Will I… (Trigger Warning)

 

I have been trying to hold back my level of suffering from the world. The various support groups for autism, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, PTSD… every single one this is a reoccuring theme. I know why. Not only is being in this level of pain dangerous but it makes you vulnerable and often this is when people abandon you, attack you, or they cannot comprehend what you are trying to tell them. I do not as a rule cry when I feel so much pain but I silently sit and try to find the cause to fix it or I just learn that this is my new life. I must always be prepared for the permanence of my agony. There are people who are lucky enough that this is not the case.  I cannot stop hiding this, even when I try sometimes. There is the element of fear. If everyone knows that I can barely breathe for pain, then even the predators know. (Oh hello predators. Yes I will tazer you even when I hurt.)

This song is from rent, it is called Will I… thus the title of the post. I could die from the on going issues I have at any time. My heart could fall to pieces, a literal broken heart. I could have a heart attack from my stress and high cholesterol. I am bleeding internally somewhere, I could run out of blood. I could kill myself. That is why I am writing this post. You see, that is the whisper in the depths of what might be my soul. If I die it is over. I do not live out of some doubt about an afterlife. I do wonder but that is not a consideration in any of my choices. I do not stay alive for other people or the cats. I love many people deeply, so deeply there is an ache of joy. I guess a mental pressure sore from all the goodness. I stay alive because I want to.

I am afraid of dying and missing people. I am afraid of lingering in pain without dignity. I am terrified of being tormented by doctors as Ihave been lately. The nightmare is not the diseases or the pain. In fact some of that is better. I officially no longer am diagnosed with epilepsy but still have a seizure disorder of some sort. The some sort is not defined by science. Yet NOT having epilepsy is a miraculous thing.  It is a wonder to me.

I spend a lot of time advocating, and passionately burning for the world. Now I am just burning. The pain is in every nerve, even though some of them should not be communicating with the brain. My blood pressure is up, my heart is racing, and this is omnipresent. I have had to fight around government shut downs for my needs, but I did this. Yet all I want is to have someone hold me. Something no one can do at all. Maybe ever again. I just want to be held in a soft space of beautiful harmonics without actual sensory input. This dark space has no reality. I often find this song in the undercurrent of my psyche because it holds most of those things. Yet I do not have to wonder. No, my life will never get better. I will always have some agonizing wrong. Yes people care. I have never known how much people care, I think I do then it seems to grow. Maybe I grow. Maybe not.

I am terrified. I feel the race of time, not just because bleeding internally is very bad but I need this resolved for my mental health before november. My PTSD is at a peak height and I am not sure what I will be enduring medically but I know I will survive it if I can. Will I be allowed dignity is the true question. I am afraid to die and leave people I love, this is new to me. I never cared before. I always lived for things like spite, revenge. My revenge has been to build my life up into something I was told I could never have. I look around this space I live in and every corner has a marker of love. Every doll I own someone else gifted me, the Gothmas tree that needs its decorations and makes Sylvani happy, the pile of scarves I know will be useful and necessary that are clean, the myriad of tiny touches. My life has been a life of grief and loss. Now that I have things I want to hold on to I am afraid I cannot survive this. It is not a lack of will to live, it is a lack of trust in my doctors. I have no faith in even the best of them. Why should I with the ineptitude I have fought against for so long?

So I am left to wonder. Yes, I am in pain. No I do not know if I can survive this. I will try.

One more thing: The man who wrote Rent? He died from a condition similar to EDS called Marfan. That runs in my family too but I lack the features that mark it. That is LUCKY for me. I sometimes wonder if the pain he felt and held too close contributed to his dying, if that is why Rent hits the notes I sometimes NEED. Just a little tidbit for people who may not have known.  I do not reach for the anthems of survival that are broad and direct, they ring hollow. “I will survive” does not match my spirit. Even when that is indeed the attitude that I display as I emulate the bronco and buck for my life.

 

I am jagged glass

shattered now

pick me up

fear the cuts

I do not intend

Yet I broke

can you lift me up?

Will you laeve

I am broken

Never repaired

yet I was beautiful

I am beautiful

Shattered glass

so many sharp edges

yet it is true

I am beautiful

A Year After Survival (Trigger Warning)

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.

I love.

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.

a hispanic woman stands naked in a black brace a severing wound goes down her throat and torso revealing an ionic column that is fractured in multiple=

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.

We are Human

I sit here sharing my words with you. You read them, you feel things. I learn from your comments. I am getting to know someone, near and dear she is to my heart. I will likely never meet her in person, and that makes me cry. I will not spoil the surprise because I am going to write about her in depth later. M and I were talking again. I am feeling those consequences from dancing more than I expected, my hips are doing the lambada on their own, clicking when I breath, dislocating if I exhale. The sky is over cast and yet, there is a ringing in my soul, the clarion call for Justice.

