First Things First
Getting Down to Basics
Please Sign
Ponder This

This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 


Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.


Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.


It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!













Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.



There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 



On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!








This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in Childhood (39)


What I've Been Up To

Sometimes, upon revisiting my blog after an absence, I am captured anew by how very much I like it, and I nearly gasp my pleasure.

Oh, it's not that it's award worthy, or anything all that special . . .  except to me. Nearly 10 years of blogging! When I berate myself for being so behind in all my writing projects, I've only to visit my blog and think of how many words have been written over the years, and my spirit is calmed.

For nearly 10 years I've been writing my truth. That's not nothing. That's something. Whether or not I'm read very much isn't an issue. Once upon a time I checked my stats every single day, and panicked if they plunged, but no more. I'm secure enough now in the pure simplicity of writing truth that it hardly matters how many read me. Of course I want my words to woo others out of darkness into light, but before anything else my words need to help me. If they don't make it possible for me to advance just a bit away from that house of horrors on Brightwood Street, well then I question just how honest I'm really being after all.

I love my blog, warts and all. I'll never get it to look exactly as I picture it, but no matter. It's mine, it's writing my abuser never saw and--especially due to the fact that he's dead--can never snatch away from me, as he used to do with my pencil tablet.

All mine. Delicious sounding words!

I created this, I made something out of the darkness into which my abuser plunged me back in that tiresome era of my childhood. Sometimes I'm still back there, parts of me groaning and crying and despairing. For several days now I've flashed on my stepsister, Doreen, and the sound of her beatings coming to me from the garage as I stood at the kitchen sink, stricken with horror and fear, washing dishes in scalding water. Doreen, whimpering in the garage, is what comes to me, unbidden, and a little shiver runs up my spine.

Doreen didn't get to live long enough to delve into her pain and live beyond the wreck of childhood. She didn't get to live long enough to be diagnosed with DID, or even long enough to be reunited with the 2 children taken away from her.

I write this blog for me: that's one truth. I write it, at times, with Doreen breathing over my shoulder, as pesky as she was in reality, always wanting to tag after me. I'm not as stuck in the past as I used to be, not after all these years of doggedly keeping this blog. I see what I've been up to here; I've been writing my stepdad out of my soul, and my mother too. I'm writing myself out of that house of incest, and I've been preparing to take Doreen with me now, as I couldn't then when leaving home at the age of 15.

"Let her go with you," my mother used to say when Doreen would trail after me as I prepared to go to Bec's, or walk to the store to spend my allowance. "It won't kill you to take her with you."

There is something, at last, my mother was absolutely right about.

I resented Doreen's dogged presence then, but now I consider it a blessing to my soul to pluck her memory from the obscurity of being the one not loved, and lead her into that place in which most days I reside, trailblazed by the writing of this blog: a rugged, wide and wild place called Redemption.


The Hard Center of Abuse

During my childhood years, I lived in the tension between my disillushionment and near hatred for the 'burbs and my love for all of the normal kid stuff I managed to pad my life with around the hard center of abuse at the heart of my family. I ran through those streets, or skipped, ambled or rode my bike, as someone to whom they belonged: and in a sense I felt they did. Hadn't I earned the right--the need--to tear through the neighborhood, let loose after another grueling act of sexual violence?

I know the violence was in my stepdad, not in the 'burbs themselves, but I couldn't make that delination back then. To me it was all a tumbled mess, and I equated my neighborhood with wicked acts, with hesitant footsteps home and my face burning with shame from another insult lobbed my way.

I blamed the 'burbs for my misery, as I could not blame my stepdad or mother who fed me and kept a roof over my head. I couldn't even afford to acknowledge that they were the true culprits in my daily anguish. But the 'burbs couldn't defend themselves from my accuations, they were the background unfolding in streets and avenues and cul-de-sacs; in driveways and sidewalks, and patios bright white in the noonday sun.

