Shaming the Survivor (Trigger Warning and Foul Language Warning)

It is everywhere, the societal shaming of people. I could title this victim shaming or victim blaming yet, there is an aspect to being a survivor beyond the aspects of being a victim. The part of me that is a survivor identifies with John McClain, it wants to die hard if it has to die at all. The part of me that identifies as a victim couldn’t fight hard enough to survive. Same coin, two sides. When I advocate I must be a survivor, the victim aspect is too fragile to risk exposing to the shame.

You may have already run into this, at least once in your life. Something happens to you, and instead of being happy that you are alive, someone you know or must deal with reacts with disgust that you had to do things to survive, things that hurt you or went against the grain of society. The person that defends herself against a violent man and hurts him is not lauded but is feared by the patriarchy. Society moves to shame the survivors, keep it hidden away, don’t talk about it. This aspect leaks into other things. Surviving rape is immediately putting yourself at risk of being accused of deserving it. Rape can be deadly, therefore, to live you must have given in slightly, this is the myth. You asked for it and enjoyed it or you would be dead right? Wrong.

There is overlap with victim blaming yet, I haven’t come across a discussion about shaming the survivor. In a country/culture that has fat shame, thin shame, skin color shame, hair shame, race shame, gender shame, sex shame… it is hard pressed to find anything that is not seen as shameful. Other things are never acknowledged. Perhaps it is in that the feminists who are able bodied or did not endure domestic violence or… (insert qualifier here) cannot put it into ideas. Perhaps it is that these same women who attempt to speak for everyone with a vagina but only if they were born that way and are able bodied and white… do just that. They exclude. Before I was disabled I felt excluded because I  have survived. I felt shamed for having questions and not having picked up books on the subject. My nascent moment of identifying with the feminists died the moment one of them shamed me. I remember the words, the tone, and the sting. The woman was old enough to be my mother, she was blond, tall, and pretty. The topic was how to raise awareness about domestic violence, which resonated with me. I asked this question: “What if we pooled some money or raised funding via grants to open a shelter that gives access to women who aren’t married?” I hadn’t been homeless as an adult yet, I hadn’t known I would be in a sinking boat. I went further, the room had fallen silent so I stood up. In that moment I was appearing as able bodied, straight, white, and pretty by the societal standards. “Most of the shelters in our city cater only to those with children, and there needs to be a place for everyone.” That was what they were preaching. I thought the idea would be great. The response instead was as follows.

“Women like us never use shelters, we don’t need them, because we won’t ever lose our jobs or our families.” In that moment, the words said in this acid tongued manner that curdled by gut, I sat down and wondered why they called themselves feminists and why they bothered trying. I was excluded by class, my clothes were fashionable but I was not in the class I appeared to be. I was excluded by experience. Obviously the woman who spoke had never been in need, and in that moment I was cut adrift from feminism. I tried many times to reconnect but, despite some correct things and other incorrect things I did not belong in their puzzle. The ideals fit, but the people did not. There was discussion of how to further how to protect, but never the action that would help lower class (financially and educationally) women. Instead there was a pandering aspect to their own able bodied white privilege.

It hurt. It left me feeling so alone in the world. Months later I was further away from their ideal woman, deserving of help. I began to advocate alone. I have only worked with someone else during my advocacy rarely, because I do not want to be shamed for my experiences and I have yet to find true intersectionality. Sometimes my methods for getting my voice heard horrify people. To me there is nothing wrong with being a bit loud, or refusing to move when the police order me to as long as it is legal for me to do so. I am a rebel with many causes, and I see it everywhere I turn with the larger groups, if I do not fit their expectation of survivor there is shame.

Thankfully advocacy groups are rarely seen from this angle, I know I have the benefit of being a social chameleon, and that cuts down on people accusing me of things, assuming the wrong thing, or I just don’t admit what they do not need to know. I should say didn’t, as, in the last few years I have stopped hiding the parts of me they won’t like. I lost allies, but they weren’t true allies as a result.

I haven’t been shamed for surviving in a long time, but I had put distance between what I had survived and the moments I was living in. I see in my head snapshots of myself through the ages of my life, the phases, and the moments. They tumble down, twisting around each other before they burn up into a cloud of white smoke and I am still me. I let myself grow distant from them, focusing on living. Living became the act of surviving and once again I am being forced to justify my reason for not letting myself be murdered.

I realized that it was an attempt to shame me with the insurance. This week I had to justify the assessment for the wheelchair again. The woman on the phone asked me what I did to damage my body. “I had an abusive caregiver, I was starved and my first chair was damaged. It also never fit my needs or worked properly before that.”

“Uh huh, well did that caregiver beat you because abuse is just not reason enough for us to approve this chair.”

