It was a year ago that I was sitting in that place, full of filth and disease. It was a year ago that Anthrax threatened my flesh and my mind was as damaged. It has been a year since in desperation I misdialed the number that lead me to finding my current apartment where I met my case manager who shares my name, where I escaped not just the first but the second bad carer, and where I began to heal. It has been a year.
It has been a year of utter devastation in some other ways. It has been a year of great loss. Death has haunted me my entire life from being forced to help my father kill on to the loss of every pet Grandma ever took in to shelter for us or my mother helped rehome, the death of my best friend, the death of Nymph, and the deaths that I felt uncomfortable mentioning. That would be the deaths of allies in advocacy, some of my heroes, but death has been here. In some moments I feel death is mocking me for living by taking everything that is important to me. I think that’s grief. I know it isn’t the actual facts as death is merely a part of life but my feelings do make it ache.
It has been a year of distance. I have started to step away from people that would perpetuate the year of Torture, people that do not understand this is not normal or healthy. Or family that does not respect that I damned well have a right to live in peace without being treated like a monstrosity for not doing things their way.
It has been a year of tears. I have cried more in the last year than I have in most of my life, yet this is a wonderful thing. Though it means I am wounded and grieving, when have I not been? I cannot remember any moments without pain until the last few years of my life and this year has held a majority of good.
It has been a year where I have admitted I am in love with someone. I have been for a very long time, albiet against my will. I love myself. I love Sprite. I love Rose. Still. Death doesn’t cancel out love. I adored and loved my little Nymph friend. I love M my friend. I love. I love. I love.
It has been a year of hope. I started to dream again, not the literal way but the hopes and dreams of a life beyond struggling to make ends meet, a life beyond this desolate place where I have never been able to leave. I hate New Mexico, and I always have. it has been a year of great achievements. Partly because I am still here and kicking.
My 26th Birthday is approaching and I am going to have people over to celebrate. I feel strong enough. I feel safe enough. I still want to flee this place. Yes it has been a very hard year. What year isn’t going to be hard? I have a laundry list of illnesses and disabilities, I have a mind that just won’t shut up, and I honestly cannot imagine life without a challenge. I truly think it would be boring.
This year I have learned some things about myself…
1. I have a very interesting life. More so than many people have. My life could be a great work of fiction, it would make a great movie series because each year holds enough action to make Harry Potter wish he had my level of danger, daring, and doing. I would still not wish this life on anyone but I also wouldn’t change it. My life has never been boring. I cannot say I haven’t been bored, but it’s been a very long time and that’s why I stopped enjoying school that first year.
2. Love. I has it. (Imagine a lolcat saying that if you would please.) I have always been capable of great love, like all my emotions when I love someone animal or human it is with all of me. There is only a set of extremes inside of me, so my love is extreme and comes with a side package of loyalty and trust. You can of course get rid of parts of this but I will always love you once I did before. I love my father. The evil bastard. I am still glad he is dead. I love my mother. The pathetic damsel in self imposed constant distress. I am still not going to invite her in, as that’s the rule with vampires of all varities. I don’t love my grandmother. I never have. She has always been a caricature of torment to me, even when torment was normal and acceptable in my world of Hitler fanatic parents and abuse. She’s always been worse than my father. I will sadly always love my exhusband. The thing is, I will love who he appeared t be not who he is. I will love the love of my life who knows who they are. There are no caveats there. I will love them and there is nothing anyone can do to stop that, even myself. I did try… I will love Sprite forever. I find the idea that she is my furry wife or soulmate, the wife thing starting as a joke about the supposed women’s duties which she does. She feeds me, clothes me, holds me and satisfies most of my needs but not the carnal ones is accurate. I glanced at her just now sitting in my new wingback chair and she looks so sad right now, and we both are because… I will always love Nymph. Even though she is gone and even though I had to let her die, I will always love her. I will probably always love the next companion Sprite gets. That happens sometime this month.
