Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Only dreaming

Last night I dreamed I had to go back to our old apartment.  I was looking for my patchwork skirt, the one that used to be a pair of pants when I was back-packing with gutter punks.  In the dream, I found it right beside our bed, in the paint bucket I kept my underwear in.  Then I heard Jake's voice behind me.  I turned to face him and he told me he forgave me and still loved me.  He had saved our wedding rings, and he put my ring back on my finger.  Then I woke up.

I haven't been keeping up with this blog like I should.  I've been working pretty hard lately, saving up extra money in between the pages of The Crow, just like Jake used to with his bar money.

I haven't been being very honest with people either.  I tell people I'm getting divorced, and I give them the carefully rehearsed, sympathetic tale of Jake's abuse of me.  My social worker knows better, or, that is, I'm being honest with her but I don't know if she really believes me.

I'm trying to put some nice back in the world lately.  I've been baking tons of cookies and mailing them out to people I meet online.  And last week, I crossed paths with a panhandler and I took him out for a burger.

I toured a residential mental health facility a few weeks ago after another breakdown.  I'm terrified of being locked up there for several months but it's looking more and more like I need a drastic approach.  I would miss Princess.  Coming home to her every night is the highlight of my day.  She sleeps on my feet now.

I finally got the restraining order on Jake dropped.  I think I was hoping for a phone call, a letter, something, but there's been nothing.  I wonder what he's doing.  I wonder if he got into contact with his first fiancee, "the one who got away."  For all I know, they could be living very happily right now, counting down the days until Jake and mine's divorce is final.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Haunted

I had another dream about Jake last night.  For some reason, in order to finalize the divorce, I had to go back to where we were married, his hometown.  My mother and sister were there with me and someone invited my sister to a wedding in another town.  The talk of the wedding made me realize how much I didn't want to get divorced, and I started trying to find Jake.  In my dream, I still had his cell phone number.  He met me on the steps of a white church in a field.  Then I woke up.

I dreamed about Jake a couple nights ago, too.  We were back at his parents' house, sitting at the formal table, heads together, arms around each other.  His parents were being very hostile to me, but he was reassuring me that we were going to be ok.  I cried all day after that dream.

After the dream a couple days ago, I wrote on reddit about wanting to give up everything I've come home to, throw myself on Jake's mercy, and try again.  There was no shortage of people willing to talk me out of it, which was exactly what I needed.  As if I needed to remind myself, Jake was the one who actually lawyered up first and filed divorce papers.  He seemingly didn't hesitate.  It's only now, after he's proven how much he wanted to be free of me, that I've become willing to see things his way and admit that I am wrong.

It's tough being a stripper again, first and foremost because I know how much Jake hated me having that job.  He hated my stage persona and would ask me when I came home from work, "Who am I talking to?" Also on the list of things that make work hard, the Speed channel that's always on the TV on the lower right side of the stage.  The Barrett-Jackson auto auction show is always on, and it's a parade of classic cars that Jake could have told me about.  I have yet to see a Dodge Challenger up for sale but I'm sure I'll cry when I do.  And then there's the music.  I've already told the DJs not to play me any ACDC (more because of Jake's mother) or Fleetwood Mac (not a big deal, no one really wants to hear Fleetwood Mac in a strip club).  But still there are songs that remind me of him.  Last week, I ended up dancing to Jimi Hendrix's version of All Along the Watchtower.  I held it together until I got off stage and went behind the curtain.  Then I cried.  It reminded me of seeing Watchmen with Jake in theaters, and watching it again together after my Dad died, and again after our wedding.  It really was our movie.

My psychiatrist upped my Seraquel to 200 mg a day.  He didn't respond too well to me taking responsibility for the strife in my marriage, so he instructed me to read the book "Women Who Love Too Much," by Robin Norwood.  I have to tell you, going to buy that book at Barnes and Noble was probably more embarrassing than buying porn.  Not that I've ever bought porn.  Anyway, I'm almost done with the book and although a lot of it hits very close to home, the overall message seems to be, "It's not your fault.  Your parents didn't hug you enough, your early boyfriends wanted too much/not enough from you, you're searching for love just like Dorothy searching for a place to belong."  One thing I've taken away from the book is a profound sense of gratitude that I'm not addicted to alcohol, drugs (Seraquel notwithstanding) or food.  Apparently most people with my kinds of issues turn to one or more of those things.

I'm still looking for ways to pay for my sins.  When guys get too touchy or rough with me at the club, I think I'm paying for my sins a little bit, but mostly I think it doesn't count because of how angry Jake would be if he knew I'd gone back to stripping.  I've been trying to reach out to people and do good things - I've been sending cookies to people on the internet, and I'm trying to put together a care package for a single mother in Indiana - but it's not enough to do good things.  Bad things need to happen to me.

