If you were abused it’s NOT okay.   

Ever been in that situation? You tell someone you trust about your abuse and they say “oh so it wasn’t that bad.” and it’s funny because it probably wasn’t meant to come out that way, but it’s too late to backtrack.

That’s how it starts. You question if you remember correctly or if you’re just overreacting.

For a while there you start thinking that your abuse wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad. Eventually you start to feel like you had never really been abused.

You may not remember the big picture entirely, but unfortunately there are feelings you’ll never forget.

Loneliness. Feeling like you had no one to talk to. Not even yourself because your abuser made sure you thought that you were nothing. Maybe you even continue to think that now.

Helplessness. Wondering why no one did anything to help you when you couldn’t help yourself. Feeling like the people that were supposed to protect you didn’t give a shit and remembering how you tried to cling to any adult that showed you basic human decency.

How your body felt. Even now as an adult things like sex remind your body of the sexual abuse. Or a key phrase taken out of context brings you back to the emotional abuse. Or the movement of a hand makes you flinch because of the physical abuse.

Whatever the abuse was it was more than enough to fuck you over as an adult. Maybe now you have a mental illness or trouble trusting anyone. Maybe functioning as a person is a lot more difficult than it should be. Maybe you struggle with self worth. Maybe when people actually like you as a person you wonder why. Maybe you’ve even attempted suicide because you have felt like there’s no where else to turn.

If any of this is going on in your life then how the hell could you ever tell yourself that your abuse wasnt bad enough?

If you look at your current life it’s clear that your childhood left some really awful and debilitating feelings behind.

If you look at your childhood it’s easy to remember how the younger version of you felt. You may even play it back in your head and wonder why no one’s helping younger you.

Maybe you feel like you can’t be happy now because younger you got it so bad. If you try to move on with your life it’s like you’re leaving that helpless version of you behind.

You were abused and it was NOT OKAY. It fucking ruined you for a while. Maybe you’re still in that ruined phase. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. You are so much more than your abuse, and holding onto it isn’t healthy, but never let anyone tell you your abuse wasn’t that bad compared to someone else’s.

Someone telling you to be happy because others have it worse is like someone telling you to be sad because others have it better.

It’s bullshit.

IT’S NOT OKAY. 

If anyone ever says that your abuse wasnt bad enough for you to complain about it then come back here and read this. I’m telling you right now no matter who you are:

It’s okay to admit to yourself that you were abused. You know the truth. The degree of the abuse doesn’t matter in this sense. You are allowed to acknowledge it. You’re allowed to share that part of you with someone. If that someone is on some bullshit then they aren’t essential to your recovery. In fact they are devastating to it.

Drop them.

And if it’s your abuser telling you that you’re overreacting, then let me tell you why.

No one wants to feel like a monster.

Not even monsters.

The moment you start wondering if you’re overreacting just remember to tell yourself that What happened to you…

was not okay.

Find comfort in that fact. The fact that it happened and it was real and you’re not crazy. If you have to live your life dealing with the aftermath then you get to live knowing the reason why.

All of this is fine and dandy, but in a future post we are going to look at how to remember the past objectively.

There is a way to remember the pain without making yourself suffer.

Remember you always have a friend here. Contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If you’re having an emergency always call the hotline. It’s always okay to do that when you’re in distress.

Himym425@gmail.com

-Jess

The Dr. Phil Show and triggers

I can’t give any advice on how to deal with triggers. It’s one of the few things I have no answer for. One of the few things I’m never prepared for.

My reaction to triggers whether it be an emotional reaction or a physical reaction is involuntary. I’m sure there are coping skills to fight off a bad trigger reaction but I can’t seem to bring myself to work on it. When they happen I just wait it out. It almost feels easier than acknowledging them.

It’s weird. Feeling dirty when I just got out if the shower. Having to put clothes on my still wet body. Wrapping myself in a blanket or pushing my face into Andy’s chest while I try to take deep breaths and let it pass.

It’s weird to be around my immediate family and feel this wave of disgust wash over every inch of me. I’m disgusting and everyone can see it.

