them and wanted them. They promised to never walk away but gave allowance for space. They promised me that no matter my ailment, they’d still love me. I never imagined that 5 very opposite people could make me feel so loved and so much supported in the process in which I’m working.

Because love is a strong word I will not say I love you, but I will promise you that I will forever care. I will always remember the silly times we had and the things you taught me. I will forever be grateful for the strength you showed me I had and the integrity, tenacity, and will power one person alone could hold. I promise that I will work on forgiving you taking the one thing I’ve always wanted and making it hurt worse than my insane mom ever did. I promise that one day I will re-asses our ability to be friends or family, but for now..I cannot. 2 years ago you asked me out of your family. It was something I never accepted and have fought against since…but I’m done fighting. I am ready to allow myself to walk away from all the hurt I keep subjecting myself to in hopes that one day, it will work out for real. I can’t say I’m not angry because I’m more than angry…but I promise you that one day, that anger will subside and I will be able to accept you for all that you are and have done. I promise that I will strive to return and restore the communication and relationship with you.

I am done for now. I am done with it all. I will continue my healing journey but as long as I can, you will not be a part of it. I have my support and you are not supporting me, so goodbye for now.

~Ruby

Processing Trauma

Before I start anything…I wanted to thank Nancy, over at Ordinary Miracles, for having me guest post. It was quite the experience!  I had planned to write about a dream I had but saved it for this blog…because it’s really more personal than what I did write.

Sometimes, I do wish that my brain worked in a different way…a more typical way. I am able to use so many of my past experiences as a driving force for my future, but there are times that those same past experiences get in the way of my daily life. Last week was one of those weeks. These next few months hold key to a lot of trauma and my body holds like a ticking time bomb. I never know when something is going to come up…but last Monday/Tuesday I struck gold. I had one of the most horrifying dreams I have ever had (and I have them almost nightly)… Here’s a short bit, just to give you an idea:

A few days prior, there had been a small bombing but the police had yet to catch the culprit. The town decided to carry on as usual and went about their daily doings. So, a few nights after the bombing, Bailey, Becca and I decided to go to a community event where there were candles and people and we were just going to meditate/talk. I was sitting on one side of the circle and Bailey and Becca on the other. We had both electrical and regular candles and all of a sudden all the electrical ones went out…I, out of fear, ran to Bailey and sat on her lap. Only a few seconds later the rest of the candles blew out and everyone started to get a little tense. I started panicking, clinging to Bailey and screaming out for her—as if she were my mom—and crying. A few seconds later and a bomb went off, completely exploding everyone including Becca and badly injuring Bailey.  I went to Bailey and clung to her when a second bomb went off and she exploded…with me holding her.

I woke up crying. I rarely wake up crying. I have come so accustomed to bad dreams that I still toss and turn and freak out in my sleep…but I don’t wake up doing it. I woke up and EVERYTHING around me was as it was in the dream. Exploded body parts everywhere. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I no longer sleep in Bailey’s room so I couldn’t just roll over and wake her. I wasn’t sure if either Bailey or Becca was okay. So, I did the logical thing and went and lay by Bailey’s door until she woke up and then curled into her arms, sobbing when she did..later crawling into her lap and crying again…and I texted Becca. They were both fine.

This is how my brain process things of today…current events. It takes the traumas of my past and combines them with whatever trauma the world is having.  It took my massive fear of both Becca and Bailey leaving and combined it with the Boston bombing; and for each traumatic event that has plastered the news, I have had a dream relevant including the people who are closest to me.

The hardest part about my brain processing this way is that it feels SO real, and when I wake up my world stays the same as in my dreams. Another hard part is that to those who don’t know me or understand me, they see me as a person with no feelings because I don’t process what has happened right then. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months.  And so when things like the Twin Towers, Virginia Tech, Aurora Shootings, or the Boston Bombing happened, I seemed so desensitized that those that can’t understand me I am made out to be an unemotional, manipulative, insensitive, uncaring person. These are people like my adoptive parents, my foster parents, and the therapists that have all dx’d me with alphabet soup–the people who are unwilling to recognize that it just takes time for my body and brain to process things. Sometimes it’s just taking that time to notice that when I’m not sleeping, I’m not sleeping because processing these things is just too scary and there was never anyone there to let me know things were still okay. But that it doesn’t make me an insensitive nor uncaring person. We are all on our own journey and we all process our journeys separately…and no ones journey should hold them liable of being insensitive because they don’t process in the present time.