I've been trying to clean up all my boxes out in the garage, and one thing I found was a stack of photo albums.  I didn't look in them but I know what's inside.  There are pictures of the mural Jake was painting over the summer.  I really want to put those pictures together for him and send it to his lawyer to give to him, as a peace offering.  I'm also going to ask my lawyer to ask Jake's lawyer if I can pay for Jake's legal services, since none of them would have been necessary if it weren't for my abuse.  I have to be careful about that, though.  If my mother found out, she'd ... well, she'd be very upset.  I already know there's apparently nothing I can do that will get me kicked out.  Still, I don't want her knowing about this.

I'm praying for a peace I'll probably never know, forgiveness I can never earn, love I can never deserve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back in the saddle

The last few weeks have been pretty crazy.  After my Christmas breakdown, my sister, mother and I spent a week at my sister's condo, then sister and I went East to visit our father's grave.  I actually went East a couple days early to see Dragon.  In the midst of all the other chaos in my life, Dragon has always been stable, and my feelings for him have never wavered.  Jake knew that I still loved him, and that's why he made me cut Dragon out of my life before we got legally married.

Seeing Dragon just ended up causing me more pain, though.  I was searching for comfort and distraction, and he gave me neither.  I told him I loved him, and he said nothing.  I know he cares about me, otherwise he wouldn't have let me come to his home.  But I got the very clear message that he was not going to coddle me through this time in my life.

I found someone through reddit who needed a wedding dress, and I drove up to meet the lucky winner, who happened to live in the same state as I do.  We took a few pictures and I gave her a photo album to pass along with the dress when she's done with it.  It was hard, but I feel like I did a good thing.  That dress will go on to become part of good memories for plenty of girls, their future husbands, and their families.

And finally, sick of sitting home all day on the computer, doing nothing but letting collection notices come in, I broke down and got a job.  I decided to go back to stripping.

So far I've worked 3 days at my new club.  Thursday and Friday were busy and exciting but today was awful.  There were very few customers so mostly I just sat around, listening to songs that reminded me of Jake.  Staring at my reflection, remembering how much Jake hated me dancing.  Hearing Jake's voice in my head, telling me how much he hated my stage persona.  And musing on how I threw away the only person I loved enough to change my life for - and how I lost him because I wasn't willing or able to change enough.

Sometimes when I'm up on stage, I think "This is it.  This is the last place my body and face will ever be appreciated.  These are the only people who will see me naked.  This is the last stop for my sexuality.  In a few years, I will be too old to dance, and I will hang up my shoes and take off my make-up, and no one will ever see me naked again."

I've also been seeing tons of Dodge Challengers around, the new ones.  The old ones were some of Jake's favorite cars, due to the movie "Vanishing Point."  When the Challengers were re-introduced, we were both a little skeptical, but they won us over in time.  We didn't see too many back in the Mid-West.  But here, there's everywhere.  The one I saw today was even for sale.  At $32,000, it was a little out of my price range, but all I really wanted to do with it was to drive it to Jake's childhood home and leave it there with a bow on it, as an apology.

Of course, at this point, I think I'm well past the point of apologies.  There will be no forgiveness for what I've done.  There's nothing I could buy Jake that would take away the scars and bruises he suffered at my hands, not that I didn't try that when we were together.  I bought him two trucks to try to rebuild the love I had destroyed.  "If you buy me this truck," he said for the first one, "I'll know you really love me."  I really wish love was as simple as that.

I'm still in therapy.  I don't think it's going very well.  My social worker listens, but she doesn't live in the same reality I do.  She sees me as this scared little girl, acting out impulsively, looking for love and reassurance.  I see a monster, a wild beast who should have been broken years ago, a sociopath who gamed the system and lied to everyone to get what she wanted.

I can't lay the blame for my actions on my parents, but I really wish they had sent me to one of those crazy boot-camp schools when I was a teenager - the kind of place where you have no rights, where the instructors scream at you until you cry, then scream some more.  Where you have to hike 15 miles for a drink of water, and food is withheld if you look at someone the wrong way.  Where you have to earn the right to speak.  The kind of place where I would have learned that I am not the most important person in the universe.  The kind of place where I would have been forced to take responsibility for my actions when I was only destructive on a small scale.  I could have learned years earlier Jake's philosophy that he tried so hard to teach me - When you do something wrong, you're supposed to feel bad about it.

Even if it's not too late, even if I can change, that won't undo what I've done.  And who would really believe me?  "Oh, yes, I beat my first husband, but I'll never hurt you."  I don't even know if I can or should follow my dream of traveling with Renaissance Festival.  If there is a more innocent, peaceful, loving group of people on Earth, I haven't met them.  How could I expose that beautiful refuge to the violence within me?  Problem is, I don't know what else to do.  I can't strip forever.  Any other job I get would still involve working around people, and no one deserves the way I could end up treating them.  How will I support myself?  How, and where, will I live?  How will I eat?

