Saturday, May 7, 2011

In the Beginning

My Birth

As I already mentioned, my father was a man who had no interests in being tied down to a woman with two children already.  He had recently finished his degree and was completing a residency in the Psych ward of a VA hospital. It was the early 70’s. My parents were neighbors in an apartment complex located in San Francisco.  As the story is told, they both got drunk & high on marijuana one night and had a one night stand.  I was the result.  However, when my mother approached my father with the knowledge that she was pregnant, his response was “Get an abortion.”  For whatever reason, my mother did not get an abortion.  In fact, she never told my father that she had given birth (he had moved to another town by this time).  It was not until I was 8 months old that my mother sued my father for paternity.  Until this suit, my father had no idea that I actually existed.  My father did not challenge paternity and the court awarded my mother child support.  By the time of the paternity suit, my father had married another woman (Michelle), an Italian.  His new bride made my father solemnly swear to never contact me or try to see me.  Strangely, my father agreed to this stipulation.  Even more strangely, my mother never took a dime of the child support money and claimed she “never wanted it.”  Instead, shortly after the paternity suit, she packed up everything and moved to [redacted].  On a side note, but perhaps relevant, 8 years later my father received a check from the state of California.  The check was equal to the amount of every cent of child support he had ever paid for me.  Included was a letter which said that the state had lost track of my whereabouts and since my mother had never once collected any support, they were cancelling the order to pay and refunding my father his child support money.

Early Childhood

Most of my earliest memories involve living with my great-grandmother (Sally), who died in 1977, or my grandmother (Maggie).  I do not recall any traumatizing events or abuse during this time.  However, I do recall a perhaps significant memory of myself as a little girl at my Grandma Maggie’s house.

Actual Memory – Sal’s House:

I was young – maybe 3 or 4.  I was in a small bedroom with bunk beds.  I do not recall whose beds’ they were, but I believe we were living with my grandmother at the time. She was married to her 2nd or 3rd husband – Sal.  The house was a trailer and I believe it actually belonged to Sal.  I was lying on my back on the bottom bunk bed.  I had my dress pulled up to my chin and I was running a matchbox car up and down my bare stomach.  I remember the feeling was very pleasant.  My mother walked in with a stack of clothes that needed to be put away in the closet.  She looked at me and asked what I was doing.  I smiled at her and said “nothing…”  Yet, I remember inside feeling very devious and naughty.  What she did not know was that I had taken a dark colored crayon (navy blue or dark purple) and stuck it up inside myself in my underwear.  Also, I knew I was running that car across my body because of the pleasurable feelings it incurred.  I remember feeling very anxious and serious that my mother must not find out about my feelings or what I was really doing (self-pleasure).

I have a few other memories of being at Sal’s house but most are mundane in nature.  I remember the black metal grate-like stairs that were off of the back door.  I remember catching little frogs around those steps.  I remember choking on a penny one night while playing alone in the living room.  I remember the horrible, sharp pain in my chest and the very real fear that I was going to die.  No one knew that I was choking.  I don’t remember how the penny eventually was dislodged.  I remember brushing my mother’s hair as she sat on the couch watching tv.  I remember scratching her back too.

This is not my only memory of “self-pleasure” at this age.  My mother had a family friend (Patty) who had a pipe railing on their raised front porch.  I very very distinctly remember trying to climb the pipe railing and, if I “hung” on the rail with my legs spread wide open as far as they could go, after a short period of time I’d be overcome with an incredibly strong, intense pleasurable feeling.  At the time, I had no idea what this feeling was…only that it felt very good and I began to do it over and over again.  Later in life, I recognized that it was an orgasm.  I do not know how I discovered that climbing the rail with my legs spread wide would create an orgasm but I do remember specific feelings that this “knowledge” had to be kept a secret and that doing these acts made me a “dirty little girl” and this meant I was BAD.  I felt a lot of shame and embarrassment about these feelings and acts but could not stop myself from doing them.  

I also have a memory of sexual abuse at Patty’s house involving an incident with the lady’s oldest daughter.

Actual Memory – Karen:

This was also about the time that I was 3 or 4 years old.  Karen was Patty’s daughter.  She was much older than me…at least a teenager.  I remember being in the kitchen with Karen.  I was laying naked on the table.  She was standing over me.  I don’t know if she was naked or simply had her shirt & bra off.  I remember her telling me to suck her nipples.  Her breasts were very large and I remember feeling suffocated by them.  I would try to stop and she would insist that I continue, shoving them in my face again, despite my panic at the feelings of suffocation.  I also remember her performing oral sex on me and, possibly, putting objects into my vagina.  I don’t know if we were alone or if someone else was watching this happen. I only remember feeling deeply ashamed and wanting the “game” to stop. 