I wanted to scream, curse, cry, and shout. Instead I took a breath and said. “I was starved, are you aware of the ramifications on the body caused by starvation? I had less than 750 calories a day. My body consumed it’s strength to not die. My internal will to live also came into play, when I had to escape said abuser, I had to move. The replacement caregiver was also abusive, so I had to clean the entire apartment myself, I had to lift boxes, and I had to do this or I would have nothing left of my life with no way to replace it. I had to do this with a wheelchair that was broken.”

“So this is a self inflicted injury.” She started to go on and I let myself snarl.

“So you want your clients to just die when the options are injury that further disables them or death?”

She was quiet, I felt my anger and I let it be. I am working on that, as I fear anger. Anger usually means violence. I just felt it. It was about ten seconds, she was obviously thinking.

“No, it was just… you should have asked for help or something!”

It was my fault, in this woman’s mind. I have met her before, she is like the woman who shamed me for having an idea, like the reporter who didn’t understand that the ADA protects her too, and I had the click. Society wants survivors to stay silent, or to take the blame. It’s the same aspect, but in t his case the blame is the act of living itself. It is all tied like a spiderweb to the same isms, over and over again.

“I did, many times over. I begged, I pleaded.” I described the murder kit to her, I described my efforts of cleaning, lifting, dragging, crawling. Then, I turned it towards money. “So, now that you know all that, let me add something else into the mix. The chair will cost you less than the surgery and ER visits needed when I crack my head open because I lost my balance trying to do it your way, check my records I recently went to the ER. That costs you once about as much as the chair. That visit was preventable with treatment. You can approve me or deny me, I know others also have a say but if it comes down to my life being worth less to you than the cost of the chair, I will cost you more because I won’t die. I am a survivor. I plan to live a very long time, and as angry as you are that some disabled person gets help from your taxes… that’s just too damned bad.”

I was told it is too expensive. I was told over and over it is too expensive. My right to the freedom to move is too expensive. Even if it means I might die. I am hoping that my words left HER feeling shame, and anyone who hears the recording of that call. She and her company should be ashamed that my living is less important to them than profiting off of the illnesses of people. The capitalistic nature of my country has caused illness to be comodified. I am not a commodity item to the insurance company but I am to the wheelchair company and in a nursing home my name would be beds. I will now always be poor, but I refuse to be known as cost burden, potential profit or beds.

My name is Kateryna Fury. If you think it is wrong for me to have fought and dug and clawed my way out of abuse more times than I can count, fuck you. You heard me. I am breaking my own personal rules. It makes me edgy mentally to do so, a bit nutty feeling but FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU FOR THINKING THAT IT IS BAD FOR ME TO LIVE. When you break, because everyone does eventually in some way, someone will shame you for not dying. I hope you think for a moment and realize that you did the same over and over again.You are the cause of the term Survivor’s guilt. No one should ever feel guilty for living. EVER. Even bad people have a right to life, maybe you and your epic hatred of all things with a pulse made the person you think is bad act in that manner. Maybe it is all your fault you FUCKER. FUCK YOU.

My name is Kateryna Fury. I am glad to know that you also have survived, that you have fought and clawed and dug your way out of abuse, that you are a survivor. If you are in the act of surviving, then know you are not alone. I am proud of you. Your living has value not just to you but to me. It is so wonderful you want to live. As you recover, remember, you are loved.

I should be doing something else

Right now I should be in bed resting. I should be recording some lines for an audition. I should be writing for my blogging buffer. I should be trying to make a graphic, because I need it to be done sometime last month. I am not. I was watching movies but got creeped out by famous people who got old. My brain just refused to reconcile. (Dune, if you were curious, The one where the desperate housewives dude was Paul Atreides and the story was not so well done… Sorry Mr. Lynch) I should be… but instead I am looking at the wheelchair that I am about to fight my insurance for. Yes, today was the evaluation.

I have been on cloud nine since the evaluator left. He is working on his medical doctorate, and unlike my first spin around he actually listened to my needs. When he entered he took one look at how I sit and said “You need a chair with tilt and recline abilities, and electric. You have pressure sores don’t you.” I felt sort of like a cartoon rodent, either a mouse or a bunny rabbit. I admitted it, and he asked why I don’t move enough, because it matters. I fall off the chair if I do, which is pretty good reason to curl and twist into the same shapes over and over. We had to do the measuring and such, he made sure i did not feel threatened, and took the time to talk to Sprite when she started cursing at him.

Last time we did this I fainted because the man, from another agency, didn’t bother seeing if my needs were met and went for a sale. This same agency ignored the lemon laws, my scooter has been defective since day one. This man, today, used to sell them and told me things about my defunct chair that I had no way of knowing, and he believes it was never sufficent because my needs are not static but obviously declining.

I have to see a physical therapist but his company has one that will come to my home. That is awesome yet disconcerting at the same time, I dislike people in my space after all. The conditions seem most appropriate to try for a new chair, though he did ask why the sudden sharp decline, so we had to go into some of my survival techniques such as moving heavy boxes so I would have dishes. He was a bit horrified when I moved and everything made the snapping sounds, which always amuses me.

