Archive for the ‘Walking the Tightrope’ Category

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Drunk at 11

January 11, 2010

I got drunk for the first time when I was 11 years old.

Some slightly older friends took me to a corner bar in Heidelberg, Germany, and the bartender handed me a Bacardi and Coke.

Being drunk made me feel free.  Free from my anxiety and my pre-teen insecurities.  I laughed, I danced, I learned to shoot pool and throw darts.

But it also made me feel out of control.  As though I was watching myself from somewhere else in the room, with no say in how the evening would proceed.

I decided, then and there, that getting drunk wasn’t my thing, no matter how much fun it was.

Only a few short months later, at the age of 12, I was raped.

Not in a bar, not in an alley, not on a train or even in the dark of night.  It was in my friend’s bedroom, on a cold, crisp, winter day. 

I wasn’t dressed provocatively.  I wore a white turtle neck, black cotton dress pants, and black boots that went click-clack when I walked across tile.  Hung carefully on a chair was the grey Member’s Only jacket I borrowed from my Daddy.

After that, I learned how to drink just enough to numb the pain.  At the age of 12, I quickly found the line between buzzed enough to feel good and drunk.

Alcohol was my crutch, the thing I turned to when I didn’t feel like life was worth living.  With it coursing through my veins, I could be a different person, one who knew nothing of fear and rape and shame.

I gave it up, eventually.  Even in my extreme youth, I knew it wasn’t the answer to my problems.  

Instead, I put my pain in a box, built a brick wall around it and walked away, hoping that if I didn’t have to look at it, I’d forget it existed.

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Out of the Abyss

December 29, 2009
I walked through life upon a tight rope.

At times, it was 10 feet wide.  Others, it was mere millimeters. 

I fell, silently.  My voice was stolen at the age of 12.  I was unable to cry for help.

Below, an abyss.  A deep, dark, prickly place.

I was walking along, happier than I’d been for some time, when I stumbled.

The abyss was waiting for me, with its greedy claws outstretched.

*

This time, I clung to the rope above me.  I didn’t want to fall.  Not this time.  Please, not this time.

I clung.  Limp.  Barely holding on.  Invisible to those passing by.

But youYou.  You know who you are.  You noticed.  You stopped.  You grabbed onto what remained of my self, and you pulled with all your might.  You didn’t know why.  You didn’t know how, but you pulled against the abyss, anyway. 

I know you hear me say thank you.  But can you ever know what it means to me to be pulled, unscathed, from the abyss?  It almost swallowed me whole for the millionth time, and you saved me.  You helped me to find my voiceThank you will never be enough.

And Nic.  You changed my life with your story.  We are sisters, you and I.  Sisters of sorrow, of grief and of unimaginable pain, but also of survival.  Your strength gives me hope for the future.

Quieter than the squeak of a field mouse, I spoke.  Filled with anger, my voice rose.

You heard me.  You stopped.  You listened.  You gave me strength.  Every one of you.

Melissa and Duchess and Sautter and Cindy and Kendra and Neena and Issa and Stacey and Nic and Tracy and Meghan and Jenna and PB and Jazz and Megan and Habanero Gal and Marinka and Heather C. and Kellee and Krissy and Eileen and Samantha and Tricia and Vixen and Lora and Kathy and Greis and Maura and Heather and Katie and Kirsten and Al_Pal and Kari and Kate and Stoneskin and Susan.  And always, always, my husband.  My trapeze artist, trying to catch me.

The abyss is still there.  It will always be there.

For twenty years, it was a deep and lonely chasm I walked above, never knowing when I might fall. 

Always, I wondered when my happiness would be taken from me.

But now.  There is a safety net below me.

The abyss has lost its power.

Thank you.

Originally Posted at The Sweet Life 8/11/2009 8:27 pm

Comments:

  • 8/11/2009 9:41 PM PrincessJenn wrote:
    You are stronger than you know. And more inspiring than you could ever imagine. Thank you for being brave enough to tell your story. (HUGS)
     
  • 8/12/2009 4:14 AM melissa wrote:
    Just know that you are getting stronger and more powerful with each word you write. xoxo
     
  • 8/12/2009 4:41 AM cat wrote:
    That was beautiful. I’m sure you have helped people out of their own abysses, as well.
     
  • 8/12/2009 6:52 AM cindy w wrote:
    Oh sweetie. I’m glad it helped, but seriously, don’t sell yourself short. You saved yourself. You are incredibly strong to have not only survived, but flourished. You kick ass. {big hugs}
     
  • 8/12/2009 7:15 AM AmazingGreis wrote:
    XOXO – I’m here anytime you need ANYTHING!!!
     