External Explanations Added – Karen
We spent a lot of time at Patty’s house because my grandmother lived next door and we lived with her.  Karen’s father, Mitch, paid a lot of attention to me.  I was always sitting on his lap.  He was a big fat man with a long dark beard, perhaps of Italian descent.  I remember that I used to adore him.  I do not ever remember him doing anything inappropriate with me, but I heard whispers much later in life that he used to sexually abuse Karen and his other daughter, Laura, who was my older sister’s age. For some reason, I think he was also involved in pornography, but I cannot recall specifics to substantiate that as fact.  Mitch died when I was 5 or 6 years old (or there abouts), I think.  Mitch worked as a chef in an Italian restaurant.  Patty used to take me there to visit him frequently when I was really little.  On a side note - as I work my way through the years of my life, you'll see a lot of recurring Italian influences and people!

According to my mother, my grandmother (Maggie) used to live next door to Patty.  The building that she lived in burned down one night.  I do not know if my grandmother was living there when it happened, but I remember being at Patty’s when there was a fire.  I had to be very young at the time (3 or 4?).  I remember that I had been sleeping on a couch in the living room.  I remember waking up to the house filled with smoke.  I don’t remember being afraid at all.  I remember a firefighter picking me up from the couch and carrying me outside.  I remember looking at a green vase of flowers on a table by the window as we left the house.  The flowers were a mix of white daisies and yellow sunflowers.  I do not remember seeing any fire or the building next door burning at all.  I also don’t remember anyone else on that particular day other than the fireman who carried me outside.  However, as we went back inside Patty’s house later, I distinctly remember seeing those flowers all wilted and dead.  I also remember Patty (or someone) commenting on the flowers being killed by the smoke. 

Ironically, through all my various memories at Patty’s house, there is always a vacant lot in the space next to her house.  I don’t ever remember the building that was there or any time I supposedly spent in that building.

Some time after this, we moved into a small little, rundown house in a tiny, rural town of a few hundred people.  I only have a few memories of life inside this house.  One of them involves an incident that occurred in the bathroom when I was around 4 years old:

Actual Memory – Burning Incident:

I believe that my mother had asked my older brother (approximately age 13 around this time?) to give me a bath although I don’t recall her actually saying that.  I was in the bathroom while my older brother was running water in the bathtub.  I distinctly remember the mustard yellow bathtub.  At some point, I was in the water.  I don’t remember if he put me in the water or if I just got in the water on my own.  I only remember that the water was scalding, burning hot.  I remember screaming and crying and being generally hysterical because of the water burning the lower half of my body. I don’t know WHY I didn’t just “jump out” of the water.  My memory of this event is very sketchy and doesn’t “flow.”  It is more like “snapshots” of different scenes along with auditory memories and feelings.  However, I remember my mother suddenly appearing in the bathroom (wearing a silky pink bathrobe of all things!).  She scooped me up out of the scalding water.  I vaguely remember her saying some harsh, biting words to my brother, but I don’t recall the actual words.  I remember feelings of overwhelming sadness & remorse and the feeling that he (my brother) was very upset over the whole incident.  Strangely, I also remember feelings of helplessness from him.

Around this same time, my mother used to take me to a private babysitter who lived a couple of blocks from my home.  I remember that I did not like this babysitter, although I cannot recall any specific reasons why I didn’t like her.  I can’t recall any other children at the babysitter’s home.  In my memories, I was the only child she watched.  I do remember that I used to run away from her home frequently.  I would run away to my house and hide under my bed or under the couch.  She would always find me and drag me back to her home.  She was a middle-aged woman who was heavy set with dark curly hair and frequently wore purple clothing.  Her name was Nancy.  I don’t know if she was married or not, but I do remember that she had a teenage son.  For the most part, I was not allowed to leave the living room or first floor of her home.  I remember being FORBIDDEN to go up the stairs in her home which is where the bedrooms were located.  I remember sneaking up there once but I don’t recall what I saw other than white lacey bedding.  I remember that there used to be a wall-to-wall bookcase in Nancy’s living room.  There were old “trinkets” displayed on the bookcase.  I wasn’t allowed to touch them.  Touching them would get me in big trouble.  I remember that one day I stole an old, ancient ring (or it seemed ancient to me) that had been on the bookcase.  I don’t specifically recall how it was identified that the ring was missing, or discovery on how I’d stolen it or confessed to stealing it.  I simply have a “gut feeling” that some very bad things came down upon me for taking that ring.  I do know that the ring was given back although I don’t recall the manner in which that happened.

One of the reasons I stayed with Nancy was because she lived very close to my school.  The school was very very old.  I went to kindergarten in the afternoons.  I remember next to nothing of my kindergarten year.  Some vague memories of the old cafeteria in the basement, the library, and the big gym with the giant black panther oil painting in the corner of the ceiling. (that painting held me mesmerized every time I saw it.)  In one rather strong memory, I remember is being taken into a little white trailer (like a semi-truck trailer) that was behind the school.  Sometimes I went to that trailer alone.  Other times there were other kids there too.  Sometimes the people there, whom I did not know, would ask us to do physical things, like skip across the room or hop on one foot.  Sometimes, they spent (what seemed like) hours asking us questions.  I don’t remember what they would ask.  I only remember that if we did not answer fast enough or if we answered wrong, they would smack my knuckles with a paddle.  I remember a few occasions where we had wires hooked to our body and they would ask us questions and shock us.  I hated and feared that trailer.  (My body is trembling right now as I write this…and I’m very cold).   I can remember being at recess with other children and we would try to sneak a peek into those trailers to see what was happening with the other kids in there.  There were usually 2 or 3 adults “patrolling” around those trailers to keep us away during recess.