It shouldn’t but, it is my normal and sounding like I am made out of popped corn seems to be a part of my entire life. I spent the rest of the day dreaming, after I found out the cost of the sunshade parts I need to replace for this new chair, I can actually afford that. I am avoiding worry over a copay, we will cross that bridge when we get there. We being me and the insurance company. I will find a way.

I even took the time to design a device to give me a little table, a cup holder, some space to hang a bag of stuffs, and a basket. I am considering not buying the Tasket Basket, as a 100 dollar basket seems ridiculous as (censoredy curse words) to me.

I dream that I can ride the bus, which is probably still just a dream but I have to try it. I dream of notbeing thirsty all the time. I dream of being able to sit outside because well, I can get there without falling on my face. I should worry over the money but today? I am going to wait. I will let the fears come so I can start my planning but for now if I worry it will be to my detriment. I have not let myself dream in a while.

a wheelchair with a modern looking sculpted rear tire, seating that is custom fitted to the body. It is red and black.

This is a picture of the chair, it has a seat lift so I can reach taller counters if I need to even. It is not as fast as the scooter but, I won’t be falling forward all the time, my muscles locking into place to keep me there with that nice urge to scream either. This chair gives me the chance to live again. I may return to some of my previous activities or I may find new ones. I can rehearse my lines outside, and the best part is I won’t have to choose to not bathe because I can only take a few steps. I can bathe and curl into myself without pain.

On a side note does anyone want a couch? Mine is going to find itself a new home once I get my chair. I don’t need it anymore! Whoohoo!

Freedom (Trigger Warning)

I have a lot of freedom, compared to many persons with Autism or mental health issues. I have a lot of freedom compared to many disabled persons. I had to fight for my freedoms but I am often left wondering, how much of this do I take for granted?

I eat when I want. In an institution this is not true. I do not take this for granted very often, but when I am ill I take this as a greater virtue. I always take my freedom to prepare my food in a safe environment as a blessing. I still have nightmares about being institutionalized and most center on the food or humiliating moments related to food that I experienced.

This is just an example of course. I have been looking into the way others with Autism who are adults live, partly because I am a late comer to the diagnosis. Most of what I am writing right now comes from inspiration that was caused by Kowalski. I consider Kowalski a friend despite the fact we have never met and likely will not meet in person, yet we have in depth discussions based on our mutual advocacy. I do not know if Kowalski identifies as an advocate yet her work has assisted me with my adaptation.

I know my talent for advocacy has given me a good deal of freedoms that people who literally cannot speak (and therefore often do not have a voice) do not have. I have my own home, I have my pets. I have the ability to choose who takes care of those pets when I cannot. My pets medical needs are met. I do not have to admit people to my home.

I have a very good caregiver, as I mentioned before, and that is another freedom. Every day that Jo comes over and I do not feel fear, or the fear I feel is not related to her presence and she is understanding that I cannot control these fears is a day that I am free. I had to self advocate when I was starved to the point that I could barely think, I couldn’t speak or bathe because my body was also over stimulated after fighting and clawing literally. I had to prove I needed to let go of what is considered more freeing, to hire and fire my own caregivers.

I was unaware of a freedom that could be in too much measure a trap. Letting someone else decide something. For the first time in my life someone else has a say without a court order. Having been institutionalized, in jail (assault charges, I was guilty and a minor), and imprisioned in my home by multiple abusers, I know the pleasures of freedom. I know how rare it is too. I was so terrified of letting an agency handle anything, that I trapped myself.

I feel safer with my caregiver because I can say No. I cannot say no if I am The Boss because then she could quit and I am left without a mediator to get through the weeks or even months until I hire someone. If there was any doubt of my need for caregiving, that was burned away by K and the neglect that I faced from myself after she was fired. The neglect was not conscious but was a result of having no agency and the lack of ability. I can want to do something all day but I cannot always perform.

The freedoms I miss due to disability are numerous. I miss being able to just get in a car and go somewhere. I miss going for walks. I miss working, because I miss to a degree human interaction. I do not miss the false facade I put on to survive in society but I do miss getting to study the behaviors of those around me so that i could try them on to see why and how things worked.

I miss the freedom to explore myself as well, as if you do not go out and do there is little that makes you grow. I am grateful for the internet as this adds opportunities to my personal growth but it is still a difficult path to walk on. All around me I see things that to me are obvious but others are blind to, and I miss watching someone find that oft missed moment.

I am grateful for my freedoms, but, I hunger for more. I secretly wish for the freedom of knowing about my disabilities before I was an adult. Most of them were diagnosed, just left untreated because I was not seen as a worthy candidate by my family. I understand, treating my disabilities is an expense. I just wish I had been worth one expense. Today i told Jo a bit about my childhood, it came up in the context of why I do not let my family visit very often. I left out the part that they rarely ask, because that is hurtful.

