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And Now Without Further Ado...


Rhia
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So I've been on this forum nearly a year, and I haven't actually posted this. I must appologize for that, but I wasn't sure where to begin, where to end, what exactly to put in, until I got a decent feel for what everything was about. I'm sorry if this seems to long and drawn out, but there is a huge dynamic involved in understanding.

 

So I guess I should start from the beginning, after all- the beauty of life is that it does indeed have a beginning.

 

I was born in '84 to a thrice-married lesbian mother (Some people speculate if she was indeed a lesbian, I assure you she is- she was just so desperate to fit into her own family and have a family herself that she kept trying to make the "straight life" work- fortunately for her, she realized she needed to live her life as she wished, not as others wished it for her- and is happily partnered in a butch-femme relationship).

 

My mother already had two older boys, but she wanted a little girl; and married my donor (yes, I call him that) under the pretense that she felt she truly loved him and actually planned to have a child, instead of the occurance of my brothers being "I'm pregnant, so do you wanna get married?" My mother left my donor, fleeing in fear from him (a concept I would not understand until much later in my life), and making her way well before I was born to another lesbian purposely searching out a pregnant woman- she wanted a child too. Alas, this woman was also quite frightening, and so my mother lived in quite a bit of fear.

Nonetheless, about 2 weeks before my birth, she went dancing at a GBLT club, and met a bear-like gay man whom also immeadiately fell in love with the prospect of having his own children. They befriended each other, and upon my birth he quit all drugs & alcohol use cold turkey; becoing "daddy" in my eyes.

 

My earliest years I remember being very happy. My mother was an experimental type of parent who taught me ASL before English, although I could hear very well- she wanted to communicate with me as early as possible. My father would take me to pride parades calling me "his" and passing me around to numerous drag queens (which I surprizingly remember!). I can remember days at the park, watching muppets with my dad, and feeling safe. My mother being pagan, naturally taught me bits & pieces of her own religion- but not in a brainwashing type way. She gave me the choice to do what I wished, if I wanted to join her in buying herbs for teas and learning how to make them, I could- and I did. She taught me simple spells, and was thrilled that although she struggled with it, I easily excelled in herbalism at a very young age. Even more excitied was she when she realized I had taught myself to read at three, and was an avid reader.

 

At the age of four, I was struck with a small tragedy- one day, my dad stopped coming to see me. I didn't understand why and my mother tells me it was one of the first times she had ever seen me unhappy. As a result, my mother tried to find another husband- thinking that if I had a fulltime father figure around I would be happier.

 

She found a straight man, very intelligent, single, with no kids. I took to him easily- except for the fact that he talked to me as an adult- and thusly found blame in the fact that I developed a quick wit and a sharp tongue. About a year after they married my little sister was born, and my mother began to change. She became extremely quiet, well-mannered, and completely different than the loud, femme, "mama" I had known. Mormon elders started to come by the house, and my mother became more and more subdued, and less and less happy. I was taken to the services a few times, but all I remember is sitting in a white room, wearing a white dress, half-dozing on the lap of my favourite elder, who'd had many younger siblings and knew how to keep me quiet.

 

We lived an almost-nomadic life for another three years, my mother had stopped teaching me her pagan beliefs, my step-father seemed more content the more quiet my mother became. I never had religion thrown down my throat, but he started trying to subdue me as well- demanding that I look at the the floor when addressing him, and that "children should be seen and not heard".

 

When I was eight my little brother was born, and about two months later I got the first biggest shock of my life. We lived across from a funeral home, and one day several drag queens showed up at our house, demanding that I be brought across the street. My mother fought with them that I had no business there, but in the end I was brought to the funeral home, where I found myself face to face with my dad again- in a coffin. Needless to say, I didn't handle that situation well. It was explained to me by his sister while I was there that he had died from AIDS, which he had found out he had before I was born- but that he had become sick when I was four- the time that he left. He didn't want me to see him sick, so he requested that my mother not bring me to see him again. I had no clue how to handle death, and after honestly thinking that he was still breathing, I was taken away when I tried to climb into the casket with him.

