Friday, October 17, 2014
"In order to survive the effects of abuse, they detach themselves from their intense feelings of hopelessness, anger, and shame, often through unhealthy coping mechanisms. But the problem is that you can't be selective in the process; you can't choose to shut yourself off from some feelings and not to others. When you detach yourself from the pain and hurt, you cut yourself off from joy and happiness as well."
I survived by completely shutting everything out. My mind just checked out when things would happen with Drew, and it'd check out when he was messing with my head and making me feel stupid for my emotions. You know when you catch yourself just staring into nothing and your mind is completely empty? It's similar to that. But, for me, a tidal wave of silent anger, sadness, guilt and frustration joins in with the emptiness. Does that make any sense? I have a point I'm trying to make but it's really difficult to put it into words. When Drew was abusing me I had to go to a place in my mind that was completely empty. Over time, that place was filled with the emotions that I had during the abuse. It turned into the place I go when I face a problem in a relationship. When Brandon and I have a disagreement, it doesn't matter what the topic is, I immediately go to that place and I just can't connect with him. It's gotten better over time, but it's still so hard. My coping mechanism was/is food. I was given anything I wanted. I could have any snack or meal whenever I wanted. I loved/hated food. I never felt good after eating, but while I ate I felt great. I started putting on weight in 1st grade. Kids told me all through elementary that I was fat and ugly. So I'd go home and eat. Food was my comfort. In 4th grade I started to get really depressed and I remember one day I just kept eating. By the end of the day I was sick and my mom took me to the hospital. She didn't know I'd been eating so much because I was super sneaky. When the xray came back showing I was constipated I was so embarrassed. I vowed to stop eating like that. A few days later I was back at it. It continued until I was 12ish. I stopped eating for the most part and exercised like crazy. But I always thought about food. If I caved and ate something I hated myself for not being able to resist and I'd go walk an extra two miles. I spent a few years with a small figure, but I never stopped struggling with food. To this day I have issues with it. I put all the weight and then some back on by my early 20's, had babies, then was too depressed to do anything about my weight. Last year at a women's retreat I shared with the ladies that I struggle with food. It was embarrassing to admit it. I know y'all see me, you know I'm not small. But I never wanted to talk about the struggle with food addiction because I hated acknowledging that I'm a big woman in front of people. I hid my addiction from Brandon too. It wasn't until last year that I told him about my struggle. We'd been together for 13 years but just didn't have the courage to tell him. A few months before I turned 30 I realized it was time to do something about my self confidence. So I asked my hair stylist if she'd lighten my hair. That was a big step. A few months later I pierced my nose. That was exhilarating! Then in May I was driving back from a camping trip with a new friend. We stopped at a hiking trail and went to check it out. Towards the end of the trail there was a pretty waterfall and we took individual pictures in front of it. When I looked at myself I was disgusted at what I saw. I was the heaviest I've ever been. And the first thing I wanted to do was check out of reality and eat my feelings. But seeing that picture made me mad. I hated what I'd done to myself. I had to do something about it. I didn't want to spend my 30's hating myself anymore. I didn't want to tell Brandon that I had nothing I liked about myself. I've told him so many times that I can't see what he sees in me. I knew he hated it when I would talk like that. But when you habitually tell yourself you're disgusting, you don't look like you should and nobody really thinks you're pretty so you should just eat whatever you want because there's no point in caring, you don't realize the damage you're doing to the people around you. With his encouragement I've slowly made changes. I still have my moments, but I've stopped giving into the self-hate. Since the beginning of June I've lost 30 lbs. I have a goal to lose 20 more by December. I was worried for a while that if I didn't reach that goal I'd revert back to old habits, but I know I won't. Taking the step to stop hating myself was hard. But it gave me the courage and strength to face my past and accept that I can have a brighter future. I no longer feel I have to keep silent.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
I was 11 when my grandma died. I was devastated. I loved her so much. She was the cutest old lady. Half Chinese, half Hawaiian and she loved old southern gospel music. She'd sit in her recliner, turn on the Grand Ole Opry and sing along. I loved watching it with her. I remember her hugs and gross old lady kisses. She worked at Denny's on Main St and Drew would take me to see her for dinner. Her coworkers would sneak me extra fries or make me a root beer float. They were really sweet and always made me feel special. Grandma would give them a little smack for giving me so many extra things but always laughed it off. She had her Hawaiian accent despite living on the mainland for so long and I always envied it. I didn't like not being able to talk like her. I'd try but end up sounding like an idiot. Have you heard of pigeon English? If not, YouTube search it and listen. I love it. My grandma and Drew hardly argued in front of me so I assumed they had a great marriage. They'd joke around with each other and have a good time. I loved those moments. She baked and cooked a lot. If there was a cake in the oven she wouldn't let me in the kitchen because it needed silence while it was baking. I never understood that and thought she was being silly. Until one day when I didn't know she was baking and I went in the kitchen for a drink. I shut the cabinet loudly and she came running in, angrily checking on her cake. It had sunk in the middle and she was so mad at me. She yelled at me to get out of the kitchen. That's the only time I remember her getting upset with me. We spent a lot of time at home alone because Drew worked from the morning until 11pm. We'd stay up late so we could sit with him while he ate dinner. For a while I enjoyed the normalcy of it. I wanted it to be like that all the time. But after Drew finished eating it'd be time for bed. I had my own bedroom with a cute bed but I had to sleep in their room. My grandma had a twin size bed next to Drew's big bed. I'd sleep there with him. After we all tucked in I'd try to get to sleep before Drew started messing with me. Sometimes I'd fake being asleep but he'd get right up behind me and whisper in my ear that he knew I was awake. He'd slip off his underwear and rub on me until he was hard. When my grandma started snoring he'd make his move and demand silence. I stayed as quiet as I could or he'd put a pillow over my head. I never wanted my grandma to know what was going on because she didn't have the best health. I was worried knowing would make her more sick and Drew told me if anyone found out about what he was doing he'd have to leave for a long time then my grandma wouldn't have her meds, which would kill her. Her poor health eventually made her quit work. She ended up in dialysis. Sometimes I'd go sit with her while she was there because it she wanted company. She always talked about Jesus and how good He is, and she couldn't wait to get to heaven. It made me sad because it was getting obvious she didn't have much time left. So I made a promise to myself that I'd tell on Drew after she died. She ended up living for a bit longer than I thought she would, and her death caught me off guard. All I know is she died during surgery. I got to the hospital with Drew but didn't know the news yet. We walked up to the room she was in and my brother was standing outside the door. He pulled me into a hug and that's how I knew. She'd left the house for surgery her usual bubbly self and a few hours later was gone. I was so sad and felt some relief because now I didn't have to keep my secret any longer. I planned on waiting until her funeral was over and life to get back to normal before I said anything. But fear kept me from saying anything for a couple of months and in that time Drew hadn't touched me. I thought maybe he was done. So I didn't say anything.
It wasn't until I was 22 or 23 when I realized there was a chance my grandma knew. It was a painful thought so I forced myself to stop wondering. But now I have to accept that she in all likelihood knew. I can't imagine how she didn't. And I'm faced with accepting that under her sweet grandma exterior was a woman who had some reason to turn her head at the obvious abuse. When I was 5 I told my mom that "Papa and I have a secret". I didn't know about this until recently but when my mom went to confront her about it she told my mom to not believe me. If she said anything to the police Drew would kill himself. In the end I was too scared to tell CPS the truth and answer their questions so the abuse continued. I wish I could go back to me as a child and help her to be strong and have the courage to get it out.