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Sunday, January 19, 2014

witness

.....and back comes my breath, my stillness. my calm. the current is fast and i've learnt not to fight it. i cant breathe under water. if i listen carefully i can always hear why. the new rain falls and washes everything away eventually. even the dirtiest coldest stone. i don't have to stay here. 

it's been well over a year now since i wrote. enough time to create a new life, to move into a home, to allow feelings to emerge and resurface, to finalize in gut what has come out in text. certain sordid details have come to mind that have been left out intentionally, discarded, buried, or my own personal favourite...warped through the most magnificent forms of self denial. some things belong only to me. all these events and the feelings and lessons that have followed, have made me who i am right this very moment. the things i thought had destroyed me actually created me. the dark held me right up until i was ready to step into the light. i will forever be grateful for darkness. writing this has brought me in, through and back again to myself. i am proud of this blog so far and i wont let it become something it isn't. i wont try too hard. like that part of the meal where you take a big breathe and you know your done. and maybe your disappointed...but i didn't write it for you anyway. i'm not sorry. 

i began writing to stabilize the floating pieces and to nail down my own truths. but what a wicked thing a few word can be. writing my story reminded others how angry they still were at their own untruths. at themselves. today i respect anger and where it comes from, the difference now is that i know what is mine and what is yours. so maybe L will be able to heal herself somehow, in someway. my truth sparked her fuel. a lot burnt. but really, ashes of someone else's bullshit...whats more irrelevant than that? imagine all your thoughts filtering out and the one that remains being a lie. a lie is is a hard place to begin anything. 

in parting, i will pick up briefly where i left off, the acceptance of ricky's outer line. the one i thought enclosed him. the one i finally realized didn't define him or limit him unless i let it. the one that held the most beautiful boy safely within it. when i accepted that boundary, the world suddenly had colour again. we walked back and forth on grey winter sidewalk lines, turned warm lights on and then softly off again, creaked our bare feet back and forth on scuffed wooden floors, listened for deep cold echo's, counted and touched patterns, focussed intently on dust particles riding late afternoon sun beams. we rode escalators, spinning at the bottom and starting again. we opened and closed things...many things...many times. we waited for people to come who never did. people who didn't know how to help. people who still don't know how to help. we counted what was important and rocked when life hurt. we held hands but not gazes. we watched each other. witnessed each other. we existed as mother and child. we waited for breakthroughs and were held hostage by silences. we never gave up. we never ever gave up. i will search my whole lifetime for glimpses of him. 

truthfully i don't want to write about each detail of the countless hours and years and dollars spent on every autism therapy known to mankind. i don't want to drag you through the dank stark realization and monumental shame that is early sobriety either. yes i've read that book. i saw that show. mhmm i've tried that diet. yup we've done that test, taken that pill...that one too. we've been to that conference.  apart from walking the moons surface...i've done it. maybe like the healing process of alcoholism it's the action of just doing the next best thing that saves you. the thing that saved me was the spiritual shift i acquired by taking twelve simple steps. s shift that brought me to the brutal and beautiful realization that i was in control of NONE of it. that i had to first discover and then rely on a energy that was larger and more powerful than myself. i had to connect to something greater. and hardest of all, and still an ongoing struggle...having to trust this 'something' to care for the things i love more than anything else in the world. my children. whoever said 'we will not regret the past' did not have the heart of a mother.

my son still has autism. i still have alcoholism, contingent daily upon my spiritual condition. and the
most beautiful thing in all of this is that i know these perspectives on life he and i were given are incredible gifts. my son is not autism, my son is Ricky. and i am not alcoholism, i am Heather. all the love in the world can be ours my friend, but only when we're willing to surrender do we stay above water. 



Sunday, March 4, 2012

moon

the first line shaping his form was drawn on the empty page inside of me. i would be his mother. the hazy beautiful excitement surrounded me. the heaviness and anticipation of a new life. all those hours settling into the mystery of who exactly was in there. who would it be that would change my life forever? i let myself see his blue eyes looking up at mine. i let myself feel his weight and softness sleeping soundly in my arms. i thought of him so often while i was pregnant, that he became real to me. i could almost smell his sweet baby dampness in the room around me. i wanted him so badly. i've come to know that the things we want this badly are often the very things we have to let go of. i had never let go of anything before i met ricky. 

i'm not sure why my heart lied. my imagined baby would never be real. he would be autistic. he would break my heart and heal it again a thousand times stronger. my dreams were replaced by what i had always imagined to be someone else's fears. that awful thing you only hear about, the thing that happens to someone else's child. it wasn't fair. i had stopped drinking. i was getting better. i didn't want to hurt anymore. ricky's diagnosis shook me so hard that i didn't even feel it. i had thick skin covered in scars. when they told me my child was broken it must have just absorbed into me like everything else. one more thing i didn't deserve to have turn out right. denial. anger. bargaining. depression...and finally acceptance. nobody knows the cause. nobody knows the cure. it's irreversible. there are no answers, only questions. somebody comes into your home, they take the mechanism that keeps your heart beating. they dont say who they are, or if they're coming back. they offer no explanation. they dont look at you. they dont tell you their name. they leave with your kicking and screaming child, they leave with what you wanted to be your life. not only do you have to survive the hollowness that somehow replaces the child that once sat before you, you also have to accept not ever knowing where that child actually went and why. the physical child remains but their spirit dissolves. there is loneliness and anger. your left with the outline, the shell. i didn't protect him. i couldn't. i failed... and i was being punished for it. i was once again standing in pieces of a beautiful image that would never come true for me, a puzzle that no matter which way i turned it, could not manage to fit the pieces together. 

the screaming, the head banging, the refusal to wear clothing, the flapping, the hair pulling, the tantrums, the insomnia, the rocking, the biting, the hitting, the running away, the repetitive behaviours. ricky would wake up in the middle of the night crying, he would look down at his hands and squeeze them together. scream and squeeze his fists so tight. he wanted out. this was our life for the next 3 years. the absolute living hell of autism. people dont know what to say to you. and you dont know what to say to them. you end up alone. alone in the crowd where people stare. alone in the park where other moms and their kids walk away. alone in the school system where nobody knows what to do. alone in your family because nobody knows how to help. because of the distance my addictions and behaviours isolated me in not many people showed up. it was just us. 