It's a nice fantasy to have some little cabin somewhere with fruit trees and a vegetable garden, where I could just shoot deer in my backyard, but even then, I'd still need to earn money to buy bullets.  If I want to continue wearing clothes, my options are either get a flock of sheep, learn how to shear them, learn how to weave the wool into cloth, and learn how to sew, or get a job so I can just buy clothes.  It would be impossible for me to be 100% self-sufficient and have no interaction with people.

I don't know where to go.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reminders Everywhere

Two nights ago, I had a dream that Jake and I were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.  Last night, I dreamed that at the southern border of his Midwest state, there was a huge ocean.  Blue whales and humpbacks were swimming close to shore.  Jake loved whales.  I was supposed to take him to Hawaii in November, before he got a job.

I've been beating myself up mentally ever since Christmas Eve.  I've stopped telling my mom and sister "I love you," because my actions towards them do not indicate anything close to love.  I won't say something that isn't true.  I know it's hurting them but I refuse to cheapen those words.

Earlier today I was still at my sister's lake house.  We all went out to eat at a little local diner.  We got a tower of onion rings, which reminded me of Jake.  When I used to work at a bar, back when I was dating Jake, and later when I was his mistress, I used to give him a burger with swiss and a pile of onion rings every shift.  It wasn't until after we were married that Jake finally revealed to me he didn't like onion rings.  I asked him why he kept eating them if he didn't like them.  His answer?  "You kept bringing them.  You were showing me you loved me through food.  I wasn't going to turn them away."

That's love right there.  That's appreciation.  And I shat all over it.

I got some information in the mail about the GROW residential treatment in Kankakee, Illinois.  The website said it's on a sliding scale, but the information said it's only $800 a month.  They seem a little anti-med, but at this point, I don't really know if my meds are helping me.  That's not to say I'm going to stop taking them - I would probably be even worse.

Someone online suggested someday I'd find someone who doesn't mind my problems.  This person suggested that crazy people are the fire in life, and someday I'll meet someone I can keep warm.  I don't know about that.  I can't imagine what kind of person would listen to my story and decide they want to be my keeper.  Who would want to come home from work and not know if their wife or girlfriend was going to greet them with a kiss or scream like a banshee?  Even Jake, who told me he was protecting the world from me, had had enough 4 months in.  I was the one to leave, but he was the one to file for divorce.  He was sick of me.

Honestly, what do I have to offer anyone?  I'm not better looking than other women, I don't have a better body, I'm not better at sex or cooking.  And even if I was gorgeous, hot, a freak in bed and Betty Crocker, all of that still wouldn't cancel out a single time I punched or screamed or kicked or bit.  For me, it's pretty simple.  Good people don't hurt other people.  Bad people do.  Good people get to have relationships, families, success and happiness.  Bad people shouldn't.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's the Worst Christmas Ever! Hooray!

Well, it's official.  I ruined Christmas.

Just a couple hours ago, my sister and I got into an argument over some neighbor parking in our driveway, blocking our driveway.  Apropos of nothing, I lost my temper with my sister and attempted to stomp off to my room.  My mother suggested I calm down and sit back down, and I told her to fuck off.  That set in motion a chain of me swearing and punching, and my mother and sister struggling mightily to restrain me.

When they let go, I ran up to my bathroom and threw open the window.  I was going to try and jump out, killing myself.  My sister and mother ran up after me and restrained me again.  My hands are torn up from punching the wall.  My head and face are torn up from smashing them repeatedly into the wall.  I screamed my head off for at least 10 minutes, begging them to let me kill myself or leave the house, repeating that I didn't belong in this family and I don't love them.

I'm calmer now, obviously.  I can't type with clenched fists.  We talked for 2 hours, them trying to convince me I'm a good person with a chemical imbalance, me trying to convince them I'm a bad person who should be turned out to the streets.  We didn't make much progress.

I think this proves conclusively that Jake was not the abuser in our relationship.  Not only was I abusing him, but now I'm abusing my family.  Jake was right when he said he was protecting the world from me.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  After weeks of faking Christmas spirit, I'm burnt out.  I viciously attacked my mother and sister on Christmas Eve.  If ever there was a reason to kick someone out, that would be it.

I wish I had the strength to leave but they were pretty convincing when they told me they love me and would miss me.  They said when I left in July of 2008 they were worried about me for 4 months until I re-initiated email contact.  I don't understand.  I don't know why they would miss me.  I've done nothing but bring disaster into their lives.  I've dropped out of 4 colleges, I'm $40,000 in debt, and I beat my soon-to-be-ex husband.  Clearly, a lovable, worthwhile person anyone would love to have living with them.