Yes, a year of love. I will always love myself. I didn’t used to. Even through the years of survival and struggle, even being “better” than the text books tell you someone with my level of PTSD, disabling, even with Autism, even with taught body hatred (fat, not blond, not able enough, just not good enough for anyone (Thanks Mom!)). Yes, Even then I never quite got the hang of looking at myself and seeing a person of value. I came close, a few years ago I started to get there most days. For the majority of this year I have loved myself. When puking from pain and or illness? Check. When unable to shower for two weeks because it hurt too much so I ended up wanting to claw my skin off to make myself clean? Check, that’s why I didn’t let myself lose my flesh to my fingers. Even when I felt it was my fault irrationally and that somehow I deserved being penned in a room and starved and raped? Yep. I still felt beautiful and at peace. That one really threw me for a loop. I haven’t felt that the abuse is my fault for most of the time since this started. The nifty side effect is, I don’t see ugly people anymore. The majority of people outside my door or online or people who aren’t movie stars are all stunning to me. Movie stars hate themselves usually, they abuse themselves and that does uglify them to me. Self hate isn’t pretty.
This has been a year of food. On my birthday I am going to make (with my carer) a food I haven’t let myself have for three years. The last time I ate it was when my ex was a fiancee. Penne Rosa. This decadent dish is my favorite. It pwns lasagne. I didn’t even notice I had deprived myself of it. I did so out of anger with myself, so I must forgive and eat the deliciousness. It’s expensive to make and very rich food. It’s something I learned about when I was a chef. Yet despite depriving myself of Penne Rosa without acknowledging it subconsciously I have eaten very well this year. This last year has the advent of Meat Cake into my life, the flavor is very rich, it’s not salty but it isn’t plain. It’s meat cakey. It is the most delicious savory food I have had in a while. I consider pasta’s sweet. I have reclaimed the Quesadilla. Despite living on them for a year, two months ago I found they no longer make me want to puke. So snake food is a go. I have had the advent of the Dilly Bar into my life. Butterscotch or cherry please? Some of the changes are based on the local area discovering Gluten Free, so I now can have bread or pizza at my whim (and ten dollars total ingredient cost, not twenty for cardboard). I also started only eating food that tastes good. THis happened in January.
This has been a year of the evolution of appearance. I stopped hiding under horrible black hair. Black hair is great on other people, and I can pull of the sickly goth look with it but despite being Goth, looking like I am dying isn’t something that feels right. I like being on fire, not literally since we’ve been there before, but with my red hair, my fierceness showing in my eyes and rich red lipstick. I figured out that anything I wear is goth. I am a goth. I am wearing it. Still not a fan of blue though. My war against only wearing black was lost. I feel comfortable there, I feel sexy. I still do wear other colors, mostly reds and greens. Still. Despite trying to listen to what other people said my fashion identity won out. Some of the evolution is the loss of ballgown length skirts. Wheelchairs don’t like them. They like to eat them. So I must streamline my tastes. Alas. Alack. It’s a bit fun actually. I also started wearing black eyeshadow more often. I am still waiting on that corset, it apparently was lost in the mail and the company I am working with is not getting repeat business. That’s been going on for over a year now. When I get it, I still want to take those sexy photos. Unshaven lets are sexy.
This has been a year of creative goals. I haven’t been alive enough in recent years to write music, act, create, share. In the last year I have written several audio dramas, some are still in need of work. One is being produced and I have a voice acting role in it. I’ll share when that comes out and it will be free. I am composing a soundtrack for something that should air on most radio stations nationally, potentially internationally. I am writing a book on PTSD. I have had requests for a book on Autism, as I explain both in a way the Nuerotypicals understand, without them thinking (at least supposedly and this is my goal) that everyone with this label is the same. I am writing period. I am considering writing three books at once but for that my head may explode.
This has been a year of discovery. I am discovering it’s okay to not like TV. Sure, I had roommates with TV addictions and that contributed, but TV doesn’t work well with the way my brain works and that’s JUST FINE. I don’t have to be a big TV watcher. I also no longer want to write for TV, because TV and I just aren’t a match. Frankly, that’s a stress relief to admit. There is a reason that after becoming a TV/Movie critic I broke down for a while and had to quit. TV is TORTURE. I get physical pain, and I can’t see for crap so why bother? Audio dramas are more suited to me though some still fall prey to those isms that annoy me, anger me or otherwise fill me with epic disappointment… more often I find that the writers are more independent in their creation, and therefore they get a more “open” piece. The editing work I have faced with mine has been mostly grammatical errors. If there is something that I am told to change because being a wheelchair user who can kick isn’t real, I also learned I can say “I am a wheelchair user and I can kick like a donkey. I just fall over afterwards” and explain the whys, the editor accepts this and lets me know. It’s an open dialogue. Much better than the editors I had when I wrote as a kid. Then again I am an adult now, so there is a lot more respect for me instead of incredulity at my age etc etc etc.
