Snapshot of my life.
Please note - this post contains very serious subject matter. It may be too much for some. It's been a long time coming. I'm taking a risk and hoping I've made a good choice.
While my name is Mary Elizabeth, I’ve been called Mary Beth for as long as I can remember.
My dad left for the first time (that I can remember) for another woman when I was around three years old. This happened many times. We always met the women he was with.
I’ve been told many times how I ruined my parents’ lives by being born. Not that I had any choice…
I was 10ish (maybe even younger) when my mom told me to leave and never come back… the first time.
No one believed that she did that. She laughed it off as well.
I showed my parents stash of pot to one of our babysitters (the church choir director’s son) one time. I didn’t think anything of it. I thought everyone’s parents smoked pot!
I was about 8 years old the first time I visited my aunt in the mental hospital. What do you mean that’s not normal?
Around the same time I snuck my first drag of a cigarette. I quit smoking 18 years ago!
When I was 11, I fell down the stairs. My parents refused to believe anything was wrong. It took something like six weeks for them to finally take me to an orthopedic doctor who said the growth plate in my ankle was broken in half.
My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Vitek, bought thick socks for my leg in a cast, because it was winter and my toes weren’t covered. For some reason, my parents didn’t think it was necessary. Or maybe they were just too busy.
My mom re-married, he had two daughters. My biological sister & the two step-sisters were buddies and it was clear I did not belong.
In 8th grade, my mother decided that I was a whore. How do I know that? She told me so. I moved in with my Paternal Grandparents and Aunt (who was working/in college). My Grandma refused to let me go back to live with my mom, her husband, my sister & step-sisters.
After 8th grade graduation, I moved in with my father and his much older girlfriend in MN. She was SO cool. She let me smoke in the house! I was 14.
There was a lot of drinking (and drugging I believe) going on all the time at that house.
The girlfriend left within a year or two. She didn’t sign up for parenthood.
Soon after, my dad started getting way too close for comfort.
He’d walk around in a robe, which would just accidentally open up.
He’d kiss me so hard, I could feel his teeth.
He found a girlfriend, at church; she was just 8 years older than me. She was a virgin (at least that’s what I was told).
My dad quit smoking.
He didn’t quit drinking.
He drank rum.
I hate the smell of booze, especially rum.
I told my counselor at school that my dad was hurting me. She called him and asked him! He laughed it off. Then told me how disappointed he was in me. Ahhh the good ole days!
I remember waking up one night to him lying next to me in bed, saying he was worried about me, that I was coughing a lot. I was 15 or so. I don’t remember coughing at all. I believe I told him to get the hell out of my bed. Amazing how tough I could be when I was half asleep!
His rage would pop up out of nowhere
I would cover holes from his fists with my Prince posters
One day he hit me so hard, I had a handprint on one side of my face. Friends took me to the police station. It was 1985. Police called him in for questioning. They released him. I was put into a home for runaways. I wasn’t a runaway, but that was the safest place for me to go.
One day I came home and was telling my dad about my day. He was wearing his robe. I should’ve known better. I should’ve gone up to my room, but I stayed. He rubbed my back. Then he reached around and touched my breast…
It was 25 years ago, so I can’t remember exactly what I did next, but I think I just found an excuse to get the hell away from him.
In the meantime, we were attending counseling. His then fiancé said that I deserved what happened to me. I walked around the house in suggestive clothing. I asked her - when did you ever see me wear suggestive clothing? She said - when I spent the night. And, when did you spend the night? When your father was away traveling. Oh, so I dressed in t-shirts and shorts for bed while you were there and that means that it was okay for my FATHER to touch me???? They’re still married.
I spent the night at my friend Jenny’s house. I told her the most recent occurrence of inappropriate behavior. What do you call it? Is it incest if you don’t have sex? Is it molestation? But is that bad enough a term? Either way, her mother refused to let me go back home. She contacted the authorities and I think my mother and within a week or two, I was back in IL
I have searched all over the place for Jenny, I can't find her :(
The first week I was back in IL. My step-father, in the middle of dinner, said “hey, at least I’m not climbing into your bed!” Like that was some kind of accomplishment!
I dated the “hot drug dealer” my senior year. I was an A student, what the hell was I doing???? It was what I knew. I’m quite sure he was cheating on me with many of the other girls I went to school with. He was pretty cute and Italian.
I moved out of that house within weeks of graduating from high school. I was 17 years old.
I lied on my application for my apartment and said I was 18. I had to get away from the bad stuff at my mom’s house.
My mom is mentally ill.
My mom is an alcoholic.
She's been sober for around six years now.
My mom was extremely emotionally abusive.
She tries very hard to be a good grandmother.
My mom tried to kill herself. I knew it was going to happen.
I was so relieved not to be living in that house anymore.
I think my sister is embarrassed to have me as her sister.
I love my sister.
My sister was worshipped; she was wanted.
My parents taught my sister, and step-sisters that I was nothing but a nuisance.
After all these years, and many years of therapy, that still makes me sad if I think about it too much.
My father never touched my sister. He sent her to private college.
I have two half brothers. I’m old enough to be their mother.
They don’t know me.
I’m quite sure they don’t know what our father did to me.
My dad acts as though nothing bad ever happened.
I still love my dad.
I will never forget what he did.
He has never made amends for the horrible things he’s done.
Every time I see him, I grin and bear it, for a couple of hours and then breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over.
I will never allow my daughter to be alone with my dad EVER.
It took YEARS for me to be able to speak to my father, on the phone, without being fully covered neck to toe. Like he could see/feel me through the phone!
I’ve made many poor decisions in my life because of my lack of self esteem and boundaries.
I mistook sex for love too many times.
I've lived in my car.
I’ve been forced to do things against my will.
I’ve loved men who never deserved my love.
I’ve walked away from men who were good, caring men. I didn’t know better and couldn’t handle being treated well.
When I was 18 I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. I had no idea how sick I was!
I haven’t been in a relationship, a real, loving relationship in over 15 years.
When I had my child, I realized how much love I lived without.
Because of my child, I was nice to her father.
Because of my child, I finally contacted the police and got an order of protection against her father.
Because of my child, I stand up for myself.
Because of my child, I am learning to love myself.
Because of my child, I am learning to take care of myself.
Because of my child, I will not do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable again.
Because of my child, I am working on ME.
Because of my child, I love bigger and better than I ever imagined.
People ask me – How do you do it? How did you get through it? I had no other choice!
I am me because of all of the things that have happened to me and around me.
Every day I have to make a choice to do what is best for me and my child.
Some days are really hard.
I have a hard time asking for help.
Some days are easy.
I will not give up.
Nothing and no one can keep me down.
Okay, I’ve been down, but never count me out of the game.
I am a work in progress.
The saying “fight or flight” – I’m a fighter.
I try to surround myself with good people, who will love me unconditionally.
I have amazing friends! I love them so very much!
I started going to church this summer.
I feel like I'm going through a pretty major transformation this year.
I miss my Grandma O. She was my angel on earth. She was my saving grace!
This is my turn!
This is my time!
THIS IS MY LIFE!