I awoke summer mornings with the varnished hardwood of my bedroom floor glowing like warm honey, winking what seemed to be good will, and promises of good things to come. But the glow didn't last long; it hit me always where I was, that I was not safe (though I couldn't say why), and that there was something major missing which, once again, left me with a big hole in my heart. (Did I even know that that hole was due to being wrenched away from my dad and brothers? Did I allow myself to acknowledge that?) Wearily, I pulled myself out of bed and braced myself to face another day. Wistfulness permeated me with longings I dare not quite think of in too much detail. I wanted....oh, I wanted for this new day to not be like all the others which started with so much promise and ended so horribly. I wanted it to be a long, sweet day of sun and bike riding, of lollygagging with friends, and finding time to read, and not being bugged by any adult for any reason.

I couldn't think of this new day ahead of me without my heart drooping as I went about dressing for the day (hurriedly, in case he barged in on me), absentmindedly grabbing my nearest pair of cut-offs, already suspecting with dull alarm that I'd once again misplaced my skate key.

There wasn't any way to hold on to those first fleeting moments of hopefulness which greeted me each morning before my spirits sank; no method for cupping them safely in my hands and keeping the rest of the day (always a downward slide) at bay. I had no control over how the day unraveled. The best I could do was to plunge into my activities with fierce energy, thrusting myself into games of jumprope or hopscotch, or fast bike riding, until I was slowed down and brought to a halt by my mother's voice calling me home, beckoning me back from the safety of those streets.

I find it ironic that I felt safer on those streets than I ever did within the four walls of my home. Outside meant freedom from grasping hands, and unspeakable acts. The worst I had to fear outside was a skinned knee, or some pushy kid trying to boss me around. But these things meant nothing to me: I lived with a terrorist. The scrapes and bruises, both physical and emotional, held little power over me.

My childhood became a matter of zigging and zagging, dodging what dangers I could while grabbing anything I stumbled upon that made my life bearable: a book, a new friend, or the the lovely honey shade of my bedroom hardwood floor before my sleepy self was set in motion once more.




Jean and Johnny

Books have contributed mightily to my sanity. Where would I be without them? As a child the opening of each new book was for me an act bordering on the sacred. To what heights would this as yet unexplored story take me?

Traumatized, I turned for solace to the illuminating world of fiction. Perhaps my voracious appetite for the written word was a form of self-soothing. When lost in the pages of a book, the world around me ceased to exist. Quite often my mother would insist I get my nose out of a book and go do something else, and then--oh what torture to have to put the book down in the middle of a chapter!

Recently I came across (and purchased) a copy of one of my all time favorite childhood books, Jean and Johnny, by Beverly Cleary. This hardback is a school library discard, and resembles the copy I remember checking out of my grade school library over and over again. I've got a paperback copy, but it doesn't include the original illustrations by Joe and Beth Krush. As any truehearted bookworm knows, illustrations can make or break a book. When I was learning to love books I inhaled them whole: paper, print, illustrations, dog-eared corners and all. And I memorized, without meaning to, the drawings that leant charm and life to each story.

I hold the old familiar book in my hands and study the illustrations as my heart sighs in contentment. About 6 months ago I decided that every month I'm going to allow myself to buy something inexpensive online. I've pretty much got it down to a science: I know what used bookstores offer free shipping, or where to buy a couple skeins of yarn (which my local Joann's doesn't carry) at a reasonable price. The only rule I've burdened myself with over these purchases is that there is to be no guilt. I need to do some little thing for myself on a regular basis. I need to gift my parts with these little treasures that bring them an incredible degree of pleasure.

Oh I love my new book! I flip through the pages glancing at the illustrations and I'm a funny little kid again with a terrible desire to be older and wiser. I don't know how to navigate through life, and interacting with others is often confusing. But then I read some of Jean and Johnny and I'm comforted by the little faux paus Jean makes as she tries so desperately to get the popular Johnny Chessler to notice her. Or the strain her new obsession puts on her friendship with Elaine, her ever loyal best friend. Jean is so human in her yearnings to be singled out and made to feel like someone special that all her clumsy stumblings are homey and familiar, and therefore endearing.

