Nightmares still going on. At top volume. The kind that make you feel like you are stuck inside them and may never get out.
My mother has a starring role. Of course.
During childhood, it was extremely common to hear such Motherly gems as-
“Get out of my sight. You sicken me. You disgust me. I curse the day I gave birth to you.”
It was so common, my brother and i would turn to each other with bored resignation, half listening for the part where we had to recite our admissions of ruining her life, like a bizarre Mass. Of course, it was generally the case, that she would start out in a rage at my brother and it quickly escalated to “you kids are the reason why….”
So you had to kind of listen out, any time the tone started because it was best to be very busy doing something domestic whilst simultaniously being out of her direct reach. This went on at least monthly until i was in my late teens, because i had gotten so good at pleasing and fluffing and pampering and never giving her any reason. My brother was busy getting high, drunk, and hanging out. He was quite happy to tell her to go fuck herself, and leave. i was a girlchild. No leaving for me.
The flipside of this maternal diatribe was no better. It was the kind of intimacy that most people would associate with lovers, not mother and daughter. But i didn’t know. i was just happy to not listening to her screaming.
The in between part was hardest. You’d get a sick feeling it was coming, and have to wait it out.
Once, after a really fantastic vacation, the only one we had ever taken alone, my arm brushed up against hers on the arm rest in between our seats. That was it. That was all it took to set her off screaming, that this was her goddamned car, her space, how dare i? She actually got herself so worked up, she threatened to put me out of the car in the middle of Virginia in the snow. It seemed to me to be a realistic threat, it had happened before that she put me out, though not in the snow. Still. i notice i still get nervous if my arm touches someone on the arm rest in a car.
Of course, deep down, on a cellular level, there is this unshakable conviction that had i been prettier it never would have happened. None of it. It is still what i think.
My brother and i would laugh about it, doing fantastical imitations of her contorted rage, smoke pot and recite her gems. Rarely, she would invent something new enough and crude enough to smart.
We would warn each other when the tide was turning.
When i tried to escape, worse things happened.
Into adulthood, he would call me and say, “You were always beautiful, Sis.”
i have always had a different set of rules and feelings for everyone else. i recognize that i was always a slave, that i have no chance of being in a different world, and the nightmares will always come knocking. My doctor promised that the meds are to blame. i just need to get through this week and everything should calm down.
Things i have not thought about in many years come flying up left and right. Then there is the panic that led me to look and find something bad. My mother and my kidnapper having a karaoke party. At the end, my mother -who knows she is being recorded- says to her, “She is my baby. Don’t hurt her.” Dawn replies, “That woman loves me. She is never going to hurt me.” Ostensibly, Dawn has a new love, which is exactly what happened before when she was actively looking for me. It was made just two months ago. i shouldn’t have looked, and now its my fault for looking. i haven’t heard those voices in years, except for nightmares.
And now it is all just screaming.