Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am not sure when I became so good at forgetting but I am pretty amazing at it.
Usually its not something I wish I could do. It makes it really hard when all I want is to remember moments with Kenzie. Lose myself in what once was. But those memories have faded. Really fast. I have learned through the mass amounts of counseling I have done through most of my life that its really common to block out trauma because some just cant handle it.
I guess I am one of those. and the older I have gotten the worse it is.
I have very LITTLE memory of my childhood. What I remember is almost snapshots. Paused moments in time. There are no voices or movement or smells or sounds. Its a picture. Much of it is good. I really have an amazing family. and even a lot of good memories came from my Dad. He used to do this thing when you would hug him really tight... He would say "POP" when you hugged him just right. I remember squeezing him so tight just to get him to say that. He sang to me when I asked. Those songs are forever in my mind. Not his voice. Just knowing those were sung. He did a lot of weird things... He was very controlling and manipulative. He had a Doctorate in Psychology- he was very smart. He knew how to talk to people. One of his little controlling tactics was that he would have special treats in the house. Treats of the rest of us couldn't have. There were 10 kids and not much money. We didn't have a lot of goodies or extras. but he always did. Well I remember him sharing with me. I remember him giving me chocolate covered cherries or twinkies or one of his sodas. I remember feeling spoiled by that.

I loved when my sisters and brothers were around. I remember them taking me on adventures, buying me fun things and just spending time with me. Even when forced. Sorry Jill. I don't know how many hours you were forced to play barbies--- well into your teens--- but I loved it. I loved how Donette would take Jonathan and I camping or to her apartment in Logan. I loved how Rick would take me on motorcycle rides. I loved when Ben would always bring me the McDonald toys when a new one came out. I loved when Kristianne would send me post cards and letters. I loved how Alana always seemed to save me when I would be hiding under the bed and the damn box spring would once again fall on me. I love how Amy would comb and braid my hair. I love how Lisa would take me to work with her and bring me special treats. I love how Jonathan still loved me after I was not a very nice big sister and how we were still a team in just about everything we did - spy club. I do have amazing memories and was given a good life. There are so many things I hope to mimic with my family.
I wish I could remember more good.
I also wish I could remember and understand more of the bad.
To understand more of why I have some of these feelings and have struggled with certain issues. Issues that I have worked on just about my whole life.
I was 6 when I started eating paper so I wouldn't get fat.
I started having anxiety attacks shortly after that.
I got in trouble in 1st grade for drawing pictures of naked stick figures doing things to each other.
I started going to counseling when I was 8 and continued pretty regularly up until recently.
I have always had problems in relationships. How I feel loved is not how others would.
I want to understand. I want a clear memory of everything. Of what happened and when. I wish I could pin point the defining moment so I can work through it now. So I can not be so confused. So I can fix myself so I can not be so... hurt. and be better for Ryan and Tracker.
I know there were times in life I knew and was clear on everything happening in life.
I have memories of telling things to other people or counselors.
I have memories of moments before... what happened next I am not sure.
At times I am thankful I don't have these memories in my mind. That I don't have to know every moment. Every sleepless night. I know even in my immediate family--- they remember--- and I know how much that hurts them. So most of the time I am thankful my brain has lost those images.
I know the feelings I had then. I remember the pain. The hurt. The anger. I was very angry. I would use the word hate. I do know that emotion was there just about every moment I was around him. Especially the older I got.
The worst abuse for me. That I am very clear about today. That I remember. That is carved in my brain. That is carved in every inch of my body. Is the emotional abuse.
I think we all suffer from some type of emotional abuse at some point in our lives. Name calling, being degraded, being made fun of, being yelled at. Maybe it was someone at school. Maybe it was a neighbor. Maybe it was a sibling or maybe it was a parent.
The words he said to me are clear. That part of my memory is very much still there. Those are some of the hardest memories for me. Being torn down- to nothing- from a very young age... I am not sure you can ever build yourself up to what you should be.
I used to work with a company that went around doing workshops for groups that worked with troubled or at risk youth. I did secretary type work for them. I went to one of the workshops and learned so much. The workshop made so much sense. It made me almost feel normal in this world. Normal for someone that has been abused. For those of us that have been abused our minds will not work the same as everyone else. There are triggers and emotions that someone who has not experienced abuse wont understand. I don't think people understand how damaging it is to harm a child. "They wont remember" or "They adapt so well" is what you hear so often. That is so not the case. Your brain develops 80% from age 0-5!! 80%!!!! When a child suffers neglect or abuse do you know what happens to their brain development? It creates holes. Holes that might start out small but imagine a cone shape. The hole that was created was the tip of the cone. As life goes on or as the cone goes on that hole gets bigger. By the end of the cone or the end of your brain development that little hole is really big. That means there is a big space missing. Of course these kids are going to have issues. We might all have a little hole made. Its near impossible to not have some kind of trauma in ones life. It doesn't just have to be neglect or abuse. But when its constant or on a regular basis. Many holes are made and that means there is a big problem later.
I think some of my holes are where my memory has gone. Those holes have both helped and hindered the trauma.