I did tell her about my sixteenth birthday, I told her things I rarely tell people but she needs to know. I was sent to several institutions growing up for just being different, and I know this saved me from being without a personal moral compass. I have borrowed moralities and tried them on to see what fits. This leads me to a strange belief system far from the beaten path but it is something I can use to guide me.

I remembered too, these institutions enforced medical care. I would be dead if my mother hadn’t decided I was just not happy enough. Yes, this lead to overdrugging me for most of my life. That lead to self harming behaviors such as not taking pain medications unless I am about to faint. I do take my pain medications regularly now but that is because I am always ready to faint. Still, a tumor in my intestine and gangrene, both caused by abuses at the hands of my parents and my significant medical disorders would have killed me. The institutions gave me the surgeries I needed to LIVE.

The last one, was in a ranch setting and was also one of the places I learned I wasn’t crazy. I have a rare talent with animals, and there I was given the respect of a crusty old cowboy, because I could tame a “wild and raging” animal. There I was also given a specific freedom that I will forever miss. My medical issues made me late for manditory horse care, and I was so afraid of the horses. They are big, I am small. We were not allowed to opt out of riding unless our feet were gangrenous and freshly operated on, and the infection had yet to come to light. I grabbed my saddle, the bridle, and the helmet and was told “Grab a horse and catch up.”

I missed the part of the class where we were told to leave the specific horse I chose alone. I remember his coat, a rich reddish brown color, his scars left black stripes. He was abused too. He had no eyes, which scared most of the others but I just felt sad because I could see the scars there too. Someone had torn out his eyes. This horse was dangerous, even the horse master, a man who had tamed many horses and specialized in rehabilitation of horses did not think he could be ridden.

I was often ignored because I didn’t cause much trouble around the horses. They scared me after all. So i walked over to him, this horse named Gator because “he is as mean as an alligator.” I talked to him while I was saddling him. I didn’t know what to say I just didn’t want to scare him, and so I introduced myself. “Hi Horse, my name is Kat. I don’t really want to ride you but I have to. I just want us to work together, because I think you want to get to run, and maybe it won’t be so bad if we get along.”

I had the horse saddled and was ready to mount up before the staff saw my horse. This was the first time anyone had touched Gator that he wasn’t kicking or biting at them. They had determined he was too dangerous to keep around the ranch but I could ride him. I refused to ride another horse, and because he was calm this was allowed. Gator was my horse. Out of all of the residents male and female, the staff, and the horse professionals that visited only I could ride him.

I was told I am a horse whisperer, but, I can do this with dogs, cats, and other animals. Not birds, because my fear of them is too great. I just tell them what I want them to do and we work together. That was the first time I did it, however. I remember how scared I was. Horses are tall. Obvious I know, but I am extremely afraid of heights. Gator didn’t move at all as I got on him, which confused everyone who knew the horse. He was a gentle ride and I had fun.

We went slow for most of the trail, the group let me set the pace which was probably the equivalent of a ten mile an hour car in a sixty mile per hour zone. We climbed a big hill, I mostly just clung to the horse and talked to him to distract myself. I swear, sometimes it seemed like he laughed at my jokes. No one complained about my babbling for once, no one seemed to care or notice. Then, we reached the top of the hill.

There was a field there, and there were these little yellow flowers in bloom. I let Gator run. The blind horse and the nearly blind girl who had no business on that horse. He was fast. It was magnificent. I let go of the fears, I let them melt away. We raced around the meadow, he trusted his hooves and I trusted him. It was a three hour ride. I didn’t feel the pains in my body until we made it back to the stables and I dismounted. After taking care of Gator and putting up the tack I was told he was mine as long as I stayed. He would have to find a new home when I left the facility but, until then I had my very own horse.

I took care of him every day for a year. I was being released from the program, I had learned how to blend in. I had learned how to heal the emotional wounds I had enough, I even made friends. People friends. I learned how to dress, how to walk, and how to talk like a Nuerotypical person. I faced disability for the first time, but missed diagnosis considerably. This was also the time when I had some malpractice issues with a dentist that made my mouth always ache. Yet it never mattered when I was with my horse. I think I was more his person.

Gator killed someone, my last week there. A staff member. He injured six others. You see, this woman saw me ride the horse and said out loud (obviously this is paraphrased because this is nearly ten years ago. I now feel way old) “If that girl can ride him, I can.” He threw her off because she kicked him. I never once kicked Gator, or did anything in anger near him. Everyone agreed she was too rough with him, and she had waited until she was the only adult around. He dragged her for a bit and trampled people, because they tried to catch him. Gator never found a home, and I never got to say good bye. I think the administrators feared I would relapse back to the dangerous behaviors of bludgeoning people over food.

I admit I do not mourn the human that caused his death. She was warned repeatedly that he was dangerous and chose to believe she was better than a child, and then she was violent with him. This does not mean I believe she deserved death but she did not behave in a safe manner. Horses are dangerous. All horses are. The children and adults that were harmed trying to save her? Those people I mourn. Pain and fear were introduced to both them and my Gator.

