I Used To Know Her

A couple of weeks ago I fell asleep suddenly. That isn’t unusual, I work 20 hours a day usually, but this time I didn’t wake up for 3 days. At least not that I remember. When I woke I was incredibly weak, but after another day of fleeting consciousness I realized everyone I thought would be there for me had simply disappeared. I did finally get help from my son’s former nanny, to a hotel. As if that didn’t make me hate people enough the missing friends then broke in and ransacked my home, stealing anything of value. Think I’m being dramatic? Just wait, there’s more.

Actually I’ll copy and paste, honestly explaining hurts. I wrote this on Facebook. Keep in mind this was just prior to getting sick:

We are moving, on Tuesday. All day I’ve been trying to convince people of the truth in those words. Well, they’re in for a shock Wednesday. First we’re visiting a dear friend then…I’m not sure. Yes I know I’m crazy. No, I’m not running from Bryon. No, I’m sure as hell not moving to be with family.
To summarize: i had my entire life mapped out, along with how to make sure John is taken care of. It’s not an easy one, but it’s good. I live on a budget so strict ramen is precious, but I raised my credit score 83 points in 3 months. It’s a struggle but I was managing and more important, relatively happy. Key to it all is owning a home in lake county. Now though it seems my family decided maybe I shouldn’t buy this place. They won’t answer directly if I ask. I won’t ask again. Maybe I won’t speak to them again. My brother owns it so they have the ability to mess with my life in that way. My neighbor hates me. We’re noisy and a little rowdy and slobs. We live out loud. Old ladies don’t like us that much lol. But this has been my home for 20 years. I moved thousands of pounds of clay to have a garden where endless pets, my real family these past 20 years, are buried. The neighbor called all my distant family, my siblings who live hundreds of miles away, worrying my mother and making her cry. Threatening to sue my brother, though I’m still not sure what for. My sister, who I had messaged with an emergency contact along with half a dozen ignored messages in the weeks prior, sent the police to do a welfare check when they called about how I had no power. Not so much as a hello just an officer at the crack of dawn. A quick are you okay or offer of a loan? You have to be kidding me. The bill is $1200 but I’ll pay it myself, thanks. A decade ago after I broke my back and was in a body cast 3 months I borrowed $75 from my other sister to pay a bill. It took a couple years before I could work and pay her back. She mentioned it every time I saw her. She didn’t need the money, she’s rich. When showing me their new house they called “The Ranch” I was told by her husband in front of a room full of people, “look amber your whole trailer could fit in our kitchen.”
“Well good, lets roll that bitch in, free rent.” I joked in my humiliation, refusing to let them see how much they hurt me.
“You dont pay rent.” my sister added snidely.
No, no, I don’t pay rent, and I don’t ask for help from my family. No one wants this place but me. No one wants that kind of family.
But in the end it was no big deal, I’m not breaking any laws. I was the only one annoyed. Then a couple days later they sent another cop. This officer was annoyed too and when I patiently explained why we had no power (not just a bill, the place is a firetrap, we’re going solar but my brother lives in China and was dragging on paperwork. Can’t get much help without it in my name and it’ll be a minute to get help from heap.) He asked why I didn’t just move. Because I’m going to buy it. He was in disbelief, “Why don’t they just give it to you? I thought it was family.” I laughed. They barely even deign to remember me.
Later when i got mad at my sister she told me the officer told her she should petition the court for custody of my son. I saw red. You can’t just take someones child for no reason. I think what i actually said though was more along the lines of try it, bitch.
That is what drove Bryons rage that day, fear I’d lose my son. Fear of me leaving. Because we already planned to move, just into an apartment, while this place is repaired. There’s no chance really of anyone taking my son. His status as “disabled” means plenty of officials and professionals have already inspected our home, and my parenting. My parenting had never caused any concern. Dirty? Cue John tossing dirt over his head gleefully. We’re a happy mess. This place though, not so much. It should be condemned. It needs a new roof, new breaker box, new wiring. It has no insulation at all. Every window has been broken. One day Bryon went to pee and fell through the bathroom floor. The whole place and all the plumbing leaks. The neighbors boat port thing fell over and took out my fence and back of my shed. Everything I’d ever held precious was ruined and piled up in the yard. The dogs got into it constantly, I was exhausted. The neighbor took advantage of code enforcement hassling me to clean up. My family is horrible. My neighbors are downright evil. What AM I doing this for?
So we’re moving, and immediately. At first I tried to be reasonable, not wanting to lose my home. You can’t be sued if you hurry and get the paperwork done (I’d asked for this for months.)Then begging – at least let me miss a payment before deciding I can’t afford it. I’d move by our mom and prove to them I can. In spite of what they think I can afford rent and the mortgage. He told me the neighbors had sent pictures of the mess. I thought of the 3 friends who had died last year, all the momentos from them destroyed by the leaky roof I was begging to overpay for. The neighbors harassing me, cameras trained on my front door while the empty trailer the cameras supposedly protected destroyed my shed and memories. In a year of that, and CPS visits and now police, no proof of wrongdoing by me has been offered, just proof none of these assholes never, not once, tried to help me.
They can all go to hell.
I have no family.
I’m out.
I still want to buy this place, it is my home. But I won’t be harassed. Even by so-called family. Good luck when you don’t have the address. I’m not sure where we’re going anyways. Even if I can’t follow the original one, I like plans. So I have a rough one. It’s time to really follow our dreams. As far as where we end up… If we buy this we’ll move south for a year during repairs. If we don’t we’ll stay up here and begin the search for a home where we belong, that no one can take from me. If you’re nearby and wish me well come give me a hug, I need it. I don’t need a home really, and I don’t need my family. Home is with my kids and I’ll be back lake county. And to those that call harassment and judging helpful concern… I’ll see you in hell if you try to take either from me.