i fought for legal aid to revisit my custody agreement, to petition his father for additional financial aid for special schooling. i fought for more appropriate visitation rights considering he didn't do well with change of routine. in my ex's exact words i was the vicious bitch that had made ricky autistic. it was my fault. i hadn't done enough. but ricky's dad was too far enough away to hold my head under water for long anymore. i had swan against strong currents before. i researched and read and wrote and asked and took in every single bit of information i could find about autism and how i could best meet his needs. i tried special diets. i tried organic clay baths and cellular zeolite which cleanses the system. i did foot pad detox's. i made him drink detoxing tea. i limited preservative's, additives and anything i couldn't pronounce from his diet. i gave him dozens of vitamins and minerals. i crushed tablets and mixed with yogurt 3 times a day. i went into debt. i took him to in-fared sauna's. i read him books he didn't look at and words he didn't listen to. i read them again. i pointed to every picture a million times. i lost my voice from verbally redirecting him. i fought because i was mad. i fought because i loved him. i fought for his schooling. i fought for information. the area representative's, the multiple ever changing case worker's, the speech and language pathologists, the occupational therapists, the psychiatrist, the applied behaviour analysis's, the nutritionists, the defeat autism now doctor's, the special needs organizations, the education system. they knew fuck all about autism. everyone had good intentions, but all told me something different. the grey area starts to eat you alive and you start to realize this is your life now. i forced him to interact with other kids. i suffered the tantrums and meltdowns and fits in public. i explained to paramedics and police who were breathalizing me because i was hysterical that no i was not drunk or high...that my son was autistic and had escaped a locked car and 5 point buckle, running away onto the trans canada highway. do i know why? no officer, i do not know why. i do not know why this was my life. i do not know why i was chosen for this. i do not know if i'm strong enough to survive autism. the line that had shaped ricky when he was first born...was now blurry and erased in certain places. the edges weren't all there...his colours were leaking out. he wasn't contained by his form. he wasn't whole. 

i put one foot in front of the other for almost a year. i barely made it 48hrs without crying until one night when ricky was 3. we were in the park at 1am (because he didn't sleep more than 3 hrs straight until he was 6) ricky was in his pjamma's on the swing, pushing his foot into the red rock, creating the momentum....the lull of motion. up and down...his body weightless and free. i watched my son's silhouette in the shadows of the moon. i saw his real outline and it was complete. it held him safely inside himself... and somehow while i was looking i also saw him. hopping off the swing he ran out into the soccer field, tilted his head to the side for a different perspective. i saw ricky and i knew that even though he had autism. he wasn't autism. he was ricky. it's hard to explain how the acceptance started to grow. i knew right then that i either had to stop fighting and love my son for exactly who he was, or i would never make it. he would never make it. and so it was under the beautiful white glow of the moon that night that i gave up. i gave in. i chose reality. life on life's terms. i chose ricky. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

diagnose me

i didn't know it would be the 'last' time. it was a night filled with wine, shots and eventually cocaine. people say you can't smell cocaine. i can. he reached over my body across my face and i grabbed his hand and breathed it in deeply. i know this. i know this. i know this death. although i had drank heavily the 1st year i returned to calgary with ricky i hadn't used. i was laying on a bed trying to get ricky to sleep and he must have sensed the danger and shame around him because he kept crying for me and fighting sleep. i wanted away from him. he was something coming between me and my addiction. i hated him in that moment. i wanted to be free. i wanted only darkness. i took him back to our house and left him, turning on a baby monitor at 3am with him finally asleep after me laying beside him sipping red wine over his head for an hour till he nodded off. heading back next door i drank what was left in the knocked over bottles, the warm half dranken bottles left on counter's, the half smoked butts crumpled alone into ashtrays, the last of the hard liquor tipped over on the table. everyone else passed out on floors and couches. the guy with the coke half out on the couch i tried to wake him and whispered into his ear that i wanted more...he pulled me into his face and kissed me. reeking of booze and sweat and loneliness. he said he felt sick. i said just give me your flap, i'll do a line and come back to you ok. he slurred ok and handed it over to me. the bathroom lights blinding bright. my hand shaking because i had already snorted so much. the shame in knowing i was the last one and not done. why was it so hard for me to die. why couldn't i do it as quick as they could. i turned off the bathroom lights once my line was down and with the moonlight my only witness hung my tired head over the back of the toilet and inhaled the bitter powder off the cold porcelain tank. the glamor is a lie. the rush of a steady full line of cocaine hitting the back of my nose and dripping down my throat was like pulling a trigger. like firing a gun. except the gun is pointed at me. then floating and fighting and high and unstoppable the blood surges and i am alive again. sniffing and twitching and full of fear and self hate. he is passed out and i keep his drugs. i went home but stayed up doing more lines off my kitchen counter until the absolute shame of morning finally came. paranoia completely surrounded me. i stopped snorting at 5am and by 7am i was finally coming down. hard. i chain smoked inside out my bathroom window because i didn't want my neighbours next door to see i was still up.

at 830am Ricky woke up and sleepily stumbled out of the bedroom doorway into the living room where i sat panicked and shaking on the couch. curtains pulled. doors bolted. my head buried into the cushion. he came towards me and tried to crawl up but i shoved him off. he fussed and came at me again wanting to crawl up and nurse. i didn't want to breast-feed him with so much coke in my system so again i shoved him down and yelled for him to leave me alone. i turned on the cartoons. he insistently tried again and this time i shoved him hard knocking him onto the hardwood floor where he fell backwards and cried. i screamed at him to go away. i buried my face and screamed into the pillow that i wanted to die and i wanted god to take him and me and stop all of this pain. i bawled and violently hit the pillows. Ricky rarely looked directly into my eyes and i although many times i had turned his head towards me trying to force him to see me, he would always shift his eyes away. but now not only had he stopped crying, he also sat there looking right at me. right into my eyes. into me. he looked right through me. i looked away not able to face him. i dont know what he saw but it wasn't a mother. it was in this very moment that i experienced what addicts/alcoholics call their 'bottom'. what hurts enough to stop. mine was not being able to be his mother. not being able to look into my own child's eyes.

