Rough draft....

I thought I would give you all a glimpse

into what I've been having to rehash and purge from my soul lately.

You all know that I've been working on writing a memoir,

and that it's been a little rough for me.

Here is a chapter that I wrote tonight.

Keep in mind that it's a rough draft,

and so I KNOW that it's kind of a mess.

The tenses are all off, it's not very flowery and hasn't been "pumped" up yet,

etc etc.

But I wanted to share with you the kind of stuff that I'm trying to get out.

Here it is....


I can’t remember when it all started. The abuse, that is. You’d think something as important as this would be struck in my mind to live in infamy forever and ever, but truth-be-told, most of it just blurs, one event into the next, becoming one larger than life, shameful disaster.
Really, it’s like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg, (which, by the way, the chicken did…it’s in the Bible. Yes it is! Look it up for yourself! God created the animals, not the seeds or eggs, etc.) Anyways, back to what I was saying, it’s hard to remember which came first, the slapping, the choking, the porn addiction, or the verbal and emotional abuse. I think it was probably a simple lack of respect for boundaries and my decisions that came first, except back then, in the early days, I didn’t recognize what he was doing as abusive. From the very beginning he tried his best to control me, not let me have very much space for myself and without question, making decisions for myself were a thing of the past.
I remember so clearly all the times when I was trying to make him leave at night so that I could get some sleep,he would force his booted foot into the door frame so that I couldn’t shut him out, and then began acting like a jerk; definitely inconsiderate and selfish, but I would never have called that abuse. It was though, make no doubt about it. I know that now. The end of those scenes were always the same, after standing around the door for sometimes hours, refusing to let him back in, but unable to close the door around his heavy foot, I finally conceded and went to bed, which meant that with no one there to stop him, he merely walked right back in the house and took back over. He had absolutely no regard for the fact that I still had a baby and was exhausted, or for the fact that I was still married and did not want him spending the night at my house. He just didn’t care.
So if that was the first step, the lack of respect and pushing boundaries, I would say his next step would be to slowly, so so slowly, begin to tear down my self esteem. Every opportunity he got, he would make me feel guilty or ungrateful or wrong about something. Then he started picking apart my appearance and the clothes I wore, labeling them as slutty or whorish. Mind you, none of this happened over night, that change would have been too drastic and I never would have stayed involved in that mess.
No, it happened slowly, kind of the same way you boil frogs. If you throw the frog into boiling water, it will jump right back out of the pot. But, if you place it in cool or lukewarm water, and then turn the heat up underneath the pot, the frog will sit there as it boils to death and his legs are served up on some seafood buffet.
Every argument we would get in, he would turn the flame up just slightly until he was regularly saying things like, “You’re a no good fucking whore with 2 kids and no education, what do you know? And there’s no way anyone is ever going to want you again because your used goods and you’re fat. You need to learn to do better around here so that I don’t decide to kick your ass out on the streets with those kids because no one will be there to help you. You’re a fat, used up whore; you’re lucky I took pity on you.”
Of course, we were fighting more and more because of the way he was treating and talking to me and this was not okay with me. I kept trying to let him know, in no uncertain terms, that this was not acceptable. The problem is that he didn’t listen, in fact, he decided to turn up the heat. He didn’t hit me very often. No, his drug of choice was to restrain me so that I couldn’t get away, combined with choking. Oh, and in the process of restraining me, he broke each of my wrists at different times and also some fingers, sprained my ankles so bad I had to get casts put on them (and he refused to take me to the emergency room too. It was only after I’d threatened to call the police, yet again, with an ambulance this time because I literally couldn’t walk or even stand, he finally helped me to the hospital, but I had to crawl (literally; on hands and knees) out to the car (down the porch, through the gravel, etc.) and get myself up in the van somehow because he refused to help me (calling me a dramatic bitch the whole time and kicking gravel at me). After spending hours in the emergency room, I had casts on both legs. Of course, then he was all about kissing my butt because he looked like a fool when it was proven there really was something wrong with me.