Crack Head Hollowness

Tonight I was reflecting–if you can call it that–on my past and the people with whom I was raised. It’s hard sometimes to think back to the things that I’ve been through or dealt with because it feels like a story. When I have a flashback that throws me back to an unpleasant event, it feels real…but when I just think about it, it sometimes feels like I’m watching a movie of someone elses life. The little girl that I see seems like a stranger and the people inflicting the pain and dysfunction seem like actors. It’s not a good movie, but it feels so unreal that it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes this is good for me because it allows me to step back out of my own pain and hurt to see the emotions and the happenings from a “different” perspective. As I was reflecting tonight on some of the happenings, my brain raced back to a time when I was the only child living with my mom. It was a very scary time for me because it was one of my mom and Unakite’s heaviest using periods. There were many, many sleepless nights sat comforting my mom or hiding from her and Unakite’s massive outbursts. Some days on my way home from school my mom would meet me half way and tell me that we couldn’t go back home and that we needed to run away, others she was dragging me home because she and Unakite needed more than each other for “company”. One day in particular they were both *coming down so were both complete lunatics. I was on my way home from school and my mom met me and told me that she just wanted to spend some time with me. As soon as we walked into the door, Unakite attacked us. He was raging about my mom leaving their “supplies” in the bathroom where anyone could find them, especially the cops. We quickly hid behind the couch as Unakite walked outside and came back in with an ax. After swinging it at my mom and threatening to kill her, he slammed the ax into the tv and walked outside. After a short period my mom followed him, and I followed her. We lived near a railroad track and that is where Unakite chose his revenge. My mom started freaking out and kept telling me to do something, only I had no idea what to do. Because a train was coming I had to act quickly and started to beg Unakite, who at this point was sitting in the middle of the track, to come off the tracks, away from the train, and come home. As the train got closer I started screaming and crying for him to get off the tracks because I loved him and didn’t want to lose him, even though it wasn’t true, I just didn’t want to lose my mom and didn’t know what else to do. We all went home together that night. Looking back from an outsiders view I see a lot of hollowness, there is no life in the entire “scene”. The truth is, everything was empty. My whole life was empty. If you look into my mom’s eyes there is a stiffness that makes you shudder. There is a hollowness that allows you to reach into the depths of her soul, which lies empty. Her outer appearance, affected by the drugs, also appears to be lifeless. She is like a walking shell. Same with Unakite. That’s what drugs do to you. That’s what complete misery looks like. The truth is, crack-heads are just empty and their emptiness starts to seep into the ones they love and who are closest to them. They become so empty that they become incapable. The only people who matter to them is their self. Their life is no longer meant to be lived but meant to be shut out. They become angry and mean. They become an empty shell, searching for something they will never find. They hold an emptiness that is so deep it’s almost scary. Even though there was arguing, anger, crying, laughing, joking, smiling, ect., there was no true emotion behind it. The emotions were mimicked from others around, implemented in proper places and at the proper times. It wasn’t natural and it had no meaning. Life was empty, my mom and Unakite were empty–even hollow–and lifeless. Looking at myself, I too appeared empty, but it was a different kind of emptiness. The emptiness that I held was a lack of understanding and power. Because I saw their emptiness I allowed it to seep into me and cause me to be empty. The difference is, I didn’t do drugs and my emptiness wasn’t hollow. There was a seed in me that told me to keep going because somewhere out there, there was a world waiting for me. I am no longer filled with complete emptiness but there is still an emptiness that I hold, an emptiness that I am not quite sure how to fill. It’s something that I try to cover with material things or clingy attachment, but even that doesn’t satisfy it. It’s an emptiness that creeps its way into my achievements and goals in an attempt to make them lifeless and impossible. The emptiness creeps in like a drug and tries to engulf me into its hollow shell. That little seed speaks up, though, and reminds me that somewhere out there, there is a world waiting for me.