 

I didn't realize just how horrible my family life had become until another year later. Both of my brothers had been institutionalized, because they had lived with their abusive father, who had driven them both to madness. My mother was an advocate to parents of mentally ill children, and when told by the state to cease her protesting, refused. They made it clear that if she didn't stop, they would begin taking her children one at a time. She made one last protest at the state house, demanding that the state pay for these children as was stipulated by the state, and a week later I was removed. The reason: suspected poisoning (to this day completely unfounded).

 

I was put in a children's hospital for the whole summer of 1994, just prior to my tenth birthday. When they could find no evidence of harm to me, or problems that I could have, the hospital wished to send me home. The state on the other hand, took that oppurtunity to say that I was "better" away from my mother (although I had no problems that were documented) and placed me in a foster home.

 

This is where hell begins.

 

My foster mother was an ultra-conservative, pentecostal, rolling on the floors, speaking in tongues, pagan-hating bitch, for all intents and purposes. My foster father was not a church go-er, and preferred to stay in the woods hunting, but when he was not outside, he preferred to torment his foster children, chasing them with dead fish, nicknaming them grotesque names, and locking them outside the house while laughing from inside.

 

I went from a family where I was constantly doted upon, hugged, touched, catered to, albeit poor, to a family that was just as poor, but cold, overbearing, religious, and extremely emotionally deprived. I tried to crawl up into my foster mother's lap the first day I was there, remembering that my mother had told me that no matter where I was placed, to try to treat those around me with the same love as I had given her and she had given me. I was pushed to the ground and told that I was a "filthy pagan", and that she would rather meet satan himself than give me love. She cut off all of my hair (which was my mother's pride and joy) close to my scalp, claiming that it was the beginning of my new life to have a new look.

 

Two days after moving in, I was forced into an ugly hand-me down dress, put in the car, and driven to a big white church- where the first thing I encountered upon enterring was a disgusting stained glass window depicting Christ bleeding profusely from all the typical places, a look of pain twisted upon his face. I stood in the corner cowering until my foster mother took me by the arm and dragged me in, sitting me in the first pew for the beginning of children's church. For some reason, (a reason I will never understand, probably something my crazy foster mother did) I was asked to be the child to stand up in front of children's church that first time and pray. I had the microphone in my hand, and I was standing there shaking, at first, several people were smiling and nodding to me, but I remained silent. The children began to jeer around the time that I turned around, set the mic down, walked over to the children's pastor, tugged on her dress, and whispered: "what's pray?" I had never been asked to pray, even when my mother had tried being mormon! My response was a confused look shot at my foster mother, and the response "just talk to God almighty". I didn't know anything about a god, but my mother had occassionally mentioned talk of a goddess, and one of her friends had taught me a wiccan blessing- so not knowing anything else, I said it. "May the circle be open and never unbroken, may the love of the goddess forever be in your heart, merry we meet, merry we part, and merry we meet again" By the time I had finished, a litte white haired lady had made it up to the front and was standing beside me. I tried to hand her the mic, she took it from me, turned it off, and beat me with it until I was on my knees with my head in my hands; in which she stopped, and said that was the first part of my training- falling on my knees before the Lord.

 

I remember the rest of the service being a bit of a blur- I sat on the floor in front of my pew shaking and crying, trying to figure out why my mother hadn't been there to protect me, when my foster mother came to the pew from the front of the church where she had been jumping up and down and screaming in tongues, where she proceeded to try to pick me up by the ear and drag me to the front of the church. When I held onto the pew, she twisted it back and whispered "if you don't move now, I'll break your arm off and beat you with it!" The rest of the day is basically blacked-out. I don't remember lunch or supper, I just remember crawling into bed right after the service and wondering why my foster mother hadn't come up with some witch-hazel for my bruises.