I try to avoid remembering that part of my time with Gator however. I will never ride a horse again. Before I broke my back I was saving for a week at a retreat with horses, because I missed the feeling of moving with an animal. I never felt the saddle, I never felt the ground. Gator and I flew. Of all the places we rode together, that meadow was the most wonderful place. My favorite memory of freedom is that meadow riding full tilt with my horse, at sunset. It was a cloudless day, the light was perfect, and I had only one thought. Faster.

I know a lot of rational people refuse to have dieties or an afterlife. I am not completely rational. My IQ implies I should be but my personal experiences prevent that. I talk to animals, they reply in their own ways and I understand. Gator trusted me because I promised him I would never hurt him if he never hurt me. We made a pact through a universal language.

My truest freedom is something I would not have without that horse. Trust. The horse master? I trusted him AFTER I met the horse. I had no one else to trust before then. My trust is more rare than a diamond. It comes on a spectrum as does all life. Sanity, thought, gender, sexual preferences, humanity? We are on a rainbow spectrum. My best friend M, who is the only man I trust implicity and is the only person I have ever loved unconditionally? I would never have been able to trust him without Gator.

I owe that horse so much. I cry when I think of that betrayal. I can still feel the coffee cup in my hands, I was eating when we found out. I had just gotten back from the doctor and was given my diagnosis of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian disease, disproving cancer. It was good news and I was reading up on both disorders. I remember the entire room pausing, everyone in the dorm that I stayed in coming in. They already knew. That same weight I felt before when I lost something came, because their faces told me.

I don’t remember those words, I just remember feeling the dark feelings that I always was told were bad, and knowing my mother was wrong. I wanted to die for a few moments, because if i was dead I could be with my horse. I remember something else however, as spectacular as that meadow. The girls, the new girl replacing me on the bed count even, they all gathered around me. No one touched me because I hate touch, and they knew that. Each one just waited for me to respond. I said something but it was lost to me. They said things. We talked. For the first time during an emotional crisis I had someone there.

A lot of someones. I didn’t have to deal with it alone. I have had to deal with most everything alone in life. From leaving that facility on through meeting M, I was very alone. Without Gator I would never have known I didn’t have to be. That was the final lesson of many he taught me. Gator did not accept just anyone, he was sent to the facility for care but was never supposed to meet with any people. They were assessing him to see if he merited saving. I gave him another year of life.

His life was brutal. He was six years old when they put him down. A part of me always felt he needed a trial, after all it was self defense. Still, as an adult I understand that he hurt a lot of people, and the only reason he lived was dumb luck. If I had been five minutes earlier? He would never have met me. I wish I could have seen his eyes, I wish he could have seen mine. I dislike eye contact, it makes me want to vomit on my good days but you learn a lot from eyes.

I wonder if he ever meant to hurt anyone. I wonder if he knew he hurt the man who hurt him. See, Gator was considered dangerous because he stomped his abuser half to death. I found that out after I was already on his back for the first time, and I remember thinking, “I wish you could do that to my dad horsie.” Sometimes, in my dreams I ride off on Gator to escape the villains. Every dream has villains again. I only had a few months where there was time for tea with Batman. I don’t have a batmobile, I don’t have a jet plane. I have a horse.

This is what I think of when I think of lost freedom. It isn’t needing a caregiver, it isn’t the use of my legs or being able to walk to the toilet without pain and concentration. It isn’t being hungry. Those are all things that have always been there. The lost freedoms were his not mine. Gator gave me his freedom.

I am sure it could be a story in a movie somewhere, a little girl and her horse. Gator was the first time I felt grown up. I was trusted with his life, and he trusted me before the humans. He wasn’t the only horse I rode there, I was attatched to another who also died in my time there, but Gator is the one that taught me how to run.

Freedom isn’t running away from the things that hurt you. Freedom isn’t being able to do whatever you want. Freedom is having a moment to be truly alive. You do not have to be with people, you do not have to be alone. You just have to be. Every day that I am alive and I am not in an abusive situation, I am free.

Honor

I was going to write about caregivers and privilege. I probably will since I actually have more class privilege than my caregiver, and this is creating an interesting (and positive) dynamic. Now that you are enticed for future writing, I want to just share something small. We all know my wheelchair is being difficult. My readers (that’d be you!) helped pay for a repair or I would be starved out already and have given up on being independent. It’s hard to be independent when you can’t pee when YOU want darn it! The chair is broken again, and has been deemed unrepairable. The anticipation of being told yes, I can be evaluated for a new powerchair (not a promise but at least it is a start) has left me looking at some of my freetime, activities I had to give up because of disability.

I never stopped reading the emails from the listserv, but because of a confluence of events my hopes are high. Not so high that disappointment will crush me but high enough that I made it known I am attempting a return. In reply, the question was asked, can I use a manual chair and if so there was one for me to take. I feel honored. I have been silent for two years with this group. My hopes are a bit higher now. Part of why I can maybe play more is the location of events is moving with in a distance that I feel comfortable trying to bus to and from. With a proper chair, there is the option of being able to ride the bus.

