Coffee thoughts…where I suddenly digress into trauma..**TRIGGER WARNING**


While I start out talking all sunny and funny, verbal vomit came up so I do talk about my childhood and the topic of rape, please be aware and take care of yourself if you need to.


So like everyone, I have a slight FaceBook addiction, and anyone who knows me knows how much of a love-hate relationship I maintain with FB. FB and I are constantly breaking up then making up, you know how it goes.  Well, this month, we are very much on.  I’m only telling you this drither to get to my point of what I’m writing about here today.

 I had written the following for my morning status:

I have some writing (manuscript stuff) I need to work on today.
I’m not getting any painting or photography done, so I may as well work on the writing projects I’ve been putting off.
All my art or writing, whether it’s commissioned or not, it all has to happen when I’m ready, I can never force any of it, or else it just turns to crap.
That being said, writing, photography, sculpture, painting, it’s all different for me. It each has it’s own feel and fills a specific need inside me or desire. I’m very much missing being in the studio. Studio work gives me an instant gratification that writing takes longer to achieve.
Even though I’ve been writing longer, (and for decades it’s what paid my bills) when I’ve been away from it, it’s like starting your car in -10 weather. It takes a while to warm up the flow. But once it’s warm, off you go. (That WAS NOT supposed to rhyme. ignore that.)

   It’s all very much true.  But even more than that, I started writing (even as a child) because I didn’t feel heard. By anyone. There was all this horrific shit going on in my life, and I knew I couldn’t tell anyone or risk my life, my safety or those whom I loved dearly.  As I’ve written in my publications, I very much believed the man who adopted me was capable of killing anyone, especially a child. And when he told me he’d kill my (adopted) mom and sister, I very much believed that too. So I was left with all this silence and a fear that went deep into my bones and my soul.

  By the time we were out of it, the damage had already been done. There’s a line from the movie (which is based on the book) “The Prince of Tides” where the brother is talking about his sister and the horrific trauma they had all been through that stormy night (I’m NOT saying what happened, you either know, or you don’t.) he says of her: “She could keep quiet, but she couldn’t lie.” I’m exactly the same way.  I have an abhorrence to lying, and to people who lie. I’m fairly sure it was due to my childhood.

There’s that other line where he says, “The silence was worse than the R****”

Because it is. Living through trauma is hell, but then when you can’t talk about it or get help figuring it out or have someone help you understand that you are going to be okay (after a very long time) is probably worse than that act that was done.  And for a child, it’s a thousand times worse than living through it as an adult. When you are an adult and you’re raped, you have the vocabulary to talk about it, you have the ability to think with your brain and even though it’s one of the most horrific things to have to suffer though, ultimately you know where to go to for help, and that there are places that can help you. And even if the system is total shit, telling yourself that helps you initially. It helps that you don’t have to carry the burden alone.

   But for a child, they depend on the adults in their lives to protect them, to guide them, to teach them and help them understand the world. Children are totally dependent on the adults around them. They have no vocabulary or rational ability to understand what has happened to them, they depend on the adults to fix their hurt and when that doesn’t’ happen, things go terribly wrong.

    That is what happened to me.   From 4 years old to 10 my life was terrifying and it was being raged by this man who EVERYONE was afraid of. Do you KNOW how disappointing it is as a small child (under 8) to have a monster in your life who you see is even too big for other adults to stop? It is the most terrifying, helpless feeling in the world.  I knew to shut up and hide and not draw any attention to myself because no one was coming to help me. This became my double edge sword.

   As other survivors know, the fear or pain induced raging/harm only has to go on for so long because it is so effective. You become trained almost. You know how NOT to make that person mad or how to read moods. And when the abuse, or anger or whatever does come, you know how to deal with/tend to yourself when it’s over. You breathe and say thankful prayers for that breath. (at least that is what I did.)