In explaining the suffering of this person, she sky dives, she fights for her rights, and she is willing to share what is left of her life in order to make the lives of those she does not know better, I said something that made me pause. “I am American.S he is Canadian.We are Human.” I will fight for anyone who needs a warrior. This is merely who I am. It is a truth. M is Canadian and American. I think he has a dual citizenship, but neither of us know for certain. He is Canadian American. He is also Human.

It does not matter what country you live in, there are silent victims. There is little a victim can do, when they are trapped in a chair, unable to get up without help. When that help is jerked away, so often it is all that you can do to survive, much less fight for your human rights. My Left Foot, a movie about Christy Brown is on. I am listening to it, while I write. While I cry. We are human. Every one of us. It is not a soft thing, this humanity. It is abrasive, fearful, and yet it is capable of much.

Are there laws to protect these innocent victims? Yes and No. It is not a lack of law, it is a lack of proper enforcement. I might be wrong there, but, this is my American Experience. There are plenty of laws to protect the victims of rape, but you must be a victim first. There are laws to provide limited pallitive care, but you must apply and qualify. Right now, there is a chance to change that in the US. I wonder however, as we extend the amount of people who are free of institution and live at home, are we extending a regulatory process to see to it that these people are not victimized?

I do not know. So, I am going to try and find out. I think a system should be in place, surprise visits, people actually believing it when someone says “She has hurt me.” or “He doesn’t feed me.” We need to change the world. I know people who are trying. I am trying. Is the world listening? Are we seen as more than strange deformed creatures? I hope so.

I am an American. You might not be. You are human. I am human. Spread the word. Humanity isn’t limited to the able bodied white man. Humanity belongs to every homo sapien. So stop acting like we are invisible. I see you. You see me. I am human. She is Human. He is Human. WE ARE HUMAN!

Burned at the Stake (Trigger Warning)

I was eight. My family had just moved from one small town in New Mexico, up to another. I want to name it, but, if I do it reveals too much about who I am. I keep my veil of safety. Being pale, with red hair and my own inhibitions in communication I was an outsider anywhere I went in this state. In small towns however, there is a generational acceptance and a strong xenophobia. That which is different isn’t just feared it is hated.

The children in this town were taught that red hair meant you were a witch. This lesson came along before I did. The further stigma of not being able to tan implied this further. I remember the attack, though it plays in half segments, like a badly edited movie and I feel like an outside viewer. I was on the swing, trying to kick the tree branch. Despite my fear of heights the Swing was as close to flying as I could get.

The other kids were calling me names again, chanting them at me, one threw a rock. The film skips. I must have fallen, my shoulder was out of place and my legs hurt. I was in a corner now, and I was quiet, I hadn’t learned to make them feel fear yet. They were new threats. The film skips. I hear the bible verses, half misquoted, none of them had actually read the bible they were just paraphrasing their parents.

“You’re weird.” Silence. “We should kill her.” Fear. “She’s a witch.” Confusion. “Thou Shalt’ not Supper a witch to live.” I did mock them back at that point, correcting their mistatement, “Suffer.” Fear. Suffering. I hurt. The teachers who watch and protect the students watched, they did not say a word.

I ran, I could feel the bones in my knees and ankles grinding, my hips hurt and crackled loudly. I could barely walk, a familiar feeling in daily life now. I cried too. No one wants to die. I thought if I died no one would protect my family. They laughed at my terror. I tugged on my teacher’s sleeve and begged, “They said they’ll kill me.”

“Go play.” The film skips. It’s the next recess. The sun is lower in the sky, and my body aches more. My shoulder is still out of place, but so is my elbow. The rope cuts into my skin. My lip is cut, my glasses are broken so their faces are just blurs. “Witch. Witch.” I feel the sticks under my feet, one of the boy scouts is rubbing sticks together to try and start a fire. I am being burned at the stake.

I did not cry then. I thought I was going to die. I closed my eyes, and I did nothing. I did not pray, I did not let myself feel. I just felt things. Mostly, I felt relief. I thought then I would never have to see my father again, or the older boy who had already found a new victim. I thought if I died my mother would be happy again. I thought the world would be a better place.

A sharp pain comes, and I start to cry. It’s not fire. They failed with fire and one of them threw a rock. The film skips. I cried, I knew I was bleeding and I knew too my guardians did not protect me. I had no teachers who cared, I gave up then. I gave up living in my heart. I had already been broken, I had already been beaten. This was just proof that the world was a place of pain and violence.