  • 8/12/2009 8:36 AM Headless Mom wrote:
    Your husband is there, we’re here. Always. To catch you, but YOU did the work. Continue to kick the abyss in the ass. We’ll celebrate all the successes together!
     
  • 8/12/2009 8:47 AM nic wrote:
    weeping tears of joy for you, my sister, my friend.
     
  • 8/12/2009 9:20 AM Neena wrote:
    bravo, my friend. bravo. If I could toast you right now I’d always wish for the existence of strong safety nets!
     
  • 8/12/2009 9:25 AM avasmommy wrote:
    You are filled with strength. You just didn’t know it. It takes courage to write about what happened to you. You found your voice, and you used it. I am proud of you.
     
  • 8/12/2009 9:49 AM Susan wrote:
    Cheers to nets of any shape, size and sort! Glad to be here for you, but YOU are the one who has done all the hard work. And you should be so proud of yourself for it.I am.
     
  • 8/12/2009 2:36 PM Issa wrote:
    Andrea, you are amazing. Sweet, funny, kind, awesome and just amazing. But this? You did this for yourself. You opened up and poured your words onto this page and you helped yourself. You never know who you could have helped with that post. Writing what you did is one of the bravest things you could have done. Truly.Still…we’re here for you whenever you need it. That’s what friends are for. To help you when you need it; pick you up when you need it and make fun of you when you get drunk at dinner.
     
  • 8/12/2009 5:22 PM jessica wrote:
    In my lifetime I don’t think I will ever write that eloquently.
     
  • 8/12/2009 9:23 PM Kathy wrote:
    You are a strong women and never alone. Blog world has saved me in many ways, you are always amongst friends.
     
  • 8/12/2009 11:26 PM Maura wrote:
    You humble me. Your strength is extraordinary. Love you.
     
  • 8/13/2009 10:55 AM Vixen wrote:
    I have no fear in being part of your safety net, because you won’t fall. Your power is within you, and has been, just waiting to be released. Much love to you. The abyss is powerless now.
  • 8/13/2009 8:06 PM anymommy wrote:
    I agree with everyone else, the strength is yours, my darling, but I’m happy to hold your hand while you muster it. Any time.
  • 8/17/2009 10:47 AM habanerogal wrote:
    I am so glad to be a part of the big human net that we can reach out to each other and hold on through the universe
     
  • 8/19/2009 7:45 PM Kari wrote:
    Thank you for sharing your voice with us.Love you!
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    Thief

    December 29, 2009
    I want him to know what he did to me.  Beyond raping me, what he did to my psyche.  To my self worth.
    I want him to know he’s the reason I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror.

    More than that, I want him to feel badly for what he did to me.  What he stole from me.

    I want him to hurt, deep inside, knowing that he, a grown man, changed the course of a 12 year old girl’s life and walked away as if nothing had happened.

    If he’s married, I want his wife to know every detail so that she can look at him and see the monster I saw in 10 years worth of nightmares.

    I hope he has a 12 year old daughter, so that he can look at her an imagine a man doing to her, what he did to me.  

    If his kids are little, I want him to lay awake at night, afraid of his daughters meeting a man like him.  A man who will stalk them like prey, who will weave a web and catch them in it so that he can suck the life right out of them and spit them out as though they are nothing but garbage.  I want him to take that fear right out of my head, so he can see what he did to me.

    Twenty years has passed.  I’ve never sought counseling.  I’ve never dealt with being a victim. 

    And I know now, why I haven’t. 

    I’m afraid.  Afraid to voice what I’ve thought all these years: that I deserve what he did to me.

    I’ve worked my ass off to be the best person I can be.  Trying to prove to myself that I’m worth something.  I’ve only just realized, that so much I’ve accomplished in my life has been because I was compensating for being raped.

    I didn’t deserve what he did to me.  No more than someone crossing the street deserves to be run over by a drunk driver.  I have to come to terms with that. 

    Who I am is more than what he made of me.  I deserve to move on with my life.

    I deserve to look in the mirror and see what other people see, for the first time in 20 years.

     
    Originally Posted at The Sweet Life 8/7/09 10:56 am
    Comments:
    8/7/2009 11:55 AM melissa wrote:
    I wish I had words. I don’t. I’m sorry. You are extremely brave. Hugs and love to you right now.
     