To my mother/sisters I wrote:

Nevermind. It was insane thinking I should be near my siblings. We’re going to visit because I promised you and Chelsea and we’re moving after but I’m sorry mom, nowhere near you. I have to work all night after trying to convince my “brother” I deserve to pay double it’s worth for my home. My home I’ve lived in for 20 years. Where my son was born and my dad and best friend died. Countless pets, my only real family, are buried here or will be left behind. And you all have decided, without knowing the slightest thing about me or my life or bothering to ask, that I don’t deserve to own it. Fine. Enjoy your money pit, John. It’s a small price to pay to remove such heartless vipers from my life. Jess, Josh, Ashlee – I was a shitty aunt, I won’t deny it. I have struggled just being a person. Look me up online sometime, maybe we can be friends someday. I’m sorry your cousins won’t know you better. The rest of you… you’re nothing to me. I’ll visit my mother if she still even wants me to but since she doesn’t travel I don’t think anyone really needs my address. People claiming to be my family just use it to try to hurt me. Forget I exist because a month from now to you I will. I wish I could wish you well but I just really don’t care. Besides, I know you’ll all look out for yourself.

And to you two bitter ugly bitches in particular – fuck you. You think you know what is best for my son but none of us have to be heavily medicated just to exist and maybe we get a little loud and dirty but we have more fun a week than you have in your entire life. I have friends and lovers so loyal they would die for me. Keep the trailer and your money and your sad safe lives. I’d rather starve or be homeless with the failures. They know the meaning of family.

My sister came back with how ungrateful I am, and accusations I failed my mother. She said she was so weak when she went there she had to be carried in. Well, I retorted, maybe it was that you made her drive 10 hours straight through, after freaking brain surgery. I sarcastically apologized for thinking 4 big families could care better for her than a lone mom caring for a disabled kid. Mostly though she told me I was ungrateful. That my other sister had loved me like a mother. I had no real answer to that. I just sadly laughed at her lengthy response, the only I’d received from any of them in months, even after dozens from me trying to reach out or connect. Your nastitiness, she said, made her turn her back on you.

And somewhere in that fighting the love of my life lost it and punched me in the face and was hauled off to jail. And I was so sick I didn’t wake up so santa didn’t come for my sweet innocent boy, something I can never make up for. And then I began coughing up blood.

Which brings us back to my escape to a hotel, where I immediately began to get better. We think the culprit was stachybotrus mold. Fine then keep it I told my brother, it’s killing me. And after hearing I was so ungrateful and how much everyone tried to help me I apologized for being a pain and promised to get everything clean. He responded with a 7th reminder to pack my belongings, saying they were coming in 2 weeks to demolish the place. Oh, and he’d love to see me.

And I broke down.

And I held a gun to my head.

The realization they’d rather destroy it than help me finally almost killed me, but though I’m still not sure he wouldn’t be better off without me I won’t let them make my son hate himself. And then help came from an unexpected corner.

Chelsea’s mom. Now, we do more than share her daughter, we are friends, but we have gotten in terrible fights. I’ll always be there regardless we’d tell each other. It takes village we’d say. It turns out we meant it. You can stay with me she said, reminding me I’d once helped her, taking away the humiliation of needing help for maybe the first time ever. Maybe, I thought, I’m not alone after all. Maybe I’ve still got family and should be grateful for how much they care. They don’t have to.

And then my head began to clear, though my cold got worse. Numbness I’d had for years in my feet disappeared. Constant fatigue started to ease. An odd fuzziness in my throat and chest went away, and I realized how irritating it had been. How it made it uncomfortable before to breathe. Though deathly ill I easily helped clean, silencing Denas objections by reminders of how it’s easy to get behind when you are alone and it can pile up until you lose everything. Like me. And I began to wonder how much of my inability to cope was poisoning. And I began to remember.

