Eleven Year Old Bully and My 11 Year Old Self

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The past 2 weeks my daughter has been bullied viciously by an 11 year old child.  This child is clearly in a lot of pain.  It has been a lot of drama and has turned my home upside down.

When the child drew a photograph of my daughter burning to death in a fire I reported it to the school and forbid my daughter from ever being friends with the girl again.

My daughter has a very tender heart. This has torn her up emotionally.  This has caused so much heart ache in our house.  She is not sleeping.  I am not sleeping.

2 days ago my daughter started to receive electronic messages from this child apologizing, messages saying she (the child) is “evil” and “wrong”, and all the things a child that clearly is in pain would say to themselves.  I am not surprised by this.

Much to my surprise all of this started to trigger me.

I must take care of my daughter and yet I have so much compassion for this other child.  I do understand where she’s coming from.  How can someone not?  She’s clearly abused, or something is just clearly not right.

I never said or did any of these things to another child at that age (that I recall).  But I was in a tremendous amount of pain.  These years (approximately 11 – 14) were the hardest of my life.  The sexual abuse had pretty much ended but I was left with the aftermath and the verbal abuse.  It was during this time that I made my first suicide attempt because I was that desperate to just be gone.  I felt completely alone.  And as much as I must be there for my child to protect her during this time (and I will), I also have felt pain of this young girl the past 2 weeks.

I typically meditate daily and my therapist recommended that I notice any loneliness that feel when I breathe during this time.  As I was meditating I started to think about my 11 year old self and I could see myself as 11 years old come in and sit next to me.  I was surprised but I didn’t judge her.  Or at least I tried not to.  Frankly, I don’t care for her and I think she knows that.  It took years for me not to hate my 6 year old self.  Maybe she knows that some day I won’t hate her either which is why she stayed.  Maybe she’s taking a chance on me, as much as I am on her.  Either way, she came in and was just there.  I just continued to breathe and be still and let her be there.

That was yesterday.  As I’m sitting here writing this I’m asking myself why she would come and just be there.  What is the purpose?  Why now?

And the thought comes to mind, “So she won’t be alone”.

Profound?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that SHE NEVER FELT LIKE SHE MATTERED TO ANYONE.  She felt hated.  She felt like a waste.  She felt like she would be better off if she was dead.  She wanted to die.  She truly was completely and utterly alone.  Maybe I can be there for her.

Maybe.  Can I love her?  Can she trust me?

I am about to cry.

A Place to Heal

This past week I went to Utah.  That’s not a place I would ordinarily go.  I never gave it a thought.  I didn’t even know it was beautiful.  Especially right outside of Salt Lake City.  Right?

But look at this:

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and this.

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and this view from my bedroom window:

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The only reason I went there was to attend The Haven Retreat with The Younique Foundation.  The Younique Foundation is an amazing non-profit with a mission to “…inspire hope in women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents by hosting them at a retreat, where they are uplifted by each other and learn skills that can help them find individual healing.”

Well, I found healing.  I found a lot of healing.

And I found friends.  I found 7 other goofy silly girlfriends who share my same past.  And not just a slightly similar past.  Unfortunately they share the same horrific past as me, the same level, the same amount of time, EVERYTHING.  Our stories, while different in details are just as nightmare-ish and for the first time I did not feel quite so alone.

While I won’t share their faces, I will share their beautiful….

FEET! (mine is the one in the black sock.  I have hobbit feet, not appropriate for photos)

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We are a quirky group of 8.  We bonded with such intensity.

After the year that I have had this retreat was so necessary in my life.  It was a place where I could pause and work on my own self worth which has been in the tank.  I have a really long way to go but I had a chance to start thinking about it with no distractions.  It’s also been a very long time since I have been able to physically be with others besides my romantic partner and daughter or share with my friend John. I love them and missed them but I needed to be alone. I’m very withdrawn so much of the time and ever since I came out of the closet I pretty much don’t want to let anyone else in.  I was hurt so severely it’s not been safe.  And why would it be safe?  I especially don’t trust women.  But I dared to let these beautiful ladies in.  And frankly, it was scary.  But they did not hurt me.

So it may be safe to let others in.  Or maybe I’ll just keep letting them in.  I feel like I have some new choices now.

So, back to the retreat.  If you, like me happen to have sexual abuse in your past this may be a good place for you.  The greatest part about it is that this place is totally free (you just have to pay for travel).  The application process is extremely simple as well and they are not invasive at all, just a very easy interview.  There are no strings attached.  And trust me, I looked for the strings.  I’m the most defensive person you’ll meet  Even while I was there I was defensive.  I did a TON OF RESEARCH because who on earth does something like this for free?  Ha!  I thought it was a cult (I mean, it is based out of Utah).  I was frightened.  Well, I made it through and nothing goofy happened.

