Beyond Lady Pandora – Episode12a – The Men In My Life – Beyond Lady Pandora
There are certain things that you must understand in order to understand my story. First, that I was raised to hate myself and those I came from, to feel inferior, to fear. Secondly, you must understand that the others in my head feel as if they have always been there and are therefore completely natural to me. Thirdly, I have trouble communicating. I studied communication, I understand it, I speak well and write well yet it as if I speak another language. For example, if I am asked if a pain is shooting or aching, I might not understand. Shooting to me means starting and stopping quickly like shooting a gun, sharp and fast. I may describe a shooting pain as a twinging feeling, like a plucked violin string. Some things I feel are described better by colors, like my pain is bright pink or I am overwhelmed by whooshing. I’m not hearing wind, I mean that is how it feels. The fact that I see and understand things differently than many means that it makes communication difficult and others get frustrated with me. It’s just part of who I am.
Many things happened throughout my first marriage. He pawned our wedding rings for money. I remember cowering a lot. There was a lot o pain and fear involved. I was scared to dress up, to go out, to do anything without him because he might get jealous and hurt me. I was the perfect victim for his anger, I’d been raised to be a victim. He had been abused as a child by his father and many others, abandoned by his mother. We both had demons, the difference was that he was an aggressor who chose alcohol, drugs, gambling and everything else he could to fill those holes. I was trying to crawl my way up and out of the hole I was born in. When we had kids, I grew up and he did not. His friends enabled him and he made sure I had no friends to isolate me. I loved him beyond words and leaving him hurt me deeply. I did what I had to do for my children. Better I suffer than them, always.
There are a few noteable important moments that occurred during our marriage that I have not yet mentioned. One of those is when my youngest son was still a young toddler, a baby in my thoughts. It was hot summer, the apartment was stuffy really and his crib was by the window but it was closed. The landlord had promised to come put a screen up but had not yet so I kept it closed. This is why the crib was near the window, it was safe. I was doing the dishes in the kitchen, just in the next room and my youngest son was napping, which was rare. It was just a nice, peaceful moment. My oldest son, also a toddler, only a year older was playing with his toys quietly and watching children’s shows on the tv in the Livingroom. I did not notice him quietly go by me to see the baby. I did not notice him quietly open the window because he was worried his brother would get hot. My youngest did not make one single sound after his brother left when he woke up, nor when he went out the window. It was two stories down to a concrete parking lot. I was happily doing dishes when the knock came on my back door which was really weird because that was the fire escape. It was the landlord saying a baby was outside. I assured him my boy was napping and went to show him. When I saw the open window, the curtain hanging in the breeze and the empty crib…I screamed like a wounded animal. I flew down the stairs in a wild state, I barely touched them, I have never run so fast in my life. Tears clouded my eyes as I raced outside, locating a crowd, bowling my way through them to get to my child. He was miraculously ok with only one hurt leg. A very tiny think stuffy my grandmother had given him went out with him and somehow, he had landed on his feet with the bunny under one foot minimizing his fall. I was still scared crapless not knowing how lucky he was, terrified of internal injuries. 911 had been called and I waited with him calming him or trying to without moving him. Strangers were yelling orders at me and I was like a bear with a wounded cub. The ambulance came and strapped him to a board and we got in. On the way to the hospital, I broke down in tears. The medic told me if I did not stop crying, they would have to have me leave. I looked at them in total disbelief.
Now, understand, I lived in a very poor area. Primarily, single mothers and criminals and those down on their luck. It was what I could afford. I did not really know the people because I was busy with my children all the time. So, I was really taken aback when I was later told that the news had interviewed people in the area and one said they saw me throw my child out the window, others claimed they knew me and I was a drunk and drug addict, others claimed I was abusive. Not a single one knew me or told the truth at all. They all just wanted to be on tv and feel important. But see, I had no idea this was happening because I was beside my child as he was being tested and scanned for injuries, waiting with my heart on the ground to hear each result. My oldest was with his father who had been asleep on the couch, visiting. When I discovered he had only a closed fracture of the tibia on one leg, I was both grateful and horrified because he was in pain and hurt. I was alone and trying to hold myself together as I signed all of the forms quickly so he could get treatment faster because he was my baby. He got pain meds, a bed, then a cast and I slept there, stayed there, lived there but remember, I had rushed there in the ambulance. I had nothing. No clothing, no toys for him, nothing. I had no money, I was poor and broke. I could not sleep, I was terrified something would happen to him when I was not looking. My husband would not come bring my oldest who was crying to see us, I needed to make sure he was ok. I was alone, getting smelly, half out of my mind and so hungry after a couple of days living off a couple small items I could afford with my change. I begged the nurses to get someone to watch him for a couple of hours so I could go home fast, see my son, grab some stuff, eat something fast and come back… all by bus. They got some volunteer and I was told to hurry and I did but buses take a little time. I get back and I’m being yelled at, I was not long at all. I was told I was an awful mother for leaving and that he had tried to crawl out of bed. I explained I had asked, they said the volunteer could not stay. I was confused, tired and pissed off. Nothing I did was good enough, they stared at me horribly, I was quite aware of them watching. One time, as he slept, I went very near to a phone asking the nurses to watch if he woke. They said ok and I