in pain…1996

The thing about pain, internal, gnawing, soul tearing pain…is that no one can see it. Surprisingly enough too, no one really wants to talk about it, let alone acknowledge it. It makes people uncomfortable.

The unseen.

Now I’m not an expert on physical pain, but I have a partner who has had back issues, for the last 5 years. He tore something (angular tear I think they call it) while lifting concrete. He’s pretty stubborn and when he feels it twinge, he usually ignores it and carries on with what he’s doing. Anyway…I’ve watched him try to get help for the last few years, and it’s not that much different from my process. Except that when they prod him, they can see where it hurts. But ultimately they don’t listen to him and try to say its all in his head even though they can see him twitching like a itch…their latest hypothesis is that his ‘filter’ is broken…here take these pills.

And his can be seen. The pain anyway.

Our injuries are similar in that they can’t be seen. Not without further examination.

The thing about being drunk all the time, is that you really don’t give a fuck. Not about yourself, not about those around you, and not about your pain. They call it self medicating…pretty sure ‘they’ve’ never self medicated though.

I drank to keep from being angry. To keep from being upset. To keep from feeling irrational. To keep from feeling sad. To keep from…feeling.

I stayed out of it to keep from feeling the disappointment. To keep from facing my girls. To keep from feeling their disappointment, especially my eldest.

I stayed drunk and out of it to keep from feeling afraid. It’s amazing how brave you feel when you are filthy rotten drunk all the time. And I made a good drunk. I wasn’t a violent or crying drunk. I was a happy drunk. A free drunk. And a reasonably controlled drunk. I never really lost my sense of having to be alert and in control for quite a few years.

I stayed with my mother after I left the husband. Got the eldest girl settled in school…a Christian school. How ironic. I wanted her to be safe, and even though I didn’t really have any distinct idea on how to do that, it was a pressing motivator for how I parented her. The husband had wanted to keep my youngest girl, his biological daughter, and let me keep the eldest, my biological daughter, not his. But I wasn’t having a bar of that shit…they were sisters and as far as I was concerned they were not to separated or treated any differently. I tried to get a house but we had nothing at that stage. And it was extremely hard going from Mrs someone, to Ms waiting to be divorced. ‘Did he beat you? Did he screw around on you? Was he drunk? Was he drug fucked?’. If I had have replied to yes to any of those things, I might have received some help. But the fact that he was an employed, well spoken, tidy, creative fuckwit, just made me look like more of a bitch than ever. I applied for houses, but had no ‘security’ so was denied. I ended up on a benefit, which I detested, because short of having a pap smear in the office, they wanted to know everything…everything. An extremely humiliating experience which I had hoped I’d never have to face again, but found myself there…again.

Things at my mothers were becoming strained…our lives…beliefs…were at odds with each other again. I ended up going to live with my ‘showed up the day before I was due to kill myself’  friend. Me and my youngest went and my eldest stayed with her grandmother so she could stay at school. Again…I think I just wanted her to be alright and I figured not being with me was better than with me. Anyway, we went out to my friends to save some money for a house, furniture, clothes etc. I’m not sure how long we stayed there for, but I made some choices whilst living with her, that she didn’t like. And fair enough too…she is a dear friend and I lied to her…that hurt her…so she asked us to leave. I love her for being straight with me…but it left us hanging…but that’s the consequences of shit ay.

We finally got house. We all moved in. The husband was still playing his games…he’s coming at 7pm on a Friday night to pick up the girls and didn’t show up until Sunday afternoon. Those games. And in amongst all that he’d bail me up in the corner of my new house and whisper how the girls were going to hate me, they were going to find out what kind of person I was…what a slut I was…and they’d want to leave me and go and live with him…what a shit mother. I’d stand there and cry…should’ve just punched him in the mug and been done with it, but I didn’t have enough juice for that at that stage.

So, I drank…more.

My mother offered to take the girls for a year while ‘I got my shit together’…again. I figured they were better off with her and to tell truth…I didn’t really know how to get my shit together. Or what that even was. Everyone in my life had a different version and it didn’t look anything like the version I pictured.

My version still looked pretty. It looked happy and tidy and sweet. Where I was cared for and the girls were happy and cared for. And…and I didn’t really know what the rest should look like at all.

So I drank more…and more…and I fucked a little…and I drank some more.

Now this is the era that I have always felt guilty for. The time that I abandoned my children and went away to have a little nervous breakdown. I probably was depressed and suicidal and displaying borderline personality disorder and ptsd. Technically speaking, that’s what it was. Personally speaking, I was in pain. A whole wide world of pain. And I was over it. All. I would have never killed myself…I couldn’t protect my girls from hell. That was my reasoning.

I learnt fast, how to play the psychologist, counselor, doctor game. I show up at the appointments, they blabber on, I nod, I answer the questions, they give me the pills and sign me off…I leave, crush the pills, snort those bastards, sell the rest and drink!

While trying ‘to get my shit together’ I moved houses a few times and ended up with ‘unsavoury characters’. Your options kind of slim down when you have no money and no motivation for making money. I paid my child support and did what I was expected to, financially, for my girls. I wasn’t present for them though. But I hadn’t been present for a very long time, really.

I utilized my resources. Me. And I learnt how to hustle pretty fucking fast.

I fucked my way into a new place to live. Not prostitution. Maybe I should have, it would have been quicker. I flatted with what I affectionately called, ‘the critters’, for about a year or two. The critters were Cripps. Blue. Well that’s what they thought anyway. Compared to Americas version of the Cripps these guys would have been pussy. But they had what I needed. Lots of alcohol. Lots of drugs. Free money. And a place to live.

It’s here I learnt how to break and enter, kitty cat style. I learnt how to lift things and steal the gold out of your back teeth while you slept. I had morals still, surprisingly, and there was a code of ethics that I adhered to. Those idiots didn’t, which is why they always got caught. I liked crime. I liked the rush it gave me. I liked planning and analyzing situations, people. I was particularly good at revenge or pay backs. Usually for a slight against myself or those around me. I was also good at dealing. First rule of that, is don’t partake of the goods. That choice minimized my drug intake. Positive I thought.

I still had my girls on the weekends. And during that time, it was a critter free, alcohol free, drug free zone. I was still lucid enough to know what I didn’t want around those two precious souls.

My drinking was scheduled. I drank Tuesday through to Sunday, 2-3pm to 6-7am, or when I passed out. I didn’t want to sleep. When I did sleep I made sure I was drunk or out of it enough to not dream. My dreams were disturbing. Lots of puss filled blood drenched dreams around this era.

Near the end of this year, when I really realized ‘getting my shit together’ was not working, at all…I decided to ask the girl’s father if he wanted to take them. For good. My mother was getting tired. Which in hindsight, was fair e-fucking-nough. He said yes.

He came and got them on a Saturday afternoon. My eldest girl cried and cried. She was so heartbroken. She didn’t understand me. Neither did I. She was so hurt. My heart broke for her. And I was so ashamed and broken for her. I had failed her on every single level and felt like utter fucking shit. My poor girl. I just thought, with what was left of my mind, that she deserved so much better. They both did. And I couldn’t expect them to wait till ‘I had my shit together’. They deserved a life…a proper one. Away from me. And if their fuckwit father could provide that for them; then so be it. I’d suck it up, swallow what was left of my pride and let them go.

They left.

My heart cracked. I literally heard it crack.

And I drank. And cried. And smoked. And stopped eating. And drank.

And it kept cracking. And so did I.

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