it separates my heart from my body to remember that morning almost 6 years ago. i have been sober each day since. i found the room's of alcoholics anonymous. i can't express in words the relief i found in knowing there were other people like me and that they had a solution. i had a different reaction to alcohol than normal drinker's. i learned that my body after ingesting the first drink reacts different chemically and produces a craving which makes me physically incapable of stopping. one drink had been too many and hundreds not ever enough. a obsession of my mind and an allergy of my body. the only disease that denies it's own existence must be self diagnosed. horrifying.

one really long, lonely, shaky sober year passes in which i take ricky to meetings with me. he is quiet and plays on the dirty carpets and people give him old candies out of their pockets and tell me it's good i am there. i don't look up for months, i am tired and angry and scared. having to face life sober once you've hidden in shadows so long you've become one yourself feels similar to what i imagine it would feel like having the skin ripped off of my face. but i dont know what else to do. so i keep crying and listening. i keep coming back. my fog lifts somewhat and i finally start to see dim light filter in windows i'd forgotten i'd left open. hope is still out of reach but i dont turn from it anymore. i long for it.

Ricky. maybe i just didn't see it. maybe i just didn't want too. maybe he was my first child and i didn't know any better. maybe i thought it would work itself out. he'd grow out of it. so what if he liked to line things up in rows, stack cans, play for hours with fans watching them spin. didn't boys do strange things. i was so isolated with no help or contact with friends family. how did i know. he didn't want to play with the other kids because they were boring. he was independent. he wasn't talking at 2 because he was a late bloomer. he was deep. maybe i had silenced him by not being available. maybe he would bloom now....maybe he would come back to me. i was too busy trying to stay sober i wasn't able to predict and duck when the world shifted and came barrelling straight at me...what changed us both forever and could not be fixed or taken back. 11 days before i celebrated my 1st year in sobriety my beautiful son Ricky is officially diagnosed with Autism.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

paradise lost

my son was born but it was my eyes that opened, my heart that started to beat again. he pulled fresh air into his little empty lungs and suddenly i could breathe. from the minute i heard his beautiful first soft cry i could hear everything else clearly.  i felt his unbearably soft skin with my finger's and rubbed my cheek over the top of his velvet head. his breathe smelled like faint brie cheese and the sweetest strawberries. the world faded away, all i could see and feel was this child. my world renewed. i was reborn alongside him. i had created a life, but it was Ricky who gave me back my own. he had given me the most precious and coveted gift imaginable, he had made me a mother. 

the jagged edges of the concrete sidewalks looked cold, hard, unforgiving. the world was suddenly too big, too fast. people touched his hands, his feet, his head, made comments. only days before he had been inside my body and now he seemed so exposed. people were trying to hold him, make him look at them, calling his name... he was on display. he was everybody's now, not just mine. i wanted to protect him, i wanted to put him back inside of me so that he would stay safe. the house, the room, the walls, the bed, my baby laying beside me. sleeping and nursing. watching him. minutes after leaving the room i'd be checking to see if he was still there, and not some fabricated thing of my wildest imaginings. nothing i have ever experienced felt as good as loving Ricky. holding him healed me. sleeping nose to nose i inhaled him. i even licked him once on his head to see what it felt like. when the sunlight from the window hit his skin it revealed a map of tiny intricate veins running just below, luminated and transparent. he is whole. he is perfect. how did i do that? i rocked and swung and sang and snuggled. i indulged in the bliss of new motherhood. he became all of my reasons. 

about 6 months later when the baby buzz settled and the fatigue lifted i realized that i was alone again. long days in the house with a new baby. no friends. another country. i visited R at his office but never had anything to actually talk to him about. the phone would ring and i'd be put on hold, one second, just a minute, this is an important call. it was money on the other line. R was a criminal defence attorney. the client loitering around school yards after prior convictions of molestation deserved a fair defence didn't he? the money paid in his defence were the clothes on my back, the food on my plate, the house over my head. my son's education. i had no right to complain about. its hard to swallow so you lie to yourself about where it comes from and what it is. everyone earns a living. everyone deserves a fair trial. waiting, forever waiting to be judged. 

i had to fly home every 3 mos as not to overstay my continual back to back visitor visa's and it wasn't long until i got detained with the baby in US customs because they suspected i was running drugs. US customs have no sense of humour. of course i had to mouth off which resulted in a search. they even took off Ricky's diaper and searched him. i bawled. it wasn't an internal search but still i was suspected of hiding drugs in my child's diaper. i had to fly back and forth because i had no status in the US. i was unmarried. it was R's fault i was in fucking limbo. i put the heat on him and after months and months of avoiding, fighting and me pushing him so hard about what we were doing he finally asked me to marry him because he was between a rock and a hard place. me being the hard place.  a plane flew overhead with a long banner that ead 'heather-will you marry me' i felt sick with anxiety. my stomach dropped and heaved. my vision blurred and everything got quiet, like when you have a car accident. things move in slow motion. have you ever said yes but meant no? the biggest baddest diamond yet. the one that would ruin everything.

well now that i had made him do that, i was filled with remorse and resentment over him not wanting too initially. over it being me who had insisted. i mindlessly sorted through paint samples because it must be the walls, not me. i waited for his call to ask about my day and confirm my existence. i became extremely restless. i paced. i cleaned the house manically and frantically. i ate once a day. at 5'9 with a normal weight of 145 lbs i had gone down to 129lbs. Ricky weighed something like 40 lbs at 10 mos. 1/3 the size of me. in the late afternoons i drank a few glasses of wine knowing i wouldn't have to drive anywhere. i'd be all dolled up and ready to be taken out for dinner somewhere fancy... just enough of a buzz to go undetected if i brushed my teeth and enough to carry on into the 'controlled' 2 glasses with dinner. sometimes Ricky would have loose diarrhea's from the red wine i drank because i was nursing. i started chain smoking again. the only places i ever went were the beach and the library. i wandered without meaning or purpose. i was connected to nothing. Sally, the lady at the thrift shop was my closest friend. i liked that she believed i was happy. ooohing and aaahing at the baby, the ring and my stories. telling me how she wished she could find a good man.

