Let me go back and explain my purpose here…

I have been realizing that my blog seems really negative and may be kind of depressing. I do NOT want my posts to just be full of complaints about how terrible my childhood was. Right now, I have a pretty great life! I live in a nice house with 4 fantastic roommates, I work 2 jobs that I absolutely love, and best of all I have a wonderful, loving, caring, supportive boyfriend, and he is my best friend in the whole world.

Was it easy getting to this point in my life? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But I did it! I’m still working on it! Life is wayyyyyy better than it was.

There are 3 main points I want to make right now.

1. You don’t have to finish in the same place you started.

People start off in terrible situations, and people end up in terrible situations, and in both cases most people feel as if there is no chance for anything to ever get better.

But there is ALWAYS hope.

I started from the bottom, but I am also successful so far. Just because I was suffered in my childhood doesn’t mean I have to continue to suffer in my adulthood.

I’m in the time of my life where I am figuring out who I am and what I am going to be. I am NOT a victim, I’m NOT going to just blame things on my past, and I am NOT going to be abusive in the future.

You can make the same decisions if you choose to.

2. Life is hard and you shouldn’t go through it alone.

Let me be more blunt: DO NOT TRY TO MAKE IT THROUGH YOUR PROBLEMS BY YOURSELF.

You don’t need to!!!! It’s so much easier if you have help!!!

I’m learning how to take control of my own life, but I’m not going to lie, it’s a long, hard process. I know I’m not alone in going through it, and I don’t want anyone else to feel alone while they’re going through it either. There’s always help and guidance you can receive, and there are many ways to receive it. This is the order (number one being the most helpful) of people I receive help from:

1. My heavenly Father

2. My boyfriend

3. My Church leaders

4. My counselor

5. My friends’ parents

6. My friends

If you are looking for people to help you through your trials, you can get some ideas of who to turn to from my list, or maybe you have a different support system.

The most important thing is to let people help you.

3. Ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

DO NOT feel as if you have no one to turn to. There is ALWAYS at least one person who is willing to help you. But most of the time they won’t come up to you and offer it. Why not? They probably don’t know that you are in need. I can guarantee that if you let someone know you are struggling, and they will help you.

It is so scary trying to talk to someone. It’s really hard. And it hurts a lot at first. At least that’s how I felt. But it is totally worth it. I promise. And I don’t make promises that I can’t keep.

Advertisements

Check out this article I found!

I found an informative article about child abuse written by Russia Robinson. It shows statistical information about domestic abuse and violence, in case you are interested in that kind of stuff. I found it interesting, so I thought I might share it!

It’s called Domestic Violence and the Developing Child.

All about my anxiety attacks

Today’s conversation when Kenneth’s brother picked us up to go to Costco:

Kenneth: “Guess where we were last night!!”

Brother: “Ummmmmm…….. I don’t know, just tell me.”

Kenneth: “The hospital!”

Brother: “Oh. I thought it would be something new or exciting or at least different.”

I had another really bad episode last night, and I told Kenneth that if it lasted more than 2 hours, we needed to go to the ER again because the only way I would be able to stop shaking so bad was if I was loaded up with Benadryl and Ativan.

So around 2 AM (2 hours after the episode started) I was driven back to the ER. I finally went home 2 hours and $50 later.

I flipping hate the hospital.

Anyway, I really wanted to explain what the pseudo-seizure episodes are and why I’m going through this really difficult experience.

Every doctor I’ve seen has told me that I’m simply having multiple anxiety attacks, and my body just constantly has tremors as sort of a residual effect. They explained that the anxiety came from the abuse I experienced.

Why the heck would I have anxiety attacks NOW? I made a LOT of progress on my own while I was in the situation, but now I’ve left the situation, and I’m actually getting professional help. Why didn’t I breakdown earlier?

Let me compare my experiences to an experience my counselor Elaine shared with me. I guess she used to participate in crazy wilderness survival activities, and she told me about one to explain what I’m going through.

