My whole life has been a series of things being done to me, and then I just have to get over it. Or I actually have to pay for it myself. The mistake/punishment scale is fracked up, for sure.
For example, my father, otherwise known as the man who donated his DNA to bring me into existence, molested me as a kid. Little kid. Teensy tiny itty bitty kid. I don’t remember it, but my mother and my aunts have told me it happened. Actually, I wasn’t told until I spent two days with him when his dad died and I told mom I would like to get to know him, his wife who I suppose is my step-mother, and my half-brother. And she didn’t tell me, exactly. She had my aunt tell me. Which explained a lot about some of my over-the-top anxieties over relationships and sex, and why I was so afraid of men in general.
There’s more to that, but I’m not up to explaining more of that.
But see, my dad never paid for that. At least, not in any way that I understand, except my mom used that as an excuse to divorce him. She reminds me of that sometimes, that she got a divorce because he did those kinds of things, and also he was pretty awful to her in general. But there’s always this feeling of “I got my divorce because of you” vibe that I’m only partially making up in my own head because she’s bipolar so she spends most of her life blaming other people.
So she divorced him and ended up dating Bob and we moved to Surgoinsville away from all my family and she reminds me from time to time that she did that to get me away from my father, and then other times she laments that she had to move all the way down there and was mistreated and ignored by Bob and his family, and there’s that guilt again. If I hadn’t been molested, she wouldn’t have gotten divorced, she wouldn’t have moved us all the way down in the middle of nowhere, and she wouldn’t have lived with a man who treated her like nothing.
And this is not considering the fact that I was ALSO molested by two of my cousins when I was eight. I have never told her this. I don’t know if it was the shame of it happening to me, or if I couldn’t bear the expression I imagined she would have. I’ve told a few people about it. I told HIM about it. I told Nathan about it. A few friends I’ve admitted it to. No one in my family. I was eight… but I have always felt like it was my own fault. And it’s scarred me. Always. My fault. If I wasn’t so disgusting, then they wouldn’t have done that to me. And when I was told about my dad, well… if my own father saw that in me, if my own cousins… three people saw that in me. So it’s there, right? We are what others perceive, right? So I must me that.
It continues on to so many other instances. But the one that’s on my mind is my ex-husband. How every time he fucked up, it was my fault. He started taking pills because I was such a bitch so often. How if I’d not been such a wreck he could have handled life better. How from the very first moment we started dating I began pushing him away.
I miscarried in 2001, right after September 11. He was supposed to go into the Air Force before all that happened, even began the process, but changed his mind when I got pregnant. Ten months along, I started bleeding, and the ER said I was fine, but the next day when I went by myself to the doctor, the nurse practitioner did the ultrasound, not saying anything when I was chirping cheerfully about the baby on the screen, and then when she finished she handed me some tissue and told me the baby had stopped developing two weeks before. It hurt. So much. And I felt like my insides were poison. I could sense the dead child inside me, a cold, empty shell, that was sapping my soul from the inside out. I had to have a D and C. It took me a long time to seem to get over that. Some days… I still feel that. I wrote a poem about it. I don’t have it anymore, but it was one of the first ones I shared with the world.
My brain has never been right. It poisoned me. I felt worthless, because what kind of woman can’t carry a child? Things had always been volatile with Nathan and me, but that made our tenuous relationship collapse in on itself. We fought for a year, then he left me on Halloween to move in with his ex-girlfriend he had been seeing behind my back. Just called me and told me he wasn’t coming back. And I begged. I cried. I lost myself. And after about a month I started trying to pull myself back together, and he called and wanted to come back.
And I let him. Because what woman can’t carry a baby AND can’t keep a husband? A worthless one. I wasn’t allowed to be angry or hurt at him anymore about it. It was my fault anyway. If I hadn’t pushed him away, he wouldn’t have started seeing Rory again. If I wasn’t such a mess we would’ve been fine. My fault. My fault. My guilt.
It’s always that way with he and I. My fault. My mistakes. My guilt. I can’t be friends with HIM because he cheated on HER with me. My fault. So I lose my friend, and I can’t be at certain friendly gatherings because they might be there, so, even though I’ve known some of the mutual friends ten years longer than he, even though he made the choice to talk to me when he was with someone else, even though he told me he loved me and wanted to be with me, it’s my fault. My guilt. My punishment. Because what kind of woman would be a dirty mistress? He gets to go on with his life, and I get the punishment and stigma and blame. I can’t talk about it to anyone but one friend, because I brought it on myself. I should’ve known better. And yes, I should have.
I’ve spent my entire life wanting someone to treat me like I’m someone special. No. That’s not right. I’ve spent my whole life wanting someone to treat me like a real person. A woman. A human being entitled to feel her emotions and to be angry and to not be punished for just being me. For being scared of being abandoned, or mistreated, because when in my history have I ever been wrong in that? I’m the pariah. I’m the scapegoat. I’m the dirty mistress. I’m the bitch. I’m not a woman. I’m not loved, I’m a monster.
Memories by Within Temptation