Freedom is just out of reach, and it is a tantalizing torment!

Zillas

I am guilty of Fatshaming. This makes me a hippocrite. I am after all fat. I have been skinny but, now I am fat. My natural form is fat. Sure, it’s sexy fat in all the right places but because I am nearly 300lbs and sometimes go over that marker I am considered Morbily Obese. Yet I chose the term Fatzilla to indicate the monstrosity I was living with. I identified her by only one aspect, I dehumanized her with that single word. I am guilty. It should not matter what size or shape she is, but instead the actions she undertook should be the focus of what I have said.

I am guilty of female shaming. Again this hypocritical action is something I regret. I am a woman after all. I was born a woman, I gender identify as a woman. I have a vagina. I have breasts. I hate being called a bitch. Calling someone Bitchzilla is again dehumanizing and shames her based on the stereotype of the cruel and angry female. It does not matter what I want to say to justify this action, there are things I thought of. For both the fat shaming and the gender shaming, I was wrong.

I do not have to like people. They do not have to like me. I require myself to show respect. It is taken for granted that you will choose the people in your life, yet this is wholly untrue. You do not select every coworker, your siblings, your parents, grandparents, or even classmates. If people did I would never have been bullied. Then again, if we could actually choose every interaction the world would have stagnated a long time ago. Since we cannot choose everyone around us it can be difficult to not settle for the status quo behaviors. This means calling people names, even in the anonymity of the internet knowing that they won’t identify themselves when they read it. Knowing if they do, there is nothing they can do about it.

I usually use letters or fake names for people but for the two women I lived with, I chose cruelty. A part of me is not sorry, a part of me wants to argue it is fair because they are abusers. That part of me is wrong. That part of me is being childish. I do not expect to ever discuss those two again but if I do Fatzilla is now going to be known as my exroommate. Bitchzilla will be known as… my exroommate. I will work on a better identifier if needed but, I must work to cut out hate from my own life. It is my goal to love everyone and everything at least spiritually. Hate speak and hate names do not fit that outlook and giving in to such things is giving in to the toxins around me. It stops my personal healing.

If either of you two are reading this and know who you are, I apologize for my inappropriate names.

Dear Internet…

Please stop putting videos and music on autoplay. I don’t want to hear your off key midifiles, I don’t want to hear your commercials, or other noises.

Kay… thanks… It makes me not pay attention to your advertisments and what you are selling and I won’t refer people to you.

Conformity (Trigger Warning)

I have learned to conform. I am an adult woman with Autism. I am a public speaker. I am a writer. I seem social. I can be the social butterfly. I learned to be a chameleon through abuse. You adapt to survive, at least I did. My name is Kat and I am guilty of self abuse and the perpetuation of the normalacy stereotype.

I realized it today, it is a revelation I have had several times. I do things to blend in, when it hurts me. I am learning how to stop. I avoided using a wheelchair for two years too long because I wanted to blend in. I wanted to pass for normal. I remember the first time I was told by my mother that I was not normal, she did it first you see. She told me I was weird first. I had a date, it was Valentines day and I was four years old. My neighbor Jeremy asked me to the dance. I remember my mother curling my hair, I remember the texture of my dress, it was a silky satin with velvet dots. Red and white of course. I went and pulled on a red sock and a white stock, and then put on my white shoes and proudly went to wait for my date. She even let me put on some lipgloss.

She shamed me. She used my full name, something that my mother only does if you are in trouble, and she said, “Only a stupid person would wear their socks that way.” It may not be word for word, the memory is filtered through damaged moments and is fractured. It’s just a flash amid other flashes. I can remember the dance more clearly. I remember she asked why I was wearing them that way. She jokes about it now but leaves out that she first shamed me, I replied with, “One sock is red and it matches the spots the other is white and matches the white.” I wore my mismatched socks to the dance. My date brought me flowers, he even kissed me on the cheek when I came home. His mother of course drove us, and we even got to go have pizza for dinner. It was sweet, yet also reflected two children trying to mirror the hetero-normitive behaviors of their parents.

By the time the weekend was over I knew to never wear mismatched socks. The rest of the weekend is melted away into a blitz of abuse, pain, the normalacy of my then home. I remember my neighbor Mr.Chang watching. I remember just crying in his arms. I remember his wife saying she thought it was a good idea, but the damage was done. I did my best to always match. You must never mismatch. The result is that I dropped color from my clothes, starting with my socks. They all had to be the same color. The older I got the less color variation existed until for the last decade all I wore is black. You can’t be made fun of for being fat if you wear black and no one can tell you that you are stupid for not having things match to their tastes. I like color, I like to wear what feels good. I still think my outfit was damned good but now, if I like something and want to buy it and it is not black I have to fight with myself, and usually I lose. Mother’s Perfect Person wins.