i couldn't contain my angst, my need to escape. R was never home and worked later and later. i met a girl down the street who was also stuck at home with a baby, she lived in the back suite of her inlaw's house. her boyfriend had gone'away'. caught, wouldn't rat out the guys who had gotten away so he went in for 2 years.  their son a little boy with gold cuban chains and curly brown hair. he played with Ricky while her and i drank, smoked and occasionally snorted a few lines. we'd drive over to the trailer court where R's secretary lived and buy coke. babies crying in car seats, being held in laps. shame always close to the surface. why when i had it so good. when my heart had finally been lifted up and filled with love from my child did i seek out the hurt, still. why was it always only a few breathes below my consciousness? what was wrong with me?

R and i fought constantly. one night a huge argument at the front door of his house. it wasn't good enough. i was lonely and angry and emptier than ever. in his face saying money wasn't love. but you sure can spend the money! he shoved me, i slapped back at him. he pushed me into the wall my face against the door. struggling. screaming. hitting, he back handed me hard across my face. Ricky had fallen off the bed in the back room onto the tile floor and was crying. i was wearing white shorts and a white tank top, looking into the hallway mirror at my reflection i saw my nose and lip bleeding. my baby wearing a white diaper and a white tank top came walking down the hallway towards me having hit his face on the floor, his nose and lip bleeding....and in that moment i saw it. my son...my mirror image...what i let happen to me i inadvertently allowed to happen identically to him. the visual was life changing. i was done. we had paper's drawn up by a lawyer friend of R's. custody arrangements for the next 18 years of my child's life on paper. who pays what, who see's him when. sharing holidays and birthday's. 2 weeks later i was gone. looking down over the florida key's glistening in their infamous sunset. paradise lost.

calgary. sort of close to home and sort of not. the world had a faulty seam and i had maliciously torn it right apart. names called, screaming matches on the phone. we dont have enough, we can't afford rent/to eat/live. you dont deserve my money, it was your choice to leave me. slamming the phone down and dialling again back and forth verbal bashing for hours. tears. punched walls. harsh words. very very harsh words. you stole my son. you worthless cunt. dirty stupid whore. worst mother in the world. your going to fuck him up. i hope you rot in hell. i drank and drank and drank. i drank for an entire year. Ricky wasn't talking like normal kids at his age. he didn't respond when i asked him things. he lined things up across the floor. he watched fans for hours laying on his back looking up totally engrossed in the constant movement. he spun cars wheels repeatedly and wouldn't make eye contact. he stacked cans of soup on my kitchen floor. he opened and closed doors without entering the room, pushed the same button a million times on his computer just to hear the same noise again and again. even though he was away somewhere in his own little world, he must have seen that alcohol, that opening a bottle is what i did to feel better in mine. the memory of my 2 year old son bringing me the bottle opener still brings tears to my eyes. i didn't see him.... but he saw me. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

can't see the forrest for the tree's.

i worked. i drank. i smoked. i found small routine and peace in monitoring people's habits. that lady always wears turtlenecks. he always grins and has red cheeks. she feels nervous but acts angry instead. funny mannerism's that must bring routine to people, their consistency comforting me. do people stay the same? what does it take to change? although the same guy riding his bike past my house at 8am everyday makes me feel like the world is on schedule he also makes me wonder what if it weren't? being there makes me imagine what his not being there would potentially signify. what if he gets a flat tire? breaks his leg? what if someone in his life that he loves dearly dies and he is too sad to ever ride his stupid bike again? what would it take to change his routine? to change a habit, or even a lifestyle? i have always been able to identify myself in strangers, and although i was keeping an extremely isolated profile, in their humanness i remained by a thread connected to their world. to my world. through people living i stayed alive. i watched them and eventually they allowed me the courage to ask myself. what would happen if i changed? i drifted like this because my spirit was shut down after my last binge and the damage i had done during it. i restrained from consuming cocaine because i was terrified of where my addiction had already taken me. or where me and it had gone willingly together rather. often at the end the result isn't what you were willing to have become your life. my lungs let air out without me asking them to breathe, my body moved forward without me wanting it to walk, i spoke without really meaning to say anything.  i existed within the motions, all the while not wanting too.

i limited my energy. it is so much work being an alcoholic. it's an uphill battle daily and it enters every part of your mind. when does my shift end. how much in in my bank account. minus the essentials. what a waste of money paying rent is. food. i guess i have to spend a bit on what i can't find/steal/get elsewhere. edible things from dinner's and parties taken home for later. don't spend money on food if you don't absolutely have to. always have enough smokes. bum as many as you can so your own stash stays full. what time does the liquor store open. how bad will the hangover be. who do i have to avoid. what time is the next shift. repeat. this cycle if your lucky ends in one startling event that makes you stop. liver disease. jail time. car accident. an event that allows you to see the the progression of disease. the danger coming your way. because you have 3 choices if you keep it up, jail, institutions or death.
i however like many alcoholics failed or was unwilling to see how bad was only getting worse. i did what most levelled headed drunks do....i decided to control my drinking. i will maintain a level of what comes just slightly before total destruction and failure. i will not drink into oblivion. i will not be arrested. i will not bleed. i will not fight. all of this was unnecessary and truthfully quite unladylike. 'it is the great obsession of every alcoholic to one day be able to control his drinking'. i will just keep the hurt at bay with a therapeutic amount of alcohol. i will avoid cocaine. this took a great deal of strength because every cell in my body at this point was against me, not to mention my own mind. but i had resolve. i would be strong!