Proof no one could love a piece of trash like me.

Invalidation of a person. “She’s weird.” I did not scream, and I did not shout. I just waited to die. Why was it taking so long? Why couldn’t it end? Why did no one do a thing to stop them? Was I so very bad that I didn’t get to die? Was I so very bad that I was going to die?

The bell rang, and everyone else went to class. My teacher’s voice came as a snarl, “You will be counted as absent for the day.” She always looked away when the other children hit me, cornered me, and this time she had just watched. She looked away too when she caught one of the teachers raping another girl. This was the same. It all felt the same to me. No tragedy worse than the others, every breath was tragic and full of pain.

The third recess came, I hurt from the sun. “Whore.” I did not respond, I did not look up, I just stayed silent. “Slut.” More rocks came. One of them found a lighter, maybe a teacher gave it to them. The film skips, plays backwards, the insults the same, a chant of hate. The film skips forward. They have a stick that is burning. My ankles are covered with debris, rocks and sticks, a branch pulled from a tree. Dry tinder, dry grass. The lighter is set to the flames.

I wasn’t afraid anymore, I just watched the sticks burn, listening as they cheered. They were killing me, but, they were happy. I wondered if my mother would be angry at me for dying, or if she would be happy that there was one less mouth to feed. I could hear my father’s threats, I could feel his hands on me. Everyone said I was evil, so dying was right. One less bad person to ruin the world.

My feet hurt, but, I just stood there, tied to the tether ball pole. The principle suddenly was there, the film must have skipped again, but, I didn’t care. I just wanted to make them like me, so I would have to die. Then, maybe my mother could love me. I didn’t know she already did. I thought I was bad. I thought that every lie said was truth. I never heard the good, I don’t think it was said.

I heard yelling, I thought it was more hate. “How dare you just watch?” A knife was drawn, I thought the principle was going to kill me. I had been out in the sun all day, I hurt too much to think. The film skipped, he was carrying me inside. The teachers went back to work, watching. “Who did this?”

Silence.

Eventually I told him, all I could remember. I told him, and he cried. I thought that meant he knew I was evil. He called my mother, I don’t know if she answered but she did not come for me. My teacher kept her job, no one was punished. Only my body, my mind. He drove me home, he said he’d do something. I am sure he tried.

When I went back to school the next day, we started to read about the Salem Witch Trials. Everyone laughed about setting me on fire, about burning me. No one asked if I had blisters on my feet, if it hurt me to walk, or commented on the fact that I had blisters on my face. It was funny. The film skips.

It was all my fault, my mother said, if I just tried harder to get along. If I was nicer. The film skips. Years this time. In and out of the institutes I had already been, I was tired of it. Someone called me a witch, I fought back. I did not want to burn again.

The scars are hidden by other scars. No one was punished. No one cared enough. I was just a little girl, I wasn’t like them. I never will be. Over the years, I watched them as an outsider. I watched them live, I watched some of them die. None of illness, it was always stupid and preventable. I watched them age, I listened to their cruel words.

Every year, they reminded me about it, about the time they burned the witch. I still don’t know why it is funny. I was always threatened with a repeat performance, whenever I did not give them their way. My mother asked why I never had friends. Because I was the Witch. I took their mantle, I practiced the craft of hatred. I made them fear me.

I committed acts of violence, and I learned to hate. I never forgot that my siblings watched too, I never forgot that the teachers watched. There was real danger, there was no medical treatment for it. I had to walk to school until my feet healed, with burns. I had to feel the pain. I still feel some of it.

My sister found a half acceptance by selling her body for it. She let the boys do as they would with her. She let herself be their perpetual victim. It helped that she was born to be blonde, blondes cannot be witches you see. Their culture too taught them that the blonde women are the most desirable. My brother never found acceptance, he ran off as soon as he could, starting adult life far too early. Facing different pains than I.

My siblings who were born while we lived there still never quite fit. Generational Acceptance. Their great grandchildren just might fit in. I hope if they do, the town changes from violence and hate to love and acceptance. I never forgot who watched. I can still list the names. I know too, if my principal had not been sick, his age catching up with him and his body failing him slowly, they would not have just watched. He was a good man. One voice trying to teach them to love.

I never just watch. I will open my mouth at risk to my person, if it feels right. I will lift a hand to help someone if I can, or I will find a way to act. I never just watch. A part of me is forever burning, forever marred, and forever marked. I hear often that bullying is harmless. It isn’t. That was written off as bullying. I spent the rest of my educational career in terror for my life. It’s never just bullying. it is sheer and abject cruelty.