You might ask why I want to remember?
Why in the world would I want those memories in my head?
There are many reasons. but as much as I shouldn't... I feel guilty. Guilty that because of what happened my Dad went to prison. I know he made his own choice and what he did was his choice. but it was what he did to me. The statute of limitations had run out on anyone else he hurt. That came forward at least. So it was me. and as much as he made every choice until he made the final choice of ending his life... I still hold myself somewhat responsible.

Side note:
I don't ever want my writing to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself or wanting sympathy. I'm just writing. Please know I am just putting my thoughts and real feelings down. Unfortunately I know I am not the only one who has gone through these things. Abuse is far to common. and I am sure there are many who feel similar to me. Counseling helps because you talk about things out loud. You work through them. I guess I find this my new session.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I have to start somewhere.

I have so much to catch up on. Happy things. Things that involve my sweet little boy. Things that involve my family. Trips. Our new house. The beginning of summer.
but right now I cant go on anymore. I cant document another moment of that part of my life before I can start working through another part. A part that has been hurting me a lot lately. A part that I have chosen not to share on here. Not because I am private about it. but because I have not known how to work through it. It wasn't until now that I felt writing it out would help. It was easier to push away. To hide. To talk about when needed but not something that I wanted to document for the world. For people who don't know me personally. and for people to view who are involved. Its a sensitive thing. Its hard. Its confusing. Its so emotional.
Last month my Dad died.
I haven't mentioned him much.
My Mom has been my parent. For a long time. She has been the leader in my life and she has been the one to raise me. but my Dad was there. In a very big way.
Talking about this will take a while. I will share what I can as I work through it and only as much as I find necessary for my healing.
My Dad spent over 10 years in prison.
He was arrested when I was 13.
I remember the day so clearly.
The last time I would see him other than in a court room for over 10 years would be in the parking lot at my Jr high. He brought me a project I forgot at home that I needed to turn in that day.
We were practicing for promotion that day. School was nearly out and I would be moving onto high school. A lady came to talk to me. She was asking me questions about my Dad. My relationship with him. and if he ever did anything inappropriate to me.
I was confused. and not certain what inappropriate meant.
We talked for a while. She left. Then came back a short time later.
She said she was taking me and we were going to pick up my little brother.
She said she didn't feel it was safe for me to go home.
I ran through the school trying to find my older sister who was an aide there.
She must have been at lunch.
We left.
We went to the elementary school where my brother was.
He came out of his classroom and I ran to him. I hugged him and I said it would be okay and to be brave. He knew nothing. By this point I had a pretty good idea that everything I talked to that lady about my Dad... All that stuff I thought was "okay" was really not.
We were dropped off at a group home.
Together for a while.
Then separated.
I could see the boys home from my room.
I cried.
A lot.
I was given a tour. Told the rules. Offered support and met the other girls.
I can remember that place like I'm still in there.
I remember being given a light green toothbrush, some toothpaste and some soap.
We had nothing.
We had no extra clothes or pajamas or anything.
I was so worried about my brother.
I was terrified I did something wrong. What did I say? What was going to happen to my family?
I was given chores. That night was music therapy.
The next day every single one of my siblings came. To talk to Jonathan and I. We sat on the patio. It was the first time I think -- ever-- that we were all together and... Free?!
It was terrifying but it was clear we were going to be a team and we were going to support each other.
This was the beginning.
My Dad was arrested and spent 10 years in prison for child abuse.
He was a child molester.
He was also the head of our house.
He held the priesthood in the Mormon church.
He went on a mission.
Was married in the temple.
and even was a worker currently in the temple.
He had many high callings.
He was trusted.
All of the good he might have done in life was now labeled.
Labeled as a child molester.
Relationships were lost.
Lives were forever changed.
and last month he died.
He was back in prison for a parole violation.
and he died.
He killed himself.
The emotions I have felt since I was 13 trying to process this. Trying to move past this. Trying to understand it. To feeling at peace. To trying to build some kind of relationship. Guarded but trying.
To knowing he ended his life by choice. To all the emotions of being one of the ones left behind. As much as I wish I was still at peace and okay with everything. I feel like I am lost in it. Confused. Frustrated and overwhelmed by the images in my head.
One of the most defining moments in my life.
When I took everything that happened 'Then' and learned to live NOW and not feel like this defined me was when Kenzie died.
It was at that moment I knew what PAIN looked like in my life.
What I thought had been pain before. Was not nearly as painful as losing her. and it was then that I developed Forgiveness. Love. Compassion. and Empathy for the person I was once so angry at.
So now here I am once again. In a phase I don't want to be. Knowing I need to do something. So maybe its writing it out. Figuring out my emotions. My confusion. The uncertainty. Through writing.
This blog has helped me through the worst moments of my life before so I pray it does the same again.


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