Cycle of Abuse: 15 in 1982

I have read many, many, despondent writers, poets, etc.  Persons who, now in adulthood, have come through some depressing, harrowing, childhood situations.  On occasion, I have run across documentaries, news item, etc.  About pre-teen, teen, and young adult suicide.  All due to having lived at the violent hands and words of parents that outwardly appeared ‘normal.’  That inwardly, were the devil’s hand puppets.

Back in or around the early 80’s: Our house had burned down.  Down to the ground.  Standing stoic were the scant charred…2 by 4’s, abandoned ashen table ware and counters.  For all intensive purposes, my fifteen year old eyes witnessed nothing but a shell.

As I have said before, some memories blare at me such like the horn of an irritated driver.  Loud, clear, vibrant.  Other memories, due to my need to persevere, are faded and clouded.  Such like a watercolor painting you once adored but can, now, barely remember.

My siblings had long since been kicked out of the house.  It seemed to be a rite of passage.

You’re eighteen.  You did something to piss me off.  You are now no longer allowed on the land of misfits.”

Generally speaking, both, Bud and Sybil,  were conversatinally gone…Way before being physically excommunicated.  My sister enjoyed the company of questionable boyfriends.  A habit I firmly believe was thrown upon her by my father’s physical abuse.  And, my mother’s lack of emotional attachment.

My brother had his friends.  He partied.  He defied.  He had tired of protecting his mother.  And, at one point or another, during a physical altercation with my father.  There had been threats of guns and severe violence.  Best guess would be that was the point of no return.

After our house became a  photo source for neighbors.  After the smoke cleared, clothes of creosote were tossed and generations of knick knacks were tossed into the trash.  After the chaos of destruction became nothing more than local gossip…I was assigned the task of cleaning pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters.

In other words, our small but precious gallon jug of empty Riunite…that had been filled to the max with change; had succumbed to being spare change among broken glass.  And, it had been my assigned duty to clean each and every piece of  current currency…metal.  imageedit_8_8297636672

“Scrub it clean!  Here’s the toothbrush!  Now get at it.”

Had been the order barked out by both my father and my mother.

Sitting there between the lilac bushes and partially singed grass,  a stool, a toothbrush and pounds of  spare change… lay an endless fall.

With September sun beaming down.  I can still recall how sweat would douse the corners of my mouth and then, splash upon the tainted dime or penny.

My depression ran deep.  And, I had been fully aware of it.  Not knowing at the time about my father’s thirst for killing or psychosis.  Not being fully aware of the how and why of my mother’s terminal sadness.  Not being aware of much.  I knew that life in the Bowley household was not like the pretty white houses with laughter…that dotted the rest of the street.

My brother had since joined the Air Force.  And, my sister had married.  Still there had not been much connection between us.  It seems to me, that had been a scenario my parent had derived.  Either consciously or not.

Indeed, I had been my father’s favorite.  Which meant sports, sports and more sports.  Which meant teaching CCD, being active in youth group and singing in the church folk group.  Which meant I received far more than my share of…

“You can do better than that!  Are you stupid?  I don’t give a flying fuck what other parents do!”imageedit_4_3845432106

Either way, I was a lost budding young adult woman.  In a lost land.  With a bit of house insurance money left over.  My mother begged my father to take her to visit her favorite child, Bud!  Bud, my half-brother, had begun the pursuit of his second marriage in two years.  He had, also been affluent in the use of cocaine.  He had joined the Air-force!

Bud had been stationed in Florida.  And, my parents believed they deserved a break.  A break from the hustle and bustle of rebuilding life after a house fire.

Therefore, it was only reasonable that I should remain behind.  Only reasonable to think my best friend, Michael and, most importantly, his mother, would take me in.

This is where Black Beauties, booze, bad behavior and LSD come into play.  I had indulged at a very young age in Yukon Jack.  But my current course of plaid catholic school skirts, smoke and dope and sex…was in over drive.

Mimi, Michael’s mother, had seen this.  She had known what was about to come.  My intention had been death by over indulgence.  Dropping blotter, smoking weed, playing both sides of addiction against each other.

Mimi in her own hippie way, felt the only need for a deep, profound, change in my behavior…Would be therapy!

It had worked.  I met a wonderful woman named, Eileen.  We met once a week on the second floor above S n W sports.  Her office was filled with Buddha, warm thoughts and reflective flowing waters from an over sized fish tank.

My renewal was instant.  The remorse, guilt and shame that was felt became something talked about in open conversation.  I had not started the house fire.  But my intention on that fateful weekend…was to stay home.

Could I have stopped it?imageedit_11_5911877311

A kind woman in pastel flowing skirt…told me…

“No!”