     But beyond that, I knew that I would find no solace in the adults around me, it was better for me to tend to my own wounds, learn not to cry or hurt, learn how to hide better and move on with my life. And pray, pray, pray.  I prayed that I would be a better child, I prayed that I would do whatever I needed to so my parents would love me, I prayed that what he was doing wouldn’t hurt so much, I prayed that it would stop and I prayed a lot that my real mom would come get me.  But none of that happened.  So as a child, I did what all children do. I blamed myself.  I was the defective one, I was stupid, clumsy, ugly, got bad grades, cried too much, was too needy; I deserved this horrible treatment he was doing. He said it and I believe it.  Gawd, even now, all these decades later, it makes me cry.  I was so small and so innocent. I did nothing wrong. I deserved NONE of it.   For far too long I carried his poison around with me, it lurked inside me. I waited for them to be true, waited for them to awaken in some moment and sprout forth. He would kill me, or I would be left all alone in the world, or I was stupid. Before I go there though, I need to get back to my other point.

   When I was talking about the training thing..

     After I was ten, and after I thought he was leaving to the other side of the country, (that’s a long story I don’t want to get into right now if you want the details, then go find my essay and read it) I told my mom was he was doing and he was no longer in our lives.  So, monster gone. But poison left behind.  I’m ten. I’ve just lived through hell. But the powers that be, deemed me “too young” to testify against him. My older sister, wouldn’t do it. I was ready to take him on. (I was soo me, even back then, even when I couldn’t see it) But I was not allowed to testify against him, and I pretty much got shoved into the background.  So as a terrorized, traumatized ten y.o, I took this as, “You are to blame, you are dirty and bad so shut up and don’t talk.” Hmm..I knew these words and messages I did.

People were “saying”: “This is not your fault. You can talk about this if you need to.” But their actions weren’t backing up their words. I’d seen that before too. The monster that smiles at people at church while twisting my arm just out of their eye line. Nope, unsafe situation. Not going there.  I might have been away from the ultimate monster, but there were plenty of other smiling monsters that looked like regular people, people ‘everyone can trust’. Um. no thank you. I’ll just keep to myself and please, PLEASE, pretend I don’t exist. I beg of you.

  I didn’t want to talk about what he had done to me, or what I had lived through because despite what people were saying, there was so much fear attached to it. And he was a monster. He may have been “gone” but his programming ran through my brain. Constantly.  “If you talk, I’ll know. “If you tell anyone, they will say you’re crazy and lock you up.” “Everyone knows how dumb you are, no one will believe you.” “I’ll know if you talk and Mom and ****(my sister) will be dead and it will be because of you.” “You’re own mother didn’t want you, you deserved this.”

On and on it went. So, yes, I just my shut my mouth and didn’t talk. I was too afraid of any ONE of those being true. But what I didn’t know (until recently) was how much of a fear of being left was ingrained in me.  I know to the psychological types out there, you’re all slapping your foreheads, but I didn’t understand the connection. and that’s what I mean, partially, with the training thing. He trained me to hate myself and eventually, I took over for him, even after he was long gone. A lot of survivors chose to do alcohol or drugs, but because of my VERY PRESENT LDS upbringing, that was never on my radar. Besides, I could numb and check out without ANY assistance from outside altering chemicals.  I just always knew somewhere in my bones, that I would eventually be left. By everyone. After all, I never TRULY belonged to anyone. I was “the property” the monster and my adopted mom. {I’m NOT kidding you, my adoption papers SAY ‘property of’. } I only belonged to them on paper. Paper can be altered, as my sister has repeatedly pointed out to me numerous times. (she says this about the man whose name is on my birth certificate but whom she says is not my “real father” Yah. Fun times.)

 I know better than anyone, how easy it is to be left. Now, at the age I am, I understand the whole adoption thing and that my (birth) mother’s issues were about her and had nothing to do with whether or not I was loveable. But, as a child, I HAD NO CLUE, and only had what others (adults) were telling me. So, OF COURSE, I was going to believe anyone telling me I was defective, bad, unlovable, leavable, etc.