See, that’s how abuse works. It’s all about the cycle of violence. Tension building (he’s acting stank, but hasn’t done anything yet), explosion (actual abuse), then the honeymoon period (when he claims to feel bad about the way he has treated you and now attempts to treat you like a queen and offers up promises of change. The problem is that with bonafide abusers, change never comes. It’s an impossibility with them; It is who they are).
In those first several months of tension building, when it was mostly verbal abuse that was prevalent, one of his major sources of contention with me was music. I remember buying Salt-n-Peppa’s album Very Necessary, which could also be very filthy or very suggestive. I was so naive back then; it never occurred to me to change my behavior just because he was acting like a douche, so I would belt these songs out at the top of my lungs and learn every rap in every song. He would always end up looking over at me with the evilest of eyes and say, “You sure are singing that song with an awful lot of conviction, aren’t you? Are you trying to tell me something? You trying to tell me the words of that song mean that much to you? They must hit home? Is that because you’re a whore? Are you cheating on me?” On and on, over and over. I could have recorded him and played it on a loop to get the same effect.
As you can expect, what this did for me was want to push him away. I had no idea how to do this though, and second-guessed my decisions constantly. If I try to make him leave, how do I do that, because I’ve already told you that he won’t leave. I actually called the police one time and they wouldn’t make him leave even though it was my apartment, because he had clothes there and had been staying, therefore, he was considered my domestic partner and I couldn’t kick him out.
You should have seen the grin on his face when he heard that! He knew now that he could do whatever he wanted and I couldn’t make him leave. It confirmed my worst fears that I really didn’t have any control in the situation and that I was stuck. I had made my decision and now had to live with it. Even the police wouldn’t take him away.
I always remembered the days before he showed up in my life and how horrible they were for me and the kids. I didn’t want to go back to that place again. At least when the evil one was here, he did pay the bills and groceries. He also had a new car and a steady job. I’ve known him for so long that I know he’s not a horrible person, so maybe he’s acting like this because of the stress of the situation? Taking on a new family is very stressful and maybe he’s having a little trouble with it. This is how I would rationalize it away, over and over.
I don’t know that this was the first time he had gotten physical with me, but I know it was definitely the first time he went to jail for domestic violence. It was early in the morning and I was sleeping. The night before, the evil one had went out and bought a new video game system and had gotten up early this morning to go play it. What I heard next, no mother should have to hear the sounds of. I guess Darren (who had just turned two) had gotten out of bed before anyone and was curious about the new game. Of course, he had no idea how to make it worked, so he simply picked up one of the controllers and was looking at the pretty buttons; this is where the evil one entered.
I bolted upright out of sleep by the most high-pitched, blood-curdling screams coming from my baby boy. Over and over again, these shrills were piercing through the morning air and it sounds like he was being attacked by a pit-bull or something! I flew (literally, I think) into the living room to find him hanging mid-air, by the one little baby arm that the evil one had snatched him up by. In his other hand was the chord to the controller that he was using as a whip to beat Darren with, all over his legs, butt and back as he dangled helplessly in the air. From across the room I could see the huge red and white welts beginning to form on Darren’s legs as he continued to shriek for help, especially after he saw me enter the room.
The change was instant! My vision turned from sleepy and dreamy to R-E-D. I had heard of people seeing red before, but had never experienced it myself until this moment. To see my child, my baby child being beaten, and to see how helpless and scared he was as he searched for me with wild, terrorized eyes; simply put, I will never be the same after that incident and it made me see the most violent, wild shade of red known to mankind.
Pure, unadulterated rage boiled out from inside of me as I lunged at him and stole my son out of the grips of this monster. Darren scrambled onto me like a terrified baby monkey and couldn’t cling hard enough as he cried a thousand tears into my hair. I screamed the loudest screams I think I had ever screamed before, as I asked the evil one what the hell he was doing.
“He was touchin’ my game! He needed taught a lesson! But noooo, the little baby had to be rescued by his mama! You’re gonna turn him into a little pussy, you know that right? He deserved it and I’d do it again!” He said all of this so defiantly and tauntingly, that I went and placed Darren in Courtney’s bed with her and shut the door before returning to the scene of the crime. He’s only lucky that I didn’t grab a knife or a blunt object on my way back in.