I discovered a wheelchair that fits your needs means if you can walk a bit, you do. I am more physically active with my wheelchair than I was without it. It’s exhilarating. I am also mentally freed of unnecessary pain. I am not sure unnecessary is the right word, perhaps it is treatable pain that isn’t treated? That felt too long and needed qualifications. I have discovered that living alone is best, so even though I am in love and would marry said loved one if it was merely a matter of mind and heart that marraige won’t work unless we get a house with two kitchens and two bedrooms (well… three, Sprite needs one too). I have discovered that people get my jokes, even the bad ones. If I list all my discoveries my word count will be in the millions.
I have discovered that I like my dreams being nightmares for others. Today I dreamed I lived in a sitcom world, in fact I moved in with the family from “Family Matters” though some of them were from “The Fresh Prince of Belaire”… it was great but I was scared. I was scared that they would figure out I wasn’t belonging. I was scared that being not a TV type would get me ousted. I am not sure why my mind selected those shows, perhaps because Will Smith was a childhood crush? Perhaps because Urkle’s awkwardness made it safer? I was still scared and in my dream even wondered if my consideration of what a nightmare is, is different than others. A nightmare means you are terrified. I am not afraid of hoardes of demons but I am afraid of Uncle Phil telling me I am just not good enough. Also stairs but then, I can’t get up them.
I have discovered I dislike most comedy films, as their humor relies on othering people and as an outsider it hurts instead of humors. This of course is well known to many. I have discovered Twilight worries me for the safety of Stephanie Meyer. I suspect she is in an abusive relationship or will be, as her inner soul shows a romanticism of very dangerous things. I have discovered that when Sprite is sad she cries loudly, and I cannot. I don’t “boo hoo”. Just as when I fight physically I am quiet. It’s not ninja as some have accused me of but it is the knowledge that being loud means you get hurt more. I am trying to cry with sound now.
I have discovered that mathmatically based on the sale ads my friends in California have sent me food may be cheaper there than here. Also, the foods I can eat are more plentiful. I secretly dream of fresh strawberries that won’t rot before the week is out. I have also discovered that housing is so expensive there it is beyond my ability to actually comprehend it. There is a literal disconnect in my mind.
In this last year, I have embraced my dreams. I have begun to not fight them, but to let them flow. I learned at a young age to control my dreams, and I wish I had not despite it being fascinating to be aware I am dreaming. I wish I had known I sleep better if I let myself dream about stabbing someone to death. The person is always evil, and I am always saving the defenseless. It is not murder but romanticised heroism. It still scares me, and I wonder what others dream about that they feel is wrong. I have had more sex dreams too. I no longer interrupt those but ride the passions out to see where they go. Usually? Orgasms. It has been a year of sleep. I still face insomnia but I am less tired, less angry, less cranky, and more able to face the world when I sleep and dream.
It has been a year of thought. I have not stopped thinking in my dreams or awakeness for over a year. I can usually sleep through it but as I wrote about before, sometimes it is so bad I can’t sleep. I have always been this way but I no longer tell myself it means I am crazy. Well, I am but I think it’s a good thing. Non crazy people tend to be very dangerous and terrifying.
It has been a year…
So what will this next year hold for me? Will I die before my next birthday (27)? Every year a doctor tells me I will… so far they’ve been very wrong. Will I go a whole year without someone trying to hurt me? I really hope so. Will I write seventeen novels and leave poverty behind and build a castle outside of LA with two kitchens and a cat kitchen? Probably not. The novels? Okay maybe one or two… The Castle? Give me a few years.