What is also endearing to me is the memory of my little girl self seeking truth and normality within the pages of whatever books I could get my hands on. I wanted desperately to live the simple life of a child, and not be weighed down with adult issues I couldn't even understand.

I wanted to be like Jean, who forgot to line up the plaid on the skirt she made in home-ec, so that the skirt look crooked.

I wanted to be like Elaine whose biggest source of misery was her height.

Even the domestic struggles of Jean's parents touched me, for they were such mundane struggles. Her mother longed to win one of the contests she frequently entered so that she could afford to replace their shabby furniture. Her father, a mailman, wanted sunny weather and a lack of angry dogs on his daily route.

And so I take another well-loved journey through these pages, breathing it all in with as much excitement as if I hadn't read this story hundreds of times over the decades since my little girl self first discovered the wonder of Beverly Cleary.




Journeying Toward Home

Sitting on the front porch just now with the sun streaming down on me, I had an epiphany. As a young child I played happily by myself for hours, in our backyard, often making a private little home for me and my dolls under the shade of a weeping willow tree. What contentment to sit in its shade, absentmindedly absorbing the serenade of bird songs, or the dull roar of an overhead airplane as it arced through the sky to some unknown destination.

Time seemed at once to stand still and to flow, washing over me the sweet assurance of being loved and cherished. Grasshoppers jumped to my delight and bees droned in their lazy way, seeking to suck the nectar from sweet  summer's lavishness.

Before, this is how I knew life. Before, the sun was kind to me and the long summer days were resplendent with hope and the promise of eternity. After, I found no delight in the season whose brightness rubbed me the wrong way: and here's where my epiphany enters the scene. I once loved the sunshine, for it made things glow and throb with eternity. I reveled in the promise of one day living in a land where we will no longer need the sun, for the Lamb will be our light. I loved how time went on and on, seemingly endless. But once abuse grabbed me with cold, grasping hands, I could no longer delight in the unendingness of summer, for it meant now that the abuse would never come to an end. It meant that forever and ever I would be at the mercy of evil, and for me that meant that the sun had eternally set on my soul, never to rise again, bathing me in that glow of well-being which now seemed foreign to me, a tale told out of school.

Because the abuse began on a hot summer's day I've always assumed that's the reason behind my lack of fondness for summer. But I see now it goes deeper than that, all the way back to those earliest memories of complete contentment broken now, shattered beyond repair and me with nothing to look forward to but vague terror and a degree of heart sickness for which there could be no cure.

I sat on my porch just now and the sun warmed my bones; it lightened the sidewalk to a near glow, and brought to mind a normal I once knew with the ignorance of one who has only ever known love and safety and, because of that, has no fear for the future. Oh how careless and reckless was I in the those early days, for my place in this world hadn't been contested.  I had no need to prove my value for no one had questioned it.

Yes, the time came when I thought I would exist forever in a kind of purgatory of the soul, lost in a limbo of hot, perverted hands and the searing hope for a rescue that never appeared.

On the porch, then, my heart felt a slight uplift of hope as the sun warmed me. I've already begun eternity, I thought, nothing has changed after all. The sun isn't evil and I'm no less valuable than I ever was, for nothing can change what awaits for me at the end of my long, convoluted journey toward home.



To My Childhood Best Friend

Meet me at the corner of Brightwood Street; come as your childhood self in our uniform of sixties suburbia: frayed cut-offs and long white T shirt and flip-flops.

Meet me where my front yard gives way to the side street winding away from that House of Incest. Sit with me on the curb, just as we did as kids, our shoulders scraping comfortably as we laughed and horsed around, two ordinary kids doing ordinary kid stuff. Touch my arm when we laugh at a joke, for I need once more your casual touch to assure me my flesh is more than a sexual play thing.

Look into my eyes once more with your keen, affectionate expression. Speak of your dreams, and encourage me to share mine. Stall when we hear your mother's voice calling, taking your time getting up from the curb, loathe to part from me. Call me after dinner just to hear my voice, though we just spent all day together lollygagging.

I have never again been that close to anyone as I was to you during those childhood days.

Meet me at the corner of Brightwood Street for oh, I miss you so . . .