It was amazing.  And by the way, I was pampered.  This retreat is one of the most comfortable experiences I’ve ever had in spite of the difficult subject at hand..  The staff were kind, the food was good (gourmet quality), and if it wasn’t for my family I wouldn’t want to go home.

I am intentionally not sharing a lot of information because much of it should be a surprise.  If you have questions please feel free to ask.  It was a totally wonderful experience.  I was frightened when I went.  I am so glad that I went though.

More photos below…

The front of our beautiful cabin:

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The indoor pool and Jacuzzi (for real):

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The view out of the back of the cabin:

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What I wish I could say to my mother

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I don’t know how to put on paper
the things I need to say to you
You don’t deserve a word I have to say
or a look
even a thought from me
ever again
you never did
I wish you would have thrown me away
or outside
you said you were going to throw me in the trash
you sent me to my room to confess to God things I never did
Loud enough to be heard in Japan
On my knees
Hurting
back stretched tall
I felt weak and
just gave in to you
to make it stop
what else could I do?
And I always had to hide my dolls
like I hid myself
or tried to
I never knew which parts of me were actually real
who was who
did I protect me
or did they?
and
a child should not have to figure out lies to tell in order to
not be in trouble
because that backfires on you
it just makes things worse
And you beat me
ntil I bled
Yes
you beat
for just walking backwards after church.
I was just being a kid
Just a little girl
A little baby girl wanting to play
and skip
that is all.
just playing
And a child should be able to read.
A child should be aloud to read.  That is normal
It is very normal
I loved to read
I wish you would have read stories to me
Maybe I would have liked you
I dreamt of it
And I am smart
but I wasn’t aloud to,
And I had to hide it from you
Instead I played games in my head
with my friends you could not see
I couldn’t play around you
Anything I did I would have to
stuff under my bed when I heard your
footsteps
And at night when the lights are off 
I hid my body between the bed and a wall on the floor to feel safe,
hiding from whatever might creep into my room.
I hid my body to keep it from being invaded upon by
him.
Because he was awful
And you were awful
and
I shouldn’t have been afraid to make noise
Or afraid to breathe too loud
to choose between breathing and passing out
And I tried to tell you.
Don’t say that you didn’t know.
Don’t deny it.
You had all that you needed.
You intentionally looked away.
You hurt me
You shamed me
Embarrassed me.
Dignity gone.
Innocence gone.
Worse than what he did.
You are twisted.
How often did you walk around the house naked
Just during the day
Breasts flopping everywhere?
Just like it was normal.
Just like all of this was normal.
My skin crawls still.
Where the were your boundaries?
And why did you let him rape me?  Why did you force me to sleep in his bed?
I begged to not have to go?
I begged you, I cried to not have to go sleep with him.
But he wanted a “sleep over”.  He whined that he didn’t want to be alone.
So I had to go.
He was 7 years older than me.
And I had to “comfort” him.
How was this the solution?
I was raped.
Mother
You sacrificed me.
You clueless, selfish, stupid woman.
You are not even a mother.
No longer,
No longer,
no longer mine.
I was raped.
And yet I got the best part of being a mom from you.
I learned how to be a mom from you
It’s totally black and white.
Just be opposite!
Everything I wanted from you I do!
Just don’t do what you did!
You never threw me out like you threatened to do
But I was afraid you would.
You instilled fear in me that I still feel.
That stomach tightening awful pain that handicaps me
And thank God for the friends I made when I was little.
No not real friends, I wasn’t allowed to leave our fenced yard, my dissociated friends
God, Christopher and the others.  They saved me
And where were you?
Yelling, beating, and doing whatever else, I don’t know.
So what do I want to say to you.
Nothing.  I will never say anything to you ever again.
Because you are not good enough for a relationship with me.
You never were.
And maybe that’s why you did to me the things you did.
Maybe I was a reminder of the things you possibly could never be.
Because I was always good.
And there was something evil in you.
So this is goodbye.
I don’t want to feel anything for you again.
Goodbye to the feelings.
Forever and never again,
Your former daughter,
Lynne Holly

No clue which way is up

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It has been 20 days since I admitted myself to the hospital.  It seems like it was so long ago but the reality is that I was just released 13 days ago.  I still feel raw and I do not know if it’s possible to ever feel settled again.  And sometimes I feel settled.  I just hope I’m actually where I should be in terms of healing.  It’s frightening when you lose so much control of yourself that you are your own worst enemy physically, not just mentally.