Is it just bullying to throw rocks at a person hoping to kill them? Is it just bullying to set someone on fire? Is it just bullying to blind them? Is it just bullying or is that the excuse given to make it alright to watch? What are you watching happen? What do you let someone do, that costs another?

Every word, every fist, every rock and the fire all took from me. Every adult who just watched is more guilty than the children, because the children did not know better. They only knew what they were taught. They were taught to persecute outsiders, to shun those who were different and to fear any slight varient. They were taught that god hates difference. They were taught hatred.

Not many people in that town grow up and function well outside of it. Part of it is the high density of criminals, hiding easily from the law. Part of it comes from the number of illegal immigrants. The lack of proper education, in a state that always falls in the bottom categories, this is the town that scores the lowest every time. The deficits that these children face disable them further than anything ever has me.

They burned me at the stake. I am struggling to forgive, but, when one of them ventures out of their town or when I must enter it’s borders I still feel sick and fearful.

They burned me at the stake. No amount of explanation or justification will ever make that alright. I may forgive them but I will never forget. I will not pity them, I will also not abandon them. If I am given the choice between watching or acting, I will act. I have to, I must rise above the actions of abuse, incest, torture, and pain. I must rise above. I must heal. I give myself this edict.

They burned me at the stake. There was no justice, there was no help, there was no relief, there was no escape. I had to face them. I had no safe place. I had no one to trust. I wasn’t just lonely, I was in a desolate place, beyond the reach of the rest of the world, wrapped in torture. Reality was worse than any horror story I could read. It was all just a nightmare, except that my nightmares ended eventually. I was beyond suicidal, I was beyond help, because no one offered help. I was blamed. I was a victim. I was nothing like who and what I am today.

They burned me at the stake. There is no forgiveness yet, but, I am trying. Each word written here is one word closer to forgiveness. I have forgiven myself for not being stronger, for being afraid, and for being a child. I have not forgiven them for their cruelty. I have not forgiven them for demanding kindness when they felt pain, for denying me my right to be a person. I am trying. If I can forgive them, then perhaps someday I can forgive my biological father.

I might never forgive them.

They burned me at the stake.

The Cripocalypse (Trigger Warning)

I just woke up, two hours earlier than normal and I have had a vision. A vision of what the privileged folk who refuse to see me as human might see. In truth I was thinking about my father, and how he died. I then realized he suffered for over a year with a bad heart, which means I really need to be careful and have mine checked. I will. My doctor,w hen I tell her how he died will step right up and lob referrals out into space if necessary. My father was one of the most evil persons I ever met. His level of hatred wasn’t just his children or wife, but every man, woman, and child of color, or who was independent, but especially those that over lapped. He told me often about how disabilities worked. None of it was true, and thankfully I discarded his notions before my own disabilities began to force their way to discovery.

The Cripocalypse:
It begins with one, one gimp who refuses to walk. They are just lazy you see but laziness catches like disease. Soon his children refuse to walk. Then they begin to use wheelchairs. Sure some folk might actually need them, like the veterans who let the enemy blow off their legs. After that, come the walkers, they will walk but not if they can’t lean on something. Can these people be more lazy? Not only are they lazy but all of the cripples are mexican or black. You don’t see many white cripples, and if you do they had sex with a (insert racial expletive) cripple and caught it. That’s right, wheelchairs are contagious. Someday, every man will be in a wheelchair, unable to move his body because we didn’t kill the damned cripples.

Yes, he was a bastard. I once made friends with a girl in his apartment, after he and my mother split but before the divorce. He lived there a year before he decided to see who I was playing with when I should have been cleaning and making his dinner. I was only five, but, I was a woman and therefore I was to stay in the house like his personal slave. This girl, I think her name was Jasmin, to me was absolutely wonderful. We played with her dolls, her parents did not approve of Barbie and her stereotypes. In fact her father was the person who defined that word for me. I thought it meant something as innocent as having a newer stereo and an older one.

They even fed me most of the time, for when it was Visitation Time my father made sure to either not show up, or to use my body as he wished, then discard me like trash for the rest of the time. Jasmin didn’t mind that I was afraid of her father at first, she thought it was funny until he explained it was sad. These people were the most accepting people I had ever met. The only truely accepting people. Jasmin and I were playing in the stairwell one day when he woke up, dkscovered I had made pancakes that had gone cold and were slightly burned, and came out to punish me for being five and not being able to cook the food he liked.