within a week or two i met a man in a bar. a man who i would later discover was himself a sober alcoholic but still partaking in something i would also much later discover to be called the 13th step. in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous there are 12 steps to regain spiritual ground and live with integrity and happiness. the 13th step is one people frown upon because 13 stepping is when a sober member picks up women/men who are spiritually/physically addicted/early in their sobriety. a sober person should know better because they are suppose to 'be' better. the thing is, this isn't always true. some sober people remain the sickest of the bunch because although they remain dry from alcohol they continue to behave in an extremely unhealthy manner. picking flies off a fly stip isn't too hard. R had at that point himself over a decade of sobriety. a tanned, charming smooth talker. well dressed and just arrogant enough that he appeared sexy and entitled to a life better than where he stood. compared to the hoodie wearing broke 25 year old snowboarder's normally occupying the bar stools he looked like a beautiful apparition. how i wanted to go with him, whoever he was. well he turned out to be ricky's father. but in that bar that night in banff he was just some guy who wanted to get laid, a guy who was in if for himself. i'm not sure anything has changed actually. he is on his 5th wife, separate from the 4 other engagements. imagine asking 9 women to be the 'one'. but each of them probably has a really good story too. this is how our relationship began over the next few months, me flying down to visit him in florida.

i quit my job at the hospital. i had one last coke binge in a hotel room that resulted in a man from san diego who was known to police forcefully covering my entire upper chest and torso in deep bite marks. broken welts where he had held and pinched and bitten me. a rape kit was suggested. there was footage of me walking through the hotel lobby arm in arm with him so therefore enough for police to declare me a willing participant. willing enough to not be able to press charges anyways despite  on the same video 3 hrs later  stumbling back out holding my torn skirt hysterically hailing a cab. unfortunate but not proof that what had happened in the room that night was not all ok. illegal? i'm not sure. the guy had forced himself on me while i lay passed out but to me that wasn't really the offending portion. in fact that was how i had sex majority of the time. looking back i didn't actually want to 'have' sex with any of the men i had sex with. it just sort of happened to me. it had to happen. that was part of the deal. it wasn't rape, i still don't think it is. but maybe i'm wrong. had i been able to hold my head upright would i have protested? probably not because i had resigned myself to the understanding that it had to happen. the part that bothered me was the biting. breaking multiple patches of my skin. was biting illegal? it should be. an officer told me the man had said i had asked to be bitten. i also hadn't been the one to call the cops, my friend at work had called which to them appeared unconvincing of a victim. i shook this off as a very bad experience in which way too much blow was snorted by two very fucked up people who accidentally had some sort of sex. they took photo's of my injuries. they made a file on me. always thinking on my toes for the next escape i scammed an adivan prescription citing the foreseeable events of inability to sleep without intense fear as a result of the events that had taken place. i was proud of getting that script. see i thought there is a good side to every bad one. sedatives. i definitely needed sedatives. the marks remained purple for weeks, bruising and eventually turning black and then blue. blue is my favourite colour, although not that shade.

within a month i was visiting R in the florida keys which if you have ever been a practicing alcoholic in the shitty frozen overpriced town of banff alberta is like winning the fucking lottery. i happily packed all my best tight things and my cigarette's and flew down on his dime. i was a perfect coat tail riding candidate.  arriving on scene with little to no self worth or esteem. check. no voice of my own. check. agreeable to being used, treated poorly, kept and paid for. check check check and CHECK. thankfully i wasn't damaged enough physically that i still qualified as arm candy. blonde hair, big breasts. beside's in that moment what i wasn't willing to do.

due to a dui and a revoked license i had to wait a year and retake my permit to be able to drive in the states. i made sure i did this because my new car wasn't a 1991 rusted out honda prelude with no insurance, it was a detailed white convertible bmw. dinner's out at fancy restaurants on private islands where the table sits in the sand on the beach. white linens. champagne. service! money equals power and prestige! people are catering to him/me. i kept my drinking 'civilized' because obviously i cleaned up nice and was much more prized than before so couldn't blow it. it meant sneaking drinks in beforehand and afterwards. being an alcoholic himself i'm sure he must have realized on some level. i however had no idea my drinking qualified as alcoholic. in my mind alcoholics were bums on streets. dirty and jobless and crazy. i was wearing 500$ high heels. i was not alcoholic. and even if i had had hard times before meeting him it was obviously circumstantial and now i would be ok. i would adjust to this new lifestyle and be less stressed therefore not having to drink so much if i chose not too. you see i thought i still had a choice. when in reality i had crossed the line of not being able to stop long ago. i started visiting florida regularly flying back to my mothers in red deer in between. biding my time. don't come on too strong. but how do i make him want to keep me? although i though i was playing the part of R's girlfriend quite well the truth is he had an awful temper often going into rages, screaming and occasionally violent. sushi dinners on his boat at sunset. flying to vegas to see the rolling stones. staying at a cabin on literally the edge of the grand canyon. miami shopping spree's. people work out anger issue's.

once in the very early stages of dating we were in the car fighting, hollering and throwing his hands everywhere he intentionally ripped off the rear view mirror saying i was lucky it wasn't my face. look what i'd made him do. grabbing the wheel and laying rubber spinning the car around driving us off. i might loose him. i would do better. being told his friends hated me and they knew i was just a whore. being told he loved me and how sorry he was. being told i was a stupid worthless cunt. a vicious cunt. i started fighting back and told him what i thought. often to my demise i have always had and voiced my opinion. when i was home back in alberta he screamed into the phone accusing me of cheating. we loved to hate each other. i thought about throwing in the towel. it's just that the thread count in the towel was so soft. sitting in my mothers house in red deer quickly encouraged me to put a different spin on things. there had to be an upside....he would change once i proved myself. maybe he had been hurt in the past thats why he was angry and untrusting. i would help fix him.