It’s weird to watch a Dr. Phil episode and be able to relate with girls who’s family didn’t believe that they were abused by other family members.

But this isn’t about my family. This is about the aftermath.

I remember getting interviewed in this office. It had a window where my mom and a doctor could watch me. Judge me. I felt like I had done something bad by confiding in my school’s social worker with a problem I had had for two years.

A problem named Jesus Gonzalez.

A problem with a name that I haven’t said out loud in years.

Even writing it feels weird.

When I think of him my mind feels 9 again. I feel like that helpless defenseless little girl who just wanted someone to care about her.

The one who listened to music in her room at a very low volume and cried at a very low volume.

The one who wore a pair of shorts and a pair of sweatpants to bed along with a long sleeve shirt, a t shirt and a nightgown on top.

The one who would wedge a chair against her doorknob at night until he said she wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.

The one who knows what the blood in her lips tastes like.

The one who was touched, but not badly enough apparently.

You see, when they interrogated me and asked me what he used and if he put what he used inside me and I said no they assumed I had lied about the whole thing.

But why would a fifth grader lie? A fifth grade girl doesn’t usually know what that grown up stuff is about, much less how to accuse someone of doing said stuff to her.

“No, I was home sick and he was rubbing lotion on me while I pretended to be asleep. I always pretend to be asleep because I hate talking to him. He hurts me and makes me feel scared. He touched only the outside and before he could do more I told him to stop. He has hit me before, too.”

“…oh.”

Two days later I had to apologize to him when he came back home. I had to apologize to him.

Im not mad at my mom anymore. We all do stupid things. And to be mad at her now would be pointless. I’d be mad at a ghost. Because my mom is a completely different person now.

Im mad at the people who said through their actions that my abuser wasn’t abusive enough for them to care.

About two years ago I found myself in a psychiatric hospital. I remember meeting with a psychologist. Dr Dimwitty. And no, that’s not a fake name. It was the perfect name.

He asked me where my depression stems from.

“childhood trauma. ”
” What kind.”
“Mental, physical, sexual.”

“What kind of sexual trauma?”

“My stepfather molested me.”

“did he rape you?”

“no.”

“oh okay, so it wasn’t that bad.”

It’s that kind of language that is absolutely damaging to a person. Luckily for me I am very used to checking in with myself and my situation and it didn’t worsen my depression.

If anything…  It made me stronger.

But for a while there I started thinking that my abuse wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad. Eventually I started to feel like I had never really been abused.

Then I saw this Dr Phil episode. One woman had been molested and raped,  and the other had been molested.

She was just like me. She was traumatized by these occurrences. I was traumatized by those occurrences.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2013. And if my step dad didn’t take part in creating that perfect storm for me then I don’t know what did.

It’s not okay that he would constantly walk in on me while I was changing.

It’s not okay that he would call me sexy, and a whore, and a bitch, and a sinner, and a woman.

It’s not okay that he pressured my boyfriend and I into having sex when I was sixteen.

It’s not okay that he watched us having sex through a window and his excuses were not valid when we caught him.

It is not okay that he struck me in the face.

It’s not okay that he touched me at all.

It’s. not. okay.

And honestly…  I find comfort in that.

So no cps, you don’t get to go home and feel like you did a good job with me. And no Dr. Dimwitty, you don’t get to tell me what degree of abuse is bad enough for you.

And no, Jesus Gonzalez, you do not get to live the rest of your life thinking what you did…

…. was okay.

Jess.

The Devil in an Unflattering Costume [[an excerpt from a larger story]]

2004

“Quien canta esa canción?”

“Extreme”

“Mejor déjalos cantarlo.”

I shielded my developing body as best I could. Since he married my mom I had gotten better at it. The trick is wrapping one arm over your chest under the opposite armpit and the other arm extended to the opposite shoulder. Covers you where it counts and gives you a sense of security, even at 11 years old.

My lower privates would have to settle for the soapy water.

“I’m taking a bath. Leave me alone.”

“No me hablas así. Es no fair. Yo soy tu papa.”

“You’re not my dad.”

