The first thing I remember was sitting on the porch of our home in Kansas City when I was a baby. I recall this as a game, a “mind” game of losing myself through meditation. I remember making the decision to “do it again”, then closing my eyes tight while rocking. During the rocking I would chant in my head these words: ME! ME! MY! MY! I….I….I….ME! MYSELF!! I….I…I…. until I was no longer in human form. At this point I wold become frightened and run into the house and hold my mothers legs. I was under age two.
Over the years I tried doing this again with less and less success until I finally stopped trying.
I learned from my mother that I was loved, but over time she could no longer make me feel safe. Out of respect for the living I won’t go into detail about how I learned the lesson that I was worthless…… Actually the lesson was not so much that I was worthless, but more than that; I was repulsive, unlovable, hideous, and that no one would ever love me because… “well, just look at you! (grab face, pull in front of mirror).. just look! Don’t you make yourself want to barf by looking at yourself?
This was what I hid from each day until I went to school, where the comments were less overt but still holding the same hostility.
Coke bottle glasses, thick and course mushroom hair, skinny legs and I used to try to prove I was nice enough to love. That under the glasses I MUST be pretty, This isn’t who I am. … at home, fear, always the fear that I would be outside of my room at the wrong moment.
I wanted to play football and baseball, I loved to wrestle; I was good at those things. When Id approach my dad to tell him I wanted to play on the little league team (because I could SEE I was a better pitcher than my neighbor) I remember the booming “Who do you think you ARE!!.. you are a GIRL!”
I learned to laugh like crazy to entertain myself, I had a best friend, we laughed and laughed all of the time.
Summer 1970 after 8th grade brings breasts, contact lenses and tossing away the hairbrush to allow a curly head of hair. In high school suddenly people became friendly, the people who had gagged two years prior as I walked past. Wow, isn’t THIS fucked up ?? I wondered… But life was much less scary when people were friendly.
My first boyfriend took me to a party where I got stoned; trembling in the corner of the couch amongst seniors, I was just 15. Soon I was drinking and laughing and laughing with more of my new best friends.
At home I’d talk about what I wanted to “do” when I grew up and I always got the same laughing comment that I’d marry someone rich and learn to cut hair to have something to fall back on.
Age 19 living with that boyfriend back from age 15, only now he is beating me up. My mom calling me each day to tell me that my father would die if he knew I was living with my boyfriend and why don’t you get married?Please honey, just gett married… I knew that I needed to be away from someone who didn’t know how nice I was, away from someone who held knives to my throat. After much pleading, bribes and desperately not wanting to kill my father I got married.
I kept laughing and laughing when I could, it helped a lot…………”where are my grandkids???…..
The precious girls are 2 and 4 when I call 911 to escape the promised execution which I stalled after dialing by provoking a fight first. We never went home again; my best friend was soon greeting me at the front door to tell me that there was no child support and I should go. My mom gave me $20 and my dad said he didn’t care if we killed one another.
I realized that my problems were only financial and people with sick children would give anything to be in my shoes. I loved them so, those babies.
I was proud to say that I never paid rent late even when I went back to school to get my first ever 4.gpa while working part time and being a mom. Nonetheless I moved 12 times in 13 years because of one thing or another… house sold… building condos…. grandpa’s moving back…. sold house… building a condo…. sold house… etc. My kids thought I liked to move because I never let them see my despair. My family thought I was just flaky.
Everywhere I moved to I had a nice house and baked cookies. I made sure that the girls had nice rooms and felt like we were a family. They had as much consistency as I could give, driving to schools and daycares out of whatever neighborhood I wound up in, I always had jobs that would let me be home after school; it broke my heart that they could be latch key kids.
I worked hard to make them feel valuable and loved and made sure they would hear the things I didn’t hear like: you can do anything a boy can do… you are smart, clever, talented, kind and beautiful; you can do anything you want.
I became successful selling real estate. I was happy with my silly band, Donna Kay Honey and the Cowpokers.
They are 18 and 20 when I have another child who is now almost 15. The ugliness during 12 of those 14 years with that marriage is too much to tell but I did have a nice home, always and made sure that I ran, exercised and was a good role model. I kept trying to prove that I was a good person, a NICE person, a good mom.
My son was 9 and a temporary move intended as a wake up call brought the revelation that my husband wasn’t mad at the world, it was at me. “just her basic personality” was the reason I hear at marriage counseling.
I always call my best friend from middle school to ask “Now WHY is it people don’t like me:?” we laugh and laugh.. We don’t KNOW, I’m really NICE.
After death of a brother, mother and father, a divorce, sale of a brokerage, loss of beloved friends and estrangement from living relatives I decide I don’t belong in this world, I’m broken.
I job hunt but I’ve been self employed for over 15 years, there are no resources for downwardly mobile people. I had perfect fico scores, the ex files bankruptcy, I take all of it on and start a 2 year battle with the IRS which I later won, because I was right. I pay 98% of the marital debt but couldn’t get to the last bit of 2%.
Derby makes me realize I can have something good but when it becomes hard (because they don’t like me…. but why? I’m fk’n NICE, lol), I start my own derby leagues, I want to let other people have the opportunity to feel strong, and maybe I can remain strong enough myself to stay in the world for my kids. The world isn’t a place I want to be if we can’t help each other through the pack.
I build it and I build it, I borrow money for gas to get to practices, I’m so proud of everyone. Many times I don’t think I can keep going but I do and then after three years I start getting some of my money back!! I did it!!!
Then I get breast cancer and have two mastectomies in 8 months. I get through that and get back to skating.
WOW!!! I did it!!! I am a warrior, I’m old, I can still skate, I am helping other’s experience this and I’ll make money somehow, I’ll sell some t-shirts! If I hold my head high, see the highest and best in everyone, forgive myself and each other for being human then the world will take care of me, there is no other possible outcome.
I think that if I add gear to my t shirt sales maybe there is a better chance of money walking through the door. Hey, I can sit at a shop as easily as I can work from home.
Then, I begin realize that people have strong opinions about me, They read between the lines of my comments, and as a pack see something that isn’t there. They begin backing away and I wonder if I imagine it.
I just want to share what I know, help everyone become strong and have a small income; I don’t need much.
I finally encounter someone honest, respectful and kind enough to let me know I’m not crazy, who indeed confirms my feelings of a collective cold shoulder, of scrutiny, of judgment about thinking about selling gear….. HUH? I just need to pay my bills somehow, this isn’t an option for me. How can someone judge this idea or even feel they have a right to an opinion about what I do to help support my family?
Humans run in packs, and I don’t understand the pack chasing the outsider to run away. The kind of pack I hope to create is one that has open arms for anyone and will help each other belong. Even me. After 57 years I’m beginning to see how things work; that I view the world with eyes that must be from another planet. I don’t hope to fit in, I just hope to survive for awhile to experience more things.
Today I find out my son would prefer to live with his dad, and there is another lump.
I.. I…..ME! ME! Myself..myself!! ME! Me… if only I could have this chant take me where I remember that it could.
Tomorrow maybe I’ll skate it off and become a warrior again.