while in florida i didn't have much to actually do. i didn't have friends. he worked non stop. i snooped in his house finding boxes of 'trophies'. dozens of picture's of naked/half naked women. when we had met and spent the night together in banff he had also taken my photograph. was i in here somewhere? ooh was i at the top? these women looked like they were from the 1980's. i was born that year so i assumed he had been 'collecting' for a long time. on his computer dozens and dozens of nameless women. on his boat with their bikini tops off, giggling in bathtubs full of bubbles, even running happily up beaches towards the predatory camera lens awaiting them. the picture's were dated not too far apart from one another, sometimes even overlapping. but they weren't here anymore were they? i was. i would just have to be better. be the skinniest, the prettiest, the most obedient. i would make his friends jealous because thats what he seems to want, to be better than everyone. i would sit in his fancy cars and houses and pretend to be perfect for him. i wanted to be the one he chose because i was the most deserving. and obviously i needed to be saved the most. complete relinquishing of power. i lived for him.

abuse=jewellery. it started out small. he didn't come home and just hit me. it would be arguments over quality of life, your not home enough, you don't love me, you work all the time. arm grabbing, hair pulling, dish throwing, police visiting arguments. he was a criminal defence attorney so the cops knew him excused a lot of it as he pleaded crazy girlfriend. when she met me his outspoken drug dealing cuban secretary declared 'that one sure as shit ain't leaving quietly!' she knew my grip was tight. for every fight or time i got slapped or shoved into a wall i received a gift according to the severity of the crime. being slapped or kicked meant a chain with a pearl or stone. being back handed and spit on usually meant a diamond. within the year i had diamond stud earrings, 2 diamond tennis bracelets, a diamond pendant necklace, a diamond encrusted watch. you do the math. i became the woman who jumped out of still moving vehicle's onto the interstate slamming her high heel into the side of the car door. i became the woman who lost weight and dyed her hair platinum blond. i became the woman who drank only diet red bull and smoked to stay slim. i became the woman who worried only about what he thought of me. i became the woman who asked for her money, for keys, for permission. we had good times but it never should have been we were both sick. he always reminded me that the things were his and would never be mine. i was constantly reminded how lucky i was that he 'loved' me. sex was cold and passionless. i felt like i was in a movie and i played that part. a woman can fake orgasms but she cannot unfortunatley fake an entire relationship. although i did try. despite all this i was desperate to stay with him, fearing the entire while my days might be numbered. i might end up a picture in a box, some other girl finding me. my resourcefulness knew exactly how to ensure my survival. on a list of amends 'except when to do so would injure them or other's' this admission i pray never hurts R because today our relationship is somewhat mended and he is in ricky's life in a positive way. ricky ellis benjamin wunsch was born on october 8th 2003. delivered naturally he weighed 11lbs 5oz and measured 2 feet long. no pain medication. i was a supporter of pain. now he had to love me forever, i had given him a son. i couldn't see the forrest for all the tree's.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

home again home again


feeling trapped and dirty after 7 days of driving and sleeping unshowered in the van we pulled into the rocky mountains from the east just as the sun was going down. the mountains will always be my home. the endless beautiful grey ridges, radiant peaks and jagged slopes. their ancient faces drinking up the sun. watching over us, knowing that we hurt. guarding us from each other, from ourselves. there is a time in everyone's life where the house you grow up in doesn't feel like it's your home anymore. the walls exhale and quietly release you. in my house they had whispered 'your on your own' and then they fell down. i couldn't go back. pride wouldn't let me. i didn't feel i belonged anywhere. i didn't want to be a burden on my mom. she had her world torn apart, at least i could stay out of her way. i secretly wished she would stand up and tell me my place. 'here is your bed, you sleep here because you are my daughter and i will make sure your safe' my mother did not know how to show love, was fearful of showing it. she has never told me out loud that she loves me. she wrote it once in a letter. she was fearful of so many things. the world controlling her instead of her standing up to it. i can see now why now it was hard for her but it doesn't stop me from wishing she had fought harder for me back then. i was so angry and hateful. she threw up her hands. she gave up. the knowledge that neither one of my parents was actually in charge was numbing. i am certain it was this revelation that made me lean lustfully and violently towards risk. if your not gonna stop me...well then, maybe i won't ever stop. i ran before i could stand bringing forth with me the mentality of don't ever let them see you stumble.

i ended up renting a tiny basement suite with S who started back working with the army. i was just 20, he was now 36. i found a job as a nursing assistant in banff. to piss him off or make him love me, i'm still not entirely certain which, i bought him a dog. kia. a black pitbull. let the record show buying something living to revitalize something dead does not work. it only makes the dead thing more undeniable. we were dead. S started to suggest threesome's as being a good way to 'perk' things up and to illustrate his position started buying porn. underage international school girls. big surprise. a few months and our relationship had amounted to non stop screaming and door slamming. i started driving into banff and partying again with my old friend E. eventually i packed my things and left. the self professed human pitbull didn't want to hold on any longer. my jaw hurt. my heart hurt. my lips were cracked and bleeding. i needed a drink. to freshen up, start again. desperation ceased...lockjaw released. so it was goodbye to S that porno purchasing egotistical pedophile. how dare he think he could do any better. life happen in your 20's. i was entitled to something more. this world owed me and i would collect.

in banff i worked taking care of seniors, people who needed me. i loved being with them and feeling appreciated and valued. i cleaned their diaper's. i spoon fed them and wiped their drool. i brushed their hair. i bathed them. clipped nails. put makeup on. i sang. let them sneak occasionally out for cigarette's. i snuck the diabetic's cake. i put their teeth into cups. i kissed them while they slept. i heard the sound of their hips breaking as they hit the hard polished hospital floors. i watched their eyes go hazy as their bodies surrendered to sadness. i watched their minds forget. i unplugged oxygen machine's while the  families sat there in total grief. i gave quick remorseful downward glances. i wrapped up their cold heavy bodies and lay them on the slab. caring for the elderly healed me just enough, made me feel important enough that before long i was ready to reopen my own wounds. i grew anxious. restless. depressed. i would have panic attacks and visions of rape and slaughter. i was filled with fear. i new i had nothing. nobody. my mom had moved away from canmore with my two younger sister's. no thanks i'm ok. i'll just stay here. i stopped speaking to them. resented her for helping them and not even questioning if i'd be ok. not even asking about me. i was the one exhibiting 'risky' behaviour after all so i must be enjoying what i was doing. my wool blackened. i had these strange reoccurring visions of laying down in the middle of picturesque main street banff, closing my eyes to rest, waiting for the early morning traffic. it calmed me. my familiar. my touchstone. what i knew instinctually was hurt. this i'm sure is not entirely a parental error. i don't know why i am like this. i suppose i feel safer hurting because i understand it. if i'm already hurting then i dont have to fear it happening. i dont have to fear it jumping out and catching me off guard, fear it taking away my happiness. i didn't let my my expectations to get up by believing in something only to have them crash and fall all that distance back down. by something thats fails me. something that leaves me. someone that tells me i'm not worth it. i will not let myself be happy because the loss of happiness is far beyond hurt. the loss of happiness is death. 