   After we were away from the monster, we had two years of heavenly bliss! My mother worked her ass off as a single mother and we didn’t see a lot of her during her work times. But when she had her weekends off, she freaking made up for it. we went everywhere. she took us to the beach, she took us to the park, we went to baseball games, we went for bike rides.Sometimes we didn’t do anything we’d just sit on the couch and I’d lay next to her. I Loved her so much.  What mattered to me was she was there, she was present and I felt her love more in those two years that I would for the next few decades. But I’m easy too, like, those years mattered to me. those times allowed me not to give up on her when the shitty times came again. I’m the perpetual optimist. I honestly believed that love can solve all things, if you just LOVE someone enough, it will ultimately be okay. (I’m in the process of fixing this skewed thinking right now.) Anyway. Then she met my stepdad. And even though he wasn’t sexually or physcially abusive, he was not what a tender hearted, traumatized 12 year old needed. But that isn’t on him. I know this now. I didn’t know it then. I was still a child who thought. Oh adult who doesn’t give off the monster vibe, he is nice to us and loves our mom we will have the fairy tale now. nope. that poor man, had no idea what he was getting himself into.

 And at times, he did a shitty job of parenting. But it’s okay. I don’t hold it against him, because age and his life experiences changed him at his core. He’s an incredible man now. I like to say that he had to be a shitty parent so he could be an amazing grandparent. Becuase he IS!!! He ROCKS the Grandpa thing!! And cunksi loves him!

But before all the good times, my part in that was that when he would get mad and rage or walk out on us, it struck that traumatized part of me, and it continued to hit that message that grownups in the world were not safe. I withdrew more and reminded myself that I had to save myself, I couldn’t rely on anyone.  From 12 to 21, I stayed outside as much as possible and once I got my horse, she was my world. she was safe and reliable and would kick (literally) anyone she didn’t like. We were ONE. she’d been abused and with each others love, we grew together. She never told me I was too angry or messy or whatever.  Then I was raped when I was 17 and that threw me into near failure. It was the first time I actually considered committing suicide, despite everything i’d been through up to that point. I was tired. I had been telling myself that the poison the monster had said to me wasn’t true. But the rape made me feel otherwise, like I was never going to be normal, that my body was never going to be my own.

  I was also getting pressure from my family and friends to go out with boys. The male sex was THE LAST THING I wanted anything to do with. I wanted horses and nature. I was never hurt there. But because people were pressuring me, I started dating guys I didn’t particularly care for, and whom didn’t treat me very well, but it was better than the looks of disapproval I was getting from any one around me. (BTW If ANYONE puts this kind of pressure on cunksi I will come PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE!)  All this is becuase I want to say that I realized (as a kid) that since I was eventually going to be left at some point, it was easier to do the leaving first.  Leaving doesn’t hurt if you are the one leaving. So that is what I did, emotionally. I just checked out. If I wasn’t engaged in others then I could not be hurt by thier words or thier actions.

  Now my life from 24-40 rocked. I moved away, moved to South Dakota, went to college, where OMG! I WASN”T dumb! in fact, I was EXTREMELY intelligent and delved into college work like a starving human into a plate of food.  As a freshman in College, an essay got published and other publications followed, which allowed me to travel to give readings and workshops and be a working writer even before I had my degree in hand.  It suddenly felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do.  I excelled at Everything i tried. Which gave me a new, different coping mechanism. Bravado. I don’t think I was ever over the top out of line, but when I was unsure of something now, instead of shrinking, I grew ten feet…I straightened my shoulders and marched into whatever it was I had to that I was afraid of.  It worked. I always tell my workshop participants, “Fake it till you make it” because it’s true. One follows the other. You pretend to be strong, smart, invincible, and pretty soon, look at that, there’s nothing you’re afraid of. (At least i wasn’t.)