 

The weekdays I was ignored, except for meals (which because I refused to eat meat, were either peanut butter and stale bread, or having the meat shoved down my throat- because I was a vegetarian, I hadn't built up an ability to handle meat, and so I would get physically ill, and it resulted in a long term, very odd form of bullemia that would remain until I was in my teenage years). Sundays were what I dreaded the most, because I was taken back to that hell where my foster mother was the sunday school teacher, and that hideous old lady was always there, waiting to make sure that I would "submit to the Father". My foster mother began instating a new rule to ensure that her conversion of the "little heathen" went smoothly- for every minute that I did not sing the hymns in church loud enough to be heard over the pastor on the microphone, I had to sit for an hour on a stool in the kitchen watching a spot on the celing, and for every bible verse that I did not memorize I had to add up the number from the chapter and the numbers from the verse (i.e. Deut. 21:18-21- 21 + 21 + 18 = 60) and write that many lines of "I am a heathen, most hated by our Lord; but Jesus will save me and my wicked soul".

 

School was a minor sanctuary. I spent my time in the wooded area right behind the playground, leaning up against a tree and reading whatever I could get my hands on. (Jane Austen was a favourite, even at that age) I didn't have many, if any friends to count on, but for my books. I would attempt to tell my teachers what was going on with my foster mother- but she was very popular with the school system (being a special ed teacher there part-time) and so anything I would attempt to say in confidence was brought straight to her- which would lead in my public humiliation. Several times she would disrupt my class to come in, pull my desk out from in front of me, dump the contents onto the floor, snatch up any books she could find, push my face down into the remaining schoolpapers, and turn around to leave me in the wake of childish laughter. I still to this day wonder what hold she possibly had over a whole school system (none of which attended the horrible church we went to) that she was allowed to do these things in broad daylight, in a public-run school.

 

On those days, I would come home to find every book I owned sitting in front of the woodstove (well, almost every- I had found places to hide my most-precious books, the ones my mother had given me when I left). She would look in my eyes and make her way though the piles, until my eyes would light up on a certain one, then she would smile, read the cover title, read the back summary, check to see if my mother or anyone else had written me a note on the inside cover, then hand it to me to "say my last goodbye" (which meant approx. 2 seconds to hold the damned thing) and then she would snatch it back and chuck it into the woodstove. After which she would sit me in a kitchen chair, and re-cut my hair, because I had "sinned" and it was "only appropriate". (Something about the verses in the NT regarding a woman's hair, and she should be shaven if she'd rather keep it short... my foster mother tied that in somehow with my punishments) I went for years with shorn hair and the back of my head shaved nearly bald for my "sins". (To this day almost no one is allowed to trim my hair, and it remains at the middle of my back) If I had been "especially sinful", on top of both of those, my radio was taken out of my room, and black-out curtains were placed on my windows, and my bedroom door locked from the outside while I slept. (They knew I was afraid of the dark, and was terrified to sleep without my shades up and music on.)

 

When I was 11 I was finally allowed to see my mother again, for a couple of hours one day after school. She cried when she saw how I looked (short hair and extremely thin), but didn't say anything to anyone (I was told later she was told that if she ever complained about my foster home, that they would take the rest of my siblings and put them in "even worse places"). I had been sufficiently broken by then. Every Sunday morning, evening, and wednesday evening I was taken to church, forced to memorize bible verses, join missionettes (Assembilies of God girl scouts) and after every service I was prayed over by the women of the church (who had by then stopped beating me, on the premise that I never mention "anything pagan" again). I started talking like the rest of the children, singing the songs, saying the verses, clapping during services, etc. I would cry myself to sleep every night begging God not to send me to hell when I died, and that I would live one more day to see my mother.

 

Two more years past living this life. The more I appeared to become religious, the better my foster mother would treat me. She started buying me children's books to replace the classics my mother had given me. (i.e. Romeo & Juliet was replaced with Babysitter's Club, etc) She started letting me grow my hair out bit by bit, although the threat of 12 hours on the stool looking up at the celing was always there. (I had endured that several times and was trying my best never to have to again).