    I’m proud of you for speaking out. Big hugs, lady.
     

  • 8/7/2009 1:26 PM Headless Mom wrote:
    (((hugs)))
  • The first step is what you’ve just done. Beginning to talk about it. You are way more than what he did to you.

    You are a brave woman, and I love you immensely.
     

  • 8/7/2009 1:27 PM Neena wrote:
    Your courage is amazing. There is a special place in my heart for you :o)
     
  • 8/7/2009 1:45 PM Issa wrote:
    Andrea, you are so amazing. To write this, to share with the world; it’s nothing short of bravery. You didn’t deserve this, no child ever does.
  • I met you and you are a sweet, amazing, beautiful woman who I wished I could spend more time getting to know. Tons of hugs darlin.
     

  • 8/7/2009 2:03 PM anymommy wrote:
    You do win. You are a stunning woman, a true friend, a fabulous mom, so much more than what he stole from you. But, you deserve to grieve for the little girl he abused and you deserve all your fury against his evil. Love.
     
  • 8/7/2009 2:23 PM nic wrote:
    you are not a victim… you were… you are now a survivor.
     
  • 8/7/2009 2:26 PM Tracy wrote:
    I am so sorry that this happened to you. You are so brave. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  • * hugs *
     

  • 8/7/2009 2:59 PM AMomTwoBoys wrote:
    Wow.
  • I was thinking exactly what Nic said.

    SURVIVOR.

    That’s what you are. I’m here if you ever need to talk.

    xoxo
     

  • 8/7/2009 2:59 PM avasmommy wrote:
    Andrea, you were never to blame, or deserving of what happened to you.
    I hope you find some healing now.
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:00 PM PB and Jazz wrote:
    You are a brave beautiful person. I am so sorry you had to experience what you did and so young. Thank you for sharing.
  • 8/7/2009 3:01 PM Undomestic Diva wrote:
    Wow. You are so brave. And so right. You deserve to see what I see when I look/talk/read you… someone amazing.
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:06 PM habanerogal wrote:
    Amazing and so thought provoking.
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:09 PM Marinka wrote:
    You are an amazing survivor. I’m sorry that you’ve had such pain. I feel lucky to know you. xo
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:10 PM The Mother Tongue wrote:
    You are a strong, amazing, beautiful survivor. *hugs*
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:10 PM Kellee wrote:
    Andrea, we all think you are incredible. I know can also see how amazingly brave you are. You are beautiful and strong, and you deserve to see that in yourself. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. *hug*
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:12 PM Krissy wrote:
    You truly are amazing. ((Hugs))
     
  • 8/7/2009 3:31 PM Eileen wrote:
    You are so brave and strong…..
  • and just amazing for being able to share this.

    I cannot imagine how hard this was.
     

  • 8/7/2009 3:34 PM samantha wrote:
    Such powerful words from such a brave person.
     
  • 8/7/2009 5:11 PM Tricia irishsamom wrote:
    You are awesome and brave just the way you are. You have taken the first step just writing about it. And you should know that it was NEVER EVER anything to do with you. You were a victim then but you are now a wonderful, brave, amazing woman. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you how much I hurt for you. I think this will mean so much in your journey of healing. Be proud of yourself and hold your head high. *hugs and more hugs*
     
  • 8/7/2009 5:40 PM Vixen wrote:
    You are a survivor. I would welcome you to the club (I, too, am one), but I really wish I didn’t have to. This opening up is the first step on your road, bravo. And hugs and love too.
     
  • 8/7/2009 5:42 PM Lora wrote:
    Andrea, absolutely you did not deserve it. You are brave to post this, and you deserve to seek counseling, to be released from the pain of it. I wish you all the best in your journey.
     
  • 8/7/2009 8:52 PM Kathy wrote:
    Andrea you are brave and should be proud of the women, mother and wife you have become. You are not a victim but a survivor. My he rot in hell! Hugs!
     
  • 8/7/2009 9:00 PM AmazingGreis wrote:
    You have just won. Your courage and strength to speak out and share your story is amazing. This is the first step in healing yourself. You will likely never forget, but to be able to speak about it will help immensely.
  • You are a beautiful, smart, outgoing and amazing woman. I’m so lucky to have met you and to consider you a friend. I’m a phone call away if you EVER need anything.

    I love to listen and give really good virtual hugs.