Will I start my band? Yes! We’re up to two other musicians now, which is real progress. Will I make my CD? Yes! Will I keep blogging? Yes! Will I get another cat and love it even though I really don’t want to and didn’t even want to get Ny because I was afraid she would die and am doubly afraid now for Sprite and future cat? Yep. Will the cat die? Probably not. Will I ever have that damned yard sale I have been trying to have for a year? Nope!
Will I survive another year? Yes. In fact, I believe in this next year I will thrive. I know for a fact I will begin making jewelry again. I already have. It’s super slow based on my limits but I will make it. I am learning to make chainmaille, and I will have a chainmaille shirt (not made by me, I want it before I am 70), I will go out after dark sometime too. I will have sex. I will buy a glass dildo. Possibly to use during sex but I may be selfish and not share that toy. I will keep going on and on.
I admit sometimes I wonder if I will even know when I am dead because I haven’t stopped. I am a clockwork humanoid in some ways, ticking on and on. Yet the rest of me is in fragments of my imagination. Sometimes I am a barbarian warrior woman, somewhere between Red Sonja and Xena. Sometimes I am just a princess, with the means to protect the people who don’t have enough and cannot fend for themselves. Sometimes I am a demonic seductress. Sometimes, I am a butterfly. Sometimes I am just myself and I am somewhere else.
When I seek out peace, I find it in my mind again. It has been a recent return to that quiet garden in my mind. Now there are new roses growing and new butterfly bushes too. It is still quiet there, this is the only place a lack of music is not a worry mentally. I have missed my secret garden, and I find though I did not tend it, I never really have. It has always tended me. It is here that my glass hearts grow and often break. It is here that my mind is a mix of vines and flowers, towering trees and hollow logs with new lychen and moss growing over them. It is here that the outside world and inside meet. This is my subconscious and it is where I often look at myself, and I wonder. This is a place where Sprite cannot follow. This is a place where I once mistook Heaven. This is a place I have not had for more than a year, and perhaps it was a memory from never.
In the last year I have unrepressed a hoarde of memories. Perhaps they are the demons I slay each night? I am aware of multiple murders by my father, both very similar. I am aware. I have acted. It is a pain, but this is the necessary pain. If I leave these memories buried they will poison me. The little girl that screamed so long is not screaming anymore. She still cries but she is now sheltered in that garden and at times she laughs and plays with the other people there. All of them are me. The orphan girl. The innocent one. I never really knew her before. I know talking of my past identities this way is also what caused people to try and force me to think I had fractured my mind and was dealing with multiple personalities. I finally understand that doctor’s diagnosis. Even my mother knew it was wrong and argued with her, which speaks volumes. Yet, I am aware that each trauma that locked a part of me away killed the previous identity.
In this last year I have been reborn. You have witnessed this birth through my writings and I am aware now that if any flower represents me it is the lotus with it’s many layers and blossoms. I am on a journey through each of the lotus layers of my life. My sensei told me that once and he said that he could not explain it to me but i would understand it one day, perhaps when I was very old but he hoped that I would do so before I was “ancient as the stones”. Remembering him, I remember why I am who I am. He did not act alone in the previous years to shape me but he set this foundation of fine stone. Without him, there would be no Kateryna Fury. There would be no person here. There would be no memories left. I would be dust and ashes long forgotten or remembered only with my mother’s hatred. There would be tear stains and bloodstains at most, no one would notice I was gone.
It has been a year of Survival. Yes, I survived. Yes I fought harder and harder than I thought possible. I did not fight alone for the first time in my life. I did not starve. I did not hate myself. For the first time that I can remember I do not feel like Frida Kahlo’s broken column. My pillar is whole. It has been rebuilt, not replaced and not forgotten. It still has cracks, yet it is stronger than it has ever been before. I may live alone, but I am not alone.
I also know this is visible to others, though I didn’t think on it or expect that this would be so. I look alive. I no longer am carrying the burdens of forgotten crimes or crimes that i didn’t need to carry. That alone has set me free. Though I am sad at this moment, I am not shattered. My heart is reborn. I am the Lotus. I am the Warrior. I am the Writer. The pen is not mightier than my sword, but it is as double edged and I carry both.