 

When I was twelve, my foster mother decided to start getting rid of my mother in my life. She had just recently given birth to my final sister, and I was told that with this other girl now in my mother's life, that she wouldn't want me anymore. After much screaming and fighting, I ended up breaking again, and believing her. I was fed many many lies about my mother. Everything from believing she had poisoned me, to believing that she had put me in the foster home because she hated me and didn't want me anymore. I became afraid of her.

 

Right after my thirteenth birthday, I overheard my social worker and my foster mother talking about how I would not be allowed to return to my mother's. I was both relieved and pissed off, because I did NOT want to stay until I was eighteen, only to be thrown out onto the streets.

 

On April 12th, 1998, I finally relinquished the last bit of my sanity and "got saved" officially after watching a production of Heaven's Gates & Hell's Flames (a tame version of "Hell House). My foster mother was estatic, and started treating me like her child finally. With the newfound freedom granted to me as a "new Christian" in her eyes, I was allowed to speak my thoughts an emotions regarding my placement. I made it clear that I knew I would be kept there until I was eighteen, and that I felt "God" telling me to ask if I could be put through the adoption process.

 

This was granted to me, and in July of 1999, I was placed from a foster home in Maine, to an adoptive home in Massachusetts. They were opposite ends of the spectrum. Instead of the abuse I had recieved for years, my adoptive mother would listen to me talk, promised to never punish me like they did- right down to allowing me to choose one punishment that could never be used on me again; I opted for never having my radio/cd collection taken. She was an agnostic, and by this time I was a Jesus freak. I would insist on her taking us to the local Assembilies of God church, and she also allowed me to go to the private school run by the church.

 

I was horrible. Nearly as bad as my foster mother. I began reading "I kissed dating goodbye" and insisting that my newly found mother not let me date, but instead that any boy that wanted anything to do with me go through her to begin the "courtship". Luckily, that never happened, because due to my insane Christianity, no Christian boy even wanted to touch me.

 

I had one major problem with Christianity all through this: I could NEVER see myself submitting to a man. I hated the thought of it. It disgusted me to my very core. My pastors suggested that I read the book of Ruth to discover what love was "according to scripture". I read it, and everytime reading it found myself more and more disgusted with it. I vowed that I didn't want to have a relationship with anyone until I could understand the book of Ruth as the ultimate love story. It got to the point where I wished to remain celebate, and even applied to a college with a good missions programme so that I could "go off and be a martyr". For me, being a martyr was better than marrying someone who would rule over me. That was where my foster parents failed. They had beaten the scripture into me, but forgot to tell me how love worked within it. Therefore, I couldn't twist the concept of love and scripture in my mind.

 

Before I went to college, at the age of eighteen, I met a guy who was an absolute asshole. He convinced me that my book of Ruth thing was shit just so he could kiss me, and I ended up dealing with two months of sexual hell because he managed to convince me I was wrong. I broke it off on the pretense of "God told me to", and went on my way.

 

When I came to a Xn college (where I still am), everything went downhill from there. I hyperventillated during a worship service and no one noticed, even when I passed out. When I came to, I had reverted back to a childhood thought of "why are they doing this to themselves?" (referencing the rolling around, screaming, shouting in tongues, etc.) I walked out, scared for my eternal soul, and never went back.

 

By then I had a new boyfriend, a Christian. I had given up my pretenses on Ruth completely and just wanted to try to remember being loved. I posed questions to him, my professors, my advisor, my friends. My professors rebuked me. Some of my friends left. My boyfrend stayed with me. He tried to answer my questions. In the end, we both just decided that we couldn't handle Christianity. Him because his mother had forced him into it by much gentler means. Mine because I came to the conclusion that "I wasn't born under this God, I was forced". So one night, after I'd had a very rough day with people trying to re-evangelize me, after six months of doing nothing but crying out to God, begging for forgiveness, begging for him back, etc- I screamed out to the sky: "Fine! F*** YOU! If you don't want me, I don't want you!" I felt like a million weights had been lifted off me.