MPP is the one that knows you always make eye contact. I hate eye contact. I can’t put into words why but your eyes are creepy, so I don’t want to see them. Mine too for some I am sure. I can’t remember if it was Mother or HIM (this HIM is my biological tissue donor aka Daddy). I was bad for something, it was a small something but I couldn’t look at him. Him was loud, him was angry, and his eyes were bad. “Look me in the eye young lady.” I tried, but I couldn’t do it. There was bright light too, and I was small and he was big. He was close so looking into his eyes meant standing funny. If I did that he’d hurt me. It was another line of pain. Some of these weekends of abuse probably are just a montage my mind has made up of suppressed memory particles, as for flashes I am different ages or not in the same clothes. Still I was slapped and pinched and punched until I could look him in the eye. MPP kicks in with every conversation. “You can’t get too close,d on’t be too quiet, don’t be too loud, don’t fidget, don’t breathe too much, don’t eat where people can see you, you are too fat anyway.” There is a check list for how I interact. I try to avoid using it now.

The more stressed I am the harder it is to not use the MPP check list of Perfect Person. Even if I do it all right I am still the weird kid. I will always be on the outside. Sometimes I wonder if the MPP list is what beauty pagent children learn, those girls with the big hair and horribly terrifying make up. They are what MPP is in my head. Stand up straight, smile, make eye conact but don’t stare. It hurts to waste energy on this. Most of the list is gone but eye contact? Nope, I still stare at the forehead or behind you slightly, or just over you. I can’t look away, I can’t blink sometimes. I get told I am so intense, but it’s just because I am trying to multi task. Remembering when to pivot slightly so I don’t look like I am ignoring you and staring over your head. Saying the right things back…

I never could afford the actual right clothes, I never could manage to truly pass but I mastered normal behavior. Normal means to me suppressing what you feel, not speaking out when someone does something wrong, always admitting you are imperfect IE you must be humble, don’t admit you are smart because the men may feel bad, after all a good wife is humble, quiet, and like a child only speaks when spoken to. I think I married the wrong man because of MPP. I didn’t realize I could tell him that his sex was god awful. I didn’t realize that he was wrong for me even because I just didn’t have the skills.

I hear so often that autistic people can learn to blend in. I am proof we can but I also know the cost. If I had been allowed to be myself, I wouldn’t have become a criminal. I assaulted someone in school because I couldn’t deal with what she was doing and I couldn’t be PERFECT anymore. This person was my “best friend” as well. I nearly killed her because of a culmination of break down, because I learned to blend in. It made the news again recently, some poor autistic person being forced to endure water being dripped on them until they stop freaking out, their body scrubbed with a brush until they don’t want to tear their clothes off, loud sounds until they learn to not cry when they hear them.

Learning behaviors to hide the things that are wrong to us is not CURING Autism. It is abuse. The cure for autism is child abuse. I remember birthdays. My family lumps all the birthdays in September into one party. We always went to Pistol Pete’s Pizza. I never remember having fun, I remember always being driven to tears because it was too over whelming. No one ever bothered to ask why I was over stimulated every time, it was instead something I was mocked for, beaten over and punished. I still cannot go into those places but at least my food allergies protect me. Loud crowded places are torture but I was not allowed to not go, and when I had a melt down I was beaten publically. Never once did anyone say a word, because I was an awful child for being upset when I should just have fun with sirens wailing in my ears.

I am writing this while triggered, because you trying to cure my Autism is a trigger. I can self advocate but I think I could have done that if I wasn’t abused much more freely. When you touch me and I punch you, that is a side effect of the abuse. I wouldn’t hit if I wasn’t tortured. All the bad smells, the bad textures, the torture, it wasn’t just my parents either. Nor did any of us know I am a person with Autism. Other children mimicked their parents and did things that hurt, the parents who weren’t mine but were strangers did so, principles did so, though one of them actually tried to help me. Teachers did so, though again there were those that tried to help me.

I have survived an onslaught of violence against my identity. I have given up my birthname because if I use it, I cannot be me. That is a different person that you and your kind murdered long ago. Some of you may say “If you were diagnosed you would be dead”. You are wrong. If i was diagnosed I would probably have had some kind of HELP. I am twenty five years old and until two years ago I had no HELP. I was just ‘eccentric’. I am unable to stop crying right now because of your cures.

Without being beaten into conformity I wouldn’t be trapped by my wheelchair which is broken again. I wouldn’t NEED it. Without being beaten into conformity I wouldn’t have lost my job, the one that lead me to more pain and suffering. I wouldn’t have been broken and not known it. Without being beaten into conformity I would not be afraid to create.

My Autism was never cured. My independance was, my identity was, my ability to dream was, my hope was, I was cured of being able to make friends, I was cured of hope, I was cured of self confidence, I was cured of any vestige of peace. I have had to find a cure for the cures and that is a life time in the making. I know that many punishments I faced would not have been torture if I wasn’t Autistic. If the demons that you see Autism as were accepted, if I was an equal citizen I would have been able to be helped.