My relief and new-found comfort within my own skin…Quickly dissipated.  For as soon as my parents returned.  And, even with Mimi’s glowing recommendation.  It was apparent that I would not longer be allowed to see Eileen.

My father ranted and raved over and over again…

“No daughter of mine is going to see a shrink…”

And, my mother…

“You heard your father!”

Funny, I was conceived in the tunnels underneath the New Hampshire State Hospital.  Or, that my father was once deemed insane.  And, my mother a manic-depressive with suicidal tendencies.  Yet, snipping possible self harm in the buttocks, while I was still young.  Seemed out of the question.

Looking back on my vivid with gray strands of depression, as a child and teen.  I think how fortunate I am to have survived.  To be able to function.

Course, there is much more to my parent’s love story.  Much more to the dysfunction.  Starting a few years before my birth and flourishing years after…My disowning the ‘family.’imageedit_14_9427699938

 

 

Fear the Underdog

dumpy diva 1

“Convinced I never could belong, and vowing I’d never settle for any second-rate status.  I felt I simply had to dominate in everything.

Work or play…As this attractive formula for the good life began to succeed, according to my then specifications of success, I became deliriously happy.

But when an undertaking occasionally did fail, I was filled with resentment and depression that could be cured only by the next triumph.  Very early, therefore, I came to value everything in terms of ‘victory or defeat…’ ‘all or nothing.’  The only satisfaction I knew was to win.

Only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength.  Our admissions or personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.”

DSCN1367

-Bill Wilson

1962

Many people do not realize that Bill Wilson had been a practicing Buddhist.  That many philosophies commonly  thought of as the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous…are actually snippets of Buddhism.

I had a sponsor…Most likely, my fifth!  Seemingly, it was difficult for me to get my shit together.  And, I used every excuse in the book…to avoid being sponsored by someone.  Taken under a wing and told what to do.

That is until I met Allen.  He had been a combat vet.  A was a quadriplegic and…importantly, he was wise beyond my years.

His most prophetic words to me?

‘Love, God and Money…will be your top temptations.  Always be weary of them…’

Fear the Underdog

Somehow,recently, caught in the events of life, for life does not get better when you are clean, you are supposed to get better…I guess that is generally, how it is supposed to work.  Torn between the need to care for my aging parents, upcoming disabling surgery, my spouse dealing with her own demons…etc,etc.

Amongst all of this, I forgot Allan’s Golden Rule.

When, as an addict, in the midst of the chaos it derives, I made money, I had toys, I for all intensive purposes…had it all.

Yet, I could not love.  I didn’t believe in people.  I did not trust.  I had been a product of wrong doings done to me and therefore, I turned them out and set them upon others.

In recovery, with a few years behind my medallions, I trained myself, as a practicing Buddhist, to love everyone.  To let those around me, those who meant the most to me, just how I felt.

Long story…short, this, ideology, bit me in the ass…the other day.  

Honesty?  Is it the best policy?

Cutting myself some slack, I do have a poet’s heart.  I do tend to give all to a relationship.  I do not collect friends with a cyberspace thumb’s up.  I have a handful or a bit more, of persons I deem able to handle…my spoken words.

I will not give away names.  I will not offer examples.  I will say this,

I drank at the ripe old age of 8.  I became a steady drinker at the even ripper age of 10.  I smoked pot, dropped acid, snorted, popped and whatever else…on a regular basis, by the age of 15.

It took me years to build my empire.  A house, the kids, the dogs, the money, the toys…

It took little time to tear it down.

As I took my ‘Zen’ walk this late morning.  Beautiful, out of the ordinary day, in New Hampshire.  Warm enough to make you smile.  Brisk enough to make for less toil.  Quiet enough to focus on…

What had been my part?

What could I have done differently?

and,

more importantly,

Why is it we speak of love in our hearts like a song we cannot quite recall?

I suppose for my part…I am too much for some people.  I get it.  My mother told me that years ago…but I had been to drunk to listen.

As for the last to questions?a a

Well, I do not know if it had been the day.  The beauty.  The alignment of the clouds.  I really do not think I am supposed to know how I get inspired…honestly.

But I did come up with this…

Of course, I will open my heart again.  I will have a new guarded perception walk.  Walking with purpose and love….I will, however, carry a bigger stick!

Lesson Relearned

Always, always, fear the underdog.  We are everywhere!

we all make promises we can't keep And they're paper thin but cut so deep... -G.Potter
we all make promises we can’t keep
And they’re paper thin but cut so deep…
-G.Potter

Get the…Freak…out!

Can't leash the freak!
Can’t leash the freak!

Not sure why this grabbed at me.  Can’t really put my finger on the feeling of sameness and oneness when I read and re-read the article.