 

I left. I told my adoptive mom, who by now was as much of a Christian as I had been. Needless to say, she was devistated. Kicked me out of the house several times, but would forbid me to leave after I'd pack. Set my adoptive sister against me. Tried to put a rift between my boyfriend and I, because we had both deconverted but he was too terrified to tell his mother because he knew she would go crazy trying to make sure his little brother was more brainwashed than ever.

 

I ran off that summer anf finally met my mother again after so many years. Discovered just how many lies were presented to me. Just how much pain she had endured to make sure that they didn't put me in a place that was worse. So we decided to get to know each other again, and frankly, it's been wonderful. She's with a partner that loves her, she's back to her crazy pagan self, (although she's more new-age this time around) and she's still the same loving, doting, awesome mother that I remember.

 

The last time I stepped into a church was when I went to deliver a letter written to the pastor, detailing that I wanted my membership revoked (still to be done, nearly 2 years later). My adoptive mother's friends in the church, pastors, and people who had been my friends refused to look at me, talk to me, hug me. I tried to hug my adoptive mother's best friend, and she pushed me away as if satan himself would leap out of my body and burrow his way into her heart.

 

I remained at my college because I knew it would be stupid to give up so many hours of college credit (which cost a pretty penny!) when I could stick it out a couple more years and just graudate.

 

My adoptive mother and I were putting up with each other until the latest shock of my life: my eighteen year old adoptive sister, whom my adoptive mother has completely adored, decided to take off with a twenty-seven year old guy who still has a wife and kid. Both my adoptive mother and I were disgusted for two different reasons, her for the abandonment & religiosity, me the fact that she officially became a homewreaker. I guess in my way I've gotten over it. She's still my sister and I still love her. She has to create her own life, the same way I must for my own. In a strange way, the rift between my adoptive mother and I has been mended a bit by my sister leaving. I suppose things can work out for the best when people want to.

 

Now a days, I'm a full-blown atheist, liberal, working on my undergrad research, looking forward to grad school, and loving my life for the first time in years. I've made it through my life working through it on my own, with my friends, and with the support of my families. I haven't attended therapy, and surprizingly feel that I don't need it. My childhood has taught me to be strong, not to need revenge (although there are some days I wouldn't mind it). I've learned to deal with everything on my own terms, and I'm looking ahead to starting my own family, with a huge list of "don'ts" for lessons in life. I still have my incredible boyfriend, who has been a remarkable help, and who laughs at all my stupid jokes- whom I wouldn't trade for the world.

 

So I'm sorry if I've bored everyone to tears or put anyone to sleep. It's taken me so long to put this in because I just didn't know how to say it. I guess it's best to say it all than to not say it at all.

 

*big breath* Wow. So, I guess this is it. If anyone has anymore questions, feel free to ask. I'll try to be a bit more concise next time.

 

Fin.

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Wow, all I can say is wow, what an story! I think I had problems growing up?? Nothing even close to what you've been through. You are a true survivor, whew, and you seem to have emerged with your mind intact somehow. Wow! Welcome to Ex-C! :woohoo:

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wow...

You most certaintly did not bore me to tears... though I did have some tears though through reading your story. Your story is not boring at all but very interessting.

 

I am glad that you made it out. It makes me so angry when people treat children so terribly,to me that is what evil is.

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I read your entire story, too. I think it's a miracle you came through as well as you did. I don't know what else to say.

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Welcome! Thanks for sharing your story. I am so sorry for all the abuse you endured. You are a brave young woman and you break the cycle of abuse that was foisted upon you. I am glad you have reconnected with your mother. It's amazing the choices women have to make to "protect" their children when they have no means of supporting them financially. I think education and a job that supports you, is key to women not being held captive and in turn, their children being held captive. All that to say KUDOS to you for sticking with college and moving forward with your life.

 

WakingUp

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