Elaine and the group she went with to survive in the wilderness were not provided food or water for 48 hours while they hiked 20 miles. She made it through alright, but after they were done hiking and they rested for the upcoming challenges, her body started shaking violently. It didn’t exactly like what she was putting it through.

The point was that Elaine’s body knew it had to continue going through the experience, but when it knew that it could rest, it reminded her that it was hurting, it went through a lot of trauma, and she needed to do something to fix it.

That’s what’s happening to my body. The difference is that I put my body through emotional trauma rather than physical.

While I was in my house and knew I had to go back to live with my parents, my body and mind did what it could to remain calm and stay sane. But now that I’ve been realizing that I’m in complete control of my life and never have to see my parents again if I so choose, my body’s like, “Okay! I’m done keeping everything bottled up! I’m hurt, and I need to be taken care of! Help me out and TAKE A BREAK from everything you’re doing and focus on your sanity for a little bit here!”

I knowwwwwwwww that I need to pretty much just lay in bed and do absolutely nothing for a week straight if I want the tremors to stop and my episodes to cease entirely, but I can’t…. I get bored and have to go to dance parties like I normally do on the weekends and end up puking and passing out….

But that’s beside the point.

The point is, take care of yourself. If you move too quickly, you’ll have to take a break eventually, and that’s when your body will catch up with you, and it will tell you to CALM DOWN and GET HELP.

Please do not reach the point I have. It freaking sucks. I would not wish the pain I’m going through upon anyone. My heart aches for children and adults who have been abused emotionally and physically and the thought of sexual abuse makes me want to cry.

Going through the abuse is painful enough. Getting past it is arguably more painful. But when the nurse asked me what my pain level was on the 1-10 scale, I had to say a 9. I don’t think it was as painful as childbirth or passing a kidney stone, but I’d say it was close.

My body has been hiding this pain for 19 ½ years. I don’t think my anxiety attacks would be NEARLY this bad if I’d done something sooner. In fact, I’m absolutely positive I wouldn’t be going through this much physical trauma if I’d acted sooner.

Take my advice and do something NOW.

I have my email address listed on the right-hand column if you need help getting started.

I had a really, REALLY eventful last two weeks…

Tonight is the first night I’ve been able to sleep in my own apartment in a week and a half!!

I was in the hospital pretty much all last week…

Last Monday night I started twitching randomly, which led to violent shaking throughout my entire body. It was as if I was having a seizure, but I was conscious for the whole thing! I thought it was weird, and it didn’t help at all that the doctor declared, “In all my 15 years of practice, I’ve never seen anything like this!” after I was hooked up to an IV and an oxygen mask…

They decided that I had a pseudo-seizure, and it was either a dystonic reaction to some medication I had recently taken for nausea and dizziness or an anxiety attack. Or a combination of the two.

I was hospitalized overnight and stayed until Thursday afternoon. I had constantly had tremors that never went away plus multiple pseudo-seizure episodes during my stay. I went back to the ER less than 6 hours after I was discharged on Thursday because I couldn’t breathe when I had another episode. I stayed with a family in Provo that night and the next day, but then was transported via ambulance once again to the ER. I tried going to a BYU basketball game, but passed out in the bathroom after vomiting, and then had another episode. I think I scared the medical team at the game….

I’ve been staying with a family in Provo since I left the hospital because they would be home to watch me, and my roommates wouldn’t be. No, they’re not friends of the family. No, I haven’t known them longer than a month.

Kenneth knew the Sanders while he lived in Virginia for a couple years. They happened to move to Provo shortly after Kenneth and I did. I met them about a month ago, had dinner again with them a few weeks ago, and they were the first people to show up at the hospital when I woke up Tuesday morning.

They’re one of the greatest families I’ve ever met.

I want to talk about 4 things in this post.

 

1. Now I have a dramatic medical history.

 

Well, it’s dramatic for me.