    XOXO
     

  • 8/7/2009 11:20 PM Maura wrote:
    I am so indescribably proud of you. Now you just need to let your head listen to your heart so you will see the woman we see. Love you.
  • 8/8/2009 10:21 AM heather… wrote:
    I see you. Strong, ferocious, tenacious. An amazing wife, a fantastic mother, and a giving friend. I am so, so sorry that you had this happen to you, but I am so, so proud that you are speaking out and reclaiming YOU.
     
  • 8/8/2009 11:50 AM Overflowing Brain wrote:
    You and I had similar blogging weeks. Good for you, you’re not alone.
  • xo

  • 8/8/2009 7:10 PM Kirsten wrote:
    You are so brave to write this. So brave.
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    Coming

    December 29, 2009
    I can feel it coming.

    Like a storm cloud off in the distance.

    It rumbles and rolls, inside my head and my heart.

    I hate that it can still do this to me.

    I wish I could leave the past in the past.

    If there were a pill I could take that would wash it away, I would take a dozen.

    I can feel it coming.

    I have to say I’m sorry, in advance, for what may appear here in the coming days.  Weeks?

    I have to let it out.  It has stormed inside of me for far too long.

    Twenty years of letting it beat me down, and finally, I will conquer it. 

    I’m ready to fight.

    This time, I will win.

    I will win.

    Originally Posted at The Sweet Life 8/7/09 9:44 am

    Comments:

  • 8/7/2009 9:55 AM Maura wrote:
    You don’t have to say you’re sorry for letting your words out in your own space. Ever.
     
  • 8/7/2009 1:01 PM cindy w wrote:
    Everybody here is rooting for you, hon. Say/do whatever you need to say/do to take care of yourself. xoxo
     
  • 8/7/2009 1:48 PM Issa wrote:
    You don’t have to apologize for any of it. No matter what you need to say…and yes, I’m reading backwards…but still. This is your space, love. Write whatever you need too. Your words are beautiful and you are as well.
  • 8/7/2009 2:24 PM nic wrote:
    you are winning! you are! keep writing, unapologetically. 
  • 8/7/2009 8:49 PM AmazingGreis wrote:
    You WILL win! And you don’t have to apologize to me!!!Hope all is well, you know where to find me if you need anything.

    XOXO
     

  • 8/7/2009 8:53 PM Kathy wrote:
    You are winning and some day I hope the storm passes.
     
  • 8/8/2009 1:39 PM melissa wrote:
    This is how you will win and we are all on your team. Keep writing and DO NOT apologize.
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    Relationships are like Teabags

    December 29, 2009

    There is a knot in my stomach and it won’t go away.  Something is afoot. 

    I fill my cup with steaming hot water and open the pantry to choose my tea.  The pantry is tidy, I have chosen my teas wisely and kept them organized.  I peruse the flavors – black, white, green, herbal, fruit infused, peppermint, decaf, caf, plain old Lipton.  Tea from China, tea from England, tea from South America.  Some have shiny wrappers and promise to do amazing things for my health.  Others are old and dusty, all the way at the back.  Still others are believed to contain traces of toxins, but the memory of their delicious flavor keeps them out of the trash.

    It’s been a rough day so far, so I choose one of my favorites.  Its flavor is consistent and strong.

    I dip the teabag and watch as the tea mixes with the hot water, making swirls and creating something soothing for me to drink.  I marvel at how relationships are a lot like teabags – you never know their true worth until they’ve been put through hot water.

    Throughout the day, I need cup after cup of tea.  I line up the cups, amazed that just one teabag made almost every one.  It is even stronger than I ever imagined.  I am soothed, and grateful.

    As I pass the pantry, a dusty teabag leaps from the shelf and into my hand.  I place it in the next cup of hot water, and it makes a beautiful cup of tea, full of nostalgic aroma.  I weep for having left it neglected for so long.

    The day is hard, but my cups of tea see me through.  They ease the worry and the pain, and help me to see that tomorrow will be another day.  A fairly new and as-yet unopened package of tea falls to the floor at my feet, and as I put ot away in the pantry – sure it is not ready to be a cup of tea today, of all days – it gently places itself in my cup.  Again, tears fall as I drink the strong and stable tea.

    My husband and I lay in the darkness, comparing the cups of tea we have consumed.  We don’t know what the days ahead will bring, but we find comfort in the fact that we are doing what is right for the one we love, whose life is spiraling out of control.

    The sun shines through the window.  It’s a new day, the knot in its secure place in my stomach.  I walk into my office to find many cups of tea waiting for me, the bags having taken it upon themselves to come in from the pantry.  I smile, knowing I am loved, and hope the tea I make for others is even half as good.