________________________________________
2006

Dress up week at middle school was fun. I enjoyed making up my costumes and showing my friends. That day was superhero theme. I used a Wonder Woman costume my mom got me for Halloween a few years back.

“Cam on, Darse prisa.”

“I’m ready.”

“In the car.”

I forgot to grab a sweater and sweatpants. I always wore them when he gave me a ride. But I forgot it. Even after two years I still forgot sometimes.

“I like it.”

“What?”

Tu costume. Te miras very sexy.”

Reaching over to the notch on the radio, he somehow accidentally grabbed my leg instead. He was always accidentally grabbing something.

“Don’t touch me.”

I knew I shouldn’t have said that. Be quiet — that was my new angle. He lunged forward and wrapped his hands around my neck.

“No me hablas así.”

I choked out a few raspy okays before he let me go. 

“little bitch.”

When he was finished he dropped me off. He dropped me off an hour late and I couldn’t breathe. I leaned against the back doors of the building and tried to catch my breath, but It was miles away. Clutching my chest with tears in my eyes I didn’t understand why it had to be me. Why he had to pick my family. 

I watched my father physically abuse my brother every single day.

I supposed it was my turn now.
Maybe I’m overreacting.

I must be. Him and my mom always say I can be so dramatic.

I knew it wasn’t right. I knew he wasn’t right. 

But maybe I wasn’t either. Maybe I was messed up and needed to be punished. 

Maybe the universe set this up.

Maybe God knew I was no good too and decided to do something about it.

After all my mom met him at our church. He was in cahoots with The Lord I thought loved me.

Maybe the worst was over.

Maybe I’ve suffered enough.

Maybe God will have mercy on me.

Then again maybe he won’t. 

I’m Ready to talk about my dad.

581110_104630369674440_1863505671_n

The day I graduated high school was a happy one. I was excited to move out of my house – it wasn’t exactly a happy home – and try to start anew. Though that day marked the start of my adulthood, it was also the day I gave up on my dreams of having a normal childhood.

Those years were behind me. There was no way to go back and do it over again. However, as we all know, just because our past wasn’t great doesn’t mean we can’t make our future better.

I was never going to be 5 again. I’d never be able to rewrite my past and erase all the physical abuse that my older brother faced at the hand of my father.

537753_121166991354111_1915703404_n

I was never going to be 8 again. Never going to be able to wish hard enough that my parents didn’t get divorced.

I’d never be 10 again. I’d never be able to go back and lock my door before my stepfather could abuse me for the first time.

I’d never be a child again. Those memories that haunt my dreams and make my spine tingle will always be entangled in my childhood.

If I could rewrite it, I’d make myself a happy little family. I’d write my dad as a brave, talented, and loving man. A man that would never strike a child. A man that would protect his children till the day he died. A man that would never leave.

My mom would be the woman I faintly remember somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6. The sweet, soft spoken, and caring ray of sunshine that used to be a mom. The one that put me in a frilly dress and lipstick almost every night and let me sing into a microphone while she filmed me on our little home video camera. The one that came to my elementary school play and beamed in the front row. The one that I solemnly watched as she gazed out the window with tears in her eyes as my father walked out the door for the fifth time.

That may have been the last time I ever felt bad for her.

If I could rewrite this whole life, I’d make sure that my parents never got divorced. If they hadn’t gotten divorced my mom wouldn’t have remarried what I can only describe as the devil dressed in an unflattering human costume.

I wouldn’t have been abused.

I would’ve had a father.

523687_104628843007926_593836020_n

My brothers and I all faced years of abuse at some point or another. Sometimes I go back to that time and picture myself as a child. It’s like I’m watching myself.

And I can’t help but think, “Why won’t anyone help this little girl?”

“Why won’t someone help these children?”

On the day of my graduation my mother, brothers, and grandmother were present. My estranged father was not. I expected that, but it still hurt. He’d broken my heart so many times over the years that I had lost faith in him. No matter how many times he let me down it still hurt.

Now I can’t tell you if he had any intention on coming to my graduation, all I can say is that that night I got a call from one of his close friends. He had been arrested the day before and was still in jail waiting on bail.

He had been charged with sexual assault.