Every time I’d previously been to a new doctor (which is more often than it should be), I would write N/A under just about everything, specifically “List all medications you are currently taking,” “Hospitalizations (Date and Reason),” and “Medical Conditions.”

Now I actually have to fill those out…. And it’s kind of really weird…

The hospital had me schedule appointments with a family practice doctor associated with the hospital, the Otolaryngologist (I just learned that’s the official word for Ear, Nose, Throat doctor and I just had to use it) who prescribed me the nausea and dizziness medication, and my counselor this week.

Monday I saw the family practice doctor.

He was really nice! I was glad for that because my appointment took me an hour and a half… He concluded that the pseudo-seizures were anxiety attacks and weren’t related to the Phenergan, Meloxicam, and Meclizine I had taken the week before.

He also diagnosed me with major depression.

Not minor depression. Not moderate depression. Major.

And it was right after my roommate (who took the sweet time out of her day to drive me to the doctor and wait for me in the waiting room the whole time, bless her soul) complimented me on how positive I was!

I’m not ashamed to have been diagnosed with Depression. It’s actually pretty normal. I just never thought I’d be on medication for it is all.

So now I’m taking Lexapro every morning!

And I’ve only taken it twice, but I’ve actually noticed a big difference in my attitude and emotions.

Yesterday I saw the Otolaryngologist. I’ll just call her the ENT from now on…

She said I still have Viral Labrynthitis, which is pretty much just a virus that makes you dizzy and nauseated. She diagnosed me with it a couple weeks ago and prescribed me the Phenergan and stuff, but the doctors at the hospital took me off of it because they thought I might have had a dystonic reaction to it, so the ENT didn’t want to give me any more drugs just in case.

Therefore, I have to wait the rest of the 4-8 weeks this stupid virus could last and hope my dizziness goes away.

Did I mention my tremors haven’t stopped? Strangers think I have a physical disability. I think it’s cute how they treat me different because of it. I just let it happen.

So I’m just feeling AWESOME!

 

2. I met with my counselor again today.

 

She’s such a cute old lady! I just love her!

In my first session with Elaine, she told me to write a letter to my parents and explain my feelings to them. I wouldn’t send them the letter. I would give it to Elaine and she would decide who should read it.

I wrote the letter last night.

It was 7 pages, 1.15 spaced, size 11 Cambria font.

My plan is to read it to my parents next week when I go home for Thanksgiving.

But I wouldn’t dare confront them alone. I’m bringing Kenneth and Jace with me. Kenneth will serve as a bodyguard and Jace will be a second witness to everything I say.

I’m absolutely terrified.

But I told Elaine my plan, and she just kept telling me, “You are a strong woman!”

I explained that I’m tired of being scared of my parents. I want to take control over my own life. I can’t move forward when my parents keep dragging me backward. I’ve come a LONG way from my past, but my parents pull me a few paces back every time I interact with them (which is more often than I would like).

My parents came to visit me last weekend.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I told them they didn’t need to come, but they texted Kenneth and said they were coming anyway.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It made everything worse…..

And my mom wanted to stay this WHOLE WEEK with me!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to insist that she go home and stay with her 5 other children who needed her at home.

Then I didn’t text her back right away and she texted me right before my counseling appointment and said that she was going to come up and stay with me tomorrow if I didn’t call her back right away.

Aughhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that woman…………..

So I called her and told her that my episodes were anxiety attacks and SHE DIDNT FREAKING BELIEVE ME.

So there’s that…….

I’m just so tired of feeling so angry and hurt and upset every single time she or my dad texts me or calls me. I never want to answer because I don’t have to. I’m an adult and can make my own decisions. They can’t take anything away from me anymore.

BUT NOW THEY’RE THREATENING TO INVADE MY REFUGE AND I REFUSE TO ALLOW IT.

They have no idea of what they did to me. So I’m simply going to inform them in detail. And I’m going to have 2 big, strong men behind me as I read them my carefully worded letter.

I will report how it goes next week…..