Most of my memories of the little house involve our neighbors.  A small family lived in a beautiful brick home next door to us.  They had son, Wesley, who was my older brother’s age. They also had a daughter, Mary, who was my age.  I played with Mary almost every day.  I believe her parents were wealthy or, at least, upper middle class.  Their home was beautifully furnished and they always wore the nicest clothes, drove nice cars, etc.  Mary & Wesley also attended a private school somewhere.  I remember feeling a lot of awe and envy of their home.  I also remember that Mary’s dad was abusive.  She was very afraid of him.  I remember being afraid of him too.  While I do not know if he abused Mary & her brother, I remember a few occasions where I saw him beating her mother while I was in their home.  Mary & I would hide when this happened so, as a child, I didn’t believe her father knew we were watching. 

Most of my memories of playing with Mary are times when we played in her bedroom or outside around her house.  I can remember playing on her swing set or making mud pies in her mother’s flower garden.  One rather peculiar memory I have involves late one night:

Actual Memory – Spinning at Mary’s:

It was summertime and dark outside.  I don’t know why we were outside when it was dark as it must have been very late.  Two little girls.  We were in her front yard.  For some reason, we were spinning ourselves sick.  We would twirl and twirl and twirl around until we fell down.  Then we’d get up and spin around some more until we fell down again.  Across the street from her house was a mechanic’s garage.  As I laid on the ground in the grass, I remember seeing the pink neon from the garage sign (3 concentric pink neon circles) spinning overhead, shifting up and down and around.  I can see that pink neon sign still spinning around today as if it happened only moments ago!  It seemed like we twirled for HOURS.  I don’t remember any other people around or any cars driving by.  I became so physically ill from all the spinning that night that I have never ever been able to spin again without becoming violently physically ill.  I can’t even WATCH someone spin around without becoming sick over it.  I feel deeply nauseated right now just remembering that night.

Breakdown and Review:

In this section of the post, I will attempt to breakdown evidence and/or psychological assessment of the information or situations posted above.  I will attempt to look at the situations from a pro-believer standpoint as well as from an alternative or scientific perspective.
There is no doubt that my early childhood was punctuated by disturbing scenarios that lead one to wonder exactly how they affected my developing brain and sense of self.  Childhood sexual abuse and neglect is said to have a dramatic effect on the Limbic nervous system, even changing the chemical make-up of the brain.  Most would agree that trauma includes the following ingredients: 

(1) it seriously threatens the health or survival of the individual;

(2) it renders the individual powerless in the face of overwhelming fear or arousal;

(3) it overwhelms the individual's coping capacity; and

(4) it violates basic assumptions about the environment's (human or physical) benevolence and safety (adapted from Eisen & Goodman, 1998).

Of the memories listed above, the following observations can be made:

Pro-Believer Traits & Evidence:
- occurrences of sexual abuse, including self-perpetrated abuse.  After speaking with several therapists who specialize in child sexual abuse treatment, it is evident that my "knowledge" of masturbation at such a young age combined with the feelings of shame & secrecy were no mere accident of "self discovery."  The behavior combined with the internalized feelings strongly indicate that such behavior was taught to me, even if I do not recall the initial offending events.
- possible child pornography
- bathtub incident with my brother, only to be 'saved' by my mother
- emotional abuse and neglect by my mother
- introduction to violent physical abuse via Mary's father
- repeated "spinning" at Mary's, combined with the memory of the neon pink concentric circles.  This has a basis in MK Ultra programming.
- my unexplained fear of the "babysitter" and perpetually running away from her.
- events that occurred in the white trailer behind my school as potential "candidate selection" and "initial programming"

Alternative Explanations:
There can be no doubt that the sexual abuse had a profound effect on me as a child.  While it is certain that there were likely other incidents of abuse that are either repressed, blocked, or simply forgotten within my memory, it is certain that they must have occurred.  Outside of the abuse, some of the memories may possibly be explained as simply coincidental or typical for the time and culture.  Domestic violence is certainly nothing new or even conspiratorial.  As for the "abuse" at the school, well...who hasn't heard of the good 'ole days when Catholic nuns ruled with an iron ruler?  I can clearly remember stories of my older sister getting swatted on the hand in a PUBLIC school for using her pencil "with the wrong hand" because she was naturally left-handed!  Of course, this would have been the same school that housed the little white trailers behind the school!

No comments:

Post a Comment