Johanna (linnetbird) wrote,
Johanna
linnetbird

these are the things i want to tell you

the reason i always bitch about not being able to sleep or being a light sleeper is because from about the age of five or basically since i can remember, my mom has been a huge alcoholic and she used to wander around barely able to walk from intoxication and sometimes she'd fall down and hurt herself and i kind of considered it my responsibility to make sure that it wouldn't happen, so i would lie awake at night for as long as i could to listen to hear if she was okay... i was always scared she'd fall down the stairs and hit her head and die, because my father used to tell my sister and i that it would probably happen someday.

my father also used to beat my mom up at night sometimes, or threaten to if she wouldn't have sex with him; i only know this because i wasn't allowed to close my door at night. i would try to listen for every sound or hint that things were getting too bad; in sixth grade my mom was passed out from being drunk and my dad was screaming and beating her and i begged him to stop and i'm not saying he would have like, killed her or anything, but i always felt responsibility to interfere so that he wouldn't hurt her too badly. i used to be scared to go away to college because i had irrational fears that he would kill her if i weren't there to stop him from beating her so bad.

every time i hear a noise at night every reflex i have is tensed and ready. my heart immediately starts pounding out of my chest and every muscle tenses. this is the fight or flight reaction.

my dad didn't really beat up on me, he just used to kind of pull my hair when i was being bratty. that's one thing i didn't have to worry about, but he would threaten to hit me a lot, and i sometimes would have to run away to avoid a fist. this happened a lot in high school; he'd get pissed and lunge at me and i'd run outside to get away.

my dad and i used to be incredibly close and he once literally called me his favorite in the family, and then seemingly out of no where in fifth grade he turned completely insane on me and would scream at me in my face for an hour at a time when my mom was out of the house and threatened to kill me unless i got straight A's. i was only ten so i believed he was going to kill me, especially since i'd seen him hurt my mom. i was terrified of being beaten to death, and so i decided that i would kill myself first before he could do it. i tried but my mom found me. i don't think she knew what was going on really, though.

shortly after this weak attempt i started acting out in school and i eventually got in trouble for it. that was the most concrete time i can remember getting beaten up by my dad. oddly enough i was so pumped full of adrenaline at the time that i don't remember it hurting at all. he just came into the room screaming and i was ready for it, and i fell the ground as he grabbed me by the hair and started raining down the blows. then my mom came to the doorway and begged him to stop, and because he was used to being physically rough with her, he shoved her against the wall so hard the back of her head split open and she started to bleed. i ran to try to help her and my dad picked me up and threw me back across the room and locked the door. my mom cried and started to clean the blood off the carpet and asked me why i did this to her. for some reason i never forgot this day.

my dad and i started getting alone better in middle school though i have to say i was pretty distant from my peers... i didn't really value friendship and thought that being alone was the better way to go. i never told anyone anything serious. i wish i had been kinder to some very wonderful people back in those days. fortunately i ended up staying friends with some of them, though.

the summer of eighth grade is when my father's and my relationship deteriorated again. we got a new dog and he was a bit rambunctious, and my father's solution to this was beating the daylights out of the dog. i couldn't stand it and would either throw a fit or at times physically hold the dog to prevent him from being beaten. sometimes i'd go out and my father would tell me when i got home that the dog had been bad and he'd given him a good beating, good thing i wasn't there. i began to hate him.

high school was basically a huge shitshow; too much to really begin to get into. i don't think i'll ever cram all the minute details of why things just went really wrong. my parents controlled every aspect of my life and i hid everything about me from them because they disapproved of everything-- my friends, my extracurriculars, my academic interests-- everything said to them that there was something wrong with me, that i was going down the wrong path in life. i'm sure i didn't help the situation, either, but basically it was a good four years of a lot of cursing, screaming, and mind games. the biggest argument was over the fact that i loved singing and practiced all the time, and my father was convinced that it was in the way of me doing well academically. i also had to quit basketball and lacrosse for the same reason. sophomore year got kind of unbearable; that was the most depressed year of high school i spent i guess.

the worst day i can remember in high school isn't even that outrageous, it was just kind of my life personified at the moment; my boyfriend broke up with me the day before because he found out i cut, and then i had a soccer tournament somewhere two hours away the next day; i was at this time performing in the school musical, we had two shows, Friday and Saturday, and I'd been working on it all trimester; I went the soccer tournament but the game had gotten postponed, so that if I stayed to play the game, I'd miss my show (and subsequently fail the class)... My parents always deemed soccer a more "productive" activity than singing or performing, though, so when i said, oh, i guess i can't play today, my dad freaked out and cursed me off and insisted i stayed for the game... we were losing 6-0 by the half and my coach told me i should leave so i didn't miss my show... but my dad made me stay because singing was "worthless..." and a "waste of time..." ironically i made it back 15 minutes before the show started, so i guess it kind of worked out, it just sucked as a day.