 

3. I absolutely love the Sanders family.

 

Keith and Aubrey Sanders are a wonderful couple who have 3 handsome, brilliant, and talented sons. I stayed with them for the last several nights. Keith left on a business trip early Sunday morning, so I spent most of my time with Aubrey and her boys. I miss them already….

I really felt like part of their family. They are just such loving, caring people. And I think I was almost as good as an influence on their family as they were on me..

There are a few women I want to be just like when I grow up and raise a family. They include the lady I grew up across the street from, Kenneth’s mom, and Aubrey.

Aubrey and I stayed up for hours into the middle of the night chatting about my family, giggling about old boyfriends (aka boys we used to just make out with), discussing our real world struggles, and talking about my relationship with Kenneth.

It was just like what I’d always wanted with my own mom. It was so nice. I think Aubrey liked having a teenage girl to talking about those things with, too, since she doesn’t have any daughters of her own.

The boys said they sometimes wished they had sisters, too.

Last night, Aubrey had an event to go to, so I stayed home with her kids. I helped the youngest with his homework, we all played Clue, and then we watched something on TV about Chris Angel that just made me miss my home in Vegas while we drew pictures and I worked on my letter to my parents. It was so fun!! I just felt like their older sister, and I loved feeling like I had more brothers.

They’re brilliant kids, but they didn’t always listen to their mom… Even though sometimes they’d yell at her and sometimes even dare to hit or kick her, Aubrey never screamed at them or hit them. She always asked politely the first, second, and third time, but when they’d continue to scream after that, she’d raise her voice a little (nothing like my own mom) and would simply tell them that she was frustrated with them, they needed to get off the computer/iPad/iPhone, and they needed some time alone. The times I was there, Aubrey had a particularly hard time with her youngest son Kalvin who is 9 years old.

While Aubrey was gone, there was I time I was just drawing pictures with Kalvin alone in the basement. This was a conversation we had:

 

Kalvin: “I hate how my mom put passwords on all the computers and iPads and won’t let me on them for very long.”

[pause: Aubrey felt like her kids were lacking respect, so she put passwords on anything technological to help her enforce some rules they were ignoring. I felt this was completely justified. I just kept thinking that my parents would do worse…]

Me: “Well, she doesn’t want you addicted to technology. It’s good to do other things and use your brain to be creative and -”

Kalvin: “I want to be creative on the iPad and use my brain to create [I don’t remember exactly how he explained it, I just knew it had to do with Minecraft].”

Me: “Well, to be honest, I think the passwords are less because she doesn’t want you to be creative and more because she wants you to learn to listen to her.”

Kalvin: *facial expression changed to show me he was considering what I was saying*

Me: “You really should listen to her. She’s your mom. And she knows what’s best for you, and you really should listen to her.”

Kalvin: *facial expression changed to show me he was starting to understand*

Me: “You know, your mom is a lot nicer than my mom…..”

Kalvin: “I know what happened when you were a kid.”

Me: “…..You do?”

Kalvin: “Yeah. Your mom abused you.” (he almost seemed sad)

Me: “Yeah. You should be glad your mom doesn’t abuse you.”

Kalvin: *nods his head in agreement*

Me: “Your mom is really nice to me. And she always asks you to do things nicely the first time. Will you thank her for me and do things right when she asks you?”

Kalvin: *nods his head* “Can I show you how I draw a shark?”

 

That night, Kalvin got his pajamas on and brushed his teeth the first time Aubrey asked him too instead of fighting her like usual.

I’m not going to lie, my heart melted a little when I saw that.

They’re such a wonderful family, I have no idea how I can every rightfully thank them.

I’m so grateful for their influence in my life and the experiences I had with them.

I can’t wait to make more memories with their family. Hopefully they won’t include the hospital…

 

4. I have the greatest boyfriend ever.

 

I just have to take a second and let the world know that I PEED all over my boyfriend when I lost control of my muscles at the hospital, and he still loves me.

If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.