I will not describe his physical assault, but I was not his only victim. This was the first time I ran from him. I ran to protect my friend, as he screamed racial slurs. You see Jasmin is black. I have no idea where she is now, that was the last time I saw her, due to my father’s violence against her family. I thought she was beautiful, and I wished my skin was dark. I am as pale as she was dark. She had the darkest skin I have ever seen, it was also luminescent, like looking at a person made of obsidian. She gave me my very first hug. That was how we met.

I was crying in the stairwell, and she and her father came home. She came up and just hugged me. Then we went to play. I do miss the innocence of youth. There was still innocence you see. There were stolen moments of absolute joy, before my father found out. When he attacked me and my friend, we escaped him. I knew I had to go back but I was willing to die for my friend. Her father wasn’t home, we were both alone but we dove through that apartment door, they were our neighbors, closed it, locked it and listened to him scream about how I was going to become a black woman.

Jasmin was also the first person to show concern over bruises. Despite my conditions I do not bruise easily, I never have. My father had also had enough other children to manage beating on us without bruising as much, and rarely where someone might see. He was calculating in his abuse, to make it harder for us to tell anyone. The worst abusers are the most talented at that. The last time I saw Jasmin, I was so afraid that my father would kill me. I even told her father that. I wish I had been smart enough to take his offer up. He offered to let me stay with him until my mother came.

We did try to call her, but, she was busy. My older siblings had refused to stay with Steve, my biological father’s first name, and I was alone except my friend. The police did come, yet they ignored the fact that even his daughter was telling them he’d tried to hurt her friend. This was a defining moment in my perceptions, when the police told Jasmin and her father, to send me back. They stated the Department of Child Services would be out to inspect his care of Jasmin, but surely my father was not really hurting me. They targeted them because of their color.

Often that is the day when I see my innocence starting to disappear. I had so little chance to be a child, but with great joy I remember every moment I had with Jasmin. I remember the utter innocence to be had, before I was taught to hate. It never took. Maybe it is living in New Mexico, where the Latin@ presence is so prevelant, maybe it is the fact that Jasmin and her father cared, or perhaps it is the effort I have put into bettering myself, rejecting the lessons of a false father.

The Cripocalypse is false. I know my disabilities are contagious via genetics. If I could have one last moment to look him in the eye again, I know what I would say. “Steve, I do not respect you. How can I respect someone so close minded as to abuse their children for existing? How can I want you to live, I really was hoping you would die sooner to better the world. You hurt me, and I know you will never care. You just feared being alone when you died, you feared it and none of your children will care when it happens. I am a cripple, who likes persons of color, who likes anyone she meets until they prove they are not worthy of it. You taught me horrible things, to steal, to lie, and to beat. I reject you en masse.”

He is not the only bigot who fears the Cripocalypse. So often people try to hide the disabled, the Persons of color, and yet, isn’t color the most important part of a painting? Art screams for diversity, and the privileged persons always claim to love it. I too wonder, how many more people who hate have died, or will die in a state they most fear?

Does Super cripple help forestall the Cripocalypse?

Z slashed through a shirt to reveal Superman or Supergirl's uniform

Z slashed through a shirt to reveal Superman or Supergirl's uniform

Advocacy and Pain

Today, after finding out that the worst person I have ever known died I had to do some internal evaluation. You see, by advocating for the rights of the ill, the disabled, and the person in need I advocated for the rights of the worst person I have ever met. I questioned why I do it. It turns out, it doesn’t matter. When I say I will advocate for anyone, I really do mean everyone. After the initial shock of realizing I had helped him, I felt a mix of emotions and realized, I cannot let his actions endanger the person I am.

When you become better than what you were told you could  be, it feels good. Often you have to fight to retain awareness of why you are the way you are. Sometimes it looks easier to revert to basic training. This means you try and force yourself back into the role of victim. This means you try and become the abuser. Feeling the urge to hole up and let the world have it’s way with my Civil Rights, hurts.

When you choose to become an advocate, you might help someone you do not want to. Dealing with that awareness is also painful. I do not want to make the life of a child rapist better. You never know who might benefit from your actions beyond the faces you see daily. Dealing with the struggle means you must get past this.

No matter what your main cause is, I say main because I do not believe in discrimination from a single facet, you must accept that people who are not necessarily the people you want in your cause, may benefit. It is not wrong to help them. I felt like I did something wrong by helping my father. This is ludicrous and this is thinking that can poison the movement.

To advocate means to risk facing people who could hurt you. Many people run into this daily. The advocate is the person who takes an extra strain, so that the innocent people of this world can be uplifted. My father suffered in his final days, but his Widow, who loves him and is in emotional agony, did not suffer as much because he recieved proper care.

So, as you advocate for your self and others, be aware, sometimes you might help someone, and the benefit is not always just for the good or the bad.

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