Stressin’ = Regressin’

I don’t know how to start this post other than to say that stressing = regressing and yucky on the inside = yucky on the outside. Starting with the latter, I have never heard someone visited by the flu proclaim beauty, or even livelihood. Many times when I do something I know I shouldn’t have, or do something I thought was okay but later figured out it wasn’t, my body goes into “flu” mode. I am told this is common but many times feel that I handle it much less gracefully than those around me. The past week and a half have been somewhat of a “flu”, almost “pneumonia”, week for me. I’ve done a few things against my better judgement and because of it I have been full of negativity, hate, anger, bitterness, and near deceit. Last week Zhanna and I drove to the next town and met my bio aunt (mom’s sister) for lunch. Though I knew it was not a good idea I felt that it needed to be done. I haven’t seen my bio family in years and felt that I owed her a few hours of my time. As soon as Zhanna and I walked into the restaurant my aunt started jumping up and down like a 12-year-old–mind you she is in her 40’s–and was being obnoxiously loud, this should have been my first sign to turn around and walk away, instead I rushed to the nearest bathroom, leaving Zhanna on her own with my aunt. As soon as we sat down for our meal my aunt delved into the happenings of all the members of my family, starting with Cooper and his status in Afghan. She then started talking about Declan and his recent visit, how Nana had purchased a ticket for him, and how much he spoils everyone with his charm, humor and money when he does visit. Lastly, she moved on to my mom and informed me of all the accomplishments she has mad, like holding a job at the local wal*mart, and how well she’s taking care of Skie and my sisters.  In an attempt to stop her I pretended that a co-worker  had texted me to let me know I left my Ip0d at work…and said something about hoping she didn’t update my f@ceb0ok status. (yes, that’s how my co-workers and I roll) She thought she’d check and blurted out, “nope I couldn’t find anything under Ruby Teivel. Trying to hold back my lividness, I responded, “yeah, because that’s not my last name. My last name is Mae. Again, at this moment, I should have stood up and walked out…but I didn’t. Instead, we went to the clothing store and I spent $40 on her grand baby, a baby I will never meet, because I didn’t have the capacity to tell her no, and I was so far into overwhelm I could barely remember the date. I knew going into this that it was a bad idea. I knew that I would be bombarded with the idea that my family is a functional, happy family and that my mom is on her feet and doing miraculously well. I didn’t, however, know that it would trigger me so badly. The biggest mistake and the biggest cause for my icky-yucky-big feelings this week though was talking to my mom. The night that Skie was in labor my mom commented on something to a friend of mine; because of my fear of abandoning and forgetting her, from weeks ago, I decided that I NEEDED to talk to her. I emailed her and said hi to her and to my surprise she said hi back. In that instant I was struck with an overwhelming amount of anger and frustration, but I continued to talk. I asked her how she is doing and what she has been up to. She asked how I was doing and if I am in school. She asked to see my art and I obliged…and that was it, that was the end of our conversation. I haven’t spoken to her since then, nor has she spoken to me. The truth is, I don’t want to. I didn’t leave that conversation light-heartedly, instead I walked away shaking my head at the corruption she is still trying to fill my head with, the lies she is telling herself to allow herself to be okay, and that I am still just an object in her game. I closed the lid of my computer hoping that maybe an ambulance would hit her on her way out of the hospital. I crawled into bed thinking how bad it would be if she found me. I closed my eyes hoping that it was all a dream. That one hour conversation was enough to make me feel anger deeper than I have ever felt before, fear stronger than I have felt in years, and overwhelm greater than any mountain I’ve ever faced. I woke up only hours later feeling ill and extremely tired, like I had been hit by a truck. I quickly emailed Becca and let her know, but she wasn’t available. She asked if I was okay, but that’s as deep as she could go. And as much as I wanted to tell Bailey, I didn’t and still haven’t. I want to because I need help understanding and straightening it all out in my head, but I can’t. I know that it was a mistake and I don’t want to be told by someone else it was a mistake. I don’t think Bailey will tell me that, but because of past happenings a greater fear inside of me tells me she will. So, instead, I’ve locked it all inside. I’ve become ill, making me unpleasant to be around because when I am ill my anger shows vividly, and have regressed drastically. The stress of needing to hold it all in and have the fallout bubble inside has made me do things I haven’t done in months, it’s made me regress back to near toddler/infancy-hood. Embarrassing. The night after talking to my mom I slept worse than usual, my dreams were 10 x’s  worse than they had been, and woke up to an accident. This to me becomes very upsetting because even though I understand the biology and psychology behind it, I can’t control it and I end up wetting the bed like a 2-year-old. It’s gross. It’s embarrassing. Because of the embarrassment and shame coming from these incidents I became more ill and less fun to be around. Thankfully, I have a best friend who understands and who doesn’t mind meeting me where I am, most of the time. Luckily, she too likes to play with Barbie’s and playdoh. I’m hoping by the end of this week to talk to Bailey about my mom because this morning I woke up ill and  madder than a lion with a thorn in his paw. I’m going to bed feeling about the same. So here’s to you…. Yucky innards = yucky outards = stress = regression.