He was in the hospital with me almost the entire time, with the exceptions of classes and covering my shifts at work. He even stayed one or maybe two (everything is so blurry from all the Ativan they pumped through my system to knock me out) nights with me in that tiny hospital room. He slept on a Lazy Boy that he placed next to my bed and held my hand all night long. He also stayed the night at the Sanders’s house to make sure I was okay. He didn’t sleep in my bed, though. He slept on a bed and I slept on a mattress on the floor in the same room (after I fell off the bed in my own room and Kenneth ran in from across the hall to make sure I was okay).

One of the best things about Kenneth is that he stays so calm. Every time I have an episode, he stays so calm and reassures me that everything will be okay. It really does help me relax faster.

I was with him the first time I had an episode before we knew what was going on. He stayed calm even though I was freaking out. He carried me into his roommates car and then into the ER and didn’t leave my side.

He also always makes sure I’m never alone now that I’m out, just in case I have another episode. He is with me as much as humanly possible. The other night I had an episode while I was at his apartment. He just held me as best he could and whispered in my ear how much he loved me and that he knew that everything was going to be okay. “Think about one of your happiest places or one of the best days you’ve had, Arizona. Think about the day we get married! Just think of how happy you’ll be! I know I’ll be really happy.” I burst into tears when he said that. Mostly tears of joy.

Even though I still my arms tremor so much that I look physically handicapped, he still holds my hand like he’s proud to show me off to the world. His thoughts of me never changed and he hasn’t treated me differently. Well, I guess I can’t honestly say that. I get exhausted really quickly, so he always makes sure I don’t over-exert myself (which I’m known to do) and doesn’t let me participate in strenuous activities. He also keeps me away from the foods he knows will upset my stomach (I vomited everything until yesterday evening). But he doesn’t judge me for being on Depression medication or having tremors. He just loves me for who I am.

And I love him very much as well.

Why I worry about my siblings:

I’m so worried about my siblings because Officer Smith told me that he was going to start talking to them individually. After I talked to him, I warned my oldest brother via Snapchat.

Why didn’t I just call him or text him?

A) My parents would get mad that I called him instead of them.

B) My parents always take his cell phone away.

C) Jace doesn’t have a smartphone, when he snapchats, it’s on his iPod.

D) My parents don’t know that he stole his broken iPod from the safe in their closet and fixed it.

E) Snapchats erase automatically! There’s no possible way we could get caught having that conversation!

I knew Jace would tell the truth to the officers. He’s so fed up with our parents. He’s as depressed as I was when I was in high school.. Officer Smith and another local cop pulled him out of class the next day, Friday afternoon, to interview him.

I worry about Kira.. She’s a sophomore in high school. She’s taken a lot of BS from our parents. I feel like she’ll talk about it just to get something to change. I can tell she’s really depressed, even though she tries to keep it in. But I don’t know when Officer Smith will talk to her….

I’m extremely worried about the 3 youngest of my siblings…

Kourtney is 12, and she’s the oddball in the family. All of us are like my dad – loud, crazy, extroverts – except for Kourtney. She’s like my mom – quite, shy, introverted. She’s not very talkative even around her closest friends. If I had to describe how she is emotionally, I would say she’s a Vulcan. She seems like a rock – no emotion, but still polite. But she’s probably the most emotional out of everyone in my family. She’s very easily upset, but she’ll only burst into tears when she thinks everyone is gone. It breaks my heart thinking of her being called out of class to talk to Officer Smith. He’s so intimidating in uniform… And she knows she’ll get into a LOT of trouble if she gets caught telling him how mean her parents are to her. She would stand up for them just so no one would get in trouble. But she’d hardly say anything at all. And she’d be fighting back tears the whole time. I just wish I could set her on my lap and wrap my arms around her while she gets interrogated. I know everything will be ok, but she doesn’t know that…. She’ll just feel scared and alone….