My dad was going to go to jail. I knew it. My mom knew it. The victim knew it. (As well as all the other silent victims out there that I don’t know about) And while I knew he deserved it, I can’t describe how much it tore me up inside.

Over the next four years he was in between jobs, in and out of court, and I was making peace with the fact that I knew he’d be convicted and sent to prison.

The day I got that phone call after graduation I cried for hours. I knew right then and there that my relationship with my father would never be what I wanted. These past four years he’s been a little bit more present in my life. I’d see him once every two months or so as opposed to once a year. I’d get monthly phone calls as opposed to one every half a year. It was nice, but it still didn’t feel like I wanted it to. I still don’t know him. I don’t know who he is. As a child I loved him with all my heart, and seeing him walk out that door time and time again until one day he didn’t come back changed my life forever. His absence changed so much around me. It changed so much that I had no control over as a child. Every time I see him I’m reminded of that.

Which brings me to the present.

My father has been convicted and will be serving six to fifteen years in prison for Sexual assault on a minor. Intake is on August 14th.  My father is a free man for exactly 9 more days.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s good that he’s going. He deserves it. I agree with you. He really does. But I can’t explain being in my shoes right now. He is a monster, a liar, a man incapable of loving anything or anyone but himself. But he is also my father.

As much as I want to pretend that I’m okay with this situation I’m really not.

Luckily I found out about the verdict three weeks into Wellbutrin. I was able to process the information and be rational. Yes, I did cry. But I didn’t have suicidal thoughts or blow things out of proportion.

I saw him for the last time on Sunday. My younger brother and I went to lunch and a movie with him. We didn’t talk about the obvious, and we didn’t cry. When he dropped me off and we all said goodbye, I hugged him a little longer than I usually would and I let him drive away. Every time he does it still burns on some level. This time I was so glad to have Wellbutrin on my side. I was able to go on about my day and avoid a meltdown. Part of me wants to cry out to him and take away the pain and anxiety he must feel over being convicted. Part of me wishes I could do or say something. It’s a small part. I’m not sure it’ll ever go away. It used to be bigger and it used to run my life when I was younger, but now it feels unfamiliar and uncalled for.

My father will not see me graduate from college.

My father will not walk me down the aisle.

My father will not share a dance with me.

My father will not be there for the birth of my first child.

522874_104628179674659_1724618298_n

My father never got to see me graduate from high school, or send me off on my first date, or hug me when I got my heart broken for the first time, or help balance the parenting dynamics. He did not dance with me at my quinceanera, my brother did. He did not give a heartfelt speech about how he’s so proud of the young woman I’ve become.

That’s why I don’t think prison is even the reason he’ll be missing out on the rest of my 20’s. He made it pretty clear that he doesn’t care about big moments in my life whether or not he’s behind bars. Now he just has a more concrete excuse to miss things. Just two months ago he missed my younger brother’s high school graduation. Free man or not, he’ll never be the person we want him to be.

Even if he got off early, it’ll never work.

He was a free man all of these years and though we saw each other more often during my college years it still didn’t feel like he was truly my dad.

And it never will.

1888447_373638249440316_570924191_n

Sometimes I watch my old family videos and reminisce. There’s one tape that has footage of me at a park with my family. I was three. I’m running up and down the play equipment and going down the slide with a smile on my face. My dad is filming me and laughing with me. He says, “Be careful baby!” And I- too focused on climbing back up to the slide – fall. We laugh and I get up and brush myself off.

But see, if my dad hadn’t been there I still would’ve gotten up and brushed myself off. It’s what I have done all my life without him.

I know I don’t need him now.

I know I got through his absence then, and that I’ll get through it now.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want things to be different.

I wanted to have a father. Every girl deserves one. I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for me.

But you better believe that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that my kids have a damn good father. And if that doesn’t work out, then I know they’ll at least have a good mother, because I’m breaking that cycle. The physical, mental, sexual, and verbal abuse stops with me.

-Jess

545167_135991486538328_1505506996_n

556083_135992763204867_1754218217_n75246_121169368020540_2027142736_n 

1625701_373638032773671_1164646194_n