Merry Christmas and to all a "Fuck You."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Beginning of Progress

So Tuesday night, after finally owning up to the truth, I got the best night's sleep I've had in months.  I dreamed of walking through a field, surrounded by foxes.  They came up to me, they let me pet them.

When I woke up, the scar from my suicide attempt looked dramatically different.  The scar is on my left wrist, right between my wrist and my elbow.  Shortly after I left Jake, it turned black.  It seemed to be growing.  After my revelation, after that dream, it appeared to have shrunk.  It's now pink, only a couple shades darker than my skin.

Yesterday I had my appointment with my social worker.  I'm not sure if she's the best fit for me, now that I have a better idea of what my problem is.  I told her about an incident from when I was 13.  A kid at the bus stop called me a whore, and I used my Tae Kwon Do training to threaten to break his arm.  My social worker treated it with kid gloves.  She said "Let's be gentle with that girl (referring to my 13 year old self) who was the victim of so much verbal abuse."  I cut her off.

"No," I said.  "On the cosmic scale, there's no difference between the word 'Whore' and the word 'Kumquat.'  It was beyond inappropriate for me to threaten a kid with grievous bodily harm just because he hurt my feelings.  My actions were monstrous."

She wasn't buying it.  "Oh, you're so hard on yourself!  You're not Mother Teresa."

"Because no one else ever has been!  I need to be taken to task for my violent behavior.  A man who did half the things I've done would be strung up by his heels."

I should have just dropped the bomb at the beginning of the session, instead of pussy-footing around and trying to reason with someone who is probably always going to see me as the victim.  I told her I was dropping the restraining order, at least.  But I didn't flat out tell her, "I am abusive."  I need to do that.

I should be getting information from http://www.growinamerica.org/ soon, about their residential program.  Supposedly, they'll keep you for a few months up to a year.  I'll have to get someone to care for Princess while I'm gone, I doubt they take pets.

I don't know how I'm going to break this to my Mom and sister.  I don't know if I should even tell them until after the holidays.  They won't believe me and I'll need time to lay out all the facts, time that they would rather spend making cookies and thinking about happy things.

I don't really know how to go about this.  I feel like I should be branded or something, to warn people.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No More Lies

I'm starting over.  I'm taking responsibility for my actions and the effect I have on the world around me.  I'm not going to hide behind my gender or my psychological problems.

Thanks to the social news site, www.reddit.com, I've slowly started unraveling my little cocoon of self-deception.  I started thinking about the restraining order I placed on Jake, and I posted this:

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ek9hx/can_a_restraining_order_negatively_impact/

I realized that even though I hadn't pressed charges, the mere act of filing a restraining order had the potential to really fuck up Jake's life.  He could be denied certain jobs, and be denied the right to own a hand gun.  Before I left, Jake used to talk a lot about wanting a gun for home defense, but he didn't think it would be safe to have one, given my violent behavior.  He was so right, and so smart, but he should have the right and freedom to own a gun now that I'm gone.

A little later, I posted another question.  My cocoon was disintegrating, and I was having to face some very uncomfortable questions.

http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/el16n/how_do_you_deal_with_guilt_and_shame/

Finally I decided to lay it all out.  There was a forum on reddit where I knew I would get hard truths, not useless platitudes.

http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/elasb/ok_mensrights_let_me_have_it_i_was_a_horrible/

 If a man had done even a tenth of the things I did to Jake, he'd be behind bars.  At the height of my abuse of Jake, I begged the police to arrest me, and they just tossed me back in the apartment with my victim.  Even when Jake confronted my abuse, he wouldn't press charges.

Thanks to the people from r/mensrights, I found a residential program in Illinois.  I spoke with someone in intake earlier today and she's sending me information on their program.  I have a lot of work to do, but I'm confident that my work will actually mean something now that I've owned my problem.  When I was still living with Jake and going to all my appointments, I wasn't really working.  I was hiding.  I wanted excuses and I got them in spades.

When the psychiatrist pronounced me bipolar and psychotic, I held up my diagnosis like the Holy Grail.  "See!" I said.  "It's not my fault I scream at you, hit you, bite you, scratch you, disrespect you, break things, and attempt suicide - it's the bipolar, it's the psychosis.  I'm broken, I've always been this way, it's not my fault.  You're the abuser - you need to treat me with kid gloves - you need to give me my way all the time or I'll attack you again."

My God.  Sometimes I wish Jake hadn't wrestled the knife away from me.  But no.  I'm alive and I can make my life good for something.  I can apologize, even if Jake can never forgive me.  And I can help other people in my situation.  If I can get one woman to evaluate her own behavior before she screams "abuse" at an innocent man, then I will have accomplished something.