My point, my main point is, I learned at a very young age that leaving and wearing a huge protective shell is what kept me safe. And while I was able to put that down for awhile. But when I was beaten up and raped in 2014, it completely changed my wold without my wanting it to.  I no longer felt safe and the failure of the “system” to help me left me feeling very much like I did when I was a child where I had this HUGE wound but no one was helping me bandage it, or telling me my expected recovery time. (I REALLY needed an ETA for recovery. I know that is ridiculous but for me, I wanted my old life back, I wanted the old ME back. She disappeared somewhere and I really wanted her and her life back, because it was an amazing life.) So I picked up old coping mechanisms.  From 24-40, I’d only known feeling ten feet tall and invincible. I wasn’t afraid of ANYTHING, and in one act by some stranger whom I didn’t know or see until it was too late, my whole life, and outlook changed. The world was no longer safe again. I realized how very small I really am and that even though I felt big, I was, in fact, small enough for a very large man top pick me up like a small child, whip me around and throw to me the ground. As if I were nothing. That fucked with my head in ways I can’t fix. And I desperately want it fixed and gone. I lost a lot of things that day. A lot of things. And I really really want them back. So, I did what I knew how to do when I feel scared and small and not sure what belongs to me and what doesn’t. I shrank and tried to make myself as small as possible.  I was seeing a therapist after this happened, and she said to me: “You know what the world does to people who are too big right? We knock them down.”  She was kind of a fucked up therapist who has no right being a therapist, so I just ignored that comment, but still, wrong timing when I’m bleeding profusely from my soul and after the police on my case had said to me: “You shouldn’t have been there alone, you’re a woman.”  UUUUGGGGHHH!!! That statement needs it’s own post, because it caused all this other crap ontop of the rape stuff. But i’ll leave it alone for now.

   Now in 2017, as I write this out, I can see my strength and fortitude in the places where it was needed, I know ultimately I will be okay, as I have always been. But I need some of you to know that if I’ve left you, if I’ve pulled away, if I’ve let YOU walk away and didn’t fight for you or our friendship, it wasn’t you.   It was very much me. Because I don’t fight, or chase anyone down until I know what my part of it is. That means, if anything is on me, I need to take responsibility for it, or if my perception was skewed I need to fix it first.

I’m a terribly hard person to love and I’m sorry for that. I run away to ruminate over what has happened so I can understand it. If you pick a fight with me, I won’t fight back because in my experience fighting is a useless act that causes far too many victims and I am never going to INTENTIONALLY hurt anther person by my words or actions. I don’t make sense to others because my brain is firing faster than my mouth (but this certainly doesn’t make me an Idiot.)          I am not always accessible to everyone when they need me (except Cunksi of course). And for a while this will probably continue to happen, I will run off to the mountains to hide until I can function in society again properly.  But I will come back, at some point.

   The other part I need to say is, now that I’m a mom, I have more compassion for where my mom was back then. It took me a long time to let her off the hook because I was so eviscerated by my own trauma and terror.  I saw her as weak but now I know as a mom you do what you can in any given moment.  There is A LOT she (and my step dad) gave me that really helped me be who I am today.  I’m grateful I can see the gifts, that is what I hold onto.  Our parents make us, form us and influence us; but ultimately WE choose what we will hold and what we will let go of; and WHO we will be. I am grateful to her and him and all of the monsters and angels that came into my life. I wouldn’t be me without those experiences.

I  have been a terrible daughter, a horrible wife and a worse friend. I have only shown up and been there for the most sacred being in my life whom I will never leave because I will never make her pay for my childhood. I’m really proud of that. She is my greatest self. She has a perfect childhood. I’ve failed left and right in everything else, but her. Her world is perfect and ordered.  She still believes in Santa and that love makes the world go around. It was my duty to her that got me through that horrific day in 2014, and every day after that and still. I will never make her feel as I did when I was a child.  As for everyone else, I’m trying to do better. Because even though I’ve not hurt anyone intentionally, I’ve indirectly hurt them by my pulling away and by dropping off the face of the earth for months. I am so not in a place to even be anything to anyone, in fact when you see me coming, you should probably RUN the other way because I  currently suck at relationships, of any kind.  I’m trying to get better.  It will get better. In time.  I’m not even remotely perfect, but I am human.

Thanks for reading this.

Peace and Turtles, MBB




Lakota Winyan.
Cunksi’s Ina.