I’m keeping the most important parts of myself calm and even though I have “the thoughts” sometimes, they are not in any way, shape or form desirable as they were before.  The hardest part about them is that I’m supposed to talk about them.  And when I do people who love me seem to freak out.  So then….  I don’t want to talk.

The relationship between me and my partner feels turned upside down.  Frankly, I don’t know if we’re good.  I don’t know if we are in a bad place either.  I love her.  But I don’t know if we will make it.  And I hope we do.  I feel so vulnerable in every way.

We are just vulnerable.  My relationship may be exactly where it should be.  That is my hope.  I believe I’m on my way to healing.  But are we?

I am terribly frightened that I will fall back into that depression.  I feel very aware that the thoughts could sneak back up on me.  I am exercising.  I cut out almost all caffeine.  I was painting but put it away for the moment for reasons I’m struggling with.  I’m very vigilant about the things I need to do for myself.

And I feel as though my vigilance is harming challenging my relationship.  I’m so much about “me” that she seems to feel left out.  It’s not my intent at all.  I’m trying to just live.  As it turns out, it doesn’t take much work to exist.  But to actually live…  well, there’s barely enough time in the world even when I’m not working.

And my counselor is sick.  This is the worst because I should be in therapy 2 – 3 days each week right now.  That was the plan when I was released.

I’m struggling.  Or I’m thriving.  I actually have no clue how I’m doing.

On another note, my brother is not responding to chemotherapy.   Click here to see why I might be inclined not to care so much.  I saw my aunt yesterday as well (we have a good relationship).  She told me that last week my father looked like hell and she was very concerned.  She seems to always think that I need to know these things!  Well, again, click here to see why I might be inclined not to care so much.

I was (NOT) supposed to die

***TRIGGER WARNING FOR TALK OF SUICIDE, SEXUAL ABUSE, ETC***

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On June 10th I was going to kill myself.  I was going to drive my Toyota into a canal about 2 miles from my home.  On June 11th my daughter was going to be motherless, my partner partner-less, and I was at the point where I was OK with all of that.  Shit happens to everyone, right?  I had convinced myself at that point that even if she didn’t understand on June 11, 2016 some day she would understand as an adult. I had basically boiled all of this, including my death down to one small act.  And I only needed to act on it.

The thoughts started about 2 months prior.  I’ve spoken of it recently  and even received comments about getting help (thank you, if you commented you may have been one of the reasons I chose life).  These thoughts started when I realized that I would never fully recover from the PTSD that had plagued me since I was the young age of 6 when my brother started to lay the groundwork to rape me multiple times over the next 6 years.   I was powerless when my mother washed me so clean after he abused me that I could hardly walk (this was in response to me telling her I was “hurt”).

The thoughts came to full fruition when I decided on the date.

The date was perfect.  I actually pulled out a calendar and scheduled my suicide date.  The date was perfectly planned, and it seemed like I was planning something simple like getting a massage or getting my nails done.  All of my responsibilities to date were complete.  My daughter would have graduated from elementary school.  She would have completed the Book Battle competition she had prepared for the entire year.  She also would be done with her school’s talent show.  From what I could see, all of the “mom stuff” was done.  And that left only one thing…  my death and a summer for her to get over me before she started middle school.

It all made so much sense in my head.  And on a whim I said something.  And my counselor started to intervene on my behalf.  If I had been honest with him myself I would have not left his office that day.

I went home to talk to a friend about my counseling session.  I think I needed someone else to tell me that it was OK to go to the hospital.

So I asked for help.  I spent a week in the hospital.  I would like to have stayed longer but life (ie insurance issues) happen.

Either way, I’m alive.  And I’m scared but I’m still here.  I’m currently working closely with my counselor (2-3 days a week right now) to recover from this so that I can feel strong and trust myself again.

I hesitate to say that I have this thing “beat”.  I’m in a good place at the moment.  I just feel quite vulnerable.

 

 

42

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The little girl above is me.  In less than 2 hours I turn 42.

Every year before my birthday I get a little weird.  This year, this TIME of year has been so bad I cannot explain it. The only possible thing it seems is my medication change 6 months ago.  For that I am seeing a new (and hopefully better) Doctor this Friday.

Today my depression has faded.  I should be thankful.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am thankful.  I’m also on guard.  It happened so quickly I don’t trust it. suppose this is a good place to be.  I made it.  I am here.  And today that makes me happy.  Tomorrow I get to celebrate a little.

I saw my counselor today.  And does it matter anymore that I didn’t tell him how vivid my thoughts were?  Or can I will I choose to talk next time?

I can’t get that close again.

Happy (almost) birthday me.  As I enter my 43rd year I hope I will be more honest with my counselor.  I just have to talk about this.