As an adult looking back I can see countless people who should have done something, some who knew. I remember the moment each one of them turned away and chose to do nothing. Each and every child that has their autism cured through violence, sensory torture, and other forms of “cure” that are advertised is a child that you are guilty of murdering. The body can live on but the soul rots from the pain. Every child that learns to act the part of Perfect Person, every single one of them is a child that learns that their own dreams, life, and what makes them who they are is evil. Every one of us is a child that grows up and either perpetuates your cycle of violence or must break it. You set us back from evolution. You set us back into prisons.

My mother apologized for not protecting me as a child. She said the words in December, and as I learn who I am each day as I try and come back from another round of attempted murder? All I can think of is… what if she had even tried once? What made me so bad that I wasn’t worth protecting or saving? The answer is nothing. There is nothing wrong with your Autistic child, they merely are unable to see the world through your eyes. Can you see exactly what another “normal” person does anyway?

What I really want is my mother to realize that it wasn’t a lack of protection that hurt me so much as the actions on her part that also are abuse. I want her to see that doing nothing isn’t all she did. Every time she couldn’t get out of bed and I had to compensate for her, most of the time poorly by her standards, and she yelled at me for failing? That was abuse. Every time she tried to make me seem normal, every time she hid my bruises, every time she ignored the fact that maybe my wanting to kill her husband meant he was bad not me? Abuse.

Some of my rage at her has to do with what she did to make me conform. She never once apologized for forcing me to take drugs. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti individuality. Yes some people need them but she never considered that the problems weren’t in my head. I was given drugs that weren’t legal for children to take, some weren’t FDA approved, and many were recalled because of liver damage or other DANGEROUS side effects. Now that I need something like that, there is nothing I can take because my body already has a reaction to everything. The cost of conformity was trying to suppress any feeling. If I felt any anger it meant they upped the meds. If that didn’t work they added meds. I dealt with drug interactions. I was her child. All she wanted was for me to be perfect, was that too much to ask of me?

Is it any wonder I thought she didn’t love me? I still don’t think she does. I do not know if I can love her. I didn’t even know I could love until HIM (exhusband Him not the other HIM). When I did love it turned into something so horrible. The only reason I know I can love is someone else but if I mentioned that person to her she would just belittle my friendship. Is it any wonder I thought that I should kill her? Maybe it would stop hurting then.

I spent years having dangerously long nose bleeds from the drugs, but the drugs were more important to her than I was. I got off of them by trickery. I asked if I could try going off of them and she said no. I had missed a single dose and had felt better so I wanted to try at least lowering them. She told my doctor absolutely no. There was never discussion about what I wanted or even asking me if I felt it was working. If there was, I can’t remember. What if so many of my missing memories aren’t suppressed but I was too DRUGGED to remember?

My trick? I didn’t argue in the office. I just pretended to take them. I stepped down and didn’t go cold turkey aware that this was how you do it. I took a pill out of the bottle at each appropriate time and would let her see me take it, then coughed it back up. I never took them with food just in case. Three months passed and my mother complimented the doctor on his choice of medication. She had never seen me happier or so functional.

I told them then, I went off the meds anyway. My mother freaked out. She demanded I go back on, but I replied, “You said you haven’t seen me this healthy, so I don’t think so. I went off with in two weeks of the previous appointment and I am not going to take whatever he prescribes. Sorry I had to waste your money,” she’d complained of course that I cost her money. I walked out. That was the last time I took medication that I didn’t think I needed.

This is why I have suffered my pain, this is why for years I refused to take any pain medicine even though it made me mean and nonfunctional. I don’t know if I can ever forgive her. I don’t hate her… I just find I care less and less everyday. Yes if she dies I will cry but I suspect it will be about what might have been. I didn’t cry at all over the psychopath she married. I cried for my brother. Will I cry for her? Will it be out of love? Will I even want to go to her funeral? I know I will but I also know I will endure abuse by going… so maybe I won’t.

I am tired of conformity. I haven’t conformed for several years. Conformity is expensive anyway. I write, and that goes against my mother’s ideal of conformity. I wrote a novel once, and the computer, back ups, and even the monitor were all destroyed. By HER. I stopped writing for many years because of my mother. She expects that I will not recall perhaps? She expects me to love her unconditionally? I used to. I don’t believe in unconditional love over all, I think it is rare. I don’t know if I even love my older siblings. I loathe them, but I don’t know that I truly care about their successes or failings… after all, they were considered normal and were given everything.

I do love my younger siblings but, I find they grow more and more distant all the time… because no one wants a weird older sister. I am weird. I am Autistic. I am creative. I am default goth. I am the crazy cat lady. I am a person whose life story when shared with people is often told she lies. I am cured of my normalacy… I am cured of conformity. My dyed black hair with bright red roots? I can’t afford to dye it again… and I think I am starting to like it.

  • Polls

  • Ye Olde Archives of Fury

  • Top Rated

  • Top Clicks