    I sit, and drink my tea.

    Originally posted at The Sweet Life 1/30/2009 5:51 am

    Comments:

    heartatpreschool (Kari) wrote:
    Love this post, and the comparison of teas to relationships.

    There is something so soothing about tea, moreso than any other hot drink. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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    The Price of Silence

    December 29, 2009
    The sun glints off the tip of my scalpel as I prepare to make an incision.  I hesitate – is this really necessary?  A quick nod, and seconds later the sharp blade pierces the skin above my heart. 
    I remove the slippery, pulsating organ and place it gently on a platter made of fine, polished silver.

    “We need to talk,” I whisper, poking an aorta with my gloved finger.

    My heart says nothing, just continues its rhythmic beating as if it were still encased in my chest.

    I take a deep breath and begin the meticulous dissection of my warm heart.  They must be in there, somewhere.  The place that pounds when I see billows of smoke in the distance, even if it’s only visible when my eyes are closed.  The spot that squeezes when I see a pregnant woman, and I don’t even understand why.   The general area that leaps into my throat when I think my dark thoughts in the middle of a sunny day.  They must be silenced, for they won’t listen to reason.

    My search is in vain.  All that sits upon the tray is bloody, cut up meat where a perfectly performing heart once was.  Disappointed, I place the mess back into the gaping hole in my rib cage, and close it with my needle and thread.

    “I was afraid this might happen, ” I say quietly, and make my way to the bathroom.  I wash the scalpel, wipe it dry. 

    My eyes travel upward with the arc of my hand.  A single drop of blood splashes on the counter top as I make the first of many cuts that will lead me to my brain.  It must be silenced, for it won’t listen to reason.

    Originally Posted at The Sweet Life 9/4/2008 7:50 pm

    Comments:

    • 9/4/2008 9:16 PM jesse wrote:
      yeah now you’re speaking my language. im glad im not the only one with a darkside. but we must do our very best, every day, to keep those thoughts and feelings in check cause if the beast does get loose…..it’s hard to put back in the cage.
    • 9/5/2008 1:21 AM sheasy wrote:
      I like this. Excellent.
       
    • 9/5/2008 3:19 AM Black Hockey Jesus wrote:
      Yeah that’s nice. I love it when a narrator is doing wild stuff or wild stuff is happening and the writing is all nonchalant. That last line was a kicker too. That’s how you wanna go out.
       
    • 9/5/2008 12:13 PM anymommy wrote:
      If you find where those spots are, will you let me know so I just get straight to them. This was haunting and scary and true. I hope you’ve gotten past the worst now.I went back and read about your harrowing experience after your birth last year. Trauma like that isn’t banished easily. Keep writing about it!
    • 9/5/2008 2:25 PM Christina wrote:
      Beautiful! What a strong voice.
       
    • 9/6/2008 7:01 AM Mama Ginger Tree wrote:
      The more I learn about you, the more I am intrigued. Excellent writing.This is what I love about reading blogs. There is so much more to people than what you may see in their flicker photo stream.
    • 9/7/2008 4:26 PM Susan wrote:
      I get it. I really do. 
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    A Life of Sunshine

    December 29, 2009

    I wrote this when I was 16.  It’s a poem of rebirth – of finding the strength to break through the binds that hold.  It was originally written without punctuation, but it’s hard to find the rhythm of it if you don’t know where to pause.  I’ve tried to punctuate accordingly, but there is supposed to be a slight pause at the end of each line. 

    Each day as I wake
    from a lifeless sleep,
    I wish for a change
    or a life I can keep.
    How will I know
    when my thoughts
    are for real.
    My sunshine, my light
    does it know how I feel?
    When my mind opens up
    to accept each new day,
    do I push it closed,
    do I find my way?
    Hours of darkness
    take all my light.
    My heart takes a trip
    it leaves for the night.
    I’m left all alone
    to deal with my dreams.
    Do I bring them on?
    Do I cause these screams?
    Warmth on my face
    wakes me from death.
    The sun, it has risen.
    I breathe my first breath.
    Pride fills my heart,
    I know it’s at home.
    Returned without scars,
    it survived on its own.
    The feeling of triumph
    awakens my soul.
    A smile on my face,
    this night took its toll.
    Another day gone;
    another survived.
    Though pain may take over,
    I’m never deprived.
    I know I can make it
    if I can stay strong.
    Look to the sun,
    I’ll never go wrong.

    Originally Posted at The Sweet Life 5/4/08 7:10 am

    ~No Comments~