Trigger warning: Child Abuse, addiction, sexual abuse, domestic abuse.
I remember the first time my mother beat me. At least I think it was the first time. I know it was between the ages of 3 and 5, because we had moved to our new home, but I had not started school yet.
I remember wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt with long blue sleeves, but I don’t remember what triggered the violence. I remember being held by the throat, and I remember my head being repeatedly banged on the floor. I remember my noes bleeding.
The ruckus must have been so loud, because a neighbor, came to check and see if everything was ok. My mom laughed and said “Yes, I’m just beating my kids” and they laughed, the lady assuming it was a joke.
When my dad came home, my mom told him that I had fallen outside, and I guess he believed her, being that young I was not able to know that I needed to look at my self in the mirror to see how badly I was hurt, I would not learn that until later. Looking back, it must have been bad, because my nose blood was all over my shirt.
The beatings continued until my moms own biological children moved in. They were older then I was and when my mom started beating them they knew to tell some one. They chose the neighbor across the street, who got them out of the house, but left me and my younger brother in the house.
At this point, I’m not sure what happened, my moms biological daughter got taken away but her son was left with us.
His beatings continued, and for the most part, her wrath was focused on him.
He ended up moving out when he was 16, he did not even finish school.
With her son out of the picture the beatings turned back to me. It was no longer a secret, my dad knew what was happening, but he never would stop it.
To add fuel to the fire, she started drinking, and the violence just got worse.
I ended up graduating high school early and like my moms son before me, moved out when I was 16.
I lived in Monroe Louisiana for a while, and then moved to New Orleans trying to find myself.
I ended up finding Stewert. He was was everything I thought I wanted in a man, until he introduced me to meth. After that, the violence from back home became common place again.
I felt at home in that violence, that’s why I let it happen. He took the very essence of who I was away from me, and I let him.
He would beat me, make me sale drugs for him, pimp me out, and I did it all with out questioning.
He ended up getting busted, and rolled on me, trying to bring me down with him. Someone was looking out for me though because I got away. The cops had nothing on me.
After that I found it pretty easy to switch from meth to booze. I was pretty proud of my self for quitting cold turkey, but the truth is, I just switched one addiction for another.
I moved to Oklahoma City, and pretty soon I had turned my life into a party. I was no longer being beat, I was living in a hotel room at the Habana, with a room overlooking a pool. Walking distance to eight gay bars. I thought I had it made.
In all honesty, I did for a little bit, until my mom got killed.
When this happened I had so many emotions that I did not know how to convey what I was feeling.
I ended up leaving the funeral and flying back to a party at my place, I was able to get the emotions under control with the booze.
My drinking made a hard left turn at this point.
My mom and I had at this point gained a sort of friendship, but we never addressed the elephant in the room. I never confronted her about the beatings and she never apologized for them.
I became bitter. I soon was drinking every night to pass out. What was once fun, had now became a job, to keep the pain away.
I knew I had a problem, but I did not know how to fix it. I tried AA, I tried the Church of Scientology, I even tried going cold turkey and had a seizure.
I finally got into an out patient program and was able to use medical detox to get off the alcohol for good.
I’m thankful, because this gave me and my dad the chance to square up. He actually brought up the beatings, and apologized for his part in not making them stop. He became my best friend.
He got to know not drunk Nate, for a brief time before he passed. I’m thankful for that.
Not drinking has been a guessing game. I’m not a 12 stepper, I’m what they call a dry drunk, and I’m ok with that. Most of the steps are just part of being a decent human anyway.
What I have not learned, is how to let someone into my life and home, with out having a wall already built.
When I do meet a guy, I’m quick to clam up. It’s hard for me to view a relationship, without comparing it to my family life back home, or to Stewert.
I have missed out on several opportunities, because I have not been able to let my guard down.
I need to heal the part of me that’s broken so that I can focus on what could be, instead of what was.
The ghost of the past can still haunt you, 30 years later. But it’s my choice on if they have a part in my future relationships.