I immediately lunged at him and shoved him as hard as I could. I was furiously screaming at him, “Who do you think you are? Don’t you EVER touch my children again! If you do, I will kill you! How DARE you!” Basically, I screamed all of the things that any mother would have screamed. The thing is that he wasn’t having it; especially since he felt justified in what he had just done.
Immediately after I shoved him, I think he was a little shocked that the meek and quiet little girl was actually confronting him. He stood there with a somewhat amused look on his face watching this five foot, four inch tall girl try to kick his six foot, two inch ass and thought it was funny at first; but when he saw that I was serious and that the mother bear had come out to protect her cub, he wasn’t amused anymore.
What I was trying to do was not to fight him. I was trying to physically push him out of my house so that we would be safe while I called the police on him for hurting my baby.
It didn’t work.
Once he caught on to what I was trying to do, he came at me full-force, picking me up by the throat and slamming me against the dining room wall. “You wanna try to force me out of here bitch? You forget, I’ve paid for you! I bought you with all the bills I’ve paid and the food I’ve bought; you’re mine whore!” With one hand still holding me against the wall by my throat, he used his other hand to try and pull my panties down so that he could rape me.
Even through my panic, I could hear the doorknob to the kids’ bedroom starting to turn and I knew that one of them was trying to get out. They weren’t quite old enough to know exactly how to get the knob turned all the way yet though and were struggling to make it happen. My heart began racing even harder at the thought of them seeing what was taking place and I screamed as loud as I could for them to stay in the bedroom.
“Why?” He asked. “It’s about time they saw what Mommy is really good for…being a whore. Of course, I wouldn’t even say that you’re good at that, because you couldn’t even keep your husband. What kind of a woman can’t keep her husband? You even suck at what God gave you naturally…being a woman.”
The harder I struggled against him, the harder his grip around my throat became, until I thought I might pass out. He had stopped trying to get my underwear down because I think he knew that it was futile; I was fighting way too hard for him to successfully make anything sexual happen at that point. Instead, he decided to simply overpower me and show me who was boss and had managed to get a hold of both of my wrists in one of his hands while continuing to choke me with the other. I knew that I needed to get away from him or he might kill me. Having my kids come out to see me being hurt is horrible enough, to see me dead would be completely another.
I knew I had to get loose and the only part of my body I had left to use was my head. I drew my head back as far away from him as I could and with all the force I had in my body, I smashed my forehead into his face. Immediately, his hands released from my body as a howl of pain escaped him. Blood covered everything around us, including me and I knew that I had broken his nose.
I wasn’t able to run like I thought I would because my own pain was so intense that I could only fall to my knees. I felt like my skull had exploded. My ears were ringing and I was seeing stars; literally. As my vision began to clear a little bit, I began crawling toward the phone. The evil one had gone into the bathroom to get a towel for his nose, all the while screaming what a “fucking bitch” I was. As I crawled toward the phone, I could hear both Courtney and Darren in their bedroom, crying loudly. I knew they were scared and crying for me, even though they couldn’t see what was happening. It was loud enough for them to be able to hear everything.
It seemed to take forever to reach the corner where the phone lay on a table, but I finally managed to get it in my hands. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt relief like I did when I was able to punch in the numbers 9-1-1.
“9-1-1, do you need police, fire or ambulance?”
If I were more coherent after head-butting him so hard that I gave myself a concussion, I might have heard him coming up behind me, but I didn’t. Before I knew what was happening, I felt him grab the phone out of my hand and then he used it to strike me square between the eyes as hard as he could over and over. The bridge of my nose split open and there was blood flying everywhere.
From somewhere, I found a reserve of energy and felt a rage coming over me that empowered me enough to bound off of the floor and tackle him, knocking him back and off-balance. I ran for the front door, managing to get it unlocked and open before he grabbed me by my hair. Elizabeth had heard the commotion and quietly tried to make her way down the steps to see what was going on. What she saw was him pick me up as if I weighed nothing and throw me like a ragdoll across the room. I went over the top of the recliner that sat in front of the large doorway between the living room and dining room, and landed with a hard thud on the dining room floor, crashing into the table and chairs.