Jessica is 8 and Johnny is 6. They’re very talkative, but they’re also very young. They’re not scared to talk to people. And they know Officer Smith from church. I know Officer Smith will know how to talk to them, too. His youngest son is 5. I just worry that they don’t know exactly what’s going on at home…

I of course warned Officer Smith of all this about every child during our conversation over the phone. I even elaborated about my concerns about Jessica and Johnny..

When I was in 2nd grade, my class read the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. My teacher asked us all to write about one of our own “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” I was generally a happy kid when I was 7. I played soccer, I played the piano, I had lots of friends… But I got in trouble with Mommy and Daddy a lot. So I just wrote about what happened the night before.

(Keep in mind, this was 12 years ago, so some things are a little fuzzy, but everything I’m writing is very clear in my memory of the event.)

Kira was 3, and she made a yellow scribble on my white dresser with the crayon she had somehow gotten a hold of. She handed me another yellow crayon, so I drew a small heart next to her own art. That’s all we got away with before my mom stormed in my room. She noticed someone had gotten in her crayons. She was mad Kira had gotten into them, but she was more furious that I had made a mark on the dresser she paid for. She screamed at me while digging her fingers into my face.  Her long, sharp nails left indents in my flesh, but her monstrous facial expression penetrated my soul. I’m haunted by that face to this day. I didn’t have time to react before she threw my small body against the wall. My head felt dizzy from making contact, and before I could collect myself, my body was being picked up and thrown against the tacky blue floor in my bedroom. The small TV was on in the background, and my mom’s shrieking voice blended in with it. I tuned everything out as she beat me repeatedly….. It’s a good thing my father was at work that day, or it would have gotten even worse.

I turned this average story into a 3-paragraph body, then added an introduction and a conclusion. After we were done writing, we gathered on a square carpet in the class. My teacher “randomly” chose students to read their stories out loud before she collected them to review them. I was usually one of the “randomly selected” students chosen to share my work with the class because my teacher liked me. This time was no exception. I was a little embarrassed to share with the class that I had gotten in trouble, but I figured every kid was punished the same way I was. My teacher looked shocked after I read my paper. I was nervous… Maybe I didn’t write as well as I usually did and she was disappointed in me… She started asking me questions..

Mrs. P: “Does this happen a lot?”

Me: “Yeah, but only when I get in trouble.”

Mrs. P: “Do you get in trouble a lot?”

Me: *embarrassed* “Yeah… I don’t know why…”

Mrs. P: “Do you love your parents?”

Me: “Of course! They’re my parents!”

Mrs. P: “Do your parents love you?”

Me: “Of course! They’re my parents!”

Because I was so young, I figured all parents were just like mine. And even though they beat me and yelled at me a lot, they still loved me because they had to. Parents have to love their kids. Right?

Mrs. P sent home a note with my schoolwork asking my parents to come in and meet with her. She said it was a “special parent-teacher conference.” I was worried.. My mom wasn’t supposed to know that I wrote about her…

My mom met with my teacher… Long story short, my mom talked her way out of getting CPS (Child Protective Services) involved like my teacher suggested, and I was in A LOT of trouble when we got home……

So I told Officer Smith this story that Jessica and Johnny might react similarly. But then I told him another story about Jessica….

This past May, Jessica had taken a wrist brace to school and pretended that she’d hurt herself. I was the one who picked her and Johnny up from elementary school that day. I knew that Jessica would be harshly punished for taking the brace to school, and I didn’t think she deserved it. As we pulled into the driveway, I told her that I wouldn’t tell Mom and Dad if she promised to never take anything like that to school again. She started crying.

Jessica: “Please don’t tell Mom and Dad on me.”

Me: “I just said I wouldn’t! I don’t want you to get in trouble. But I don’t want you to get yourself into trouble either. Ok?”

Jessica: “Ok… Just… Mom and Dad don’t love me.”

This broke my heart. She’s EIGHT years old!!!!! No 2nd grader should EVER feel like their parents don’t love them!!!!!!!!

Me: “What makes you say that?”

Jessica: “The way they talk to me and what they do to me..”