 

Dreamland VS Reality

According to Yahoo news, because of the position I sleep in, I am a rigid worrier. ‘Tis true, I am. To be fair, I don’t sleep much anyways, but the rigid worrier is true.  Sleeping has never been my thing. I have gone days with no sleep and during my high stress periods over a week with less than 4-5 hours of sleep. In an average night, I usually get about 1-4 hours interrupted. When I do sleep, I dream…and often times it’s not a happy, merry dream. The majority of my dreams are repeats of things that have happened in the past, mostly sexual abuse, and at times have entered past abuse into the present. In addition to the already traumatic dreams, I dream vividly. It’s as if my dreams are my reality. So many times I have woken up and not been able to tell the difference between what I have dreamt and what is real. Sometimes I get dreams that don’t add up, dreams that don’t focus on the past but are still extremely real and extremely terrifying. Last night was one of those nights.

I dreamt that Unakite was no longer in prison and he and my mom were together again. I was still living with Basil and Zheaila but we lived in Utah. Becca, Bailey, and Zhanna came to visit and everyone except for Basil decided to go camping at my aunt and uncles cabin. Zheaila, in an attempt to connect with me and help me see that she cares, invited my mom and Unakite to come to the cabin. Once at the cabin, we decided to go to the lake. My cousins Fei and Livi, Jesliegh, Zhanna and I went on the boat and while tubing my mom and Zheaila started to argue. Because my Uncle Gavin was driving and there were no men, besides Unakite, on the shore to keep the argument under control, we were forced to go back. Once back on shore we decided it best to go home to the cabin and just chill. When we were getting ready to leave my mom told me that I needed to decide who I wanted to ride with–her or Zheaila–and I needed to decide at that very moment. I, out of fear, chose to ride with my mom. During the drive Unakite started to touch me. Soon the touching turned into groping, then kissing, and before I could get out he was on top of me, hurting me while my mom happily, without care, drove. When we got back to the cabin I got out of the car, opted to take a shower last, walked to the back porch and sat. Knowing this was an odd behavior for me, my Aunt Eliza came to talk to me but I couldn’t tell her. I shut myself down and everything in the world around me disappeared. I could hear her talking to me, the panic in her voice echoing with a quick rise, and then I could hear her calling Gavin, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila in fear that someone else was going to get hurt. I kept trying to make out what they were saying but it was coming in mumbled, and then I saw it… Gavin had sat down with Unakite and was calmly speaking with him, my mom sitting 4-or-so feet away, and everyone else scattering to entertain the children, in an attempt to distract them from the happening chaos. As soon as Unakite could see that the children were in a different room, he got up and started running. Gavin stood up and with one pull of the trigger, shot him. He laid there, face down, with blood gushing all around him. My brain started spinning even more and my mom started screaming. Gavin calmly picked Unakite up, put him in the back of the jeep, and drove him to the hospital. Within minutes, everyone went back to what they were doing before there was any question of me being abused. Eliza, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila sat chatting in the living room, Zheaila went back to playing with Livi and Fei, and I sat. Jesliegh was the only one who didn’t return to her prior activity, instead she sat still in another room. She, like I, sat wondering what happened and why everyone was acting as if all was right in the world. And then it hit me. I stood up, I stumbled into the room where all the adults and Jesliegh were and asked Jesliegh to drive me to the hospital. Knowing she couldn’t drive, as she is only 12, everyone just stared at me. In desperation, I asked again. Jesliegh walked up to me, grabbed my waste and started sobbing. I stood there, numb and emotionless, and asked one more time for her to drive me to the hospital. After the third time of asking, Bailey and Becca stood in unison and offered to take me. Zheaila and my mom started to get upset again, arguing that it is their job, as I am their daughter. My Aunt Eliza took Zheaila and my mom into the other room to calm them and ushered for Becca and Bailey to take Jesliegh and I to the hospital. Once at the hospital I found Gavin and anger took over me. I freaked out and started hitting him and screaming.  Then I turned to Becca and Bailey and started lashing at them. I lashed at the three of them for what seemed like forever because though my brain was telling me that FINALLY someone protected me, that these people helped me, I was furious that they had hurt Unakite. After I had settled, Jesliegh and I walked into Unakite’s room where he was finally stabilized and awake. Jesliegh standing beside me, her hand in mine, started sobbing again. I took the oxygen cord and started to kink it, in attempt to cut off his supply and kill him, when he muttered, “if I die, the ones you love die. If the secret spills, you will die. You are mine, tell anyone and you will die.” I panicked and in seconds was wrapped in the arms of Bailey and Becca, sobbing. Gavin picked up Jesliegh, closed the door to Unakites room, and we all went back to the jeep. When we got back to the cabin, everyone but my mom was dead. She had killed everyone. Gavin took his gun and shot my mom. Bailey, Becca, Gavin, Jesliegh and I stood looking around at a pool of bloody, dead bodies.