made a fast phone call to my oldest to check on him. I came back before they expected and someone had a couple in my son’s room. I froze, horrified. What the hell was going on. I rushed to get to him, the nurses were alarmed and the people hurried out of his room. I stood at his doorway, staring back at the nurses. I was not stupid. I refused to leave him for even a second and took a deep breath. I took him to the phone with me and did the one thing I did not want to do. I called my family. I called my father, my husband, my mother, my aunt…I called all of my abusers because it was that or lose my child. They all showed up and filled the room, a barrier between us and them. I asked the nurses for papers to sign him out and was informed that I was under investigation by the hospital. I had already been informed by the police that a full investigation had been completed by them with child services and that they had closed that case as accidental because my son had told them what happened. I had not known what happened until then, how that window got opened. I did not blame him, he was very young. So, I called child services and they yelled at the nurses telling them that they had no right to over-ride formal investigations and findings. The police told them to release me. My father demanded our immediate release and finally, I even offered to give custody to my father if necessary to get us out of their clutches. They relented and let us go. My baby was traumatized, I was traumatized and we went home. It was a nightmare from start to finish. I cared for my children, their father blamed me and threatened my life, my oldest son was feeling guilty about it all. It was a mess but with love, care, and time…my baby healed and walked and my oldest stopped blaming himself and once again I had things under control until their father got beaten nearly to death as I explained before. People avoided me for good reason, they had lied about me to the authorities and the news and had been proven beyond all doubt to be liars. We kept to ourselves.
When I got a job for an agency as a secretary and temped at a nearby office, I had hoped things would look up. My sons were in local daycare but I was hoping to better our lives. I was treated poorly at work, most of the staff were of middle-upper class and could tell by my clothes that I was not plus, I was a temp. I worked hard, nothing mattered but my kids. When a job posting opened, I applied. However, my children got chicken pox at daycare and had to stay home and I was a single mother. This meant, I had to call in to work and the agency made demands I go to work. I told them outright, I had no one and I would be with my kids until they were well. They could not go to daycare. I cared for them day and night with barely any sleep between, they were sick and then things got worse. I took my youngest to the doctor for days in a row, I knew something was wrong. Finally, I carried him in my arms walking with my youngest to an office by the hospital and demanded we been seen. I told them I thought my youngest son was dying. One scan later, we were in the hospital, it had turned into pneumonia and one lung was nearly full. The doctor said I saved his life and was furious with the other doctor. I was terrified but he got better and after a few days, we went home. During this time, both the agency and the office were calling and threatening my job regardless of the fact that it was easily proven that I had no option. I told them to fire me, to go for it. Once my children were ok and could return to daycare, I returned to my job and a hostile environment. They gave the job to someone else, they made fun of my clothing and my even hoping they might hire me. The made my days hell. Finally, beaten down and traumatized by everything that occurred, I called in and told them I was taking a day off ill. They told me I was fired. I said fine. Then, they demanded I come in. I quit. I was tired of the whole matter. My kids came first. I’d find a new job. My time with my kids was more precious than gold to me, cuddling, playing or just taking care of them. They were everything.
I honestly believe that I would be dead if I had not had children. Honestly, I’d given up on life. I had tried very hard but I was very damaged and very sad. When my children were born, they gave me reason to live, reason to try more, to push harder, to keep going. Everything was about them, trying to give them a good life and ensuring they always felt loved. I just wanted to give them a good life. It was hard.
Right before I left my husband, my Mother had moved in with us, she lived in a room in our basement. I had decided to give her another chance, she claimed she had changed and I wanted to believe it. I wanted my children to have a grandmother. She put on a good show at first, she was helpful with the kids when asked and seemed stable. One day, I left her with them for just a couple of hours, not long. I forget why but I honestly believed that she was changed. I came home and heard her screaming in the basement followed by a crash and I flew down the stairs in a panic to find my two young children up on her couch. Thank the goddess they were fine, just scared. She was throwing glass plates, smashing them on the floor, screaming at them. When she saw me, she stopped, seeing the look in my eyes. It was like she was frozen. I took the children upstairs and calmed them, set them to watching a movie and went down to her quickly. I asked her what on earth she thought she was doing, with a lot more cursing. She started crying and playing the victim saying the kids were so awful and so bad. I told her to pack her shit and get out, that she was an adult and she obviously was not mentally stable. I told her to get help and stay out of our lives until she did. I went back to my children. I felt like a fool, like a bad mother. I had really believed her. I took everything very harshly, anything that I could see as a complete failure on my part, I did. I was constantly hard on myself because to me, they were literally all that mattered. The fact that everyone around me also blamed me really just reinforced it and I felt I deserved it all. I was constantly striving to be a good mother, a better mother, I had to do better…always. My children were happy, they were healthy, and still.. I felt like a failure and a fraud. I was determined to end this cycle of abuse that generations of my family line had suffered. They would not experience it. They would not be me. Beyond being a good mother to them, I had zero plans or hopes. I just had to provide for my children and make their lives better.