Me: “What do they say and do?”

Jessica: “They tell me that I’m stupid. And they hit me. A lot. And they yell at me a lot. And tell me I’m a really bad kid. And they kick me, too.”

 

I’m going to talk about Jessica a little bit here because I think she’s an incredible 8-year-old. She’s CRAZY smart. She has an amazing memory. She’s SUPER talented. She likes to sing a lot (like everyone in my family), and she has perfect pitch. And she’s a really good dancer!! Her elementary school has a “May Day Dance” every year. Every grade level does a dance together to a song, from Pre-K to 5th Grade. Every year, I watch Jennica, and she’s always perfectly on beat and doesn’t have to watch the teacher on the sidelines reminding the kids of the moves. She figures things out and I think she’s awesome and she tells the funniest jokes and I brag about her all the time because I love her so dearly.

I knew how my parents treated her because they treated us all that way, but to hear her say it brought tears to my eyes.

I told Officer Smith these stories just so he knew that even though they might say that their parents loved them and were nice to them, it’s not entirely true.

I’m just so worried for them…. I don’t want them to be scared. I just want them to know that everything is going to be okay.

Why don’t I warn them?

If I call home to talk to them, my parents will ask them what I had to say. When they say that I was telling them that Alan Smith would come visit them at school to ask them questions and he’d be in his police uniform, my parents would figure out what was happening and freak out. They’d call Alan and find a way to talk their way out of getting into real trouble.

The whole plan would be ruined.

THE Call (Part 3)

Smith: “Alright, let’s talk about the physical side of the abuse.”

Me: “This is where I feel like I don’t have a lot of information to offer… I don’t know how much it got worse after I left, and I was almost never at home this summer, so I didn’t see a whole lot…”

Smith: “What do your parents do in general?”

Me: “Well, I can tell you what they do lately, but it’s not the same as what they used to. But that’s what I’ve seen.. It may or may not have gotten worse…”

Smith: “Ok, what do they do lately?”

I always try to play it off like it’s not a big deal just because I’m aware it could be worse…

Me: “Well, they mostly just toss and throw us around..”

Smith: “What do you mean by that?”

Me: “Well, they throw us across the room, throw us up the stairs, shove us into the wall…”

Smith: “Can you give me an example?”

Me: “Ummm… well…. One of the last things I saw was when my dad picked up Johnny (he’s 6, but he’s the size of a small 4-year-old) and threw him across the kitchen, from the table into the island.”

Smith: “When did this happen?”

Me: “Well, I saw it no more than a week before I left. But I know Jace told me it happened again after that.”

Officer Smith paused between questions a lot to take notes, which just made me more nervous…

Smith: “Do they ever hit you guys?”

Me: “Well, yeah.”

Smith: “Do they ever hit you with objects?”

Me: “Well, yeah.”

Smith: “What kinds of things do they hit you guys with?”

Me: “Well, it just depends on the nearest objects. A lot of the time they’re really small, but sometimes we’re not so lucky…”

Smith: “Can you give me an example of a not-so-small object?”

Me: *hesitates* “Well, one time I saw my dad hit Jessica (she’s 8 now, but at the time she was 6 I think) with a 2×4…”

Smith: “A TWO BY FOUR??!?! Would you elaborate?”

Me: *hesitates* “Well, it was a year or two ago, but one time my dad got mad at her and hit her in the back with a big wooden plank.”

 

WHY DIDN’T I STAND UP FOR HER??

Oh yeah, because every time I tried standing up for one of my siblings, this is what generally happens:

[Me: “Dad, please don’t hit Jessica with that 2×4!”

Dad: “I can do whatever I want because I’m the parent! I can punish my kids however I want! You can’t tell me how to be a parent!”

(Imagine a huge, 6’ 220 lb. man screaming this at your face while he’s holding a huge piece of wood.)

Dad: *beats me with the plank*

Dad: “Is this what you don’t want me to do?”