like a forceful wind alcohol pulled me forward and backwards again, i leaned into it and most of the time it held me up. welcome back. of course i waited for you. absorb. absolve. release me. let me go. let me be gone. to get myself out of the constant darkness i also started snorting cocaine. it felt like alcohol's bigger badder brother who had just gotten out of jail. dangerous. night after night the same crowd. same scene. i didn't care about the people. i cared about my escape. slipping away. everything in my world became about how to get back there. any alcoholic woman knows that one hazard of the trade is men. we do resent the past nor wish to close the door on it. and as the story goes....the true story anyways....is that it was on or around this time that i incidentally slept with about a million men, give or take a few. my drinking friend from work J and i had created a game... she saw a guy she would bet me i couldn't 'get' and i'd get him. the magician up on stage. i passed him a note in the middle of his act that said 'i dont believe in magic'. after the show he handed me his room key. on the bedside dresser a wallet with a photo inside of 2 beautiful smiling kids. brother and sister. straight teeth and blonde bangs. the bouncer. motorcycles. gym passes. angry ex girlfriend. the football player. retired. grey cup trophy ring. steaks and seafood. called me sweet cheeks. the newfie waiter turned apprentice electrician. we lived in his flop house where coke binges went on every weekend. people gathered in tense silence as the drugs were put down onto the table. soprano's always on tv. nervous twitchy glances making sure other people were throwing down too, people secretive about their stash. sneaking into bathrooms with the prettiest girls. hunting each other down. killing ourselves. no eye contact. shame fills the air but in a minute you wont have to feel that anymore. it's your turn. hollowed out cut off plastic pen cover's. plastic tubes from the gas station horoscope's. your nose right down to the dirty table some guy holding your hair. the burning sensation as it hit's the inside of your nose. sinus's drip. sniffles. 101 signs your kid's on drug's. the instant numbing rush. floating and weightless and free. shedding layer's. i just want to die in peace. broken glass and no food. it didn't matter. i had left my body. i wasn't there anymore.

the hockey player. free drinks. the musician. free drugs. if i hear him now on the radio i change the station. my skin itches and i see him on his cell phone lying to his girlfriend outside the tour bus. i feel him fucking me in a bunk bed with a foot of headspace above us. i smell him stinking of sweat and whiskey and endless cigarette's. and this one's for nothing. and this one's for fun. and this one is about rock and roll and comic books and bubble gum. due at work in 3 hrs i wake up hundreds of miles away in saskatchewan. i still owe him $120 for the bus. bartenders. australians. a pharmaceutical representative. they all became the same person. i became them. they became me. we merged. traded. i wish i could lie but it came easily to me. i had built up a wall and i didn't feel them anymore. i didn't really feel anything anymore. anything that didn't relate directly to me scoring drugs/booze didn't matter. i was punched out cold on the sidewalk in front of a cab once by a man and the people in the above balcony drunkenly cheered. i opened my eyes to my boyfriend smashing out his teeth. it was survival. we lived indoors but barely.

the world went soft and quiet like it does right before an accident. slow motion. 'baby if i coke you up all night your mine' thats fine....i'm not even my own. i may as well be yours. i stopped dreaming both figuratively and literally. entire paycheque's disappeared. dialling the bank frantically at 3am to see if i had at least 20$ left because you can't withdraw19.99$ for the dealer can you. that 1.50$ service fee for an atm withdrawl was the most evil bogus fucking charge ever. i ate hospital food, even the old people's mashed up food. i found a container of potato salad once in the safeway parking lot and it was the only thing i ate that day beside's cracker's. i stole hospital kleenex and tampons. i saved nothing. i ruined everything. i inhaled it. i consumed it. i fought it. i escaped it. i isolated. i binged. on bed's, in hotel rooms, cars, park benches, alley's, public washrooms. sex and drugs. i still can't walk into a bathroom stall that has a little shelf above the back of the toilet and not invision dragging my finger slowly over it's surface... imaging straddling the toilet and pulling out the flap from my pocket. a throw down just for me. 

my usage steadily increased over the two years i lived there. i binged alone with cocaine one night in a single basement room that belonged to my ex boyfriend. dim orange lights. underground. a bed and a dresser. his dog. i was paranoid people were watching me. that the dog knew more than he was letting on. i stood up and smoked out the tiny window above the bed until the sun came up. sunrise to a coke addict mean's nothing more than remorse and shame. the curtain comes up and there you are alone on stage, everyone can see you. who you really are. junked out and trashy and worthless. i became exactly who you told me i was. i had waited for him for hours snorting lines by myself pacing back and forth in that room. my nose bleeding. my heart pounding. i have never wanted so badly in my life to die. i thought maybe if i just snort it all. it would finally end. my pathetic life. i couldn't even cry there was nothing inside of me. decomposing in my own personal addicted hell. waiting for someone who never came. where was he? what was i even doing here? suddenly i was so ashamed for being so fucked up and having waited so long for him. i lit a smoke and walked quickly through the deep snow crunching underfoot towards the house i lived in. my head down praying i didn't see anyone i knew. back in the room i rented i sat on the floor and looked into the sliding closet mirror. staring into my own eyes i couldn't see myself. the girl in the reflection wasn't me. i felt hatred. terror. shame. i went quickly to the bathroom and brought back with me a ceramic octopus soap dispenser. i locked my door and forced myself to look into my own eyes as i smashed it repeatedly into my own face. i deserved this. i couldn't overdose. the intense impact of it's weight on my face over and over. i didn't stop for what felt like 15 minutes. i woke up the next day to splitting excruciating pain, half my face so swollen and purple my eyelashes weren't even visible. puffy red welts and black lines of dried tears that had taken the mascara down with them towards my chin. my forehead above my swollen shut eye was smashed. shattered. split open.