What is certain?  I am a self professed Freak.  I like it.  Alone but not lonely.  Been strange all my life.  Most likely, I’ll keep on keeping on with the curious behavior.  I enjoy it.  The Croc’s with shorts and Elmer Fudd jacket, in the middle of a snowstorm.

The constant need for approval by the living dead? The living dead being those ‘strangers’ I meet in the ancient cemeteries?  The aged plots of land that I seek out that happen to dot the New Hampshire scenic highways?  They remind me there are opportunities yet to be discovered.  And, lessons yet to be learned.

Those about me are misfits.  Relics who happen to enhance my pecularities…via their own unique like everyone else…actions.

One such misfit who enjoys a good iditarod, after eating leftover buffet chinese food.  Sitting there on a wooden bench, awaiting a splinter,temperature at 100 below zero with the wind chill not factored in, just to have laid down with dogs!?  Patty ‘don’t over bake’ Cake brought Speedy to my attention and therefore, I feel it is only my duty and honor to pass the story on:

‘the truth shall set you free…but first it will turn you into the freak…you’ve always been.

In May 1928, Speedy went fishing and fell with his line into the Ohio River, where he drowned. The city transferred his body to Hamock’s Funeral Home for a pauper’s burial. Having created a powerful preservative, Hamock decided to experiment with it to preserve Atkins’ body. The mixture transformed the corpse into a wooden-like statue. While Atkins’ black skin was altered to a reddish color, his facial features remained recognizable.[1]

Hamock put the preserved body of Speedy on occasional display at the funeral home; he mostly stored it in a closet.[2] He did not charge a fee for viewers. Washed away by waters of the Ohio River during the Paducah flood of 1937, Speedy’s body was recognized and returned to Hamock at his funeral home.

After Hamock died in 1949, his wife Velma took over custody of Speedy’s body. She kept it for another 45 years before burial. During the 66 years that Speedy’s body was preserved, awareness of the mummified corpse became more widespread.

##http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedy_Atkins

This whole Speedy thing at first, angered me.  Who, what and why do people think they have the right to monetize on other’s quirks.

However, after the anger left, I did more research.  Hobos, freaks, deaf persons and/or anyone without money and with little or no family, often were used for practice.  Practice in the art of embalming!  How strange.  Not too long ago, before terms such as, hate crimes and politically incorrect statements, we, me, you and other misfits, were rats in a maze of formaldehyde and miscellaneous materials.

Why can’t we all just get along? Odd…makes the world go ’round!

What of Andrew McCrew?

Not sure if Andrew had ever met Speedy…but the courtship via ‘a functional society’ had been the same.

McCrew was a one-legged African-American hobo who died in Marlin, Texas, after falling off a moving train. No one came to claim him, and after being heavily embalmed by a local mortician, his remains were acquired by a traveling carnival. For over 50 years McCrew’s mummified body toured the country as “The Amazing Petrified Man”, dressed in a tuxedo and seated in a wheelchair. The carnival company closed in the late 1960s and McCrew ended up in a Dallas warehouse, where he was discovered by widow Elgie Pace. Pace felt that he deserved a proper burial and, unable to afford this herself, stored him in her basement. In 1973 a local undertaker finally heard the story and offered to bury him for free. His grave was unmarked until Don McLean’s song “The Legend of Andrew McGrew” (1974) was played on a Chicago radio station; it generated enough interest for others to come forward and pay for a marker. It reads, “Born 1867, Died 1913, Buried 1973”. (bio by: Brent Priddy) 

andrew mccrew
There was a mummy at the fair, all crumpled in a folding chair. The people passed, but didn’t care that the mummy was a man, so tell me if you can Who are you? Who are you? Where have you been, where are you going to? Well, Andrew McCrew must have lost his way ‘Cause though he died long ago he was buried today.

‘Amazing what some ‘normal’ people do for money!’

Down on nightmare alley, where the shady people sway a hobo came a-hikin' on a salty summer day Well he hopped a freight in Dallas, and he rode out of sight But on a turn he slipped, and he lost his grip and he fell in-to the night.
Down on nightmare alley, where the shady people sway
a hobo came a-hikin’ on a salty summer day
Well he hopped a freight in Dallas, and he rode out of sight
But on a turn he slipped, and he lost his grip
and he fell in-to the night.

‘Cocaine had been removed from what we now call, Coke, in, 1904!’  During the hayday of experimental embalming amongst ‘rational, normal and quick thinking’ society.

Freaks, trashed and trashy...and, loving every minute of it.
Freaks, trashed and trashy…and, loving every minute of it.

‘Still can’t get pot legalized as a, recreational drug, nationwide, 2015!’  asks, the freak who lives outside of the box!