Before it could register with me what had happened, he was on top of me, literally. He straddled my chest, pinning my arms down with his knees and went back and forth between choking me, punching me in the face and using my hair to bang my head into the floor, all while screaming the most horrible obscenities and insults at me.
Every time I would feel him begin to choke me, panic would rise up in me and I would begin to struggle with everything I had in me so that he couldn’t keep a solid grip on my throat. There was a box fan sitting on the floor of the dining room and at one point, I was struggling so hard that my foot went right through the front of the fan, smashing the plastic grill to pieces. It was shortly after this that something even worse than I was enduring happened; something that would change me forever. The kids got the bedroom door open.
Through my life or death struggle, I could see out of the corner of my eye that Darren had made it out of the bedroom and was now standing in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room. His face appeared to be frozen in some sort of contorted, agonized expression that only a toddler in the worst fear of his little life could have. He was watching his mother being beaten, with screaming and cussing and blood everywhere and there was no way that his innocent mind could process it. Courtney had seen Elizabeth in the entryway and bolted for her, screaming and crying on the way, but Darren stood stone still in the doorway, in tormented agony. The image of his face in that moment will give me nightmares and overwhelming guilt for the rest of my life, and I was hoping that the rest of my life wouldn’t be mere minutes longer.
With the room spinning and everything sounding as if I’m in a tunnel, I know that I’m on my way out; whether temporarily or permanently, I didn’t know. All I knew was that I couldn’t do anymore; I was depleted. And that’s when God showed up. There was a pounding on the front door that was so loud I knew it had to be the police. Elizabeth had managed to scoop both of the kids up and run across the street to call them since she didn’t have a phone upstairs. She barely managed to make it out of the door before they showed up though, because luckily when I dialed 9-1-1, the call managed to connect before the evil one hung up the phone. Thankfully, when someone hangs up on 9-1-1, they send the police anyways to check out the situation.
The police burst in and saw the bloody scene where the evil one was still on top of my limp body, choking me and screaming at me. It’s all a bit hazy, but I remember them grabbing him off of me and him trying to fight them too, yelling that he was only defending himself because I broke his nose and that he wanted to file charges against me. A few of the officers cuffed him and drug him out of the house, as some of the others attended to me. I heard one of them radio for an ambulance and wondered just how bad I looked. I guess it was pretty bad.
It turns out that I did indeed give myself a concussion. I had a goose-egg on my forehead the size of a softball that was as blue as a smurf. Luckily, even though he did leave a nasty laceration between my eyes from beating me with the phone receiver, he didn’t break my nose. A little emergency room superglue and hopefully it would barely even leave a scar. There were plenty of horrible bruises and what look like hickey marks in the shape of his hands all over my neck from what seemed like hours of him choking me, even though it was probably only like forty five minutes.
The worst of my injuries was probably my wrists. He had been holding me so tightly at one point that he managed to burst the blood vessels in each wrist, causing them to turn blue and swell about three times their normal size. I couldn’t move them and the pain was excruciating. There were hairline fractures in both of them, but the real pain came from the swelling and bruising.
I don’t know why I didn’t call my parents; probably because I was so embarrassed. Also, I’m sure a part of it was that the only comfort I wanted was the comfort of my husband. When the police asked who they could call to come to the hospital for me, I gave them Randy’s number and while one of his family members came to the house to get the kids, Randy actually beat the ambulance to the hospital. He sat by my side and wouldn’t leave. He didn’t judge me and didn’t condemn me. I think he could feel the shame that I was already carrying and he knew he didn’t have to say anything. More importantly, I think he already knew what it would take me years to learn…
That it wasn’t my fault.


Allison said…
I love you, V. I'm glad that YOU are such a significant part of my life. I can't imagine my world without you in it! :)
Dodi said…
WOW! All sounds too familiar somehow.I was taken back in time while reading. Your right, it is NOT your fault. Why did it take us so long to figure that out? I love you my darling girl. Your an angel.