college got kind of worse as my parents threatened to visit on a regular basis to "check up" on me, and my mother went through a phase where she'd call me and leave messages about what a whore I was (it stemmed from the fact that she hated my boyfriend at the time... and i guess she thought i was being a slut for being so serious with a guy). my grandmother had been sick for months and she died around this time. i went home and my mother basically used the opportunity to call me a whore in a variety of ways for the entire weekend. it was a tough time. i was pretty lonely at school, too. my dad didn't really talk to me at all. i think he said about two words to me the whole year. my boyfriend of the time tried to talk to them to figure out why they were being so insane, and they basically just said that i was too stupid to figure out what was right for me so they felt they had to keep a tight grip. that they did.

that summer things heightened really badly. i wasn't allowed to see friends they didn't approve of, i could barely see my boyfriend, and basically i was going insane. at one point my mother went through my phone when i left it home accidentally and found a bunch of stuff that pissed her off. besides the usual whore name-calling, she said that she didn't think i should go back to school because i couldn't be trusted and that i was never leaving the house without a chaperone again. i don't know if this was for real or not, but the things she said, my father said, and the years of everything just became too much. my entire life was still controlled by them and i couldn't take it. my mom kept saying over and over that if i didn't agree to these conditions then i was welcome to leave the house. so i left the house at 6 am the next day and went to philadelphia for the weekend. i told them in a note that i thought it was better we went our separate ways for now, since we couldn't seem to agree on how to conduct things. i came back to northern new jersey to make the commute to work. i stayed in my ex's sister's room in his house, but decided one night to sleep over my friend's house just to get away from his house for a little, cause it was overall kind of stressful. i found out that my parents had called the cops on me and said i was a missing person. at this time i was getting a semi-painful/extensive oral surgery done on my front teeth cause i had spaces, and i had an appointment i HAD to keep, otherwise i'd be fucked, and my mom was able to corner me there. i didn't go home for a good two weeks, though my mom would show up at the house i was staying or follow my bus from work home and make me talk to her. finally, my dad called me and told me that if i would agree to reconcile and come live back home, then they would continue to pay my tuition, no questions asked and things would be fine. i wished, rather than believed them. i went home and we lived in silence for about two weeks.

back at school, i got a letter from the financial office that said that they'd received a letter from my father that said that after this year, i would be responsible for all future expenses, including tuition, room and board, etc. i was enraged and scared. i knew i couldn't say anything, because if i did, they might not pay the rest of this year, but i hated that i had to still go home for breaks and pretend everything was fine. i got two jobs and worked my ass off trying to save up. it was around this time i started getting really depressed, borderline suicidal at times. it was just a lot to handle. i had great friends and my life at college was pretty good, but i felt dead inside a lot of the time.

shortly after, sometime after thanksgiving and before christmas, my dad hurt my mom pretty bad and she came to princeton asking me to help her. i found her a few apartments and tried to help her the best i could but she went back to him. i kind of broke after this point. i was depressed most of the time, and even though things were as "peaceful" as they'd really ever been, i started having nightmares and being unable to sleep properly. i was still always scared they wouldn't pay my tuition, and they didn't really agree to pay my extra charges and at times medical bills. this has kind of continued for a while. they are odd about money. they're very free about giving it when they're in a good mood with me, but when they're in a bad mood it's troublesome. i have always kind of have felt the tuition thing has hung over my head, cause they often threaten to take it away.


i should also mention that i have a very odd relationship with sex because growing up and really until recently my father used to say extremely dirty/sexual things to me, sometimes about my mother, sometimes just in general, and it made me extremely uncomfortable and i wasn't sure how to handle it. i usually just left the room. it's part of why i absolutely HATE certain words, and for a while why i found anything sexual slightly repulsive. i'm kind of over that, but i still kind of treat myself with care as it were when it comes to sexual activity.

i guess you know the rest from this point. vienna happened; i was already really depressed and then my boyfriend and i took a "break" which was really difficult for me, since he was one of the only people i was ever really able to talk about stuff with at the time. his family had also kind of "adopted" me so when we broke up i felt very alone. it was not the breakup itself but more that it was the straw that broke the camel's back. i had difficulty sleeping or eating most of the time i was there, and i spent most days thinking about suicide and how i would do it. i was able to distract myself with sight-seeing, walking, and hiking, which did make me feel somewhat better at times. i think i've told you the rest of this mostly; i cut myself once over the summer hoping it would "kill" me but it didn't, obviously.

i got a lot better though once i got back to school, and i still struggle a lot but not in such a dire way. i guess there was something about being completely alone in a foreign country that made me so depressed. i know that these are all things i need to move on from, but it's difficult because i still have a lot of nightmares about the past, or just about my parents in general, and i sometimes feel like i'm just carrying too many things in my head and it's like i'll never get past them to see what happiness feels like. but as much as i have my times of depression/hopelessness, i do have times of genuine hope and excitement for the future. there are times when i nosedive very suddenly and for no explicable reason, but those times are getting less and less, fortunately. i hope that i can get past this time in my life. i do have a lot of blessings in my life, and if i can learn to let go of the past, i know i will be a better person for it.

i know this all might scare you, but this explains a lot of who i am and where i come from. it's not that everything in my life is bad; it's just that this is the bad stuff that i'm sometimes too scared to talk about. the rest i can reveal slowly and in a natural progression.

and i'm in love with you.
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