I woke up after that, panicked. Looking around my room, I could see the bodies of those I loved. My entire environment had shifted from what was reality, into what my dream had been.I shook the depth of it off…but the feeling stuck. My day was backwards. I was more shut down,  mean, clingy, demanding, and dysregulated than I have been in weeks. Days when I have dreams like this, or dreams that are repetitive of the past, I often have meltdowns and other behavioral issues. It’s hard for me to know that I’m having those issues though, because my body is still trapped in the vividness of dreamland.  I wish that I could capture the depth and vividness of my dreams and put them here, but I can’t…they are too real and too raw.

This is my process

Courage is doing something that scares the crap out of you, and doing it with conviction, determination, and will power.

I don’t know if I will ever fully understand the things that have happened in the last 24 hours. I understand Bailey’s side, but I struggle with it. Easter was a very difficult day for me, for multiple reasons. This holiday has always been my hardest and this year my past trauma really reared its ugly head. Saturday was a good day. I mean relatively, but it was. We had a great day. Bailey had a bout of irritation, but we both pulled out of it beautifully. Before bed we re-connected and had a very deep conversation. Instead of getting angry, I cried. I have had to learn to do this. I went to bed just fine, however, when I woke up I was completely off. I had a really bad night terror and woke up still in it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel so helpless and out of control. Flashbacks in the middle of the day–no problem. Waking up in a flashback–horrible. I was in a “sulky” mood all day. I didn’t ask for help and I couldn’t pull myself out of flashback mode. Bailey told Zhanna and I that she was going out with friends later that evening…the flashback got worse. It’s like the whole world changed. All of the sudden I was in my moms kitchen watching her leave. She was promising me that she would be back even though she wouldn’t be. It was like Bailey and Zhanna were invisible and my surroundings were that of my childhood. I was little and powerless in my mind’s eye. Later, we started coloring Easter eggs and a lot of old Easter memories drowned me and then Zhanna and Bailey were leaving for a while. Once again I was watching my mom leave. When Bailey said goodbye and went to give me a hug I just stared into space, blankly. I didn’t want to see my mom leave again and not come back for days. When Bailey came home things spiraled. Not because of her, because of me allowing my past to control me and refusing to ask for help. She tried being loving, but I couldn’t allow it into my heart. I got upset and repeatedly slammed the door. Again, I’d turned into a much younger Ruby and Bailey turned into my mom, literally. I didn’t see Bailey, I saw my mom. I was terrified. All of the bad people surrounded me and just kept multiplying. I wanted them to go away. The last time I slammed the door Bailey insisted I go to the punching bag to let go off my anger; I refused. Little to her acknowledgment I didn’t know where I was and who she was in reality, all I could see was my mom yelling at me. I don’t remember much of what Bailey said but I know that she tried multiple times to redirect me. I got so mad, so scared, that I kicked a hole in the wall. Mind you this was after throwing my phone, laundry soap, slamming doors, and screaming at the top of my lungs that I hated the women I was staring at. Bailey, but in my minds eye, my mom. Because of my violence Bailey kicked me out. I collapsed. My whole world shattered. I felt like I was losing everything, again. I don’t know the feelings I was feeling but I hated it and still, feeling it now, am not a fan. I can’t explain it because the only emotion I have successfully been able to pin point are anger, sad, scared, and occasionally joy. But this feeling is not like any of those that I’ve been able to identify. I do know that I am sad and I am scared. I also know that this is the way my process is supposed to be. This is just the universes way of letting a stubborn girl know that it’s time to get her butt in gear and heal herself. As hard as this is, I know it’s true. I wasn’t allowing myself to heal very quickly. I was taking it slowly for sanity sake. I know focusing solely on healing cannot happen because I am an adult and I do have to support and take care of myself. So, instead I was giving each task only a certain amount of energy. I know focusing solely on healing takes more energy than I have as long as I have multiple other things to do as well. I was keeping my process at a pace that I knew that I could handle mostly on my own. I wanted the minimum amount of help. I still allowed, and most of the time desired, Bailey’s help in regulating myself. {IE: rocking, hugs, talking to the youngest me, and supporting all