in xray at the same hospital i worked in i explained that i had been mugged. the tech had tears in his eyes and said he couldn't believe this had happened to a nice girl like me. who could have done this? i had fractured 90% of the way through my cheekbone in 3 different places. one more blow from the 'beer' bottle i claimed to have been hit with and my cheekbone would have collapsed into my face resulting in severe vision loss, structural damage of eye ball position, bone grafts or a metal implant held with screws. only i could have hurt myself this badly. because i hated myself the most.

in an addicts life there are times when you stop monetarily and think maybe your are powerless, out of control even. that you might need to get help. that breaking your own face with a smiling ceramic octopus soap dispenser may be a red flag. the cycle continues because although the addiction causes immeasurable pain to the addict, the only known cure is more of the same. i didn't see there being an end other than death. i couldn't stop.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

dirty soul mexico

i met S in los angeles on my flight back to north america. he was tanned and smiling but his desperation was almost visible. i could see him now. why does a 40 year old want to be with a 20 year old? it's so they can be in control. feel powerful. the older a man becomes the more glaring this defect may appear. i guess nepal had run its course for him. he was home. well actually he was living out of his ford areostar van that he had made into a camper with a huge sheet of plywood across the folded down back seats. trying to appear aloof and confident i avoided personal matter's and gave him the general stories of my shit laden adventures abroad including beaches and bbq's in lieu of cocaine and abortions. yes yes i was worldly now...i so hoped he could see that.


we drove to the edge of the city smog...emissions of greed and lust clouding the skyline in the rearview mirror. east into arizona. death valley. the grand canyon. sedona. landing after a failed border crossing in joshua tree to climb. i was much more unsure of him now. resentment came out in sudden angry bursts. i was mad at myself for throwing in the towel to come home to a guy, who admittedly wasn't god anymore. to avoid this admission actually becoming a reality i chose denial mainly because it is a very versatile defence, it can be applied liberally to almost any situation. thus during our climbing campout i engaged in long elaborate imaginings of how he just needed a break and how he had come to his senses. i let S slowly creep back inside my heart despite the fact there wasn't much left between us except familiarity. i hadn't exactly been waiting by the phone.

we crossed through Heroica Nogales and headed down the long gorgeous west coast of Mexico. beautiful images painted on rock cliffs of mothers and virgins neither of whom i could relate too. we drove for days finally stopping in Bucerius to unpack the van and settle into a tiny one room apartment. S worked for a man D who rented there with his wife L every year. we were glad to have more localized contacts. i had met D in canada multiple times rafting before with S, his wife however hated me instantaneously. years later i crossed paths with her going through security at the calgary airport. she was one of the baggage inspectors and i thought she'd flag me for sure but i avoided her enough that i went through another line undetected. she was older than her husband, i would guess 45. she had very short spiky grey hair and collected 'bats'. she wore knee length everything and made really snippy remarks. at the time i was 20, thin, tanned and reckless usually scamtily clad in some bikini inspired outfit with flowy scarves and big sunglasses. i would have hated me too. D was a goof and liked to play around which suited S and me but not her. i don't think she appreciated it.

we drove one night down long dark dirt roads to a turtle farm owned by a strange acid eating old hippy  C. while waiting for the eggs to hatch we drank wine and smoked cheap ciggarett'es on the back deck of his beach house. early into the morning hours we stumbled out to the sand in celebration scooping the tiny turtles up and carrying them safely out to the sea. they made it. released. on the way home we were stopped by 3 men with machine guns in small truck on the little road leading out of the compound. D/L spoke spanish and L seeing it the proper opportunity to mouth off did exactly that. D trying to calm the man down. the man becoming increasingly agitated yelling...why are you out so late? where are you going? do you have drugs? are you selling drugs? the voices growing angrier and finally shouting the man went to open the side door. i looked out at one of the men standing beside the vehicle and he grinned at me with dark eyes, flipped his tongue up and down and fired his gun into the sky. the other men yelled out and i closed my eyes. suddenly everything went silent. inside our van we had D's two big black  rotweiler's which had started to bark and growl. D explained they were 'peligroso' in spanish meaning very dangerous. the man turned to his friends spoke a few words, smiled and waved us through. i was so relieved. i don't know what would have happened if we didn't have the dogs.

for the most part we walked up and down beautiful beaches, ate at local cantina's, wandered outdoor gift shops. long winding cobblestone alleys dusty and hot. chica hey chica. come here pretty lady. the men would whisper from doorways. the flowers everywhere like vines beautiful deep purple. one afternoon we took a small boat to the yet to be discovered island cove called Yelapa. google image it. it is the the most beautiful place on earth. people napping on the open decks of their catamaran boats. local women carrying lemon/lime pies on their heads to sell on the beach. donkeys wandering freely. paraglider's swooping down through the clear cloudless blue sky from the cliffs above. a village with no electricity. deep lush jungle behind the small beach businesses. paradise.

back in Bucerius our building was alive. an old man who frequently had young prostitute's over lived beside us. out of my small dirty kitchen window i could see into his living room where they would show him their goods before money was passed and they went to the back room. it entertained me for hours spying on him. upstairs a drug dealer we called senior toucan because of his long nose. his friend a police officer. always helping one another. a man downstairs who beat his wife/children every night. the cries and the screams and then the slamming door, him leaving to the bar. i sat in the lower darkened courtyard amongst the coconut tree's in the deep green grass listening to mexico at night. beautiful dirty soul mexico. a place where you are either saved or soiled. wealth and poverty. dead animals in the streets. dogs wandering everywhere, starving and limbless. old trucks and dusty dirty roads and orchards. elaborately decorated graveyards. 2 months later we loaded the van and started the long drive back to canada. arguing and angry. mexico hadn't saved us and i suspected not much could.