I told my brother I didn’t really want future contact with anyone, and tho I’ll pay someone to clean I was moving, with no forwarding address. A thumbs down was his only response at the thought of losing his little sister and namesake. For support I turned to all I have left, my therapist. Are you ungrateful she asked?

For what? My sister had pointed out my brother had helped most recently, offering help with an apartment. No. No he did not. He said he’d help in some way if he could, once among the 7+ cold reminders of what he wanted from me.

Further back though she pushed, they’re you’re siblings…

Once. My sister helped me once, and has never let me forget it. While she did my niece got me to paint her a banner for her son’s soccer team, but in 3 months I never saw her. Other than requests for free labor I talked to her once, sobbing I needed to get away. You’re sick and contagious she answered. My husband said no. When I decided to move back to lake county no one argued, we all knew no one wanted me there.

I tried to think of a time they’d been there for me. I didn’t want to be ungrateful I told my therapist, you know being a good person is weirdly important to me.

You are a good person she told me, you’ve shown great control over your temper considering. I gave up and cried, but why is this happening now, and have they ever been good to me? Am I just unloveable? Cursed?

Let’s make a list she said.

Of the positives and negatives of becoming an only child via murder? I joked. No, of times you were ungrateful and maybe times you felt unappreciated.

“Christmas presents. They used to always get me one even tho I didn’t return the favor.”

I was proud for a moment having some proof of caring finally but thought maybe they’re right. This isn’t helping I grumbled. Okay, but is there anything further? Why didn’t you make them gifts like you do your friends?

I did sometimes. I’ve spent 2 years on a painting for the sister who had helped me but I paint my feelings and it always turns dark. Never comfortable with the secrets my art reveals instead I added in the opposite column “The only reason mom called last Christmas was she butt dialed.”

She has memory issues I told myself, and they’ve told you that you have to go to them, and you never have. But instead of hating the social anxiety that keeps me from loud family gatherings I remembered how id tried. And the list grew longer.

“When I asked to go on the family camping trip they told me no, there were too many tents and no room.”

“When John was born you eagerly waited their arrival, thinking you’d maybe finally fit in but last minute I was told they had to throw a party. My niece? Helping with the party.”

“Gave my son his first haircut while I was at the store, butchering it then spending the next 2 hours telling my mom out of context comments I’d said, as we drove to their house for the holidays, guaranteeing I’d be ostrasized and completely alone my first holiday with son and family.”

I began thinking further back. I began to get really angry. But I came up with one for my side. “They both took me in at least once growing up.”

I told my therapist I wasn’t sure it counts. Of course they took in the quiet free babysitter.

And my anger built to rage.

“Literally walked uphill in the snow 2-3 times a week to babysit for them.”

“One used to tell me she’d never use me as a babysitter while she lived overseas. Upon coming home they both asked me to babysit, citing a need for time catching up with a beloved sister. What about me never left my mouth, I was too busy fending off her groping husband who was telling me how nice my legs were. They were in their late 20s. I was 13.”

“Being told to get over it when admitting to being suicidal after the home invasion/assault.”

“Telling me my son was autistic when I’d just found out my dream was crushed and my mom had surgery.”

“Convincing my grandma to give her the doll I’d spent my childhood hearing would be left to me. She doesn’t like dolls and I’ve actually made a living making them before but instead I was left a necklace but it was somehow lost before it got to me.”

“Talked mom into giving her a free cabbage patch knockoff when they were all the craze and I didn’t have one. I was about 7. She was 19.”

And I realized I could go on forever and I gave up in despair, writing across it like a decision, “They don’t give a fuck about me.”

Then, though I’m ashamed to admit it – I do try too hard to be a good person… to be kind and forgiving – my heart began to fill with something other than anger. At myself of at them. No, rage would be a better descriptor, along with unadultered hate. Not for myself anymore, for the grown women and man who taught a lonely little girl to hate herself. Who expect her to be grateful for the chance to help them, or for lame excuses and judgement. And that’s pretty much where I’ve been since.

Going forward… we’re homeless. I expect to end up in the women’s shelter. I make too much for any other assistance and have bad credit and no rental history. The first thing they ask is what about family? I have none I say. And the thought makes me happy. I’m uncomfortable writing this, accusations of attention-seeking in my head. I think of how it’s bad to air your dirty laundry. Yet I know I’m not alone really. I have no family but my ohana is fierce and best of all they accept me. I’ve got nothing and no one, and no place to go but it doesn’t matter. I’m 40, and awkward, and mostly a failure at life, but I think just maybe I am finally free.

Published by SlabCityOracle

artist, lunatic, activist, minister, interpreter for God, mom...

One thought on “I Used To Know Her

  1. Autism Candles – My name is Nathan Young. I'm the founder of the Autism Candles project. I am a self-advocate. The candle project exist to make a statement about inclusion and opportunity. My email is nathan@autismcandles.com. Feel free to contact me. https://www.autismcandles.com
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    Reblogged this on Autism Candles.

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