the other little girlies} I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, but I also didn’t want to ask for help. That wasn’t my life plan. I came into this world knowing that eventually this is the push that I would need. But, it’s hard. This kick out has been one of the hardest kick out’s I’ve ever experienced. Why? Because I know that it’s not forever. Bailey is not ditching me, she’s not leaving me, and she’s not giving up on me. She is simply creating a small space to allow safety. She is teaching me that I can be safe no matter where I am. it’s hard because I have the most amazing best friend who is not giving up either. I don’t have the excuse to not get better. Before, I did. Every other family led me to where I am, allowing me to have this excuse. None of them loved me unconditionally. None of them were willing to stick through the muck. None of them have faith that I can, and will, get better. I didn’t feel near as good with them as I do when I’m with Zhanna and Bailey. I have so much to live for, so much going for me. I have so many people supporting and cheering me on. I have a job. I have a house. But most of all, I have a “family” who loves me and wants me to get better for me, not them. I have healed so much in the last eight months. I know what being happy feels like and that is what I am striving for. This separation isn’t forever. Bailey and Zhanna still visit and we talk and text. We both know that safety is important and that is why this must happen. It wont last forever because neither of us want that. We want things to be our “normal” again. What I will gain from this separation: 2 homes, safety for myself and others, more love than my little heart will know what to do with, and a whole lot less anger. Now, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of this two hours ago. For the past 24 hours I have been in a place darker than any I have been in for a very long time. I was ready to give up on life. I didn’t want to be alive. Honestly, this healing business is hard and I couldn’t see any light in the darkness. I couldn’t see anything good in what had happened. I’ve had to sit in an unknown feeling and let my heart talk to me, something I literally never allow to happen. I had to reach out to multiple people for help when normally I’d just deal with it on my own. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. But above all, it’s satisfying to be able to see a light in something so hard. I also know that I won’t always be able to see what my heart see’s. I know there will be moments when my courage is hiding under a rock and my illogical brain will be the one antagonizing and beating on it, ensuring it doesn’t peek out. But, I won’t stay there because there is hope. I have hope that I will make it. I know that I will make it. I have hope that my future will be brilliant and wonderful and I won’t be trapped in anger and bitterness forever. I have come this far on hope…There’s no reason to stop now.

I miss my mommy

Something about my mom’s voice is so soothing. I miss it so much. I know that she has done so many things wrong, so many things to hurt me, but there is a piece of me that longs for her in times like this. It’s a longing so deep no one can fill it, not even Bailey. I have a few clips from my childhood and tonight I couldn’t watch it enough. I haven’t watched it in a really long time but it was like I never quite watching it to begin with. The goofy voices of my family, the dysfunction of the togetherness, the monotony of the tones all seemed so soothing. The lure to engage but lack of ability, the chaos, the distance of connection all seemed so familiar and in an instant it all seemed so real, like it was happening right here. And for a moment, I felt a piece of complex simplicity run back into my life. My whole reality diminished and once again I was in my Nana’s kitchen singing her a song. I was standing in the corner for something I didn’t do, my mom and dad were fighting and then asking who we’d rather live with, my mom was screaming at me and then pushing me into the wall, splitting my lip.  I wasn’t 21 anymore. I was in the midst of chaos and it felt good. It was so real. Then reality kicked in; that’s not my life anymore. My comfort should not depend on the anger in my mom’s voice or the goofiness of her high. It should come from the love and support that is surrounding me where I am, but sometimes it’s not enough. It is appreciated, and most of the time welcomed, but there are times when there is a void so deep that the love that surrounds me can’t reach. When that happens, I don’t know what to do! I fight. I refuse the love I do get from Bailey and Zhanna and sulk in my misery wishing my own mom was here to love me. I deny the affection of all who offer because I don’t like the way it feels. A part of me needs to be in the chaos of the past. A part of me strives for normalcy and healthiness but the other part refuses to allow the links of my past to diminish.