Dad: *beats Jessica with the plank harder than before*

Me: *begging my dad to hit me instead of her*

Dad: “Why would I hit you instead when I can torture you both at the same time by hitting her?”]

Even though I really would rather be the one being beaten with a stick, that’s not how things work in my house.

 

Smith: “Do your parents ever break the skin or leave visible marks?”

Me: “No. Everything they do is in a way that won’t leave any proof.”

My father is a fireman. Therefore, he’s seen parents do terrible things to their kids. Therefore, he knows what will leave marks. He has figured out what will NOT leave marks and uses those tactics rather than other forms of punishment that will leave proof of abuse.

Smith: “Can you give me some examples?”

Me: “Well, my dad knows that throwing us down the stairs risks us breaking our necks. So he throws us up the stairs so we hurt our legs at the most. It’s mostly just to scare us… Or like my mom stabbed Jace with plastic knives. She wanted to scare him and maybe inflict some pain, but she didn’t want to break the skin and leave scars.”

Smith: “She stabbed your brother with plastic knives??? Will you elaborate?”

Me: “Well, the first time was a year or two ago, but he told me while I was up at school that it happened again.”

 

I didn’t tell Officer Smith the story, but I’ll tell you here. I don’t know the more recent story, but I remember the one a couple years ago because I was actually home at that time.

[Jace: *sitting in a banana chair, playing a videogame*

Mom: “JACE, YOU BETTER TURN OFF THAT VIDEOGAME!!!!”

(My mom isn’t big and intimidating like my dad, but her scream is shrill, cuts to the core, and fills our entire 5,000 square foot home.)

Jace: *unaffected by my mom’s voice* “Ok, Mom, just let me save and I’ll be right downstairs.”

Jace: *goes to save videogame*

*15 seconds later max*

Mom: *suddenly right behind Jace* “I TOLD YOU TO TURN THIS GAME OFF!!!!!”

Mom: *stabs Jace in the back, shoulders, and neck with a plastic knife before he can react*]

All I could think was “What the heck??? Are you for real??? What on earth are you doing???”

 

Smith: “Is the abuse equal among all the kids?”

Me: “Well, it was even worse than all of this when I was little. But then as Jace and I got bigger and older, there were younger, smaller kids to take our place, so they started taking more of the beating. Now Kira and Kourtney are bigger, so Jessica and Johnny are more physically abused than us older kids. But my parents emotionally abuse us now because it hurts even more than the physical stuff did.”

THE Call (Part 2)

Smith: “I met with the counselor you talked to right before you left. He said there was some abuse going on in your home. What kind would you say is going on?”

Me: “Physical and emotional. *pause* But I wasn’t home for a year, I don’t know how much information I can really give you… I feel like I won’t really be of much help.. Jace (my next oldest brother) would be able to help you more….”

Smith: “Well, I would like to ask you some questions now, and then depending on what you tell me, I might meet with him as well. Now would you say there’s more physical or emotional abuse in your home?”

Me: “For the older kids, emotional. For the younger kids, physical.”

Smith: “Let’s talk about the emotional abuse. What kinds of things are being said.”

Me: “Well, my parents tell us we’re worthless and insignificant and that we can never do anything right…”

Smith: “What phrases do they use specifically?”

Me: “We’re worthless. We’re insignificant. We can’t do anything right. Oh, and they remind us that they’re our dictators. I hate that the most.”

Smith: “How often does this happen?”

Me: “Every single day without fail.”

Smith: “Who do they say these things to?”

Me: “All of us kids, including the youngest ones.”

Smith: “When was the last time you heard them use one of these phrases?”

Me: “The last day I was home this summer.”

Officer Smith seemed surprised… Partially because he’s close to both of my parents. Partially because I talk like it’s normal for parents to talk to their kids this way. I wasn’t aware that it was abnormal until I started seeing how my friends’ parents treated them.

I didn’t include that my parents have said worse to me… I felt like he just wanted the usual phrases that they used on a daily basis, and he seemed satisfied enough with my answers.