What is love anyway? So many times I have asked not only myself, but a multitude of people, this question. What is it? What does it look like? How do you know when someone truly loves you? The idea of love alone nauseate’s me. It sends my head into a tornado of old memories, but to actually feel it and talk about it brings about a whole new sensation. A sensation that I don’t know how to explain. It’s one of confusion, doubt, comfort, anxiety, jitteryness, and so much more. Something so inexplicable its frustrating. On my birthday I was struggling with the idea of love. I wasn’t really sure that the people surrounding me were doing the things they were unconditionally or with underlying reward/punishment. I wasn’t really sure if the love that was being poured on to me was sincere or forced. I was struggling with the fact that my mom was nowhere to be found; that on MY special day she still refused to acknowledge me. During Bailey and my nightly routine, I casually asked her if she believes my mom loves me. Her answer was both intriguing and very thought-provoking. She turned the question back and asked what my mom viewed love as; how she perceived it. My mom was born to an early teen mom and her dad ran off before she was born. My Nana {grandma} remarried to my Papa. According to my mom, she and Papa had a great relationship, but from stories I’ve heard, I doubt it. When my mom was a young teenager she spun out of control and started doing drugs, her life was based around her boyfriends. She sought love through men, and still does. If you look at love from that standpoint, my mom loved me more than words could describe. God forbid it all be sane; it makes sense. If I stick myself in my mom’s shoes and look at love the way she does, for even a sliver of a second, I can see the love and pride she has towards me. I can feel the intensity of hope and desire that is so deeply rooted in her. And though I know that this type of love is so wrong, it all makes perfect sense. My mom sought love through men, she turned to them to make her feel better, therefore she showed me love through men. She let those men do the things they did to me not because she despised me and hated me, but because she wanted me to know that she loved me. Twisted, I know. But it all makes perfect sense to me. So, what is love? Does it have a set definition? Does one person love more than the other just because they love differently? Does my mom love me any less than my adoptive mom or Bailey? I believe love is an interpretation of met needs. A child who is raised in a family where his or her needs are met, and met unconditionally, is more likely to show the type of love that is portrayed in society as acceptable. However, a child who is raised in a family where needs are neglected and abuse ensues is more likely to show the type of love that my mom did–just not necessarily to the same extreme. Love to me, growing up,was shown through abuse. Though I had a rough childhood I never once doubted, like I do now, if my parents loved me. The attention they showed me through sex and violence equalled love. When there was abandonment and neglect, I craved the attention more than any drug imaginable. The attention I was getting, when my mom and dad were hurting me, was like a druggy’s cocaine. I wanted to know I was loved. Let me clarify, I did not like the sex. I didn’t like the beating. I didn’t like the ugly name calling. I liked the idea that finally I was being paid attention to; finally someone loved me. I went through withdrawals when I was removed from my moms care. Still to this day, I sometimes crave the feeling of a hand balled, hammering my side. Yes, even with the natural love I am given by Bailey, Zhanna, and all the other amazing people in my life. Sometimes the love they show me doesn’t meet the intensity of the love my mom once showed me and I start to question if it’s really love. It is. It’s just a different kind. It’s unconditional and free. It’s kind and gentle. It doesn’t allow violence or disrespect. It offers hope and enlightenment that I once didn’t know. It’s just as strong as the love my mom holds for me. It’s just as sincere as my mom’s love. But its a different love. So, again I ask, what is love? Was my mom wrong for loving me through men? Was she wrong for not knowing what soft love, unconditional, tender love is? Is Bailey wrong for loving me like family? What about Zhanna? Just because they love tenderly, does that make them better than my mom? Love is love…no matter how it’s portrayed, but Love is not always equal. Some love is damaging and some love is rewarding. The love that is damaging is something different, something much more complex. It is something that I have no name for, so I settle for the simplicity of rigidity, fear, condition and complexity–and regress to call it love anyway, for the lack of better wording. Love is love no matter what. Love is LOVE.